Saturday, April 26, 2008

Profits in Kuwait

Our partners Gulf Franchising Corporation posted a profit for Q1, thanks in part to improvements in their Computer Troubleshooters operations in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Dubai.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My first TV

This week was interesting for me as I did my first three TV interviews, all in Cleveland. Our National Marketing Council (an elected group of CT franchisees) did a good job hiring a PR company this year, and so after several weeks of print & radio promotion we're now moving into the TV phase of the campaign, and I think it's off to a good start.

First up I did the "That's Life" show with Robin Swoboda on WJW (Fox, channel 8). What a fun way to get started! Robin and her crew are a real hoot, and their idea to smash a computer with a baseball bat, plus the great on-screen graphics, really made it a fun segment to do. You can see it by clicking the "Video" link on this page.

Next up I was welcomed on News Channel 5 at Noon on WEWS (ABC). Paul Kiska interviewed me, and the whole staff was extremely friendly and very well organized. I don't have a video link for this one yet, but I'll add it when I do.

Finally I ended my Cleveland trip with the team at "Good Company" on WKYC (NBC), where I had the honor of being interviewed by Cleveland TV legend Fred Griffith. (See the video here.). Interestingly Fred and I had a chance to chat a bit before the segment, and he'd just recently had spyware problems on his own computers (which he and his wife use to write their popular cookbooks).

Speaking of media legends I should also mention that I was interviewed on The Wills & Snyder Morning Show on WTAM radio (AM 1100) by Bill Wills. I'll post an MP3 of that interview soon too.

All in all I really enjoyed my time in Cleveland this week, and I'd like to especially thank the media folks who made the trip so easy for me. Hopefully we were able to share some information and have a little fun too. But the important part (for me anyway) is that our CT locations in northeast Ohio got some extra exposure and quite a few phone calls from new clients too. Next week: New York!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The next 30 days

The next 30 days are set to be really busy and really exciting for Computer Troubleshooters, as you can probably tell from this email I just sent around the USA group:

Hi folks,

The next 30 days should be pretty exciting for CT. Between now and the middle of May, we will:

1) Be featured on BusinessWeek TV! (tentative April 26 or 27, check your local listings or their website for your local air time). This is pretty good national TV exposure for us.
2) Be featured on local TV news shows in Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Austin
3) Be featured on the national radio program "This Week in America with Ric Bratton" (
4) Be interviewed locally on radio stations in Cleveland (WTAM), New Jersey (WNJC), Florida (WWBA), Pennsylvania (WXTU & WOGL), Texas (KLGO), and more.
5) Be in CostCo's customer magazine (in May, we think)
6) Be in Home Business Owners magazine (also in May we think)
7) Be ranked in Entrepreneur's Top Home-Based Franchises issue (and later on in their Top Low Cost Franchises issue)
8) Begin our 2nd print publicity campaign (working on topics now)
9) Enjoy an excellent CT mini-conference at the Philly-based Mid-Atlantic Conference (the only CT conference by franchisees for franchisees)
10) Finish collecting your annual reports (thanks to everyone who's submitted thus far) and begin releasing the results.
11) Supposedly launch a new direct mail portal site (there is some question about this now because of possible vendor issues)
12) Release a newly updated ENGAGE marketing manual
13) Release the first draft of the new RD manual (to RD's)
14) Launch the revised version of BEST Basic, and the first official version of HOST
15) Announce more sponsors and topics for the big conference in Cleveland, Sept 4-6 (already announced: Dell is a Gold sponsor, and Matt Makowicz is doing a 3-hour managed services sales workshop)

The publicity push detailed above is thanks to your elected National Marketing Council - they did a great job in reviewing and choosing a good PR company for us to work with. The next step for the NAF is reviewing and choosing the SEO company who will overhaul our national and local website templates -this has been slightly delayed because we have a possible partnership with a major national SEO franchise in the works which, if successful, will not only help us improve our websites but also give us an international network of extra salespeople promoting our services. Watch for announcements about that in hopefully the near future.

If you live in any of the cities where our radio interviews are taking place, and are able to record them, please send me a copy. Likewise with the TV interviews - these should be saved for future promotional use if we can get decent copies.

Next week I hope to see a lot of you in Philly at the mid-Atlantic conference!
As always, Fayola, Chris, myself, Audrey, and Glenn are always here to assist you if needed.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Our TechRepublican CT

Erik Eckel, owner of CT-Louisville in Kentucky and occasional correspondent for, recently released an online TechRepublic Photo Gallery on "How To Setup Your Own Mobile Office". It's some great info on how Erik has setup his mobile office in his Computer Troubleshooters vehicle.


I really enjoyed this past weekend's SMBNation East conference (see Harry Brelsford always creates an enjoyable and productive event, and each one is unique. This year the agenda was skewed towards longer, more detailed presentations ("deep dives"), which is a popular request we hear too so I expect our annual conference in September will be similar.

From a Computer Troubleshooters perspective it was productive both because we met a lot of independent SMB IT business owners who we think would make excellent additions to the CT family, and also becuase we built relationships with a good number of high quality vendors who were in attendance. Some are already in our Preferred Vendor program, like Autotask, AVG, Acronis, etc, and some are going through the review process now (Google, HP, Kaseya). We also met some brand new potential partners, including Matt Makowicz who authored the new book "A Guide to Selling Managed Services".

I also had the opportunity to meet and "talk shop" with the CEO of CMIT, and two franchisees from Expetec (both are "friendly competitors" to CT). All very nice guys, and (unlike a few bad apples in our industry) all seem to be committed to taking care of the customer while building a successful business for themselves along the way.

Thanks to Chris Radak (CTUSA) and Randy Crainin (CT-Freehold) for helping me out at the show, and a very special THANKS to Harry Brelsford for inviting us to a wonderful event.