Hiya! I am the author of the SMB Consulting Best Practices book and I love holding virtual book readings by posting up a passage or two! Here is a great one on being efficient!
Now we get to gnaw some meat on the fixed price contact bone. If you bid SMB consulting work as a fixed price solution (say $10,000 for the SBS software, server machine, and your services), you become an SMB consultant tiger of a different stripe. All of a sudden, you’re striding up staircases two steps at a time. You’re concerned about time management and being efficient. If you are amazingly efficient and implement the SMB solution properly for a satisfied client, you win! That is, you implicitly make more than you would have on a time and materials basis. Is this fair to your customer? Absolutely! Both parties (you and the client) knowingly entered into the SMB technology engagement without either party being under duress. Rather, the client was able to budget a single number (say $10,000) for the SMB technology solution and they are happy with the outcome. They probably couldn’t care less about the means you used to achieve this happy ending.
BEST PRACTICE: A healthy part of this equation is that you need to use all the tools of the trade at your disposal. For example, the OEM SKU of SBS basically saves an hour of setup time in roughly a four-hour process. When the server machine that initially boots has the OEM SKU of SBS, it commences with the mini-setup phase where the client provides the registered customer name, organization name, and machine name, and agrees to the software licensing agreement. The time savings comes from the nearly complete setup of the underlying network operating system (e.g., Windows Server 2003).
If you’re a system builder and reseller, you already have access to the OEM SKU of SBS. You will use the OEM Pre-installation Kit (OPK) to configure the master server machine that you replicate out to the additional server machines you manufacture. I cover the OKP in Chapter 13 of this book.
If you’re not a system builder but a straight-up SMB consultant, consider strengthening your partner relationships with the major server hardware manufacturers in the game, such as HP/Compaq.
Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation
MBA, MCSE, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP, MCT, SBSC (Microsoft Small Business Specialist)