Even small businesses
master the 'Net, panel agrees
By ALEX PHILIPPIDIS
director of operations for a Maid Brigade franchise based in
Pleasantville and Greenwich, Conn., Mark Glazewski is a pro at
cleaning houses for customers. But, he confesses, he's so unfamiliar
with the Internet that every time he sends people an e-mail,
he follows up with a phone call to see if they received it.
"I'm a traditional businessman.
The whole thing (the Internet) kind of scares me. I feel that
it's all over my head and flying by," Glazewski told an
audience of some 80 business people at a technology seminar in
White Plains earlier this month. "Hopefully, the Internet's
not going to figure out a way to clean houses."
Four of the five guest panelists
on hand had some comfort, and answers, for Glazewski. The first
thing he needs is a new website specifically for his local franchise,
with a link to Maid Brigade's national website (www.maidbrigade.com),
said Edward L. Jenny, IBM worldwide Internet services offering
executive with the Global Small Business unit of Armonk-based
International Business Machines Corp.
More advice came from Michael
Drapkin, chairman of the e-commerce track of Columbia University's
Advanced Information Technology Management program and principal
of the Monsey consulting firm Drapkin Technology.
"Ask yourself, What can
I use this medium for that I can't do in other ways? Schedule
appointments? Cleaning tips? Emergency business?"
Drapkin and two another panelists
said the web should be seen as a means to an age-old end customer
"As a small business,
your competitive advantage is your relationship with your customers.
Leverage that. Use the Internet as a tool to get those communications
more effective, more personal, to solidify that relationship,"
said Steve L. Abrams, senior vice president for corporate payment
solutions with MasterCard International Inc. in Purchase.
The panelists were on hand
to address "How Your Small Business Can Utilize and Adapt
to the Internet," the title of the seminar presented June
10 by the New York State Small Business Development Center, Mercy
College and The County Chamber of Commerce Inc. at the White
Plains Public Library. MORE
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