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    7 Replies Latest reply on Apr 21, 2009 8:21 AM by phanio

    Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet

    compumech Newbie
      Hi,

      Over the last year I have been working diligently on trying to get my business established as a physical entity. I have been registered and in business since 2003, and I've been a part-time computer consultant since 1998. My goal has always been to open up a storefront, but I wish to go beyond just the retail aspect of this industry and focus on the consulting and online side as well.

      I have a passion for what I do, and it's what drives me to push this project to completion. I currently perform consulting/installation/repair/ and other IT related services for businesses throughout the lower fairfield county area, both for myself and as a contractor for other companies. My immediate goal is to open up a storefront computer shop in downtown Danbury, CT.

      Initially this endeavor started out quite ambitiously as a retail/gaming lounge/consulting and web-based services & retail outlet. But as the economy tightens up, so too did I tighten up the plan. Right now I see a good opportunity for the right computer store to thrive in the vacuum left by the decline of CompUSA and Circuit City. There are also plenty of outsourced services available to small IT shops that know exactly where to look, and I would be using these to my advantage.

      This is just a small portion of what I have in mind. There are, of course, challenges.

      I have a business plan in place, but it needs polishing, as this was literally pulled from the original, and much larger plan. I do not have much to offer, which is the first primary negative in my case. The only thing I can provide are the bulk of servers to host my network and the expertise to put most of what I need together, including a website I built myself. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty.

      My credit would also be an issue, but the opinion does tend to differ depending upon with whom I speak. I am essentially starting this from the ground up, as both dreamer and realist, and I need as much help as I can get. Any would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
        • Re: Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet, Welcome David

          I have said it in the past and YES I will repeat it again. SCORE. SCORE helps people who are going into business or who are in business. SCORE is FREE. You can visit SCORE in person or online.

          I am a SCORE Counselor. We help people prepare and edit their business plans. We also help with marketing plans and cash flow. SCORE also has a FREE Virtual Learning Center with 26 FREE Courses.

          I personally would be happy to help you. LUCKIEST
            • Re: Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet
              compumech Newbie
              Hi Luckiest,

              I had been going to SCORE for some time, and received valuable advice. Unfortunately a recent session I had with two counselors completely changed my tune. I had completed a rather daunting and time-consuming review of my business plan (I had to shrink it down, and there were corrections to make) when I appeared before two different counselors than I had originally. I was unprepared to have to go over the particulars of the plan and was therefore caught off-guard before they went about making me feel like a complete idiot and crackpot. Due to that experience I have decided not to go to this chapter of SCORE again.

              It's unfortunate, and I know it's a free service, but I like being listened to as a would-be entrepreneur, not talked down to. Any further suggestions would be appreciated, thanks.
            • Re: Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet
              rgershenuk Newbie
              Contact me on either rgershenuk@london.com or +447035956480 so that we can discuss more on your business.
              Regards,
              Roland Gershen
              • Re: Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet
                BizOptimizer Adventurer
                As a person who once had the same job and dream as you - I would suggest you learn from all you can - even those that seem to talk down to you. When you add up the number of computers you have to sell on small margins to support a storefront - the task is daunting.

                Now if you could run the same ads that would to support that storefront - and sell that many computers without the overhead. AND have the time to consult with each one - it would snowball out of control where you have more business than you know what to do with.

                THe storefront adds a huge expense, a lot of management problems, and for very little reward. The small box computer retailers aren't overwhelmed here now that Comp-USA and Circuit city went away.

                You can make more money and have more free time ramping up your current operation like the good business it is. Remember, the high-experienced computer stores were already put out of business once by Circuit CIty and Comp-USA back in a day when people needed more help to operate a computer. They aren't likely to reapear when now that computing is so much easier to do.

                Good luck,
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet
                    compumech Newbie
                    Wow.

                    A very good point and a compelling argument. Thank you for your point-of-view. I do admit that I was against the storefront model for quite some time for the exact reasons you stated. And yes, I agree, though it was an embarassing experience at SCORE, I did take a few good nuggets of information with me.

                    It's easy to argue against the old brick-and-mortar business model, but there's a part of me that yearns to push forward. I know it may sound silly, but I am convinced that I have developed a business model that will actually make the computer store profitable! Yes, I know it sounds far fetched, especially when you factor in overhead, but the trick is to balance the equation without incurring additional expense. There are many tools out there available to make life easier for business owners- we just need to know how to use them in our favor- while maintaining the passion needed to move the venture beyond it's original foundation. More yet, is that those very tools can be used by your business to empower others....

                    Thanks.
                  • Re: Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet
                    BizOptimizer Adventurer
                    If you have the dream - chase it! But understand that you REALLY need to understand how to sharpen a retail pencil to make it these days. You REALLY have to have a concept of business and be able to read financial sheets and know when things are going bad - LONG before they do. You need to be able to walk the fine of low margins to achieve high profits. Walmart and such have changed the rules...

                    I caution you because I've seen so many achieve some level of profit/success - then convincing themselves they are good. Fact is, they just hadn't hit the first big bump. It is painful to watch what you forecasted come true as millions of dollars in potential realized comes crashing down around their ears. All that success they THOUGHT they had - gone as if it never existed.

                    Know enough - even if it is enough to know when to ask. Prove your ability to move that traffic outside the storefront and you should find no problem getting backing to do it inside the storefront. Or you could end up like me - switching mid stream to a bigger dream before the storefront became reality.

                    For me it once was about PCs and software. Now it is about business - and it doesn't matter what kind of business. Everyone thinks there is more profit in that OTHER business. If you are a rainmaker - if you are a profit maker - you can do it where you are and finance where you want to go! You can use the one you have to make the one you want come true.

                    Good luck!
                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Multi-Specialty Computer Retail Outlet
                      phanio Pioneer
                      Don't give up on SCORE - it is a great service. Might also want to visit a local Small Business Development Company (SBDC). Free service that can help you will all of your questions.

                      Need capital - think Business Money Today
                      1 of 1 people found this helpful