Customer contact info, stock inventory, employee schedules, marketing data, sales figures-these days, there's an awful lot to keep track of when running a business. In order to stay on top of your clients and your team, making sure you're always informed about what everyone is up to and what needs to be done next, you have to keep your eyes on several balls at once. Which is hard enough no matter what, but is made considerably more difficult if each of those things is managed from a completely different place than the rest. Having one database for your client records, one for your inventory, and another for your marketing and/or sales data means constantly leapfrogging from one space to the next. It also means that there's no smooth or easy way to combine, compare, or effectively analyze all of the information, since everything is disconnected from everything else. In the age of the mobile business solution, Google drive, and other technological advancements in organization, there's no need to have your data spread out over multiple systems. Keep it all in one well-organized place, and your job as manager will be made considerably easier and more efficient.
Of course, it may take a little digging or research to find the best method of corralling your company's various pieces of information, depending on what your business most needs. Are you looking for a tool that tracks sales by account? One that can put you in touch with your remote employees on the road? Do you need a database that can organize your customers by region, type, size, and/or where they are in your sales pipeline? Figuring out how to best organize your data and determining what has top priority for your specific operation are necessary first steps. That way, you know what you need before you start looking, which can help you narrow your search and get your data into the right place more quickly.
Another important thing to consider is how smoothly you'll be able to transfer your info from wherever it's currently managed into the new system. Make sure to find something that will integrate as seamlessly as possible, so that you don't slow down your business or lose valuable data when making the change. The whole point of keeping your data in one place is to make things more efficient and convenient, so if implementing a new organizational system is going to throw a wrench in the works, it may not be the best option out there for you or your company. Find not only the tool that will best handle your data, but also one that you can switch to without too much aggravation.
Once you've transferred all of your data from your old system, be sure to familiarize yourself with the new system as quickly and comprehensively as you can, in order to get the most out of it right away. Will it tally up totals for you? Or automatically send alerts or messages when specific circumstances arise? Can it assist with things like market analysis, scheduling, or any other managerial tasks? Learning the ins and outs of any new tool is a good practice, but it's especially important if that tool is going to be the container for all of your most relevant and important information. Knowing what it can and, just as importantly, cannot do is key to getting the most possible use out of it.
Any successful business requires a lot of moving pieces, so managers have a lot to keep track of. Luckily, these days, there are mobile data collection solutions out there designed to help with exactly that problem. It's just a matter of finding the best one for your business and putting it into place as soon as you can to make your life a little simpler and your company that much stronger.
Matthew Derman is a Pennsylvania-born, Boston-educated writer and customer service specialist. He currently works at Repsly as a customer success manager, focusing on supporting customers, and is a regular contributor to several blogs. He is a comicbook enthusiast, amateur comedian, and dedicated dog owner.