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in the same way that big business advertises, and quite frankly you probably wouldn't be
able to manage this financially anyway.
I've often wondered how small businesses make it. There's a lot of discussion about how
Walmart is killing the “mom-and-pop” hardware stores and grocery stores around the coun-
try. While some of this may be true, and if you're a small “mom-andpop” trying to compete
directly with Walmart, it will be a tough road. The solution is to get creative and make sure
to offer services and specials that differentiate your business from the big guys. Once you
figure out that your local “big box” company is offering computer repair services, it's time
to find out exactly what they are offering and at what pricing. You will want this for your
analysis, and it might even become part of your marketing plan as well.
Next you'll move to the medium- and small-business market—businesses that most likely
have marketing budgets similar to your own. The best way to do this is via
What Is a Search Engine?
A search engine is a webpage or service that allows you to actively search the Internet with
a keyword or keywords of your choosing. The resulting pages that are displayed after a
search is submitted are called the results pages. The results on these pages are delivered by
the search engine assuming some factors about you, your location, and/or your prior search-
ing habits. The best known and most frequently used search engine is www.google.com,
but each has its own algorithm and may display different results on a particular keyword
the Internet. Since you're a computer repair business, you had better be conversant with the
Internet and use its resources to your advantage.
The Internet can tell you an awful lot about your competition. You'll have a website and
so will your competitors. This gives you twenty-four-hour access to learn about the guys
across the tracks and find out what they are saying, offering, or doing on their site—and
decide whether you need to match or beat what they are offering.
Today there are a number of tools, resources, and services for getting insights into compet-
itors' traffic data. When beginning your online competition search, you may opt to pay for
this service for a nominal cost.
When deciding which service to use, you'll want to find the service that can provide the
most for the money and weigh the pros and cons of each. While I am not an expert in
this field, I personally have had luck using www.alexa.com and www. compete.com when
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