Looking for a promising business to launch in an industry where the sky’s the limit? Consider starting then growing a computer systems design company. Computer systems design is a broad industry that encompasses a wide range of activities, including:
- Designing and testing software
- Installing software
- Maintaining and managing clients’ computer systems
- Providing hardware and software consulting
- Providing data recovery services
Computer systems design is one of the fastest-growing industries around, and it’s projected to grow 21 percent by 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s easy to see why this industry is so promising. Trends including the growth of cloud computing and software as a service, the importance of IT to any business’ success, the rise of mobile technology, and the emergence of artificial intelligence and virtual reality technology are creating exciting new opportunities in the field. To take advantage of these new technologies, businesses of all sizes need help from IT experts to design, install, manage, and maintain their computer systems.
Considerations When Starting a Computer Systems Design Company
When starting a computer systems design company, you’ll need to ask yourself these key questions:
- What services will you offer? Because this industry encompasses so many different services, it’s important to be clear about exactly what your business will provide.
- What is your target market? Generally, a computer systems design company serves clients that don’t have their own internal IT departments. This can range from small or even home-based businesses to multinational corporations. You will need to do some market research to determine the best target market for you.
- How will you specialize? Computer systems design companies work with a wide variety of businesses. Some of the most common include healthcare, financial services, and government organizations. Because different industries have their own unique technology needs as well as regulations to follow in terms of protecting sensitive data, specializing in one industry can help you convince clients your business is the best suited to solve their IT problems.
- How will you provide and price your services? You can provide hourly assistance (this works well for short-term problems or emergencies), work on a retainer basis (providing a set amount of services each month), or work on a per-project basis. Many computer systems design companies offer all these pricing structures to suit different clients’ needs.
- Where will you locate your business? You’ll want to be close to lots of potential clients, which generally means in or near urban centers. It’s also important to have access to a steady supply of qualified employees. Although you can do much of the work using virtual employees, many clients prefer you and your employees onsite at least part of the time. Computer systems analysts typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a similar field, so locations near universities can be helpful.
Growing a computer systems design company
Once your business is up and running, the following tips will help it grow:
In addition to computing skills, employees also need the ability to communicate effectively with a wide variety of clients, the ability to multitask and manage priorities, and an understanding of how technology fits into a business’s overall goals.
Focus on marketing
Your business website is your key marketing piece. However, you also need a strong presence on LinkedIn to network with potential customers. Building personal relationships is key to successfully growing a computer systems design company. (Learn more about prospecting for new business and how your website can help you sell to B2B clients.)
Invest to stay competitive
To grow a computer systems design business, you must continually invest in upgrading your technology, hiring new employees, and providing ongoing training to keep pace with industry developments.
Plan ahead for potential financing needs
Starting and growing a computer systems design company is not cheap. The average salary for computer systems analysts is more than $80,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You’ll also need specialized insurance to protect your business against claims of negligence or errors. Large clients, such as corporations and government agencies, are often slow to pay.
Make sure you have a plan for how you’ll get over cash flow shortages and finance future growth. Fundbox can be a valuable tool for anyone starting and growing a computer systems design company. With Fundbox, funds can be available as soon as the next day, so slow payers don’t have to slow your business down.