Topics: Business, Software

Q.
I am looking into software solutions for managing my new business. Would it be better to go with software specifically designed for jewelry designers/jewelry sellers or go with an Excel spreadsheet, Quick Books or Quicken? If you suggest a software designed for jewelry design/sell type businesses, what kinds are available, more affordable, which are more user friendly and provide the best customer support? Where can one purchase your most highly recommended software and any costs (such as annual update fees)?
- Abby
A.
Your selection of a software program to manage your business should involve your accountant, if you have one. That is because if your accountant uses QuickBooks, for example, he or she may want you to use that software, too.

Depending on the size of your business, you might find that even Quicken (the "Home and Business" version) is easy to use for your business, as well.

The maker of both is Intuit, and their website www.intuit.com, advertises a free trial online which could help you decide if any of their products would meet your needs.

In terms of inventory management, which is just part of the management puzzle, the only software I have personally tested is Bead Manager Pro. This was specifically created for jewelry makers (not just bead jewelry makers) and will help you track costs, price your work, create invoices and market to your customers and prospects. They also offer a free trial, so you can check it out before you commit to buy. Some functions of Bead Manager Pro may overlap with Quicken and QuickBooks.

Customer support options vary from company to company and changes over time so it is recommended that you visit the individual company sites and carefully read their customer service and support policies and options.

- Dr. David Weiman
Dr. David Weiman is a respected expert in the field of marketing and selling handcrafted jewelry and a well-read contributor to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads "Ask the Experts". He is the author of Introduction to Marketing and Selling Jewelry, The Jewelry Selling Answer Book and The 5 Keys to Selling Handcrafted Jewelry. A free newsletter on selling handmade jewelry is available at his website: www.marketingjewelry.com.

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