This past year has proven to be a very challenging one. Not from a business standpoint. In fact, we doubled our sales, and did very well on the business front. No, the challenge was very much self induced. Our crazy president (yours truly) decided about 18 months ago that we would FULLY automate our business’ and bring them more online. Like many small business’, we were somewhat trapped between adolescence and adulthood. We were too small to be big, yet too big to remain small.We had been using Quickbooks for all of our business’. I cannot complain because QB was a great product for me – an Entrepreneur to get business off the ground without a huge learning curve. Also, the cost for QB is quite low and the capabilities are good. It’s really a perfect package to get a company off the ground, however – we knew we’d outgrown QB 2 years ago when we had programmers writing code pretty much monthly to bridge the gap between out sites and our accounting system.I went in search of a better way. I’d been hearing rumblings of a product called Netsuite. This product was part of a new wave of Business Suites that combine Accounting, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), Sales Automation – and in the case of Netsuite, even Web capabilities. The entire package is online, and therefore does not require any local software, or servers. This was key to us since our head office is in Wellington FL however we had “virtual offices” in Miami Beach, Orlando, Philly and the West Coast plus our subsidiary in Europe. By every sense of the word, we are “remote”. Prior to changing software, we had already made the jump into a pretty high tech VOIP phone system as well, allowing our people to be wherever they were, completely undetected by our users.Fact is, there’s not really another product out there that does everything that Netsuite does. Sure, there are other online accounting packages, and even some very good CRM packages, but no one does an office suite quite like Netsuite.So, we cut a deal with Netsuite to furnish our primary companies, GearSource.com and LEDsource.com with complete packages, including website technology. That was in April of 2007. Until now, our web team have been hard at work adapting our business models to Netsuite, which has been quite a task. Not that Netsuite isn’t completely capable, they certainly are. The challenge is in weaving our business model into theirs. For LEDsource, that was not really a huge task. It was simply a matter of re-developing the site in a way that works with Netsuite. We launched that new site in November, and it’s been working flawlessly. Now, there’s no difference between our online or offline business’. Enter an order online, and you’re actually entering it directly into our accounting system.Certainly, GearSource has been a larger challenge. In fact, as large as Netsuite has become, no one has ever stretched their product to the limits more than GearSource. There came a few times in the past year where we nearly packed it in and went looking for another solution, but then – our crack team of scientists discovered a solution, and development continued.We’re not done yet, but I assure you, once GearSource is completely on board with Netsuite, we will have created a system like no other in this industry. Already GearSource uses unheard of levels of automation, but with Netsuite, we’ll have taken it to a completely new level. If I were a gambling man, I’d say the new GS site should launch in Q2 of 2008. With any luck, it’ll work flawlessly, and that’ll be the end of a happy story, plus the beginning of a whole new growth phase.If you’re unfamiliar with Netsuite, it’s sort of a mini-Oracle. In fact, it was brought to the world by Larry Ellison from Oracle. He recently took the company public, and based on our favorable experience with the product, I’d say he stands to make another HUGE pile of money to stack next to his others. It’s a great product, and can easily revolutionize the way an entrepreneur brings his site to market.Watch for the next version of GearSource, and I think you’ll agree, GearSource remains a cutting edge player in the entertainment supply biz. If you’ve got any interest in checking out Netsuite for your own use – click HERE.