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I've begun a business exporting metal artwork from a company in Thailand to customers overseas. Currently we have one client who's given us a lot of business. Currently though the workload for me is taking up a lot of my time as both myself and my customer are just beginning and we are trying to create a business system as we go along.
I have already presented the customer with a large speadsheet of products, descriptions and prices. He often replies back by email to me with the quantity and product codes he'd like to order. I am then copying the entire catalogue to a new spreadsheet and deleting all but the persons order. I'm next having to manually create an invoice for them.
Now I have the order from the customer I have to duplicate the excel spreadsheet to forward on to the company i work with in Thailand. I need to replace the $US prices I've quoted my customer with the Thai baht prices I've been quoted myself. When I do this I email it to the artwork company.
My 'system' has lots of room for errors as I'm effectively having to create new excel spreadsheets each time and I'm dealing with both thai baht with the company and $US with my customer. Half of my time seems to be spent checking my spreadsheets and correcting errors.
Do any of you have any suggestions for software which can streamline my work process? I'm sure something good already exists but I'm struggling to find anything.
Thanks in Advance
If that is all you are doing - you're not after ecommerce functionality or anything - then you can do it easily in any basic database package, MS Access for example. If you search around, you'll find that about half the tutorials ever written use a sales system like this as their example.
Of course you'll outgrow a system like this, and maybe you should try and do something better to start with, but if you are spending all your time messing around copy/pasting in excel files almost anything would be an improvment.
I use a mac computer so began to enquire about having somebody build me a basic database in Filemaker Pro to deal with my needs and I have been quoted $3000+ for the work!
I'll take a look at quickbooks now as it seems - so far - that although I'm certain my business is pretty standard, there's no simple program that will cater to my needs.
As a last resort it looks like it might be most practical to pay a PHP programmer to build something online for me.
Filemaker is good because it's easy to do for yourself, but it's a horrible mess compared to a proper database. If you're paying someone to do the work then get one that can grow with you, rather than one that will turn into the 6 year old kludge I'm using.