Everyone wants to work from home these days. Who wants to commute to an office and sit in a cubicle when you can be just as productive in your own home wearing what you like without having anyone looking over your shoulder?
Whether it’s in business for yourself or over a high speed connection to the office – work at home is hot – and that’s a lot of work to be had for you as an IT entrepreneur.
But before choosing a logo for your Superfixit5000 van it’s important to get down to some fundamentals and proper planning (the logo bit does come – all in good time). Like any other business a proper plan, some research and the ticking of a few key boxes are what will get your venture off the ground and flying high. Here are just a few:
1. Know your market – home users (duh!), but seriously. Who are they? What do they do? The corporate employees will have their own remote support so you’ll be targeting the entrepreneurial types (like you) and recreational computer users.
2. Know what to expect from them – what problems will they typically encounter? What should you get up to speed on so you can diagnose and fix their issues quickly and efficiently? More often than not it will be spyware related – expect to see a lot of that.
3. Know your competition – Who is doing the same, how are they doing it, how much do they charge, what services do they provide and how do they advertise? Do they have special promotions or bundles?
4. Professionalism is everything – you need professional looking work orders, invoices, website, business cards and flyers that make people take you seriously.
5. Have a strong brand – Now it’s time for the logo! Have a consistent brand that identifies you, sticks in people’s minds and differentiates from the competition.
6. Get connected – who can help you build and grow your computer repair business? Where are the best suppliers, can you outsource and project manage the services you don’t provide yourself? Can you quickly refer people to non competing complimentary businesses to fulfil their needs and charge referral/finders fees?
7. Plan for growth – do this from the beginning. A business plan is a must and you need to be prepared to deal with having to get help when there’s too much work and budgeting to cover quiet periods. Having a growth and investment strategy is what will take your business to the next level and ensure you never have to take orders from anyone else ever again.
Home users and small businesses are in dire need of friendly capable computer professionals to see to their IT needs. To really get the most out of all the potential business you need to put on your entrepreneur cap and think in terms of opportunity – at every opportunity.
When you’re in someone’s home or office looking at their computer problems you’re more than just a fix it person. They’re going to ask you for advice on their IT strategy and will expect you to have answers. Even if they don’t ask, you are guaranteed to see disasters waiting to happen and potential improvements – so think like a consultant and don’t be afraid to make recommendations.
The success of your enterprise will hinge largely on people’s perception of you and how you run your operation. Word of mouth advertising and recommendation is your bread and butter. Go out of your way to overdeliver and meet their needs (including the ones they don’t know about) with a well thought out professional service.
To do that you need a plan and a roadmap – invest the time early to build a solidly founded home computer repair business and you’ll never have to work for anyone else again.
Peter Webber specialises in helping IT entrepreneurs plan and build their home computer repair business through his site which covers many aspects of working in the IT industry. He is himself a freelance IT contractor and consultant.