3 Tips for IT Companies Making the Transition From Home to Business Clients

The owners of many IT companies and Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) start their careers by working as sole technicians, often serving the domestic market – fixing home users PC’s.I myself found went down this route. For 3 years I provided support to a large number of home users, doing everything from setting up Wireless networks in homes, to fixing printers, to cleaning viruses infested PC’s (again, and again, and again it seemed… ).But then a revelation takes place. You begin to appreciate that you don’t own a business, you own a job. You also realize that you are selling your time for money, and that if you want to earn a decent income, the low-rates you are charging to home users multiplied by the same amount of hours in each day mean that you’ll never reach your income goals.And so you make the decision to start focusing your attention on the business market.Here’s 3 tips for making the transition from working with home users to business clients.Raise your ratesHome users are typically ultra price sensitive. You might be charging your existing home user clients anything from $60 an hour and lower.Your instinct, therefore, is to charge something similar to this for business clients. You’ll struggle to believe that you can charge more than that for your services, based on what you currently perceive to be your own value.This is a trap I’ve seen a lot of IT companies moving from serving the home user to business market fall into.If you under-price your services, then you’ll cause a lot of potential clients to question why it is you are so cheap often significantly, you will be perceived to be offering good value and the amount of business you will win will increase.Wait a minute! By charging more, I’ll win more business?Absolutely. Do some market research and find out how much your competitors charge. Then at least match those prices. Preferably charge more. Then watch as you win more business.Act ProfessionallyWhen dealing with home user clients, especially price conscious home users, it’s not so much who you are but whether you can get the job done – and cheaply.When dealing with business clients, they want to know they are dealing with somebody trustworthy, legitimate and professional.You can help to build this professional image and engender trust by taking a few simple steps.
Offer a landline telephone number, and not just a cell phone number. A single cell phone number suggests a sole Technician. A landline number is still much more trusted. If you’re worried about missing calls when you are out, employ the services of call answering service or utilize Voice-
Have proper business cards printed. While cheap flimsy cards are OK when you’re dealing with home users, if you offer a business a wafer-thin dog-eared business card to any typical business owner – they’ll immediately perceive you to be less than a stellar business owner.
Dress the part. Jeans and a polo shirt may have been OK up until now, but if you want to walk into business offices and be taken seriously – it’s time to consider your appearance. Dress for the location. If you’re working in a factory environment, a shirt with your logo on and smart trousers and shoes might be appropriate. If you’re working with a professional services client (such as an accountant or solicitor) then suit, shirt and tie might be more befitting. If in doubt, go with the suit.
Invoice promptly. And by promptly, I don’t mean a month later. Invoice the same day as you complete any work. This will ensure you have a better chance of being paid promptly while the work is fresh in the clients mind. Make sure you include your bank details and any other relevant information on the invoice. Ensuring you bill in a timely fashion for the work you’ve done shows you’re a serious business, not a part time hobbyist.
Give up servicing Home UsersFinally, and this is often the toughest step – you’ll need to give up servicing home users sooner rather than later.This might be hard, especially when you’ve built a loyal portfolio of clients who need your help and who you are earning income from, but trying to juggle home and business users is a very, very tough gig and I’ve yet to find a successful IT company that does it well.But just because you’re growing, doesn’t mean you need to simply dump your home user clients. Build up a relationship with another Technician in your area who is perhaps at an earlier stage of business evolution than you are. Start to sub-contract home user work across to them and when you’ve built up trust based on good quality work and professionalism – speak to them about handing over your home users.You might come to an arrangement around referral payments, or you might prefer to simply know your old clients are being well looked after. Either way, you’ve found a good home for your home users.Then, notify your clients that you’ll no longer be offering services to home users. Express gratitude for their long term support, and give full contact details of who they can contact for their future support requirements. Assure them they are in good hands, and that if they are unsure, they can still call you for advice.Finally, make sure to let them know that if they want you to visit them in their business or work lives, you’d be happy to do that.I personally won a lot of business clients based on home users I’d worked with before. If you make it explicitly clear that you’re now working only with businesses, you’ll find plenty of referrals based on your previous good work.ConclusionIt might feel like a wrench to leave behind an often comfortable lifestyle business servicing home users, but ultimately, if you truly do want to stop owning a job and start owning a business – it’s a necessary step.

