The IT sector has been flourishing for many years. In fact, IT solutions are used in various fields. Business, education, and the arts are turning to computer tools to improve their performance. Computers, tablets, printers are now a part of everyday life. So the IT sector still offers a lot of outlets, but most of all for business ventures. That’s why starting an IT business is always so rewarding.
IT consulting can be a fruitful business. In fact, by 2022, industry revenue in the United States will reach $ 471 billion. No doubt, it involves risks and intricacies, but the satisfaction of working for yourself can be worth it.
In this article, we will go into depth to help you understand everything about this topic.
Steps to start an IT consulting business
1. Explore your skills
Whether you have a degree or some kind of certificate, technical training is essential to start this business. It can also allow you to gain experience and enhance your knowledge by working for another enterprise. After that, you can start your own business. Dave Ketterer, president of CDK IT Consulting LLC, started his IT career for his local chamber of commerce. He earned a steady income by mastering his profession and employed with other business leaders who could also use his capability. Working part-time, he started his own IT business, then finally moved into a full-time business.
In his phone interview, he said: “If you get the chance, I think it’s great to work for another company when you improve your skills and start a relationship.”
2. Choose your area of expertise.
It is important to develop a niche and make it the hub of your IT consulting business. For example, cloud services, software services, hardware repair, or managed IT services are all in demand.
Experts who find the niche and specialize in one area make more money than ordinary experts.
There is no shortage of areas you can focus on, so you just have to think about what you do and what you have to offer. Moreover, what you enjoy doing to find a specialty or type of service.
3. Find your role as a Consultant.
IT consultants play various roles depending on the client, from providing expert information to covering for employees on vacation. What role do you want to perform? And find out where do you want to fit in in your clients’ companies?
- External consultant
If you can identify glitches efficiently and find inventive solutions, you will be an ace applicant for the external consultant position. Most of the companies hire outside consultants to counter corporate groupthink and bring revitalization into their businesses. They seek instructors who call it like it is and make controversial guidance when essential for this role.
- Expert Consultant
If you’ve specialized skills and experience, you can work as an expert consultant. An expert advisor works on the job when employees do not have the right skills to solve a problem. However, it is not necessary to specialize in any specific field to play this role. Companies without devoted IT staff rely on consultants to solve their technical problems, even the easiest ones.
- Supplemental consultant
If you have the technical awareness and people skills, you can work with the organization’s employees directly as a secondary consultant. Companies can hire advisors to work for employees but as independent contractors. They may hire independent consultants to train employees in the use of the latest technologies, such as a new software program or computer system.
If you’ve chosen your role to play in a customer organization, you can narrow down your target market to find your ideal customer.
4. Create a business plan
When you’re ready to start an IT consulting business, it’s time to put your business ideas into writing. The business plan specifies specific questions about your consulting process, such as:
What will be its legal structure?
The business structure of your consulting firm will influence your legal and tax responsibilities and your liabilities. Before deciding, research the professionals who run the sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), C Corporation, or S Corporation. Moreover, aware of yourself from its pros and cons.
What will your expenses be?
Calculate your head cost before you start thinking about what to charge your customer. This includes office space, equipment, salary, and insurance.
If you work away from home, you will not need commercial property insurance. But if you are sued, you should consider purchasing error and omissions insurance and other professional liability policies to help cover expenses.
How will the customer find you?
A new consulting firm needs an aggressive networking or marketing plan to attract new customers. Business cards with key contact information are a real guiding strategy. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook also make it easier to connect with potential customers. So play with your strengths and adopt new networking technology.
5. Register your business
This step is required for many types of businesses. Find a business structure that meets your needs, and register your business name. And if you need to do additional registration or steps to comply with your area’s rules and regulations, touch base with your local government.
6. Invest in equipment
You may need to invest in hardware or software to deliver your services to your customers. The actual purchase will depend on your area of proficiency. But you will need at least a computer and basic office equipment to run your business. You can also invest in insurance to cover that gadget in an emergency.
7. Learn more about marketing strategy
Without effective marketing strategies, you can’t contact the right customers. Start identifying the businesses you want to go with.
To make your business prosperous, define who your target customers are? Besides, where they can catch you. If you want to work with your local area, this can help you tie with your local chamber of commerce. If you’re going to work with clients online, this can help you endow social media marketing. You can also request quotes and contacts from your former colleagues and other members of your network.
8. Develop a customer communication strategy
Every consulting company is rooted in customer communication. You and your non-technical customers understand you every time you interact with them. The right communication strategy defines your value proposition, commitment, work, culture, and goals.
The plan should also support consumer feedback and collection methods. Customer feedback can help guide the future direction of your business.
9. Decide what you will receive from the customer.
Now that you know how much it will cost you to run your business, you need to decide how much you will charge for your services. There is a lot of versatility here. Of course, you still want to receive enough money to cover your business’s overhead costs and make a profit. But you also want to make your rates more competitive, taking into account other companies’ prices.
Now you know that starting an IT consulting business is an intimidating task. It takes time and hard work to make the business run.