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Oh Vey! You Don’t Blog? You Don’t Call?

What happened to the Small Biz Tech Talk Blog?

We actually moved a while ago and forgot to leave a forwarding address. DOH!

So here’s the deal. If you enjoyed what we had to say over here, definitely come visit us on the Small Business Computer Consulting Blog.

And make sure you also subscribe to the handy-dandy companion SP Home Run Weekly Update Newsletter — that helps you get great clients, build up your recurring service revenue, and grow your IT business!

Becoming an IT Consultant? Ask Your Prospects These 4 Key Questions

One of the most important parts of becoming an IT consultant is making sure you know which type of small business clients you want to attract.

How can you find the prospective clients that will most benefit from your services long-term?

Look for companies that are big enough to need your services on a regular basis. So these potential clients are candidates for signing on-going service contracts, that bring you the steady revenue that will be the foundation of your business. Doing this successfully, as you are becoming an IT consultant, means you absolutely need to know the major qualifying questions inside out and backwards, like the back of your hand.

  1. Geographically Desirable? Because most small business clients need a lot of hand-holding, potential clients need to be located nearby to you. Look for prospects located within a 30 – 60-minute drive from your location. If you live in a large urban area, for example, your service area may shrink considerably, as there will be a high concentration of viable prospects very nearby. Also think about proximity as you attend networking events and develop your marketing campaigns.
  2. Big Enough, But Not Too Big? Think Goldilocks: not too big, not too small. As you are becoming an IT consultant, target clients that have 10-75 workstations. At this size, the prospect is big enough to need a real, dedicated server … but not so big that the prospect needs a full-time, in-house IT department. Another way to think about this is that the prospect will likely have $1 million – $10 million in annual sales, or your local currency equivalent. Know this type of information about your potential clients, so you can develop much more powerful, affordable, and cost-effective marketing strategies.
  3. A Platform You Can Support? Before you get too far into the sales process, be sure to properly qualify prospective clients based on their installed platform of OS’s and NOS’s. For example, if your specialty is Windows-family OS’s/NOS’s and a prospect is 100% standardized on Mac’s, you should refer that prospect elsewhere.
  4. Serious About IT? If you come across a small business prospect for your IT consulting business that doesn’t have a dedicated server, because they’re messing around with peer-to-peer ad-hoc networking, you probably want to run the other way. Before you spend too much time on a potential client, make sure the prospective client is really ready for your solutions.

In this short article, we talked about 4 simple, but very powerful qualifying criteria for prospective clients. By consistently asking these questions, you can more proactively manage the selling process and utilize your limited time more effectively. Learn more about becoming an IT consultant and attracting steady, high-paying clients now at www.BecomingAnITConsultant.com

Copyright (C) BecomingAnITConsultant.com All Rights Reserved.

IT Service Contracts + SMB Virtual IT = a Stable, Profitable Business

If you own or manage a small business IT company, you may be thinking about using IT service contracts to build better relationships with clients.

The truth is, many small business IT consultants choose not to use IT service contracts as part of their business models … and many of them end up working way too hard for way too little money. They find themselves with no real business stability and unable to build solid relationships with steady, high-paying clients.
 
If you want to achieve greater success in the small business world, you need to know how to incorporate the idea of Virtual IT into your IT service contracts. When you provide Virtual IT services to your clients, you need to offer a very wide range of IT services and solutions, that approximate what would be found in a large, enterprise corporate IT department.
 
The following 3 tips can help you learn what you can do to build stable, profitable client relationships and grow your business.

   1.  Know Why Many IT Consulting Companies Get the Virtual IT Concept Wrong. Most IT business owners trying to develop a model for IT service contracts get the idea behind their businesses all wrong and make their jobs much harder than they need to be. These people fall in love with technology, trying to stay ahead of the latest and greatest new platforms instead of keeping an eye out for their small business clients’ best interests.

   2.  Learn from Others’ Virtual IT Mistakes and Omissions. If you fail to understand the definition of Virtual IT and don’t incorporate it into your business model, you will be known as just another clueless geek. Keep in mind that as a true provider of comprehensive IT service contracts, recruiting and retaining small business clients is your #1 priority. Keeping up with the latest technology advances can never get in the way of building relationships and the mission of your computer consulting company. Therefore, don’t be seduced by hardware, operating systems or applications. Instead, fall in love with the business opportunities that go along with solving your clients’ biggest business problems with well-designed IT solutions.

