A little while back, I got an e-mail from an IT support specialist, with 30 years of experience, who’s launching his own IT services business.
Robert (Bob) Sollazzo had recently incorporated IntegraCare IT Services LLC and was seeking advice on how to proceed with a very limited budget. Sollazzo had visited a local small business development center, but felt strongly that given the competition in his local market, he needed guidance that was more specific to starting an IT services business, rather than a small business in general.
A lightly edited version of my reply follows below.
All Small Businesses Are Not Created Equal
Thank you for contacting SP Home Run Inc.
Both SCORE and SBDCs have excellent reputations for being very helpful with their free counseling.
However, when you think about how fragmented the small business space is, you'll find it very rare to find someone in that capacity with experience in the IT services business, let alone in the portion of that industry that primarily targets small businesses.
Just to put all of this in perspective, depending on who you ask, there are:
approximately 100,000 small business technology providers in the United States
approximately 25,000,000 small businesses in the United States
(We could talk for hours about the various organizations that count these groups, their politics/agendas, and why there’s disagreement among how to count these entities. But for the purposes of where you’re at with your new IT services business, these back-of-the-napkin figures should more than suffice.)
Finding Low- and No-Cost Resources Appropriate for an IT Services Business
So yes, you are correct to a certain degree: a niche is an island of sorts.
But there are lots of great resources to help you along the way.
Since you've mentioned that money is extremely tight, I recommend that you utilize all of our free resources at your disposal.
Unlike many in our industry on the seminar circuit, I’m not big into pushing people to take risks that exceed their comfort level.
But on a practical level, IT services may be a low-capital business to launch. And it may be a really good fit for a career IT support specialist like you.
However it's not a zero-capital business.
If you review the white paper that you downloaded on How to Start a Computer Consulting Business: 6 Proven Ways to Build Your Initial Client Base, you'll find some basic categories for common startup expenses.
Based on your situation with the planning and your concern over local competition, here are 17 resources that you may find especially helpful:
Marketing and Sales Resources
In order to build a client list, you need to get good at marketing and sales. Here are a few resources to get you started:
10 Computer Consulting Marketing Tips that Attract Awesome Clients (Video)
Take the IT Marketing Client Attraction Quiz (Interactive Quiz)
Top 10 IT Marketing Strategies for Consistently Attracting New Business Clients to Your Small IT Business (White Paper)
How a Computer Consulting Business Can Take on National Competitors
How Computer Support Services Can Sell Against "Best Buy for Business"
Marketing Your Computer Support Franchise Against Your Competition
Seven IT Sales Secrets for Attracting High-Lifetime-Value Clients (White Paper)
Recurring Revenue Resources
Starting from scratch each month is a really bad idea for an IT services business. To give yourself a running head-start each month, think about how you can generate recurring revenue—the higher the profit margin, the better.
4 Ways to Improve Your Computer Service Contract Business (Video)
IT Service Contract Secrets for Getting More Repeat Clients and Recurring Service Revenue (White Paper)
Take the IT Service Contracts Recurring Revenue Quiz (Interactive Quiz)
Planning for a New IT Services Business
While a lot of IT support specialists do launch great IT services businesses, it’s not always as straightforward as it initially seems. So keep the following in mind as you plan what to do next.
Starting a Computer Business? Bookmark These 8 Websites (Screencasts)
7 Computer Repair Business Plan Topics that Yours Must Cover
Your IT Consulting Business Plan Must Have These 3 Partnerships
Setting Your Computer Consulting Rates? Size Up the Competition
What advice and resources would you offer to an IT support specialist like Bob who’s looking to start an IT services business? What’s most critical? What can be placed on the back burner? Please share your wisdom from the school of hard knocks in the Comments section below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free copy of the special report on How to Start a Computer Consulting Business: 6 Proven Ways to Build Your Initial Client Base.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr Jonathon Narvey
Topics:- Managed Service Provider MSP