Business experts say that all businesses are technology-based businesses these days. Technology has made its way into every industry and area of business.
The most successful businesses have embraced the technology and try to use it to their full advantage. They utilize information technology to make their systems more efficient, make better decisions, and earn more money overall.
But not all business owners are technologically advanced, and many need help. This is where hiring IT consultants make a huge difference.
We’ve compiled the top seven things you should look for when hiring an IT consultant for your business.
1. Understand Common IT Issues
Obviously, an IT consultant needs to have an understanding of common IT issues that a small business might experience. But that’s a bit more difficult than it sounds.
The way businesses are using technology changes all the time, and so the consultant needs to stay current in many different areas.
Keep a running list of issues you face and ask potential consultants how they would handle those types of scenarios. This will give you real-life insight into what they could do for your company.
They should also be able to show you ways they could improve upon the systems you already have in place to make things even easier for you.
2. IT Consulting Experience
Because you want your IT consultant to be as current as possible, it’s easy to think that a newcomer to the industry is the best option.
While they may offer a unique perspective, it’s also important that your consultant has had experience working with many different businesses. This type of experience helps to hone in skills and make them as sharp as possible.
You can ask to see their portfolio of work to see specific examples of how and when they’ve helped other businesses.
An IT consultant is a unique position within a company, as they are more of an advisory position. It’s important to find someone you know you can trust to give you sound advice before you invest in following it.
3. Compatible Work Styles
This type of advisory position requires a lot of back and forth communication, tweaking plans until they are just right for all parties involved.
And that is why it’s crucial to make sure that the IT consultant and the team members they’ll be working directly with have compatible work styles. It’s useless to find someone to work for your company only to realize they don’t mesh well with the group.
Integrating technology into a small business is usually a very collaborative effort with many different people. Your new IT consultant should be a go-getter and a team player with great communication skills.
4. Proper Credentials and Specialties
Depending on the specific work you have for your IT consultant to do, you might want them to have specific credentials. These will help you know that they have the specific skills you’re looking for to help build your business.
These credentials could be specific university degrees, certifications, or specialty endorsements.
The world of IT in business is so broad; you need to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for in your consultant. Having specific responsibilities in mind before you begin the hiring process will allow you to find just the right match.
Checking credentials helps verify that the candidate does, in fact, have the knowledge they say they do to help your business.
5. Solution Minded
To survive, small businesses must constantly adapt and evolve to fit their customers’ needs and industry standards. This can create problems within their IT department and complicate the way they use technology.
The best IT consultants are the ones that are very solution-minded. They look at a project with the eyes of solving the root of the problem and not just creating a bandaid.
IT solutions look very different for every specific situation; there’s no one size fits all. So when you’re looking for an IT consultant, you should look for someone who is creative and can think outside of the box.
6. Comparing Consultant Fees
Consulting is such a unique position and job type; every consultant has very different responsibilities depending on each specific business. Because of this, the pay scale for IT consultants is extensive.
You’ll want to be very clear on what any potential consultant charges for their services. There are several ways this type of employee can be paid, so having a set plan is critical.
Obviously, it’s important to make sure your business can afford to have the IT consultant on your team in the first place.
It may require some creativity at first to fit this type of service into the company’s budget, but it will pay off in the end when your systems run smoother, and you can integrate more technology.
7. References and Reviews
When hiring any new employee for your small business, it’s hard to know what you’ll really get until you’ve worked with them for several months. But checking references and reviews can help give you a clearer picture.
This is a great way to get real feedback on how easy (or not) the consultant was to work with, how well they communicated, and how solution based they were.
It’s a real-time evaluation of their work with other companies and how they saw changes within. Some consultants may even have a portfolio you can see of specific projects they were involved in.
An IT consultant can be a game-changer for any business, so you want to make sure you do all the research you can to find just the right fit.
Hiring IT Consultants for Your Business
Using technology is supposed to make running your business easier. But sometimes it just makes things more complicated if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
Hiring IT consultants can take the guesswork and confusion out of embracing technology in business. These professionals can walk you through your best options, set up systems that work for you, upgrade when necessary, and any other necessary maintenance.
IT consultants are a great investment for any small business. If you’re interested in learning more about IT in small businesses, check out our other articles.