Forming a Client Advisory Board, and Making a U-Turn on My CMS

 

Before I began this journey on the Road to Independence, I had compiled a notebook full of ideas, some good and some, well, not so good. Some ideas were original—at least as far as I could tell—while others were not.

One of the ideas I had was to create a client advisory board to provide feedback on issues pertaining to my business. The idea was to "pick their brains,” to ask questions such as: ‘What am I doing that they like? What am I doing that they'd like me to do differently? What am I not doing that I should be doing?’

An additional benefit would be the these clients to serve as a sounding board on specific initiatives I may have or ideas I've written in my notebook. It's good to be able to validate ideas to see if they're worth pursuing. Who better to solicit this information from than the recipients of my services?We have a tentative date scheduled for early May. We plan to host this at our "home" office, I mean our office in our home. We'll serve a light dinner in a cozy, comfortable environment. If it goes well, I plan to do this a couple of times a year.

CRM…Again

I thought this issue was settled, but when I got into the details of my customer relationship management (CRM) software,  I realized that what I had originally was sufficient.

You may recall that I had decided to leave ACT for Salesforce.com. Before making the change, I switched to  Redtail. However, after using Redtail for a month or two, I am returning to ACT. Why? What did I learn? Plenty!

Salesforce is probably the best, but requires a lot of customization and is more expensive. It has an open architecture which means you can add new fields anywhere. Redtail hasn't been enhanced in years, but the firm is getting ready to release an updated version soon. Moreover, Redtail's CRM is not an open architectural system but it's very inexpensive.

In Redtail, when you add a field, it will show up in the user defined field (UDF) area. Depending on how many UDFs you wanted to add, they would all be in the same area of the software. I did like some of the functionality of RT, though. I like how it calculates the age from the DOB and the years of marriage from the anniversary date. ACTwill do this as well, but it requires an add-in and some knowledge.

Of course, our version of ACT is not cloud based, but it does have such a version. My initial impression with that version is that it's a little pricy, but since I haven't looked at it, it may also be a very good system. With ACT, we will get the professional version and pay for a year's worth of support. The additional fee will include an upgrade to ACT 2012.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

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