David Hardstaff (Winweb)
- Are you a new business?
- Are you an established business, looking to revamp your IT systems?
- Have you got systems that don't work for you any longer, and you're not sure of the way forward?
- Have you got a bespoke system that is broken or needs upgrading, but the original developer has long gone?
- Are you generating a lot o fmanual reports, and constantly cutting and pasting stuff between spreadsheets and documents?
- Are you having to retype order details taken from your website?
- Are you spending hours keeping your website up to date?
If any of these situations cover the position that you are in, then it is well worth a conversation. There is no cost incurred in talking with me for a while, and you never know where it can lead.
For the last four years, I have been helping clients with these problems, as well as a good number of other issues, but the list above will give you the idea.
I'm a hands-on database and spreadsheet guy, but have got thirty years of commercial experience under my belt. This doesn't make me any cleverer than anyone else, but it does mean that I have made most of the mistakes that can be made in business, and have managed to learn from some of them.
This means that I know what to look for, where to find it, and what questions to ask.
I specialise in helping businesses to find the right systems to support their core activities. Often this involves outsourcing, or moving applications to the cloud, and in this area I partner with Winweb, the leading provider of integrated cloud solutions for businesses of all sizes, from the micro-business to the enterprise. As a Winweb Business Mentor, I can support you with a whole host of business services, both online and offline - I can provide software, of course, but also website services, social media marketing, and even book-keepers and virtual assistants. Winweb Business Mentors are one-stop shops for any business requirement.
So if you need new systems, are fed up with existing systems, or are having problems getting information and data either in or out of your systems, please give me a call. A few hours of my time could save you significant amounts of money over the coming months, and I always aim to calculate a cost-benefit for you, so that in effect, working with me won't cost you anything!
What is there to lose?
I have thirty years experience in small business, covering retail, print production, distribution, customer service, operations and IT. I have most recently specialised in IT, and am a certified Microsoft SQL Server Database Administrator, but I have a solid grounding in all aspects of business administration, including facilities, warehousing, customer service, production and project management.
In 2008, I took an opportunity that arose following the sale of the business I was then working for to set up my own 'consultancy' business. In November 2008 I became accredited as an associate of the Institute for Independent Business, which is a business advisor network, and I am currently an associate of Home Counties Business Advisors. However, I had no intention of simply consulting, in the sense of offering advice and opinions, followed by an invoice! I wanted to be able to use my experience and hands-on skills to solve problems for businesses in exactly the same way as I had tried to solve problems when employed.
In 2009, as things turned out, I worked to a large extent as a database contractor, helping clients get their house in order - those were the projects that were referred to me, and which I managed to successfully bid for, as it turned out. This ranged from small projects for one-man bands, to a data warehouse development for a £25-million business, and various points in between. I developed solutions using all aspects of Microsoft Office, especially Excel and Access, as well as working with MySQL, SQL Server and a range of other solutions, for example Pentaho, which is an open source Business Intelligence suite.
A lot of conversations I had involved the lack of clear information within businesses, and the consequent difficulty in making informed business decisions, so I concentrated on marketing the 'business intelligence' angle of the work I do. This also moved on to cover business intelligence and reporting, and I have also done a lot of work in helping businesses to integrate their websites with their other office systems. This is an area where a lot of people have problems, and I have developed relationships with some web designers whereby I work with them on database-related projects.
Much of what I do involves trying to get the best out of software you may already possess - you need results, not extra cost, so where possible I will work with what is available to improve your decision-making processes.
I have found 4Networking to be a valuable resource in terms of collaboration with others, as well as a source of potential clients, so I would urge new members to look at it in that light.
On a personal level, I live in a Hertfordshire village with one wife, two children, five or six fish and an allotment (although strictly speaking I don't live with the allotment). I'm also Chair of our Parish Council, a former school governor for the village primary school, and a founder member of a village business networking group.