The ever-changing world of technology creates ample opportunity for those in STEM. From programming to cybersecurity, this growing industry has inspired lots of skilled professionals. What’s more, many of them forego the traditional nine-to-five work model and start their own IT consulting business.
An IT consultant can work with a business to help them identify and implement various aspects of information management. For instance, IT consulting looks at security measures, system upgrades and optimization, and standard operating procedures. If you’ve entered this field as an entrepreneur, here are some ways you can add value to your business.
Engage in a Referral Partner Program
For those who aren’t aware, a referral partner program is an agreement in which your business works with a trusted partner that offers services separate from your own but pays you for the business opportunity. There are benefits for all parties in a referral partner program.
For your IT consulting business, you’ll have the opportunity to offer services that are outside your scope. For example, you may be able to make recommendations about online data backup but lack the tools to implement it. By using an online backup reseller program, you can offer this service without reinventing the wheel. This builds your authority as an industry expert. Additionally, it also directs income into your business with minimal work.
What’s more, your client benefits from having an expert-recommended service that suits their needs. Finally, your partner benefits from the new business opportunity. However, when engaging in a referral program, remember that your client is your priority. Always work with a trusted provider who you would use yourself.
Use Strong Project Management Skills
To be a successful IT consultant, it’s not as simple as having expertise in the IT spectrum. You must also bring strong project management skills to the table. In fact, having project management savvy is what will help set you apart from other consultants. It will keep customers coming back for more.
Therefore, take the time to learn about different project management strategies, drawing on the philosophies of DevOps and Agile. Create clear lines of communication. Identify what steps you will be responsible for and what steps your client will need to complete. Identify the risks associated with not having deliverables completed by their assigned dates. This will help your internal contact keep things moving smoothly.
There are many simplified project management tools that you can use to keep your clients updated while minimizing emails back and forth. Using a general project management tool like Trello or Basecamp can centralize all of your project communications. This will keep you and your clients on track.
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Conduct Complementary Audits
Conducting complementary audits is a powerful way to add value to your IT consulting business. This service also acts as a way to attract leads and upsell your services.
For example, if a client knows that they want to add cloud data backup but is interested to know what other areas they should look at in their infrastructure, you have an opportunity to make recommendations that will generate business. They may contact you because they want to implement data backup. However, they also end up paying you to implement access rights management and a firewall.
Plan for Contingencies
Information technology is all about the data. If it’s not on a log, it didn’t happen. Those outside the IT industry rarely comprehend the importance of having records and documentation of what’s happening in their systems. However, you understand that you need to know about upgrades and other changes.
So help your client implement contingency planning in their data management. In so doing, you make it possible for their business to continue even if the key players suddenly become unavailable.
Develop Compliance Expertise
Continuing education and staying abreast of industry trends is important for all consultants, whether they specialize in marketing, health or IT. Moreover, there has been a renewed focus recently on privacy and consumer data protection as well as cybersecurity compliance.
Businesses often recognize that they have an obligation to be in compliance with data protection regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR. However, they don’t know where to start. Therefore, incorporate compliance measures into your service offering. In this way, potential clients will recognize the value and look at what you have to offer.
Is IT Consulting Right for You?
Not everyone has what it takes to be an IT consultant. You need to have the drive and determination of an entrepreneur while offering the expertise of an IT professional. You must be able to maintain your integrity and know what you don’t know. And when you know you need another expert, you need to swallow your pride and reach out to your network of experts.
Creating a collaborative environment with your client and will help them to protect and grow their business. Ultimately, however, this will ultimately protect and grow your own. If you have this balance between passion and skills, IT consulting could be your next great business opportunity.