Archive for July 2010

Episode 44 – Call That Girl!: A Marketing Success Story Part 2

Today we are going to continue our discussion with a computer support professional and find out how the methods she used to market her company can be used to make your business successful as well. Part 2 of a two part series.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:21
Billboard :32

News and Comment segment 4:44

CompTIA will hold their annual CompTIA Breakaway 2010 August 9-12 2010 in San Antonio Texas.

Apricorn released the Aegis Bio, a portable hard drive with biometric hardware encryption.

Sponsor: Solve technical issues faster with GoToAssist Express. Try it FREE for 30 days.

Intel announced this week it has created the world’s first silicon based photonics data connection using integrated lasers.

The DOJ ruled that jailbreaking an iPhone is legal.

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Topic 1:36
Today we will continue our discussion with Lisa Hendrickson, owner of a computer support and repair company called Call That Girl! and learn more about her marketing techniques. We will talk about the big seven marketing tools she uses, discuss a common networking trap to avoid and how social networking can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Part 2 of a two part series.

Interview with Lisa Hendrickson 16:12

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net!

©2010 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

Episode 44 – Call That Girl!: A Marketing Success Story Part 2

Today we are going to continue our discussion with a computer support professional and find out how the methods she used to market her company can be used to make your business successful as well. Part 2 of a two part series.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:21
Billboard :32

News and Comment segment 4:44

CompTIA will hold their annual CompTIA Breakaway 2010 August 9-12 2010 in San Antonio Texas.

Apricorn released the Aegis Bio, a portable hard drive with biometric hardware encryption.

Sponsor: Solve technical issues faster with GoToAssist Express. Try it FREE for 30 days.

Intel announced this week it has created the world's first silicon based photonics data connection using integrated lasers.

The DOJ ruled that jailbreaking an iPhone is legal.

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Topic 1:36
Today we will continue our discussion with Lisa Hendrickson, owner of a computer support and repair company called Call That Girl! and learn more about her marketing techniques. We will talk about the big seven marketing tools she uses, discuss a common networking trap to avoid and how social networking can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Part 2 of a two part series.

Interview with Lisa Hendrickson 16:12

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net!

©2010 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

 

http://media.techpodcasts.com/theforcefield/media.libsyn.com/media/theforcefield/The_Force_Field_44.mp3

How do your customers feel?

Read more http://blog.onforce.com/2010/07/27/how-do-your-customers-feel/

Read the rest of this entry »

How do your customers feel?

Authors: Peter

Excellent service givers pay attention to the person and situation at hand. They listen for the things that the client isn’t saying. – Linda Byars Swindling Can you remember an instance when you experienced exceptional customer service? When the end result made you feel really good and left you with a long-lasting positive impression? You know when you have […]

Read more:

How I made money with Open Source

By John Connelly
JC Computer Services

I’ve tinkered with many open source products over the past couple years, but I’ve never installed any for a client. For a friend, I installed Mepis on his son’s desktop to stop the torrent of malware, and I’ve played with Ubuntu on my laptop and struggled with wireless driver work-arounds. Never made a dime on it until I was inspired by a frequent forum poster here at The Forcefield. Then, with my inner salesman awakened I scored BIG.

The Scenario: Important client has employees that work from home, some travel across the country. Their current solution is to RDP directly into their 2008 Server. They are forwarding port 3389 to the server, and logging in with very weak passwords. Given the nature of their work, HIPAA laws apply to them. Obviously this solution is a major security breach waiting to happen.

I suggested a VPN solution. I explained what it was, how it worked, and showed them various solutions provided by Sonicwall, Firebox, and Cisco. Given the number of VPN connections they needed, all of these solutions were rather pricey, and had subscription-based licensing fees. They would have agreed to one of them, they had to do something soon. Now that they had a ballpark dollar amount in mind, I told them I could build a VPN appliance for less that had no re-occurring fees. I chose OpenVPN, and here is how I did it.

First, I had to choose between the free community version and the paid version. The free one has the benefit of being….free. The paid version has GUI menus, simple installers, and more extensive tech support. Being new to OpenVPN, and with a big client at stake, I chose the paid version. So I shelled out $50.00 for 10 licenses, this gave me 12 licenses total (2 are free). Given the huge licensing fees that others charge every year, I had no qualms about the amount. The free community-based version can do everything the paid version can do, but I needed to implement this fast and needed some hand-holding.

