I have seen peaks and valleys in the IT Support business. I began in 1986 as a sole proprietor. I wrote dBase code and I consulted electronics companies on how to master a CAD/CAM printed circuit board design system called Calay. Concurrently, I sold and setup PCs for small businesses. It was a challenge but I was determined to remain self-employed. So, I religiously studied my PC Magazines and grew my client base. I sold and setup PC/XT computers with monochrome monitors, 640kb of RAM and 20mb hard drives for about $800. I discovered great products like Quicken and ACT! (the old DOS versions, of course). But the big breakthrough for Progressive Office came when I discovered Artisoft’s LANtastic.
LANtastic was a pioneering peer-to-peer networking solution. It enabled a small business to build a computer network between any computer and to share any hard drive or printer on any computer on the network. You didn’t need an expensive dedicated computer server. This had never been done before. Netware was king of the networking world and it was a big, complicated expensive system. Netware was not an option for millions of small business people. So, most small businesses had standalone computers that were dedicated to tasks. Accounting had a computer. The secretary had a computer dedicated to word processing and the boss had his spreadsheet program.
Progressive Office became an authorized reseller of LANtastic. And the reason I am telling this story is because I found myself in a market with a lot of potential where I had to educate business clients about the need for a network. I know this might sound crazy but it is true. Most small business owners did not understand the need for having a business computer network. It was a very difficult challenge but it also was a huge opportunity for me.
Those kinds of opportunities are always hard to find. But if you see a market that really makes you feel like it is something special, go for it. If it requires that you would need to educate your clients in its usefulness, that is even better. I’m not suggesting you take on unproven products or services. Stick to your core business skills but seek out market ideas that are new. If business is slow, find an aspect that is new and fresh. Are you selling countertops and kitchen cabinets? Look into materials breakthroughs and trends. Are concrete countertops still hot? Are you in a non-technical industry that is not web savvy? Maybe you need to create a great website that is easy to find on Google. If you search for your company and inferior competitors come up. Or, if you get matches that are not relevant. That is a sure sign that your industry is not doing a good job of utilizing the latest Internet Marketing techniques.
I had to reinvent Progressive Office. The process began in the Fall of 2008. I began by figuring out how to be better at IT support and I discovered and created our NetworkCare managed IT support service. I also improved our communications by utilizing Google’s online calendar for scheduling among my consultants and our smartphones. And, finally, I figured out how to design websites that attract traffic on Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines. Developing these new skills also created new business opportunities for me because we are now able to help companies design their website in a way that makes their site a magnet for web traffic. And one of the most exciting aspects of this new service for Progressive Office is that when I talk to people about their marketing plans and goals they usually need to be educated. They want their website to attract visitors and convert them to potential clients but they really just don’t know how to do it. Need help?
Hint: Create ongoing, fresh original content on your website and your customers will come.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to comment or contact us.