I launched my computer repair business about five years ago. In fact, I’ve launched it twice, as I relocated from Sydney to a different city in Australia after three years. Calling it a computer repair business is something of a misnomer as I provide all sorts of computer services and IT support. However, most of my clients consider businesses like mine to be computer repair businesses.
Having launched the business twice, both times from a blank slate, I believe that I’m well-placed to provide some pointers. If you’re considering starting a local computer repair business, I hope you’ll find something useful here as I look at three essentials for success.
A Well-Defined Marketing Strategy
As you prepare to launch your business, you need to have a clear picture of your target market. For example, will you target the business or residential market? If you target the residential market, are there specific market segments you will seek to reach? As an example, you might decide to target an older demographic. Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, you could target young gamers.
Having a clear understanding of your target market is essential in determining the voice you will use in your marketing. As you prepare the copy for your website and any other marketing materials, it’s useful to imagine yourself speaking directly to someone who represents your target market. This will determine both the language and the tone of your marketing.
You then need to make decisions about which marketing channels you will use. It’s not enough merely to create a beautiful website and expect people to find you and utilise your services. For this reason you will need to construct a digital marketing strategy. You might also use traditional marketing methods, such as newspaper adverts and leaflet drops, but these are likely to be more expensive and less effective in today’s market.
As far as digital marketing goes, a great place to begin is by creating local business listings on both Google My Business and Bing Places for Business. These listings are completely free and can even be created before you have a fully functioning website. In fact, if you don’t yet have a website, Google My Business can create a free one for you.
A website is of course essential for any business starting off. This is your main shop window to the outside world. Once your website is up and running you will need to start driving potential customers to your site. You’ll want your website to appear in search engine results pages (SERP’s), and preferably with as high a ranking as possible for relevant search terms.
Two methods are available to attain visibility with search engines. The first is through Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This is currently available through Microsoft but not through Google as Google Ads are not permitted for companies providing third-party technical support. Microsoft’s equivalent offering is called Microsoft Advertising.
The other method is through search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO involves optimising the content of your website, and also working to create links back to your site, so that relevant keyword searches trigger the display of your site amongst the search engine results.
Any of these digital marketing tools can be implemented by you as the business owner, or they can be outsourced to a specialist digital marketing agency.
Excellent Skills and a Desire to Grow
You need to have the correct skills to be successful at most things in life. In launching your computer repair business you first need to decide which sorts of jobs you will undertake. Having made that decision, you can then ensure that you possess the relevant skills.
There is a vast difference between the skillset required for IT support and the skillset required as a computer technician. In IT support, most of your work will be software-related. You’ll be resolving issues, performing upgrades and so on, without ever having to physically open up a computer. On the other hand, as a computer repair technician, you’re likely to find yourself much more involved with hardware issues. You could be replacing computer parts, such as hard drives, screens and system boards. You might even get involved with mechanical repairs such as laptop hinge replacements and such like.
In my own business, I lean towards IT support and don’t consider myself to be a computer technician. I’m much more comfortable with jobs which don’t require any physical disassembly of computers. I certainly don’t take on mechanical repairs and I’m not comfortable with touchscreen glass replacements. Once you’ve found your sweet spot, that’s where you will begin to excel.
When you’ve determined what you’re going to offer, you need to ensure that you have the qualifications and the ability to follow through. Acquiring formal certifications is useful and also helpful for your marketing as you can draw attention to these on your website. Having said that, you will find that most of your skills will be acquired on the job. As you gain experience, you’ll find yourself able to resolve issues increasingly quickly. Having said that, there is no end to the new issues you’re likely to face on a regular basis.
Outstanding Customer Service
You can have top notch marketing, and excellent skills, but without outstanding customer service you’re not likely to achieve long-term success. Your clients should always be your focus. Satisfied clients will keep coming back to you and will also recommend you to their friends, family and colleagues. The best marketing of all is by word of mouth as others talk about you and your business.
Right from the beginning you need to realise that your business revolves around your clients, more so than around your abilities. I’d say that I am by no means as technically proficient as some of my competitors, or even as some clued-in amateurs. But I have a pragmatic approach to getting the job done in the most efficient and effective ways possible for my clients. Ultimately, the customer doesn’t care how much you know, or whether you can talk a good talk. But if you can get the job done to their satisfaction, and charge them a reasonable price, you’re onto a winner.
Start asking customers for feedback and reviews as soon as you launch your business. In doing so, you’ll quickly realise whether or not you are hitting the mark. It should be your goal to achieve top ratings for the quality of the service you provide, and for the satisfaction of your clients. Another important metric is whether they are likely to recommend you to a friend or colleague. You can use a short online survey, after completion of each job, to gather this information.
Customer satisfaction is the key to success and growth. Keep the customer as your priority and you’re much less likely to fail.
So there you have three essentials for the success of your computer repair business. Define your target market and design your marketing specifically for them. Develop and hone your skills continuously so that the quality of your work is excellent. And always remember that your customer is your priority.
I’ve done little more here than to scratch the surface in terms of getting started with a local computer repair business. There are many factors involved in achieving ongoing success. Hopefully these ideas will get you off the mark. Success to you!