Think of Jonathon Fishman as a hacker for good. If your small business has a computer problem or a cloud services glitch, Fishman will access your system and solve the problem from his office or couch or anywhere in the world.
That's a simple description of the services offered by Rimöt Support, the Boise information technology startup Fishman incorporated in October. Fishman, 46, started as a one-man IT team with a lean service offering and a leaner price structure: $50 per month for individuals and $100 for businesses with up to three people for 24-7 IT support, tech-purchase assistance and quarterly system tune-ups. Families of up to four members can subscribe for $75 per month. Businesses with more than three staff members can pay $25 per month for every additional employee.
The Rimöt (pronounced "reemote") office is located at the Boise Greenhouse business incubator at 522 W. Idaho St. in Downtown Boise. Fishman has two part-time employees handling marketing and another part-timer helping him with customers. He says the company is profitable and will hire three to five employees in 2015 to form his first IT team to expand the business, which has gained 100 individual clients and 20 organizations since opening.
Who are your customers?
We service the micro-small businesses from the self-employed up to 25 to 35 staff members. We specialize in businesses that leverage email, documents and other electronic communications into their business activities such as independent insurance agents and small legal practices.
What is your tech background?
I have been in the technology sector since the early '90s. Rimöt Support is my third startup I have owned and the fifth early-stage company I have worked in. I have been working in small-business IT services and support since 2004.
Why did you go with flat-rate billing?
When I started Rimöt Support, I knew that a fixed-pricing model was necessary to facilitate the level of relationship I expect to achieve with our clientele. We didn't want a customer to hesitate to engage us because of the expected bill.
What convinced you that there was demand for the services Rimöt offers?
The industry is littered with tech mechanics that can fix a computer problem, but there isn't a vendor that matched the IT help-desk model with a surrogate chief technology officer offering. We knew that small-business owners were yearning for a trusted partner to help them navigate what technology solutions are best for their organization. Of course they need help-desk support, but that needs to come in tandem with tech planning and integration.
Why offer remote services instead of on-site support?
The traditional model of sending the tech out to the office was both inefficient and cost-prohibitive. We knew that we could solve 90 percent of all IT issues remotely. In this day and age, the 10 percent is typically managed by warranties or equipment replacement.
What equipment do you use? How tethered are you to your office?
Since the company delivers its services remotely, there is no requirement to be in a specific location. This allows the company to leverage virtual staff, hiring the best people no matter where they are located. We simply need a high-speed Internet connection.
What's the significance of the business name?
Rimöt Support came as a derivative of Remote Support. We wanted the name to subtly articulate what we did. The umlaut was a tribute to a dear European friend of mine.
How do you spend your work hours?
On any given day, I'm bombarded with client needs. Given this, I try to be regimented about having set tasks to accomplish when there is downtime. It is too easy to just focus on the clients and neglect growing the business. Shifting from technical planning to content marketing isn't easy, but if the road map is clear and the tasks are defined, it makes the transition smoother.
What's the best part of owning your own business?
We are taking something that is usually messy and complicated and distilling it down to something that is meaningful and practical. This metamorphosis is 100 percent gratifying to me.
What's the worst part of owning your own business?
The worst part for any entrepreneur is dealing with the uncertainty, the loneliness and the scarcity of resources. Every day, you have to make it happen because there is no one else that will. You are constantly battling self-doubt, and in the end, it's up to you.
Zach Kyle: 377-6464, Twitter: @IDS_zachkyle