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new business, tear me apart please

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by shaggy, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. shaggy

    shaggy Byte Poster

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    Evening everyone, havnt been around for a while been busy wih a few things, one of those things being my own business, of course its the very cliched "PC repair guy"

    anyway, nearly finished my business plan now, been on a business development course for the last 3 weeks and my last week is next tuesday.

    basically on that day i will have a one on one interview with the big boss lady there and she is going to try and rip me apart while going through my business plan, so if its not too much trouble, id like you to ask me some tough questions reguarding me and my business and ill try to cover them, and hopefully, you can point out my weak spots

    little overview of the business, i will basically be doing house calls, doing everything from repairs, upgrades, maintenance, maybe a little tutoring for begginers.

    i know it may be hard as theres not much info for you to go on here, but ask away

    sorry if this is the wrong section btw
     
    Certifications: BND ICT Systems Support and Networking
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  2. Pete01

    Pete01 Kilobyte Poster

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    Are you applying for funding? Or just doing the business plan for structure?

    Going Ltd company or sole trader?

    maybe she'll ask things like - how much do you expect to turnover in your first year and how do you expect to stay afloat in the early months?

    How will you promote your services - what kind of advertising budget?

    How do you expect to differentiate from your competition?
     
    Certifications: MCP (NT4) CCNA
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  3. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Why have you got that stupid haircut?

    Why don't you lose weight and get some exercise?

    Why don't you switch mortgage provider?

    :biggrin

    Sorry mate, but you haven't given us much to go on.
    Show us a business plan and we'll pick it apart.

    So far my only criticism would be 'is that it?'...

    :oops:
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  4. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    IMO don't mention the "maybe" word, either offer it as a service (or not) or as a future service if the need arises. Have you already developed a SLA (Service Level Agreement)? It may be a requirement. Do you already have a price structure? What is your projected growth? How many competitors are already in your area, how are you going to distinguish yourself from them? Other areas you're predicted to enter as your company grows. Will it just be you or a group of you? business hours (working hours), will it be a set time to set time or a 24 hour service? What area will you be covering (eg local, county wide, cross-counties, etc)?

    Pete01 has a couple of questions there, and if you want more good points, try to catch some back episodes of the Dragon's Den. It may sound silly, but it does offer quite a lot of good tips and pointers.

    Like JonnyMX already said, you haven't really given us much to go on :)

    If anymore come to mind, I'll post them here.

    -Ken
     
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  5. shaggy

    shaggy Byte Poster

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    I was going to apply for funding, but i just sold a car of mine so no longer need a loan

    ill be a sole trader

    according to my figures ill only be on 6k a year, based on 1 customer a day, 5 days a week 8am - 8pm (i know this isnt going to happen early on, but i figured some jobs may roll over the standard 1 hour at which i worked my figures out from)

    None of the tutors have mentioned an SLA to me? T&C's yes, dont know if they are the same?

    i already have a pricing policy, £35 for the first hour, £30 thereafter for general repairs and troubleshooting

    £20 flat rate for a physical clean of the PC

    £20 a lesson (have decided i will do the tutoring)

    i will also implement a no fix no fee policy if i can not fix the original problem i was called out for.

    Projected growth,well, the only thing id be interested in in the future is maybe owning a shop, but its not high on my list, and that was after 5 years of business.

    it will be just me covering the area of essex. Done this before with a previous employer

    tonnes of competitors, i havnt found a way to really set myself a part from them excepte being a hell of a lot cheaper than the big boys, any ideas?


    when i have finished the appendices i will try and upload the plan
     
    Certifications: BND ICT Systems Support and Networking
    WIP: A+
  6. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    So what will you do for transport?:blink

    Also £20 a lesson? Or should it be £20 per hour!

    I remember from previous posts that you had great difficulty with a number of jobs from PC Callout. How will you fare with this??

