There comes a time when small business owners need to accept that they can’t do everything – very often this happens when they have to deal with issues that may involve technical solutions. No matter how small your business, you will want to have a website, social media streams, and potentially an online store. You may also be thinking about improving your systems overall. When you get to this point, you should consider hiring the services of a technology consultant like Ram Chary. In the meantime, here are some things to consider when searching for the best technology consultant for your business.
Area of expertise
One of the most important things to ask a potential consultant is whether they have experience in your industry. Unless you are looking for someone to assist with very common and basic technology tasks (like building a website, etc.), it is likely that you will have specialized needs. For example, you may need someone to help develop an ordering and fulfillment system for your wholesale business, or someone to develop complex security protocols for your sensitive data. These tasks require specific expertise and experience, so be sure to ask about this point.
Spend what you need to spend to get the job done right
Obviously, you want to contain costs as much as possible. And you should definitely get multiple quotes from potential consultants. At the same time, for key elements of your business, your ability to get a deal is not the most important criteria for selecting a consultant. If you are expecting specialized skills, know that you will need to pay for those skills.
Small business experience
It is important to find a consultant with experience developing solutions for small businesses. Larger businesses are more likely to have deeper pockets, longer timelines, and dedicated IT staff who will be implementing the solutions the consultant develops. In a smaller business, there will tend to be smaller budgets and a skilled consultant will have developed affordable and efficient options for smaller businesses. Importantly, a consultant who knows that there will be a skilled team carrying out technology plans won’t necessarily be thinking about issues related to training people who may have no background in technology. Complex systems may require ongoing fixes to keep them running smoothly, which may be beyond the abilities of onsite staff. And very often, it will be the case that people in a small business are wearing multiple hats – the last thing they need to be worried about is learning an entirely new set of skills.
These are just some of the many issues that you should keep in mind when looking for an IT consultant. Make sure that you feel comfortable with your choice by taking the time to talk about your needs with several candidates and pay attention to how well they are able to understand what you are looking for and to explain how they could help. With a bit of time you will be sure to find the right match for your small business.