BUSINESS connections S P R I NG 2 0 2 3 VOLUME 5 • I SSUE 4 3 8 Ways to Use QR Codes 4 Business Spotlight: The Old Grainery 6 Difference Between Wired and Wireless Internet 7 Outsource Your IT with Adams Experts I NS I DE CONT ENT S Wheels,Windows, and Other Wonders There’s so much to discover at The Old Grainery!
2 S P R I N G 2 0 2 3 Without question, this issue’s theme is questions. QR codes on sales receipts or T-shirts? Farm antiques from local auctions or imported treasures from around the world? Wired internet or wireless internet? In-house IT or outsourced IT? We explore these questions in the articles ahead. On page 3, we share 8 Ways to Use QR Codes. After being in decline before 2020, QR codes are having a resurgence. You’re sure to find creative ideas you can put to work at your business. You’ll find a Business Spotlight on The Old Grainery on pages 4 and 5. Owner Chuck McNett describes the fascinating history, growth, and product variety of his business, located in Payson, Illinois. McNett started buying farm antiques at local auctions and grew the business to include treasures from around the world. The Old Grainery uses Adams Fiber internet and counts on Adams Experts for Virtual IT, email filtering and phishing training, and Microsoft 365 services. Turn to page 6 to Understand the Difference Between Wired and Wireless Internet. Then on page 7, learn the advantages to be gained when you Outsource Your IT with Adams Experts. Do you have questions about our technology solutions? Please contact the Adams team. We have the answers you need. Sincerely, Jim Broemmer Chief Executive Officer Adams BUSINESS SALES: 217-214-8708 OFFICE LOCATIONS: 405 Emminga Road Golden, IL 62339 3555 N. 24th Street Quincy, IL 62305 Business Connections is a publication of Adams TelSystems, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, electronic, photocopying, recording, mechanical, or otherwise without the prior written permission of Adams TelSystems, Inc. All rights are reserved. EDITORIAL AND CIRCULATION CONTACT: Bridgette Northern 217-696-8435 TRADEMARKS: All brand names and product names used in this publication are trade names, service marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners. ADDITIONAL ISSUES: Extra issues are available to business customers on a limited basis while supplies last. Contact Bridgette Northern at 217-696-8435. POSTMASTER SEND CHANGES TO: Bridgette Northern Adams TelSystems, Inc. 3555 N. 24th Street Quincy, IL 62305 Copyright © 2023 by Adams TelSystems, Inc. and Cornerstone Publishing Group, Inc. BUSINESS connections
S P R I N G 2 0 2 3 3 BUSINESS connections If you’d like to get started with QR codes—or expand your use of them—check out these ideas: 1. Offer incentives and coupons via QR codes. Link a QR code directly to an online coupon or special offer and then track engagement to determine the offer’s effectiveness. 2. Use QR codes to encourage reviews. A QR code that links directly to a review site like Google or Yelp makes it quicker and easier for customers to leave a review. If you own a store or restaurant, consider putting QR codes on sales receipts. 3. Enhance the customer experience with QR codes. For example, museums and attractions often place QR codes throughout their venues that link to audio and video files, maps, and more. 4. Have customers scan a QR code to access Wi-Fi. This can eliminate the need for them to enter a password. 5. Place QR codes on giveaways like T-shirts. It’s an impactful way to help spread the word about your business. 6. Simplify app downloads with QR codes. Once a customer scans the QR code, it directs them to the download page of the app to start the download. 7. Link QR codes to videos and photo galleries. Your business can direct customers to how-to videos about using your products or show video tours or photos of properties for sale. 8. Take QR codes outside. Put a poster with a QR code on the front door or exterior wall of your business, so even after hours, passersby can check out your website to learn about your products and services. To maximize the effectiveness of your QR codes, make sure you give people a clear and compelling reason to scan them. It’s also important to pay attention to positioning. A QR code that’s placed too high up in a store display, for example, may not be usable. They’re a cost-effective way to connect, inform, and engage Before 2020, QR codes usage was on the decline in the U.S. The initial novelty had worn off with customers, and many marketers all but abandoned the technology. Then the pandemic arrived, and businesses needed creative solutions to cater to a newly touch-free society. QR codes fit the bill, and now they’re back in a big way with no signs of waning. 8 Ways to Use QR Codes
