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Joshua Feinberg Profile and Articles

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1). Business Plan Outlines - The 5 W's
Business plan outlines are all different. The one common thread is that all business plan outlines help the writer answer the five W questions: who, what, when, where, why.

If any of you ever worked in journalism or as reporters, what you want to do when you investigate anything is answer the 5 W's. A business plan outline is a concrete method for investigating a business idea so answering the 5 W's makes sense.

2). Benchmarking and Best Practice - Utilization Rates
Benchmarking and best practice is a way for you to measure your success against others who have made the leap into computer consulting before you. By measuring your own performance against industry benchmarks you get an idea of what you need to work on to be successful.
A key element in your benchmarking and best practice is to look at utilization rates.

3). Follow-Up: Diligence and Persistence Pay off
Follow up is a critical activity for maximizing your lead potential. Whenever you meet anyone you should immediately send a follow up letter, postcard, phone call – anything to keep your name in their mind.

You go to meetings and business networking events to make contacts. The contacts you make might not be interested right away but if you do a good job of follow-up, when they are ready they know who to call.

4). Professional Networking Tips For IT Consultants: Part II
Professional networking works. Last time we discussed five tips to improve your professional networking effectiveness. In this article you'll learn five more tips to make you a professional networking guru.

Don't let one person monopolize your time.
Try to spend about 3 to 5 minutes with each person. This is generally more than enough time to figure out if the person is a good fit with your company and if you have enough information for future discussions with them.

5). Handheld Devices: Tips on Purchase Recommendations
Use these simple, low-tech tips and best practices to minimize your handheld device support headaches and maximize the security of your clients’ incredibly valuable data.

Pay Attention to Product Reviews

Don’t take Plug-and-Play claims at face value. Over the years, Microsoft Windows hecklers have taken many a cheap shot at the OS family by branding it "plug and pray".

6). Handheld Devices: Client Security and Connectivity Issues
Because many handheld devices or PDAs have the ability to connect to your clients’ LANs (either directly or indirectly), you need to consider PDA remote access, just as you would any other remote device, such as an employee’s home computer or a company-owned notebook.

This also should include a thorough discussion of what sensitive data can be stored on a handheld device, given that the pocket-sized PDA devices are inherently vulnerable to theft.

7). Pro Forma Income Statements
Pro forma income statements look at revenue and expense projections for future periods. Pro forma income statements are generated by looking at financial performance the year before, comparing it to the current year figures and using the changes to make projections into the future.

Pro forma income statements can be made without past and current data as well.

8). Overhead Costs - Keep Them To A Minimum
Overhead costs are those expenses that do not vary with your production level. A term that is synonymous with overhead cost is sunk cost. The cost of the item or service is sunk regardless of whether you generate any income or not. You need to pay for electricity and basic phone service and these costs do not go up as you bill more hours.

Because these overhead costs are spent right from day one, it is wise to try to minimize your totals.

9). Market Penetration - Match Customer Type to Revenue Goals
Market penetration refers to the process of gaining market share by introducing your product to customers. When you are planning your business strategy it is important to consider market penetration issues in terms of your revenue goals. If you need to generate a certain level of revenue, then a market penetration analysis will help you determine the type and number of customers you need to achieve your target.

10). Performance Metrics - Measure Your Networking Effectiveness
Performance metrics in the area of networking are those measurements that will tell you whether your efforts are resulting in business. Networking and relationship marketing are time intensive so you want to spend that time wisely. Performance metrics are the keys to this analysis.

Your networking should include a variety of business organizations.

11). IT Consultant: Personality Traits for Success
IT consultant skills vary widely. The successful ones will have the traits that help them deal with their customers.

IT Consultant Traits: Can You Manage Employees?

Even in your first year of business there is a pretty good chance that you will have to have at least a few sub-contractors that you work with long before you get to the stage where you can hire employees.

12). Computer Consulting: 3 Questions To Ask Your Clients
From a customer service perspective, you can ask your computer consulting clients three questions that will explode the growth of your company.

Question Number One:

“How Can We Improve the Level of Service That We Provide Your Company?”

Ask your computer consulting clients this question on a regular basis; at least a couple times a year. You will be amazed at the type of suggestions they give you.

13). Computer Consulting 101 Hiring Tips (Part 1 of 2)
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

14). Motivating Computer Service Company Operations Employees
As a computer service company manager, it's your job to motivate your employees. You need to be familiar with the many motivational strategies in order to assure your computer service company runs smoothly. Your business will enjoy more success if your employees enjoy their jobs and feel pushed to do their best.

