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Excel is a fantastic business tool, However, it’s not always easy to figure out how to take advantage of it. Here are five things you can do to run your business more efficiently with Excel.
1. Get Inventory Info with VLOOKUP
If you keep product data in a spreadsheet, it can get overwhelming fast—especially when you need specific information quickly. With VLOOKUP, you can enter a known piece of information and get back an unknown. For example, you might enter a product number and get the product name back. Or enter a product name and get a price.
When you have a large table full of data, and you want specific information, VLOOKUP will get it for you.
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2. Run Reports with Pivot Tables
Pivot tables are one of Excel’s most useful features, but they can also be a bit intimidating. However, you should learn to use them. This is because they let you slice and dice data in any way you want. And that makes them great for running reports.
Want to see sales by a specific store in a certain period? You can use a pivot table for that. Or look at average sales numbers for different salespeople? Change in sales over time? You could construct a pivot table that helps you do that, too.
Of course, getting to the point where you’re comfortable enough to quickly create pivot tables that are useful takes some time. Additionally, you’ll probably need to read a guide to pivot tables to get the hang of them.
3. Use Mail Merge to Save Time
While it’s most often used to create mailing labels for envelopes, the Excel mail merge feature can do a lot of other things, too. As a matter of fact, anything that you can keep in a list in a spreadsheet can be mail merged into a text document.
You could use it to create advertisements, for example. Or catalogs. Or, you might use it to manage and segment your email list.
If it can be stored in list form, it can be managed with mail merge.
4. Keep Schedules
While calendar apps are great for things like work shifts and meetings, other schedules benefit from the power of Excel. You could, for example, keep a restock schedule in a spreadsheet that lets you easily look up what needs to be stocked, who’s assigned to the project, and when it needs to happen.
Or you could track industry events. In this way, you can coordinate your advertising and marketing with big announcements. Alternatively, you could plan your sales and promotions to coincide with other events or downturns in your sales from the last year.
Any Excel calendar will let you use functions to get specific information and dates quickly.
5. Use Goal Seek to Set Goals
Goal Seek lets you enter a goal and then helps you figure out what numbers you’ll need to post to get there. It’s essentially a simple algebra solver. However, it can be a big help when you know what your goal is and you’re not sure how to get there.
Harness the Power of Excel in Your Business
If you’re already comfortable with using Excel for simple spreadsheets, now’s the time to really put the software to work for your business. Do that by learning to use Excel’s more powerful features.