Day 2 What Software Should I Use?

What software should I have in my office?  Since you should be focusing on creating wealth for the citizens in your community or region, I need to reiterate that you need to be focused on taking care of your existing businesses, promoting your community and making your community a better place.  So with that in mind here is the software I want in my office:  Microsoft Office, Prezi, accounting software, contact management system (CMS), Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) software,  and a property database system.  Just a reminder I am a consultant and I do have a bias about some of this software because I sell it!  While I want this blog to be very useful, since I am spending hours writing it, I will shamelessly promote Smart Solutions Group, every once in a while!  I would encourage you to look at Synchronist, for the BR&E online software.  It also has a CMS feature too that does a really great job organizing your projects.  The property database recommendation we make to our clients, is LocationOne Information System 

So, if you arent blindly trusting me that these are the best products to purchase here is what you should look for: 

Property database system: The property database system must have a GIS feature.  It would be great to have the ability to include several photos and allow collecting a lot of information on the site or building.  Ideally it will allow you to share this information with your allies at no additional cost. 

Contact Management System(CMS):  This should be a system that will make your life easier, not harder.  The more it can work with your mobile devices, the better.  I like systems that work well with my email too.  Synchronist OpMgr (mentioned earlier) has a great system to keep track of your prospects.  They are working on adding more features that will make it a true CMS soon.  It is very powerful and I think great for prospect tracking.  LOIS EcoDev Project Tracker is a good choice if you are using LOIS.

Presentation Software: Prezi is what I prefer over PowerPoint.  I think it makes your presentation more interesting as you arent confined to a box anymore.  It takes a little getting used to, but once you create your first one, it is easy after that.  The only downside is they have not developed a way to create handouts.

BR&E Software:  I am very biased here.  Synchronist is by far the best.  Eric Canada has spent thousands of hours developing a powerful comprehensive system.  It is just not an online software.  It is a system and process.  This should be the first item you purchase.

Our firm provides interim staffing for economic development as well as executive searches.  I provided the staffing for almost a year and a half after our client had fired their past executive.  The past executive tried to collect unemployment insurance and the case made it in the Des Moines Register.  At the time the office was in the basement of the local school districts administration office.  It was a horrible location.  But we were using the school districts internet.  Evidently the person in charge of IT and the fired executives were friends.  So during the unemployment hearing the executive stated that her replacement, which was me (but she did not use my name), had attempted to get on pornographic sites based on the what the IT person had told her.  She was trying to send some sort of message that the organization was sexist.  Of course the school district had very strict filtering of the internet.  Being a good economic developer I was always using the internet to do research on a company or gathering demographic information.  I was on the US Census Bureau site a lot.  I had no idea what the IT person was talking about.  I certainly had not ever tried to get on a pornographic site.  I discovered that the IT person had seen that I had been on the US Census Bureau several times but he evidently read the report as a censure NOT CENSUS report!  We all got a great laugh out of the story and I would have loved to have been able to visit with the IT person.  The internet is extremely important to our jobs, so make sure you have full access but keep your searches work related! 

Tip for the Day:  I shared with you some key software that every economic development office should have but I did not discuss the hardware.  You must have a ball that is soft.  You know, one of those balls that feel like a balloon and have rice inside.  This job can be very frustrating.  You need to have something beside a board member, spouse, kid, or dog to take out those frustrations.  The ball can be squeezed or thrown and will do very little damage.  Tomorrow:  Who should I talk to?

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