“Fast-paced” doesn’t begin to describe the world of information technology, but Henry Forester at Dover’s Bits & Bytes is dedicated to helping his customer stay on top of each upcoming trend.
He started the business in 1990.
“That was back in the very infancy of personal computers,” he said. “When I started working on computers, they didn’t even have hard drives, just 256 kilobytes of memory.”
MORE ABOUT FORESTER
♦ FOUNDED Bits & Bytes in 1990
♦ SPECIALTY Computer consulting
♦ ADDRESS 2953 Dyke Branch Road, Dover
♦ PHONE 674-2999
♦ WEBSITE bitbyteinc.net
Now 63, the Buffalo, N.Y., native came to Delaware when he was about 8 years old. After his 1973 discharge from the U.S. Army, Forester found a job as a boilermaker at several local power companies.
It really wasn’t much of a leap going from industrial power production to working on computers, he said.
“What I saw happening was that a lot of the power houses were becoming computerized. One day I met a gentleman who had been working for the state who was fed up with his job,” Forester said.
“He ended up quitting and he talked me into quitting my job, too.”
That was in 1985. Forester spent about four years in a partnership, studying computer hardware and building new machines before striking out on his own with Bits & Bytes. He considers the company a real home-grown enterprise: he runs the company from his home, no storefront or other overhead needed.
The company, which has eight additional employees, specializes in networking and accounting systems for small to medium-sized businesses. In addition to building systems, they also install programs and teach payroll and accounting principles.
Why did you establish your business in Kent County?
I grew up in Kent County and I knew a lot about the businesses in Kent County. Back in 1985, computers were the wave of the future, and I saw that. Plus, the possibilities of having a business in Delaware were incredible.
What do you like about working in Kent County?
The people – the people are great. A lot of my associates in business also are good friends.
What’s one of the most serious problems facing business systems today?
Malware, viruses and computer security. It’s a monstrous problem and we’ve been extremely busy with it. The majority of it comes from emails; we say if you get an email from someone and you don’t know who it came from, don’t open it. Just delete it.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Get up early and work hard. Most people don’t really get up too early. But I farmed when I was a kid and during my military service, I was up before the sun and went at it all day long. You’ll be successful if you work hard.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business?
Seek the advice of others. Then formulate a good business plan, surround yourself with good people and work hard.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced working in the IT world?
No one will ever be able to see more than a couple of years in advance; it’s an ever-changing technology picture. Buying a system for business is like buying a car. You typically buy a car, keep it for four or five years, and buy a new one.
With hardware and software, one or the other usually has a major advance every three to five years.