How To Start a Computer Business Center, Including Cost & Equipment
Starting a computer business centre is another viable option to break into the world of entrepreneurship and make good money in the process.
Many potential entrepreneurs have submitted requests on this site to have a computer center business plan written out and made available for public consumption.
We have already written in-depth articles on how to start various businesses like commercial cleaning business, laundry business, farming business, bread bakery business and barbing salon business.
So, what is a computer business centre and how does it differ from a cyber café?
A computer business centre is a business venture where typesetting, photocopying, scanning, spiral binding, lamination and printing services are carried out.
On the other hand, cyber cafes are publicly accessible establishments for connecting to the internet.
Cyber cafes have at least two or more computers with internet access and they charge a fee for customers to access the internet within a specified time period.
It is however common to find computer business centres branching out to provide internet connectivity points to their customers for the purpose of maximising profit.
Other services that can go alongside a computer business centre includes sales and repair of computers, sales of examination scratch cards like WAEC, NECO, JAMB, sales of recharge cards, computer training services, sales of computer accessories, etc.
Computer business centres are very profitable and could be overwhelmingly profitable when established in a location where such services are in high demand especially in tertiary institutions and commercial areas.
This business offers quick returns on investment and it is not a short-lived one.
It provides full-time employment for those who wish to live by it and it could also become an alternative source of income to the serial entrepreneur.
We will pay more emphasis on what it takes to start a basic computer business centre without diving into other additions like running a cyber café alongside this business.
Are you willing to learn how to start a computer business in your locality?
Or you want to have the list of equipment and requirements for starting a computer business centre?
Or you simply want to know how much it will cost to start a computer business centre?
Then you have come to the right place.
5 reasons why you should start a computer business centre
⇒There is a wide range of opportunities as initially stated.
One can decide to simply stick to the printing and photocopying aspect of the business or dive into more resource intensive aspects like typesetting, selling computer accessories or even running a cyber café or computer training services alongside.
The choice is all yours.
⇒ The beauty of starting a business is that it affords you the opportunity to be an employer of labour.
A business centre at its peak cannot be managed by a single individual. You get to employ people and by so doing create more job opportunities.
⇒ It is one of those businesses that is you can start out with a single computer and a printer while using your home or a simple shed as your business address.
Simply put, it doesn’t have to be capital intensive from the start. As your business grows, you can then advance to be more sophisticated.
⇒ The opportunities are immeasurable. There are so many polytechnics, universities and other educational institutions available to site your business.
In Nigeria, for example, there are at least 150 polytechnics and over 120 universities with even more likely to be established in the coming years.
You can also setup in major shopping malls where you would even charge higher compared to setting up within a campus environment.
⇒ Of course, the essence of every business is to make a profit. You can generate a decent income from this business.
And if you follow some of the advice in this guide, you can join the class of other entrepreneurs who have resigned their day jobs to focus solely on this business.
7 things you need to setup your new business
1) Will Power
This is probably the most important requirement for setting up any form of business.
You must make up your mind to go all the way as you will definitely experience some discouraging challenges.
As easy as starting a computer business centre sounds, it is not without its own surmountable challenges.
As an entrepreneur, you must make the best use of the available machinery, manpower and money to keep your business running till it reaches a state of profitability.
2) Acquire All Necessary Computer Skills
With the right experience, a computer business centre can be a great option for someone looking to start a business. You must have an expert knowledge of computers and software.
It is not a bad idea to attend a computer training class where you will acquire both basic and professional skills that will enable you to run your business successfully.
Moreover, if you eventually decide to run a computer training school in the future, your past experience and certification will give you an edge.
Nonetheless, you don’t need to be proficient in computers to start out this business. You can simply employ others who are experts in this field
The citing of your business centre is of utmost importance.
As earlier mentioned, I favour a location that is close to a major educational institution or even better if you can find a place within the institution.
I could also be located in a shopping complex or any commercial area with surrounding office buildings or government offices and secretariat.
Space should be sufficient for installing computer and accessories, office space and space for visitors.
Space may be your own or rented and it doesn’t have to be a shop. A small iron container of 8 X 8 feet size will be okay.
The main activities which a computer Business centre may carry on are:
⇒ Colored Photocopying
⇒ Spiral binding
⇒ Laminating (optional)
⇒ Online registration (optional)
⇒ Disc burning (optional)
⇒ Computer training services
⇒ Instant Digital passports (optional)
These are all the basic services that are expected from a computer business centre.
Some of the items listed above are optional means you can start the business without really offering that particular service or you could, maybe at a later date.
You could also offer more advanced services like:
⇒ Word Processing: You may do Word Processing jobs like preparing personal/
business letters of individuals, small traders and business firms. Bio-data/resume
for the purpose of jobs and marriages may also be prepared.
⇒ Data Processing and Analysis: Individuals and small business firms generally do not have
their own computer facilities for storing and analyzing data.
⇒ Accounting: If you have an aptitude for the accounting work, you may like to
maintain the accounts of individuals and professionals and small business firms.
For this, you need some basic knowledge of Accounting and a Software package.
⇒ Fax facilities
⇒ Internet Café: You may provide internet surfing service to your customers. This service requires installing a few more computers and a constant internet access.
