Small Business IT Consulting: How to Pick the Best Firm

Mar 25, 2019 by Matt Dixon


The consulting industry  contributes over $400 billion annually to the global economy.

For entrepreneurs running small businesses, consultants can be highly beneficial especially in the IT department.

At various stages in the growth cycle of a company, professional advice on specialized areas may be a necessity.

The following are some ideas to help you choose the right small business IT consulting firm to help your growing business achieve success. 

Prepare a Brief Outlining Your Objectives Clearly

To get the best value out of your consultant, you have to share with them as many details of your business as possible.

During your first meeting with a potential consultant, have a clear outline of what you hope to get from them. Indicate your business objectives and the time frame they should be delivered in.

Even the slightest detail that seems insignificant may help the consultant understand your business better, so do not be stingy with information.

Take your time to prepare the brief before the first meeting. It will help the consultant know what you want to achieve and what will need to be done to get there.

Look for a Customized Solution

Businesses may be similar, but no two companies are entirely alike.

Consultants work with many organizations. Sometimes, a consultant may attempt to replicate solutions used for other businesses for yours.

Even if certain aspects of the solutions may be similar, it is essential to know that your consultant created a solution just for you. This shows that their sole focus was on your business while coming up with a solution.

Integrate Your Consultant into Your Team

Once you choose a suitable consultant, be sure to incorporate them into your team.

The information you share during the brief is important but not enough. They have to have a feel of how the business operates.

Give them an open invitation to your offices and instruct staff to give them the necessary support.

By doing so, they will be able to do their assessment of the challenges you're facing and come up with the best solutions.

Experienced consultants are likely to notice some of the things holding your company back that you didn't.

You should also try to assess your consultant’s communication and interpersonal skills. These skills will help in their integration and relations with the rest of your team.

Test the Level of Support You Will Get

When it comes to matters of technology, issues are bound to arise.

These include network problems, viruses, software issues, etc. Some of these issues may significantly affect your service delivery. It is therefore essential that your IT consultant is easily accessible.

Before settling in on a small business consulting firm, test their support structures first.

Support is an integral part of your relationship with the consultant.

Call their office and see if anyone answers. If no one picks up, wait to see how long it takes for them to get back to you. If their response is delayed, move on to the next candidate.

Go for One with Small Business IT Consulting Experience

You should pick a consultant with some experience to ensure your needs will be adequately served.

Established firms possess an in-depth knowledge of the industry and are likely to have highly knowledgeable staff.

Make sure to inquire about similar jobs they have handled. Prioritize experience with businesses similar to yours in size, needs, and industry.

Schedule Regular Status Updates

Once you have found a good consultant, do not let them become a stranger.

After you have discussed the scope of work and established the timeline for completion, set up milestones and regular check-ins.

Even if you cannot meet, a weekly phone call will suffice. The goal of these status updates should be to:

  • Check the progress of the project
  • Identify and address any new challenges that may have arisen

These check-ins will help to keep the consultant focused and on track. They will also help you avoid scenarios where you have to make adjustments in haste when the deadline approaches.

Have a Results Oriented Agreement

Business consulting services are typically billed by the hour.

However, this method does not always guarantee results. When engaging a consultant, be sure to have the scope of work measured by results. Keeping the consultant accountable is essential to receiving value from their services.

This method ensures that your business will get the desired outcome at the right time and within the budget you set.

Choose a Consultant with IT insurance

Before finalizing any deal with a consultant, make sure they have the relevant insurance.

Things may go wrong or take an unprecedented turn. In case of such an eventuality, your business needs to be protected.

With an insured consultant, you will be protected from:

Unsatisfactory services

You may hire a consultant to review your website and network security then offer solutions, but shortly after implementation, your security is breached.

Faulty backup

An IT consultant may lose important business records you contracted them to back up.

Unforeseen issues

Any damage that your consultant may cause while diagnosing or rectifying issues.

Make sure that you do not subject your business to the risk of incurring unnecessary liabilities. Also, an insurance cover is a clear indication of professionalism and reliability.

Check References

Ask your potential consultant for three references. Any reputable consultancy firm will be able to provide this information.

Call or email each reference and ask about thier experience with the consultant. Ask if they would use them again. Ask about how the consultant provided value.

Focus on the Core

As a small business owner, you may find yourself juggling many different tasks. However, it is essential that your attention is directed to the core functions of the business.

Front Range Systems offers top-notch small business IT consulting services. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Contact us today, and we will help you get there.

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