Before you start using Microsoft Access, make sure you are not reinventing the wheel.

On occasion I’ll get a call from someone who wants to learn about Microsoft Access and even Microsoft Excel. Typically, I asked them what it is they’re trying to accomplish. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to them before you invest all this time and energy into learning Microsoft Access you should take a look at off-the-shelf products that will do what you’re trying to accomplish.

Before you get too involved with Microsoft Access, make sure there isn’t an off-the-shelf product that will do the job better and cheaper, than trying to develop something yourself!

One of the best examples of that is people that are trying to keep databases of clients and prospects. You don’t need Access, you don’t need Excel. There is a piece of software called ACT by Swiftpage that is a contact manager; a database. Microsoft access is a database. However, most people that use Microsoft Access spend a lot of time developing the database that quite often is not what they needed. It can get very expensive to do all that work.

In closing, make sure software doesn’t exist that will accomplish what you are trying to build.