What does your business do?
Silver Technology Systems (STS) was created to fill a gap in computer and technology consulting services for senior citizens and others who need (or would prefer) a more personalized and user friendly experience than is available with big-box service providers. Services include a) troubleshooting current system(s), b) evaluating options for maintaining existing system or creating a new system that fulfills all of the clients needs at the lowest price point, c) software/hardware upgrades for existing systems, as needed, d)
purchasing, delivering and installing any new systems that are selected, d) ongoing support/maintenance of all systems, through a combination of phone support, in-home visits, and/or remote access support.
When and why did you start the biz?
The business was started after a lengthy long-distance technology session with my mom, a 79 retireee on a fixed income, who had hired a technician for what should have been a simple fix, but wound up leaving her without internet for several days. She was at wit's end, and feeling incredibly vulnerable, and we both agreed that seniors should not have to be in that position - they need a trusted partner, not a "Geek Squad". The business development began from there, in 4/2016, and was officially incorporated as a non-profit in Maryland a few months later.
How Many People are in your Company?
Where's your office?
My office is my kitchen island, where I have a large monitor hooked up to my Macbook, and files and papers scattered about. There are other rooms in the home where I could be with more like a traditional office, but this seat has the best view in the house, and connects my life with my work. We fortunately have enough other counter space for cooking, so I can be captain of the island. There is actually a lot of efficiency in having my workspace co-located with the center-point of the house.
What's the toughest part of running your biz?
The toughest part of running the business is trying to navigate the legal requirements, especially when they seem so archaic that even the legal professionals don't seem to understand them any better than I do. Just simple things like "Where should the business be registered?" winds up taking away from actually "being" the business. Hopefully that will stablize, but it is a very tough process.
What's the most fun part?
Easy! The look of relief on the faces of my senior citizen friends when they get a glimpse that someone actually understands what they've been going through and genuinely wants to help.
Anything you would have done differently?
So far, I think the biggest issue was not having someone with state specific legal expertise... I used an online provider for business incorporation, at a signifcant cost, but they didn't seem to really know their business any better than I could find with Google. In retrospect, I would try to find a lawyer (a person, not a website), so that I would be building a relationship with a person, not a website.
What's next on the horizon for your biz?
Now that we are incorporated and insured, we can turn our focus to the clients. We have a survey prepared to help gauge details of the services needed, and will be issuing that shortly. We also will be evaluating hardware and software to find combinations that will be most helpful. And, we will be blogging about the need for such services for seniors, to help in the sense of empowerment that they sorely need.
What advice do you have for others?
If you don't believe in what you do, look around for something you do believe in, and find a way to do that instead. We have too many smart talented people doing things they don't love, so the world loses what their best effort could be. Find something you love.
How do you use Idea Cafe to help your biz?
I get encouragement from being in a community of people who are, like me, looking to get a dream project started.
School (where, still in school, degree)?
University of Kentucky, decades ago, Ph.D.
Prior jobs or business?
Google will supply
All of them?
What are your pets' names?
Not saying, because that is often a security question, and you should probably change this question!
Do any of these pets help with your biz?
No, the cat usually just gets between me and the keyboard. Anyone with a cat will probably understand that.
Is there any one person or event in your life that led
you to go into business for yourself?
Seeing a real need in a community of people who I care about.
13118 Deer Path Lane
Germantown, MD 20874