Need for Focussed Markets in Computer Service Businesses

You may be the owner of a computer service business and you may need better results from your marketing efforts. Many entrepreneurs think catering to the home user or the B2C (business to consumer) category is a thriving place to do business. They may start out as a one-person or two-person operation. But they soon realize the difficulty of making enough profit in the venture.

In your computer service outfit, you may be targeting all ‘small’ businesses, but you need to know that there can be different types of small businesses. In this article we look at 3 different definitions of the ‘small’ in small business and recommend types of small businesses that should be the best focus for your business.

Increase your knowledge about micro-small businesses and home-based businesses. In a home-based business, there are usually a couple of computers used by one individual. In a micro-small business, there are usually 5-10 people with corresponding number of computers. If you focus on this segment you are likely to have a hard time when trying to sell ongoing services agreements like AMC. Both types of businesses are still technically ‘small businesses’, but they may not the best focus for your marketing efforts.

Don’t target home-based and micro-small businesses. These businesses usually have home PC’s which are not that good candidates for implementing advanced client/server networking solutions. Also, they usually use software that has been pirated. This will give you problems when you develop complex networks and long-term technology plans. Most of these kinds of businesses are often unable or reluctant to pay you for high-end, sophisticated IT services. They also tend to believe that IT is not very important to their operations, so they would not need your IT services. They may be too small to afford a dedicated, real server and a client/server setup, making your professional solutions look like overkill.

Concentrate on outfits with 10 or more PCs. If you target those units with a minimum of 10 computer systems then you are likely to build strong businesses. With 10 PCs minimum, these businesses cannot run peer-to-peer networks. They cannot afford to wait for volunteers to respond to emergency needs. They understand the need for ongoing service-level agreements. They get serious quickly about the need to put in client server network solutions, sophisticated and reliable backup solutions, secure firewalls, and power protection. The decision makers in these units usually tend to understand the need for sophisticated integrated business solutions. They are also aware of the need to use IT in a strategic manner to grow and compete.

Small businesses with ten or more computers are ideal targets for your marketing efforts because they understand your expertise and their need for a professional computer service provider to take ownership of business and IT problems. They also need you to provide an on-going service package and you are not called upon only for emergencies in an ad hoc fashion.


Tracy Suttles on Selling Your Home

The following post is a guest post from Houston, Texas area real estate developer and entrepreneur Tracy Suttles. Tracy can be best contacted for questions, comments and concerns on Twitter at @tracydsuttles.

Homeowners make the decision to move for a variety of reasons from relocation to outgrowing their current residence or even having the desire to downsize after becoming empty-nesters. Regardless of the reason for the move, selling your home in today’s economy can be a difficult task.

Now more than ever most parts of the country are experiencing true buyer’s markets where the price of a home is no longer dictated by the neighborhood’s comp sales (houses with similar characteristics which have recently sold) but rather, by the price the buyer is willing to pay.

Preparing To Sell Your Home

The first thing a seller must do in preparation to put the home on the market is to completely emotionally divorce yourself from the house. Once the decision to sell is made, the house is no longer your home. You do not want a potential buyer to enter the house and see you and your family living there. The space must now be devoid of your personality so that the buyer can be free to visualize how his things will fit in this new space. A good first step is to take this opportunity to start a little early packing and box all the photographs you might have adorning your furniture. Photos make the space yours.

Another idea is to remove all the extraneous clutter you might have on kitchen counter tops, dressers and in any office space. The goal is make the the environment as visually clean and neutral as possible so that nothing distracts the buyers from seeing the true bones of the home.

The colors you have chosen for your walls are real indicators of your design style. You may love the way you painted your son’s room in his favorite team colors but overpowering colors do exactly that, they overpower the buyer. This might work against you when the time comes to negotiate the selling price. Take the time before you put the house on the market to make the colors of the home as neutral as possible. The money you spend before the sale can often help yield a higher sale price if the buyers feel your home is move in ready or turn key.

Maintaining a Good Relationship With Your Realtor

A good realtor will make sure that your home is priced properly, advertised well and often, and that any open houses will be conducted in a professional manner. Your realtor will also be the one to advocate for you when an offer comes in and price negotiations commence. It is often a good idea to choose a local realtor who knows your neighborhood well and who can advise a potential buyer about schools, shopping, restaurants and the like.

Perhaps the most important thing that you can do as a seller is to step back and allow the realtor to do his job. It is also one of the most difficult things to do as you are not only financially invested in your home but you are emotionally invested as well. You love your home and know how much care and upkeep you have put into it over the years. It may be very difficult to hear some of the critique that your realtor shares with you based on your home showings, but in order for the process to work smoothly, you must try to separate your feelings from the matter at hand…the swift sale of your home.

Once you neutralize your decor, price your home appropriately and have a realistic outlook for the time it might take to sell your home, you will be well prepared for the home sale price process.