   3.  Know How to Blend Computer Consulting IT Service Contracts and the Idea of Virtual IT. In order to sell profitable IT service contracts to clients, you need to fully understand and use the Virtual IT concept. Virtual IT allows your computer consulting company to function as an extension of your small business clients’ companies. When you follow this concept, your company becomes the outsourced Virtual IT department for your small business clients. You become the Virtual CIO (chief information officer), Virtual CTO (chief technology officer) or Virtual IT manager for all of your small business clients, a relationship solidified further by IT service contracts. You will need to take responsibility for providing or arranging for a complete soup-to-nuts solution that includes important services and benefits like help desk, desktop support, network administration, testing, security, training, procurement and asset management.
 
In this brief article, we talked about 3 tips to help you incorporate the idea of Virtual IT into your model for IT service contracts. Learn more about how you can get great, steady, high-paying clients with well-crafted IT service contracts now at the attached link. 

Copyright (C), ITServiceContractSecrets.com, All Rights Reserved.

Is An IT Franchise for You?

Not every type of business is right for every IT consultant, but many choose to buy into an IT franchise. You have several options when you decide to start a technology business and an IT franchise is just one of those options.

The two main choices most consultants face is whether to buy into an IT franchise or become an independent IT consultant.
 
Which choice is right for you depends on whether you want to build your business completely by yourself or take a few shortcuts. But just because you have some shortcuts doesn’t mean everything is done for you. So if you’re buying into an IT franchise, you need to be prepared to up the ante in a lot of ways.

The following 3 tips can help you think clearly when you are choosing which type of IT business is right for you.

   1. Think about Your Personality Traits… Not Just Your Technical Skills.
You certainly need some technical skills and a general love of computers to be successful in an IT services business. But you also need to be able to work well with people and be able to build strong relationships. Gauge your abilities in the following two areas of personality: being assertive; thinking with a head for business. You need to be assertive, but not overly obnoxious if you want to start any type of business. You also need to be able to stick up for yourself without being too aggressive with prospects, customers, clients and potential partners. When it comes to thinking in business terms, you need to put your business goals ahead of being perceived as nice. Most likely, you will not be able to always be the nice guy or gal, whether you start an IT franchise or some other type of IT business. Always think about what is important to succeeding long term and put your business financial needs over your desire to work with cutting-edge technology. Your clients pay the bills. So you have to work well with them and sometimes even put your need for technical skills career gratification aside to build relationships for the long-term.

   2. Starting an IT Franchise is a Business of Sweat Equity.
No matter which type of business you start, you will have several months during the start-up phase of really hard work with little to perhaps modest financial gain. An IT franchise doesn’t come with a guaranteed client list. You need to be out pounding the pavement, shaking hands and getting your name out there. You also need to be diligent about following up on all of your leads, sales calls, and pending proposals. This will all be happening before anyone pays you a dime. Just because you are buying an IT franchise with some set rules, and best practices, does not mean your problems will go away overnight. Be realistic about pros and cons and what will work best for you before you decide which type of IT business to start.

   3. Remember that No Two IT Business Owners Are the Same. Just because buying an IT franchise is the right decision for some doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for you. Think carefully about your goals and dreams you have for your IT business along with your skills, available time and financial capital. Then you can decide how you will start your IT business, with an IT franchise or something different.
 
In this article we discussed 3 IT franchise tips to help you decide which type of IT business to start. Learn more about how you can get great, steady, high-paying clients for your IT franchise at the attached link. 
 
Copyright (C), ITFranchiseSecrets.com, All Rights Reserved

Start a Consulting Business: The Right Skills and Knowledge Are Key

Are you looking to start a consulting business?  Do you wonder if you will be expected to know everything that could possibly go wrong with your clients’ problems and potential problems?  

The fact is, you don’t need to know absolutely everything in order to start a consulting business.  And the notion that you would even be able to know everything when it comes to technology is very unrealistic.  The following 3 pieces of advice can help you learn which skills and what type of knowledge you need to have to start a consulting business the right way.

