New Domain: :-)

I’ve recently acquired a new domain that I’m very pleased about. will now forward to this website in the same way as Only with six less keystrokes required.


When discussing domain names, small is way better 😉

ContaxCRM: Now Free of Charge !  

Happy New Year ! This is my first post of 2015, a year in which I intend to focus and streamline my business with a discipline that I have been previously lacking !

I have a lot to tell you about, and I will cover this in far more detail later, but for now just a quick note to say that ContaxCRM, for Mac and Windows, is now available free of charge. No strings.

Of course if you require additional services such as training or software changes then these will be quoted and charged appropriately. The software however is now free to use, although I still of course retain the Copyright.

Until I get the website updated you can get a free license from me directly by emailing me at

Best Wishes – Steve

New CRM Software: Video Preview

A new video has just been uploaded to YouTube. This video demonstrates how simple and straightforward it is to insert and print a Sales Invoice using blackdogCRM, currently in Beta. (There is only so many hours in the day!) 🙂 Banner

blackdogCRM: New Movie


This new movie available to view below, or via my YouTube account, shows you just how simple it is to upgrade from a single user edition of blackdogCRM to a multi-user MySQL Server edition using our upgrade tool. A four step process that does all the heavy lifting including populating the server database with all the data from the existing single user SQLite database.


 Affiliate Links

Software For Sale

I’m currently changing direction with my business and moving into some different, but clearly defined areas – all will be revealed soon – although I think some of my plans have already been ‘leaked’ due to my excitement about the future and my inability to keep quiet 🙂

In fact here I go again – these are some products and areas that I will be involved with in 2014 and beyond:

Due to this change in direction I have decided to put some of my existing products up for sale – outright purchase including full Source Code, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Domains, Support etc.

All of the software is written using Xojo / Realstudio and some of the products use plugins from Monkeybread Software.

I’ve had a lot of interest in the few times I’ve mentioned this so I am in the process of putting together a sale page, which I will document here when complete.

Software Sale


Products and Affiliate Links

CRM: Contact Notes

Just a quickie today – for ContaxCRM users who have recently purchased the software, here is the single annotated image that explains all you need to know about adding Notes to a CRM contact.

ContaxCRM Notes


Affiliate Links

BlackdogCRM: Products

This image shows the blackdogCRM Products window.  Bill of Materials are supported, as are several different Selling Prices, Sales Scripts, Groups, Targets and many other features.


This image shows the spreadsheet template that is supplied to help you to import your existing products into blackdogCRM.

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blackdogCRM: Contacts

This image shows the three ‘tabs’ that make up the main Contacts window in blackdogCRM.


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CRM: What and Why

There are many types of relationships. Personal,  Prospects, Customers and Suppliers for example.  These are all valid and valuable relationships.


Today with the rise of social networking everybody has many ways of being contacted, and many forums on which to air their views, make statements and and ask questions.  In addition they have many ways of contacting you, and of talking about you. To keep track of this continuous flow of  information, you need some form of:






CRM is generally understood to mean Customer Relationship Management.  Personally I believe this is inaccurate and potentially misleading.  The whole CRM concept revolves around relationships with individuals and companies, many of whom are not your customers.  


Focusing on customers only would be very short sighted indeed, and successful businesses need to focus on all of their contacts and the relationships they share with them. 


CRM is designed to bring together information from various disparate sources into one central repository of real-time accurate contact information.  


This empowers employees to make informed decisions when interacting with the outside world.


These informed decisions are necessary for CRM to fulfill it’s brief of reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Having said that CRM is not just about customers, they are however one of our most important assets and should be looked after appropriately.

The fact is that CRM should be responsible for increasing your bottom line.  In business every single decision boils down to that one simple question:  Does this make us more profitable ?  Anything that does not directly or indirectly answer yes to that question is not worth considering, at least from a purely business point of view.


CRM does not have to be implemented and used throughout the whole company.  It is perfectly feasible for a single department to use CRM to help them with their particular function, as long as it is realised that CRM cannot fulfill it’s design criteria of being a central repository of contact information unless it is installed company wide.  That being understood and accepted, by all means install it in a department, the benefits you get will almost certainly be better than what you had before.


