As a former Apple store employee, I understand the frustration that comes with buying a new computer. Files need to be transferred, settings tweaked and workplaces modified to help make the switch from a bulky PC tower and monitor to an iMac or MacBook (Pro). But those are actually the easy parts.
Small businesses always pay more for electronics. Because they usually don’t have in-house IT teams or service contracts with tech vendors, nor can they buy in huge quantity, you’ll often see small business owners buy Apple products at slight discounts, then have to contract out to some dude that someone knows or a high-priced consultant who charges by the hour, including travel.
I have been one of those consultants, both during my time with Apple Retail and afterward, and I’ve never been fully comfortable with it. Small businesses assume that my time with Apple gave me some special power to understand Apple computers forever. Most small businesses have an extremely hard time letting go and it’s not because I have some special power, it’s because I work much cheaper than certified Apple consultants.
Problem is, it’s tough to find certified Apple consultants who are more than tech monkeys and can understand more than Apple software and hardware issues. There are a few options, but being able to trust a vendor is far trickier in this instance, as the usual referrals from partners or competitors doesn’t work, as they don’t have any idea what they’re doing, either.
Enter the Mac Genius. Highly trained, always up to date and normally able to understand how Apple hardware works in the flow of a small business, these guys and gals are exactly the ones that SHOULD be out in the community, assigned to help small businesses when they need it.
Small businesses will need it. Unlike large organizations, which usually have spares and backups, most small businesses shut down if their computer system does. Sure, they have all their data backed up, but if the accounting or sales computer goes kaput, that data can’t be accessed. Small businesses need help now, not when it can be scheduled appropriately.
I hope that Apple’s new joint venture can solve some of these issues. It’s high time Apple focused heavily on what truly are their most devoted fans: us small business owners.