[consulting] Customer Relationship Management software

Gary Feldman dpal_gaf_consult at marsdome.com
Tue Apr 18 23:16:29 UTC 2006

Lists wrote:

>"Jason Flatt" wrote:
>>>So far, nobody has mentioned how they're dealing with this problem *today*.
>>I'm mostly using bits of paper in heaps, misplaced documents on my hard drive
>Ditto. ;)
>(Oh, and AppleScript and FileMaker.)
My take on this is that CRM brings to mind organizations that have 
dedicated sales people and account managers - which doesn't describe the 
typical small consultancy.  The reason is that many CRM tools are about 
sharing information, getting the information to the right internal 
department, and allowing new people to get up to speed quickly, or 
coworkers to step in when someone is on vacation.  In a way, sharing is 
implied by any sort of web-based solution (which, of course, is what a 
Drupal-based solution is, even if it's just a personal web server 
running on your laptop).

That doesn't mean there's no need for helpful tools.  Recently, I came 
across a good deal on Microsoft's new Small Business Accounting package, 
which includes some customer features, and is likely to meet most of my 
needs.  For that matter, Quicken's business edition includes customer 
lists and invoicing, though it lacks the power and comprehensiveness.  
Either one should be adequate for those tasks.

It's the todo lists that are harder to deal with.  While I like trac as 
a tracking tool, for a one-person shop it's hard to beat the Hipster PDA 
(see http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/03/introducing-the-hipster-pda/).  
What it lacks in engineering innovation, it makes up for in its elegant 
simplicity.  And while you're at it, read David Allen's Getting Things 
Done (see 
or go to the horse's mouth at http://www.davidco.com/).  As a jaded 
techie, I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of requiring 
technological solutions.  And as a person with severe ADD, who can spend 
hours researching new tools to keep me entertained while working, I know 
that nothing has ever worked as well for me as a bunch of index cards in 
my back pocket.  (I should have patented it 25 years ago, when I was a 
summer programmer on a compiler project.)


PS  Since I hate tempting links that aren't close to what you expected, 
let me provide full disclosure and say that the Hipster PDA is nothing 
more than relying on index cards and binder clips to keep things 
organized.  But go to that page, anyway.  It's worth seeing how people 
are successful with other approaches.  And definitely get Getting Things 

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