Company Teamwork at VT KnowledgeWorks Makes It Real

One VT KnowledgeWorks member company sought national and international customers for its products and services.

Another VT KnowledgeWorks member company had access to national and international customers for a company's products and services.

Anne Clelland and Barry Welch - Part of a handshaking team at VT KnowledgeWorks Thus a team formed at VT KnowledgeWorks.

Barry Welch, founder of Internet Databases, welcomes customers from all locations and all time zones since the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) system he created, FurnishWEB, is a 24-7 access, online order tracking and management system for the home furnishings industry.

Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake Media, Incorporated, welcomes clients who seek national and international customers since her digital public relations agency specializes in the use of social media and Web 2.0 tools to reach national and international audiences.  She places some of the content created for clients on Handshake 2.0, her company's private label social media news and public relations distribution channel.

What resulted? 

Jim Schweitzer, Operations Manager at Vision Point Systems, an engineering and technology consulting firm with an office at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, read the press release.  He posted this Twitter update: "Wonderful, data!  Makes it real!"

Here's the full story from the press release:

Social Media Increases Flow of Traffic to FurnishWEB

At a time when businesses are clamoring to determine the ROI of social media, Barry Welch, developer of FurnishWEB, is seeing results.

Blacksburg, VA (PRWEB) September 11, 2009 — When Barry Welch, founder of Internet Databases and developer of FurnishWEB, a web-based online ordering and product inventory data management system serving the home furnishing industry, wanted to increase the industry's awareness of FurnishWEB, he turned to social media to help him get the word out.

Welch, a seasoned entrepreneur with a ten-year success record in providing custom web development services for the home furnishing industry, called on the expertise of social media expert Anne Giles Clelland, founder of Handshake Media, Inc., to give both him and FurnishWEB more exposure online than having only a web site could offer.

According to Welch, “There has been a learning curve on my part to relate social media and public relations to my business. Anne suggested I give it a try for two months and I'm glad I did. I've made contacts in my industry I would not have made and there is more 'churn' in the market relative to our service. Plus, our website traffic is up 14%.”

“In an era of media fragmentation,” Clelland said, “Barry Welch’s willingness to both run a company and to engage with industry experts, current customers, and potential clients online – in not one but many social media channels – shows true, innovative leadership.”

“Connect and communicate” is the mantra Welch set for the company he founded 10 years ago. By using Facebook, Twitter, a FurnishWEB YouTube channel, and blogging, he's found that he can engage with existing and potential customers at a deeper level from the very start. “We've always considered ourselves to be readily accessible to our clients, now we find that by adding this level of exposure, we're that and more,” says Welch.

While his FurnishWEB blog addresses topics of interest to existing and potential users, Welch writes his CEO blog to share insights and experiences on business, leadership, and life. There he is able to focus on topics that he hopes will help other entrepreneurs as they learn and grow.

As the furniture market continues to expand globally, Welch believes FurnishWEB is well-poised to build a world-wide customer-base. “Our good name is our biggest asset,” said Welch, “and by having a social media strategy, more people are discovering who we are and what we have to offer.”

Handshake 2.0:


VT KnowledgeWorks is a unique growth enhancement program open to entrepreneurs in the New River Valley of Virginia and beyond.  Acceleration center and incubation facilities are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Latimer, Mayberry & Matthews IP Law, LeClairRyan, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

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