Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in IT Services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bart Piotrowski, Founder of Computero Inc., located in Forest Hills, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Computero is an information technology company and a managed service provider in the New York City metro area. We provide exceptional IT support to all of our customers. We do so by setting up and monitoring equipment, implementing standard operating procedures, incorporating reliable, high-quality IT equipment, and employing the latest and greatest cybersecurity software, hardware, and processes to protect our customers against a variety of threats, such as: natural disasters, data breaches, data loss, viruses, malware or even targeted hacking, with great emphasis on data backups. We love backups!
Our customers vary from a small doctor's office to a medium-sized healthcare organization. We also work with architects, engineers, plumbers, accountants, lawyers, and even major non-profits. We have customers who fix sewers, help people recover from drug addiction, and even those who work toward teenage suicide prevention; the list goes on regarding the people we've been lucky to work with. We set up, secure, and monitor their computers, networks, and email so that they can keep saving the world.
Tell us about yourself
One day, back in the 90s, my dad asked me to help a friend of his set up a computer. Now, mind you, I was already playing with computers when I was 12-13 years old. I kind of found them interesting and very helpful, and I really enjoyed setting up and bringing people the joy of computing. "Computing, it's here! The interwebs!" And so, as I started doing more of that, people would pay me, and I would think to myself, "Wow, that's cool." So, that was kind of the spark.
One time, I even got mugged with a zip drive in Greenpoint at 13-14 years old when I was on my way to help someone with their computer. I got punched, and I still didn't give them my backpack. There were two or three guys (maybe four?) on bikes who approached me, surrounded me, and said: "Give me your backpack!" It was a Jansport backpack too, everyone had one back in the day, but I said, "No." So they hit me, and then I ran away—with my zip drive intact!
I realized at a young age that it was possible to make money doing something I loved, and that really drove me. So, I guess you could say that my business is a result of a life-long fascination with technology, one that my father always made sure to encourage.
As a business owner, what motivates me every day is knowing that my team and I can help people who rely on technology but who may not have such a natural affinity for it or whose time and attention are required elsewhere. While I understand computers, many people do not, and when that's the case, and things go wrong with technology, it can be a tremendous source of stress and frustration. Knowing that my technicians, as well as myself, can both diagnose and fix the issue and, therefore, extract that stress and remove it from the equation entirely—that's a really great feeling.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'd say that my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is running a company successfully for over 14 years. That and everything that comes with my job, like keeping people safe, secure, and backed up, and being able to assist when disaster strikes, when equipment stops working or malfunctions, or when there's a fire or a flood. It's incredibly fulfilling to be able to help people come back from that and help them recover regardless of the catastrophe. Our processes, skills, and work ethic ultimately become a part of the recovery that the client is going through, and it's incredibly fulfilling to be able to restore balance. I think that's the biggest accomplishment: that I'm able to be in business to help people like that.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is probably the work-life balance, especially when you've got a big family.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My top 3 tips for anyone looking to start, run, and grow a business today are: wake up and be on time, surround yourself with people who can give you good business advice, and be a "finisher," so whatever you start, you finish.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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