Tanya Justice first embarked on her computer repair services venture after identifying a widespread demand for information technology (IT) services throughout the Indianapolis area.
“Who doesn’t have a computer?” Justice said. “Who does not have a tablet, a phone, a laptop or a desktop? As long as technology is around, there’s going to be a need.”
To address that demand she founded Justice for Computers, a one-woman show offering a host of troubleshooting and maintenance services, ranging from virus removal and protection to network maintenance and security, along with hardware installations, software upgrades and even e-waste recycling.
Now a seasoned, certified expert, Justice attributes the launch of her career to her very first repair success: her own computer.
“I’ve always kind of tinkered with DVDs and VCRs and radios,” she said, “but when my first computer broke, I took it to some bigwig computer technology place that wanted to charge me more than I actually paid for the computer, so I started tinkering with the computer and I actually fixed it. Then I told a couple of friends and family, and they said, ‘Can you look at my computer? Can you fix my computer?’”
When the opportunity arose to continue her education, Justice pursued an IT degree with all the necessary certifications. Though she initially continued full-time at her previous job, the demand for her services grew quickly. It was time for an entrepreneurial leap of faith.
“I was getting so many calls at work that I said, ‘Maybe I’m onto something,’” she recalled, “and I’ve never looked back.”
But striking out on one’s own presents a host of unforeseen challenges, and a budding entrepreneur can benefit immeasurably from the wisdom of those who have already navigated them. Fortunately, Justice had access to an invaluable resource – the mentorship of James Campbell, a longtime small-business consultant and 40-year owner of Indianapolis insurance firm Campbell & Associates.
“I watched her grow up, watched her go through the challenges she had,” Campbell said. “Everybody can’t be an entrepreneur. It takes a certain tenacity to do it, and Tanya, she has that: that desire to succeed.”
This desire is crucial to negotiating the early stages of any business, when simply keeping afloat consumes all available time and energy.
“You have to force yourself to do things that you don’t normally want to do,” Campbell went on. “If you have an 8-to-5 job, then there’s things you don’t want to do, you don’t do. But if you’ve got your own business, then this is you, you have to do things. You have to talk to people that you may not be comfortable talking to. You have to go out and work.”
Yet early on, Justice learned one of her most valuable lessons – pacing.
“When I first started out, it was a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week job, and that can be pretty burnt out,” she said. “You want to work on your mental and your emotional stability so that you can enjoy your business and what you went in to do.”
Commitment to the work while maintaining balance was only part of the challenge. An integral piece of the success puzzle still remained – planning. To this end, Justice sought the assistance of her Regions banker.
“I assisted her with getting her EIN number, coming up with a name for the business and setting her off in the right direction,” said Regions Indianapolis Branch Manager Danielle Turner. “When you have that connection with someone like that, who wants to grow, who wants to do the best that she can for her family, we want to build that relationship with that customer, on the personal side and the business side. She had the knowledge and the drive to do it, and I wanted to see her succeed.”
Now armed with a solid plan, a strong work ethic, a seasoned mentor and plenty of expertise, Justice only had to grow her client base. To this end, she reached for a secret ingredient that gave her a unique advantage over the well-established competition – the human touch.
“When they come to me, to Justice for Computers, not only are they going to get a repair or a service on their computer, but if I repair their computer, I’ll say, ‘Can you spend an extra five, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, just so I can show you a few things on your computer so that you can keep running it at an optimum level?’” Justice said. “And they really love that I take that extra time and that interaction.”
The efficacy of this approach speaks for itself. Justice for Computers now boasts a variety of residential and commercial clients, with a median age of 35 to 40. Justice has also cultivated such an upstanding reputation among her clientele that even her mentor couldn’t resist becoming a customer.
“Any problem I have, I call her, and she keeps my computer current,” Campbell said. “She went with me when I bought a new computer and helped me to get the kind of computer that she thought I need for my business. I’ve referred her to several of my friends and clients because I believe in her and she does good work.”
Justice’s comprehensive formula for success has garnered her a thriving business and loyal customer base, but she admits this is only the beginning. Now primed for growth, Justice for Computers stands ready to take on two additional technicians, an administrative associate and a larger facility, with long-term plans to widen the scope of services offered.
“I would love to go into the automotive electronics sector, to service automobile computers, ECMs – electronic control modules,” Justice said, “and I want to just take Justice for Computers to another step or a different direction other than continually to do just the break-and-fix type typical day of business.”
And just as it has from the outset, Regions will support her throughout the process.
“Tanya is a great advocate for bettering yourself,” Turner said. “You could tell how hungry and driven she was for this business to succeed, and it makes me feel great to see that now her business is growing.”
To help her with growth, Turner recommended Justice for the Inner Capital City Connections program in Indianapolis, a program that connects entrepreneurs in underserved communities with tuition-free training from top educators to help their businesses grow.
“There’s two kinds of people: people that wait for things to happen, and people that make things happen,” Campbell added. “Tanya has gone out and made things happen and not waited for things to happen, so she’s been very successful. I’m very proud of her.”