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Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to Start an IT Business

If you are wondering how to start an IT business, there are some things you need to know before you start providing services to your new clients.

Many IT consultants miss important concepts about being successful in their industry and end up struggling to make ends meet and get clients. Why? They fail to create an organized business plan based on planned growth.

So, what does it take to understand how to start an IT business that will be successful far into the future? The following 6 success factors can help put you on the right road.

1. Understand Your Business Model and Target Audience. You can’t be all things to all people. But you can be all things to SOME people. As a new IT consultant catering to small businesses, you won’t have the advertising budget to market to everyone … or the staff to provide services to everyone. Find a specialty group and focus your marketing efforts on these people. Figure out which services you will and won’t provide and which type of small business clients will be the best fit for these services.

2. Be Proactive about Finding the Best Clients, Staff and Partners. Whether you are looking for prospects, customers, staff, contractors or partners as you learn how to start an IT business, you need to be working on the process regularly. If you procrastinate, you risk taking on nightmare clients, having unreliable employees or just making bad decisions in haste. The time to make important decisions is when you are NOT in crisis mode. Be on the lookout for people that can help you grow your business.

3. Quality Trumps Quantity. Your goal is not to get the biggest customer list. 50 great customers is better than 100 bad ones. When one-person IT companies learn how to start an IT business and do it right, they can actually make very healthy livings with just 5 or even 6 steady clients that need service at least a few times a month. Focus on getting profitable and stable customers on your client list. And don't be afraid to fire your money-losing, time-draining customers.

4. Teach Your Clients How to Treat You. If you set rock-bottom rates, waste huge blocks of unpaid time, tolerate verbal abuse from your customers and clients, accept late payments and let your clients cherry-pick you rather than committing to ongoing service contracts, you are teaching your clients not to respect you and your time. Set policies in stone from the start of your business and stick to them, and you’ll be on your way to understanding how to start an IT business on the right foot.

5. Prepare and Plan for Future Success. A full-blown business plan is ideal from Day 1; but if you need some time to develop it at first, a weekly business development “to-do” list will help you get started. Include three columns, aside from the name of the task itself: (a) how much time you will spend; (b) how much money you will spend; (c) your start and end dates for tasks. Make sure you fill out this form regularly so you know how you are spending your time and how much money is coming in and going out of your business. Analyzing the results will help you understand how to make your business more profitable.

6. Remember that Time is Money. If you want to understand how to start an IT business successfully, treat your time as your inventory . You wouldn’t give your inventory away in any other business that was selling products, so why would you give your inventory away when it is time? Know where every 15 minutes of your time is going every week and put it into three categories: (a) billable to a client; (b) management/administration; (c) sales/marketing. If you can’t put all of your time into one of these three categories, you need to reevaluate.

In this article, we introduced 6 secrets to success for you to think about as you learn how to start an IT business. Learn more about how to start an IT business and get great, steady, high-paying clients now at the attached link.

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