If you are a small-business owner, you wear many hats. You may be in the position of taking on the role of CEO, accountant, salesperson, and marketer, all within the same day. However, it may be difficult to take on the position of IT management because it is a constant job. Sure, you may know some computer basics, but for tasks like network setup, data backup, virus removal, and network security, you’re better off hiring someone who offers IT consulting services instead of taking it on yourself, leaving room for mistakes.
Where do you start?
So you know you need some IT help. This is a great first step! Now it’s time to make a list of all your business’s IT needs. For example, do you just need occasional computer troubleshooting, or are you looking for someone to configure a network in the cloud? Knowing exactly what services you need from an IT consultant will help narrow your search. Also, be aware of the price range you are willing to spend on the service.
Next, It is best to interview a few options. The easiest way to get started is simple, Google. Use search engines to search for an IT consultant in your area who has the skills you need. Everything seems to be based on internet searching now. Search engines rank websites based off of many factors, so they produce the best results for what you are looking for. The algorithms are becoming so precise that they can even pass out penalties for websites that are attempting to cheat the system.
Another tactic to try is asking businesses of similar size that you trust if they have recommendations for IT consulting. Pay particular attention to the size that the IT consulting firm generally works with. The consulting for a business with 10 employees will be different than the consulting for a business with 100 employees.
Things to Look for When Interviewing IT Consultants
After doing your research and finding a few potential candidates, now it is time to choose. But how do you choose? Don’t just pick the person who charges the lowest rates. Make your decision based on the answers to questions like these:
- Does someone answer the phone when you call?
Always quality support. If they are not available to talk, then how can you build trust in the consultant? Support is the key to any product purchase or service purchase. If you call and a human rarely answers or they don’t call you back, it is time to move on to the next option.
- How much experience do they have?
You want to make sure whoever you hire has experience under their belt and is capable of meeting your IT needs. It’s also important to ask if the consultant has done work with businesses similar to yours.
- Can they provide references?
Getting a first-hand experience explanation is always a good idea. Talking to former and current clients will allow you to get a better idea of the consultant’s IT background and work ethic. If a consultant can’t provide you with references to check, consider it a red flag and proceed with caution.
Furthermore, when it comes to IT, accreditation is actually not something you really need to worry about. If the consultant lists any certificates and accreditations, you shouldn’t take it too seriously. Within IT work, sometimes it can be difficult to choose based off of certifications. It shouldn’t be the reason you choose the winner. They should prove that they have experience and knowledge from the get go based off of verbiage, communication, and performance.
All in all, no matter what service you are looking for, doing a little homework before you buy in is always a great rule of thumb. This will help you find the right IT consulting for your business’ needs.