Full disclosure: some of these resources are paid affiliate links and we get a kick-back if you sign up for anything. However, these are tools that we actually use to manage Chase Street Accessories & Engraving, so only services that we’re willing to use ourselves. Feel free to email if you’d like more detail about how we’re actually using theses services. Here’s a list of recommendations:
We use Microsoft 365 for almost all our business automation processes. Microsoft Teams is like a combo between Slack, Zoom, and Google Drive, but you only have to sign into one service, so our office uses it for almost all our communications (aside from using Outlook for emails with customers and suppliers).
The best part is that Power Automate allows us to automate almost everything; from incoming orders to sending workflow status updates to assigned team members. You can view all the blog entries that discuss this under the Power Automate tag.
Here are a couple interesting books to help you get started if you’re not familiar with the power of the Microsoft 365 platform:
- Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online Cookbook: Over 100 actionable recipes to help you perform everyday tasks effectively in Microsoft 365: Microsoft 365 in an integrated suite that provides intelligent tools for managing everyday organizational tasks like content management, communication, creating reports, and automating business processes. With this book, you’ll get to grips with popular apps from Microsoft, with a focus on enabling workspace collaboration and productivity using Microsoft SharePoint Online, Teams, and the Power Platform to name a few.
- Workflow Automation with Microsoft Power Automate: Achieve digital transformation through business automation with minimal coding: If you are new to Microsoft Power Automate, this book will give you a comprehensive introduction to help you to get up to speed with automating business processes in no time. Complete with hands-on tutorials, projects, and self-assessment questions, this easy-to-follow guide will show you how to configure automation workflows for business processes between hundreds of Microsoft and third-party applications.
Shopify is our primary sales platform. We like it because there are lots of pre-made themes and elements, but we also have the option to dig into the code and customize it to work for our specific business model. Additionally, it offers webhook notifications that tie in perfectly with Microsoft Power Automate.
If you’re thinking of adding e-commerce to your business or shopping around for new options, you might want to look into Shopify. If you have a brick-and-mortar retail location, the Shopify POS and your web presence are directly tied together, which has simplified our processes significantly. Also, the platform is specifically designed to incorporate development capabilities, so the API and “liquid” programming language are extremely flexible and customizable.
Here are a few resources for getting started with Shopify:
- Shopify Made Easy : Step-By-Step Blueprint To Launch Your Shopify Store FAST And Make Money: Drawing on years of experience as an Ecommerce business consultant and Shopify expert, Veronica Jeans, provides a step-by-step blueprint that shows you how to set up your online store correctly so it runs efficiently and successfully without having to rely on experts or technical knowledge.
- Shopify Application Development: If you are a web developer or a designer who wants to extend Shopify stores by building apps, then this book is for you. A basic understanding of programming concepts and some familiarity with Shopify is all that is required to get started with Shopify app development.
SAGE is our secondary sales platform when targeting business or government customers who may need to order in large quantities. It offers a webhook notification when an order is placed and has some API functionality.
Don’t feel like recreating our technical solutions on our own? Hire a technician from Fiverr and point them in the direction of this blog to show them exactly what you want.
Relevant edX Courses
Some of the tips and tricks listed in this blog rely on a little bit of background knowledge of programming and web services. These are some courses that will get you up to speed fast. In most cases there’s a free option!
- Harvard University Professional Certificate in Computer Science for Web Programming: Through hands-on projects, you’ll learn to write and use APIs, create interactive UIs, and leverage cloud services like GitHub and Heroku. You’ll emerge with knowledge and experience in principles, languages, and tools that empower you to design and deploy applications.
- W3C Professional Certificate in Front-End Web Developer: Learn how to build Web sites using HTML5 and basic CSS, directly from W3C, creator of the latest Web standards.
- The University of British Columbia Professional Certificate in Human-Centered Design for Work at a Distance: Working remotely has many benefits, including increased employee productivity and satisfaction. Yet many individuals and organizations struggle to effectively adapt their businesses and interactions with others online. Human-centered design (HCD) principles are used by successful companies worldwide to transform thinking and inspire innovation. This professional certificate program teaches you how to apply HCD strategies to reinvent your work reality, and support others who are doing the same.
Other useful resources/books
- Think like a Programmer: An introduction to Creative Problem Solving: The real challenge of programming isn’t learning a language’s syntax—it’s learning to creatively solve problems so you can build something great. In this one-of-a-kind text, author V. Anton Spraul breaks down the ways that programmers solve problems and teaches you what other introductory books often ignore: how to Think Like a Programmer.
- Microsoft Office 365 Administration Cookbook: Enhance your Office 365 productivity with recipes to manage and optimize its apps and services: Delve into newer and frequently shifting areas such as Power Platform, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Search administration