   1. Understand the Balance Between Technical Skills and People Skills.  In order to successfully start a consulting business, you need to be really well organized, friendly and someone that enjoys helping other people.  Focus on being resourceful and not just a technical genius.  When you try too hard to be a technical genius as you build your client base, you can hold yourself back.  Computer consulting is about communicating with people and building real relationships.  If you have strong technical skills but still need some help working a room, you can get better at socializing, networking, and schmoozing with practice.

   2. Find Out If You Have the Right Skills.  How do you know if you have the right technical skills and business skills to start a consulting business?  First of all, don’t let lack of certifications hold you back.  Advanced technical certifications are not important to the average non-technical small business owner or manager.  You can do very well without ever selling to companies with an IT director.  Focus on your ability to build strong relationships and solve real business problems with sophisticated IT solutions.  You will do just fine without racking up a lot of certifications that will probably be overkill when it comes to working with most small businesses.

   3. Remember that Small Business Owners Want Total Business Solutions and Complete Accountability.  Typical small business owners and managers are not looking for just credentials or technical skills.  They are buying you and your business expertise.  They are buying your comprehensive business solutions and the security of engaging with a consulting business that knows how to work with other companies like theirs.     

In this brief article we talked about 3 tips that can help you as you start a consulting business.  To learn more about how you can get great, steady, high-paying clients, sign up for free tips on how to Start a Consulting Business now at the attached link.
 
 
Copyright (C), StartConsultingBusiness.com, All Rights Reserved

IT Service Contract Tips to Build Strong Relationships

If you are a computer consultant and don’t yet have an IT service contract plan, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build revenue and a strong, long-lasting business.

Creating a solid IT service contract offering requires a lot of advance planning and the ability to inspire real trust in your prospects, customers, and clients. You need to be aware of which benefits and prices you will offer well before you roll out a strategy and be able to build a very compelling case for why each and every client needs to be on an IT service contract.

The following 4 tips will help you as you build your computer consulting business around service contracts.

1.    Remember That IT Service Contracts are Crucial to Your Company’s Survival … and That One-Shot Deals Are for Amateurs! The value of your entire business is tied up in the recurring revenue you can generate through steady, high-paying clients. Think very carefully about accepting any customers that are not IT service contract clients. Without steady clients, you can’t plan growth or make all the necessary decisions that keep your business moving forward. Successful computer consultants insist on service contracts that bring recurring revenue. Those that don’t use service contracts cannot possibly predict where their companies are going to be in the next few months or years.

2.    Make a Rate Card. A rate card is an integral part of your IT service contract business model. Basically, your rate card is a one-page document that shows typical prices weighed against the prices attached to on-going, long-term contracts. In order to create a strong rate card – and a strong case for your service contracts – you need to come up with at least a half-dozen benefits for why someone would sign an IT service contract with your company instead of paying by the hour. You need to have an established rate card before you try to sell your service contracts.

3.    Consider Travel Distance. If you are currently serving people within a 10-15 minute driving radius of your business location, when you offer service contracts you might need to extend that distance. A lot of your competitors will go 45 minutes or even an hour away, so you have to come up with an economical way to match their efforts. You can charge for travel time to help compensate, or enforce a minimum to protect yourself (preferable) and give more benefits to more long-term clients.

4.    Know When to Offer an IT Service Contract. There are two really great times to offer an IT service contract to a client. The first is right after an emergency service call. Because you’ve just saved the day, you’ll be at a high point. Part of establishing strong relationships with your clients is getting customers to know, like and trust you. After an emergency, your customers will LOVE you because you saved the day. They know you because they just spent many hours with you and they trust you because you delivered on the solution you promised. Another great time to offer an IT service contract is after conducting an IT audit. At this stage, customers will be wondering what to do next. If they agreed to an audit, they are probably looking for someone they can call regularly. And they almost always want someone that will look out for their IT needs and take a genuine long-term interest in helping them implement business solutions that incorporate their technology assets.

In this article, we discussed 4 tips you can use to set up a business based on the concept of an IT service contract, as the basis for building long-term client relationships.

