Starting and successfully maintaining a small business involves a large amount of paperwork and the records build up quickly. There are so many things to keep organized. It can be overwhelming if an effective way to compile and retrieve data is not in place. Access is one of several types of relational database programs that can be used to organize and link records in a meaningful way.

Overhead Expense and Earning Records in Access

Creating a table in a database – for expenses and another for income creates a visual representation of a small organization’s inflows and outflows. Linking the total balance fields of the tables gives business owners a clear idea of where to focus their attention in order to make a business more profitable. For example, if more money is being spent on material than the product is bringing in, prices would either need to go up or costs would need to go down.

There are, however, reasons to be cautious about putting financial information in a database – unless the person setting up the table has a really strong understanding of how to use the program. It is important to make sure the people who have the ability to open the tables and fields are people who actually need to have the information.

Employee Records in Databases

Putting employee records in a database is useful because it creates a place to compile information. A record of hours, pay scales, and any benefits the employees are receiving can be placed in fields that can be quickly opened. The field of payouts to employees can be linked to the expenses field so information only has to entered into the database once.

Customer Information in Databases

Customer service can be enhanced by entering customer information into a table of the database. Contact information and data about products or services purchased make following up easy. Following up with customers is an effective way to open the door for repeat business and referrals. This kind of relationship building helps a small home based business grow more quickly than it would otherwise.

Supplier Information in a Database

Small businesses often end up with a long list of suppliers. Putting supplier information in a database creates a fast way to get ordering information. Instead of digging through a file cabinet or a stack of catalogs the information is ready with the click of a mouse.

Adding a field that tells when items were ordered and another that tells when the items are expected to arrive is a useful idea. If a customer calls looking for an item that is out of stock, they can be told when it expected to be delivered. This reduces the chance of the customer calling a competitor and it gives the business an extra chance to retain a customer.

Final Words

A relational database is a useful tool for a small home based business. Business owners will find the information gathered in a database valuable and part of an effective operating strategy.

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