Sunday, April 28, 2013

How does a small business deal with the changing technology?

So we have entered the beginning of our second decade of the 21st Century. As a small business owner it is important to stay on top of many different types of technology that change at a rapid pace. 

From hardware to software to cloud-based applications, it can sometimes be too much. I find that I am the go-to person for computer help, yet  I am sometimes quite overwhelmed with the multitudes of NEW.

With the help of friend Paul Faustine (the owner of the former Red Dragon Toys in downtown Brunswick) I have updated my website.
Paul created a back end database-driven site so that adding books to my store is easy. Adding photos of each author is easy. Changing a price and offering sales will now be much easier. All my social media buttons are easily accessible to website visitors. My blog can be found and several recent blog titles show on the opening page of my website. This is all new and better. New Releases are shown at the push of a button.

I found a calendar that is great to add to my website: Tockify. I put in the information and the program automatically places the events in order. When the event date goes by, the event scrolls off the page—out of sight.

The look of the website didn’t change much—I didn’t want that. What I wanted is for the user experience to be easy and for my management of it to be easy. Now it is.
I currently use a cell phone, a smart phone—that for nearly three months wasn't smart and I could not access my contacts/phone numbers or even use navigation or access the internet when I was away from my computer. My smart phone is smart again. I replaced the touch screen myself.

First I tried to do this locally. The person took forever to get my replacement screenI gave up. After waiting six weeks, I was informed that they needed to cancel the order. So I found a used phone on eBay that matched my phone. I thought my carrier Credo would allow me to activate the new used phone. Not even helpful.

So, when the phone arrived, I Googled Samsung Conquer touch screen replacement. I didn't get the Conquer, but I did get a Samsung that was similar. 

Using $3 worth of previously purchased computer tools I removed both touchscreen components from my phone and the ebay purchase. I installed the replacement screen.
So $38 and my phone is like new again. No new contract required.

In 2011, I finally purchased a digital SLR camera. I use it for most of the photos I post on my website, blog, Facebook pages (personal and Just Write Books and two non-profit pages Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org and Androscoggin Riverwalk). I really love the freedom of taking hundreds of pictures and deleting dozens and dozens.

Recently I received a mailing from Fairpoint about DSL. I called and confirmed that they could again provide DSL to our home and business. With a special deal (very deep discount), we were offered Fairpoint’s unlimited local and national calling plan. We've now migrated over to Fairpoint for our Telephone and DSL internet service provider. I also discovered that GWI offers DSL over the same lines that Fairpoint uses for DSL and voice telephone. 

During much of the past several years I have been using Vonage for my phone and fax machine. Vonage provides phones through the internet. The voice quality had really improved over the years and the device didn’t require that you have a computer running all night to receive phone calls.

Each change requires some changes in wiring and connections. I'm lucky that I can do this small changes necessary. I can even wire the telephone outlets and restring telephone wiring—a benefit of living with my late first husband, a Navy communications officer, who loved to work with wires and hardware. I was the extra hand but it seems I absorbed the knowledge to troubleshoot connections, settings and hardware. I'm lucky.

In a future post I'll deal with the multitude of software packages and the problems and joys that go along with running a business in the 21st Century.


Jess Holmes said...

I feel that switching to one of the top voip providers was the best step my small business has taken as far as using new technology goes. Interesting post, thanks for sharing the insight.

Alleli Aspili said...

Some businesses that cannot cope with the swift-paced growth of technology also tend to outsource some tasks. What can you say about it?

Alleli of Infinit-O

John Michle said...

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Lorna Schmitt said...

These upgrades certainly help in running your business more easily. Making it more streamlined by also confirming your business maximizes profit from every sale. In addition, making sure that you have the tools to find out where every dollar you earn is allocated goes a long way in maintaining one.
Lorna Schmitt @