Hiya folks – Harrybbb here – author of the above title. I am posting up a passage from my SMB consulting book that focuses on SBS. This is my virtual book reading and welcome aboard! So maybe you want to work for another consultancy before you break out on your own?
Working for another consulting firm initially
If you look at other professions, you’ll see the following trend. An accountant who starts an accounting firm first worked for another accounting firm and gained significant experience. Then this person broke away and started her
own accounting practice. I’ve seen the same thing in law and medicine. To start your own SMB consulting practice, it often makes sense first to work in the industry as an SMB consultant with an established consulting firm.
One of the key reasons to work for another consulting firm before making the break is to gain bona fide experience. It’s one thing to read a book on SMB consulting (such as this one), but an entirely different thing to actually do it. By working for another consulting firm as an SMB consultant, you essentially learn on their payroll.
Instant client base
Working for another consulting firm typically provides you with the instant client base you can take with you when you leave. This is seen in the legal and accounting fields all the time. Clients have a relationship with you and follow you when you make your move. Of course, I offer these above thoughts subject to the employment and non-compete agreements you might have entered into. See my next point.
Typically when you are employed by a consulting firm, you’ll sign a non-compete agreement on your date of hire. This agreement will spell out how the firm must be compensated if you take existing clients to start your own consulting practice.
BEST PRACTICE: Read the terms and conditions of any non-compete agreement carefully. These are often written to protect the firm from being unduly raided. The agreement may spell out restrictive terms such as a distance radius (not within 50 miles), a duration (not within six months), or a financial penalty (all future client billings for one year paid to previous employer) under which you will have to operate when you leave the firm. You should consu lt an attorney on these agreements. The courts have a track record for frowning upon agreements that stifle competition and business growth.
Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation (www.smbnation.com)
MBA, MCSE, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP, MCT, SBSC (Microsoft Small Business Specialist)
PS – did you know my Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is almost here? Yes!