In the early stages of developing an IT support business, the owners typically wear all the hats: the sales hats, the technical hats, and the administrative hats, until the company has established enough of a client base that it can justify delegating certain things to a salesperson or a couple of different technical people. In this article, you’ll learn why you need to wear so many hats in the beginning and when to start handing the hats to someone else.
Why So Many Hats are Important in the Beginning? Many people come to me and say, “Well, I’m just the owner. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m good at pulling it all together, but I’m not really a techie. And I’m not really the sales guy. What should I do?” I’m going to be very blunt. You’re behind the 8 balls already because a lot of your local competitors are wearing all of these hats, especially during the startup phase of their IT support business.
In a lot of cases, your firm is going to be competing for these sweet spot clients against one-person consultants who may be working out of their homes with extremely low overhead. These are the rare folks that are pretty good technically and happen to have pretty good sales-oriented kinds of personalities.
When to Start Passing Out Hats? That’s not to say that you couldn’t have a good technical person and keep him or her very busy and a good full-time salesperson. Typically, however, your IT support business evolves over time. The owner starts out by being both the salesperson and the technical person. As the company gets busier, your firm starts subcontracting out some of the overflow work or work that is not up against your tasks. This frees you up to go out a little more on sales calls.
Then, when you get to the point where you have a couple different subcontractors that you consistently sending this work to, your light bulb will start to go off. You realize for the money your firm is spending on subcontractors, you could put someone on the payroll.
The Bottom Line about IT support? Keep in the back of your mind that some of your competitors are going to be able to be skilled at sales and technical issues right off the bat. And they may give you a run for the money. You will want to think about this issue carefully as you start to position your business.