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How to Become a Successful IT Consultant

Book Description

'How to Become a Successful IT Consultant' is a practical book for anyone considering setting themselves up as an IT consultant. It is essential reading for those contemplating such a career change. Today IT consulting has become a major opportunity for many IT professionals who want to work for themselves. It is no longer only the domain of the high-flying international organization. In fact tens of thousands of IT professionals are leaving their regular jobs to set up as IT consultants on their own. Although there are many consulting opportunities available it is quite a challenge to make a success of your own IT consulting business. There are a lot of things to think about and many decisions to be made. For those who get it right there is a very exciting and highly lucrative business career ahead. This book takes the IT professional through all the key issues which have to be understood and explains how to optimize your chances of developing a long-term IT consulting business of your own.


This practical book explains what is involved in setting up your own business as an IT Consultant. It explains the opportunities involved and gives practical advice as to how to take advantage of them. The book looks at the full range of issues concerned with getting started and maintaining your business and gives practical guidelines about how to face the many challenges which you will encounter if you leave your job and set up on your own.

Amongst the many issues involved this book specifically addresses:how to find clients; how to get more business and the opportunities areas available; how to price your services; the funding you will require; how to plan your consulting assignments

And much more...

This book is an essential reading for anyone who is seriously thinking about taking this big career step.

