Name: Mark Kotorac
Title: Principal & Consultant
Business Name: Affordable Computer Repairs & Service
How long have you been working with family businesses?
Affordable Computer Repairs and Service was established over 6 years ago in Brisbane. When I started the business in mid-2010, I was unsure as to the scope and future of the undertaking given the large number of established competitors in the market. We focus on a range of computer & IT work involving MS Windows PCs and Apple Macs, aimed at the home user and small business market. You can find us here.
We are a small family business with myself doing all the technical, management and administration and my wife Karen doing the marketing and SEO. A lot of the credit for our success has to go to Karen for all her effort and tenacity, especially in establishing our on-line marketing through her SEO work. It is a good combination that works very well for us.
We have one very good subcontractor and would like to have several more. The problem is finding experienced, reliable and competent people who can use a little initiative when it’s necessary. The skills and ability of some individuals in this industry often comes up short.
What’s one of the most common mistakes you see in family businesses?
Being too busy! Having to multi-task, ie. doing the physical work (in this case the various computer jobs that come through the door), paying the bills, doing the tax and lots of administration work that I would outsource if I could find the time to outsource it!
The same applies to finding good sub-contractors, there is plenty of work to outsource but I need the time to interview sub-contractors, provide some training and then monitor their performance. Also like many small family-owned businesses, nobody does the work as well as the owner! That might be partly myth, but I believe that there is a lot of truth in it as well.
What is your “uh ha” moment with your clients? When they realise…
When I realised that putting up our fees and charges meant fewer customers but still the same level of revenue! However our fees are still probably too low when compared to our competitors. What I try and do is to assess the viability of potential jobs when people phone up and enquire about their particular problem or issue.
I often spend the time explaining to people why some things can’t be done, why things end up costing as much as they do, and why they may be better off adopting a different course of action, ie. replacing a piece of hardware rather than trying to have it repaired, or delaying a particular purchase or upgrade when timing or circumstances are not ideal.
It quite often ends up with me providing free advice and “troubleshooting” over the phone, but (possibly) a future customer down the track …. The next time they need some assistance, they’ll contact Affordable Computer Repairs & Service rather than one of our competitors.
We focus on quality and competence in completing the work we undertake, rather than aiming for the cheapest price possible. Price is important, but not at the expense of getting the job done correctly. I aim at strike a balance between the two.