They didn’t plan on becoming multiple business owners. But after frequent requests from customers of their first company, Ken Chan and his sister Linda knew launching a second was the only answer.
The Chans’ initial venture, Future Kiddie, provides computer class curriculum for ages 3-7. Parents kept asking them for home computer recommendations, ideally reasonably priced ones.
They had been purchasing computers in bulk for this business to begin with. They knew taking that a step further could help families while expanding their portfolio.
The Chans took that leap in 2011 and launched The Mighty PC, their second Chandler-based business that sells mostly repurposed PCs to individuals, businesses and other organizations.
“It was not born from (a) typical start. It came out of parents asking us for advice … asking if we had anything to sell,” Linda said. “We had the entrepreneurial spirit.”
All machines are customized to clients’ requests, with about 90 percent being PCs and the remaining Macs, Ken said. The technologically savvy Ken determines what customers need by finding out whether the machine will be used for school work, business or purely recreational purposes; if it needs to be portable or can be a large machine that stays put; if they want a webcam or have a keyboard preference.
The Mighty PC has averaged sales of 1,000 computers each year since launching and assisted more than 1,000 clients, Ken said. Machines can be ready in one to five days and typically cost $249-$599.
“We customize it in the way people need it. Brand new computers cost three times more on average, and we can put the same things inside,” Ken said.
The Mighty PC seems to be a fit for a consumer base that continues to grow and become reliant on computers and technological advances. Roughly nine in 10 American adults use the Internet, according to the Pew Research Center. In Maricopa County, nearly 87 percent of homes have a computer, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nearly five years ago, Chad Haas was looking for an inexpensive personal computer and saw a Craigslist ad that Linda had posted for her company. He responded and was so pleased with the result that has been a client ever since.
Over the years, Haas said he has purchased about 50 machines for his Gilbert company TriageNow, which provides support to employees injured on the job. He also has laptops that are four years old that still run well, he said.
“They always give me a quality product. Whenever we have an issue, they’re right there to check on it. When I need a computer, it’s matter of days not weeks,” said Haas, the CEO and founder of TriageNow. “They are great people.”
Natives of Hong Kong, the Chans moved to the United States 20 years ago at the transition of sovereignty from Britain to China. Ken moved to the desert to attend Arizona State University and Linda followed him to the Valley.
Ken previously ran a daycare that eventually folded. From that, the seed for Future Kiddie, which provides STEM-focused educational programs that cover technology and mobile concepts, was planted. More than 1,000 children from more than 50 schools have gone through this program, according to company data. A year later, the Chans launched Mighty PC.
Ken handles the tech side of the company while Linda is in charge of the marketing, sales and being the face of the company.
“Ken is more technical. When it comes down to it, I have the feminine touch and the creative touch,” Linda said. “We complement each other.”
Ken, who’s four years older than his sister, agreed that this division of responsibilities works. But, admitted that “at first, it wasn’t easy working with my sister.” He and Linda simultaneously laughed.
About 50 percent of their client base is generated through word of mouth and repeat business, Ken said. They also use social media to get and stay on people’s radars.
Owning a small and nimble business allows the Chans to deliver a specialized service that they say big-box companies can’t, especially when it comes to customization. When they got into this facet of the computer industry, Ken discovered there were many unethical operators looking to make big bucks selling faulty equipment while not providing tech support after the sale or leaving promises unfulfilled.
Taking the opposite tack has been vital to the company’s success, he explained.
“We want to help people honestly, ethically and (be) transparent. We’re not the cheapest provider but we offer that personal touch. People trust us,” Ken said.
Linda said this is the reason happy customers are willing to spread the word.
“(It) doesn’t matter what generation, Millennial or a grandfather, the integrity with which we treat them doesn’t change,” she said. “We build relationships with people. It’s not just a sale.”
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