Ben Power wrote some serious small business lessons in, “Are local tech shops a dying breed? If so, it’s our fault.” He’s talking specifically about computer sales and repair, especially in small towns, but he gives some lessons we can all stand to be reminded of.
Here are few quotes:
- Answer your phone when it rings. I have called local tech shops and never gotten a response, even after leaving a message.
- Make it personal. Leave a paper trail (business card, invoice) – something that reminds them that you are the very best in your field.
- Say thank you. And mean it. Try to make the very first thing you say to a customer brighten their day. You can’t get off to a better start.
- Learn a lot more than you need to know, but learn how to communicate only what is needed.
Ben also makes a big point of personal service, of adding value. Read Ben’s whole article, Are local tech shops a dying breed?
Thanks to Julie Ardrey of the Daily Yonder for connecting us.
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Carl Natale says
I liked Ben’s post a lot. But I was struck by the fact that he doesn’t identify himself on the blog. The only reason I know his name is that you mention it. If he’s writing a blog to build his reputation, he needs to let people know who he is.
Maybe people don’t notice because they come into his blog via links that ID him. But if he impresses me enough to seek out his help, I have no way to contact him.
That’s as bad as not answering the phone.
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Carl. You make a valid point. I’ll see if Ben would like to comment.
I got into consulting after I started the blog, so the blog was mainly intended to be an online resource for IT professionals and home enthusiasts. I suppose I could use it to market, but in our small town I think my time would be better spent simply going door-to-door with business cards. I could probably hit almost every business in town in one day.
The business started when I bought my house. As I was in the main office signing papers, the owner of the realty business overheard me say I worked with computers, so she started asking me to come by and fix issues they were having. This company is now my main client. They have been giving my number out to their employees and to others as well. In another situation, I went to City Hall to pay my water bill a few months ago, and got talking with the receptionist (who I used to work with at my day job). She asked me for a business card because they need someone who knows Web design. Although I don’t do Web design professionally, this is a good example of how I have been getting my contacts.
I do have a regular full-time job as a corporate IT tech, and I have recently gone back to school full-time to get my degree. Once I am done with school, I would consider building the Web presence, but for now I find that I am getting enough work with the contacts I have.
As an IT guy, I spend a lot of time online looking for solutions and I wanted the blog to be a site where folks could come to bounce their problems off of someone else and find resources to help them at the office. I didn’t intend it to advertise the business. Come to think of it, though, perhaps I should revamp my profile to at least give contact information for the business.
I hopped over to Carl’s post on mainetoday.com and got a better idea of what he was saying. I like your style, Carl, and I’m convinced to add some better contact information to the site… =)
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Ben. I’m glad you expanded on your story.
That sounds like small town marketing to me. You get talking with someone, and suddenly you have a new project!
I was trying to comment on Carl’s post on mainetoday.com, but I can’t create an account as I get an error every time. So I wanted to point Carl and everyone else to the update…
I also added a profile link to my homepage. I want to eventually figure out how to get the links to appear even on the individual posts instead of just on the home page. There’s always something new to learn. =)