IT consulting is a popular choice for those looking to run their own IT business, but it is not without its pitfalls.
Some of these pitfalls are obvious, with the biggest being the fact that you don’t have an “employer.” While this gives you a certain amount of freedom, it also tends to mean that you’re unable to rely on a steady paycheck from month to month.
Other pitfalls are less obvious, but they can be incredibly problematic. The potential issue we’re going to focus on today is when IT consultants suddenly become unnecessary.
There are several reasons this can happen.
- Consultancy services are usually the first thing that businesses cut when they’re struggling with their outgoings. As you are not a regular employee, they will seek to bring the work “in house” in an effort to save on fees.
- When businesses expand, they often choose to hire their own full-time IT team, meaning that your services as a consultant are no longer required.
- The business owner becomes more tech-savvy, and believes they can handle the work you have been doing for themselves.
All of the above can severely hamper your ability to earn an income as an IT consultant. The answer to this potential problem is simple, but tough to obtain: you need to become invaluable, so that the companies you work for can’t imagine life without you. Here’s how to do it.
1) Take the time to explain things in plain English
IT consultants are, by the very nature of their job, very tech-aware. This can lead to the usage of terminology that is tough for the average person to understand. By ensuring that you only discuss matters with clients in plain, simple English, you’ll be able to outline the importance of your role.
2) Use the very best technology and software
This point is particularly relevant for the third reason many consultants find their services no longer required; because the business owner decides to manage IT for themselves. By choosing to use the very latest in technology and software, your efforts will always be superior to anything a time-pressed business owner can use. If you offer managed services, then you need to use the likes of Strategy Overview, or if you’re a more “hands on” IT tech, you need to have all the latest tech equipment that allows you to turnaround repairs in the fastest time possible. These investments help ensure that you’re always ahead of the game and able to produce the very best work— meaning no one can match you for speed, efficiency, and ability.
3) Be flexible
If you want to retain a client, then flexibility is key— even if it costs you a few late evenings every once in awhile. If you have an established client who has an issue they need you to solve, being willing to go above and beyond to complete the work will ensure that your reputation is enhanced in their eyes. This is particularly useful if you’re competing against point two (the business is hiring an in-house team); employees will want to clock out at 5pm, so being willing to keep working until the job is done definitely goes in your favor.
The tips above should help to ensure that your IT consultancy services are always seen as invaluable by your clients, so make the most of them!