Based on another recommendation of a forum poster, I chose a simple 1U server to run it on. They already have a rack, and it gave my product the shiny high-tech feel it needed to help justify the big markup. It would have run much the same on a beat-up old Dell I had, but I needed it to look cool.

My next choice was the OS to install it on. There are many Linux distributions supported, including Ubuntu, which I almost went with. In the end I chickened out and went with XP Pro. When I have more time to test and become more familiar with how OpenVPN and Unbuntu work together, I will have it ready for my next client. I downloaded a VMware Player and a VM of OpenVPN, and installed both. The setup was very straightforward. You have to choose between running it routed or bridged mode. I chose bridged. I gave my box an IP on the network, and port forwarded 443 to it. I also changed the default admin password.

Now I had to decide how to authenticate users. They are running AD on the server, OpenVPN supports connections to AD via LDAP. Installing LDAP on the server was simple, I had it replicate the AD directory. In OpenVPN, I entered my admin username and password on the server, and its computer and domain name. It connected, and found my users. I could have chosen to input usernames and password into OpenVPN, or setup a RADIUS server.

Setup on the client was the easiest part. Open a browser, go  to https:\\yourcustomerdomain.com. OpenVPN will present you with a login screen. Enter your user’s AD username and password, and you will see a customized link to download the client software. The link is generated dynamically when you first log in. For my Windows clients, I used the Windows installer. I had one Mac client, the OpenVPN site recommended I use Tunnelblick (a free VPN client). I could not get it to DHCP properly. A bit of research brought me to Viscosity. For $9.00, I bought one license and it had it working in 5 min. It recognized the client.ovpn file that OpenVPN generates, and imported without any issues.

Finally, I had my users select new passwords that did NOT have word “password” in them. Because OpenVPN was connected to AD via LDAP, it picked up the new passwords too. RDP now uses the internal IP of the server, and I stopped forwarding port 3339 on the router. Done.

The technical part of this job was fun. Setting up an open-source VPN was a great learning experience for me, and gives me a great new product. Salesmanship played a big part in this though, and it does not come naturally for me. In the end, it was an easy sell. I charged the same price for the box as the other commercial guys do, but made my main selling point the licensing fees. Others charge per year, I charge a one-time fee. Perhaps for new clients I will offer a smaller yearly maintenance fee. Still learning.

 

About the author:

John Connelly owns and operates a home based computer business serving homes, non-profits, and small to mid-sized businesses with their IT needs including repair, networking, planning, and more.  JC Computer Services has been in operation for 9 years, six in Plymouth, Ma.  His primary interest is in problem solving which keeps him getting up in the morning despite that his boss is a workaholic.

TPN Weekly #63

From the Things You Always Wanted to Tell Your Customers But Couldn’t Department:

As most of you know, The Force Field Podcast is a member of The Tech Podcast Network, a  podcast network of family-friendly shows that cover just about every aspect of technology from the latest news, business and tutorials to digital photography, amateur radio and gaming.

The Tech Podcast Network has an official podcast of its own called TPN Weekly . This weekly podcast is hosted by various podcasters on the network who take turns producing and guest hosting the show.

In February I was guest host of TPN Weekly podcast Episode #42 .

This week I am the guest host of TPN Weekly podcast Episode #63 . Since the show is primarily aimed at the general public, it was a perfect venue to reach the other side of the service provider-user relationship, that of the user and potential customer. With that in mind, it is a unique opportunity to tell the customer everything we’ve wanted to tell them about the relationship from our perspective. The end result is to educate the customer as to what we go through to servicing them so they will better understand the overall process and hopefully increase their trust and improve their perception of their service provider – without violating any contracts.

Here are the show notes for TPN Weekly #63 with Rick Savoia – The Force Field: Choosing a computer tech :

Greetings, everyone! I’m Rick Savoia, host of The Force Field, a podcast about the business of tech.

Sponsor: Solve technical issues faster with GoToAssist Express. Try it FREE for 30 days.

In this episode I will give you a little sample of what The Force Field podcast is all about and the type of topics we discuss on the show. We will also discuss some insider tips you can use when shopping for a reliable computer tech.

Topics of discussion:

I will tell you about recent episodes of The Force Field podcast in which we cover topics related to planning and starting a tech business.

We will discuss the top ten list of things to consider when shopping for a computer repair technician.

If you want to know more about starting and managing a computer or IT service business, give The Force Field podcast a listen. Questions, comments or feedback? Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net, visit our forums or email comments(at)theforcefield.net.

 

 

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