    My advice (and please, you don't have to pay any attention) is to get an entry level support job where you can learn IT in a business environment! It pays more, it's more secure and less hassle/daunting then going to some complete stranger's house!
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
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  7. shaggy

    shaggy Byte Poster

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    i had 2 cars:biggrin

    also, yeah i had a few problems with some callouts before, since then ive been reading more for my studies so my knowledge is forever expanding, and as well as that, if i think that i cant fix it there and then i will offer a pick up and drop off service (forgot to mention this above) so ill have time to lookup and research specific issues (not charged on the hourly rate obviously, i was thinking more of a £50 flat rate?

    and i wasnt sure on the lesson price, i thought £20 a lesson was a fair price, its only basic things for new users

    as for getting an entry level job, i have tried and tried time and time again (been applying for about 6 months now, got rejected just this week for a trainee job, dont know why, i matched everything they asked for and had experience and knowledge of everything they questioned me about, guess they didnt like me haha

    i had to take this business development course as the job centre said they would just find me any job and id have to do it or they would stop my money (currently my only income) plus i like the corse, learnt some great stuff and always wanted to have my own business, so no problems with the hassle involved in starting one
     
    Certifications: BND ICT Systems Support and Networking
    WIP: A+
  8. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    you know what? After I wrote my previous post I did think that you might of had 2 cars! So apologies for that line of questioning!

    Sorry to hear that you weren't succesful in getting that job! What did it involve and what was the title of the role?

    Your taking the tough questioning quite well and are backing up your ideas! As they say "you don't know till you try!" so good luck shaggy!
     
    Certifications: MCSA , N+, A+ ,ITIL V2, MCTS
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  9. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    £20 a lesson... for how long of a lesson? An hour? If so, what happens you're too busy doing "real work" for £30-35 to do lessons at £20? Is your time not as valuable when you're giving lessons as it is when you're fixing computers? Mine certainly is...
     
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  10. shaggy

    shaggy Byte Poster

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    my time is equally as valuable, but, tutoring (to me anyway) is not as hard as diagnosing and fixing a machine, so i thought it was a reasonable price scale, several other competitors in the area offer this and charge a little more, so being the new kid on the block im hoping this will give me a bit of an edge to start with, the prices arnt set in stone, i will review them after a period of trading

    as for the time scale of each lesson, thats going to be a trial and error situation, i have course plans and sheets to help clients, im just not sure how long it will take to acually get the lessons across to the clients, some may take longer than others but i shall have to see

    and drum_dude, the job title was Trainee IT Support Tech, it basically involved upkeep of the machines they had there (about 20) and uploading photos to the website, pretty simple things, but never mind, maybe they will be paying me one day for IT support calls:p
     
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  11. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    They're not paying you for the difficulty of the task... they're paying you for the quality of the service you provide. In other words... they're not paying you for what you DO... they're paying you for what you KNOW.

    Welcome to IT. 8)
     
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  12. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Perhaps just focus on the PC repair side of the business mate? Tutoring is completely different.
     
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  13. Zid

    Zid New Member

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    Just letting you know that with all the cowboys that exist in all areas of repair (plumbers, electricians etc.). People need the peace of mind that you're actually doing the job you've said you're doing, which means they have to be there while you do it.

    I guess what I'm trying to get at is, you're going to find it hard to find people who will trust you to just up and leave with their computer, especially if they're not tech-savy as they don't know if you could syphon their credit card details or a naughty home video. (Or you could even steal a stick of RAM while you're in there).
    Even more especially if they are tech savy, they know what you can do and they know they'd have to spend time protecting themselves, removing all files and data.

    Both would much rather just find someone who could fix the problem.

    Now I can't really offer a solution to this, as advrtising a no fix no fee service is an excellent idea.
    I'm betting you probably already know this. But I just thought i'd nit-pick seing as you asked, and maybe give you a heads up if you didn't.
     
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  14. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Insurance.

    How are you going to be covered for clients' equipment if you require to take it off-site (ie, back to base) ? What about theft from your premises (gosh forbid not) or if damaged in transit ?

    And your car - that will now be used for work, so that will impact on your vehicle insurance also. Thoughts there ?


    Nice ideas so far, Shaggy, and I'm not trying to be an a-hole raising the above points. More that these are the exact things I need to consider if I ever decide to be more serious about doing "jobs on the side" than I am now.
     
