Tired of playing phone tag with vendors? Fed up with faxing your lawyer? Craig Aberle, president of MicroBiz, a software developer in Mahwah, N.J., was fed up. He issued an E-mail ultimatum to the nearly 1,000 people with whom he does business: Get E-mail or get lost.
About 95% of MicroBiz's $5 million in sales come through resellers across the country. Aberle sent each a letter saying, "We require all dealers to get E-mail, or we won't give you any leads." He threatened to stop doing business with those who refused to comply, figuring that "if only 50% of them agreed to go on E-mail, those are the 50% that are going to be in business next year." The same letter went to all of his less-dependent business partners who didn't have E-mail. His banker was already online.
At first there were grumblings, but within a few months, everyone was online. Since the mandate, MicroBiz's monthly phone bill has dropped from $35,000 to $16,000, and the resellers have started E-mailing each other.