An IT consultant is someone who offers businesses advice on how to use information technology to best help them meet their business objectives. IT consulting can be a very lucrative and enjoyable career, but how do you go about becoming one?
Here we take a look at some of the key principles you will need to consider when you look at how to become an IT consultant.
Consider your business model carefully
Many IT consultants set out with the idea of mimicking large computer manufacturers’ business models or those of skilled trades people. The reality however is that becoming an IT consultant requires a business model more similar to that of a B2B accountant or attorney. It is essential that before you start out you take the time to think about your image and the business model that you are going to aim for to ensure that you are taken seriously as a trusted technology advisor.
Select key target markets to focus on.
Many people select a broad target market to focus on when starting out as an IT Consultant, such as “small businesses”, however targeting such a large sector is likely to become overwhelming and will stop you from specializing. Instead, you should first look at narrowing down your focus, perhaps by location or technology platforms.
Perfect time management
As an IT Consultant, your time is money. You are effectively selling your time and knowledge to small business owners and managers who need professional advice on achieve their objectives through IT, so you need to have a good grasp of how long tasks are likely to take and what time you currently spend on different activities. A good idea to help you perfect time management is to consider taking a journal of how you spend your time during the week.
Look long term
When you start out as an IT consultant it is easy to become consumed by the one-off deals, however this can often come at the cost of the longer term relationships that will yield higher returns. Although one-off work is great, it is important to keep your focus on the future and those clients that value your ongoing support and the knowledge that you bring to their teams as well as have the budget to deal with you on a regular basis.
When consulting in any industry it is important to network, however with the level of competition with IT consulting it is essential. Whether it is taking non-competing technology providers for lunch or playing a round of golf with management or business consultants from your local area, the insights that you can gleam as well as the contacts and business opportunities you can find out about are priceless.