On 2017...Oh Where To Start...
2017 started out with a bang, namely, a high-powered Game-Design/Gaming PC called Carbon Crystal, and a mid-level Gaming PC called Silver Fury. This was soon followed up by an entry-level Gaming PC called TheCraq, and a Home PC called Blue Carbon. Each of these systems turned out fantastic, and are still performing as-designed.
And Then It All Changed...
I was anticipating a boost in sales around March/April, due to IRS tax refunds being used on electronics. That boost never happened, I'm not sure why either. It wasn't for lack of marketing/advertising, so I attributed it to people just not wanting to buy a custom computer. I decided to pull up my boots, change a few things, and move on.
Shortly before the last two builds, I bought some new case fans, 6x Corsair ML120 Pro LED Red ones, to be specific. These bad boys are PWM-enabled, and use magnetic levitation to eliminate the need for bearings. As a result, they are much quieter, even while at load. They're not, but worth it in my opinion. I feature them quite a bit on Instagram, they work well for advertisement (and cooling...duh).
I started going to many more networking events, meeting new people, and handing out business cards. I was of the mind that, if I met X amount of people, Y amount would possibly be interested, and Z would become clients (potentially).
I have yet to figure out those exact ratios...I'm still working on it
I bought another month of premium advertising on WRAL Classifieds (fairly cheap), because I had acquired my Carbon Crystal client that way. The second purchase didn't pan out, so I was left wondering what went wrong.
Then, like a glimmer of hope, I was invited to the UNCG Game-A-Thon. I was also invited to be a guest speaker, and host my own vendor booth. Naturally, I retrieved 3 of my client PCs, and brought two of my own personal systems.
Game-A-Thon went very well (though my speaking presentation was sparsely attended), but ultimately didn't translate to any leads or sales. This left me wondering if I was doing something wrong, and made me make some design & marketing changes.
I met with an advisor, made some changes to the systems listed online, and came up with some ideas on how to target my ideal clientele.
Soon after that, I changed my priorities between gaming computers and professional workstations. I had been putting a greater emphasis on gaming, but soon realized that gaming computers are typically one-off systems, and are purchased every few years, and most of the time without an extended warranty.
Workstations however, tend to be purchased in sets, frequently, and tend to be acquired with extended warranties.
Workstation hardware is also more advanced, which means added cost, which certainly has an impact. I still do gaming computers, I just spend more time in the workstation realm.
About the second week of April, I put a wrap on my Fusion. The wrap came out wonderful, and has been receiving lots of praise wherever it is seen. It has yet to convert to a paying client, but I think it's just a matter of time.
Lots and lots of meetings, networking events, business purchases, advertisements, professional engagements, and other things soon came to pass.
About a month ago, I was invited to join the Eastern NC BBB, and have received my accreditation with a rating of A-
I also launched a Network Attached Storage Service, a Custom Parts List Service, a Water Cooling Service, and configured a Gaming PC for College Esports use.
Along the way, I kept connecting with workstation users, building relationships, and developing connections. People are more apt to buy from someone they trust, and that is incredibly important for a business like Top Flight Computers.
2017 has not gone as I'd planned, true. I was not expecting to have no PC sales since about the second week of February, but life happens.
You learn, move on, and adapt.
You learn how to market more effectively, how to find the more lucrative clientele, how to create a smoother experience on your website, and how to really understand the many platforms of social media.
I may not be where I thought I'd be at this point 8 months ago, but I've gained an astonishing amount of knowledge in that time, which is worth its metaphorical weight in gold.