Business Improvement Ideas


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Hey,

Im just posting to see what you fellow computer peeps can come up with as a business idea. The computer shop i worked in for a few years while at school etc is local to where i live. They have a local customer base who buy new computers and take them into be fixed or upgraded etc. Im still very good friends with the two guys that run it and the business doesnt seem to be doing as well as it used to. Obviously you guys know that most small computer businesses are struggling due to increased competition from the internet, the market being saturated by crappy box shifting computer manufacturers and the small mark-up now to be made on components. So, i was looking for ideas as to how they can improve the business, as it seems to be at a crossroads, either just run it down, or do something to improve it.

OK, here are the facts as i see it. They have a decent sized front shop which is quite frankly a state. The guys are great with computers but are not really interested in business if that makes sense. The windows are so dirty you can hardly see through them, the window display has ridiculous things like phone blasters and parallel port scanners in it!! Basically, they make no money from selling things which means the whole front shop is a waste of space. The back shop is fine, its where they do all their work etc.

They have NEVER advertised and rely on the local customers, but they have a shop window which gets passed by hundreds (possibly thousands) of people per day.

What i think they should do is use the front shop to sell more gadget-type products. Things like ipods (dont know if its possible to become an ipod reseller), VoIP phones, ipod accessories, etc etc. Obvioulsy keep the computer components up to date etc. Need a complete front shop overhaul just to get customers in etc. I know you guys will have an idea about whats big at the moment and what people are interested in. The locals are quite well off and a lot are older people. However, there are a lot of youngsters around the area too so potential to tap into this market too.

Sorry this is so long winded, and you may not be interested in helping this business, but im just looking for inspiration as to how to help these guys. Cause not only would it be good to help them out (they have been great to me in the past) but also if i could successfully help them i could use it as an example in interviews etc. :)

Hope you guys can give some ideas etc. Much appreciated.

Thanks again.

Bodhi
 
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Ian

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Your ideas so far sound sensible, as I wouldn't give a 2nd look at a shop with parallel port scanners and phone blasters in the front window - unless I knew of it already. First impressions count a lot :)

If they have lots of space and there are lots of older people in the area, why not run some computer training? You'd no doubt gain some extra customers, make some tidy money on training and expand the scope of the business. :thumb:
 

muckshifter

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I remember spending 2 days at one shop improving his 'front window' once, he told me later people were popping in to see who the new owner was ... ;)

Well, you have covered one aspect of the business that needs addressing PDQ, the shop front ... if as shabby as you describe then that is not going to ensue confidence to buy a PC from, now is it.

Gadgets are a little on the niche market although Ipods are "fashionable you won't get them to sell unless you opt for the 'grey' market and or get cheap knock-offs.

Consumeables is what you need ... Ink refilling services and compatibles inks can be an asset to get people into the shop, cheap peripherals such as Printer cables ... I know how much they cost, I used to give them away, and I know how much you are going to be charged at PCWorld for one ... :p

Free inspections, "if we don't fix, we don't charge" it gets them into the door and if you can "look at it while they wait" even better AND even better, do it in front of them ... have a small "inspection" area where you can plug it in and let them watch, be prepared for a lot of questions though ... shop browsing while waiting can sometimes make a sale. :thumb:

I never "needed" any 'stock' in my workshop as I could get anything I needed next day, I had loads of posters though ... and I always said it takes 3 days to build a PC ;) allowing me time for DAOs and other unforseen problems. However, I always offered the latest 'computer gizmo' on the market, you don't necessary need an M2 PC in stock to sell one. ;)

I never advertised either, but it did take a year or two to build up a reputation as a good systems builder ... one drawback is my PCs would easily last you 3 years, but was always pleased to see old customers returning for advice and a new system. Never ceased to amaze me how many phone calls I got from people stating "a friend of mine recommended you" ... nice feeling that.

... now I'm rabbiting. :D


 
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My local shop make's a good profit with the smaller products, i can buy ps2/usb connectors for half the price that they sell at maplins for, they even come in the same packaging!

Also offer a yearly spring clean of the pc at a flat price, say defrag, scan disk, reg cleaner & anti-virus check and clean the pc up inside & out. Offering upgrades at a good price also helps. But above all the shop window is the advert for the shop!!!

PCWorld charge (or they did last time i looked)
PC World charge you £40 to instal a part in your PC + they always try to sell you a pc health check at £40 + the cost of the part you have just bought! Beat this and advertise this and your onto a winner:thumb:

Keep us all posted on how it goes;)
 
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Cheers for the advice guys. The shop front has ALWAYS been a disaster area because they are not interested in sorting it out. However they do build excellent PC's and have a great reputation. As Mucks said, they have never advertised but rely on word of mouth and have been in business for over 10 years at this place. I'll have a word with them, try and do something and keep you posted. In the mean time, if you have any ideas feel free to fire them across.

Cheers guys. :)
 
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