Here are 6 ways to improve your sales with a database:
- Track customer data. The more you know about your customer, the better you can meet his or her needs. Meet customer needs to improve your sales. You can easily stay in touch with your customers with email.
- Track employee data. Which employees get results and which do not? Are your employees compliant with local, state, and federal requirements for your industry? A database can help you sort this out.
- Track what sells. Determine how much inventory to carry or materials to purchase.
- Improve efficiency. Why spend your time – that could otherwise be spent on your products or services – manually crunching numbers when a database can do it for you? Have employees do the work they were hired to do versus unproductive “grunt” work.
- Getting a sense of the big picture. A database is a great organizational tool. All the information to run your business is in one place. Rather than sorting through 50 spreadsheets and 100 pieces of paper to determine your sales for the month, have instant access to that information via a report in your database.
- Unlike spreadsheets or manual tracking systems, a database can have multiple users accessing information all at the same time. A properly designed Access database can easily support 50 simultaneous users.
When talking to a client the other day about Microsoft Access as a database solution, we discussed whether Access was past its prime. Should small to mid-sized business owners start with another database program? Access is not the hot new thing with a lot of buzz surrounding it. It’s not in the cloud (although it can be). On the other hand we concluded, it has a lot going for it. Something she said struck me, “It’s simple yet powerful. There’s virtually nothing it can’t do.” Access remains:
- Inexpensive – Access costs about $100 per license. It comes with Microsoft Office Professional that ships with 80% of new computers. You may already own it!
- User friendly – Access has an easy to use interface and wizards making it simple to perform common database design activities such as building a table or designing a query.
- Mature – Access has been around for years. This means fewer bugs and time tested reliability.
- Powerful – Access has a powerful programming language behind it (Visual Basic) making it fully customizable.
- Scalable – When the time comes, an Access database can be up-sized to a more powerful database engine such as Microsoft SQL Server for a relatively small investment.
- Integration – Access is easy to connect to other common small business software applications such as SharePoint, QuickBooks, and Excel.
- Customizable – You can build a database to your exact specifications without being locked into one company. Industry off the shelf software is often not customizable or very expensive to customize. There are many Access developers out there and you can customize it yourself.
There are a lot of great products out there that do lots of great things, but possibly much more than you need at this time and beyond your budget. I’ve found the old adage, start small and aim big as great advice for my own business.
If you own a small to mid-sized business that does not need an online shopping cart, you may not need an expensive database solution to improve your sales. The solution might be at your fingertips in the form of Microsoft Access. It’s certainly a great place to start. For a small investment, you can build or have built for you a fully functional database customized to your business requirements.
Here are some industries that we have helped with database development:
- Adult Education
- Building Maintenance
- Environmental Services
- Event Planning
- Health Care
- Higher Education
- Non Profit
- Real Estate
- Venture Capital
- Wildlife Conservation
In my next post, I’ll run through some case studies from actual clients demonstrating how a properly developed Microsoft Access database can take a small to mid-sized business to the next level.
Cook Software Solutions, LLC