Volunteer to get that first small business client (SMB Consulting Best Practices book excerpt)

Crazy times call for creative thinking. Trust me on that one. So perhaps you are “instantly” a SMB technology consultant because you’ve been found redundant by the power that be in your now former job!

You have come to the “write place” to join forces. I am the author of the above title and each day I like to hold a virtual book reading by posting up a passage – typically hopeful!

So today – here is a thought about giving back to get your first customer as a small business technology consultant.


Another way to land the first client is by offering your services free. That is, you can establish yourself as a legitimate SMB consultant and gain reference letters and referrals by volunteering. Fact of the matter is that there are typically more volunteer opportunities than volunteers, so finding an “unpaid learning opportunity” (a common euphemism for volunteering) to strut your stuff as a competent SMB consultant shouldn’t be that hard. Two volunteer organizations that I’ve seen SMB consultants successfully exploit are not-for­profit organizations and political campaigns.

Not-for-profit organizations

Not-for-profit organizations are chronically short on funds, yet have the same technology needs, both hardware and software, as private sector firms. Pick a cause, and somewhere there is a not-for-profit organization behind it. Give them a call and see how you can help. Better yet, in major cities there are not-for-profit organizations that provide low-cost and no-cost technology consulting services for fellow not-for-profit organizations. In the Pacific Northwest region of the US there is one such group called NPower (www.npower.org). For more information on Npower, refer to Chapter 3 of this book.

If you have a higher calling and aspire to assist in the meaningful implementation of technology across the word, there are two organizations that can benefit from your inherent goodness: GeekCorps and Peace Corps. Late in the writing of this book, I enjoyed a lengthy telephone call with Ana Maria Harkins, Executive Director of GeekCorps (www.geekcorps.org). She sold me on a mission that has technology improving the world, often one small business, government or school at a time. GeekCorps has accepted my

offer to have a free booth at my SMB Nation conferences

(www.smbnation.com) and tell their story to attendees (and perhaps even recruit a few of you along the way as volunteers). Peace Corps has similar opportunities but typically not as technology oriented. I can say that Peace Corps did select SBS as its worldwide remote site computing platform and that’s something you might want to know if you have a volunteer interview with that organization. PeaceCorps can be reached at www.peacecorps.gov



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 a technology conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!

PPS – my SBS 2008 book will be out in mid-November 2008!

PPPS – my Microsoft Response Point Primer book is here NOW!


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