Table of Contents

  1. Front Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Computer Weekly Professional Series
  7. Preface
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. About the author
  10. How to use this book
  11. 1 Consultancy - a major opportunity for IT professionals
    1. 1.1 Consultancy: the opportunity
    2. 1.2 Changes brought by the Internet and the Web
    3. 1.3 Consultants plug a gap
    4. 1.4 A major career option
    5. 1.5 Requirements to start
    6. 1.6 Summary and conclusion
  12. 2 Is IT consultancy for you?
    1. 2.1 Must haves for the IT consultant
      1. 2.1.1 Optimism
      2. 2.1.2 Flexibility
      3. 2.1.3 Sense of adventure and bags of energy
      4. 2.1.4 Ability to persevere
      5. 2.1.5 Realistic view of your business potential
    2. 2.2 Summary and conclusion
    3. 2.3 Self-test on the characteristics necessary for IT consulting
  13. 3 Setting up your IT consultancy business
    1. 3.1 Three focusing questions
    2. 3.2 Form of business
    3. 3.3 To be or not to be a company
    4. 3.4 The awkward question of capital
    5. 3.5 A financial forecast
    6. 3.6 Fixed costs
    7. 3.7 Variable costs
    8. 3.8 Cash flow
    9. 3.9 What can the Internet do for you?
    10. 3.10 Getting going
    11. 3.11 Summary and conclusion
    12. 3.12 Checklist
  14. 4 The consultancy options
    1. 4.1 Core competence or expertise
    2. 4.2 Flexibility is key
      1. 4.2.1 Creative or lateral thinking assignments
      2. 4.2.2 Experiences-based assignments
      3. 4.2.3 Procedural assignments
      4. 4.2.4 Hands-on assignments
      5. 4.2.5 Responsibility assignments
    3. 4.3 Key areas of IT consulting opportunity
      1. 4.3.1 Quality assurance
      2. 4.3.2 Project management
      3. 4.3.3 Data warehousing and mining
      4. 4.3.4 Market intelligence
      5. 4.3.5 Client-server applications
      6. 4.3.6 Customer relationship management (CRM)
      7. 4.3.7 Data administration
      8. 4.3.8 m-Commerce (or mobile commerce)
      9. 4.3.9 Database applications
      10. 4.3.10 Local and wide area networks
      11. 4.3.11 Security
      12. 4.3.12 e-Government
      13. 4.3.13 Internet
      14. 4.3.14 Intranet
      15. 4.3.15 Knowledge management
      16. 4.3.16 Documentation
      17. 4.3.17 e-Learning
      18. 4.3.18 Product or industry specialist
      19. 4.3.19 Website development
      20. 4.3.20 e-Business opportunities
      21. 4.3.21 e-Business model development
      22. 4.3.22 Helpdesk
      23. 4.3.23 Desktop Publishing
      24. 4.3.24 Vendor selection
      25. 4.3.25 Recruitment
      26. 4.3.26 IT training 48
      27. 4.3.27 Computer telephony integration (CTI)
      28. 4.3.28 Business process reengineering (BPR)
      29. 4.3.29 Strategic IS planning (SISP)
      30. 4.3.30 Business continuity planning (BCP)
    4. 4.4 The Consultancy Opportunity Matrix
    5. 4.5 Consultancy Opportunities by Industry Matrix
    6. 4.6 Summary and conclusion
    7. 4.7 Checklist
  15. 5 Pick your service offerings
    1. 5.1 Generally don’t do the same as everybody else
    2. 5.2 Even world famous experts get it wrong!
    3. 5.3 There is no infallible way
    4. 5.4 Differentiator versus cost leader
    5. 5.5 Imagination is the key
    6. 5.6 Summary and conclusion
  16. 6 Finding clients for your IT consulting business
    1. 6.1 Entrepreneurship - the name of the game
    2. 6.2 Entrepreneurship is not enough
    3. 6.3 From business strategy to marketing strategy
    4. 6.4 Marketing strategy
    5. 6.5 Have a clearly defined IT offering
    6. 6.6 Express the value of the offering in a marketing document or brochure
    7. 6.7 Ensure that your message gets into the right hands
    8. 6.8 Making your competence clear to your prospect clients
    9. 6.9 What is your target market?
    10. 6.10 Finding your target clients
    11. 6.11 The project proposal
    12. 6.12 Clinching the deal with a contract
    13. 6.13 What the Internet can do for you
    14. 6.14 Getting started
    15. 6.15 Summary and conclusion
    16. 6.16 Checklist
  17. 7 Planning the IT consultancy assignment
    1. 7.1 IT consultant as a welcome friend
    2. 7.2 IT consultant as a threat
    3. 7.3 Cooperation with staff is vital
    4. 7.4 Covert objectives
    5. 7.5 Project planning
    6. 7.6 A work breakdown schedule
    7. 7.7 A project management network chart
    8. 7.8 Bar chart diagram
    9. 7.9 Project work breakdown chart
    10. 7.10 Making sure resources are available
    11. 7.11 Project risk assessment
      1. 7.11.1 The client
      2. 7.11.2 The work
      3. 7.11.3 The deliverables
    12. 7.12 Summary and conclusion
    13. 7.13 Checklist
  18. 8 Delivering results for the client
    1. 8.1 IT consultancy assignments change
    2. 8.2 Active benefit realization
    3. 8.3 Formative evaluation
    4. 8.4 Welcome change suggestions
    5. 8.5 Financial implications
    6. 8.6 Complements traditional project management
    7. 8.7 Summary and conclusion
    8. 8.8 Checklist
  19. 9 Finding the next client
    1. 9.1 Making and maintaining personal contact
    2. 9.2 Joining a group such as the Computer Society
    3. 9.3 Placing your name on a Web list
    4. 9.4 Speaking at conferences and seminars
    5. 9.5 Writing for the press
    6. 9.6 Writing a book
    7. 9.7 Playing a role in the community
    8. 9.8 Looking for more work with an existing client
    9. 9.9 Have your client recommend you to suppliers and/or clients
    10. 9.10 Remember what the Internet can do for you
    11. 9.11 Final note
    12. 9.12 Summary and conclusion
    13. 9.13 Checklist
  20. 10 Consulting and finding a product to sell
    1. 10.1 Making money as an IT consultant
    2. 10.2 Growing your business
    3. 10.3 The independent consultant
    4. 10.4 Develop a product
    5. 10.5 Summary and conclusion
    6. 10.6 Checklist
  21. 11 Keep your eye on the ball
    1. 11.1 Business cycles
    2. 11.2 Fixed priced jobs can be undercosted
    3. 11.3 Losing control over cash flow
    4. 11.4 The flavour of the month or of the year
    5. 11.5 Not understanding the risk facing your organization
    6. 11.6 The great tax surprise
    7. 11.7 Summary and conclusion
  22. 12 Minding your own business
    1. 12.1 Keeping your business going is the real challenge
    2. 12.2 Remember why you started your own business
    3. 12.3 Money versus quality of life
    4. 12.4 Nurturing a sustainable client relationship
      1. 12.4.1 IT consultants are offered jobs
    5. 12.5 Internal administration
      1. 12.5.1 Understanding how your business is doing
      2. 12.5.2 Income statements
      3. 12.5.3 Cash flow statements
      4. 12.5.4 Balance sheets
      5. 12.5.5 Funds flow statements
    6. 12.6 Creating a sustainable working regime
      1. 12.6.1 How many hours per week do you need to work?
      2. 12.6.2 How many weeks a year vacation will you take?
      3. 12.6.3 How long do you think your working life will be, i.e. when do you want to retire?
      4. 12.6.4 What do you expect to do about your pension?
      5. 12.6.5 How will you handle being ill?
      6. 12.6.6 When do you engage your first employee and should this be another consultant?
      7. 12.6.7 When do you need to look for a partner?
    7. 12.7 Seeing the opportunities
      1. 12.7.1 Growing from strength to strength
      2. 12.7.2 What the Internet can do for you
    8. 12.8 Summary and conclusion
    9. 12.9 Checklist
  23. Appendix A
  24. Appendix B
  25. Appendix C
  26. Appendix D
  27. Index