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09/30/2003 - HeyCats!

Using e-mail, "surfing" the Web, buying and selling on line are commonplace --- so commonplace that everyone knows all about it. Right? Well, no. Small and medium sized businesses, those who can't afford to hire IT departments, need guidance. Business people have ideas about what they want from a Web site, but do not necessarily know how to make it happen. They need HeyCats! Web Solutions.

HeyCats! Web Solutions has been in business since May, 2000 and is located in the Peyton Building at 10 N. Post. Carol Bjork is the "Alpha Cat" and the engineer that creates Web sites and their administrative back ends --- she makes "your web site roar and your visitors purr."

HeyCats!' clients are primarily small and medium sized businesses, but the company also works with non-profits and government agencies. Bjork's clients cite her strengths as being an exceptional project manager, and having the ability to communicate complex processes and interpret technical jargon so that the non-technical client understands. Bjork is an "extroverted people person" --- unusual for a "techie". HeyCats!' clients get good value, according to Bjork. HeyCats! chooses to collaborates and partner with other professionals instead of maintaining a large payroll. This enables a more affordable product. Because Bjork has been a consultant since 1988; first as a civil engineer, then as a software engineer, she knows how to make the most of collaborating.

Before Bjork starts to build a Web site, she first learns about the company --- their goals, what their business is, and what they want to accomplish. She gets to know the clients and their needs. They brainstorm. "Anything is possible," says Bjork. She learns the personality of the company. When the wants and needs of the company are defined, specifications are written, and a cost estimate is given. "I ask the customer to 'think big' because many times they don't realize that some of the extra features they would like are easy to incorporate." "Then, if necessary, we break these features down (or phase the project) to fit the budget," says Bjork. "Clear communication is essential through the whole process."

Bjork is not a graphic designer, so she sub-contracts that part of the Web site. She chooses a graphics person that can best relate to the personality of the company. She also collaborates with other technical people as needed in a large or complicated project. The important points in a project, according to Bjork, are to have a professional Web site from start to finish, to actually finish the Web site --- no loose ends --- and to have fun doing it.

HeyCats! client list includes Columbia Fiber Solutions, Purcell Systems, Inc., and TINCAN. In her work for TINCAN, Bjork programmed the Inland Northwest Community Resources Directory (http://incrd.tincan.org/). The purpose of the Resources Directory is to provide a comprehensive list of social, health, education, training, and other resources in the Spokane regional community. The directory has a complex administrative back end so that each resource provider can maintain their portion of the database. This makes it possible for the directory to always be up-to-date.

"My motto," says Bjork, "is 'life is good'." "I believe in having fun when I'm working, and I believe in making the experience enjoyable for my clients." "I chose a lighthearted name for my business because I wanted my name to reflect that philosophy." Bjork is a certified woman-owned business (WBE) and is registered as a "preferred vendor" with the Office of State Procurement. When she's not managing a project or programming a Web site, Bjork is a photographer, mountaineer, and Jazzercise instructor.

For more information about HeyCats! Web Solutions, go to: http://www.heycats.com/.

Billie Moreland
 
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