Friday, May 27, 2011


In the off chance that one of you missed my column last week, there is a reason for that. You see, I’ve been a little busy lately. The reason I’ve been so busy is a pretty cool one. You see, the sailboat fund I’ve been working on for the past couple of years is not quite at the level it needs to be. To get that fund up to the level it needs to be, I’m doing what any rational person would do: I’m hocking everything I own to open a shop in Madison, Alabama.

I’ve been struggling with how I can effectively manage two locations. I need to be in two places at the same time. To help with that, I plan to implement some pretty cool technology that you may find interesting. The first among this is called “telepresence.” I’ll have a large TV screen and remote-controlled camera in both Florence and in Madison. These will be connected, full time, to the internet. While I am in Florence, special software will allow me to talk to a customer or employee in Madison almost as if I were standing in the office.

I’m also going to implement a Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP) phone system. This technology involves a specially-designed phone that plugs into a network jack (instead of a phone jack) and is connected directly to the internet. Each phone will have its own phone number. All phone features such as rollover, call forwarding and all other calling features are controlled by visiting the manufacturer’s website. With this setup, I’ll be able to easily transfer calls from Madison to my office in Florence or “page” employees as if we were all on the same interoffice phone system. Combined, these technologies will aloe me to crack the proverbial whip no matter where I am.

Coming up with an advertising scheme has been a bit of a challenge. The power to reach people using the old standbys--radio, newspaper, TV and phone books-- is slowly being eroded by other forms that may be more powerful and cheaper. So, in addition traditional advertising, I plan to make good use of “Google Places” and Google Adwords. Once “Places” and “Adwords” is configured properly, if a person searches for “computer service,” and is located in the geographic area that I serve, Google will present the searcher with an ad highlighting my business. I get charged a few cents every time someone clicks on by ad. No clicks? No charge. I’ll also pay Facebook to display my ad whenever someone types a status update that hints that they are having computer problems.

Google Places is a free service that will help drive customers to your location. You simply enter your business address, phone number, office hours and other information that describes your business. When someone searches for your business, it will immediately display your phone number, address, and present the searcher with driving directions.

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