The Often Overlooked IT Consulting Needs of the Modern Small Business

The Often Overlooked IT Consulting Needs of the Modern Small Business

For some reason, IT consulting firms (both large and small) and the modern small business have become two ships passing in the night. The modern small business will often have very few employees, often less than 20 or 25 at any given time. These small businesses have evolved and become settled into and focused on a very specific niche, often sub-niche. This means that they have very specific needs which may not mirror other larger businesses within the same industry.

Here is a quick list of what small Businesses now expect from their IT Consultants.

1.Hardware Knowledge

For an IT consultant to be effective, they need to know their hardware. However, with a small business, consultants will often be expected to know much more than computers. They should have a wide birth of knowledge including notebook PC’s, PDA’s, a variety of printers/faxes/and the like, switches, servers, cable, or DSL. small businesses expect their IT consultants to be able to assist them with more than computers, but the wide variety of technology that any employee may need to use.

2.Software Knowledge

While software should never be the main focus of an IT consultant, understanding the specific software needs of a small business will give the consultant a huge leg up. Many small businesses will choose to outsource various aspects of their business and will need to be able to choose software that allows for this to happen easily. Since a small business has a hyper-focused sub-niche, they may need unique and flexible software that would not be considered an “industry-norm.” In addition, it’s a good idea to constantly research for new software. This way, you can provide good alternatives in the event that the client is not satisfied with one.

3.Operating Systems

Every IT consultant should have a more than strong understanding of a variety of operating systems. As with software, a small business are increasingly using alternative operating systems to run their business. For example, the accountant may be running PC while the marketing director may be dedicated to their Mac. This means that being an IT consultant for a small business can actually require a strong foundation across all operating systems to ensure the network runs seamlessly.

4.Networking

For a micro-business, the IT consultant needs to have a strong understanding of secure networking. They should also be able to make decisions about anti-virus software, firewalls, and remote solution software that are unique to each business. Small businesses will always thrive because they have a level of flexibility that their larger counterparts will never be able to touch. Therefore, their IT consultant must be able to do everything that needs to be done on the technology side, to maximize the companies flexibility.

The bottom line is simple. If more IT consultants understand how to provide exactly what a small business needs, then they will have a leg up over their consulting competition. It is also important to keep in mind that the small business owner is not always tech savvy. Therefore, it’s essential that IT consultants communicate effectively. Take the Geek Level down a notch and explain the situation in basic terms. However, keep in mind that this does not mean that you should talk down to anyone. We have big problem in the IT industry with talking down to people. Let the EGO go and you’ll have more success in your industry.

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