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Sunday, September 02, 2007

More Computer Consulting Tips for Small Businesses

If you are a small business and you use computers, chances are you will at some point need the help and expertise of a trained computer consulting professional. But as a potentially “non-technical” small business owner, how do you evaluate “competence” when you are interviewing potential computer consulting firms, particularly when you get past the initial interview? The following questions can help you make your decision.

Questions: Reseller, Pure Computer Consulting Company or Hybrid Tech Provider

1. “Does your company resell tech products such as hardware and software?”

2. “Does your company rely on sales of products or can we get products from someone else? Can we use your procurement/needs analysis expertise even if we go with other product suppliers?”

3. “Do you work with other ISPs, phone companies, etc. and accept commission fees from these businesses?”

Questions: Costs, Hidden Charges, Billing

1. “What are your payment terms, rates, billing minimums? What is ‘billable’?”

2. “Are travel time, phone support, online support and remote support extra?”

3. “Do you have hourly billing premiums for emergency or after-hours work? How do you define these terms?”

4. “Do you have computer consulting support contracts? What are their benefits?”

Questions: References, Case Studies, Testimonials

1. “Tell me about a long-term small business client.”

2. “Tell me about a recently added account.”

3. “Tell me about an account that just didn’t work out.”

4. “Do you have references?”

Questions: Research and Keeping Up to Speed

1. “How do you stay with new tech developments?”

2. “What is billed to clients and what is internally absorbed?”

Questions: Training Approach

1. “Do you do in-depth user training? What kind of training do you provide?”

2. “Will you train an internal guru to be more self-sufficient, even if it means less billable hours for your computer consulting firm?”

Added By: Computer Consulting 101 Professional Kit