4 S P R I N G 2 0 2 3 Chuck McNett, owner of The Old Grainery, began buying and reselling items from estate auctions in 2000. Having worked on his father-in-law’s farm through college, he had a solid background in the farm primitives being sold. When McNett listed some of the unique pieces on eBay, he was surprised by the level of interest shown by people around the world. Those old items led to a new business. He initially worked out of an unused grainery building on his father-in-law’s farm, which inspired him to name the business The Old Grainery. After years of growth, the operation had to move to a larger location, but the name had stuck. The Old Grainery now operates from a 13,000-square-foot warehouse at 6411 Ehrhardt Road in Payson, Illinois. Growing and Evolving McNett said, “I employ about 10 people on a regular basis, with additional people rotating in and out depending on what’s needed at various times. The ever-evolving nature of The Old Grainery and the role it plays in the larger market demands a fluid response in the number, skills, and type of employees required.” Although The Old Grainery still markets farm primitives, antique furniture, and more from local auctions, it also imports containers of items from other countries. They include: • Antique elaborate doors from a French colony in Egypt • Breadboards, carboys, and Oktoberfest tables and benches from Germany • Hand-carved wooden chests and reverse-glass religious paintings from Hungary • Traditional and contemporary chinoiserie from China • Rustic architectural window frames, metal art, and décor from Mexico What are some of the most unique items ever sold by The Old Grainery? McNett replied, “We’ve sold prosthetic limbs, antique cars, embalming equipment from funeral homes, and used antique coffins.” The Old Grainery also has an Amish partner who supplies wood products for flooring and accent walls as well as custom-built offerings such as doors, tables, benches, stools, shelving, and bookcases. Adams Fiber Internet is Essential Over 80% of the inventory is listed for sale online and can be found at www.theoldgrainery.com as well as eBay, Etsy, Instagram, and Facebook. Twice a year, The Old Grainery sets up a tent at the Round Top Antiques Show in Round Top, Texas. Modern technology is required to sell antique items The Old Grainery BUSINESS spotlight
S P R I N G 2 0 2 3 5 BUSINESS connections Not surprisingly, it takes modern technology to sell so many antiques to so many people. The Old Grainery uses Adams Fiber internet and counts on Adams Experts for Virtual IT, email filtering and phishing training, and Microsoft 365 services. “Without internet access, The Old Grainery doesn’t have a functional business. Although we enthusiastically welcome our local, walk-in customers, most of our business happens online. Our warehouse sits in the middle of rural corn and bean fields, but Adams Fiber internet access allows us to reach out to a global market. We’re completely dependent on it to communicate with customers, contact vendors, research items, make sales, conduct financial transactions, arrange shipping, and more. Adams Fiber internet provides the reliable and secure infrastructure we need to do all of that,” said McNett. Tech Support of All Kinds He also appreciates Virtual IT from Adams Experts. This service troubleshoots and solves problems as they occur in real time and allows The Old Grainery to do what it needs to do with little interruption. In addition, Virtual IT provided by Adams Experts upgrades software and hardware, suggests more secure backup measures, and provides services needed to pass cyber liability insurance controls. “If we’re experiencing a software issue, we let Adams Experts know, and they deal directly with the providers of our software platform instead of us struggling to do it. They speak the same IT language and can have a tech-to-tech conversation. Virtual IT also helps us with any issues that crop up during our spring and fall shows in Round Top, Texas. The Old Grainery maintains a warehouse there and conducts business from this second location for over a month during these shows. Adams supports our operations no matter where we’re working. When the unexpected happens, help is only a phone call away,” McNett said. He added, “The Old Grainery relies extensively on Adams to meet the challenges of doing business in today’s world.” Our warehouse sits in the middle of rural corn and bean fields, but Adams Fiber internet access allows us to reach out to a global market.” — CHUCK MCNETT, OWNER, THE OLD GRAINERY Fiber Broadband Connections Bridge the “Last Mile” Fiber broadband is the fastest and most reliable method of delivering high-speed internet. Here’s why: Like DSL, cable, and fixed wireless, fiber broadband connections bridge the “last mile” between the mainstream internet “backbone” and the customer’s location. But that’s where the similarities stop. Only fiber networks transmit data using light over specialized cables packed with glass fibers. Since light moves at 186,000 miles per second, this enables internet speeds up to 1,000 Megabits (one Gigabit) per second. While you may think of fiber as a new technology, the internet “backbone” that connects cities and countries has been built with fiber-optic cables since the dawn of the internet. The first submarine fiber-optic cable connected the U.S. to France and Britain in 1988. What’s new about fiber broadband is the use of fiber-optic cables to connect the “last mile.” Adams is deploying “last mile” fiber-optic cables in our service area. Because of this investment, our customers can connect to more opportunity, more productivity, and more efficiency. For details, call us at 217-214-8708.