How to Motivate Employees

A successful motivational strategy will recognize an employee's work, make him feel in control of his job and be satisfying for him.

15). Computer Consultant Startup: What's The First Step?
If you're the typical person who’s considering becoming a computer consultant, then you are probably a LAN administrator, doing some kind of PC support job for big enterprise or maybe even working for a smaller integrator. In this article, you'll learn what you need to do first to realize your goal of becoming a computer consultant.

From talking to hundreds of people in this situation right now, the number one thing is that you have to decide that you really want to and really need to do it.

16). IT Consultants: What Do You Need to Know?
When targeting the sweet spot small businesses, IT consultants should know the company will desire someone with strong hardware skills. As an IT consultant, you should know about RAID and multi-port communications adapters.

Background Needed

IT consultants targeting sweet spot small businesses should be comfortable with storage-attached networks,.

17). IT Spending: Educate Your Clients on Smart Purchases
Often, clients will ask you for advice on their IT spending plans. In this article, you'll learn some ideas to help your clients plan their IT spending.

Suggest Your Clients Upgrade Their Machines

Your clients also could earmark the budget surpluses for upgrading and replacing PCs more regularly. Because entry-level PCs are often one-half to two-thirds less expensive than top-of-the-line models, they’ll still be way ahead of the game.

18). Computer Service Company Perks: Employee Extras
Computer service company perks are much different from company benefits. Perks are extras for employees that help remind them the computer service company cares about their job satisfaction and is giving them something for free. Perks can include items like company cars, childcare, coffee and snacks and flextime.

Cars

Company cars are common perks given to employees of a computer service company because the profession, particularly for those involved in sales and service involves so much travel time.

19). Subcontracting Versus Hiring Employees
While you should talk to a lawyer about the specific differences between subcontractors and employees, this article will present you with a list of things to watch out for when utilizing subcontracting.

Subcontracting: Make Sure The Relationship Meet the Test

I suggest, however, that you contact your accountant or your lawyer, or check the IRS page for further information on any topic dealing with the differences between employees and subcontactors or the IRS-20 point rule.

20). IT Support: Where Do Larger Small and Medium Sized Businesses Get It?
Big small businesses get their IT support, from an internal IT person, or a small IT department. Remember, a big/small business typically has 50 to 100 PCs doing anywhere from 5 million to 20 million dollars in U.S. annual revenue.

IT Support Sources for Big/Small Businesses

That's also where you start to see a full-fledged IT manager or director providing IT support.

21). Subcontractors: Who Knows Your Clients Best?
A big fear computer consultants have when developing partnerships and relationships with subcontractors is “How do I keep the subcontractors from stealing my clients?”

Contracts Are Only Part of The Equation

Should you implement a non-compete form from the onset of the relationship? Absolutely. But never put a piece of paper ahead of your gut feelings.

22). Computer Consultant Knowledge: Do You Have to Know Everything?
Will you be expected to know anything and everything about anything that could ever go wrong with small-business IT? No.

Do You Need to Be Better at Technical or People Skills?

To be a great computer consultant, you just need to be really well organized and be a friendly person that enjoys helping other people. Yes, you need to be extremely resourceful; but you don’t need to be a technical genius to be a computer consultant.

23). Computer Consultant Skills: Do You Have to Have 20 Certifications?
I've had more than one person tell me, "Well, I’m a MCP or I’m a CNA and I’ve got this one cert but I’m working on like 15 more certs and as soon as I get my 19th cert, five years from now, I’ll be all set to be a computer consultant." That’s just a hunk of bologna. Know why?

Small Business Aren't Using Cutting-Edge Technology

Most small businesses don’t care how many certifications you have.

24). Computer Consulting Business: Nail Down the Vendor Support Options
No computer consulting business can afford to be sitting at a client site, running up a big bill, staring at a blue-screen-of-death, facing an angry mob of irate users and sitting on hold for two hours with tech support.

This scenario is your absolute worst nightmare in running a computer consulting business and can be the kiss of death to your client relationship.

25). IT Consultant: Personality Trait Evaluation
In addition to knowing the difference between a lan and a laptop, to be a successful IT consultant, you need to have the personality traits that will permit you to work well with your clients, employees and vendors. Read on to evaluate if you have what it takes to be a successful IT consultant.

IT Consultant Traits: Can You Exhibit Candor?

You can’t be afraid to tell people the truth - even if it hurts.

