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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #36: September, 2006

keep in mind when using technology

If you intend to use more (or updated) technology, whether a PDA or video on your web sites, it may be useful to keep the following in mind:

  • Always obtain competitive quotes. You can often save a great deal of money through catalogs and the web over retail stores, although service may be a factor. I've recently received a $5,000 difference in bids to initiate a video series on my site for the exact same work and quality!
  • A good criterion for upgrading is software needs. In other words, if older software is no longer supported or if new software offers significant improvements, it's usually worth it to upgrade your system.
  • Think success, not perfection. You don't need a world-class web site, since buyers of consulting services usually don't troll the web, but most web designers you talk to will try to convince you that's exactly what you need without bothering to understand your business.
  • Think about practicality, not possibilities. It's possible to receive email on a PDA, but is it practical and necessary? Were you really disadvantaged not being able to do this?
  • Apply common sense. If a phone has capacity for 35 speed dial numbers it really does me no good, since I can only remember about a dozen at the very most. If I need to consult a list to find the codes for speed dialing, I've pretty much defeated the purpose.
  • Professionalism is important. Talking to a client in a car or on a cell with ambient noise is not a very good idea. How tough is it to get to a land line?
  • Give it time. You can see that blogs are on the decline. There are too many, not enough time, and too much useless opinion. Rushing into any new technology or approach rarely gives you a market advantage and can sap your resources.
  • Keep serial numbers and service numbers on hard copy readily available. They do no good on your computer if your computer or monitor has failed. And you don't want to go digging around when time is scarce.
  • Don't just backup files. Backup critical hardware. I can use my laptop for anything my desk top will do, and all key files are updated on a CD weekly. I have an old, slow, but reliable printer should my big one fail. We have old phones stored in a closet. I even have two credit card terminals.
  • Have dispassionate sources you can rely on. Ask their opinions of what you're considering, and how they would do it. When you find a pattern of consistent advice, it's probably sound.
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