Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Database?

Tracey Lawton

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Imagine how much simpler your life would be if you had all your business contacts together in one place. One click of your mouse would reveal how effective your latest marketing campaign has been. Know at a glance which of your products/services is the most profitable.

Your custom-designed database will put this information right at your fingertips. Today, I'd like to share with you my tips for ensuring that your database gives you the business information you need, when you need it!

What is a database? A database is a collection of information relating to a particular topic kept together in one place, for you to access whenever you need. You can use a database to simplify your:

MARKETING CAMPAIGN-set up a database to plan your marketing campaign; track results of your marketing campaign; or analyse trends in your marketing campaign.

CLIENT & CONTACT MANAGEMENT-set up a database to keep track of your clients and contacts; analyse your business-which products/services are the most profitable; or see which clients are buying which product/service.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT-set up a database to keep track of your spending; manage your invoices to clients; or monitor overdue invoices.

MEMBERSHIP ORGANISATIONS-set up a database to keep track of members; send out membership renewal letters; or monitor subscriptions.

Your list for database uses will likely be much longer-just brainstorm a list of all the places where consolidated information would make your life easier!

The secret's in the planning

You want to get the most out of your database, right? Then make sure to plan it right from the start.

Before you go running off to set up your database you need to ask yourself these important questions:

::What do you want to use your database for?

::What data do you want to keep track of?

::Who will be collecting the data?

::How much data is there to collect-50 records or 500 records?

::Who will be doing the updates?

::What reports do you want your database to generate?

You may find it easiest to map this out on a piece of paper first. Work out how your database is going to fit together. How will each category relate to the others?

Get the maximum use out of your database:

By now, you've invested a lot of time in your database plans, design, and setup. Don't miss this important step: getting the most out of your creation.

First, you'll want to make the database as easy to use as possible. Create one-click touches to produce the information you need. Set up shortcuts so you can create the most important reports quickly. And make sure you really consider the easiest way to enter new data.

By applying this advice in your own database, yours will be easy to use AND have the maximum use value to you!

Tracey Lawton, Tracey Lawton Transcription & Admin, provides transcription, administrative, and virtual assistant services to busy solopreneurs! She has over 18 years office management experience.

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