26). The IT Consultant: Considering the Costs of Downtime
There’s nothing more stressful for IT consultants than getting the dreaded emergency call from a client whose office is "crippled" because of a major systems outage.

If you’ve been an IT consultant a while you know the harsh realities of small business technology adoption. Your clients demand perfection, but don’t have much of a technology budget to invest in fault-tolerance.

27). Small Business Consulting: Overcoming Unrealistic Expectations
If you’re new to small business consulting, you may think there is no such thing as a prospect or client being too enthusiastic about jumping headfirst into a major IT project. Enthusiasm is a good thing when it comes to signing your firm’s small business consulting contract, right? Well, not always.

Manage Clients’ Optimism

Although hype isn’t exactly a sales obstacle, you need to manage client expectations regarding "unjustified" optimism at your earliest opportunity.

28). Competitors - Learn To Exploit Their Weaknesses
Competitors are one of your largest business threats. You have to know who your competitors are and how they operate. You will use this information to decide how to position yourself, where you price yourself, and how you're perceived by your marketplace.

Competitor Analysis

When you research your competitors you should list what kinds of companies are your biggest competition.

29). Measuring Success as an IT Consultant
IT consultants are highly coveted these days, and it is easy for an IT consultant to believe that simply having a great number of profitable jobs will guarantee success. Succeeding as an IT consultant is about more than money, and involves several other categories, including important personal and professional factors. It is these important elements that will determine long-term success.

30). Computer Consulting: Excellent Customer Service Inspires Growth
From a customer service perspective, what can you do to sell more monitoring and managed services? What would it be worth to a computer consulting client if you could predict and prevent a major problem before it occurred?

For example, if someone incurred $1,700 in billing last quarter due to some virus-related problems, is there something that you.

31). IT Consultants: Desktops, Notebooks and PDAs as Profit Centers
If you’re one of those IT consultants who breaks out in hives at the thought of getting your hands dirty with low-margin sales of desktop PCs, notebooks or PDAs, you may not be looking far enough beyond the box. In this article, we’ll look at how to profit from your clients’ needs for full-service support of desktops, notebooks and PDAs.

IT Consultants.

32). IT Consulting Career: Making the Leap to Full-Time
How do you know it’s a good time to leave your current full time employment and launch into a full-time IT consulting career? Start now.

We have broken down the process into 21 steps that will take you over about 90 days, or 3months, to do. You'll need to understand what your utilization rates is and how much you’re able to bill out consistently on a regular basis.

33). Mobile Office Kit - What to Take With You On the Road
Mobile office kits are absolutely essential for computer consultants. Beyond the technical equipment you need to carry, if you work out of your vehicle you need certain supplies on hand.

Essential Items for Your Mobile Office Kit

Business cards. Don't leave home without them. Don't make them yourself. Don't spend more than $60 or $100. Don't get more than 1,000 at a time.

34). Fixed Price Contracts For First Time Customers
Fixed price contracts are the best and safest method when working with a customer for the first time. This puts the customer as ease and it reduces your risk of not being paid at all. With this first fixed price contract your main objective is to establish the willingness and ability to pay. After that you can build the relationship.

It's important to note that when you establish a fixed price contract you do that with a customer - not a client.

35). IT Consultant Image: Are You Professional?
As an IT consultant, your jobs will be as variable as your client's attitudes and expectations. Your customers' observations about your level of professionalism will have a profound impact on your career. A successful IT consultant has strong ethical standards, care for his personal appearance and conduct and will present this image clearly in printed materials.

36). Partnering: Dealing with Clients Beyond Your Expertise
At some point you’re going to need to develop partnering relationships with other non-competing complementary tech providers in your area for partnering and subcontracting type of work. That way you can meet the needs of your clients for many different types of projects.

Partnering- How To Be The Virtual Solution for Your Clients

Sometimes you may be asked to do some work that you don't have experience or skills in.

37). Small Business Insurance: Do You and Your Subcontractors Need It?
Of course, you need to check with an accountant or lawyer for specific information, but in this article, you'll learn what small business insurance has worked for our computer consultants and customers in the past.

What Type of Small Business Insurance Do You Need?

You should definitely have both a general liability as well as a professional liability policy for your services.

38). Computer Consultant 101: How to Build a Stable Business
Know How To Bill and What to Charge

Without knowing how to bill and what to charge, you’re going to lose a lot of money that’s really yours. If you get your billing and pricing wrong as a computer consultant, you'll send a bad message to people that you’re trying to quote for business.

