ComputerMend is a new website set up by Salford's Ali Lijee, which provides a kind of broking service for, er, broken computers.
The online business was created in July to provide hardware and software support for small and medium sized businesses, and home computer users, via a network of technicians.
Basically you go on the site, www.ComputerMend.co.uk , enter your postcode and a list of nearest computer technicians appears with contact details. You then fill in an online form describing the computer fault and you get an estimate of the cost...
"Typically, our technicians provide three individual service offerings" says Ali "A walk-in service, where the customer goes to the technician's repair centre, either on spec or by appointment; a call-out service, where the technician visits the customer at their home, their office or even their hotel. The third type of service is remote support, where the technicians access the customer's computer remotely, and carry out necessary work such as data backups, virus detection and removal or software updates.
"We believe that the ComputerMend service is unique, in that it gives the customer immediate access to a choice of highly skilled technicians in their own local area, and they can select the one that offers the ideal service and skill set for their own individual needs" he adds.
ComputerMend is similar to another of Ali's businesses, iTechnician (www.iTechnician.co.uk ), which he claims is the largest independent network of Apple device repairers in the UK.
"I still manage this thriving network, and it occurred to me that many of the iTechnician members, on top of their Apple expertise, repair other types of laptops, desktops and tablets too" he says "I reasoned that I could set up another network, this time focussing on computers, which would generate work for the members in the same way as iTechnician was doing, and so ComputerMend was born."
Ali, who also has the MyWindscreen online car windscreens repair network, began in IT working for the Manchester-based web-hosting provider UKFast selling web-related services. In all his networks, the technicians pay a small £75 fee to be featured on the site and the customers themselves have no extra costs.
He is now building up a bit of a portfolio of companies and has this advice for would-be entrepreneurs in Salford...
"Patience is the first requirement, followed by optimism and tenacity Ė you simply mustn't give up at the first setback" he says "There will be setbacks and difficulties, that's inevitable, but it's how you deal with them that sorts the winners from the losers. Every setback is a chance to learn and grow, so grasp problems as they happen and deal with them quickly Ė it's really the only way to succeed.
"I would also say that if making money is your only aim, you probably won't succeed" he adds "You need to really, truly, enjoy the work you do, otherwise you won't be able to last beyond that crucial first year."