I started EUROBYTE as an onsite computer repairs business. It was a one-man business that was operated from home. I was driving around Ryde area fixing PCs, buying software and hardware supplies, picking computers up for repair, bringing them home to my workshop, taking fixed computers back to clients… 'I Come 2 You' was my USP.
Now I have a computer shop and don't operate from home anymore. Work from home used to be a good thing at the early stage. It was a good business start-up strategy. It worked for me well as I was doing onsite work anyway. But over the years the business grew and with the growth I found myself being unable to go away with just occasional (Alisa's) help. I realised, if I wanted to stay in the game, I needed someone (read: Alisa :)) to commit on a full-time basis. I also realised I had to take the work away from home in order to not just appear more professional and work more efficiently but to keep our (family) sanity in check. I still do a lot of onsite computer repairs though and this is in fact still our main line of business. 'We come to you to repair your computer' is still our USP. But now-a-days it's not all we do.
So, it used to be computer repairs and upgrades. Then I started advising clients on computers, peripherals, and other computing equipment that would best suit their needs and budget. Wait a minute! "Can you supply us with a new computer?" Sure I can. I started selling computers and computing gear. But I wasn't just another computer shop who would send you home with your brand new computer. I would bring your PC to you and install everything for you and even transfer all your data (including files and emails) from your old computer to the new. To cut the story short, we now sell them, we install them, we upgrade them, and we fix them. We even fix Apple Macs (imagine that?) and toying quite a bit with iPads and iPhones. "Oh, you do everything!" someone said to me recently. Yes, we pretty much do. I suppose when you're a techie you can't really specialise in just one thing (we even do web design and development with shopping carts and all sorts of things, which is something Alisa does, but this is a whole different story and I might convince her to write about it one of these days). Or are we so versatile because we're a small business? The other day I read in a Martin Print blog post that a small business success requires a 'determined and motivated entrepreneur'. If surviving (and growing) over 10 years means a success then (I guess) I have succeeded not to drive this business into the ground. But am I an entrepreneur? I don't know. I like to think of myself as a tech buff who loves solving problems and helping clients when they have a computer problem (and a guy with a loving and supporting wife behind his back).
However, wanting to fix computers and having a 'know how' was (obviously) not enough. I always knew advertising would be very important for a small business. But, in the beginning, all I could afford was a three-line ad in the Ryde's TWT. Then over the years, as the business grew, I tried a few other things such as Pages in different colours like Yellow and Pink :), Google and Facebook advertising, stalls at community events, flyers, etc. Alisa was designing and managing our ads, so we weren't investing a fortune (and we couldn't), but when I think back I'm happy we couldn't invest more as it turns out good and honest work is the best advertising a small business can get. A big THANKS to all of you who have kept coming back and recommending us to friends and relatives.
This year is our 10th anniversary. So it's been 10 years since EUROBYTE's humble beginnings. There's been ups and downs (like with any small business) and lots of hard work, but I wouldn't trade my job for anything. Once upon a time, I was repairing computers for free… and was happy. Now, helping people with their computer problems is my job and earning money for doing something you love is very very rewarding.