Keeping Connected to Your Web Hosting Business
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A web hosting business is a 24/7 concern. How do you stay connected to your business when you're not at the office? These days, you can go way beyond cell phones and pagers to take a truly proactive approach to being accessible to your customers.
When you’re a web host, your clients expect you to be able to keep their websites online 24/7. Their businesses depend on it, as does yours. But, with few exceptions, you can’t actually live at your place of business. How do you stay in touch when you are away from your office and your clients need you? Fortunately, there are many solutions to this problem. Some of these even go beyond merely being available, to the point that, depending on the job you actually do, you might not need to come into the office for days at a time.
Pagers and cell phones were the first steps. Obviously, this technology is hardly new; pagers date to the 1950s, and the first cell phone call was made in 1973. Now pagers are almost obsolete, except for emergency situations in areas where cell phones can’t achieve a good signal (such as deep inside hospitals) or to contact many people all at once (such as relief workers). Many cell phones now feature the classic “beeping” pager function, and can handle text messaging (another function that got its start on pagers).
These devices do allow users to contact people and tap into their expertise, but there is a small drawback. Being away from the office often means being away from the records you might need to look up to answer questions. Also, if you do not have the answer to a question, but you know someone else who does, getting in touch with that person may be tricky using just these devices (unless you have three way calling, which is available for a growing number of cell phones). This is where the home office can come into the picture.
Home offices not only predate the Internet, they predate computers. I can remember my father having a home office set up against a wall of his bedroom when I was growing up. There are plenty of articles that cover how to set up a home office, so I will not discuss it in any great detail here. Basically, if you have copied your computer records over, a home office lets you work at home as efficiently as you would at work, on similar equipment. Broadband Internet connections available for the home help speed things along. Those who keep home offices might be able to take deductions on their federal and/or state income tax for the expenses associated with them; check with an accountant first.
Of course, the home office, like the regular office, is a static location. To really stay in touch, you might prefer to be able to conduct business anywhere: the beach, the coffee shop, the hotel you are staying in for that big conference, and so on. For that, we need slightly more advanced technologies.
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