I recently purchased a Chromebook as part of my online business, for a few different reasons.
To start, I am getting ready to hire some part time help to assist with general customer service, blog writing and other odd jobs. I feel like, since I am asking my perspective employees to use part of their own cell phone minutes, that I should probably provide them a computer. We might find a way to handle calls over that machine as well.
In any case, I purchased a $250 Samsung Chomebook a few months back and have generally been pretty pleased with the entire experience.
My online wine club and gift basket business runs completely online, from customer data storage to our back end software and much more. I figure, if we can’t use a Chromebook when we’re 100% online either on our own software (Vin65) and Google Docs for some basic accounting needs, than no one can.
Here’s a few things that I have learned after a few months of running my business, almost exclusively from a Chromebook.
-Yes, the thing is close to worthless without an internet connection (Wi-Fi)
-Yes, it is more adept at finding those Wi-Fi connections than my old laptop was, even when they were sitting within feet of each other.
-It’s nice to not have to worry about antivirus or software updates. When I used to use my laptop only occasionally at my warehouse location to print orders that came in while I was there, I had to plan for not only start up time, but the inevitable software update that came in over the past few weeks. I drink less coffee now.
-Asking my warehouse owner (we’re a very small portion of a larger warehouse) for their Wi-Fi password was annoying and embarrassing.
-Google Docs work perfectly on the platform.
-All my cloud computing needs work perfectly on the platform.
-The PDF reader needs to be upgraded. I am often sent wine lists via PDF and the reader doesn’t read them perfectly, which is frustrating since there are already products on the market which read 100% of them and are free.
-Both printers that I needed to hook up to the machine work perfectly well, even in tandem. This was a relief. One printer is a standard laser printer that we use to print both gift messages and information on the wine which is being shipped. The second printer is much more a specialty piece, it’s a label printer for our Fedex account and the thing doesn’t always load properly even on Desktop machines. Luckily, I plugged the printer in and without even having to download any software for it, it printed a test page and then was ready to go. It was really pretty remarkable and certainly one thing that sold me on the Chromebook being an enduring presence for my business.
-Yes, it is incredibly light and easy to handle. Over the past few years taking trips to wine country, I have experienced the need to upload photos and videos after getting home since it wasn’t realistic to bring a heavier machine with me. The Chromebook allows me quicker access and less wasted time simply based on weight alone!
Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, an online wine club and gift basket business recently named the top wine club in America by Forbes Magazine. He enjoys talking about his business because he knows it helps others and over the long term, helps him earn more customers.