Hey folks.  Another post for Business Friday while it’s still here!  Many of you have likely started your weekends already but for those who are still in the office, we hope this is a welcome distraction for you!  This week I wanted to write about Skype and how it’s one of the many useful and cost effective (free.99) tools out there for small businesses.

Every new custom job we do (unless it’s a re-order from a returning customer) begins with a kick-off call.  It’s really the best way to start each job on the right foot.  Doing so reassures the client that their money invested in our design and letterpress services is well spent.  It also gives us the best idea or impression from the client as to what they need.  In the end, both parties leave the call informed and excited to see what our design team can concoct from deep within our wells of Dingbat Press creativity.

While most of our business is domestic, we certainly do work with foreign clients from time to time.  In dealing with these foreign clients, Skype is a necessary and ideal solution.  For example, recently, we sold some work to a client in Germany.   Wunderbar!  Depending on whether you’re working from Idaho or California it’s about an 8 or 9 hour time difference.  Not a big deal — we simply setup a time, shared our respective Skype usernames, and it’s a matter of click, shift-click, call and sha-bang-bang we had our three-way kickoff call.  And the call quality was fabulous.  One of our connections coming out of Idaho is typically shoddy; and considering our call had to send data to three locations (don’t forget crossing over the great Atlantic Ocean) I mentally prepared for the worst.  ’Twas not so, not slow in the slightest.  We enjoyed a pristine conversation until the very end where we actually did get cut off — however that had nothing to do with Skype and everything to do with a technician shutting off the power at the condo where I was staying!  We will absolutely continue to use Skype going forward for our international clients and recommend it to any small business owners who are looking for a long distance conferencing solution.  I expect as their group calling feature continues to improve and exits its beta phase, we will start using that down the road as well.

That’s about it for today.  We just wanted to share our experience and love of Skype with you out there who are looking to put together your own small shop.  And we look forward to Skype continuing to offer great service into 2011.  Hopefully they will make good on the money they plan to raise from their IPO next year!  I’ll gladly give.