Set Up And Register A Business In Ontario With Ease

Entrepreneurs who are looking for a place to set up and grow their businesses would probably find Ontario, Canada the best venue not just because of its ever-booming economy, but also because of the easy business registration.Why is it so easy?For one, business registration centers are set up in all parts of the region so the public does not have to travel long hours. Applicants can also take the Business Registration Online (BRO) or by mail if they are allergic to the outdoors or just plain busy to do the legwork. Each method though has its own advantages.Personal RegistrationAn applicant may personally visit the Companies Branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services to submit the required forms and documents for a fee of $60. This is the best option for those who want to obtain their Master Business License (MBL) immediately.To find a specific location, ServiceOntario’s website can also help you. You just have to type in the service and then the ZIP code. The site will give you the exact location with a map, phone numbers, and business hours.Registering OnlineOnline registration, on the other hand, is the most convenient. One may simply log in to ServiceOntario, the province’s official website, Cyberbahn Inc., or OnCorp Direct Inc.’s website to download and submit the forms. These websites can also be accessed at the Companies Branch offices.The best thing about online registration is that applicants can also generate a business name report or register for other necessary licenses simultaneously. Such licenses may include Employer Health Tax, Retail Sales Tax Vendor Permit, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and/or GST/HST (Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax).Usually, it takes only less than a week for the electronic Master Business License (eMBL) to be delivered through the business email address provided by the applicant. The fee for online registration is $80.Registration By Mail
Meanwhile, registration by mail is obviously the least favorable option because an applicant would have to wait up to eight weeks to obtain the MBL.The registration fee is also $80 just the same price as the renewal. Cancellation of business name is free. An enclose money order or check is accepted by the Ministry of Government Services. If you want to know whether the office has received your application, you can provide an email address in the ‘acknowledge receipt’ form so that ServiceOntario can send you a notification email within two days.Some Things To RememberIn registering a business, it is important to specify under what type of entity one would like to register. There are several types of business entities: the sole proprietorship, partnerships (limited, limited liability, general), cooperative, and corporations.The business owner may or may not use a different business name other than his or her own. Using the real name to represent the company does not require registration while using a different business name does.When registering a business name, one has to make sure that no violation would be committed. Under the Business Names Act (BNA), it is prohibited to use names that suggest connection with the Canadian Government, the Crown, a province, municipality, or burrough.It is, of course, not allowed to acquire a business name that resembles another especially if the same services or products are offered. Intentional or unintentional, this will incur a penalty of at least $500.To avoid any legal implications, generating a business name report beforehand is highly recommended. The NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search) is an independent service that offers business name report generation. You can have a list of all existing companies and firms in your preferred jurisdiction for about $21 if you create your own report and $8-$12 if you call for online assistance.Once the business name is settled, you can go personally to the Companies Branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services to file all the documents, pay the fee, and wait for your license to be handed to you. Remember to bring every document that you could refer to in case additional information is requested. This will save you a great amount of time.With all the self-service centers and business registration offices available, not to mention online portals, you will not be lost. Each town in Ontario will make business registration as easy as possible at very reasonable fees. Nevertheless, take my advice. Get an attorney. Although, business registration is easy, an expert should handle all legal matters as safety precaution.

Tops Reasons to Start a Home Based Business Franchise

For those who want to start a business from home, there are many home based franchise business options to choose from. In fact, more and more prospective investors and entrepreneurs are entering the business world with this unique franchising concept. In fact, there is plenty of home based business franchise for sale today in different categories such as business services franchise, clothing franchise, and so on. Due to the franchising concept, entrepreneurs don’t have to start a business from scratch. In fact, they need to work on a successful business model and concept. This is due to this fact; success in any popular franchise business is very high.If you get to enjoy the benefits of running a home based franchise business right from the comfort of your home, you can easily combine your career with family responsibilities. Here are some major reasons associated with this unique business concept:Personal Freedom: The most enticing aspect of buying a home based franchise business is the personal freedom you can enjoy. You can have control over how you want to spend your time and enjoy life. You will be your boss and there will be no one to order you as what to do and so on. If you are good at time management, home based business can be just the perfect solution for you as you can earn as much as possible.Enjoy financial benefits: Apart from personal freedom, there are attractive financial benefits also in a home based business franchise opportunity. As you don’t have to travel to reach your office, you can enjoy huge savings on commute time, gasoline and transportation expenses. Since you work at home, you don’t have to pay anything for rented office premises. The earning potential is directly proportional to the amount of time you are devoting to your business.Less Stress: Running a business from the comfort of your home can reduce the stress of trying to meet the demands of your work life with those of your private life. Here you can devote you time in running a business as per your convenience. Since you are the boss here, there is no office politics and deadlines imposed on you. You only need to follow the deadlines and schedules you have set for yourself to enjoy success. If you think it is necessary you can hire someone to help in your business.Increased productivity: It has been noticed that working at home help in increasing the productivity level. As you get to save time on commuting, more time available can be devoted to work. More importantly, as it is your business, the enthusiasm of doing better is always high. If operated effectively, it can be like having your cake and eating it, too.Given these benefits and more, the trend toward home-based franchise businesses is clearly just beginning. Today there are many home based business franchise for sale in the market including computer consulting, tutoring, cleaning, financial consulting, senior care, landscaping, marketing services, home d├ęcor, and so on. Choose one that suits your interest and budget and be your own boss.