7 Replies Latest reply on Mar 6, 2009 3:54 AM by barry@coefficientsoftware.com

    Small Business requires software!



      Small Business requires software!


      Hi all,

      I currently run a business hiring out staff to private events and receive booking data from my clients, then enter this into Excel, then use Word to retrieve the data via mail merge producing invoices, letters, job sheets, contracts etc.

      I was wondering if there might be a better piece of software designed for Mac that might do this better. I've had a play with Bento, but I don't really see what the point of Bento is - I had a play with it, but I don't understand what it provides, other than allowing you to see your address book / ical / spreadsheet in a form or table. Rubbish in my opinion.
      I also had a look at Filemaker, which was a lot more complicated, but I'm probably going to be told it's more powerful too - probably requiring the hire of a pro to set up all the various forms, letters and reports accurately before allowing me to use it.
      Another program I've looked at is a Retail POS prog which was OK, but complicated things further.

      In a nutshell, what I require is one program, that allows data entry via either forms or tables (I'm not fussy) and then with one click, creates paperwork, emails and ical entries in one go and saves it all within the system. Am I asking for too much??

      Looking forward to any replies.

      Lewis J S 

        • 1. Re: Small Business requires software!


          I am not aMac person and I really feel guilty steering you away from FileMaker because I love it so much but "QuickBooks"  (by the people who made Quicken) might be worth taking a look at.  Then if you grow a lot and need more sophistication I understand that  FileMaker will work with QuickBooks.......at least you can import records into FileMaker form QuickBooks rather easily......again, I think.  You'd need to check this out also.

          Just a thoiught............

          • 2. Re: Small Business requires software!
               FileMaker does not have the direct iCal integration that Bento does, but it can be made to work with iCal. From your description, FileMaker should be able to do the job. As for hiring a FileMaker developer, I would recommend it, unless you have a particular fascination with databases and time to learn.
            • 3. Re: Small Business requires software!

              Quickbooks eh...? Will take a look. I had a problem with Quicken as I am based in the UK and Quicken doesn't work happily with UK online banking - MS Money is much better for that, alas not for Mac though...


              A Fascination with databases? Socks plus Sandals? I'm unsure, I used Access before, and found that quite good, once again though, not for Mac.


              I'll leave this thread open for another couple of days and see if anyone else has any suggestions, thanks to you both so far.



              • 4. Re: Small Business requires software!



                Thank you for your post.


                FileMaker Pro will not integrate with iCal, unless you purchase an additional third-party plug-in.


                Bento does indeed integrate with iCal.  You can also create a Form in Bento and print it out.  However, there may be some limitations when producing invoices.  You can export the information to a Word data document that can be used for Mail Merge.  A lot depends on what you need, and it is difficult to determine from your post.


                FileMaker can do a number of things, especially Point-Of-Sale.  It is much more powerful than Bento (as you have surmised), and you can set up the various forms (layouts) to your liking.  Again, the one drawback would be integration with iCal.


                If you need clarification for any of the above steps, or if you have more specific questions, please let me know.



                FileMaker, Inc. 

                • 5. Re: Small Business requires software!
                     Could you provide more information on the iCal Plug-in or even where I can see other plug-in's available?
                  • 6. Re: Small Business requires software!

                     Hi DocMoc,


                    I've never used iCal, but a quick Google brought up these links:






                    Your requirement otherwise sounds at the 'simple' end of the Filemaker scale.   And if you've previously used Access and found it 'quite easy', then I think you've already got the socks sandals and food-flecked beard - if you can put up with Access I think you'll find Filemaker a breeze.


                    Why not check out your idea with a certified developer?:




                    • 7. Re: Small Business requires software!

                      Hi Lewis.


                      I am not sure how you have got on with your search, you may have already opted for a solution or found a workaround.


                      I thought I would get in touch though. I work for a company called co.efficient software who have been providing Job Management software to all aspects of the creative industry for 10 years. Our software is written in Filemaker pro and seems to cater for all of the points that you have raised including a re-written integration tool that will populate ical for you. 


                      Please fell free to get in touch for more information.


                      Our number is 0208 899 1729 and my email address is as per my screen name.


                      Many thanks,


                      Barry Watts