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9:56am EDT July 22, 2002

Traveling at high speed

Business travelers have unique demands when staying in hotels. For example, most of us like to have a big desk and readily available sources of nutrition. Now, with increasing use of the Internet, we’re also looking for a place to plug in our laptop — and the faster the connection, the better. Viator Networks has responded to these demands with HoteLink, which provides high-speed Internet access to hotels and their guests.

“Five years ago, if you asked a hotel if they had high speed Internet access, they’d laugh at you,” says Todd Landfried, founder and president of Viator Networks. “In the next five years, it’s going to be as common as swimming pools.”

The company is currently in negotiations with every major hotel chain to provide this service.


Mail worth opening

“Effective direct mail is not rocket science,” professes Martin Baird, president of Robinson & Associates and author of a new report entitled, “Proven Secrets of Direct Mail: Seven Common Costly Mistakes.

Here are a few of those mistakes:

  • Writing a direct-mail piece as if you’re writing a letter. “Direct mail letters are written to get the reader’s attention, to educate, to encourage the reader to take action,” advises Baird.

  • Designing a direct mail piece that looks corporate. “You don’t work with corporations, you work with people,” he says. “A corporation doesn’t read your letter, a person does.”

  • Using a No. 10 business envelope with a bulk-rate stamp on the front. “These are simple signs that tell the person receiving the mailer that the sender doesn’t care,” he says.

To order the full report, call (602) 990-1775, ext. 4.


More important than money

It may be time to re-think your family-friendly policies. What you offered two years ago may not be enough anymore.

A nationwide survey conducted by Officeteam, an administrative staffing company, shows 26 percent of employees rate the ability to balance work and family as their top concern for the future. The concern beat out salary, which was ranked first by 23 percent, and job security, which was given top priority by only 17 percent of respondents.


Exposed

Karen Brown, founder, president and CEO of Data Now Corp., knew she was ahead of the curve when she set up a virtual workplace seven years ago. Now she’s receiving national recognition for her role in the emergence and acceptance of family-friendly workplaces.

Brown was featured in April’s Ladies Home Journal as part of a special report entitled “How Women Have Changed the Workplace.” Brown, who runs Data Now Corp. out of her Akron home, has 20 employees — most of whom are mothers — who all telecommute via the phone or computer.

While she’s received several phone calls and e-mails as a result of the article, the national exposure hasn’t brought her any tangible sales, yet. But for Brown, who started as a secretary, getting her story out is gratifying enough. “I think of myself 10 years ago reading that article, and my biggest hope is that it’ll inspire other women to go after dreams —that’s the biggest thrill.”


A pat on the back

If your business is located in Alliance, and you were not recognized at the Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce’s recent Business Alliance Awards, you might want to think about how you spent the last 12 months. The Alliance chamber recognized 85 local businesses for their contributions to the city at a mid-March reception.

Kathy Stroia, president of the chamber, kicked off the ceremony by handing out 82 Golden Spade Awards to new and/or recently expanded or remodeled businesses.

In addition, special awards went to the following: The Small Business of 1999 award was presented to East Ohio Stone owners Ed and Carol Allenbaugh; Francisco DeLeon, owner of Don Pancho’s Tex-Mex Cafe, won the Large Business of 1999 award; and the Spirit of Enterprise Award went to Richard C. Sherer, owner of R.D. Williams Office Supply.


Y2K overkill

If you’ve been thinking about expanding your product line to take advantage of the millennium — stand in line. Hundreds of millennium-themed items were unveiled at the Promotional Products Association International Expo in Dallas recently.

Some millennium-themed items hitting the marketplace include countdown clocks that play a mystery song when the date changes to 01-01-00; a millennium crystal ball, which lets you “look” into the 21st century; a millennium keepsake book, which becomes a time capsule when filled; millennium-themed screen savers; and New Year’s Eve party packs. Oh, and don’t forget to order your “We’re Y2K compliant” facial tissues to send out to your clients.


Computer time travel

It’s estimated that it costs the average business $9,092 to operate a networked PC. At that price, any computer down time comes at a premium.

A new software called GoBack allows Windows 95 and 98 users to recover software-related problems by taking their computers back in time — five minutes or five days ago —before the problem occurred. The manufacturer, Wild File Inc., asserts that the new technology will drastically cut computer down time by enabling employees to recover quickly on their own from software problems.

Come January, you might just want the option of sending your computer back to Dec. 31, 1999. For more information, visit the product’s Web site at www.goback.com.