For a long time, we lacked a good investment research management system. We have used Microsoft OneNote extensively and it is not fit for purpose. We have trialled Evernote and the conclusion was the same. Both lack the power of databases and therefore lack the ability to properly sort, filter, link, and recall information sets. Both inevitably get to the point where information is disparate and inconsistent. We regretted ever using OneNote due to the high switching costs involved in moving platforms. We have looked at multiple SaaS-based investment research systems as well as CRM systems like Salesforce and HubSpot. Typically, these solutions are unnecessarily expensive and they never quite do everything you need. Further, unless you are a very large customer, it is impossible to influence the product road map. We landed on building our own custom system in Notion. It is a research management system, CRM system, workflow management tool, decision log, client engagement tool, and web publishing system all in one. We write about building and designing research management systems and the value that a great one can bring here.
We have made the system available to view and download in order to help other like-minded investors.
How to View and Download?
The Notion template can be accessed at the link below. To download and start using it, you will first need a Notion account. We recommend the Personal Pro plan for individuals. Then, select “Duplicate” in the top right of the page to copy it to your Notion workspace. To also publish your pages with the web with a custom domain, you will need a Super.so account.
What do you Get?
It includes a priorities management board, a place for all your meeting notes and general notes, homes for your work and research, a contacts database, a firm decision log, client communications tools etc. These are all set up as databases that have the appropriate metadata and links to other related databases.
Time to Implement
This can be implemented in 5 minutes! It really is very easy. Learning the ins and outs of Notion may take a little longer but that too is easy and intuitive. The larger time cost is moving research from your old system into your new one. Moving things like contacts is easy, research can be a little trickier. That said, there are ways to semi-automate transfers from things like Evernote. Whether you are wanting to switch to this system or another, don’t let short-term switching costs prevent you from realising the long-term benefits. We write about organisational resistance to change here.
Diving Deeper into Building a Research Management System
For more information on this system and designing a system in general, please read our post on Research Management Systems below.
Research Management Systems
The investment sourcing, research, and decision-making process is the core function of any investment firm. An important part of this is the need to capture information for efficient synthesis, sharing, and recall. This is critical not only for the research process itself, but also in fostering a strong learning culture. The efficient sharing of information and learnings among the team allows the team’s knowledge to compound faster than any of the individuals.
- Does Notion have SSO? Yes, with the enterprise plan.
- Is my work backed up? Yes. You can restore pages. The enterprise plan has no limit, the personal and team plans are backed up for 30 days.
- Can you make custom changes for us? No. Unfortunately, we do not have time to do consulting work as we are focused on investing. Besides, it will be more powerful if you have one power user at your firm. It’s easy and fun to learn.
- Can I set user and viewer permissions page by page? Yes. See here. This can be made easier by allocating users the groups and setting group permissions.