The Dog Ate My Database
For some small companies and firms, their idea of a client database is an old filing cabinet with manila folders spilling out. Or maybe it’s a series of spreadsheets. Maybe it’s extremely well organized, or maybe it’s a mess, but either way, there are better tools at your disposal.
I mentioned customer relationship management (CRM) last week as one of four major areas where you can improve technology within your company to become more efficient. I urge you to put something in place before it’s too late – before you take home a file to work on and it ends up getting destroyed by the dog or winds up at the bottom of your child’s science project.
Using something like Salesforce.com allows you to take advantage of Cloud computing, putting all your client records online. This can include records of prospective customers, any issues with current customers and the ability to easily share electronically a client’s entire record with the necessary members of your staff instantly.
You’re not making photo copies, or worse, passing around a folder with the originals in it. Outside of a robust CRM database, free-to-use tools like Google Drive and Dropbox can be another good way to back up your most important records.
If you’re simply storing everything on your computer, there’s always the risk of a virus, a flood or any number of other disasters that could wipe out your data. Don’t wait for something to happen. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for losing your homework.
Michael Alter, payroll expert with an MBA from Harvard Business School, is a nationally recognized spokesperson providing thought-leadership and sensible advice to help accounting and payroll professionals build deeper more profitable relationships with clients. Alter, President of SurePayroll, writes the Trade Secrets column on INC.com and is frequently published in Bloomberg TV, the Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine.