database for small business

Having grown up with computers, I thought I was pretty tech savvy. I'm still in business after 5 years.. phew!

I never did develop a good system for keeping track of customers, addresses, other contact numbers, orders in and out, time spent on orders, etc. I think I need a database! I've looked at -a lot- of information, reviews, and sell sheets for different softwares, online services, apps, etc. But haven't settled into any one thing. I'm a one man show right now and I find most softwares to be a bit too clunky, hard to navigate, and can't implement the right processes to stay on top of things and I really am exhausted at looking at different options. I want to hire a part time assistant administrator. I don't want to do that until I figure out what platform to settle on and stay with I don't want to be switching and having to migrate and consolidate data. I have office pro on my computer, but, apparently ms access is old tech now, I am reading reports of the mess today's IT people are in because they are having to migrate away from access, so I'm concerned about the viability of access and office 365 going forward, is this right thinking? Also, I'm wary of using a pay per user or month service. I can't really afford anything– that is until I have the foundation of a database, system, the processes figured out. I do a lot of pen and paper, but it's not organized. :/ Finally, should I be looking at ERP (enterprise resource planning)? I signed up for a web service called Bitrix32, but the whole process of getting anything up and running has been so confounding for me, all I can think is how do I do this? Where's the options for this? How come it can't do this? Why does it do it like this? The whole thing is giving me a big headache every time I try I give up. Seems like many administrative assistants would be up to speed with using access already, are those skills transferable to the new database software? I have heard of I think it's called quickbase? Is this the new access businesses are going with? I think when I looked at quick base it was very expensive recurring fees. Should I start in access then do a single migration for quick base or other once I got a system and workflow in place? Advice?

edit: additional questions at the end


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