Don't Fence Me In

Barbed wire fenceI'm living in Phoenix for the winter, and I have a volunteer job in a nearby regional park. One of my chief duties is to help keep our four-strand barbed wire fence in repair. I have absolutely no background for this, but I enjoy going out with one of the other volunteers and riding the fence line in the county's pickup truck. Yesterday the other guy and I were talking about fence repair, and I was joking about quality control. I mentioned zero-defects and six sigma, and he asked what six sigma was. I'll leave it to you to look up the term, but it got me to thinking about quality control as a function of information.

How can your website, as a conduit of information about your organization, help you to make better products and provide better services? The first thing that occurs to me is that you will have more than one audience for your website. Sure, you want to provide information about your organization to customers, but you also want to address other audiences - suppliers, consultants, subcontractors, jobbers, etc. It won't come as a surprise to you that our world is interconnected. You can take advantage of that interconnection with the internet. Set your website up to let your business partners know more about you, and with that information, they can better meet your needs. Also, potential business partners you may not even know about can find your website and approach you with ideas, services or products that will make your product or service better.

For instance, suppose you need some printing done. Sure, you can tell the printer what you need, but your website can provide guidelines for printing your logo, your expectations of quality, a link to a file server so that proofs can be exchanged, high-resolution photos of key personnel, and many other things that could contribute to a higher quality print job. You should not leave your business partners to guess about your quality expectations, or fill in the gaps themselves. Use your website to define your expectations for quality.

Now some of you may be thinking, sure, now I'll be solicited by salespeople. I don't have time for that. Honestly, and bluntly, you need to make time. You're great, and I love you, but you don't know everything. If a potential business partner sees you on the web and thinks they have just the right thing to make your organization better, then you should listen to them. Maybe they can help you improve. Your website can be a doorway to the latest and greatest innovations out there.

You don't want to erect a fence around your business, barbed or otherwise. Let the world in and let them help you achieve your own dreams of success.

Guest blogger Dennis Mathis is a long-time resident of the Four Corners who nurtures an interest in writing, marketing, technology, reading and business. About a year ago, he retired from a public relations job and is now formally self-managed. It is a harder job than he imagined it would be. He and his wife, Nancy, live in a log cabin near Lemon Lake decorated with birdhouses, and when the water is calm, they kayak along Lemon's graceful shoreline.