A Business Owner at Age 18
It’s not very common to see a teenager own and operate his/her own business. I’ve always had a great interest in the technology world which is what had prompted me into starting my own business, along with the chance to prove wrong the people that said I wouldn’t be able to do it wrong. Throughout my youth I applied for work at just about any place that was hiring; my first job that I got was a job at Nino Salvaggio when I was 14; I worked there for about 4 months and I had to quit because of school. All of the money that I had earned from my work during those 4 months went to my parents. I’ve also worked for CVS Pharmacy, CompUSA, Rite Aid Pharmacy, and at Performance Resource Press over the past 4 years of my life. I have saved up enough money to support my self independently.
Also I have gained a lot of experience from the jobs I’ve had. For instance, I noticed many people asking me a lot of different advice about computers when I worked at CompUSA. That led me to have many great ideas on how I could come up with
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Although my parents thought I wouldn’t be able to run my own business, they still helped me a lot after they saw that this is what I really want to do. They didn’t help me by giving me money or by helping me buy equipment, but they helped me fill out the paperwork, register my business, and get any and all legal papers required submitted. I didn’t really care that they didn’t help me by giving me money or by helping with equipment because I had saved up enough to pay for everything my self from all the jobs I worked at in the past. My dad was the most helpful and he was the one that always stood behind me every step of the way just because of the fact that he has operated a business before and he currently is a self-employed electrician. My mom was also trying to help with anything she can do such as helping me advertise my company, sending out proposals, etc.
Although she tried to offer me money to buy the necessary equipment and software, I had refused it because I wanted to see if I would be able to do this independently. I started my business which is called Suler’s Computer Services, in early 2002 when I was 17 years old, although it wasn’t officially registered until I turned 18 years old. Suler’s Computer Services has been open for almost a year now and so far is a successful company. Suler’s Computer Services has a few large clients who repeatedly came back because the great and quality services that they get from a private business that they don’t get from a large corporation. My company offers many services and a few products that we offer; we do just about anything such as repair computers, network computers, develop professional websites, host websites, create databases, and develop small user-friendly applications for home and business users.
I’m currently working on enhancing my programming knowledge so that we will be able to develop advanced programs that are often used in businesses. Although this business is still to this day a successful business, it wasn’t easy to start this business at all. It required a lot of knowledge, patience, and paper work to be done. I had to come up with a business plan before I even started to do anything; a business plan is basically a detailed description of everything that needs to be done before you actually start advertising your business to the public. In addition to the business plan that I had to create, I had also to come up with a promotion plan, which details what sort of customers I was to target, and how I was going to target them. After all that is done I had to register my business with the Michigan Department of Treasury.
However, there are a few differences between my company and any other general company that does the same sort of things that I do. One of the differences is that my company is a private company which means I have a few advantages over other companies such as getting to know my customers, and responding to them quicker. Another is that my company is small, so that way I have the advantage of keep tracking of everything that goes on between the company and the client. Nevertheless, gaining customers is the hardest part in my business; most of the customers that I get are usually from word-of-mouth advertising, which means that the customers that I worked for already tell their friends, family, co-workers and other businesses that they deal with about me if they do have a problem.
Personally, that’s the way I like to gain customers because that tells me that I’m doing something right on how I’m running my business and that the customers that I’ve worked for find me a reliable technician. The other way that I gain customers is through a new special target that I have created; what I do is every once in a while is go through the yellow pages online and target specific business categories that I believe might need a website, computer maintenance, etc. Once I do find a few businesses that I believe need a website, I compose a proposal describing helpful ideas to efficiently improve the way that customer runs his/her business and mail it to them. Since I have been doing this for approximately one year now, I can say that this method works very well and generates a lot of responses from the customers inquiring about other services that I do. In addition, satisfying the customer is a big challenge in the computer industry; I have had a few customers who were always complaining about everything no matter how many times I fixed a problem for them.
For instance, I have created a database program for a tanning store, so I interviewed the owner to gather information on what sort of things she wants in the program. After gathering all the information, I scripted the program and made it a user friendly interface. However, that customer kept calling me and always requesting additional things to add and change. This issue led me up to finally tell the customer that any additional changes from that point on would be an additional cost. The first few incidents are always for free with me; I’m not really the type of business man that charges extra for one small add-on or a small change. I have no problem doing that for customer; but when I do have a customer that takes advantage of my generosity, I don’t have any choice but to do what I did. Most of the customers are delighted about how good the service I have provided is; I always offer them free support and minor changes for a whole year.
Another thing that I do to keep the customers coming back is to add small greetings during holiday seasons such as saying “Merry Christmas” on the front page of a website during Christmas season or saying “Happy New-year” during the month of January. Since my parents and a lot of other people said that my business wouldn’t survive due to the fact of me being so young. I was very happy and proud to prove them wrong. Now that my parents and all the other people that said I wouldn’t be able to make it have seen how well my business is actually going I have gained a lot of support from them. This experience has also led them to see that no matter what age you are, if you work your hardest on achieving something you really believe you can do then it will work. Before they didn’t want to do any sort of business with a person that’s really young such as my self, but now that they’ve seen how successful and smart teenagers can be they have started to hire teenagers for things they wouldn’t hire them to do before.