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Small Business

 

IT Consulting: Sell Services, Not Products

IT consulting should be focused around selling services; not products. You should consider aligning yourself with vendors if you are going to providing specialized IT consulting.

IT consulting, IT-consulting

A successful IT consulting business should be focused on selling your consulting services and not selling products. At this stage of the game of starting an IT consulting business, you should not be looking to be a dealer for someone or an authorized solution for someone.

You can get those things if you think it will help your business a little bit, but don’t build your IT consulting business around that. It’s not a product driven economy anymore. It's about the services. It's about the solution.

If you align yourself with someone and say "Hey I am this dealer." If you put it all over your website and business cards, then you are basically a non-salaried employee of that company. That is the surest way to end up in commodity status.

A Real World Example

In terms of hooking up with a software vendor, for example, those in the medical field, you really have to figure out if that is going to be your IT consulting niche. Do you already have expertise in that area? You should be focusing on getting paying clients first and gaining some expertise in that area.

If you are working full time in a niche right now, ie. the medical field, and currently providing PC support for someone that makes medical practice management software. If you are looking to moving into IT consulting, then of course it makes sense to work with that niche since you already have tremendous knowledge and credibility there.

Gain Experience in your Niche First

But if you are just starting from scratch now you should really look to get some experience in the field you want to specialize in before making big investments with vendors, going to conferences, etc.

Get some clients or get a part time job that gives you some exposure to working in small doctor’s offices before you go out and start building a whole IT consulting business around that.

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IT Consulting: Services for Sweet Spot Customers

IT Consulting requires you to be able to provide many different services. In this article, you'll learn about possible services you can provide to your clients in IT consulting.

IT consulting, IT-consulting, computer consulting, computer-consulting

For sweet spot customers, consider the services you can provide to these IT consulting clients. In this article, you'll learn some of the more popular ones.

IT Consulting: What Website Design Programs Should You Know?

You should be familiar with at least basic web authoring tools to set up a simple web site for your IT consulting clients and you should certainly have one of your own. At a minimum, you should be familiar with, Microsoft Front page. If you are going to do more high end websites, Macromedia or Dreamweaver could be a good programs for you to learn at some point.

IT Consulting: What about Terminal Services?

Real is still hot among small businesses. You should be familiar with what is built into the window server. The fax machine may be going away, but the concept of faxing over the network is just as important as ever.

You should be comfortable with performance monitoring so you can so some tweaking and tune-ups to find out what is going on with different thresholds. VPN and RADs, virtual private networking and remote access is still a real big issue especially with teleworkers and branch offices.

IT Consulting: What about Virus Protection?

You should be familiar with some of the more advanced virus protection applications - especially where they cross over multiple applications. When they are specifically working with something group-wide like Exchange Server or IAS, you should be familiar with how to automate that within the management server. You should also be familiar with some of the more sophisticated firewall and intrusion detection software packages

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IT Consulting: Charge Appropriately for Your Services

IT Consulting is a business and needs to be run like one. Consider your expenses and your staff's salary requirements to make sure you are charging correctly for IT consulting.

IT consulting, IT-consulting

In IT consulting it is important to know the relationship between hourly billing rates and salary affordability so you can properly plan for both your own salary draw, as well as salaries of future technical and sales-related staff.

This is directly related to one of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting your IT consulting business.

Don’t Give Away Your Services

Many new IT consultants give away their services for ridiculously unsustainable rates, like $25 or $30 an hour, because they’re emulating the wrong people in the market.

They’re copying the computer repair technicians or other moonlighters, and it’s not possible to ever be able to have a sustainable business.

Value your IT Consulting Business

There is a very definite relationship between what your clients pay your consulting firm, your hourly billing rate, and the kind of salary package you can ultimately offer your sales and technology staff. Even if you don’t plan on hiring additional staff, you have to consider that you are doing the work and you need to be compensated appropriately.

Don't Underestimate

Your IT consulting company is going to hit a brick wall and you’re going to hit a brick wall if you underestimate the expenses and what you need to be charging.

If your billing rates are at a certain level, you’re eventually going to find that you’re going to have an extremely difficult time attracting the kind of staff that’s required to recruit and service sweet spot IT consulting clients.

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