Good suggestion, luxborealis. I will give this some thought, as my needs continue to increase and the current system has some shortcomings. Currently I use an Excel workbook with multiple pages, an Outlook contact list, a paper notebook, and a MS Word to do list.
One spreadsheet page is for works printed and this is used to keep track of the print production numbers. All my works are numbered editions and I update this list after each printing cycle.
One spreadsheet page sheet keeps track of each work sold at each show. This tracks what sold by show, by image name, by media used. This is by-far the most useful as when it comes time to plan for future shows it helps me maintain a manageable inventory.
One spreadsheet page is for custom orders that is updated at the time I invoice for the works. These are the only works for which I request name and related info from the customer. I keep each work order on paper and it would be easier to keep track of this stuff if it was all in a DB.
I also keep a paper notebook out at my shows for people who want to sign up for my newsletter and for their recommendations/suggestions. When people recommend something, which happens a lot, I note the details in this notebook. After each show, I copy the email information to an Outlook Contact list. I get between about 70 and 200 new email addresses per show and anywhere between 5 to 20 or so recommendations. The problem with a notebook is that some people have worse hand writing than me and some addresses are illegible. Some recommendations are quite good and those get posted into a MS Word based to do list.
I could probably write a DB that would consolidate all of this. It would be useful to offer free passes to previous buyers of custom works, for example, make the to do list easier to manage, make the custom orders easier to track, make email addresses more readable. Doing so is currently more work than i have time for, but of course as the business moves along, it is difficult to keep track of everything. It helps (or hinders, depending on how you look at it) that I’ve been using Excel to keep track of my other business for so many years that the use of Excel is a natural to me.
Again, a good suggestion. Given a chance to write the key elements down (above), gives pause to see where a better job could be done. Another reason would be to keep better track of supplies....