Franchise or Not?

Today I was asked about opening a computer repair business.  The person said “I am considering starting a computer repair business or going the franchise route as you have”…….

Here was my answer….

 This is what I consider to be the priorities in starting and being successful in the field.

1. Business sense – Do you understand business to include running a day-to-day business
2. Marketing – Do you know what kind of marketing you will have to do and the different avenues to utilize
3. Customer service – How are your customer service skills. If you have not been in business you can easily releate this to the interaction you have with with others. Do you find it easy to deal with others and have no problem helping others and just having normal conversations
4. Knowledge – How proficient are you in the IT field.

As you can see I put knowledge last and for this reason. Say a big thing is Virus’s or spyware, you don’t have to be a genius to fix these problems but you just need some knowledge and more importantly know where to look to find resolutions i.e. google, forums, etc.  Problems regarding say networking i.e. servers etc take a bit more time and knowledge and you might have to read, experiment etc to hone those skills but in time those are pretty easy to accomplish also.

So I guess what i’m saying is I would look at trying to do as much as I could myself utilizing all the resources I can find and then if needed bring in a tech for certain jobs or for set hours you can. Finding a decent tech is going to be a challenge in itself especially if only part-time.

As far as a franchise I do not see it helping you all that much. I did go the franchise route for many reason. And if I was to list those reasons now and put a check next to the ones that I feel have helped me or been a resource then i’d probably have alot of spots with no checks……There are benefits to a franchise but you really need to list what exactly you do know, what you think you need to know and how you think you can go about it before jumping in….

Dan
Computer Repair Business Lessons Learned

Being Successful

With the economy in a bit of hard times I deal with other business owners on a daily basis who wonder the same as everyone else when it will get better. Obviously, that is not something that you want to have to think about on a daily basis but some businesses owners have to do just that.

It makes me think how does one stay ahead? How does one make sure the at in times like this that their business will not be affected like others?

What I do is continually look at new things, products, services, etc and see how they can be incorporated into our business model. The way I look at things, the more services you can offer to your customers the better chance you have of always being in demand. Obviously this is not something that you want to do when times are not too good. You need to continually do this as part of your business plan. Always looking out for things, always seeing that new technologies are out there.

Make a list and try to add to it. You don’t have to implement everything you think of into your business but at least you have a list that you can pull from. Maybe something catches your eye then you do not act on it, but a year later there it is again. Now, maybe it’s time to move on it.

 I know we started like most others, small computer repair out of their home or a small store front. It did not take long to realize that we needed to do more to be successful and to get to a place that we wanted to be.

Things we have implemented into our business:

Online backups
Managed services
Remote computer repair
Web design & hosting
Community portals

On top of those things we published:
Computer Repair Business Lessons Learned (for this product it was not as much as how much it can make, but the satisfaction we get in helping others)
Pc Dice (been a great product for us carried by some of the big boyz)
American Home Inventory Protection (Nationwide affiliate program for home/business inventories)

I am sure there are other things also…..but you get the idea….

Stay on top of things. Always be looking for new things. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Upgrade Your PC

Read an article in the newspaper today that I found interesting. It was from a well known computer
computer business in another state. The article was about “Upgrading Your Computer” vice buying a new one.
It goes into detail about what you can purchase i.e. memory, hard drive, etc…

Then it says about replacing memory. Pretty easy thing for those that have done it especially in a desktop.
But, then it says about doing it in a laptop also….This I found interesting. Working on computers daily for
a living I typically will upgrade memory on laptops myself.  Some laptops you flip upside down and take a few
screws out and you can swap out the memory in them. But, there are other laptops that one piece of memory
will go in the bottom and then another will go under the keyboard. No typically in these situations that requires
a bit more skill to take apart the laptop especially without breaking the laptop keys, cables, etc….

Personally I would never recommend to someone that they should replace memory in a laptop…too many
things can go wrong….never a good thing.

Dan
www.ComputerRepairBusiness.net

Web Work

If webdesign is something that your buisness is not offering then it’s something you should look into. You don’t have to be a web expert in order to get into being able to provide this service you just need to do a bit of research.

There are sites out there such as www.forums.digitalpoint.com that have people on there you can outsource to and they can do 90% of the work for you. An example would be you have a potential customer that is interested in a website. All you need to do is find out what kind of information they would like on the site and then find yourself a freelancer on a site and discuss the project with them. I have found quite a few that are very easy to work with, very reasonable prices, and very dependable.

If you are not providing web services to potential customers then you are losing out on a revenue that could be considerable.

Dan
www.ComputerRepairBusiness.net

Advertising Web Site

If you have a computer business and are having a difficult time advertising then you should look at doing a community website that not only can you advertise your own business on but you can offer the service to other businesses in the area.

An example of such a site is: www.fredericksburgbusinesses.com

As you can see from the business I have Computer Medics advertised on the site as well as other local busiensses in the area. You can charge a nominal fee for advertising and there is little upkeep in this type of website. There are actual “portal’ companies you can pay and for a set amount each month they provide all the business listings, a layout, etc and you just run the site.

If you have you SEO (Search Engine Optimization) done correctly on these types of sites they can benefit you greatly.  Just think about how many people go to work then decide to look for whatever service they need performed at their home. They are not looking in the phone book, etc….They are looking online. The more ways you can get your name out there the better it is.

Dan
www.ComputerRepairBusiness.net

Ways to advertise

Ran across a site called Cause A Reaction . Pretty unique way of advertising by utilizing text messaging. Apparently this is pretty popular in Europe. And I would think that anyone here in the U.S. can look when they are outside and you will notice not many people are without their cell phones and most of them are doing some sort of text messaging.

Could be the next big thing….

Dan
www.CmoNova.com

Computer Repair Blog Update

As you can tell have been rather lax in updating the blog. But, going to put forth an extra effort now and make the blog more productive for everyone to enjoy.

Will start posting some tips, some thoughts on the Computer Repair Business, and whatever else we can think of in order to provide readers something to think about.

Dan
www.CmoNova.com

Holidays & Power

With the holidays coming up now is the time to make sure you computer assets are protected. With people plugging in lights and everything else there tends to be an increase in blown power supplies to computers etc….

You should go to your local store and pick up a UPS ( Uninterruptible Power supply).
Plug in your computer, monitor, printer, etc. That way should you have a power issue your computer assets will be protected. Price of a UPS is anywhere from $30+….But well worth it.