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  1. #1
    Untanglit
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    Lightbulb New Business Idea...

    After I get out of college, a family friend is going to fund a pet project of mine...

    I want to start a business that does computer repair and sales (pretty normal so far), however, the differences are that I am going to sell everything (Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, etc...) If the client wants it installed, it gets installed, and I will provide best-effort support for all operating systems, as well as guaranteed support for select os's like Windows, Ubuntu and a few others.

    On top of this, I plan to do small business consultation, selling open source solutions to many common problems small businesses face in the IT field, as well as saving them money by moving certain things (like routers for example) to open source (hint ).

    And it just so happens that where I live is a big tech town, and had a huge open source/Linux crowed.

    What do you think of my little business plan?

    Also, what should I name it.

  2. #2
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    Congrats, you've stumbled face first into what became Intouch Technology. :P

    Good luck to you, it's a great ideal... but it requires massive dedication to keep up to speed with all of that technology with enough quality of education to be able to service it all half decently.

    Keeping my education up to date, plus getting the work done is a full time job. When you're a small business owner you also have to go get the sales work done or you don't get the next job. That to be honest, is the hardest part. It's physically impossible for one person to do the work, train themselves, and sell at the same time. If it's possible... I certainly haven't figured out how. After a while you're forced to concentrate on the first two to keep up with the work you have... then the economy slows down and 80% of your customers go out of business and you're stuck wondering what happened.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  3. #3
    Untanglit
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    Quote Originally Posted by sky-knight View Post
    Congrats, you've stumbled face first into what became Intouch Technology. :P

    Good luck to you, it's a great ideal... but it requires massive dedication to keep up to speed with all of that technology with enough quality of education to be able to service it all half decently.

    Keeping my education up to date, plus getting the work done is a full time job. When you're a small business owner you also have to go get the sales work done or you don't get the next job. That to be honest, is the hardest part. It's physically impossible for one person to do the work, train themselves, and sell at the same time. If it's possible... I certainly haven't figured out how. After a while you're forced to concentrate on the first two to keep up with the work you have... then the economy slows down and 80% of your customers go out of business and you're stuck wondering what happened.
    Thank you, luckily I have a few family members who are going to help out with the paper work so I can focus on the important stuff.

  4. #4
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    I'll give you one more hint...

    Open Source doesn't always save a client money. Untangle is a key example, if you're going to target the SMB, you're going to be trying to talk businesses into spending $1000 for an Untangle server (hardware + sub) when they want to spend $50 on a cheap SOHO router from Linksys.

    Also, total cost of ownership isn't the same thing as purchase price. And over time you'll find that the TCO associated with your products is largely based on your skill deploying and maintaining them.

    Linux is a wonderful thing, but it's a long way from being what I'll sell as a desktop OS. I have a mix of Windows, Linux, Mac, and BSD servers out there... I use what makes sense for the project. Sometimes one product is easier to integrate with the customer than another. Don't spend more time on a project just to save a few pennies in licensing fees. You'll find the labor you have to bill with your time can be more expensive than simply buying the commercial product that works out of the box.

    Experience will teach you... ideals are great, but they often don't work quite the same way when the rubber hits the road.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  5. #5
    Untanglit
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    Quote Originally Posted by sky-knight View Post
    I'll give you one more hint...

    Open Source doesn't always save a client money. Untangle is a key example, if you're going to target the SMB, you're going to be trying to talk businesses into spending $1000 for an Untangle server (hardware + sub) when they want to spend $50 on a cheap SOHO router from Linksys.

    Also, total cost of ownership isn't the same thing as purchase price. And over time you'll find that the TCO associated with your products is largely based on your skill deploying and maintaining them.

    Linux is a wonderful thing, but it's a long way from being what I'll sell as a desktop OS. I have a mix of Windows, Linux, Mac, and BSD servers out there... I use what makes sense for the project. Sometimes one product is easier to integrate with the customer than another. Don't spend more time on a project just to save a few pennies in licensing fees. You'll find the labor you have to bill with your time can be more expensive than simply buying the commercial product that works out of the box.

    Experience will teach you... ideals are great, but they often don't work quite the same way when the rubber hits the road.
    I understand full-well what that you should always use the right tool for the right job. I plan to provide Linux/Open Source options only when the opportunity presents itself. If windows is the best option, they will receive windows.

    Also, a client only receive Linux/BSD on their PC/Server if they expressly request it.

  6. #6
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    Which they won't.

    You'll find out that the end user really has no interest in technology as a topic. They are interested in shiny objects. They buy Windows based workstations because they don't know any better, and half the time they cannot even justify the expense of said workstation. They just do it... it's a strange thing, the market.

    Anyway you've got the right ideas, good luck.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  7. #7
    Untanglit
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    Quote Originally Posted by sky-knight View Post
    Which they won't.

    You'll find out that the end user really has no interest in technology as a topic. They are interested in shiny objects. They buy Windows based workstations because they don't know any better, and half the time they cannot even justify the expense of said workstation. They just do it... it's a strange thing, the market.

    Anyway you've got the right ideas, good luck.
    Not to disagree, but when I worked at a small computer store near my house, we had costumers come in nearly once a week asking about Ubuntu or other topics like that.

    In fact, at one point I had been charged with the job of figuring out how to setup Ubuntu as a pre-installed operating system for customers, because of the number of people interested.

  8. #8
    Untangle Ninja mrunkel's Avatar
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    People who come into computers stores <> people who run businesses.

    Most business owners are busy running their companies and don't give a rats a$$ what technology is in the building as long as it A) does the job B) doesn't cost them money and C) they never have to care about it.

    Your job as an IT consultant is to accomplish A and C while still managing to keep B low.

    That's about as simple as it gets.

    No business owner is going to want to listen to you ramble on about why this tech is better than that tech.

    Your conversation is going to go like this:

    Business Owner: I have this problem.
    You: I have a great solution?
    Business Owner: How long and how much?
    You: X amount of time and Y amount of dollars.
    Business Owner: That's crazy, I need it is .1*X and at .05*Y.
    You: No problem. (or you say I gotta have X and Y and business owner says, fine I'll find somebody else)

    Welcome to the IT business. It's brutal.
    m.
    <BR>
    Big Frickin Disclaimer:
    While I'm pretty sure, I can't guarantee that I know what I'm doing. There might be a better way to do this, and this way might actually suck. Make sure you understand the implications of what you're doing before trying to follow these directions.
    <BR>It often helps troubleshooting if you have a good network map. Look <A HREF="http://forums.untangle.com/tip-day/5407-how-draw-network-diagram.html">here</A> if you want my advice on how to draw one. <BR> <B>Attention: Support and help on the Untangle Forums is provided by volunteers and community members like yourself.
    If you need Untangle support please call or email support@untangle.com<B>

  9. #9
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    Mrunkel is dead on, there are those rare gems of customers that "get it", treasure them... give them a discount, work for free, do whatever it takes to keep them in business. In the end, they will save you.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  10. #10
    Untangle Ninja gotkimchi's Avatar
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    as for a name, seems like you are providing solutions, so "Open Solutions Inc."
    to be understood, you must first understand. :)
    Attention: Support and help on the Untangle Forums is provided by volunteers and community members like yourself. If you need Untangle support please call or email support@untangle.com

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