AN INTERVIEW WITH Jaclyn & Donnie Boutwell, owners of Media Systems
What have been your biggest challenges since the Covid pandemic began? We miss the handshakes and face time with our staff and customers. We're more disconnected than we have ever been as a society. We're a very up-close-and-in-person business. It has gotten better than it was a year ago in this regard but still disappointing.
Has anything changed about the way you do business or the services you provide? We offer several technology services from Networks and WiFi, to Home Entertainment systems, to security and surveillance. This last year, we've done more network and WiFi upgrades than anything. Another expanding category is remote management hardware that makes it possible to have a service call without a site visit. People also want the convenience of touch-less voice controls in the home, but many don't like the invasion of privacy they feel from big tech. We've been offering Josh.ai that is a completely secure and private voice assistant. Privacy has become even more important to our homeowners in this last year.
What's the secret to staying hopeful and forward-looking in tough times? Relationships are the key for us. Our team is a family. We support each other and help each other to succeed. Our customers are friends. Long term, meaningful relationships keep us encouraged and hopeful. When you're helping people, they don't care about your politics, and you don't care about theirs. It's a very human connection that we have to the community. Meeting a need brings people together.
What did you learn about yourself or your business that might inspire others? When my uncle, Steve Driskell, retired a few years ago, Jaclyn and I would say to each other as we were driving in each morning, "We can do this!" It was a declaration to encourage each other to stay the course. The pandemic has caused us to make some adjustments to our business, but our model hasn't changed, and it doesn't need to. "We believe that technology in your home should be easy to use, beautifully designed, and unbelievably reliable." Our mission statement is timeless and relevant no matter what is happening in the world. It's not a business plan, it's a belief about how things should be. I would encourage other business owners to reach back to the motivation that got them here in the first place. Those beliefs are still the reason to be passionate about your life's work. Don't let a shifting world change who you are and what you set out to do.