From the November 1999 issue of Startups

The computer and the Internet are powering our soaring economy-and propelling thousands of entrepreneurs to multi-millionaire status. The roar of traffic on the Web shows no signs of slowing. If you haven't already, how can you speed into the fast lane?

One alternative is to purchase a franchise or business opportunity in the high-tech industry. And if the most high-tech thing you've ever done is check e-mail or use a word-processing program, good news: Many of these companies provide enough training and assistance to get you started, even if you consider yourself more of a technophobe than a computer whiz.

The franchise and business opportunity companies listed on the following pages fall into three basic categories: Internet-related businesses, computer training, and computer products and services. It's important to keep in mind that Business Start-Ups does not analyze or evaluate this information, and this listing is not intended to endorse or recommend any opportunity. Always conduct your own thorough investigation of a franchise or business opportunity before you invest any money. The best way to protect yourself is to be cautious.

Computer Training

As you're speeding along on the Net, you may not realize how much opportunity lies in those putt-putting behind you as you leave them in the dust. A 1998 survey by the American Society for Training and Development identified an increased need to provide computer-skills training as the most significant human resources trend today, with 90 percent of respondents citing IT training as an area of increasing importance.

"I think there's always room for more [computer-training businesses]," says Marnie L. Pehrson, president of the International Association of Computer Professionals and founder of Computer Enhancement Systems Business Consultants, a Web site development company in Ringgold, Georgia. "Up until the year 2003, for every 10 technical people needed, there are only going to be seven available. There aren't enough [people trained] to meet the technical needs of the world right now."

The rapid pace of technological change is the biggest obstacle cited by 72 percent of the survey respondents-and therefore the biggest area of opportunity for entrepreneurs. With so many organizations finding it hard to keep up with changing technology, training in this area is in increasing demand. Potential clients include executives at large corporations in need of training, entrepreneurs who don't have their own in-house training departments, and individuals who want to improve their skills in order to compete in the job market.

Internet Opportunities

You don't have to be a pirate of Silicon Valley to find success in the computer world. Today it's all about the Internet. As more businesses move to the Net to expand their customer base, there is high demand for Internet companies to help set up and market these virtual storefronts. A study conducted by the Center for Research on Electronic Commerce at the University of Texas in Austin shows that the impact of the Internet on the nation's economy exceeded $301 billion in revenues and accounted for more than 1.2 million jobs in 1998.

"It's a good time to get into [e-commerce,] simply because the market is growing so quickly," says Rosalind Resnick, co-author of The Internet Business Guide (Macmillan Publishing, $25, 800-858-7674) and president of NetCreations Inc., a New York City provider of opt-in e-mail marketing services. "The great thing about the Net is that there are almost no barriers to entry. You can just put up a Web site and start selling products and services online."

Computer Products & Services

When consumers shop for computer products and services, they're looking for bargains--and the best customer service. To succeed, "start with something you know well and develop a niche in that particular area," says Marnie L. Pehrson at the International Association of Computer Professionals. "There's a lot of demand for custom applications, high-end Internet programming and computer repair."

As technology evolves, users will constantly be upgrading their existing software and systems. Whether your forte is in software, computer upgrades or networks, you'll always have a skill businesses and consumers need.

Computer Training Listings

CompanyType Of BusinessYr. BeganYr. Opp.Cost
Academy Of Learning
100 York Blvd., #400
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 1J8, Canada
(905) 886-8973
Computer & business skills training19871987$123K-170K
CompuChild USA
1115 Virginia Ave., #1
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
(800) 619-5437
Preschool computer education19941994$9.9K
Compu-Fun
2 David Dr.
Pelham, NH 03076
(877) 266-7838
Computer education19931998$23.3K-47.2K
Computer U Learning Centers
75-850 Osage Tr.
Indian Wells, CA 92210
(760) 340-2453
Computer training for seniors19931997$40K
Computertots/Computer Explorers
10132 Colvin Run Rd.
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 759-2556
Computer enrichment program for children19831988$17.4K-43.8K
CTI Computer Training Institutes Inc.
5748A Bixbywoods
Columbus,OH 43232
(614) 860-0662
e-mail: ctifran@aol.com
Computer applications training19961997$120K-280K
ExecuTrain Corp.
4800 N. Point Pkwy.
Atlanta, GA 30022
(800) 843-6984
Computer software
training &
support
19841986$150K-500K
The Fourth R
1715 Market St., #103
Kirkland, WA 989033
(800) 821-8653
Computer training solutions19911992$14K-38.5K
New Horizons Computer Learning Centers Inc.
1231 E. Dyer Rd., #110
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 438-9491
Computer training & support19821992$250K-450K
PC Professor Computer Training & Repair
7056 Beracasa Wy.
Boca Raton, FL 33433
(888) 721-2345
Computer training/repair centers19891996$200K
TechnoKids
2232 Sheridan Garden Dr.
Oakville, ON L6J 7T1, Canada
(800) 221-7921
Computer training for children & teachers19931994$30K
Virtual Classrooms of America
13555 Automobile Blvd., #200
Clearwater, FL 33762
(813) 573-7787
Computer training materials19971997$500+

Contact Sources

International Association of Computer Professionals,http://www.pwgroup.com

NetCreations Inc.,sales@postmasterdirect.com