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David Geller

David Geller: Profit from That Clunker

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On Running Your Shop: Profit from That Clunker

BY DAVID GELLER

Published in the April 2013 issue.

Let your old computer live out its remaining days helping your shop make money

Before you trash an old Windows computer, think what that clunker could do to improve shop profits.

We tried our best to take pictures of every custom piece we made. In addition, we’d take some beforeand- after pictures of unusual repairs. Our photos were displayed in typical “Grandma Brag books” and laid on the counters for customers to browse through.

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Using an old computer to display your photos in a continuous slideshow not only shows you’re high tech, it’s a virtually free way to advertise your shop’s capabilities. Point the monitor toward your front windows at night so passersby can view your work when you’re closed. If you’re near a restaurant, drug store, or other late-night place, you’ll surely attract interest.

Here’s how I suggest setting up such a slideshow, and best of all, you don’t need to buy anything — you have it all! What you’ll need:

Monitor. If you have one now, great. If not, a 17- or 19-inch monitor from Office Depot or the like is about $100 to $125.

Computer and keyboard. Should be away from customers so they can’t mess with anything. 

Controls on the computer. Some people have the computer set to go to sleep. In Windows go to the Control Panel and click on “Power Options.” Then choose “Change Plan Settings.” There are two boxes. Select “Never.” Now the computer will run 24/7.

Software. There is a great, free picture capture program called Jing (www.techsmith.com/jing). You use it after opening an image. After capturing the picture you can add boxes, arrows and text like “Look what we did with this broken chain!” Then save the picture in your folder for the slideshow.

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Pictures. Go to My Pictures and make a folder called “Jewelry Slideshow.” Copy or save the pictures you take of customers’ jewelry after adding any comments here. Make a few slides of your company information as well. You know: hours, phone numbers and any other information a customer might want to know. Make this in Microsoft Word and then use Jing to capture a picture of the information and save it as a photo in your “Jewelry Slideshow” folder so it will be seen among the other images. I’d make a few copies (different names) and spread them out throughout the slideshow. You might also want to think about including some photos of your jeweler at work and interspersing them throughout.

Action! Turn on the computer then to “My Pictures” and to the “Jewelry Slide Show” folder and double click on the first picture. It will open up and at the bottom there is a round blue circle. Put your mouse over it and it will read “Click to play slideshow.”

In our price book, redesign jobs start at $600. The typical custom sale is $1,500 to $3,000! Darn good work for an old PC, eh?

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