Information technology is so pervasive in everyday life today that it’s hard to imagine how life was like just 30 years ago. It’s this tech-heavy environment that has created vast potential in the IT support space. Businesses and individuals are constantly running into technology challenges that require the assistance of an IT expert to resolve. This is especially so for small enterprises that don’t want to or cannot afford to have a full-time IT support person on their payroll.
But as any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you, identifying an opportunity in the market is one thing—actually building a business that can take advantage of a market gap is another. If you’ve been looking for tips on starting a business that’s focused on providing IT support, here are some of the things you should pay attention to.
1. Get Insurance
Your IT support business is likely to be small especially in the early years. The last thing your company can afford therefore is a lawsuit from an angry client who blames you for the catastrophic crash of their computer’s hard drive. The cost of hiring an attorney and the possible payout if the court rules in the client’s favor could very well run your business to the ground.
As a general rule, don’t touch a client’s computer if you don’t have some form of ‘errors and omissions’ insurance cover. Computer systems are fragile and all it takes is a brief loss of concentration for you to make a mistake that permanently ruins your client’s software or hardware.
2. Keep Learning
No industry transforms as rapidly as IT. What was current and cutting-edge 5 years ago could very well be bordering on obsolescence today. New technologies are constantly entering the marketplace as older ones are phased out. As an IT support entrepreneur, keeping abreast of these changes and taking the time to grow your knowledge isn’t an option. If nothing else, your clients expect you to be aware of the latest trends in tech.
To keep your knowledge current, tap into as many learning channels as possible. Subscribe to IT support magazines, read tech news websites and attend industry exhibitions. Many IT vendors even provide free training on using and troubleshooting their product for support professionals. Bolster your credentials by studying for and acquiring relevant IT certifications.
3. Think About Your Pricing Carefully
You are in business so profit is your primary objective. Determining your pricing is therefore one of the most important decisions you’ll make. It’s all about striking a delicate balance. Your prices should be high enough to cover your costs and return a comfortable profit. However, they must be low enough to give you an edge over your competition.
At the minimum, your fees will depend on where your located and who your clients are. For instance, if you are based in the US, your fees would probably be much higher than those of an IT support person based in Bangladesh. Also, you’ll want to levy a higher fee on businesses than you would on an individual.
Note that while thinking through and settling on a fee is crucial, it shouldn’t be something you do once and forget about for good. Regularly review your fees in cognizance of market dynamics and what your customers are telling you.
4. Don’t Try to Do Everything
If your IT support company gets off to a flying start and you are inundated with a fast growing volume of work, be careful that these early signs of success don’t eventually become the cause of your business’ downfall.
Have a clear sense of your work capacity and don’t take on more than you can handle. It may be tempting to try and squeeze as much work as you can into your day in order to grow your income but that will be self-defeating if you end up delivering shoddy, hurriedly-finished work.
Only accept jobs that you know you can deliver exceptionally well. That also means taking stock of your competence. If a client wants you to troubleshoot a system that you are unfamiliar with, it’s best to admit that it’s outside your sphere of knowledge if you don’t want to ruin your brand when you fail spectacularly.
For example, if you haven’t worked with WooCommerce before and the client needs help in that regard, it’s best to advise them on how they can go about finding a WooCommerce management partner.
So that’s it. There are plenty of other things you need to know if you want to run a successful IT support business that would be easy for a business broker to help you sell. Nevertheless, the above will give you a good foundation and get you moving in the right direction from the get-go.