Most have a passing knowledge of the story of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, and how Theseus used a ball of the thread to not only find his way to the beast, but the way out. For the business owner computers, and all that is required, can bear a resemblance to the Labyrinth (though some might say the beast). In this day a business owner, new or old, has to come into the realm of the computer.
Recently I heard a speaker saying that even the days of desktops are fading, and the realm of the tablet, and other devices, will hold sway. It even made my head ache some.
At the most basic, though, your records are on computers, or your cash register is computerized. And if you want to advertise you will need to at least have a website, and consider social media.
Granted my realm is social media, but before I can set up a client on social media we often have to untangle their skein. I have also heard from acquaintances in web design that they not only get to untangle these skeins, but often watch, with great bemusement, as people tangle their own skeins.
Then want someone to find them!!
The basic scenario often runs something along these lines.
After much consideration the store owner decides that they need a website, and they shop around a little. Already they are in the labyrinth without a light as sales people rattle off mysterious terms, and quote frightening prices. Then, by a minor miracle, they hear that a friend's college age child knows how to build a website, and so for the price of a host, and a domain name, they have a website!!
But their web designer soon disappears, and the store owner hasn't kept any of the passwords handy. "Why do I need those? I have somebody handling the site?"
Worse yet they don't know how to renew their domain name, or some other company owns the domain name. Either way it is a crisis, because your domain name can be bought by someone else, or you will be paying a exorbitant fee to get it back.
And even if they have managed to avoid all of that they may well have a website that isn't easy to add on to, because it is on a limited platform. So it cannot grow with you business, and it is not easy to keep up with the growing demands of the internet, such as social media and blogging.
As a business owner you have to be aware of stock, sales, supplies, and billing. And keeping track of your computer needs is no different.
Consider at the beginning of any computer venture.
1. Will this site be easily expanded?
2. Will my web designer be there for me for the long term?
3. Do I have control of my domain name?
4. Have I given a lot of thought to what I want to say on my website, and have talked over the best optimization of word usage and order? (Working on search optimization at the beginning will save you money later).
5. Do I have all necessary phone numbers and emails for emergencies?
6. What is the best way to keep a log of all of my passwords; for both the website and the social media?
So keep a firm hold on your skein, and play out the thread carefully so you can find your way through the Labyrinth.
Not One Stop Shopping
How do you dispel the idea that computer people are all knowing?
An acquaintance and I were pondering the challenge of this seemingly pervasive idea that computer professionals formed an all-knowing brother/sisterhood. And how it leads to frustration for the client.
Nor does it seem to matter if the person is in web hosting (my acquaintance), social media (me), computer repair, or web design - many of the questions that come in don't fit the individual’s field. And one cannot blame the client for asking, since computers can be challenging and mysterious, with so many details to understand. It can also be granted that if you work in a computer-related field that you pick up some of the various in's - and out's, and some of those can be used to help the clients.
It is because computers and the Internet are so complex that it is impossible for one person to know its whole scope. It is also this vastness that is frightening to your client, and once they have someone knowledgeable and trustworthy they want to depend on them to solve all the mysteries.
I am not sure there is an easy way to deal with the unspoken belief. The best I can come up with is recognition of the belief, and honesty about the limits of one's knowledge. Of course, what it also argues for is having a good network of various experts to call on when your client brings you a question you can't answer.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.