Recently, my wife started selling Jamberry Nail Wraps. They’re a neat little wrap that you apply to your fingernail rather than painting. They’re safe, sturdy and easy to apply. There are some pretty cool styles that are available so if you’re interested, please feel free to wander over to her website to order or to host a party.
There are some challenges to starting and maintaining this type of a business and most independent agents of this type of product (read: Pampered Chef, Jamberry, Avon) really miss out on some of the benefits of Customer Relationship Management software.
A lot of larger sales companies use CRMs to help manage possible leads, keep up with contacts, and track interactions with customers. This is a trick that many independent consultants never know about and miss the opportunity to keep track of their contacts. Bigger firms have the advantage of keeping a full staff of IT professionals to set up and maintain their CRMs but independent consultants don’t have that advantage.
Last night, as the wife was going through her process of preping and sending prizes and managing here parties, I noticed that she was keeping track of her contacts and sales on paper. She was even looking at a form that her Lead Consultant was using to help her organize the information. I mentioned that she should be using a CRM for this kind of work and that it might help her speed up the process that she was currently managment manually.
The hunt for an Open source CRM.
I promised my wife that I would look into what it would take to build a CRM for her and her team. After a quick check of CRMs on TurnkeyLinux.com I came across the Zurmo CRM. This is a pretty nice looking CRM that is Open Source, not overly resource intensive and pretty easy to set up on one of my local machines.
I downloaded the TurnkeyLinux ISO and setup a quick VM. After playing with it for a while I brought my wife over to show her how it worked and what it could do. She was happy with the results so I began hunting for an installation guide. Zurmo has some pretty good guides but they’re a little more scattered than I normally would like so I keep hunting.
I eventually can across this website and it’s walk through for Ubuntu 14.10. Now, I wanted to install it on Debian since I am hosting it on a BeagleBone Black. Thankfully, Ubuntu and Debian are related to each other, the installation guide on the website I found worked perfectly. In only an hour or so, I had Zurmo working without any issues.
Now, to get it tweaked to work for here perfectly and then I’ll set it up so that she can add any other consultants that she’d like to share the environment with.