Archive for December, 2009

A Word About Service
December 17, 2009

I’ve had two experiences recently that I thought it wise to comment on.

My biggest pet peave (sp?) is when things do not work correctly.  I’d rather know that my 3G phone is going to only get 2G speeds up front rather then be frustrated that it searches – and never finds – a 3G network.  (Note:  my 3G Bold is awesome, I’m just making an example).  If a printer is installed or a wireless network detected, then I expect it to work every time the way the programmer intended.  And when it doesn’t, I get very angry.

I had a computer issue recently where a desktop with a USB wireless dongle was not detecting the new wireless router I had installed.  I called the Austin version of the Geek Squad and was quoted $90 an hour to fix the issue.  The receptionist told me in her two years at the company she’d never had a call that wasn’t successful.  Fair enough.

So the tech showed up at 4pm yesterday as was appointed.  I described that the USB dongle worked great with my wireless router that had been provided by AT&T.  It wasn’t til I installed my own Linksys router that problems happened.   “No problem, this should be easy…”

10 minutes later, nothing had been solved.  But the tech said, “this sure would go a lot quicker if this machine (it was running 256 of memory which is REALLY slow) was faster.  I’ve got some memory in the car.”  So he dashed out and retrieved a 1G dimm and loaded it up.  Machine is now faster.

20 minutes after that, still no wireless but the tech said, “you know, this machine doesn’t have Service Pack 2 which leaves it vulnerable to all kinds of viruses.  I’ll install that real quick if that’s okay.”  Sure thing.

30 minutes later, the machine is updated with SP2.  Next he notices there is no virus protection so he installs AVG 9.0 (free version).  So the machine is now faster, updated and protected.  And still not connecting to the wifi network.

At 6:30pm I told him that I had to leave (company Christmas party) and if I’d known this was going to take so long I would have scheduled at a different time.  “Sorry about that.”   So he printed the invoice for 1 hour of work (instead of 2.5) plus the trip charge plus the cost of the memory.  For $170 I had a faster computer that still wouldn’t connect to the internet.  His final diagnosis was that the USB port wasn’t built for all that data, which makes no sense.  Otherwise, why would they sell USB Wifi dongles and why was it working just fine before?

Anyway, I was miffed that I had gone through the trouble of calling for service and ended up no better off really then when I called.  Sure, a faster machine is nice but that wasn’t why I called.  ANd I’m sure anti-virus is great, but its kind of pointless if the machines can’t get online.

So now that I’ve spent $170 on it, taking it to Best Buy and having their nerds work on it would cost me the same as simply buying an entirely new computer.

Deliver what you promise.  Stay focused on that promise.  And if you can’t deliver, don’t proclaim a moral victory just because you accomplished “something.”


December 9, 2009

If you never learn anything else from starting a business, know this:  leaking money will kill you.  The easy dollar today costs you 2 dollars tomorrow.  From the high cost of “cash” (2% – 14% APR) to the cost of letting good customers have an extra week to pay an invoice, you HAVE to manage your cash like every penny of it is due TODAY.

One of my best customers is having cash flow issues and I am trying to work with them.  But their issues – which have nothing to do with me – are now creating cash flow issues for my business.  My ability to pay employees, pay A/P, order more products, etc. is directly affected by their ability to pay me what is owed.  I did my part in delivering their products; now they need to do their part in paying for them.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that every dollar wasted is not only a dollar that should be in your pocket, but also (more importantly) a dollar you could be using to further your business.