You'll be screaming that you’re a rank amateur rather than a skilled computer consultant.

39). IT Consultants: Finding Ideal Moonlighting Clients
As IT consultants considering moonlighting as a step toward full-time consulting work, you should not be messing around with anything but steady clients.

If you’re just dealing with the one-shot deals that you hear from once in a blue moon there’s no regularity. How are you ever going to get to the point where you can become full time IT consultants with a handful of clients if you don’t have steady commitments from them?

Choose Clients Wisely

Think long and hard if you’re going to consider one-shot deals.

40). Customer Relationships And Your Financial Health
Customer relationships are what will determine the health and prosperity of your computer consulting business. It is critical to understand the different dynamics of customer relationships. By doing this you can identify places of risk in terms of non-payment.

Customer Relationships - Two Distinctions

There are two main customer relationship types:

Long-Term, Steady Clients

Your long term clients are your bread and butter clients.

41). Partnering: Does It Make Sense For Your Project?
Partnering is ideal for when you come across projects that you can't complete yourself. First you need to decide if the project is a good fit for you based on how much of it you're able to handle in-house.

Do You Tell Your Clients You're Partnering?

You can tell your client, “While we don’t have anyone on staff who does that task, we do have another company in the local area that we work with on a regular basis that I strongly recommend.

42). IT Consulting for Micro Businesses: What You Need to Know
IT consulting for micro businesses is a good starting point for many IT professionals. In addition to the general hardware and software, and peer-to peer networking, you'll need to be familiar with some additional items. In this article, you'll learn what other skills you need for micro business IT consulting.

When providing IT consulting to micro small businesses, you will occasionally get requests for support of the big competitors of the basic Windows software for their competiton.

43). IT Consulting: Skills for Sweet Spot Customers
For sweet spot customers, you need hardware and software skills, and you also need networking skills to provide effective IT consulting. In this article, you'll learn some networking facets you should be familiar with.

In terms of other networking software, you should be comfortable with some of the client server messaging packages, the most popular being: Microsoft Exchange Server; the Novell group wise; client server; and sequel database applications.

44). IT Consulting: Business Skills for Success
In addition to technical skills, you need business skills to run a successful IT consulting business. In this article, you'll learn some skills that will help you remain in the IT consulting business for years to come.

Learn How to Manage Your Money

You know a bit about financing. You need to know about where to raise funds when things are a little slow with your IT consulting practice.

45). IT Consulting: Sell Services, Not Products
A successful IT consulting business should be focused on selling your consulting services and not selling products. At this stage of the game of starting an IT consulting business, you should not be looking to be a dealer for someone or an authorized solution for someone.

You can get those things if you think it will help your business a little bit, but don’t build your IT consulting business around that.

46). Business Structure - What Should I Be?
Business structure planning entails analyzing the different business entity options and choosing the one that is right for you. There is no magic formula for business structures. Your set of reasons for choosing one business structure over another is as unique as your company.

There is, however, one universal rule for deciding on a business structure: Consult a Professional.

47). Service Contracts: The Best Business Model For Consulting
Service contracts are key for the busy computer consultant. They will help you to manage your time when you have many clients all needing service at once. By setting up computer service contracts you will be able to maximize your utilization rate while still having enough time to deal with client emergencies when they crop up.

When you have a bunch of clients who all have an emergency of some sort you can't be everywhere at once.

48). Credibility Boosters For IT Consultants
Credibility is an important factor that will be weighed by your prospects. As an IT Consultant you should be actively thinking about ways to build your credibility. Whether it is through building your credibility at the local level or going for a more national reputation - the credibility factor is an important one to develop.

Your marketing activities need to center on building your credibility and making sure people hear your name.

49). Figuring Out Your Role as an IT Consultant
A customer typically hires you as an IT consultant in order to reach a goal he has set, and your main function is to advise him on how to meet this goal. Although there is more of a trend towards hiring an IT consultant to simply advise, sometimes you may want to carry out a planned project yourself.

There are three different roles you can play as an IT consultant: the advisory role; the advisory and action role; and the action role.

50). Computer Consulting: Use Your Time Wisely
Time is money. If you're not careful in your computer consulting business, you'll waste both. With a little discipline and structure, you can maximize the return on your time.

Journal Your Time

One way to determine your computer consulting time is by journaling. Write down everything you do for a couple of weeks to determine what you do with your time, where the time wasters are, and what you could do to improve your time management.



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