Sunday, February 5, 2012

IT Consulting: You Need More Than Just Technical Skills

IT consulting is best started with "sweet spot" clients. While it's okay to balance out your portfolio with larger businesses, small businesses are the most profitable and easily secured segment in IT consulting.

To be successful in IT consulting, you need to know about servers, hardware, and software, but more importantly, you need to know business skills.

Learn How to Say "No"

Anyone in IT consulting can tell you that, at first, you are going to get a lot of crazy requests.  You'll get a lot of people wasting your time with half-baked nonsense. They don’t have the money to pay for you or they ask for ridiculous things.

Of course, all the customer service gurus will tell you that the word, "no" should not be in your vocabulary. Nonsense; you need to learn how to say no.

Learn About Banking and Merchant Accounts

You will need to set up a business bank account. If you plan on reselling products, you'll need to set up a merchant account. This gives you the ability to accept credit cards.

Learn How to Manage Your Finances

You need to make sure you get paid, get paid well, and get paid fast. You're going to need to figure out your expenses, know how to balance your checkbook, know about credit and collections and how that ties in to your whole billing and invoicing system.

Learn How to Track Prospects and Clients

You don't want prospects or clients slipping through the cracks. You'll need to set up simple databases to track your prospects and clients. Fortunately, there are many off-the-shelf products that can help you do just that.

Learn How to Delegate

Even if you plan on your IT consulting business being "just you" for a long time, delegating skills are still important. At some time in your business, you are probably going to end up working with some business partners and contractors.

You are going to have all kinds of vendor relationships.  You need to know when to pass it off to them and you need to know how to successfully manage and delegate work.

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