Does your business need the services of a computer consulting firm? Before you rush out and hire the first techie or slick-salesperson that knocks on your door, be sure to consider these favorite Computer Consulting 101 hiring tips for screening and interviewing local computer consulting firms. In this first in a two-part series, we'll look the root of the problem, as well as the four most basic criteria that you'll need to ask about when searching for computer consulting vendors.
Computer Consulting 101 Preventative Medicine
Many small business owners have a tough time knowing how to deal with difficult computer consultants. However, if you're able to uncover potential problems at the start of your computer consultant/client relationship, you can avoid many of these unpleasant issues altogether.
Root of the Problem
While most entrepreneurs and small business managers know exactly what to ask when it comes to hiring for internal staff positions, hiring a computer consulting firm can be more difficult.
So on top of dealing with the myriad legal issues surrounding how you retain the services of contractors (best advice: consult with your attorney), as opposed to hiring employees on your payroll, you'll need to know how to ask the "right" questions. Don't make the ultra-common common mistake of focusing on the wrong things. Use these Computer Consulting 101 Hiring Tips as your checklist for doing your homework before you sign on the dotted line.
Part-time or Full-time Computer Consulting
Do you have a "day job"? Are you moonlighting?
Solo Practitioner or True Computer Consulting Business
What do you mean by the "we"? Are there any other people who work at your company?
Are they employees or contractors? What are their names, specialties and backgrounds? How long have they been with the company? Will they be involved with this account? (Tip: The more pointed questions you ask, the more you'll flush out the B.S. and hyperbole.)
Small Business or Large Company Computer Consulting Experience
What "size" is your typical consulting client, in terms of number of PCs, employees and annual revenue?
Generalist or Specialist Consulting Company
What industries or vertical markets have you worked with? And in what particular aspects and software applications?
What kinds of products, services, and platforms does your company shy away from? Do you work with any specialty hardware, software or services vendors?
The Bottom Line
In this first of a two-part series of these Computer Consulting 101 hiring tips, we looked at why small business owners and managers find that computer consulting companies are so difficult to hire, as well as four basic issues that you must confront when searching for a new computer consulting vendor. In the second installment of this two part series on Computer Consulting 101 hiring tips, we'll look at how you can get your hands around the true costs of using a computer consulting firm, as well as how you can more objectively evaluate the computer consulting firm's suitability for the task of servicing your company's technology needs.