Many papers on CRM will tell you that everyone from the CEO to the Janitor should have CRM installed.  When you are a multi-million dollar company who’s revenue stream depends almost completely on installed licenses then it’s understandable that you will sell CRM as a huge enterprise wide undertaking.  I am not disagreeing with the theory but in practice CRM can and perhaps should be implemented in phases.  


What better way than implementing one department at a time ?


CRM is often installed as part of an initiative to ‘Increase Customer Service’ or ‘Serve Customers Better’ or some such grand statement.  Introducing CRM in such a way can fog the issues and cause potential problems with a successful installation.  


As I mentioned earlier, in business every single decision boils down to that one simple question:  Does this make us more profitable ?  So we can rewrite the previous initiative statements as: 


‘Keep the customers happier because then they will buy again and also recommend us to their friends, so making us more profitable and successful, the customer more satisfied and therefore everyone wins.’ 


This statement has a number of advantages, the first being that it is 100% true.  The second is that it is refreshingly believable.  The third is that it cannot easily be misconstrued or interpreted incorrectly.   


So, what has this got to do with CRM.  Everything.  Keeping this statement in mind throughout the CRM selection and installation process will lead to higher satisfaction and a greater return on investment, the reason being that CRM is a tool and a technology to help you make that statement happen, and then to keep it happening.  


Once that is understood there is clarity in your goals and you are halfway towards being prepared for a successful CRM installation.

Where next ?

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blackdogCRM Mobile

Here are a few images of the Mobile and Tablet Editions of blackdogCRM

0085 KindleFireHD

0085 iPhone4

0085 iPad

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Online Manual [12]

blackdogCRM: Entering Notes against Contacts

Here’s a link to the latest section of the blackdogCRM Online Manual.

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blackdogCRM Features

SQL Logging
SQL (nowadays normally pronounced seequell) originally stood for Structured Query Language and was designed as an English Like way of asking for information from a database. SQL has been a standard for many years now and someone with some SQL experience under their belt is very welcome in most organisations.
blackdogCRM talks to its database using SQL exclusively. Unlike many systems blackdogCRM does not hide its internal workings from you, why should we ? We have nothing to hide and you have plenty to gain should you wish to view the statements that blackdogCRM is issuing and maybe use them yourself within our Query Tools or within a third party reporting tool. If you have Crystal Reports or Business Objects experience for example then that can be put to good use with blackdogCRM and SQL.

The ability to log all the SQL statements sent to the database is a useful and often overlooked function that can at times be extremely useful. For Auditing or Verification purposes it can be invaluable.

There are two ways of logging SQL. The first involves setting a Preference, see image below:

This method save the SQL to a log file stored in your blackdogCRM.Live folder.  This file is called blackdogCRM_SQLLog.r10

When opened in your favourite Text Editor or Spreadsheet program, the contents look something like this:

The second method requires you to select the Toggle SQL Session Log menu option, from the Utilities menu.  When the SQL Session Log window opens click the Start button. Subsequent SQL statement executions will be captured by this window.

If either of these two logging methods are activated then additionally the SQL statements are logged to the local computers System Log. Access to the System Log differs according to whether you are running blackdogCRM on Windows or Mac OSX. How to view the entries within the System Log is beyond the scope of this document.

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Common Sense Search

Searching Your Contacts

blackdogCRM features a very powerful and intuitive facility for searching your contacts. One of the many (almost[1]) unique features of blackdogCRM is that the search text you enter will automatically search all fields in the contact record.

Basically this means that if you enter steve as your search string, you will receive in the results data records that contain information that:

  • begins with steve (or Steve, or sTEVE or STEVE etc)
  • or ends with steve (or Steve, or sTEVE or STEVE etc)
  • or contains steve (or Steve, or sTEVE or STEVE etc)

We can do that and still maintain speed and performance due to implementing our own primary proprietary indexing and searching mechanism.

In addition we add something we call Common Sense Search. Basically this lets you type IBM and the contacts will be returned that include I.B.M or I B M. This works with first and last names as well, so for example: stevenchol would return my contact record even though Steven and Cholerton are actually separate fields in the database.

[1] I first used this technique in ContaxCRM, one of my previous software products.

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