To learn more about how IT service contracts can get you more steady, high-paying clients, sign up for free IT service contract tips now at the attached link.

Copyright (C), ITServiceContractSecrets.com, All Rights Reserved.

Technology Marketing: Technology Start-Ups Continue to Surge

According to a recent article, entrepreneurs hoping to survive the economic downturn should invest time and energy into technology marketing and starting businesses focused on technology services.  While many industries are experiencing ruin, startups with marketable technology or products, dedicated customer- and client-focused teams, strong business plans and access to great resources that help them provide sophisticated solutions for its customers are thriving.

According to experts, the key to the success of these businesses is great technology marketing that can be extremely hard work but can produce fantastic results.  Of course, strong technology marketing can be challenging, particularly when it is just you running a company and you must reach a lot of prospects all at once.  Networking through organizations like the Chamber of Commerce (and others!) can be an excellent way to grow a start-up business and develop the relationships that make a technology company work.

Technology marketing is especially important during difficult financial times, and can be relatively inexpensive.

To learn more about start-ups and what this article has to say about building a technology marketing plan, visit the attached link!

Added By:  Joshua Feinberg

Managed Services Marketing: H.T. Hackney Amps up its Advertising Program

Massachusetts-based company H.T. Hackney recently announced it would be joining together with NACS Chicago, a managed services marketing expert to jointly offer in-store digital signage advertising programs – the Digital Promo Network (DPN) – to C-Store customers all over the East Coast of the U.S.  DPN will exhibit with H.T. Hackney at NACS, Chicago on October 5th-8th to introduce this new initiative and answer questions about managed services marketing and other marketing services.  

This new relationship will give Hackney’s customers the chance to use in-store digital signage advertising programs that include rich media ads as well as the DeliNET™ portal.  This program is geared towards the food services industry.  

Spokespeople for DPN say they are excited about this new partnership and look forward to helping them increase the impact of their advertising.  

To learn more about this managed services marketing initiative, visit the attached link.  

Added By:  Computer Consulting Kit

Technology Marketing: Research in Motion Gets More Aggressive

Research in Motion has amped up its technology marketing efforts recently to compete with Apple after disappointing performance in the third quarter.

This is the second straight quarter that Research in Motion (RIM) has not met its expectations.  The problem is tied to development of four new phones.  Technology marketing of the new models made up $379.6 million in sales and marketing costs last quarter, which was twice the amount of last year’s sales and marketing costs.  Shares of the Canadian-based Research in Motion company at one point fell to $77.47 in extended trading after closing at $97.53 in the stock market.  

To learn more about how RIM is improving its technology marketing efforts and partnering up with other companies, visit the attached link.

Added By:  Computer Consulting Kit

Research in Motion has amped up its technology marketing efforts recently to compete with Apple after disappointing performance in the third quarter.

This is the second straight quarter that Research in Motion (RIM) has not met its expectations.  The problem is tied to development of four new phones.  Technology marketing of the new models made up $379.6 million in sales and marketing costs last quarter, which was twice the amount of last year’s sales and marketing costs.  Shares of the Canadian-based Research in Motion company at one point fell to $77.47 in extended trading after closing at $97.53 in the stock market.  

To learn more about how RIM is improving its technology marketing efforts and partnering up with other companies, visit the attached link.

Added By:  Computer Consulting Kit

Managed Services Marketing: How Managed Services Can Help Grow Businesses

Recent articles and studies by experts have noted that managed services marketing activities, most particularly Customer Relationship Management (CRM) continue to help businesses grow, particularly in terms of the number of customers they acquire.  Managed service offerings also have been shown to help technology companies find new business opportunities, niches and specialties previously unknown.  

A product marketing manager for a technology company stated that knowing about customer history and preferences can really help improve a managed services marketing campaign, and CRM is helpful in this arena as it encourages loyalty and increases the credibility of your company.

Customizing products and creating easy methods for implementing solutions also helps businesses identify new leads and opportunities so they can increase their customer base and keep enough prospects, customers and clients in their sales funnel at all times.   

To learn more about managed services marketing and what other IT consultants and managers had to say about strategy, visit the attached link.

