How to Move From Being the IT Guy to a Trusted Business Advisor

For years, a typical IT company has made a living from installing software, selling hardware and fixing computers.

With the advent of the Cloud and the decrease in the complexity of deploying and managing IT, the world is changing for IT providers and making a living from technical knowledge alone is becoming more and more difficult.

Change is hard, and if you’re making a good living from the status quo of installing and maintaining servers then it’s tough to consider a world where you don’t do this.

But many progressive IT companies and Managed Service Providers are already looking to expand their scope beyond support and maintenance to offering expertise in areas such as Sharepoint and CRM customisation – specialities where business owners will understand and value the help you can offer them.

Although there are still a lot of IT Solution Providers who think the Cloud and services like Microsoft Office 365 are the worst thing ever to affect their business, I’ve been encouraged by the number of conversations I’ve had with IT Solution Providers who are not only open to the idea of changing their business models away from pure monitoring and maintenance contracts, but now really believe that they can be more than the “IT Guy” to their clients – that that they can grow into true “Trusted Business Advisors”.

For MSP’s and other IT Solution Providers, I think there are a number of techniques you can begin to use to start the transition away from the “IT Guy” to “Trusted Business Advisor”.

Raise the bar of professionalism internally

Think about the type of company you’d like to do business with. Everything from how they answer the telephone, to how they dress and carry themselves, to how they keep the lines of communication open internally and externally. Set standards, create systems internally to support this vision, and start being that type of company. People (including your clients) will notice and you’ll be surprised to find your clients approach you for more than just Technical advice, but much more besides.

Quarterly Business Reviews

Meet with your clients to talk about their business. Not technology. Not licensing. Not projects. Simply a chat about their business and the challenges they face. You should be doing this a minimum of every quarter, but the best companies realise the value of regularly dropping by for a cup of tea and a chat. Doing so will surprisingly uncover a lot of opportunities for you, but more importantly helps your client understand that you’re interested in the success of their business and are therefore someone who can support their progress.

Use a PSA Tool

If you’re not already using a Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool such as Autotask or ConnectWise, start thinking about doing so tomorrow. Using such a tool, which is designed specifically for IT Solution Providers, forces you to clearly understand the necessary business processes required to support your own businesses growth. You’ll then begin to look at your clients businesses in a different light and understand how you can help them to become more efficient too. Which leads me on to…

Sell CRM

A PSA tool such as Autotask is designed specifically for IT Solution Providers. For most other industries, including those of your clients, such a dedicated tool doesn’t exist – but your clients have a need for such a tool anyway. This is where you come in. Simply selling your clients a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software package is one thing, but offering them your expertise to configure that CRM package to support their specific business requirements is a real value add that enables you to deeply understand your clients business inside and out.

Conclusion

This stuff works. I know because I’ve helped some of my clients focus on making these changes this year and I’ve seen the subtle difference in the way they now carry themselves with more confidence, the improved relationships they subsequently have with their clients, and the increase in the amount of money they earn as a result.

Start using any one of these techniques, and whilst you’ll notice changes, you’ll quickly begin to realise the other techniques go hand in hand. They all support one another in your goal to grow your business to cope with the changing market.

Start using all of the techniques, even at their most basic level, and your clients and prospective clients will begin to perceive you less as the “IT Guy” and more as their “Trusted Business Advisor”

The Canada Business Visa for Immigrants Has Not One But Two Varying Kinds

The entrepreneur programme plus the investor programme. The 2 sections associated with the Canada Business Visa are for experienced business persons who aspire to immigrate to Canada.

The entrepreneur component to the Canada Business Visa was made for business persons that plan to either put money into or establish a totally new business inside one of Canada’s provinces or territories. The mandatory net worth that the person has to have differs from $250,000-$800,000 based on the provincial program. The amount of money that will have to be invested in the new or current business is somewhere between $100,000-$400,000 based on the program. In some cases the applicant is granted a provisional working visa via the Canada Business Visa programme; then if they comply with the expectations of the program they’ll proceed to acquire permanent residency for themselves and their spouse and kids. Typically, you’ll discover no language demands for this area, having said that a functioning knowledge of English or French will likely be important to enable you to operate a business on an everyday basis within Canada.

