How did you get started doing this type of work?
In 1981 I was fat and happy selling copy machines in the Charleston SC area. The Monroe Plain paper, dry toner copiers was THE new hot technology and I sold the fool out of them, worked 8-5, 5 days a week and brought home 3k per month. Nice gig for â81.
Later that year Monroe gave each branch office a Monroe OC 8820 computer (manufactured in Lexington, SC) for training purposes as they planned to begin selling this new product the following year.
Personal computers were new. IBM PC, Apple I and Tandy TRS-80s played games like pong but did little for business. Monroe hit the ground running with serious accounting and finance software along with Word Star, SuperCalc, and D-Base II, and a plan to become the business computer company of choice, the next IBM.
I figured out how to use the computer and wrote a contact management package to keep track of sales suspect, prospects, to-do lists, direct mail, telephone marketing, kind of like ACT or Goldmine programs today. My personal sales income climbed to 5k per month whilst retaining my 8-5 regiment; sweet deal!
At Monroeâs yearly sales awards ceremony I attributed my success to the new Monroe computer, whereby I was plucked out of copier sales bliss and whisked away to the newly formed computer division. Though I initially went âkicking and screamingâ, the training was excellent, and soon I found myself earning a good living. Some of my early sales included an F&I system to Bilton Ford, an income tax preparation program to Pinnacle One, and various loan / mortgage programs to South Carolina National Bank (now Wachovia).
In â84 Monroe came out with a 80186 computer and a package called Open Access that worked much like Microsoft Office works today. This package should have dominated the market as it was the best thing going at the time. However, after Monroeâs hefty investment in 80186 technology, IBM introduced the PC-AT with an 80286 processor, thereby rendering Monroeâs offering obsolete, and thus ending Monroeâs foray into the computer market.
So I took what I learned from Monroe and parlayed it into a business. I wrote accounting, point-of-sale, and loan / mortgage software and bundled these with AT&T and Victor computers, and offered high-value business solutions and service at reasonable prices. Also, inâ92 I wrote and integrate a shop-floor manufacturing system for Williams Technologies (now Caterpillar). This system integrated inexpensive off-the-shelf personal computers and software to control workflow and quality on a massive scale. The project was so successful that it halved production time, doubled profits, and greatly improved quality. In addition, the technology resulted in sales to Ford, Chrysler, Mazda, Nissan, Honda, and Hyundai., and a nice write-up in Computerworld and AME Target Magazine (Association For Manufacturing Excellence. And thatâs how I got into computers!
What types of customers have you worked with?
Regular network and computer maintenance eliminates costly service calls and downtime
Spec'ing new equipment and software
Virus removal and prevention
Showing customers how to accomplish tasks more efficiently using the technology they already own
Implementing open source software and programs to increase productivity at minimum cost
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Choose carefully as you would a Banker, Accountant, or Attorney. We recommend using the same level of care when choosing a Technology Partner as you would in choosing a bank, insurance company, accountant, or attorney, given the mission-critical nature your data.
Many start-ups use the "do-it-yourself" approach but quickly find that valuable time needed to advance business objectives is wasted on computer repairs and service. The "resident guru" can no-longer accomplish their "real job" tasks in a timely manner and may lack appropriate skills. And the "good buddy next door" may not be there when needed. Besides, there is a major difference between home computing and business processes. And what if there is a mistake? Choose a Technology Partner you can trust.
Also to be considered is the difference between home computers / networks and business systems. Business systems should use more resilient memory, drives, and components to meet mission-critical demands. You should find more consistency in Business system as they are manufactured and packaged to a higher standard. Use your trusted Technology Partner to assist in recommending hardware, software, peripherals, and their suppliers.