Excel is for Everyone

Often when I am speaking to people at networking events, or other business owners who are trying to find out about my business, they ask me a question that is not easily answered. They ask me who my target market is. My answer is usually, “Anyone and everyone”. People don’t usually like this answer as it doesn’t give them any information, or does it? There are companies out there who say that Excel is a product of the past, they say that it is now outdated. That is just not true. If you look at the companies that say that Excel has had its day, they are mainly companies that produce CRM systems. This is like the Labour Party saying that the Conservatives don’t know what they’re doing. Surprised? Now you may say that this is ironic coming from me, as I use Excel, so obviously I would back it. Microsoft are spending valuable time and money developing Excel, they are making it accessible to tablet and smart phone users. Even Mac users. They are constantly updating it and making it more useful. If it was dead in the water, they wouldn’t bother.

Who can use Excel? Everyone. I get approached by companies of different sizes in many different industries, so much so that there doesn’t seem to be a pattern. It does look like different sized companies have different needs, but the need for Excel doesn’t seem to be limited to any industry or company type or size. I find that the smaller companies require more comprehensive Excel software, when the larger companies require more specific software. Smaller companies can’t afford expensive bespoke software, and they don’t want to use restrictive CRM systems, so they come to me for comprehensive business software. The larger companies usually have some form of software, or require something that Excel is not capable of, but they never have all of their needs covered. I get approached by larger companies who say that they have found a ‘hole’ in their software cover, be it in an individual department or a management requirement, and I use Excel to ‘plug the hole’. I also find that most large companies use Excel for something or other, usually a list or database of some sorts. This is fine, but Excel can do so much with that list, that people just don’t capitalise on. I update what they have in order to do so much more, often freeing staff up for other tasks, which is always a hit with business owners. I also come across self-employed people, one-man band businesses. They often don’t see the need for an Excel system, as they can usually keep tabs of things by themselves. This is fair enough, until they start growing, and find themselves too busy. I take their invoices, quotes and all the other administrative requirements, and combine them in one ‘package’. This automates many of their processes, in order to free their time up to do what brings in the money.

Even within a business, I am finding out that Excel is useful in many different areas. Whatever area of business you are concerned about – project management, marketing, sales, figures, databases, even automated letters and documents – Excel can be used. Most of these needs require data analysis, precision, presentation, methodical actions and organisation, all of which are made possible with Excel. When a business owner starts to think outside the box, and starts to understand exactly what they require from Excel, the doors open. I get approached with all sorts of requests, and I always enjoy a challenge. Excel has proved to be very versatile. I understand what Excel can do, and I have used it for some very unorthodox functions, but I am still surprised by peoples reasons for using it. I am always trying to push the boundaries and get Excel to cover more and more business requirements.

Whatever the size and nature of your business, what do you think could be done in Excel to help or improve it? What are your needs and requirements? Excel is created to be versatile and to create what is required by individuals. Stop thinking of Excel as basic spreadsheets, and start thinking of it as a platform to provide you with your specific business solutions.

If you would like to explore some options, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Richard Sumner

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