Added By:  Computer Consulting Kit

Technology Marketing Event: Law Enforcement Associates Hosts Expo

On September 11th, Law Enforcement Associates Corporation (LEA), a U.S. developer and manufacturer of undercover surveillance equipment held a technology marketing event for members of the law enforcement and corporate security fields.  This expo and technology marketing opportunity featured a variety of important domestic and international manufacturers of devices.

Participants included the following companies:  FLIR Systems; First Body Armor; Security Products International; Qwonn Cameras; Morovision Night Vision; Power Flare.

LEA also displayed its surveillance and security products and introduced some new options for its customers and clients.

To learn more about LEA and this Technology Marketing expo, please visit the attached link.

Blogged By:  Joshua Feinberg

Managed Services Marketing: Managed Services More Important than Ever in Ireland

Many comptuer consulting firms continue to work on their managed services marketing as many Irish-based companies continue to choose to engage them in spite of decreasing overall budgets.  In fact, reports indicate that managed services firms continue to see opportunities to expand.  

A sales manager at the Irish-based firm Datapac, John Casey says that while IT budgets in many businesses are tight, he is still seeing great results from his managed services marketing efforts, growing in popularity among business owners.    

He adds that while some other areas of his business have slowed down due to tightening of budgets in a lot of customers, IT continues to be important.  IT departments have to deliver services to businesses, which means they need to outsource, particularly in the small business market, even if regular employee recruitment is frozen.  

Many other IT professionals sounded off about their managed services marketing efforts in Ireland.  To read their stories and more about managed services, visit the attached link!

Added By:  Joshua Feinberg

Australian Firm Offers New Technology Marketing Products for Las Vegas Casinos

Marketing Results, Inc. (MRI) and eBet, an Australian gaming systems firm announced on August 26th that they would be combining forces to distribute the Advanced Intelligence Marketing (AIM) technology marketing system that includes CRM, campaign management, analysis and player development applications.  

The blend of technology marketing experience of the two companies are expected to help casino marketers develop strategies that will help them create more personalized communications and compete in the industry.  This new relationship between MRI and eBet is expected to help casinos in Australia to keep up with leading businesses in Las Vegas.

The AIM technology marketing tool is designed for casino databases and helps analyze data about player behaviors so it can be used to create better marketing strategies.  This new partnership will expand AIM’s presence in Australia and provide casinos with new marketing and analysis tools.

For more about this technology marketing news, visit the attached link.

Added By:  Joshua Feinberg

Managed Services Marketing: Canadian Firm Acquires IT Hosting Company

Markham, Ontario-based Canadian managed services marketing firm Momentum Advanced Solutions, Inc. announced yesterday it would be acquiring the IT hosting division of BroadSpire.  Located in Los Angeles, California and founded in 1997, BroadSpire offers web hosting and a range of other related services.  It also has developed a successful managed services marketing strategy called Web ecosystem marketing.

Momentum bought the division for a before-transaction price of $2.66 million.  Experts expect the acquisition will bring Momentum an extra $1.50 million per year thanks to its improved managed services marketing strategies.

Momentum has been around for 25 years and has experience in enterprise-level managed hoisting.  In the last year, the company added services for small and medium-sized businesses.  The company hopes that by adding to its range of services and its new managed services marketing strategies it will be able to continue to provide excellent services to customers who will also receive expanded benefits.

For more information on this managed services marketing story, visit the attached link!

Submitted By:  Joshua Feinberg

Loyalty Builders CEO Mark Klein to Speak on Technology Marketing Issues

Mark Klein, the CEO and founder of provider of analytics Loyalty Builders announced he would be speaking at the company Hubspot’s event to discuss technology marketing issues.  The Inbound marketing Summit will be held on September 8, 2008 in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Boston Marriot Cambridge.

His presentation will be called “Managing the Bottom of the Funnel” and will revolve around technology marketing issues related to customer retention and Mathematical Marketing tools that can be used to increase revenue from companies’ current customers and clients.

Mathematical Marketing is a technology marketing concept that describes the process of marketing to existing customers based on a scientific analysis of their past behavior and how it informs future purchases.  Techniques involved in this process are predictive analytics, behavioral targeting and tracking, multivariate testing and a variety of other types of question-based analysis.  

