June 1, 2003
Q: I’m interested in a wireless solution for my small business, but I’m concerned about the cost. Is this a reliable option for me, and how much can I expect to spend?
–J. Clark, Via the Internet
A: When it comes to wireless, no one solution is a cure-all — it all depends on your business. According to Craig Settles, wireless technology consultant and author of Wireless, Inc. (AMACOM; $29.95), “There are $200 solutions and there are $20,000 solutions. It all comes down to what you’re trying to do.” Settles advises business owners to consider the following before investing in wireless technology:
Keep it simple. “Look at problems that can be resolved quickly but have a great impact on the company,” says Settles. If you have employees who work in the field (say, sales reps) and need to access e-mail, a wireless solution could result in five minutes saved per hour. When you add that up over time, it’s a simple solution that’s “a significant benefit to the company,” he says.
Look for value. In terms of determining value, Settles says your customers are usually a good indicator. “Ask yourself if adding a wireless solution would facilitate better customer relationships.” Ultimately, he says, wireless simply means moving data from point A to point B. “The question is, do you have people who need to get information, but can’t because they need to have access to a wired line? Wireless can provide the ability to get the information — bits of data, files, and documents — to people who need it.”
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