[Editor's Note: This Q&A was extracted from the Small Wonders feature.]
Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s "Cake Boss" and owner of Carlo's Bakery in New Jersey, sat down with CRM magazine’s Brittany Farb to talk about how his choice to implement Avaya IP Office 7.0 spelled sweet satisfaction for his small business.
CRM: What made Avaya stand out?
Buddy Valastro: I really liked the fact that they were willing to go the extra mile, look at the business as a whole, and try to recommend solutions. They sold me something that grows. In five or 10 years, I could have 20 bakeries all linked up to the [original] bakery.
CRM: Have there been any surprises during the implementation?
BV: There are always surprises along the way. But they've been spot-on with everything. They help me build our network. I'm going to have a handheld phone in Jersey City [that can take a phone call from] Carlo's [in Hoboken] and be able to answer it. That's pretty crazy. I'm going to have another office phone duplicated at my house, so, from home, I'm going to have the same exact capabilities as I do at the office.
CRM: You're always going to be at work.
BV: I already am. So I might as well have it at my fingertips.
CRM: Do you have plans for other solutions?
BV: We're definitely going to be doing a lot of different things. And, as the business grows, I'm sure the technology is going to grow. They're a committed partner, and we both want to get this right. I'm glad they're seeing the potential of small to medium-sized businesses because I really think that we are the backbone of America. And I think that if our businesses do well, the economy will go right back on track.
CRM: What advice do you have for other small-business owners?
BV: You cannot be afraid of technology. You have to be willing to let go...[and] to try new things. That was very hard for me. I was there making 90 percent of those cakes that went out of Carlo's Bakery with my two hands. For me to be able to expand the way I am expanding meant relinquishing a lot of control. But with technology and being able to check in and understand, it's well worth it.