According to Klein, many business owners miss this important technology marketing concept and fail to market to existing customers alongside prospects.

The Inbound Marketing Summit is a meeting of experts in the field of technology marketing and inbound marketing who get together to discuss strategies, tools and best practices and learn how to use them to grow their businesses.

To learn more about this technology marketing story and the Summit, visit the attached link!

Added By:  Joshua Feinberg

Texas-Based Online Company Launches New Managed Services Marketing Tools for Program Managers

Today, Dallas, Texas-based company Online Strategies, providing Online Transaction Processing solutions to businesses announced it would be releasing a new managed services marketing tool for program managers.  The product, as with many of Online Strategies’ other products, will be geared towards those that would benefit from a pre-paid program.  

The managed services marketing tool OLS.Host was created by industry experts and is a processing platform that allows program managers to process their own transactions smoothly.  Terry Richards, president of Online Services (OLS) says the product will help bridge a previous gap in pre-paid managed services marketing, which was inefficient collection of fees by program managers that often included dealing with the complexity of a third-party processor to handle important transactions.

Program management companies have often been under-represented because they are not like traditional sales agents.  Instead, they are subject to a lot of regulations and rules put in place by the banks for which they work, which don’t often square with their own philosophies and strategies.  This new managed services marketing tool will be important to helping them do their job more efficiently and provide more specialized services to their clients.

For more information on this managed services marketing story, visit the attached link.  

Added By:  Joshua Feinberg

Technology Marketing: Engate Technology Appoints New Marketing Leader

Leading anti-spam and technology security company Engate Technology Company, Inc. recently appointed a new technology marketing leader, Tony Busa.  With 15 years of experience leading global teams in technology marketing, Tony Busa will be Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Business Development for Engate.

A part of many successful marketing programs, Busa will be heading a team of people working on e-mail security and anti-botnet technologies.  One of his main focal points will be working with award-winning Engate MailSentinel, a product line designed for large enterprises, solution providers and hardware and software sellers.

Busa has a track record of helping companies of all sizes with technology marketing and building leading brands to make them more visible in the marketplace.  With Engate, he will work on worldwide marketing strategy that includes branding, product marketing, channel marketing, demand creation, business development, public relations and marketing communications.

For more information on this technology marketing story, visit the attached link.

Added By:  Joshua Feinberg

Managed Services Marketing Firm Nimsoft Continues to Grow

Managed services marketing firm Nimsoft, Inc., provider of IT performance and monitoring solutions stated it had continued to experience growth for the three months ending June 30, 2008.  The company has been growing its managed services marketing for a while now with increased subscription business and recurring revenue that grew 130 percent in the past year.

The company also enjoyed an 85 percent increase with 41 new enterprise and managed services customers. Thanks to great managed services marketing in the past year the company has more than 680 customers in 30 countries.  

Spokesperson for the company Gary Read, president and CEO stated that the reason for Nimsoft’s success is its progressive business model as well as its ability to custom-make monitoring solutions to suit the needs of clients.  The focus on its customers is also cited as a reason the company’s products and services continue to thrive.   

For more highlights on this managed services marketing story, visit the attached link.

Blogged By:  Computer Consulting Kit

Technology Marketing News: WatchGuard Named Leader in Growth

In technology marketing news, Seattle-based network security company WatchGuard was recently named the global leader of unified threat management shipment growth in 2007.  It claimed a 190.2 percent growth rate last year and was also called the leader in shipments to Western Europe, where is enjoyed 196.4 percent growth.  

According to Eric Aarrestad, VP of technology marketing at WatchGuard, the fantastic growth can be attributed to attention paid to research and development as well as innovation and network management for clients.   

Clients of Watchguard have reported great reliability and performance for the price.  The company was established in 1996 and has consistently provided reliable, easy-to-manage firewall and VPN appliances to thousands of clients.  It’s known for its Firebox X integrated security solutions, which have led the industry in protection against viruses, worms, spyware, malware, e-mail spam, bots, etc.

For more information on this technology marketing story, follow the link!

Added By:  Joshua Feinberg

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