⇒ Call Centre Operation
⇒ On-line Trading Centre
5) Equipment and materials
There are several things to purchase when starting out your computer business centre.
However, it’s only wise to cut your budget and buy the most essential tools for success.
You will definitely need a computer system (laptop or desktops).
You also need a Photocopier and a printer. Depending on how much you have, you could buy a used device that’s still in good condition. A new one will come with a warranty, though.
The new one will also make the photocopied works come out sharp and fast.
The list is more extensive than just computers and printers. Below is a complete list of equipment and materials.
List of equipment to start a computer business centre:
⇒ Generator Set
⇒ Shop Rent (Annually)
⇒ Laptop or Desktop Computers: At least one for a start.
⇒ Printer: All-in-one purpose printer or an Inkjet Printer
⇒ Internet modem: If you planning a cyber cafe
⇒ Papers of different sizes
⇒ Paper cutter
⇒ Furniture: Three plastic stools, one wooden table
⇒ Wiring/Electric installation
⇒ Laminating Machine
⇒ Spiral Binding Machine
⇒ Digital Camera
⇒ Photo Printer
⇒ Plain Fabric for passport backgrounds.
⇒ Stapler and pins
⇒ USB Flash
⇒ Internet Dongle
⇒ Bio-metric Scanner: If you are registering students for exams or other similar programs.
If your business centre is located in a busy province, then one man cannot meet the needs of your customers. Remember, you don’t want to keep them waiting for more than its necessary.
You can consider any of the under listed help depending on the operation capital and size of your business centre:
⇒ computer instructor
⇒ Computer operator
⇒ Graphic designers
⇒ Web designers and developers
⇒ Computer Engineer
⇒ Data Analyst
⇒ Data Base Admin
Most times, all you need is one or more two extra hands to handle these tasks as a single unit.
7) capital: How much do you need to start a computer business centre
The amount of money you will need depends on whether you are going to jump into the deep end and make your new business your only source of income, or you are going to ease into it and work elsewhere while you build up your client base.
Regardless of whether you are starting out full time or part time, there are still some costs that apply to both startup types.
What do you need money for?
- Business registration
- Stock and equipment
- Paying your staff
- Getting a location
- Paying your bills
The cost of starting and running your business can thus be subsequently broken down into fixed capital & working capital.
Fixed capital generally remains constant over a longer period and is required only in
the beginning stage.
On the other hand, working capital is required frequently. It is implied that after sometime money starts coming out of the business and thus working capital is met out of the turnover.
Fixed Capital is required for buying your computer system, printers, furniture and the like.
Working capital, on the other hand, is required for the purchase of raw material (like paper, cartridges, floppies, CDs, etc.), for making payments to staff, electricity and telephone bills, conveyance and travel, etc.
In running a Computer business centre, the returns are quick and generally turnover starts within a month.
It is estimated that a fixed capital of approximately N260,000 – N363,250 is sufficient if you reside in Nigeria.
A working capital of N45,000 – N60,000 will do in the first few months of business.
How to market your computer business centre
A good and well-planned marketing strategy will go a long way to win new customers to your startup.
There are different ways to publicise your computer business centre and we will take a look at few:
⇒ Start by having a business card. A business card will come in handy at all times and can be distributed when the opportunity arises.
⇒ Design a beautiful flyer that includes all the services rendered by your business. Then distribute it within your locality.
⇒ Sending out Introductory Letters to public and private establishments.
⇒ Create a company website and make your homepage a landing page.
⇒ Network with other business owners for a possible recommendation.
⇒ Have a billboard that points to your shop.
The cons of Starting A Computer Business Centre
No business is without its own challenges. And that’s why you must take the time to consider some of the challenges that can come with a computer business centre.
Some of the challenges of starting this business include:
⇒ You need a little bit of training in the use computers, software and tools.
⇒ You need adequate capital to setup a standard business centre.
⇒ You need to be patient and have excellent customer service skills.
⇒ Paralytic Electrical Power Supply in some regions of the world makes it difficult for such business run effectively and the cost in the price of petroleum product leads to increase in working/running capital and a decrease in monthly turnover.
⇒ Software Viruses are constantly on the rise and some are capable of bringing down your system in a blink of an eye.
This challenge is preventable when you keep to best practices and constantly update your Antivirus.
GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICES for your business centre
Profit is the soul of every business. Nonetheless, an entrepreneur should also endeavour to deal rightly with everyone.
Some good business practices that will further advance your venture include:
(1) Be polite to your customers. Always greet and receive them properly.
(2) Be punctual and adhere to the Delivery Schedule. If the job of a customer is not
ready by scheduled time, inform her/him in advance and apologise.
(3) Be honest in dealings. Charge reasonably and honestly from the customers.
(4) Pay your dues and taxes in time.
(5) Pay reasonably to your staff. Payment to them should commensurate with their
qualification, experience and the output they produce.
Starting a computer business centre is a worthwhile small business idea and one that will profit you. It is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria.
You can start small and then scale up as soon as the money starts flowing in.
However, bad business practices will not profit you and can only destroy this business sooner than later.