TCW History: December 2022

Planning for the Future

By Thelma Tippie

Our history articles this past year, have reminded me of the small details that led The Computer Workshop to where we are today. After spending the time to write them all I have to say, I understand The American Dream.

In 1988, I was planning on being a consultant/trainer and that worked well for at least 6 months – then I thought, “If I could clone myself, I could do more, help more, and impact the world around me more”.

I asked a friend of mine if she would want to help me because she knew the world of Personal Computers better than me and I knew how to use Macintosh computers better than she did. That allowed us to teach both sides of the coin, so to speak. I quickly learned the PC and she learned the Mac – we made a great team, but changes caused her to ‘get a real job’ with more stability than a start-up business. One thing that I learned quickly as a start-up business was the importance of having good employees and knowledgeable people around you.

Looking back, from the first Salesperson, first Instructor, and first Receptionist - I have been blessed with outstanding employees! Many times, we were a ‘stepping stone' in an employee’s career, but they always gave 100% while working for us. I have found what really makes a company thrive are the employees who choose to stay over the years.  

We have had many employees throughout our 34 years. Here are employees who have been here more than 5 years: 

  • Terri Davy, 31 years
  • David Williams, 28 years
  • Cheri Stevenson, 26 years
  • Kim McFarland, 19 years
  • Brian Ireson, 18 years
  • Barbara Leatherwood, 13 years
  • Holly Sheneman, 10 years
  • Matthew Fuerst, 9 years
  • Jeffrey DeRamus, 6 years
  • Judy Fabec, 6 years

We have several who are just starting their Computer Workshop journey and we hope they stay for a long time to continue helping us help others. Luckily, a good way to retain your employees is by offering training and professional development for them; we have plenty of that around here!

To succeed in any endeavor, you must look into the future and have a vision. Sometimes that vision is long-term and sometimes it is short-term. I have found that the training industry is ever-changing, so we are constantly looking at the next upgrade, the newest technology, and the best ways to service our clients.

I look back on my business plan from 1988 (yes, I still have a copy) and I smile. My predictions for growth were spot on, but in this quickly changing technical arena, it was impossible to look too far ahead! For example, WordPerfect and Lotus were very popular in the ’80s and into the ’90s. Now they are seldom heard of in our industry. Networks and using the internet were someone else’s dream back then – no planning could be done for those! Videos were used for marketing, but it took a lot of time and money to produce them. Now any individual can make and post a video on social media from their cell phone!

Today, with all the analytics available to us, we do a much better job of looking ahead. We are able to predict market trends based on real data which produces better results. Technology has been able to make connections we could have never dreamed of 34 years ago. In 1988, having clients and employees across the United States was not part of the business plan, but now with current technology, it is much easier to communicate no matter where you are. Covid, as bad as it is, did force us to look at the world through a different lens. So no matter where you are in the world, you can attend one of our classes or come work for us.

Who knows what the future will bring, but one thing I do know is you must plan for whatever it is – even if the plan is being ready and open to change. January is around the corner, and what is in the future is yet to be seen so embrace it and be ready for your next step! If you need any additional skills to accomplish your 2023 goals, give us a call – we're here to help.