Local business The Computer Lab helps you save moneyDollars & Sense — By Melanie McIntyre on August 4, 2011 at 8:00 am
In our third installment of Dollars & Sense, The Computer Lab’s Rosa Huff shares the various ways she’s cut costs and increased profits at the laptop and personal computer repair and sales business in Worthington.
The Computer Lab is owned and operated by Rosa and her husband, Tom Huff. He has extensive computer repair knowledge as he also is an IT consultant for several small- and medium-size companies throughout the state. The Huffs also work alongside Michael Beuerlein, a recent Ohio State University graduate and their store manager.
Without further ado, Rosa’s words of wisdom:
On cutting unnecessary spending from your business budget:
We have not needed to cut unnecessarily because we have been extremely focused on operational efficiencies and the bottom line. Our business model dictates that we jury almost every business investment, and expense and determine its value and contribution to the return on investment.
As an example, we just recently put up our sign on the Sharon Square lighted board. We made a determination that buying a laminating machine for a few hundred dollars was more efficient than buying a custom-made sign. We did have to spend a few hours learning how to run the laminating machine but, considering the cost savings, it was worth the investment.
On using technology to eliminate expensive and outdated practices in your business:
We are a very green and paperless company. Most of our business processes are conducted online, with minimal use of materials. We fully utilize available online tools for technical, marketing, and operational aspects of our company to keep us nimble and, again, to reduce our cost of doing business.
As an example, we have used Facebook as our primary marketing tool. The Computer Lab has a Facebook page and our current promotion is driven through social media. There are also technical tools we use to diagnose and repair systems without the need for a trip to the customer’s location. Our model for small- and medium-size businesses is to ensure there is a ”Super User” on site that is willing and able to walk us through a diagnosis and repair. This model is extremely popular and successful and gives corporate customers the reins to their IT infrastructure.
On streamlining your business model:
Keeping our overhead cost is not just a choice, but is at the core of how we do business because we want to be the best value in town. So far, our service vs. competitive pricing research shows that we have succeeded in this front. Another strategy we have used, although not new technology, is to advertise that we work longer hours than our posted shop hours.
The Computer Lab’s storefront is open from Monday to Friday, from 1 to 6 p.m. We are on call 24/7 through our Facebook page, through email, text, and instant messaging. By keeping our storefront hours at a limited but heavily advertised time, we are eliminating expensive overhead storefront costs. We trust that our customers will appreciate the value and understand that as a small business there
are ways to be efficient.
A final thought:
The Computer Lab is also a company that focuses on collaborating with other small business owners. We are not just providers of service, we are a small business customer ourselves!
To visit The Computer Lab’s Facebook page, click here.
Melanie McIntyre served as editorial director of The Metropreneur from its launch in August 2010 to May 2013. She is also a featured writer for Columbus Underground and writes about fashion, style and pop culture on her blog, Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is an Ohio State University graduate, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.
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