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Advertising Help?

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by shaggy, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. shaggy

    shaggy Byte Poster

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    Evening everyone

    As some of you may know, against some members advice i have started my own business, doing PC repairs etc (how cliche haha)

    anyway, ive been 'open' for a little over a month now, and guess what, ive had no customers!

    Ive done the usual, posters up in shop windows (done about 15 shops in 4 different areas), free local online ads, got my own website (although admitedly its no where to be seen on google, have looked into SEO but its more complicated than i thought) given out over 150 business cards to friends and family, and other 'clients'

    ive looked into advertising in the paper, but i see so many similar people doing the same, literally page fulls

    yet still, no customers, not even a call.

    Yellow pages rang me up and suggested an ad, but at £180 i couldnt justify the expense, plus it doesnt come out till next year now anyway, opted for the free one liner

    So really my question is, how can i get more (read: A) customer?

    i have to report every 2 weeks to this enterprise agency with proof that im doing 30 hours work a week, obviosuly thats proving harder and harder each week
     
    Certifications: BND ICT Systems Support and Networking
    WIP: A+
  2. THXbob

    THXbob Bit Poster

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    Hi

    Sorry to hear that things aren't going too well with the business.

    Have you thought about offering your services to local small businesses etc? and offering annual hardware contracts etc? or system health checks.

    Rather than limit your services to PC related problems could you extend it to all things related to the 'Digital Age', you know, installing digital setup boxes, home entertainment setups, PVR's etc?

    These days as most people have a PC they generally know someone that knows a thing or two about computers. I'm always being badgered by friends and family to fix the bloody things.

    Just a thought or two.

    Hope business picks up for ya mate and all the best

    Bob
     
    WIP: CompTIA A+ and Network+
  3. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Hmm, sorry I may have been one of those that tried to give you a reality check.

    I have been running my own business now for 4 years, I have a decent add in the yellow pages too and I am quite good at what I do. I dont get more than a dozen or so calls from yelow pages a year. The competition is vast and there are so many people that think they know about computers that will help people for free, why should they come to you?

    Sales and marketing are the key here. I cant help you because those areas are my own achilies heel.
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  4. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Have a look at your competition and see what they offer their customers and see if you can give your customers something that your rivals do not and make that your selling point.
     
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
  5. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    One of the "hooks" you could use is a "free evaluation" of some kind. For instance, if you are particularly good at optimizing computer performance, you could offer that as a free introductory service. Most home users don't defrag, check their disks for errors and many other standard maintenance operations just like they don't have the oil in their cars regularly changed. If you use that offer to get your foot in the door, you can then sell them on all of the other things you can do for them (increase RAM, rid their boxes of spyware, whatever...). Just a thought.

    All that said, it's tough to be self-employeed, especially if you plan to make that your only income. It's not impossible, but as any business owner will tell you, you really have to hussle your arse off in the beginning to get the business to be successful. My understanding, at least in the U.S., is that 50% of new small businesses go under within the first year.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  6. shaggy

    shaggy Byte Poster

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    Thanks for your replies

    I knew going in to business wouldnt be plain sailing, but i expected at least a few calls by now.

    My main competition would be 3 small computer repair shops all along one road in my area, one looks a bit budget but does an array of repairs, including ipods, which is something ive been interested in but couldnt find anything substantial on google.

    ive been considering approaching these shops to see if they offer a callout service to its customers, if not i would offer my services and take a percentage of the bill, wasnt sure of how much though.

    im going to look at what everyone else's 'hook' is and see if i can develop my own from that, cheers for that idea tripwire

    And Bluerinse, its your posts advising me not to try it out that made me want to try it even more i think, i like a challenge, you'll be the first to hear of any success i have :biggrin
     
    Certifications: BND ICT Systems Support and Networking
    WIP: A+
  7. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I'm out on my own too, and it's cold out there. I'm lucky though in that I have a very steady client. One that keeps me very busy. In fact, I started my own business just to cater to this one client. I'm basically working for someone else, but as I'm self-employed I set my own hours, have my own office, and do the system administration work required remotely. I also have a few other clients, but they are very hit and miss, nothing you could count on to keep a business going.

    Starting cold, like you are, is a very difficult proposition, no matter what the business. I don't care what the market is, a small business is built on relationships. Most people who have gone out on their own have already been in a field long enough to have enough relationships built up to build their customer base on. They start with that, and then rely on word-of-mouth and some advertising to help. Relying solely on advertising would be next to impossible unless you were extremely well-funded so you could run tons of advertising and could wait for the business to build to where it was self-sustaining.

    The only advice I'd have for you is to attempt to start building relationships with businessmen that need computer repair help and are willing to give you a shot at their business. To do that you're going to have to go door-to-door and talk to a lot of small businessmen, and deal with a lot of rejection. Even if you're a very good salesman be prepared for at least a 90% rejection rate. Get creative. Tell them you'll do your work for parts cost only for the first couple of times just to get a shot at their business. Whatever you do, don't just sit and wait for people to call you. Just to sit and wait for business to come in is a sure way to fail.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, A+
    WIP: LPIC 1
  8. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Well good luck bro.. glad to be of assistance :biggrin
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)

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