September 9, 2007.
I love email, no really I do love my email!! I swear, I mean this with all my heart - I am not like those other fickle email users, that are hot and cold on their email accounts. When I hear someone bashing email, or saying I am addicted to it - I tell them to shut-up, thank you very much I do NOT have a problem.....and if I had a problem I would stop, I can stop anytime I want to - but I don't want to...sorry I uh, was starting to rant a bit. Anyhoo - I think all small business owners should embrace this part of technology (email) and work it!
I always have a paper, that would be ....email trail of the correspondence I have sent to my sales channels, my accountant, my ex-employees, my landlord - everyone. My email NEVER deletes emails without asking, it saves all of them - and I can go back years and years to PROVE I did send the information. This is invaluable way of communicating with people that do NOT like to be reminded of what they promised us, or they do not recall (bi-polar) what it means to sign a C-O-N-T-R-A-C-T, or that I kept notes, or those that do not USE EMAIL!! (sorry yelling again). Forwarding emails (forwarding a handwritten note or fax is not as easy) to people is a better way of saying, "See I told you so!"
2. Communicate Any Time or Anywhere
I can communicate with anyone and everyone at all hours of the day. When else can I go over our meeting agenda or finalize the copy for our newest website ramp? 5:00 a.m. in the morning of course - and NO ONE wants a phone call from me at that hour, I need more coffee! Doing clerical and office work from home in my pajamas is great and I would not have that liberty with out email (and I use GoToMyPC - worth looking into if you do have a small business OUT of the house). I appreciate the ability to check all accounts, orders, emails all from the luxury of my home office. If you do not have a way to check email remote - get one immediately! If email is down or Internet is down I use blackberry, wireless, or the website to download emails.
3. Not Now & Not Interested, But Thank You
I never, ever want to squash someones dreams. However, I do NOT always want to be there mentor, mother, best friend, bank account, life coach or therapist. I find it best to let those stalkers I mean uh........people down easy and Email is the best way!! Please, do not get me wrong, I love to help, the blog is to help, I answer all questions, but it is easier to get to the point, answer quickly - and hit send. It is so much easier to send and email to communicate why you can not give them your list of over 200 stores and all your company secrets to a total stranger, or why I can not design there website for them (I did not design mine, how could I design yours?), or give them Oprah's phone number..... I love that I can communicate with NO emotion, cause, uh.......well I may have oh a wee tad bit of some of that! And I can empathize, I have been there - needing help, not knowing where to turn - I get but I am busy. Case in point I spoke with a fellow entrepreneur for over two hours one day - I could not get her off the phone - and IF I had used email....well I would have those two + hours back.
4. So Many People, So Little Time
I can send out an email to all websites with information, I can let bedding catalogs I am available for exclusive designs. The physical stores (those with email accounts) can be informed of new products, specials and price increases. The Distribution List is a small business owners Best Friend - it allows us to communicate with everyone at once. So, uh how could I do that by phone? Or Mail? That is right...........I can NOT - Email rules. I have one for Friends & Family, one for Direct Orders, I have one for every segment of my company - I bet some of you are going "duh...." but trust me, not everyone uses this handy little gadget (read I did not till my husband said I was wasting time re-typing emails in over and over, and over....)
5. Tracers on Email
Did you know you can send an email to Oprah and find out if she actually got email and opened it? You can send New Product placement emails and find out that they actually DID get your email - even though they keep telling you they did not. Email is fabulous like that! You can also trace when the email was opened, so you know when to follow up. When I leave a voice mail, I have no guarantee the person even got the voice mail, or let alone listened to it. I have been known to actually just press delete when a certain family member calls to talk.....so I know that I am not the only one!
6. Organization - Folders
I am a bit of a pack rat when it comes to email. I save all correspondence....except that one I keep getting that says if I send this email to 20 close friends I will get great luck, or money or something. I have every sales channel in a separate folder, with correspondence, changes and orders saved. At the touch of a key I can go in and check an order, or find a missing order, or find out we did NOT get that order. I even keep folders for possible stores, press, blogs, supplies, materials - everything so that I can track it easily. Each of my employees has their own folders too - just in case I need to find an old email or re-send some information.
7. I Get Email on My Blackberry
Any working mom that wants to be connected at all times to work and home - get a Blackberry. I swear it is the best thing (other than my i-pod) that my husband ever got me - he is so romantic! I can stay connected when I am out and about to everyone in the office, any sales problems, any new store inquiries, any press ('cause they usually need your information like, yesterday). This is good and bad, as I have stated earlier....but I would say the good far out ways the bad. I am able to check both my direct email account and my orders email on a daily basis - gotta love technology!
So, there is my love letter to email - if it ever crashes I do NOT know what I will do. My family will need to have me committed for sure. The convenience of writing an email - or giving someone the easy way out - done by email to me - makes the sting a little less painful. When we got dropped from a magazine article, when we got dropped from a catalog (it does happen) I got it in email - that way I did not need to gravel, uh swear or cry on the phone. I was able to compose myself and send back a kind email wishing them good luck, not the um first words that came into my mind.....and honestly a lady should NOT say those words....