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Friday, January 4, 2008

Second Life, SalesForce.com, and our small business

It seems like this blog is a bunch of miscellaneous ramblings about everything from info systems to customer service. That's the nice thing (or bad thing, depending on your perspective) about blogging and Web 2...there's no editor making decisions about what you can and cannot publish. At any rate, I've been thinking a lot about soundtraining.net and our business model lately. Business has been very good and all indications are that it will continue to be good, but I wonder if the somewhat traditional model we use for both promoting our training services and delivering same is the best model for us to use. We've been exploring Second Life (my SL name is Don Baroque and Janet's is Tenaj Baroque), we're about to invest heavily in a CRM application (we're considering everything from Microsoft's CRM solution to SalesForce.com to open source solutions such as SugarCRM and vtiger CRM) with the idea of further engaging our customers in the relationship with soundtraining.net. We'll soon be adding live reviews to each course page on our website. My point is not to ramble on and on about all the cool things we're doing, but instead to say we're actively pursuing new ways of running our business and interacting with our customers. As a small business competing with some very large businesses (and even some not-for-profit organizations), one of our challenges is how to differentiate ourselves from our competitors in positive ways that are meaningful to our customers. Do Web 2 things like blogs and customer reviews really make a difference for this type of business? Is Second Life an important way for us to invest our time and money in terms of growing our business? I don't have many answers to questions like these, but we're certainly trying to figure it out. I'll share my thoughts as we go through the process. I'd also love to hear your thoughts.

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