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How barcoding your small business will take it to the next level

by Matthew Kostanecki | Last Updated: July 30th, 2021 | Barcoding | 28 comments

[Update: we’ve also made a video on how to set up a barcode system!]

It would be almost impossible to find a business with stocked products that wouldn’t benefit from a barcoding system today.

However, you’ll still find quite a few businesses that operate with just pen and paper or an inventory template in Microsoft Excel. The most common objection stems from the assumption that a barcode system would be too expensive to implement.

Well, the great news is that not only is it actually inexpensive to set barcoding up, it’s easy too! Depending on your needs, for a few hundred dollars you could have a complete system working for you. You can even get started with a scanner and labels for under $50!

Below, we’ll discuss just why a barcoding system help grow your business and take it to the next level.


1) You’ll Get more accurate

You know what makes running a small business really hard? It’s the simple fact—we’re human. We all get tired and eventually make mistakes. So, how can we overcome this?
Putting a barcode on an item makes it instantly readable to a computer paired with a scanner. It lets your computer do all the heavy lifting for you!

Now, computers aren’t perfect, but they don’t ever get tired. It also turns out that they are significantly more accurate than any human ever could be. There are studies showing that even the best trained data-entry person will make at least one mistake every 250 keystrokes.¹

On the other hand, scanning barcodes with a computer has an error rate of one in every 5,000 to 36 trillion characters scanned (depending on the type of barcode).² I would want those odds in my favor, wouldn’t you?

2) Your business Will be ready for growth

The “official” definition of small business ranges from a business that has less than 15 employees in Australia, under 50 employees in the European Union, or under 500 employees in the USA.³ If you’re like the majority of small businesses, however, you may be the sole employee or you have less than five employees.

Whatever your size, it’s never too early or too late to build an infrastructure that helps you grow.

Sure, you might have just a few products now, but what happens when your inventory starts growing? By integrating a barcode system into your company sooner rather than later, you’re building in scalability. Scalability means no matter if you have one item, 100 items, or 10,000 items, the barcode system will work all the same. So now when you are adding more products, the system in place will help your company avoid growing pains.

Having a barcoding system also makes training new members of your team much easier. Instead of memorizing products and product descriptions to look up items, your new team member can easily scan the product in.

3) You can use your time more wisely and become more efficient

Nobody likes waiting. Imagine if you had to line up behind the counter at Walmart, and the cashier manually keyed in each item a customer purchased. You would not be a happy customer having to wait for that long of a time.

Barcoding allows you to process your inventories much faster than any other manual method. It will free up a good amount of time, which you can otherwise spend doing what you love.

4) You can be small and professional

Imagine this scenario: A customer comes into your business and wants to purchase a basket full of items. You stand there at the cash register and have to look at each item individually to make a tally. Sure, you can get by using this method, but doesn’t it look more professional to be able to scan each item in and have a computer do the math?

Not only will you be more accurate and efficient by using a barcode system, but the customer also gets a better impression that your business is a professional organization. While this may seem insignificant on the surface, from a marketing standpoint any first impression can be a lasting impression.

How about the big picture?

If you would like to know just how you can implement barcodes and barcode scanner into your small business, download your copy of “Barcode Your Small Business” today. It will give you a complete picture of how to set up an entire system (and for much less than you expected too).

For example, you’ll learn where to buy barcodes, a scanner and even UPC’s all for under $50.

Have a question on how to use barcoding for your business? Leave us a comment below.

Looking for the world’s easiest to use barcode scanner?

We now sell barcode scanners! The Brite USB barcode scanner comes in your choice of 7 different colors and simply just works! It’ll scan almost all 1D barcodes such as UPCs, EANs, Code 3 of 9, Code 128 and much more. Simply plug it in and you’re good to go!

brite barcode scanners

Comes with a full 60 day money back guarantee and full no hassle 1 year warranty. You’ll love using it in your business!

Visit to check them out now (on sale for a limited time). 


1. Mathias, MacKenzie & Buxton [1996] 10 touch typists averaging 58 words per minute (WPM) with a 4% error rate per keystroke.

Matthew Kostanecki

Matthew Kostanecki

Matthew Kostanecki is speaker, author, and active contributor to the small business community. He leads the marketing and business development for inFlow Inventory.


  1. Anne

    is it possible to put different bar codes in 1 item?

    • Matthew Kostanecki

      Yes! Just separate each by a comma

  2. Zeeshan Saghir

    Howdy !
    I am a free lance graphic designer, I’ve read your article and i find it good.
    I want to know if bar-coding system can work for me as well.
    Like i said i am a graphic artist and i have nothing to sell as an item which is physically exists. I designed things for people and they pay me for that.
    So if i set up a bar-coding system for my work, will it work for me ?
    and if it does, then i want to know how ?
    I hope to hear from you on this subject soon.

    • Thomas Wong

      Hi Zeeshan,

      In general, I’d say barcodes are useful for attaching to physical products, or for quickly adding services from checkout. For a freelance designer, I’m guessing a lot of your interaction with your clients is by phone or email, so I don’t think barcoding your products would help to speed up your particular business. However, if you ever switch to a business where you interact with people in person and need to create sales orders or invoices quickly, barcodes could help then.

  3. Girish

    Can patients consultation data, pharmacy data (medicines prescribed and purchased) be recorded through barcoding.

    • Thomas Wong

      Hi Girish, theoretically that kind of data could be embedded in a barcode, but not all at once. For example, if you created a barcode that symbolized a patient name and their currently prescribed medication, if that medication ever changed, the barcode would have to change as well. What might be more productive is to barcode a particular pharmacy order, so that you could scan that barcode and quickly see who the order was for, and what was purchased or prescribed during that session.

