Maria Hannah, owner of The Clean Dog Inc. (Photo by Craig Bromley)
Failure to upgrade hardware can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance of antiquated equipment, loss of data, and slowed productivity. Yet many small business owners fail to make the investment in a timely fashion. This month, to show entrepreneurs how much more they could accomplish if they had the right hardware, Black Enterprise enlisted the help of Dell Inc. to give one lucky small business a complete hardware makeover.
Maria Hannah, a former prosecutor for the County of San Diego’s district attorney’s office, is no stranger to makeovers. She began remodeling her life when she learned that her dog, Gracie, had a degenerative joint disease and needed a holistic diet and exercise to help maintain her health. Gracie wasn’t the only one who needed a change of pace. “While I enjoyed litigating, the lifestyle part was a little draining. I think my overall view of the world was getting a little pessimistic,” says Hannah, who also worked as a merchandise buyer before she attended law school.
So, in 2005, she made the switch to dog groomer. Her Atlanta-based professional and self-serve pet grooming salon is focused on providing high-end merchandise you can’t find in the big-box stores. BE chose The Clean Dog Inc. because, technically speaking, it represents some of the same problems that many small businesses face. Hannah had a hodgepodge of older inefficient hardware that didn’t keep up with the growing demands of her business. Even the new hardware Hannah purchased in 2010 wasn’t meeting her needs.
We asked an unsuspecting Hannah how she would upgrade her store if money wasn’t an issue. She envisioned a shop with a self-service kiosk and free Wi-Fi for waiting customers, digital signage to advertise to the busy foot traffic on her street, a new touch-screen point-of-sale system with updated software, and a faster laptop from which she could control the whole kit and caboodle.
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