Writer: D'Lyn Ford
ALBUQUERQUE-Business owners can learn the ABCs of harnessing the Internet to improve the bottom line at a free, three-part workshop July 15, 22 and 29 in Albuquerque's South Valley.
New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service is offering the workshop as part of its Teleliteracy Assistance for Businesses and Communities, or Teleliteracy ABCs project.
"All business owners need to learn to use the tools of the new digital economy," said Bob Coppedge, interim Extension director. "It's a question of economic survival, because if you're not using the modern tools available to other businesses, then you're at a competitive disadvantage."
The project, which began in 2000 with a $250,000 grant from US West, now Qwest, has taught businesspeople in many rural New Mexico communities to tap into the Internet with workshops in Aztec/Bloomfield, Silver City, Las Vegas, Tucumcari, Portales and Alamogordo, among others. But now Extension is reaching out to businesses in urban areas as well, prompting the Albuquerque workshop in July and plans for a second one in the fall, said Adriana Zavala-Badal, an Extension Internet business specialist who teaches the classes.
"The workshops were initially designed for rural communities, but the information is essential for businesses everywhere," Zavala-Badal said. "It's really quite simple technology. Once businesspeople understand how to use the Web to market and grow their businesses, they become very excited about the potential."
Workshops will show participants how to conduct business transactions such as applying for licenses or placing ads online, and they'll explain why e-mail and Web sites improve efficiency, Zavala-Badal said
"The classes tend to be very basic," she said. "We won't teach how to build a Web site, but we will clearly show why businesspeople might need one and how to move forward on their own if they so choose."
The workshops are divided into eight lessons on the last three consecutive Tuesdays in July. The first three lessons will take place July 15 from 9 a.m. to noon. They cover who is using the Internet and why, how to use search engines and directories, and how to promote products online.
"In these first lessons, we'll show how to communicate with clients using e-mail, electronic newsletters and online promotional materials," Zavala-Badal said.
The next three lessons take place July 22, also from 9 a.m. to noon. They cover use of Web sites, sales in cyberspace and how to deliver products.
"We'll talk about Internet software to create simple, noninteractive home pages," Zavala-Badal said. "We'll discuss software for customer relationship management and for sales, such as online catalogs and using auction tools like e-Bay to advertise and move excess inventory. We'll also show how to control inventory, track sales online and build invoices electronically."
The final two lessons are July 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. They cover electronic payments and after-sales support.
All workshops are open to the general public and will be held at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce at 1309 4th St. SW. Free workbooks covering all eight lessons will be provided so participants can pick and choose the classes they want to attend. Participants are encouraged to preregister.
For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability in need of an auxiliary aid to participate, contact Zavala-Badal at (505) 688-4715 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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