Yup, it is official. Fix My Computer Now Inc. and all of its past identities is now 20 years old. I guess more accurately, I have been doing this for 20 years as a business.
I actually started in the IT world as a teacher. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s there was a surge in people “learning computers” due to the shift in the economy and the decline of traditional office hours. Layoffs and retirement packages started forcing people to consider working for themselves and/or working from home on a part time basis. As it turned out, I was approached to teach evening classes for adults with a broad range of topics from the basics of mac and pc operating systems, to more business targeted subjects like word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. After a few years, I ended up being the supervisor for computer related courses at the school I was teaching and brought on several other teachers to include things like basic web page development and basic database creation and reporting.
We continued for 10 years until things changed in Toronto and the school boards amalgamated. They changed the entire night school offering and eventually it was completely shut down.
During those 10 years, I not only grew to know more about my skillset and abilities but found an inherent business model that developed into our company today. It went something like this:
“Hey, your teaching us computer stuff…can you actually help us at our office?”
You have to realize that at the time, IT support for small or home business (SOHO as it was called for awhile) was realistically non-existent. If you were an IT consultant, you worked for large firms with big budgets and dealt with the IBMs and Hewlett-Packards supplying the whole thing. The independent and small computer market made a lot of changes during this time and the price structure was completely different if you were trying to support a small office vs. a large corporation.
That is where my opportunity lay. Through teaching, I had inadvertently developed a client base of small business owners or decision makers that now needed IT support for the ever changing market. They needed mostly desktop support at first, but eventually the small business servers, web presence, custom application development and network needs began to evolve. So I opened up shop and began taking on clients (mostly my students at first) by day, and continued teaching at night.
It was an exciting time and over the next 18 months or so, I found myself in business.
Over time, I registered my first company name Mage Enterprises (a salute to an old nickname) and went through the ardous task of learning about being a business owner without any business education. Time passed and through trial and error and experience, things progressed and I was able to start hiring staff. Eventually, First Contact Computer Solutions became the name which was more in line with what customers could identify as an IT support company. I brought on my brother in law Bruno whose cabling experience helped us add more value to our clients and my senior consultant, Jason who now manages the overall operations for our clients needs.
Finally in 2008, after long review of our brand and a study on how people remembered us, we incorporated and changed to Fix My Computer Now Inc. Since then, we’ve added another full time technician and an office manager to the team.
In those years, I did make a few good decisions amongst all the bad. The first was going with Fix My Computer Now Inc. not just as a company name but as our brand presence. Every time somebody asks for our email address and we say *****@FixMyComputerNow.Com it elicits a chuckle and an instant place in their memory. For years, I had people address us by “your the fix my computer now guys” which is what exactly I wanted. The fortunate part for many years was that fixmycomputer.com had been taken but a US resident but wasn’t really used until sometime in 2009. When I grabbed fixmycomputerNOW.com it was virtually unopposed in domain presence for many years giving us an advantage in branding.
Though, I must admit we do still get calls from the southern USA from people who keep telling us they “saw your ad on TV then googled the address.” They still don’t realize we are in Canada, but hey, I’ll take the recognition anytime.
The second good decision was going with a tagline that people also remembered easily. One day after surfing the internet, there was a comic that was making fun of the movie Sixth Sense. The one where the kids sees dead people. The running joke went like this:
I see dead people…
I see bad people…
I see dead apples…
I see bad things…
and so on. So out loud as I was thinking about a job that involved a dead hard drive, I blurted to myself I see dead DATA… and after a moment, my eyes widened with that self aware stare at the wall that some of you may recognize when you have a “eureka” moment.
I see Dead Data suddenly described and identified a large portion of what we do. Not only in data recovery but in handling client’s data for the purposes of moving, copying, transferring etc. This little phrase summed up the reason why I started the company and it worked even for those people who had no context from the movie.
I See Dead Data…. so call Fix My Computer Now!
That’s why it is now trademarked as our slogan.
After 20 years, the core philosophies for why companies should hire us has remained the same. Believe me, we have put these elements to the test on many occasions and here is what I can sum up:
1) We understand that you want the problem fixed. The details are not as important as the trust you have in us to take care of the problem and making you feel comfortable. This is usually the primary concern whether you verbalize it or not.
2) We endeavor to communicate as much as possible because nothing is worse than waiting for an answer about a problem. To this end, our technicians are selected for their communication skills first. A trait left over from my teaching days.
3) In the long term, you want us to be familiar with your business. With knowledge about your business goals, style, structure and staff we can better serve your needs and pull in our resources for any technology support, not just direct computers.
This all adds up to a long term relationship type service, not just a fly by night remote fix that can be found online. Fixing a computer problem is only the tip of the iceberg when dealing with a company’s total technology.
Hopefully by continuing down our path with the right name, the right people and the right philosophy, I’ll be able to write another article entitled “Celebrating 40 years in “I See Dead DATA” Solutions!”