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  15. shaggy

    shaggy Byte Poster

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    To Zid

    You raise some good points especially reguarding trust between me and clients, there is no real way to make someone instantly trust you with that sort of thing, i know it will take a lot of work to build up a good reputation and trust with my client base, but im an honest guy, and hopefully this will be reflected when people reccomend me to others.

    the client will have all my details and proof of me taking their machine from their home anyway, i feel this is as much as i can do.

    To jakamoto

    Ive got business insurance on my car now anyway so not a problem

    Customers property getting stolen from my house isnt really going to be an issue, i live in a quiet area in a small block of security protected flats, but i guess anything is possible.
    We have contents insurance anyway if worst comes to worst


    Ive had the interview now and 2 people went over my business plan and said everything was looking good, the only things that were mentioned was how to advertise more efficiently, now all i have to do is sort a business bank account out on friday and get liability insurance to start on the 13th of august (my test trading start date) and off i go

    thanks for everyone that helped
     
    Certifications: BND ICT Systems Support and Networking
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  16. Stoney

    Stoney Megabyte Poster

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    You may well live in a quiet area, but what happens when someone clocks you carrying computers into your property on a regular basis? Also insurance will cover accidental damage and fire/flood etc.

    Is your contents insurance for your business or home? I'm not sure home contents will cover you if your using your property as a place of business. The same goes for your tenancy/deeds on the flat that may have a clause stating you can not use the property as a place of business.

    You may well need some sort of liability insurance for working in other peoples homes. What happens if granny smith trips over a screwdriver you left on the floor and breaks her hip? Hello, claims direct!! I would make sure your back is covered from all angles because you don't want to be sued!
     
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  17. Luddym

    Luddym Megabyte Poster

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    Can I ask how far along you are with your A+?

    I have to admit, if I'm paying £20 an hour for tutoring, i'd want someone who themselves was qualified (or at the very least very up on) on the subject.
     
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  18. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    These 2 people, are they succesful business people who have a portfolio of success that stretches a mile?? Or are they jobcentre chumps that did a degree in nonsense?? Have you interviewed them and checked their background?? Something tells me that they're chumps because if they were business people then they would rip your plan to shreads; have you ever seen Dragons Den? A succesful business person in this sector would cover ALL that has been mentioned in forum and most likely more!

    Remember what I said to you a few months back - Jobcentre people or people who are on their payroll are only interested in getting you off their books...they work towards govt stats and you will be one of those stats that Brown will blurt out in PMQs at the commons i.e. unemployed people starting their own businesses. They don't care whether your plan is shite or not or whether it folds in days - it's getting you off benefits (for whatever reason) to make the govt look good is all they care about!

    Personally, i'd look into this little more deeply because believe me they are only a few skills/requirements that contribute towards making your IT business a success and tinkering about wiv PCs ain't it! Too many people are friends with a PC pro who do this crap for a pint of shandy!

    I don't mean to be harsh but I really think your better off getting a steady position in IT - yes I know you haven't had much success but read through these boards and you'll note that 99% of members have been in the same position i.e. rejection after rejection!
     
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  19. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Have to agree with drum_dude, they are only interested in targets, not how successful your business might be.
     
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  20. shaggy

    shaggy Byte Poster

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    The place i went to works independently from the job centre, the job centre just recomended it to me as i didnt know it existed.

    The 2 tutors were successful business men who had, in their day, owned and run many business's, they showed us some of their own business plans from over the years, they spent 4 weeks telling us what was required to make a succesful business plan so by the end of it i had included everything they had told me to put into it, so there wasnt a lot they could complain about come the end of the course

    As for the security issue again, i have a private enclosed car park so no one can easily clock me bringing home PC's, secondly even if they did, they wouldnt get through the electronically bolted doors, let alone the door to my actual flat.

    i already have public liabilty due to start on my test trading date next month.

    and you are right, im not allowed to run a business from the premises but i have had words with the landlord and he said aslong as i dont have people turning up at all hours (which i wont) and i dont make it obvious to anyone else then he has no problem with it.

    and to Luddym:

    i am near the end of revising for the A+, if nothing else gets in the way ill be taking the exams within the next 2 months. but the tutoring i planned to do was nothing that heavy, it was going to be basics for new users, such as using the internet, word processing, using windows etc, i know i am more than capable of teaching someone these things
     
    Certifications: BND ICT Systems Support and Networking
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