We messed up, but those labels are getting fixed ASAP!

On behalf of the whole team at LightSpeed Cloud, we would like to apologize that the recent label update (My Dog Skip) had a major bug. We realize this caused some pretty significant inconveniences for some of you, and we are truly sorry for this.

Basically, “My Dog Skip” made a mess Friday morning, three days after the release. It was an intermittent issue that was hard to duplicate but we’ve found the source of the problem and have released a fix that is in beta right now. We will release this update tonight and all shall be well in the Clouds tomorrow.

We also realize we should have made more of an effort to communicate this change with you. We learned our lesson.

Thank you for your patience with this…and again, we realize how much of an inconvenience this was for you. Our sincerest apologies. -The team at LightSpeed Cloud

Meet PeopleMine, a more in-depth way to manage your customers

How well do you know your customers? Do you know the customers you’ve lost or the folks that are starting to not come in your doors as much? Hopefully you have some idea, but I’ll come back to the first question later.

LightSpeed Cloud users familiar with the Customers tab may already believe themselves to be experts on customer relationship management. While we have enough customer management features to shake a stick at, there are limitations as to what that tab and our reports can accomplish.

For instance, there is no way to look at spending trends for your local customers. In another scenario, it wouldn’t be an easy task to email your first-time customers with a special offer or send a thank you to your big spenders using LightSpeed Cloud alone. Well, for those of you looking to do advanced customer analysis, there is an integrated solution.

peopleminelogo Continue reading

The Business Life Cycle: Final Thoughts and Small Business Advice

This is the 7th and last post in a series by Bradley Saul, called “The Business Life Cycle.”

Over my past few posts, I gave a glimpse into the rise and fall of the bike store I co-owned for five years.

There are loads of business books full of tips and advice on how to succeed in business. I created my own list to share with you. I tossed it in the trash.

Throughout these posts, I haven’t told you one thing: I never wanted to run a bike shop. That is, I did not want to deal with customers or managing employees. Continue reading

The Business Life Cycle: Business by the Numbers Part 2 – Inventory

This is the 6th post in a series by Bradley Saul, called “The Business Life Cycle.”

In the last post, I looked at my business’ total sales revenue over the course of its existence. In the graph below, I broke down sales by inventory category. I defined an inventory product as an item that we stocked and expected a frequent turnover, as opposed to rentals or service.

The first stacked bar chart shows the proportion of sales for each category.

Sales by Inventory Category

Continue reading

The Business Life Cycle: Business by the Numbers Part 1 – Sales

This is the 5th post in a series by Bradley Saul called “The Business Life Cycle.”

In the next two posts, I’ll share sales reports for the five years of our business.

The following table shows 2008 as the best year for sales. Though 2008 was the first year of the recession, it was boom time for cycling in California as summer gas prices stayed over $4 per gallon. This initial boom tapered off by October 2008; then it became time to learn to actually run a business. We managed to make it through 2009 and 2010. A variety of factors including increased competition, owner burnout, and a wet Spring led to a remarkably poor 2011.

Sales by Year Continue reading

The Business Life Cycle: Business Mistakes And Work-Life Balance

This is the fourth post in a series by Bradley Saul, called “The Business Life Cycle.”

In my previous post, I discussed the mistakes we made in 2008 that eventually led to our demise.

We started to get the hang of running a business in 2009 and 2010, but a few factors stood in our way.

First, my business partner wanted to invest additional funds to both remodel our store and commit to a high-end bike brand. The remodel was desperately needed. As business increased in 2008, we found that employees were tripping over each other and the retail space could be much better used. Admittedly, I cautioned against making a huge commitment to a high-end bike brand. We were having trouble with cash flow and maintaining inventory levels on entry-level bikes that sold well. If there’s money to invest, I said, let’s invest in products that we know are turning over. Continue reading

New Login page launches first week of April

Spring is a time for growth and renewal. As you may have heard, we launched our iOS Sales app recently, and we’re getting ready to launch an updated user interface soon as well. To help facilitate these changes we’re launching a new Login page, which will look different than the screen you are used to seeing when logging into your LightSpeed Cloud point of sale.

Not to worry though, everything functions the same, just with a new and improved look. And we added some subtle flair too… we can’t help ourselves. 

Look for our new login page early next week. Here is a snapshot of what it will look like.

2013 Login Screen

The Business Life Cycle: The Reality For One Start Up Business

This is the third post in Bradley Saul’s series, “The Business Life Cycle.”

Upon opening, we were immediately well received by the community. We realized just how tough and how much work small business ownership can be, but we were excited. We were exceeding our sales projections. We felt like we could pull this off.

While many businesses struggled at the beginning of the recession, we exploded in the Spring of 2008. As James Macpherson of the Associated Press wrote in May 2008, “Four-dollar-a-gallon gas is good for business — if you run a bike shop.” If you know how to scale your business and manage an overload of business, a sales boom can be great. Otherwise, it’s a curse disguised as a blessing. Continue reading