Posted by: Nancy | April 25, 2010

Making your way

It started with a helpless feeling.

I went to turn on my computer, needing to convert a video file, folks waiting for me. Other work lined up in front of me, meetings, deadlines.

But nothing.

It wouldn’t turn on. It wouldn’t work for me. I quickly exhausted all the tricks I knew to get it to work — but nothing. Oh no, that sinking feeling and anxiety rising. I needed help.Rather than dig out my receipts and call the multinational computer

I called a small storefront computer shop nearby. Too late, they were just closing. I explained my problem and a young voice told me he likely could fix it for me. They open at 10 a.m. the next day. I promised to be there.

When I got there, I explained that I had called the night before and summarized the problem. Yeah, I talked with you, the young man said. I think I can take care of it. I’ll let you know.

Within 90 minutes, he’d called back. All done, working fine, I can come get it.

Anxiety banished! End of story? Not really.

When I got there, I asked what it would cost. What should it cost? The young man asked. This prompted some discussion.

His name was Geoff, he’s 20 years old and had just launched himself into business with his brother. It turns out that he and his brother had worked at this little shop for the last five years, and the owner had decided to shut it down and get out of the business.

“I didn’t want to lose my job,” he explained, “so we asked him if we could take it over.” The rest was history. Two young entrepreneurs were born and were now, thrown into business, figuring out their way.

Geoff explained that they were still figuring out what they should be charging for their services. So their solution was to ask customers what the service was worth.

Original, brilliant, entrepreneurial thinking. Align with your customers, let them set a reasonable price and become part of the team. At least, that’s what it felt like to me. I wanted to see this young man and his fledgling business succeed.

And his strategy worked. I said I thought the price should be $40 or $50; he said he was thinking around $35. So let’s put it at $39, he said — giving me a bargain, less than I expected, while he got a little more than he thought. It felt fair to both of us.

Now this might not work for every customer; and he may face some tough conversations ahead of him. But he’ll do fine. This young man is following his heart, doing what he loves to do, and making folks happy at the same time. He’s learning how to make business decisions, but he already understands — intuitively — how to be successful.

Geoff, here’s a toast to you and your brother and your new business. I’m betting on you, and I’m telling everyone about you. Here’s to success!

Shamet Bros. Computer Solutions
5612 Johnson Drive
Mission, KS 66202

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