Hey there – I am Harry Brelsford and the author of SMB Consulting Best Practices…I enjoy a virtual reading wherein I post up a few pages a day….
Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation www.smbnation.com
Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP
PS – did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!
Who Shouldn’t Be an SMB Consultant
Truth be told, some people simply shouldn’t be SMB consultants. Hopefully, they’ll arrive at that decision before hurting themselves, a client, a computer system, or the SMB consulting field as a whole. Please carefully review this short list of those who might not thrive in an SMB consulting environment:
· Process-oriented types — It has been my experience that SMB consultants who like to come to the same job, office, desk, and chair each and every day make poor consultants. These folks are typically happiest with established routines.
· Preference for clarity and not ambiguity — Individuals who admittedly don’t tolerate change or are frustrated by the constant technical learning curve confronting SMB consultants should consider keeping their day jobs.
· Introverted individuals— Many SMB consultants are introverted because the technology realm naturally attracts those types. While
that shyness is a fact of life, it shouldn’t be put on display at client sites. A true SMB consultant must have, at a minimum, the ability to shift between his or her introverted side of performing technical work to the extroverted side when speaking with clients. This point is in no way intended to violate the letter or the spirit of the American Disabilities Act (ADA), a United States Congressional mandate that suggests reasonable accommodations must be made for people with disabilities. Introvertism is not a disability by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, such shyness can be a big hurdle to earning the six-figure incomes possible in the world of SMB consulting. To be brutally honest, the client in a consulting relationship has the expectation of constant and consistent communication. Extroverted SMB consultants just don’t have to work as hard to meet this client expectation.
· Mistake-prone individuals — Some people are born with that special touch when it comes to computers; others never will attain it. Take the example of a young child growing up in Seattle where Boeing is based. Such a Seattle native could close his or her eyes and identify the model of a Boeing jet flying overhead just by the noise of the airplanes engines. These people often become superior Boeing engineers later in life. You get the point. Back to SMB consultants. While some people are “naturals” when it comes to computers, others create more problems than solutions. If you’re blessed with being mistake-prone when dealing with computers and software, consider a software-testing career instead. Why? Because software testers are paid to break things and make mistakes. It’s a job requirement!
· Fundamentally angry individuals — You’ve likely seen them — I know I certainly have: the tense, always on edge, overly controlling type who loses it and becomes angry at the system or the client. If you lose your temper or your patience often or easily, you’re not going to be a successful SMB consultant no matter what your technical skill set. And if you have an anger management problem, take a deep breath, count to ten, and seek professional help. Hey, if a macho guy like Tony Soprano (from HBO’s hit cable TV crime show The Sopranos), can do it, so can you.
· Goofy guys and gals — Perhaps you’re the class clown who never grew up. Perhaps you’re a part-time comedian who can’t keep your act straight in business situations. Fair enough, but your challenge in making it as an SMB consultant might be your ability to inspire trust in your clients and, when appropriate, lend an air of suitable business presence.
· Those otherwise unemployable — The old joke is that a consultant is really just an unemployed job-seeker in disguise. Plying your trade as an SMB consultant because you can’t make it in business or technology any other way isn’t the firmest foundation from which to launch and operate.
Wrapping up this section on who shouldn’t be an SMB consultant, I want to ease the day-to-day downside of SMB consulting by suggesting that the price you paid for this book was value well received if it helps you avoid making a mistake. Perhaps the grass isn’t greener on the other — read “SMB consulting” — side for everyone. In other words, don’t give up your day job just yet (or at least until you complete reading this book from cover-tocover!). Over the years, I have received e-mails and notes from readers of my other books who commented that they’ve decided not to go into consulting based on what they’ve read about it. These people concluded camping out in their corporate cubicle wasn’t so bad after all!