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[June 08, 2014]
Take 10: Going IT alone at Small Office Computer Support [Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass. :: ]
(Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 08--WEST HYANNISPORT -- June Bertucci started her own business, Small Office Computer Support, after three decades in the industry. Working from home, Bertucci travels the Cape for her computer service and repair business.
What's the most important thing your business does? Provide computer help. I am a boutique IT computer service. What I have developed is hundreds of small clients who rely on me to be their IT department.
How long have you been in business? Ten years. Like most small businesses, I initially started out dipping my toe in the water a little bit and doing it part-time while I was still employed. And then in 2004, I jumped in with two feet. I grew the business out of my home, word of mouth, networking.
At one point I did have an office outside of the home (on Main Street in Hyannis), but it wasn't the direction I wanted my company to go. I made a decision a couple years ago when I was super busy, I went into business primarily for quality of life on Cape Cod, being able to be gainfully employed, support my family, enjoy Cape Cod. And growing the business necessarily wasn't going to give me all those things. It was going to take me away from my clients. I love the interaction I have with my clients. If I was to employ somebody else, then there would be somebody else between me and my clients. What I sell to my clients is my 30 years of experience, my personality, my troubleshooting. So expanding beyond myself, I don't want to go pitch myself to my clients, they meet me, they love me -- and then somebody else shows up to the door.
What did you do before? I have been in IT for 30 years, all said and done. The only other job I have ever done (outside IT) was I was a licensed day care provider for three and a half years when I had my first son. But I was in corporate America for 20 years (including for a national bank and a national law firm in Boston and for Monster.com).
How big was your staff when you started? How about now? (Bertucci started off as a staff of one and remains the only employee.) I had one gentleman I outsourced to. My oldest son is now twenty and he has helped in my business.
But instead, I have gone another route I decided I could still be professional and successful without expanding by numbers. So I employ an answering service, so somebody answers my phone, I get my messages promptly, my clients feel better, it sounds good. I have my resources. I do network with other IT companies if I get something too big. I am not going to take something too big and fail; I would outsource it or ask for outside help. So instead, I have resources. That's why I say it's more of a quality boutique service, instead of 'I'm the biggest IT company on Cape Cod.' How has the market changed since you started? I started in 2004. By 2007, I was at that three-year mark where I had to make it or break it. I was really fortunate. I had great growth in 2007, 2008 and 2009 -- when the recession hit a lot of places, I was thriving. I did have a lull because a lot of companies couldn't reinvest. They kind of limped along with their current equipment. The last two or three quarters, my business has grown in, I think, record time. I really see the bounceback now in other companies reinvesting -- they have to get off XP, technology has taken a huge help. So companies that were suffering along have now reinvested. I do training as well as computer repair and services, so that is starting to come into demand more, too, now as well.
What are your plans for your business' future? Just to focus more on training, offering more workshops. Technology is constantly changing.
What's the best thing about having a business on the Cape? Quality of life, hands down. I grew up in the city. There's the fact that I have a beach a mile away. I am a runner so I can do anywhere from two to four miles and at the same time run past at least six to eight of my clients within my running route. It is a very small niche and it works. It works -- the close relationship with my clients.
What's the biggest challenge to having a business on the Cape? My biggest challenge is the geography of the Cape. I do have clients from South Wellfleet all the way to Buzzards Bay. That is a huge challenge.
What has been the most memorable moment with the business? I actually have a treasure box full of thank-you notes over the years. I think the best part is the relationship I have with my clients. It goes way beyond computer repair. I am not the typical geek. A lot of my clients pay my invoice with thank-you notes in them, they send me thank-you letters. Compared with corporate America and what you get there, that would have to be, hands down, one of the biggest benefits, the best parts of being self-employed.
What advice do you have for someone starting a business on the Cape? There are lots of resources. There are lots of opportunities to network. And if you capitalize on that "» I took my business off on a shoe string. I had no capital, investments, nothing. I was able to grow my business by getting out there and networking and using resources like SCORE and the local chambers (of commerce). As long as you work hard and get yourself out there, you can launch yourself.
___ (c)2014 the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.) Visit the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.) at www.capecodonline.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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