Today, virtually every workplace has multiple computers that need to communicate with other computers, either locally or across the globe, so there is never a shortage of work for computer networking professionals. Starting a company that specializes in computer networking is moderately easy, as long as you have technical ability and decent business skills, or have a partner who possesses the skills you lack.
Things You'll Need
- Dedicated phone line (or answering service)
- Reliable vehicle
Take a good look at your core competencies and determine exactly what is expected of you. This is important to know beforehand, because it will determine exactly what is needed to start the business, as described in Step 4. In the computer business, you can’t be everything to everybody, so keep focused on computer networking. You can add services later, depending on what the demand is among your clients and your ability to deliver the goods.
Decide how you plan on structuring your business. This includes whether or not you are going to have a business partner, if you’re going to hire full-time employees or contractors and if you’re able to partner with an existing company that offers complementary services (desktop support, cabling, computer hardware and software sales, etc.).
Plan exactly what your profit center is going to be. It could be billable hours of onsite work, remote monitoring or offering service or maintenance plans. Much of this depends on exactly what kind of services you offer, your technical ability and how involved you plan on getting immersed in your client’s business.
Obtain all the necessary hardware, software, cables and other supplies you need to start working. Because every networking business is different, depending on services offered and type of clients, you will have to use your experience and skills to decide what needs to be bought in advance. Trying to work on-site when you’re not fully prepared makes you look extremely unprofessional, so have everything ready the minute you’re open for business.
Complete any required certifications or courses you will need for the business. As mentioned in Step 4, every situation is different, so if being certified is required or will help your business, make sure you are up-to-date in these areas.
Confirm that everything is in place before you start to market and promote your business. This includes email accounts, business cards, phone numbers and Web presence.
Plan on spending quite a bit of effort marketing your new company. Direct mail, professional networking groups, word of mouth and any local B2B publications all work well for IT firms. Consider also using business directories (hard copy or online), your local Chamber of Commerce and professional associates to help you land new clients.
Partner with non-competing firms who share the same customer base. These include companies offering desktop support, software development, Web design and hosting and QuickBooks professionals. These connections are the best way to build your business, but remember it’s a two-way street--you have to make an effort to steer work their way as well.