Phrases like “My kid knows computers” or “My brother is a programmer” have come up more than a few times over the years and it almost always leads up to why I am now looking at computer problems. What these phrases are usually trying to convey is that someone who knows the basics already looked at it and it’s something more advanced. Indeed, it sometimes can be a complex problem that required a qualified person to address the issue, but more often it is a simple solution that was easily overlooked. Other times it is a problem that has only been made worse by the person who was “Tech Savvy”.
In today’s world, Information Technology encompasses such a vast array of fields that training in one field by no means makes one qualified for another field. A person who programs database systems would probably not have the experience necessary to deal with a virus outbreak on the network, or design the proper infrastructure for a server hosting solution, just as an Auto Body tech would probably not be qualified to rebuild your car’s transmission or work on the drive train.
Ads on the radio or TV may talk about doing a series of night classes that train you to take exams to become a certified Computer Technician. What the ads don’t say is that many of the groups creating these exams will recommend a certain amount of experience, sometimes a couple years in the field, before studying for and taking these exams, so that the person knows how this applies in practice. As a result, numerous people may acquire these certifications, but not the experience to back them up, or understand the reasons behind material.
Indeed, lack of experience can be a dangerous factor that could make a problem worse. Without knowing the difference between a “System Restore” and a “Factory Restore”, instead of reverting to the state Windows was at two days ago, not affecting your data in any way, you could instead wind up erasing all of your programs and data. Also, a person who doesn’t understand the reasoning behind proper licensing may install illegitimate software and open up the possibility for security holes, virus infection and legal issues.
IT is a field where because technology is constantly changing, people are constantly learning. Because there is so much to learn in varying fields of IT, it is not only important for someone to be qualified in their specific field, but also to know where the extents of their experience are. Being able to provide their experienced services where they are applicable and refer others who can assist in areas beyond is part of providing proper service, and is more important than trying to appear “Tech Savvy.”
Many local businesses still rely heavily on word-of-mouth and printed material for marketing to existing and perspective clients. Now in the digital age, the most tangible and effective method of communication and interaction between businesses and consumers is for companies to own a custom-made website on the Internet. A unique, one-of-a-kind, company branded website provides a good sense of what the company will be like even before a phone call or visit to the store; sort of like making a sale before the sale.
Does your small business currently have a company website? I applaud those of you who raised your hand. As for the rest of you, what’s the hold up? Continuing to let your business spiral down the drain by not having a company website is really a terrible plan for a successful future in your industry. Your competitors are probably thriving based on great customer service, great selection of products and services, and also because they have a company website.
Here is a good analogy explaining why having a company website is vital: You know those annoying CAPTCHA things on websites where you have to enter a random practically undecipherable code to ensure the response you’re submitting is not generated by a robot? Yeah, those. Having a company website is sort of like that: your company website cannot be updated by a robot nor can a robot pay for your monthly hosting service to keep your company website online. In other words, if your company website is up and running, your business must be as well. While it can take months for Yellow Pages to update your business listing and a week for the mailman to deliver your company newsletter, a website can be updated in seconds. To put it all into perspective: the magazine issue that published your product of the month club ad in 1997 will continue to exist long after your business goes under.
At the end of the day, the only sure way for prospective customers to know your small business is still going full force is to visit your company website on the Internet; hopefully containing fresh content, highlighting new products and services, all in hopes of increasing sales and contribute to your already flourishing business.