Almost all the provinces have a program under the Canada Business Visa so it is very important to take a look at the different criteria and decide which option is suited to you best. Waiting times with the Canada Business Visa entrepreneur area can vary markedly depending on the provincial programme used.

The investor component requires a substantial investment being made to the govt of Canada: $800,000; alternately the investor can pay interest of near $200,000 to a Canadian banking institution with the intention that they’ll lend the funds to the government as an alternative. The loan is for five yrs and is interest free. The person has to have a legally accrued net worth of $1.6 million. Business experience is mandatory, but this area won’t obligate the person to take part in operating a business in Canada. There are actually at this time programs offered by the Federal Govt in addition to Quebec. Each of these demand the same requirements as detailed.

The Federal submission is anticipated to have a processing time of roughly 12 mths. The Quebec process twelve-eighteen months. For those who won’t desire to be concerned in the day-to day running of a business, but demonstrate the requested net worth, the investor area of the Canada business visa may be a very good preference.

It’s Easy Starting A Web Business

There are 4 things you need when starting a web business

  1. $50
  2. A computer
  3. An internet connection
  4. An experienced internet marketer to show you exactly what to do

THAT’S ALL!!

You don’t need hundreds of eBooks, tons of expensive software. You don’t need any experience either. As long as you can use a keyboard and mouse you can start a web business today. You don’t need lot’s of cash to start, you can literally have a website up and running for under $50.

Once you have your site up and running all you have to do is drive traffic (people) to it, and there are plenty of free ways to drive traffic. You can write articles and blogs, use Twitter and Facebook, free advertising, social networking sites, discussion forums and more. You leave a link to your website on these sites, and interested people will visit your site.

Many people are put off starting a web business because, on the outside it seems pretty complicated, but once you look into it, it really is a piece of cake. There are just 4 steps to getting your website live and running.

  1. Register a Domain Name
  2. Set up a Hosting Account
  3. Create a Landing Page
  4. Upload your Web Files to your Host

OK that might seem complicated if you are a complete novice or “newbie”, but once you are familiar with the jargon you will walk it, believe me.

Registering a domain name

First decide on a name for your website, then type in “domain names” into your browser. There are a lot of sites for domain registration so shop around the first page until you find the cheapest. I use namecheap. Ideally you want a domain name ending in “.com” A domain name will cost you on average $10 for 12 months. Then it is exclusively yours, and no one else can use that name.

Setting up web hosting

When you have your domain name, you need a home on the web for it to live in. This is called a web host. Type “web hosting” in your browser and check them out. There are literally thousands of web hosting companies, but just check out those on the first page and look for one that is cheap that offers unlimited free web hosting. What this means is that once you have paid to host your first domain, you can add-on unlimited domains without having to pay for hosting them. Domain hosting will cost you on average $37 for 36 months.

Creating a web landing page

The first thing people will see when they go to your website is your landing, or home page. It is possible to create your own landing page using a free HTML editor, but a great deal of thought needs to go into (a) the lay out and (b) the content of the page. It is very important to have a landing page that is attractive, neatly laid out, easy to navigate and has valuable content. Many web pages I have seen are awful, very cluttered and badly laid out. You can download free web templates from various sites.

Uploading your web files to your host

When you are absolutely happy with your landing page you will need to upload it to your web host. For this you need the services of an FTP client.There are many FTP Clients available on the internet which deal with this process. FTP is short for File Transfer Protocol. An FTP client enables you to upload and download files between your computer and your internet host. The most popular FTP client is Filezilla and it is free to download.

Once you have uploaded your web files, (web pages, videos,images etc) to your web host your website will be up and running live on the web!!

Now, I understand that I’ve only given you a rough idea of what to do to start your web business, and that is why I am going to put you in touch with an expert internet marketer who is totally devoted to helping people like you and me to become successful online. He is unique in the fact that he explains every little detail in layman’s terms with step-by-step video tutorials. He covers every aspect of how to start from scratch, and in no time you will have grasped just how easy and exciting this business is. He has helped me, and thousands like me to become successful internet marketers.

This guy really knows the business inside out and his aim is to help you be successful not rip you off. He will get you up and running starting your web business. Visit Chris at his site now and listen to what he has to say, it will be the best thing you will ever have done!