Do I Need To Do Inventory If I Have a Small Craft Business?

By J.E. Cornett ; Updated September 15, 2017
Doing inventory is just as important for small businesses as it is for larger ones.

When you're operating a small business, it may seem like a waste of time to inventory your stock -- after all, if your business is small, chances are you are working with your inventory regularly. Small business owners need to rethink inventory to be successful, especially in the ever-changing craft world. Knowing what you have is the only way to meet customer demand.

Why Accounting for Your Inventory Matters

Most small business owners mistakenly believe that keeping track of inventory is for large businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth. A small business, especially a crafting business, is often a niche business, and if you forgo inventory, you miss an important chance to learn what appeals to your customers, and subsequently what stock and supplies to keep on hand. If your team colors bracelets always sell out during football season, keeping track of the number of bracelets you have on hand, plus the supplies you need to create them, is crucial to your business' success.

Your Stock

Anticipating a craft sale, holiday sales through a website, or any other surge in demand for your products is impossible unless you know what you have in stock. If you don't know what you have, or where your products are, it's difficult to get your items together for a sale, fill an Etsy or other online store with product, or even fill customer orders.

Your Supplies

For crafters, knowing what supplies you have on hand is key to both creation and to profit. You can't create products unless you have the supplies on hand to do so. Keeping an inventory of your supplies prevents lost sales due to inability to meet your customers' needs, but it also saves you money in duplicate purchases. If you know what supplies you have in stock, you are less likely to eat into your profits by purchasing duplicates of supplies you already have.

Keep it Simple

You don't need an elaborate system for keeping track with your small craft business' inventory. A simple spreadsheet will do it, or, if you want to go even more basic, a notebook.
Keep track of all the stock you have on hand; after every craft sale, or, if you sell online, once a week, delete sold items and make notations about which items sold best and which are slow sellers.
For supplies, evaluate the supplies you have on hand often to make sure you get replacements before you run out.

About the Author

A writer and information professional, J.E. Cornett has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lincoln Memorial University and a Master of Science in library and information science from the University of Kentucky. A former newspaper reporter with two Kentucky Press Association awards to her credit, she has over 10 years experience writing professionally.