6 S P R I N G 2 0 2 3 Internet service providers have a choice of technology with which to build their networks, which can be divided into the two main categories of wired and wireless. Understand the Difference Between Wired and Wireless Internet Get Ready to Celebrate Small Business Week Since 1963, the Small Business Administration (SBA) takes the opportunity each year to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Small Business Week is held during the first week of May. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. During National Small Business Week, the SBA recognizes the 28 million small businesses that drive our nation’s economy and showcase the resources and services the SBA provides to entrepreneurs at every stage— whether they’re just starting up, expanding, or getting through a tough time. If you own a small business, take a moment during Small Business Week to remind your customers and supporters why you started your business by sharing your story on social media. For more ideas on ways to celebrate, visit www.sba.gov/nsbw. Wired Systems are More Reliable and Secure Wired internet is carried over either coaxial or fiber-optic cables. Coaxial cables have a copper center conductor surrounded by an insulating material, a braided shield, and a protective covering. Fiber-optic cables contain a strand of glass about the size of a human hair, with an outer covering to protect it. Wired systems are generally more reliable than wireless because they offer better signal integrity. They’re not affected by weather, topography, or other “line of sight” obstructions. Wired systems also tend to be more secure since data transmitted through wire is more difficult for someone to hack than data that’s essentially floating around in the air. Wireless Systems Have Significant Drawbacks Wireless internet typically comes into the premise by radio waves, transmitted from cell phone towers or satellites. Wireless systems require a receiver at the premises, such as an attachment on the computer, a modem, or a satellite dish and receiver. Every obstruction along the way is a barrier to wireless data and can weaken the signal—including buildings, hills, trees, and rain— since antennas need to have clear sightlines between them to pick up the transmission. Even the air itself slows the effective speeds that can be achieved wirelessly. Another problem with wireless systems is that their signals degrade with distance. The further away the user is from the broadcast station, the weaker the signal. So, while wireless systems can reach people in rural areas, the signal degrades as it travels further from the broadcast point, leading to decreased quality of internet service. The Adams network is primarily wired, and we continue to invest in this infrastructure. For details on the stable and secure internet services we offer, visit www.adams.net.
S P R I N G 2 0 2 3 7 BUSINESS connections Outsource Your IT with Adams Experts As a business owner or manager, you have enough on your plate. Instead of trying to handle technology issues on your own, let Adams Experts function as your on-call IT Department. That way, you and your employees will have more time to focus on the core competencies needed to serve your customers and grow your business. Adams has 71 years of communications experience in the local area—from the first telephones to today’s fiber internet—so you can rely on Adams Experts for your company’s technology needs. Our highly skilled and trained Adams Experts team can monitor, protect, and prevent issues with your network and computers. On an as-needed basis, your business can choose from these technology products and services: Does your business need a more comprehensive and proactive IT solution? We recommend you take advantage of Virtual IT, which is a monthly service from Adams Experts that’s customized for each business, depending on their specific technology requirements. Virtual IT provides 24/7 monitoring of your server and computer workstations, backup, antivirus, and network services. By staying one step ahead of potential technology issues, Virtual IT eliminates costly downtime and will keep your company’s technology up to date and running seamlessly. It also provides valuable peace of mind. Call 217-214-8708 for a free consultation with Adams Experts. Employee Profile Dylan Sherman Network Business Technician Dylan Sherman studied Network Administration at Southeastern Community College and joined Adams in 2021. His previous employer contracted with local schools to provide technology services. Sherman’s primary responsibilities as Network Business Technician are to provide support and maintenance to local businesses for all the products Adams sells and the devices it installs. What’s a typical workday like for him? “A typical workday isn’t very typical. I could be upgrading servers for one customer or setting up a domain for another. I could be removing viruses from someone’s computer, or I could be seeing why their network is down and trying to bring it back up so they can work,” Sherman replied. He added, “I find helping the customer to be the most rewarding part of my job. I enjoy learning about new technologies and implementing them to enhance the workplace.” Sherman and his wife of seven years have a 4-year-old son. Their family also includes a 12-year-old dog. • Antivirus • Computer Maintenance and Monitoring • Firewalls and VPN Solutions • Backup Solutions • Hardware and Software Sales • HP, Lenovo, and Cisco Reseller • Routers • Software Updates • Server Management • Switches • SIP Trunking • Phone Systems • PRI Services • Local Sales and Service
“Our Hosted VoIP and Data solution can grow with your business.” Contact an ADAMS representative and switch today. 217.214.8708 | www.adams.net Adams offers hosted VoIP solutions that enable businesses to reduce their costs and simplify their networking needs. With hosted VoIP, you can benefit from the following advantages plus our local sales and service: Convergence: Offers your business a combination of reliable, feature-rich voice, data, and networking services. Cost Reduction: Eliminates capital expenses of a phone system. Plus, we handle the installation and maintenance to further reduce your expenses. Service Quality: Leverages our secure IP network and on-premise integrated access devices to ensure the highest quality of service. Scalability: Virtual system can be perfectly matched to your unique business needs, so you only pay for what you use. Consolidated Connectivity: Easily connects branch offices by incorporating our 100% fiber network into your communications solution. Experience the power of ADAMS Hosted VoIP and Data - the complete business phone and high-speed internet solution that provides everything your business needs. Kelli Fohey Account Executive Fiber Voice Fiber Data Virtual IT