SMB technology consulting: Listen! [SMB Consulting Best Practices book excerpt]

Hiya – harryb here – author of the above book and today I am holding a virtual book reading where I ask you to LISTEN!

Listening to your clients

Something that certainly took me a while to understand was the importance of hearing what my client was saying. If you make it a habit to talk less and listen more when selecting clients, you’ll find that many clients will either qualify or disqualify themselves from contention for your services. Here is an example of what I mean, using a scenario where a customer asks for certain business reports but fails to understand the information.

It likely takes a database, such as Microsoft SQL Server, to generate the wanted reports for the customer. And for a database to run properly, you need a network with a network operating system such as Windows 2003 Server. Digging deeper, the client likely wants (but hasn’t communicated to you) e-mail and Internet connectivity. Of course, Internet connectivity means a firewall tool, such as Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server, must be considered. You get the point. The client communicates a business need without much knowledge of the technology. You, the SMB consultant, hear the business need and translate it into a technology solution. But if the client can’t articulate a bona fide business need, they may, in effect, be disqualifying themselves from your consideration.


Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation (

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!



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