IT consulting can be a lucrative field. In fact, revenues in this industry in the U.S. are projected to reach $471 billion by 2022. It’s also a career field that is open to customization and flexibility. So if starting a business in this field is something that appeals to you, here are some of the essential steps you can take.
Steps to Start an IT Consulting Business
Hone Your Skills
IT is a field that requires some technical training, whether you have a degree or some type of certificate. It may also help to gain some experience by working for another company before starting your business. Dave Ketterer of C.D.’s IT Consulting LLC started his career in IT by working for his local chamber of commerce. He gained a steady income while he mastered his craft and met with other business owners who could also use his expertise. He was able to start his own business while still working there part time and then eventually transitioning to full time entrepreneurship.
He said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “If you have the opportunity to, I think working for another company while you hone your skills and get connections is a great way to get started.”
Find a Specialty
There are plenty of different areas you can focus on with your IT consulting business, whether you choose to offer managed IT services, hardware repair, software consulting, or cloud services.
Joerg Laves of IT Secure Services said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “There’s no shortage of areas you can focus on, so you just have to consider what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing to find a specialty or type of service to offer.”
Register Your Business
This step is similar to what’s required for starting many other types of businesses. Find a structure that suits your needs, whether it’s an LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership. Find and register a name. And check with your local government to see if there are any other registrations or steps you need to take in order to comply with regulations in your area.
Invest in Equipment
In order to deliver your services to customers, you may need to invest in some hardware or software. The exact purchases will depend on your area of expertise, but you’ll almost certainly need a computer and basic office supplies, at least. You might also want to invest in some insurance to cover that equipment in the case of an emergency.
Learn About Marketing
Starting an IT business isn’t just about technical skills. You also need to run the business aspect of it. That means specifying who your target customers are and where they’re likely to find you. If you want to work with businesses in your local area, it could help to connect with your local chamber of commerce. If you want to work with clients online, then it could help to invest in some search ads or social media marketing.
Develop a Customer Communication Strategy
IT is a very technical field with a lot of very skilled experts. But not all of those experts are great at actually explaining what they do in terms that customers can understand. Having a solid communication strategy can help people actually understand the value in what you offer.
Sergey Nosenko, owner of Allora Consulting, said in an email to Small Business Trends, “For Allora’s sales team this is a vital part of IT consulting, we have to apprehend fairly quickly the IT needs of a perspective customer and make a correct call on selecting a proper IT solution the cost of which could be agreed upon.”
Collect Customer Feedback
No matter what type of business you run, it’s important to constantly evaluate your performance and the satisfaction of your customers. This is especially important in a mostly virtual business like IT consulting where you might not work with customers as much in a face-to-face setting. Laves uses a simple system for his company, sending an automated message to customers where they can rate their satisfaction on a three point scale and then share quick comments if they choose.
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