Teen entrepreneurs turn 'know how' into business

July 20, 2013 6:01:45 PM

Carl Smith - csmith@cdispatch.com

 

Technological advances in computer hardware and software have so come fast and furious over the past decades that they've even carved out a place in our language with idioms like "There's an app for that." 

 

Combined with developers' vision, the basic application of computer technology can appear limitless at times. At the current rate, it's understandable that some users feel behind the curve when it comes to new programs, operating systems and basic "Computer 101." 

 

So what happens when local residents need a little insight with a new Apple computer or its advanced software? 

 

"There are two guys for that." 

 

Starkville high school graduates Nathan Ansel and Chase McCoy recently founded The Know How, a computer troubleshooting business dedicated to resolving technical problems and ensuring quality user experience in the future. Both are enrolled as computer science majors at Mississippi State University. 

 

The business is not your traditional brick-and-mortar store; the duo help clients through email, phone and in-home consultations. The co-founders' expertise primarily covers Apple products - iMacs, iPhones and their associated apps - but McCoy said they're willing to assist with almost any computing issue. The team does not install computer hardware, but both said they're willing to resolve any software problems which create Wi-Fi and printer issues. 

 

"Putting our services into words has been really hard because we do so much. It's hard to sit down and make a list because there are so many obscure things we can help with," he said. "We're trying to offer tech support with a personal touch: We want to be our customers' go-to guys. 

 

The co-founders originally wanted to collaborate on a tech blog, Ansel said, but the idea shortly turned into a business model focused on direct communication with its customer base. 

 

The company's website - theknowhow.co (no, it's not dot-com) - offers a page where customers can book appointments with the two self-described computer nerds. Instead of customers checking off computing issues on a form, the site simply provides a text box where they can explain their problems.  

 

"Technology changes so quickly because it builds off itself. Even I can get behind when programs update and evolve within the span of a few months," Ansel said. "I just want to help people use their computers in a way that improves their ability to work and make things simpler and easier." 

 

"Our business is largely dependent on word of mouth. Happy clients equal more business," McCoy added. 

 

The Know How team currently provides house calls within Oktibbeha County. McCoy said he and Ansel are willing to travel outside the area to help those in need. House calls are $60 per hour and billed every 30 minutes. A one-hour minimum is required, McCoy said. Similar pricing plans are available for phone consultations. 

 

"If it's a very simple fix or question, it'll be free. We're people too, and we're not trying to nickel and dime folks," McCoy said. "We're not rigid. We're willing to do a little bit of everything if people ask for our help."

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch