Friday 13 November 2015

Some I.T. Professional Business Pearls

Here are some thoughts on the many aspects of running an I.T. business in today’s world that have been garnered over my 13 years in business so far.

  • Never reveal business operations
    • Financial
    • Client’s names (don’t ever reveal clients supported to others)
    • Projects, Purchases, or other such products and services WE provide
  • Never volunteer _any_ information
  • Always keep scheduling information time related
    • I’m running behind, I’ll call in 15
    • I’m working on something that went sideways, let’s delay to tomorrow please
    • Always call, text, reach out in-person versus e-mail
      • If calling follow-up with an e-mail “thanks for allowing us to delay by a day” or some such note
    • We keep a priority band that our clients are aware of
      • Priority 1: Business Critical Outage
      • Priority 2: User down or problematic app
      • Priority 3: App updates, changes and such
      • Priority 4: All of the other stuff
  • Never, ever, give a customer poop for leaving
    • I learned this one the hard way
    • Business is business no matter how the termination was handled by the now former client
      • Never, ever, take things personally
    • Respect their decision and acquiesce with grace and integrity
    • Be silent
    • Resist the urge to be defensive - shut this one right down
    • Cooperate with the next I.T. company if need be
      • Give over the keys to the kingdom with ease
  • Always, and everywhere, do everything in writing
    • “Yes, Ms. Customer, I’d be more than happy to help you do X and it’ll be done on Y” via e-mail after a conversation
    • Always confirm project add-ons and scope creep with an e-mail indicating back charges and extras as they fall out of scope
    • Keep an extensive set of audit notes for each client
    • Keep an extensive change log for all clients
    • image Snip everything, name them accordingly, and keep them forever
    • Be disciplined and document everything
  • Use a time keeper
    • Outlook Tasks or CRM with due dates and reminders
    • OneNote notebook with Surface 4/Pro and pen close at hand
    • Note keeper pocket notebook and mechanical pencils
    • Write all requests down and transfer what needs to be to Outlook or CRM

The above is the culmination of my 13 years running our I.T. company. I hope it helps! :)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book


Unknown said...

Good list Philip. Interesting read, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Nice list,

Never comment on the oppositions work, only detail what would work best for the customer.

Try to have a set contact for IT issues in their company, they are your go to person for resolving the customer's staff problems.

Be prepared to let the costumer go if the dynamic is making either of you uncomfortable with any restriction on the quality of your work.

Documentation is part of a task, it is not an optional extra.