Starting own business offering Web design/Networking

I want to start my own business catering to small businesses and select home users.

The services I want to offer are

*Web Design
* Networking(Wireless setup, LINUX/MAC/Windows Server setup and support. Workstation support. Router/Switch maintenance and setup(Cisco, Netgear. etc...)
*Application support(MS OFFICE, Browsers, misc applications)
*Broadband setup with internal LAN

What do you think I should worry about in getting this business off the ground?

This will be a huge step for me and a huge risk.

Some of things I want to accomplish

*Presentable website with multimedia for my business
*Flyers to post throughout local area promoting my business and services

What kind of rates should I charge?

My expertise is good and have plenty of experience with all forms of IT.

Any suggestions?
CCNA, A+. MCP(70-270. 70-290), Dell SoftSkills


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    dpsdps Member Posts: 116
    Know all the legal aspects of the business. You should also have a "Terms and Agreement" documentation for every type of business that you do.

    You don't want to be liable (for example) if a computer bogs and the user lose all their files during/after you worked on it.
    Focused and Steady.
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    dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I'd pick up a business plan workbook and work through that. Stop by your local chamber of commerce (if you have those there), and talk to them. Learn how to legally register your business and what is involved with that. You might want to consult with a lawyer before doing this. You really need to keep an eye on the liability issues. You don't want to leave yourself open to being sued.

    From personal experience, small business web development is a crappy business. If the business doesn't already have a website, they likely don't have a huge desire for one. Even if you are fortunate enough to meet the right person at the right time, perhaps someone just starting a business, their budgets are typically really low. They think that a website is essentially a word document that is just uploaded to the internet. They don't appreciate all the complexity, such as SEO or cross-browser compatibility, etc. They also tend to have unrealistic expectations, "I heard it's good to be in the top 10 for Google. I want to be in the top 10 for Google for 'Auto Repair.'" Good luck with that.

    You hear a lot of horror stories regarding home users as well. I'm not trying to discourage you, but you should really test the water and come up with a game plan before you fully commit yourself to this.
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    BeaverC32BeaverC32 Member Posts: 670 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Know where you will get the finances to get the business going.

    Will you hire help or do this all yourself?

    Will you offer services 24x7 -- what if a client's web server goes down in the middle of the night?

    Are you strictly designing websites, or are you developing them as well? If so, static or dynamic content?

    There really are a ton of things to consider. It might be best to start small and then grow slowly.
    MCSE 2003, MCSA 2003, LPIC-1, MCP, MCTS: Vista Config, MCTS: SQL Server 2005, CCNA, A+, Network+, Server+, Security+, Linux+, BSCS (Information Systems)
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    dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I should add that for you, or anyone else interested, you should check out www.mosso.com

    It's a great way to host client websites. They'll provide billing, support, etc. if you wish.
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    GoldmemberGoldmember Member Posts: 277
    I agree with a lot of the prior posts.

    The aim of my business would be to offer Web Design, but this would only be to supplement the networking support and services I would offer.

    This is the way I'm looking at approaching potential customers...

    I want to offer networking services and support, with the extra supplement of building them a webpage if they don't have one.

    Take for instance a small business that has 10 employees. This business probably has 2-3 printers, 10 computers and an internet connection.

    How would I target a business like this for support services?

    I would ideally configure a server with printing/file/intranet services and provide application support. After I win their trust I can develop and maintain their webpage to target their business needs. The more they depend on my services, the more I can provide a complete package which will in turn provide my business with more income. I will maintain and monitor their internet connection and do all the dirty work with the TElco who supplies broadband.
    Many small businesses are bogged down enough and having a support business can smooth out all the technical details and time wasted on the phone.

    My foot in the door will hopefully be computer support.

    What do you think?
    CCNA, A+. MCP(70-270. 70-290), Dell SoftSkills
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    GT-RobGT-Rob Member Posts: 1,090
    Your biggest challenge is getting them, to know about you. You may be perfect for them as far as price and service, but how are they going to know you even exist?

    This is where you need to invest at first, time and money. Find clients through networking if you can, but eventually you will need to look at advertising if you are serious.
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