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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Databases for Mentalists (32 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Carducci
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Denver
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Quote:
On Oct 27, 2014, Ken Dyne wrote:
There's a set up fee and a monthly subscription. Its a lot lol


Infusionsoft is certainly a powerful platform! About four years ago we set out to build a tool purpose built for variety entertainers that had all the power of infusionsoft but was affordable both for fulltimers and weekend warriors. I'm proud of what we built but everyone who uses it will tell you there's a learning curve; although that will change with the next major release at the end of the year.
VIEW
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I tried showbiz and was excited by the possibilities, but the setup wasn't user friendly enough for me, and incredibly labour intensive. Would love to give it a crack after an update.
WDavis
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I have always enjoyed sales force as a crm. It has a full back up and support if needed, accessible online, links to outlook, has mobile apps, for $25 a month.

As a cost for business, if someone is proactively focused on generating leads and closing gigs, the monthly due is a drop in the hat.
sandsjr
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I don't know if it was mentioned above but check out http://www.insightly.com Free up to a certain number of records!

oops, just saw someone posted it above. Yes I've played with it and it is a simple elegant solution. FREE to try too!
CurtWaltermire
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Curtis The Mentalist
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I'm currently giving Giggio a try, though I must admit it is taking some getting used to. One of the important things for me is being able to import my current client listing without having to manually enter in each one. Supposedly that is an upgrade that should be up and running sometime today. Since this thread was started I was wondering if anyone else had any more to say about Giggio or any other CRM tools or software that they find helpful or not. I'm currently shopping around. Business is picking up greatly and I need to become a bit more organized to handle the workload.
David Thiel
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Western Canada...where all that oil is
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I'm glad to hear that, Curt.

After this thread started, I poked around, looking at other databases. For my purposes, I just want something simple...that will give me the information I want when I want it (ie: query-ready fields) and enable me to pinpoint where I am with each client. But I only want to input information once.

I was honestly unable to find something I like better than my very most basic Access database. I add new information after talking to each client and index the record forward to the next time I should be talking with them. I don't do mass emails...and so this suits me perfectly. I also don't want to start with anything that will give me a steep learning curve because I'm getting old and crabby about that stuff. If it works...I'm not all that open to changing it unless I can be convinced that the new option is better/faster/more efficient than the old one.

I also didn't like the idea of monthly fees for databases or CRM's. I'd much rather pay for it once and OWN it.

But I WILL be interested to know what you make of Giggio. Let us know how you make out with it.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
CurtWaltermire
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Curtis The Mentalist
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Thanks, David. As always, I appreciate your input and insight. I do some mass emailing (a newsletter to clients and friends once a month or for special events like public shows)and have for years, but I also do direct mailing and like to be able to print mailing labels easily with just a few clicks. Any CRM software is of no use to me if I cannot do this fairly easily somehow by either having that as a feature of the program or being able to export all of my contact information into an Excel sheet from which I can create labels. Also, who wants to add hundreds of clients and contacts manually into a new software? I think that should be one of the main features of any of them. Martyn Rowland of Giggio emailed me directly to tell me that is a new feature they are adding very soon. I was glad to hear it.
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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Access would be able to import an Excel list - either an xls(x) or csv file - as a data table. And you should also be able to find a Report template for your particular flavor of labels. A quick query to filter which records you want and a button to send them to the labels and you're done.

I'd definitely go that way myself (especially because I work with Excel and Access every day), but I'm not sure I could use Access on my Android phone.

Ed
Gordon the discombobulator
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As a computer professional for many years I would say build or purchase/rent any homegrown or commercial database that suits your needs and your budget.
However the biggest risk, which is often overlooked, is that one day your computer 'system' will fail.

Do you have any way of working when your system is down ? Are you totally reliant on that system ?
is there a recently updated backup list of your contacts in, say, a simple spreadsheet that you can use until your main 'system' is repaired ?
Is that backup on a data stick or accessible via the cloud in case your computer hard disk becomes corrupt ?

For those designing their own databases just remember the definition of a database taken from the 'devil's dictionary of computing'
Database: a highly organised and complex hierarchy of pointers leading to data that is either missing or corrupt.
Ed_Millis
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Quote:
Database: a highly organised and complex hierarchy of pointers leading to data that is either missing or corrupt.

If not today, then maybe tomorrow. But it *will* happen!

Ed
David Thiel
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In a previous life, I designed an Access database on a palm pilot for one of Canada's railways.

I told them the same thing: If you have just one copy, you are a fool because the data WILL one day be corrupted.

Excellent advice: it needs to be backed up on the Cloud and on sticks.

The other thing is to "Save As" -- in the context of Access, anyway -- with a NEW name EVERY time you save. Mine is done by date...so the DB I saved yesterday is "CLIENTS2014DEC20."

I save one copy on my hard drive...one to the Cloud...and one onto a stick. It may sound anal -- but the bottom line is that all this "saving" takes less than one minute in real time...and provides absolute security.

The other thought is that IF you are ever planning to change your database STRUCTURE in ANY way -- ensure you save just before you start...just in case.

The question you need to ask yourself is: "IF I lost this information TODAY or, if for some reason, I could no longer trust this data...would it cripple me?"

I think that's the other reason I don't trust databases designed by other people. If I built it, if something goes wrong, I can fix it. If they go out of business...or their servers get hacked or fail...what then? The DB is utterly critical to the smooth running of a company.

It really goes to show how important databases are to an entertainer's business. I never realized it until one of my DB's failed in the very early years and I had to re-design...re-input everything...all the time KNOWING there was stuff I could never restore. That happened to me exactly ONCE.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
fsharp
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Another useful tool to consider is David Farr's amazing system. I've been using this for a number of years. It doesn't keep track of your accounts, however it is a very efficient tool to reply to enquiries, follow-up, broadcast newsletters...
MagisterFreud
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The 18
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I too tried Showbiz and found that the setup process was unnecessarily byzantine. I now use Giggio and I love it. They've recently added an import feature to import contacts from another system or your own spreadsheet. They have also added a "US" setting which changes some labels, like "last name" instead of "surname" (which is something I've heard others complain about).
bond19
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Blackpool, England
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Giggio is brillant, well priced, easy to use and deep in features. Not perfect but Martyn, the owner listens to feedback and updates the software periodically (don't know him personally but he's very swift and helpful on email)

It's browser based and integrates with iPhone calendar. You can even accept Paypal payment for deposits and balance of payments. Plus works flawlessly on iPhone, iPad and MacBook
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