Database Choices

Be sure you pick a software program that is flexible. If you’re not sure what you need to accomplish with your database, then find a database consultant who will help direct you. Speaking from personal experience, it’s a royal pain to switch software after you’ve spent a lot of time and money keying records into one system and learning how to use it.

There are endless choices for database tracking. Symantec’s ACT is probably the most popular when the user is choosing a resource, rather than their company. With ACT, it’s easier to track clients with features for call back, sorting, mail merge, report generators and such.

Typically, ACT is adequate for most small business applications for people who aren’t comfortable designing databases. ACT has one of the shortest learning curves of any software package I’ve ever used. What I don’t like about ACT is that “what is, is!” If you want to add a new field to indicate whether someone is a member of your leads group, you can’t. You can only enter such information into a comment field.

Symantec also produces FileMaker Pro. I upgraded to FileMaker because it could better accommodate my growing number of records. I didn’t want to wait until I had 100,000 entries and then find that my training program and all the support materials were useless.