Living in a small, rural community in central West Virginia has reinforced some business principles that have been around for the ages. My primary business is graphic and web design. But I am often asked to assist local residents with their computer repairs. Why add computer repair to the mix? Simple, it applies to Principle Number One: follow the money. Often, entrepreneurs in a niche or small market miss business opportunities because they fail to follow this basic truth. They awake each morning looking for a specific type of business opportunity; when they should actually focus on finding out what the customer base is demanding. I make it a point to know the pulse of the customer base. It is that group that pays my bills. Currently, in my local community there are several people that need to migrate to other devices because they have old, Windows XP driven computers. Many are reluctant to move to Windows 8. So, to help the local citizenry make this migration, I am preparing what I call a Windows 8 “Cheat Sheet”. This document will be available to locals only. How will this help my business in the long term? Easy, it will help alleviate the fears many have about Windows 8; but it also works as a great advertising tool for my secondary business-computer repair.
Principle Number Two: not all business is good business. I am not a young entrepreneur. I begin working in that business era where the concept was “the customer is always right”. Regarding technology, that is not always the case. I am finding that many people are making technology decisions based on what they see in the media. It is often my job to explain to them that the tool(s) they are looking to acquire/use may not be the best fit for their needs. In my community, retirees are becoming the largest group making technology purchases. Most use computers to handle simple tasks associated with staying in touch with their extended family. Most could use a tablet to handle their computing needs. But tablets are foreign to most; and they find the app driven start pages to be confusing. I solve this fear by simply asking them to pull out their mobile phones and equating the start page found on tablets with the start page of their mobile phones. Guess what…problem solved.