      I wish I could help you further here, but our software (inFlow Cloud) currently only ties barcodes to the Item Name field. I think you’d be looking for something that’s more specialized for pharmacy, and I don’t have any helpful sources for you at the moment.

  4. Andrea Alston

    Good morning,

    My name is Andrea, I am with Superior Labs, Inc. I have questions regarding a barcode and scanner for our company. Could you please call me so I can ask more detailed questions. 501-520-1755, or 501-525-6688. Central Time.

    Thank you

    • Thomas Wong

      Sure Andrea, I’ve forwarded your message to our support team and you’re in our queue for a call. We’ll talk to you soon!

  5. edgar

    hi there i would like to know the cost of the system, do you have a branch in Cape Town

    • Thomas Wong

      Hi Edgar, thanks for getting in touch! Sorry, we don’t have any branches in Cape Town. Our offices are currently located in Toronto, Canada.
      However, all our prices for inFlow are readily available on our website: (the prices are in USD)

  6. Richard

    Good Morning. I have a small business . I buy used tyres and re-sell them. I do not have proper control over them. Can you advice as to how I can use barcode and scanner as control measures. I will apreciate your assistance.

  7. Amey

    I am unable to download my copy of barcode your small business

    • Thomas Wong

      Sorry Amey, looks like you visited the site before it was fixed. I can confirm that our link at works now, but I’ll email you a copy so that you don’t have to sign up again.

  8. Karla Ramirez

    Question? Does the system you offer also include a way to create a list of items and or products? Does one have the option to manually enter codes or auto genera?ted barcodes

  9. Gerardo Jacques

    hello… thanks for writing that really easy to read article, I have a question I work in a big tras-national company with offices in 11 countries, each office produces a work flow (manly photographs) that my department has to follow but as we are doing it we have to manually enter the each step of the work flow, my questions are:

    How hard do you think it is to implement the software (time wise and human work ) in the 11 offices?

    would one sistem work with capture 1 software?

    • Thomas Wong

      Hi Gerardo, thanks for getting in touch!
      You could use a system like inFlow Cloud to track inventory at 11 different offices. The idea there would be that each office would be a “team member” on the company account, so everyone could see and share inventory levels. As for your workflow, I think we’d need to hear a bit more about it what you’d like to track specifically — is it more about inventory levels or is it about tracking whether work has been done? inFlow can do both of those things, but you’d use different features depending on the task.

      As for implementation with Capture One, I’m afraid that isn’t something we offer now, and to be honest it’s not on the radar right now because that’s very photography/editing-specific software.

      I’ll reach out via email to make sure you see our reply and to ask more about how inFlow can help.

  10. Carol Stolberg

    Hi Matthew

    I own a small business in the US. We import products and resell these. We have one vendor who uses a EAN barcode for these products. Can we use their barcodes or do we have to develop our own barcodes? We want to track our inventory for retail online sales and point of service. We also sell wholesale so need to track all of our inventory.

    Thanks for your help.

  11. iva fong

    Hi, we have a shipping business and passengers have cargoes for their shops . if we have barcodes on their boxes and bags of rice and flour. will this work too?

    • Thomas Wong

      Hi Iva! I think we’d need a bit more detail to provide a helpful answer.
      Would you mind reaching out to us via chat? It’s in the bottom-right corner of the screen and we’re online from 10am–6pm EST on weekdays. If email works better, you can reach us at

  12. Loria Chrisite

    Looking for a user friendly system to track inventory in a student base enterprise store at my school.

    • Thomas

      Hi Loria, we do offer a free version of inFlow On-Premise. It’s limited to 100 products customers in total, but there’s no time limit on it. You can download it from here if you’d like to use it:


  13. Teresa

    I dream of this but my retail business is so back ally trench coat style. Im still stuck on how to do inventory. I rarely have 2 jewelry pieces that are the same If I had silver star rings quanity 10 for each size of 5, 6, 7, and heart rings quanity 15 for each size of 8, 9, 10 then creating inventory would be easy. Even if you had 100 different styles of rings. All you need is quanity for each style. I have 20,000 jewelry items I sell where most items are one of a kind. My crystal rocks I sell well I have 40 rose quartz points but they are all individual in their size and color. All one of a kind. As soon as I can figure out how to categorize my inventory I can move on to creating and inventory list for all of it. My god that would take a life time. I guess once I have inventory created I could use my phone as a cash register. At that point bar codes would be great. I have 5,000 stainless steel rings. Sizes 5 to 14. One product I do have multiples of. I still have no idea how many different styles there are. As of now Im just trying to seperate them all. Silver jesus rings size 5 all go in one bag. Then bag up all the size 6 and so on. I am worried the job is to large and Ill never get them seperated.

  14. Bobbie Washington

    Hello, I’m looking for a barcode printer and a scanner. Do you carry both as a set?

    • Thomas

      Hi Bobbie, we do carry scanners and printers on and, but they’re not priced as a set. We just have our own stock.
      inFlow works with basically any scanner that acts a keyboard for the computer, and we work well with DYMO printers for label printing.

  15. Noah

    hey, thank you for writing a fabulous article like this that is easy to read and understand. it will motivate a huge number of people in barcoding their small businesses and take it to the next level.

    • Jared Plumb

      Hey Noah!
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing the kind words. We do our best to try and make barcoding as simple and easy as we can to help small businesses.
      Stay tuned for more barcode-related content in the future.



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