Chapter 2 – Choosing your Services and/or Products

As a computer consultant you can base your business on any number of product or service offerings. Establishing a computer selling and service shop is one choice for a new business but you need to understand that hardware and software selling is a very low profit margin business. You can make much more providing computer repair and network setup and service. Some other services you may want to consider include training, system integration, software development and support.

A good consultant should be adept at as many services as possible but when you start out, focus on two or three areas and market them primarily. These areas should be complementary to each other and should be closely related. For example I focused primarily on the installation of network cable and setting up and administrating small computer networks. Other synergistic combinations might include:

  • Database design, network security, and systems integration
  • Microcomputer hardware and Enterprise Resource Management (ERP)
  • Specialized office management software and workgroup networking

When you enter the field of computer consulting, you need to keep your focus open so you can adjust the emphasis of your business as the market changes. The computer field changes so rapidly that it is essential to keep up to date on changes in technology. One of these changes may provide you with the perfect opportunity to expand your consulting business.

Below is a list of several consulting specialties that you could consider:

(This list is in no means exhaustive, there can be thousands of different categories)

  • Application development specialist
  • Database development and design (several different database languages)
  • Training and education
  • Artificial Intelligence/expert system developer
  • Security/disaster specialist
  • Computer-aided software engineering “CASE” specialist
  • Object oriented programmer
  • Technical writer
  • Unix specialist
  • Desktop publisher
  • LAN provider/administrator
  • Strategic IS planner
  • Client/server specialist