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Life Without the Internet? - Is It Possible?

Mar 26, 2008
Yesterday was one of those days that made me stop and think for awhile. The ISP that provides my internet connection had an "unscheduled" service outage, and there was no service for most of the day. Seriously, I felt a bit lost.

What did we do before the internet? How did we do business? It seems very strange, and yet the internet is really not that old in the larger scheme of things. Now I'm sure some people would say, of course you have a problem, you run an internet business. The fact is I also have offline businesses too, and they also came to a grinding halt yesterday.

First, the obvious problem like no email, which means the only way to communicate, was via phone and fax. But let's stop there for a moment. We have been using internet faxing for so long, the actual fax machine had an inch of dust, and ink cartridges where dried up! What about purchasing our supplies from our vendors? No on-line ordering and no online payments. In fact no online banking or money transactions at all. What about answering customer calls about the products we have shipped to them? You know, the WISMO calls (Where Is My Order)...No online tracking. What about receiving and accepting customer orders, and checking stock levels? No online order and inventory system. You can imagine the list goes on and on.

So what's the point to all this ranting? First, I guess it tells me I need a new ISP, in fact two new ISPs, so we always have one as a back-up. It also tells me something on a deeper level.

Always remember... Business is about relationships; relationships with your customers, your vendors and your employees.

I spent two hours this morning calling customers just to follow-up with them on different issues and since they also had no internet we had time to talk. I was amazed at how many new orders I received when we just had a few more minutes to talk to each other. I also had a chance to talk with some of my employees a bit longer than I usually do, and our conversations where about the future and ways we can improve the business.

I spent two hours yesterday morning calling customers just to follow-up with them on different issues and since they also had no internet we had time to talk. I was amazed at how many new orders I received when we just had a few more minutes to talk to each other. I even went down the street with one of my vendors to have a cup of coffee. After a 20 minute conversation about one of his new services we struck a deal that will reduce the costs by US$18,000 per year in one of my businesses.

Bottom line. Is life without the internet even possible anymore? - Certainly Not. It provides an amazingly robust way to improve productivity, revenue streams and information exchange. However as the old saying goes, you have to "keep the main thing, the main thing! The "main thing" in business is relationships. Make sure to keep close and personal relationships with your customers, vendors and employees.

Next time you're busy sending out emails, stop yourself, and instead of sending an email to a long term customer, pick-up the phone and call them! You can always follow-up with an email later, but that personal contact is important. Next time you're placing an order on-line with a vendor, pick up the phone and give them a call. I bet they will be happy to take your order over the phone, and it gives you a chance to ask them about new products or services that could save you a bundle!
About the Author
David Ogden is the editor for www.at-home-business-world.com, a resource website for good information about home business opportunities without all of the "Sales Hype." For more ideas, resources, and tools in starting your home business subscribe to the At Home Biz News: At Home Biz News
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