We hope that you enjoy reading about our history. As a family business, we tend to be a bit informal in our communications. Please rest assured that our work is professional, to say the least! Enjoy- James Schorr, Owner.
1999: the planting of an idea...
The year was 1999. Although I had been tinkering with computers for a few years, I never thought about working with them full time. Having been freshly ordained as a minister, I quickly found that I need to work hard to support my family, as ministry just wasn't paying the bills. My wife, Tara, and I continued to minister for free to those around us, while I worked several jobs to support us. In my "free" time, I was working my way through approximately 20-30 Linux distributions and other Unix-like operating systems, which kept our one computer in a constant state of flux; needless to say, this wasn't very popular in our household as the computer was seldom fully usable. I had read through more than 30,000 pages of numerous computer books, taught myself a few development languages, and was pretty obsessed, to say the least. Tara kept mentioning that it might be good to turn this hobby into a small business, which I scoffed at.
A few months later, I was standing in line at a big-name electronics store's customer service counter. The person in front of me was bringing their computer in for repairs and, after two sentences, I knew immediately what the issue was: a $2 CR2032 motherboard battery needed to be replaced. The clerk was telling him that it would cost over $130 to repair and would need to be shipped off for 2 weeks. When the clerk left for a moment, I whispered to the customer that I knew what the problem was and it would only cost a couple of dollars to fix it. The clerk overheard me, unfortunately, turned back around, and said, "You stay out of this"! Then the customer turned on me, too. Aptly chastised, the realization struck me that I could charge an honest wage and help others in a very practical way by opening a business. Until that point, I hadn't realized how unethical some computer repair businesses are.
2000: marketing, on foot
With the help of low-budget business cards and my plethora of book knowledge, I started looking into how to market my business. I quickly discovered that just about everything out there was way beyond my meager budget. By this point, I had fixed a number of home customer's computers, but hadn't really moved into helping businesses much. We decided to print out some flyers with a coupon on them at a local office store; I still remember being surprised how much they cost and wondering if it would be worth it. With the help of a county map, I started driving to every single business in our county (roughly 500-600 of them) and handing out fliers where allowed. These days were pretty discouraging, as the positive response was pretty low. However, I did get to meet a lot of business owners, some of which turned into multi-year client relationships. One vivid memory that I have was when the owner of a small store asked me if we did websites as I was leaving. Sure! Of course! Absolutely! We went on to design 4-5 more sites for them over the years and continue to have that relationship today.
2001-2004: plodding along
Our business during this timeframe had grown to the point where it could support us part-time. Most of our work was focused on website development, scripts and programs for automation, setting up small networks, managing some servers, and computer repair. My wife and I started and pastored a small church during this timeframe as well and I also worked a couple of other jobs to support us so that we could continue to minister for free. I was starting to appreciate having to work in the 'secular' arena, as it was becoming apparent that there was a great need for integrity in the business world. Most of our business, if not all, grew via word of mouth.
2005-2008: corporate detour
This was a tough year for us, business-wise. Business had slowed to the point were it looked like I needed to get a full-time job to keep us afloat. I was blessed to find a great IT job at Family Dollar's Corporate Office, working on their Level 3 Support team for store-related IT issues. My time there was a great learning experience, filled with working with great people and learning to work on issues on a large scale (at the time they had approximately 5000 stores, with 2-3 computers in each running custom code). Business-wise, this was a detour for us, but it gave me invaluable experience. I received ITIL training there and was asked to lead a team that looked into Corporate and Store issues on a large scale. On the business front, we continued to have website and web development work come in frequently, which kept us busy on nights and weekends.
2008-2011: quick growth
I received a call in 2008 from the VP at Sapere Wealth Management, Matt Spear, which changed everything. He asked that I consider dedicating 3 days a week to doing IT consulting for them. With that guaranteed work coming in and numerous other business projects coming in, the timing seemed right to step back out into doing the business full-time. My days were filled with managing Windows domains, Exchange servers, Linux servers, writing code, fixing complex (and simple) problems, network projects, and more. We purchased remote support software for a large cloud project, which was made a huge improvement in our efficiency and response times. We also began to work with existing IT personnel at small and medium-sized businesses, providing consulting and backup support for them. During this time, we also had a lot of complicated web app and cloud integration projects come in, which is something that we greatly enjoy doing.
2012: new company name
We had been talking about rebranding for a couple of years, but the timing never seemed right. While researching the logistics of moving an LLC to another state, we quickly came to the conclusion that it's easier to start a new LLC. 'Enspiren' is an old English word that means 'to inspire', which is fitting to how we do things. Every bit of our work is done with a sharp focus on excellence, responsiveness, and integrity; this we hope will inspire others to do the same.