3 Years of Top Flight Computers: What I've Learned So Far
Over the past 3 years of running Top Flight Computers, I've learned a great deal of things. I love to share the knowledge I've gained so far; if I can help someone save 3 months of blundering about, that's good enough for me.
Start With Why
If you've been following my posts the past few weeks/months, I've been publishing a series of articles titled "Why I Designed It How I Did". This Why business is a core element to my entire business philosophy.
I read Start With Why (by Simon Sinek) several months ago, and his focus on Why continues to resonate with me today (I've actually retooled my brand because of it).
It goes something like this; Why are you in business, How do you do that, What do you do.
Why Are We In Business?
We believe that computers should be designed in a manner that allows you to get your work done fast, so that you can get to more important things in your life.
How Do We Do That?
We work with you to figure out what you’re doing with your new computer, what hardware best suits your situation, and if you have any special requests to be taken into account.
What Do We Do?
We design high-performance custom-built computers, specializing in workstations, gaming computers, water cooling, and network storage solutions.
Networking, Being a Go Giver, and Altruism
I've been networking for about 2 years now, and only truly figured out what "you have to give to get" meant about a month ago. Networking allows me to meet people that I wouldn't normally meet during the course of the day, and it also helps me meet those who I want to connect with.
However, I read The Go Giver about a month ago, and that helped me truly understand what "you have to give to get" meant.
I applied that mentality to my social media approach. Giving away knowledge that I've gained, in the hope that I can help someone at some point.
Working hard to be positive, helpful, and altruistic has made waves that I would have never expected. I've already seen the effects of this strategy, and I have to say...it's astonishing.
Change can be scary, but it's also normal. Don't be afraid to change things in your business.
Don't Follow The Group
Following the group is easy, and it's also the norm. If you're in a niche field, with little competition near you, don't follow the norm.
Be different...people will notice. And that's what you want...more attention, more eyes on your business.
If you're the only business in town who does what you do, that's a golden opportunity.
Your brand is everything. A brand is an idea, a concept. It's not a phrase, or a slogan..it's something more metaphysical.
When a company is synonymous with phrases, adjectives, and other associations, the brand is strong. Having a strong brand that has a firm grasp on Why allows the business to acquire more leads from referrals and word of mouth.
Yes, you can develop your brand and your Why to be relevant online with SEO, but it's not as powerful as word of mouth.
People Dig An Underdog
Going back to an earlier comment on following the group...doing what everyone else is doing won't necessarily land you that gigantic game-changing client.
Chances are, you're relatively new in the industry, and lack the clout that other more-established companies have. You'll be an underdog...but some people love an underdog.
Sometimes, having that fighting spirit and being willing to break the mold, is just what you need to start getting clients.
At the end of the day, at the end of everything, we have family. Family is what we take for granted most often, and it's also what we should never take for granted.
Take time to remember what's most important.
Your ideal clients will respect that, and your business will grow because of it.
Be consistent and focused. You can have the best idea, the biggest network, and the most funding...but if your execution and strategies are varied/subpar, your ideal clients will be confused.
Confused clients tend to walk away. If you consistently put out content that makes sense and is easy to understand, you'll end more leads and ultimately, more ideal clients.
Stay motivated. Motivation can be hard sometimes, especially when things are slow or dull. Find some small aspect that you really enjoy, and spend a few months doing it, making it better.
You'll find that A) you got stuff done, B) the thing is better now, and C) you're motivated to do more.
Get Really Good At The Long Game
If you're in a crowded industry, have a relatively new brand, and charge a premium for your services, it's best to play the long game. You might not get ideal clients initially, you will probably meet them in some fashion.
Focus on developing those relationships, and be persistent (but not annoying). When they ask you to do a small task, do it. This builds the relationship, and strengthens your bond and brand.
When they're able to commit to a larger order, make sure you're at the forefront of their mind (you probably will be). Those long-game clients will ultimately be what catapults your business to the next level.
Sometimes referrals just happen, when you least expect it. Focus on treating everyone with respect and professionalism.
Sometimes, someone you know, but haven't worked with yet, will refer you to someone who is a perfect fit for your business. It happens more than you think.
Happy employees are the best employees. Your workforce is critical to the success of your business.
Where else can you get several people who will regularly promote your business on a daily basis?
Happy customers are the best customers. Happy customers tell their friends.
Take some time for yourself every now and then. Unplug. Take a vacation into the woods. It'll do you untold amounts of good.
Time Waits For No Man
Time is the one thing you can't make more of. Make sure you spend your time wisely.
When you can, delegate tasks.
HAVE FUN. No seriously, get out there...go crazy.
Love What You Do
There's the phrase "do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life". While that's true, you still have to put in the work.
Like what I'm doing right now. The trick is, writing this article is fun for me, and it's part of what I love to do.
Do I love to write articles on our blog? No. I do enjoy it though, and it helps me ultimately build more computers, which is what I DO love to do.
Building An Organic Base
You've probably all seen that organic page views on Facebook have gone down in the past year. A good portion of you may have countered that with Facebook Ads in some way.
Facebook Ads are good for temporary views, but unless you have a large continual budget for advertising (or are getting a great sales conversion rate on ads), it's just that....temporary.
I've never really liked ads, and I figure my ideal clients don't either. So I don't run ads.
Instead, I use a hosted/branded group on Facebook to delivery high quality content to my audience. There's only so much space in your News Feed, and it's probably littered with ads and posts from people you really don't care about.
Having quality content in one central location makes it easy to create a like-minded community that engages with itself.
Good Moderators and Quality Content
You're probably thinking "Chris, I'm in so many groups on Facebook, they're all the same, and none really excite me". This is true, there are many groups on Facebook. Some are very good, but a lot are not.
This is generally due to poor moderation, and poor content. Having good admins/moderators gives the group structure, rules, and someone who is steadily putting out good content.
That's The Other Part...Content.
If you can make someone laugh, think, smile, cry, or react in some fashion, you've won. If they react internally to your post, they have a greater chance of engaging with another post (or posting themselves).
This drives engagement, which builds the community. Having a highly-engaging group that steadily grows, and is hosted by your Facebook Page, is a GREAT way to build an organic base.
Other things I've learned include pricing, email skills, HOW to network, how to think like a business owner (instead of a tech), not being afraid to read a self-help book, and not being afraid to ask for help.
Other things come naturally to me (I like to tinker, so figuring out my website wasn't terribly difficult).
I hope you've found this article insightful. I enjoyed writing it! I'm happy to expound on any of this in greater detail to you, just message me!
About Top Flight Computers
Top Flight Computers designs high-performance custom-built computers. We specialize in workstations, gaming computers, water cooling, and network storage solutions. We are based in Cary, North Carolina, and we ship across the USA. Check out our previous builds and our page on Facebook.