Smart Computers & Consulting:
A Successful Dakota Business Lending Borrower
April 19, 2016
Steve Jobs once said, “A computer is like a bicycle for our minds.”
Computers and bicycles both take us new places, help us discover new things and inspire us to imagine new possibilities. But computers, like bicycles, can also break with use. The wheels might bend, the chain might fall off and the gears might get jammed every once in a while, leaving us stranded. Computer servicing companies give you the little bit of grease and the new set of wheels you need to get your bike rolling again. Today, when everything is run by computers, it is essential for us to be able to rely on someone to fix them fast and keep them up to date with the latest technology. Smart Computers and Consulting has made a name for itself in Dickinson, North Dakota for doing exactly that.
After working in the computer industry since he was fourteen years old, Jeremy Berger wanted to start his own computer servicing business. “I always had a dream of starting my own company,” Berger says. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Dickinson State University and working for several computer companies in Dickinson post-graduation, he decided it was time to put his dream into action.
“I was turning thirty years old and I wanted to change the world one computer at a time. I thought we could do it better than anyone else.”
Using the knowledge he acquired from working for computer companies, large and small, and understanding what worked and what didn’t, Jeremy was able to start Smart Computers and Consulting. The business began in May 2008 out of Berger’s garage with two full time employees.
After a few months, the company was moved into a leased space. Although it was larger, the company soon outgrew its new space. “Business took off and we started growing and began adding more employees to keep up with the demands…. we needed more room,” says Berger. So, Jeremy purchased ESP Computers and Software, along with the building in 2012, giving the company a permanent home. Berger was able to acquire the building with the assistance of a Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan through Dakota Certified Development Corporation (now Dakota Business Lending) and partner, Dacotah Bank. The loan program gave him the funds to meet his needs at a reasonable, fixed-rate. The new building gave the business a very visible, well-traveled location in Dickinson in addition to more space for their computer service work.
“We went from 3,000 square feet to over 15,500 square feet of space,” Berger says. They were also able to expand their product lines and services to a full range that includes everything from standard, entry level systems to high-end, customized systems. They also did some renovations on the new building to make it more functional for these operations. “We added rental office upstairs as well, to provide a space for other businesses.”
Today, Smart Computers and Consulting does it all. They offer a comprehensive suite of services designed specifically to handle your essential day-to-day IT management and support needs as well as an extensive range of Information Technology (IT) expertise. Some of these services include: computer repair and upgrades, computer and server sales, technical support, firewall configuration and support, network design, cabling and consulting, network security, remote administration, IT maintenance contracts, and office rentals. Their primary customers are in the Williston and Bismarck areas in addition to Dickinson. “
We have had the opportunity to work with all of the schools in the area as well as many of the local businesses,” Jeremy says, “We make sure that our clients have the tools and support that they need to run their businesses with maximum productivity, at peak efficiency, and unparalleled reliability.” Smart Computers and Consulting understands that information systems for business are mission critical.
“We give our clients the assurance that we will be there when they need us.”
Smart Computers is able to provide a vast array of high quality services, because of its knowledgeable leadership and experienced employees. The staff has a combined work experience of over 100 years in the IT field. “As the scope and complexity of today’s business technologies evolve, coordination of IT resources can require higher skill levels and deeper understanding of a wide array of technologies employed for a solution,” Jeremy says. This is where Smart Computers and Consulting can help. “Our engineers have the experience with many enterprise level technologies.”
The company strives to set a gold standard for service excellence and it shows. The company has won various awards for their work including: Ingram Micro SMB Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies, Sax Motors Excellence in Customer Service Award, and Boy Scouts of America Community Award for The Rough Rider District in 2014. Berger is proud of their accomplishments, but credits his team for their success.
“I really enjoy working with my employees. They are knowledgeable and professional in their work, as well as friendly and personable with customers.” He continues, “The business wouldn’t thrive without this great bunch of people.”
Jeremy, with a little help from Dakota CDC (now Dakota Business Lending), Dacotah Bank, and supportive friends and family, has pulled his business out of his garage and into the fast-paced, growing computer industry.
As technology changes, business managers rely on companies like Smart Computers and Consulting to implement, install and maintain their systems to allow them to keep on rolling ahead of their competition. Berger’s advice for someone looking to start or expand their business is:
“Starting a company or expanding is not for the faint of heart. You have to love what you are doing in order to be great.”