How can I promote my business and gain clients?
I have been honing my computer skills to try and make some money and start a business. The only problem is i seem to be having troubles finding jobs. Pretty much I'm doing free computer diagnostic. I pick up the computer, diagnose every aspect of how its working all for free. After that I contact the customer and discuss the problem(s) they may be having and discuss were to go with it.
This is a really good calling for me and I'm really good at it, not to mention I love doing it. So pretty much what I'm wondering is if you have any insight on how to promote my business and get some new clients. Keep in mind I'm only 22 and don't have money for advertising and such.
You are by no means the first person to identify a great career path and jump in just to find that there's a difference between a "good idea" and a "viable business". The harsh truth is that ideas are pretty much a dime a dozen; it's the implementation of the idea that makes for a great business.
That's one reason that you hear time and again that savvy investors never invest in ideas but in teams: if you and your partners have a track record of success then it doesn't really matter what your current idea is because it's inevitable it'll be refined, redefined, and reinvented on the path to success.
In your case, for example, driving all around town to pick up computers and spending the time diagnosing them without a fee isn't scalable. When you have a half-dozen clients per week it'll work, but once you sign a small local business or two, diagnosing 50-100 computers a week becomes a completely different challenge, one that will inevitably eat you alive without any revenue to compensate.
For the same reason, you can't do on-site diagnosis unless there's some fee involved too. In fact, that'd take up even more of your time because while you're at my house, checking out my PC, you can't also be running diagnostics on another computer from a different client.
I really like the idea, though, so the question is whether there's a way to make it work, and that might be a "we fix it or the service call is free" sort of approach? Since the vast majority of people wouldn't call you unless there was a serious problem (most people accept flakey computer behavior without trying to fix it, after all) you'd be almost guaranteed to be able to fix it.
In a business of this nature, word of mouth is a very common marketing approach and that's what I would suggest you focus on too: offer your customers an incentive to refer others to you (10% off your next service call, for example). I'd also suggest that you network at places like the Chamber of Commerce mixers: you'll find lots of businesspeople who rely on their computers but aren't necessarily that computer savvy. A perfect market.
Finally, go social. Twitter about computer support and fixing problems, have a Facebook account where you talk about common problems and solutions, and think about a blog where you do, well, what I do: post Q&A about specific tech issues. Don't worry you're giving away the show, either, because it's one thing to read about how to fix a computer and another for someone to actually *do* it. For many people, paying $50 is better than trying to do it themselves and failing.
And good luck with it all!
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