Creating Systems that Work for You

I guess I'm a bit spoiled. I often take for granted many of the systems we've developed, software programs we use every day and processes we've automated in our company.

It always amazes me when I go into other companies—many of them bigger and more sophisticated than our own—and find them lacking in some of the most basic systems. I see them struggling with antiquated databases and obsolete software, which translates into frustrated employees, lower efficiency and higher costs.

One of the reasons I think I'm spoiled is that I'm fortunate enough to have one of the best Microsoft Access database developers in the country on my team. In fact, I'm married to her.

Not only does she make our company work better because of the systems she's created or improved, I've seen her work her magic for other companies as well. Last winter, when we were in Florida, we found that she could easily serve her clients remotely and was able to create and modify company databases via email, FTP and VPN.

Have you ever wondered how we manage our list of 100,000 subscribers and deliver our great products over the net? Believe it or not, we do it with one full-time person (me) and two part-time people (Dawn and Cyndi). We use 1Automation for our large mailing list database and MS Outlook for our contact database. Other than that, Dawn has created spiffy interactive databases for fulfillment, sales and order tracking, publisher mailing lists and more.

She's made formatting and uploading of subscribers to our broadcast lists a breeze and automated our mailings.

With MS Access and the rest of the Office Suite, you can do much of this work yourself. With a little bit of training, you can learn to create databases (often with provided templates) to help you run almost any aspect of your business. If you don't feel up to the task, there are database developers who can see ways to streamline your operations and network information for all parties needing access to it.

Good management requires good metrics and the ability to easily access and use this information. We're big believers in S-O-D-A: Simplify, Organize, Delegate and Automate. Every day we look for ways to achieve one or all of these intentions.

Action Point
What do you rely upon for capturing, maintaining and using your client, product and financial information? Is it really serving you as well as it could? Perhaps it's time to modernize and make your operations simpler, easier to access and provide you with more accurate and up-to-date information.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Angier is founder and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of SuccessNet--a support network helping people and businesses grow and prosper since 1995. Get their free Resource Book ($27 value) of products, services and tools for running your business more effectively. And most of the over 150 resources are FREE to access and use.