IT's despise you! Let me just throw that right out there.
Set the stage with me here and understand why so many calls with IT's or tech support end in frustration (besides the outsourced language barrier sometimes). I don't care how cute the commercials that you watch on TV are, with the neatly dressed IT smiling as he reaches your door (you obviously have not spent real time in a server room!), ready to fix all of the problems for the customer who can "do no wrong." We dislike you! We are not your friend on Facebook.
...I'm sorry. I just injected some of my own bitter experiences in that last paragraph. I'll try to avoid that here ;) Give an IT a break though! I've been an IT for over 11 years now, and the skill set has done amazing things for me in starting up businesses, and launching entrepreneurial campaigns. What my experience has also pointed out though, is that the majority of my computer problems are avoided from just the little bit more that I know over the average user.
You don't have to be a Microsoft Certified Server Guru to save yourself legions of headache.
It's Mostly Your Fault
This is phenomenon #1 that you must understand to put your computer worries behind you: 97% (and I think I'm being modest) of the computer problems that you have are caused by invading gremlins that are nestling in your hard drive. ...At least that's how the majority of customers want to see it.
It's YOU! You, you, and you! You are breaking your computer. You are giving it a ridiculous series of requests and then, to the level of most absurdness, you smash it when it's not responding "quick enough!"
So here you have a young IT. He's pretty smart. Day in and day out he sees more computer problems than you would ever imagine. He fixes them. He is smarter than you. And on the other end of the phone there stands the sweating business owner or the I'm-so-stinking-important-that-you-must-stop-whatever-you-were-doing person on there telling me, us, IT's, that his computer is just the worst piece of technology that ever had the pleasure of being in his presence. "Fix it!"
IT's abhor your very phone calls! Most customers are rude, or ignorant, demanding, un-understanding, and (even worse!) at fault. And they talk to this IT like he's an undocumented gardener or something. He just bruised their prized tomatoes.
There's A Better Way To Do This
This is the stage that we have in corporate and small business America. Truth be told, the small business owners are probably the best customers an IT can have. At least they understand the value of knowledge and one's own money. But still, give us all a break. Quit breaking computers and we'll stop having all these tension problems! Your stomach will stop hurting, and your spouse will like you more.
There really is some serious maintenance that goes into computer networks. It's a daunting task to make the entire operation completely transparent to our customers. As a matter of fact, the irony of this industry is that if you are doing your job to the utmost perfection, you will never receive a thank-you because the customer will never know that you were there.
Now how does that feel?
Kind of makes you understand why the occasional IT darts you that crazy-eyed look. …and why we cringe in the sun sometimes.
Learn Your IT System Like Your Business...Or Your Car
All our differences aside, there is really good news in this. Since 97% of your problems are you, they're also the quickest to fix! You really can be in control of your computer or laptop. Constantly fearing the next technical glitch should be the last thing that you worry about.
Think of it as your car. IT devices are vehicles that you need in business and in life! If you know how to care for them, and avoid common pitfalls, you're going to be running laps around the competition! I've wanted to launch a Business IT Education Initiative for small business owners for years becuase I'm both an IT and small business owner. It was painful watching some of my partners and associates struggle to launch great ideas because of a couple IT hurdles.
Unfortunately, the IT business is a service industry. If I stop working, income stops coming. So as an entrepreneur, I never took the IT consulting too far. It's not the actual business model I'm after. I just used the skills to quickly launch other businesses. On top of that, IT systems change SOOOO fast that anytime I put together some material to publish, it was already outdated enough for me to not feel comfortable delivering it to the normal small business owner or consumer.
Commit To A Minimum Understanding of Business IT
So I launch this Business IT Learning Initiative, without trying to sell any info-product, and some good nuggets follow. From 11 years of fielding IT problems, I've seen that for some people there is ALWAYS a problem, and for others, there is rarely a problem. Didn't matter what computer, what wireless network, what PBX, what scanner, ect. One had problems consistently, say 97% of the time, and the other rarely had problems, say 3% of the time.
You can be that guy that rarely has the problem. The next two principles transcend technology upgrades, and will help any small business owner. So the next of this series will touch on them. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
- If you understand some basic (I mean basic!) mechanics of how a computer works (like understanding how a car engine turns car wheels) you will circumvent the majority of your problems! Add on to that a rudimentary understanding of digital communications, for this digital world, and people will think you're boy-genius. (Coming Soon, and Coming Soon.)
- If you understand that IT systems will break, and take basic contingency measures, when the IT system finally breaks, it will be drastically less traumatic, and your business will lose very little productivity. Read: very little pain.
Computers and their peripherals are not going anywhere! And us being the Small Business Owners and entrepreneurs on the front lines of business (the very trenches!), computers will either make us or break us! That, I promise.
Commit yourself to learning just a couple of IT basics, with maybe the same commitment you apply to learning bookkeeping and business writing, and you will reap dividends on the time investment, launch initiatives quicker than your competition, and usher in a gigantic base of customers that are already caught up to speed with technology.
Technology is your friend. Stop fighting it.
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