Possible to completly run our business on Linux?
Starting a new company we will try to save where possible. Linux just might prove to be free as in speach and beer for our needs. What is importent to keep in mind going the linux route?
We will need a CRM and some sort of acounting solution. We talked just breifly about going for a full blown ERP system from day one but that might just be shooting bird with canon?
Our situation and needs:
From the start we will be 4 owners working each day selling our products. The main tool will be cold-calling one pre-selected customers on our daily call list. For the first 18-24 months we will as long as possible avoid hiring staff to get the ecconomic backbone in place for the company. There will be no work producing/making the product as that process is automated. Our focus is selling, registering each sale, sending invoices to the customers and making sure our customers pays the bill afterward. What I hope for is a server side solution where we can rent serverspace and implement our data-needs in a managed or semi-managed hosting solution.
What problems needs solutions?
1: We have a list made up by 35-40K potential customers. How can we manage that prospect list in a way that we avoid calling the same customer/selling the same customer twice in a year? I picture a solution where you can see the history of what contact have been made from our company to each prospect. Which of our personel have been in contact with that company and what was the matter of contact?
2: As most newcomers we need to save money and will do the basic acounting and invocing, what system will let us do that for free?
3: Focusing on primary tasks SELLING we hope to avoid repetative tasks like punching the same data over and over in different systems with one excel file here and and database over there. Not to mention avoiding this will greatly reduce human errors. What solution might we investigate that allow us to implement all of our need in one system minimizing work on our side?
4: We have talked about a citrix solution with win2003 server and remote desktop. Seems it is a tough task setting it all up tweak it for performance so we will drop that. What excist in the world of Linux to use rather then citrix?
5: Security wise I belive storage on one centralized server will give us peace of mind and reduce chances for errors. Is there any server side solutions that will let us have a copy of the database locally in case of internet connection failure? I have seen custom made solutions like this based on asp.net and MS SQL. In case of no-connection all storage of data is locally and whenever there is internet connection running the databases will syncronize automatically. Does something like that excist in the world of Linux?
6: The system we go for must be able to handle growth on our side. Hopefully we are within the next 36 months 25-30 people working this system from the sales end. Not to mention we need people in customer service and acounting so we hope to grow to a total of 35-40 within 3 years and a 15 % growth each following year. We wish the system to grow with us just updating hardware as we grow.
7: If you have been down this path and see there are imprtent steps I left out please feel free to enlighten me. That also goes for any specific names or solution you could recomend. Even companies working with custom solutions like this feel free to drop your names along with a link.
8: Preferable I would like to finish with a system that holds no licens fee. If we will need to pay up to get it all started I can live with that so please let me know if you have hired any help you would like to recomend.
I hope you can take some time of your hectic summer and help us out here. Any and all responese will be cherrised.
Thx in advance.