The team at Dieteman Technology Consulting specialize in small business IT solutions that keep your business moving including virus, malware, and adware scans; updates; software and hardware installation and problem solving. They offer monthly service contracts which means that you never have to think about your computers, they just work! And, if you ever do have questions, they have technicians on call 24/7. Most work is done outside business hours so you won’t have to hold up doing what you do best.
MO: How can having the right technology help business owners focus on what they’re passionate about?
Abbey: Technology has infiltrated all aspects of business these days. From customer acquisition to billing, without a strong technology foundation, businesses will be at a disadvantage. In most cases, an entrepreneur starts a business related to a service or product they love. From medical offices to home-brewing, our clients do it all. However, an expert in home-brewing might not be an expert in technology, and that’s ok. They want to make sure that they keep up-to-date on the best home brewing techniques and products. They don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to keeping up-to-date on technology, too. That’s what we’re here for. We help with the technology that puts the business in the best possible position in all areas: billing, marketing, database management, just to name a few.
MO: What are some of the most common issues you see your clients facing and how can they be avoided?
Abbey: By far the most common issue we see is customers trying to “get by” with their technology. Either they do it themselves or have a nephew or neighbor or maybe the most tech-savvy employee maintain their technology. This is not only putting business owners in a poor position because they have outdated technology or technology not running at its best, it’s also very risky. Nephews and neighbors don’t have any accountability if something goes wrong or data is compromised. It is really imperative that business owners have an expert at least looking at their technology on a regular basis.
Another issue is malware. Most everyone these days has some time of virus scans on their computer. However, viruses aren’t the biggest cause of computer malfunction. Malware is downloaded from all types of websites (our local newspaper recently had a malware issue on its website) and can cause issues from poor performance to security breaches. Business owners (and individuals for that matter) should make sure that in addition to virus scanning, malware scans are performed on a regular basis.
MO: Why are you so passionate about improving disaster response in the US?
Abbey: I can blame my father for this. He is the Upstate NY Disaster Response Coordinator for United Methodists Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM). I’ve been with him since his first disaster response trip in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. Since then, I’ve seen how disaster response is failing in many areas and also how it is succeeding. I saw a Facebook page pop up and gain 10,000 followers after Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways, NY. I saw how social media is the future of disaster response when this page connected volunteers and victims just hours (not days or weeks) after the disaster hit. Large organizations such as FEMA and the Red Cross are just beginning to see the potential in social media. But, I believe the key is getting communities on board before a disaster strikes. This is particularly pertinent in rural areas where communication is tough to begin with. In the Rockaways, there was a Red Cross station in walking distance from almost anyone. This is not the case in rural areas and it is crucial that everyone be reached in a disaster. I see social media as the key to that.
MO: What are some tips or insights for running a successful business with your spouse?
Abbey: It is definitely a learning experience for sure! We have been married almost 6 years and we thought we knew one another until we started this business. One huge tip that we had to learn the hard way was clearly delegating duties. In a marriage and when running a household you don’t necessarily need this delegation. You both do the laundry, parent, budget, etc. However, when you are trying to build a brand, it is essential that there is one key voice to the company. One person should put out the newsletter; update social media channels, etc.
Another tip that we learned is to resist the urge to focus on the business all the time. We have two small children and in the beginning “shop talk” infiltrated dinner time, rides home from school, time at the park. We had to set more boundaries to make sure that our family was getting the attention it deserved as well as the business. As any married person will attest, a marriage takes work and maintenance as much as a business does and we had to make sure that we stepped away from the business from time to time to focus on our marriage and children.
MO: What’s one marketing strategy that’s worked really well for you?
Abbey: We are really big on content marketing. We constantly offer free tips on our social media channels and our blog. These tips have led to client engagement as well as direct sales. One example is a blog post that I wrote comparing IT people to doctors (http://dietemantech.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-only-way-to-get-results-from-your.html) the gist was that people only bring their computers in when they’re “sick” but it’s better to have regular checkups. One of our customers called after reading the post asking if he should have his computer looked at, even though there weren’t any signs of an issue. We had him bring it in and he had a ton of malware. After the “checkup” his computer was running faster and more secure.
MO: Can you share a bit about your exciting plans for launching a Kickstarter campaign to open a Technology Center in Oneida, NY?
Abbey: We are in the early stages of this project, but hope to have it completed within a year. Oneida is my hometown and the center of our business. Through running this business I’ve discovered that businesses in a small town such as Oneida have almost the same needs as businesses in a large city. However, the same resources aren’t available. We want to change that, at least for Oneida. For example, if one of our customers would like to use a teleconferencing suite to conference with a vendor in California, they would have to travel to find a venue where this was offered. Our plans are to create a technology center that offers a teleconferencing suite for rent; a social media studio where businesses can film Youtube videos, create Facebook cover art, etc; as well as tech bench where we can service all types of technology and a children’s center to make sure the kids even in this rural area have the same skills as their urban counterparts. We would also offer weekly workshops at this center to teach individuals and businesses multiple aspects of technology management. We hope to use Kickstarter to fund this center. We have gauged community support and businesses in our area are begging for this type of facility. Currently, we are researching possible sites and what other types of services this center would offer. We are hoping to launch the campaign this summer.
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