Diagnosing Inefficiencies in an IT System: Tips From an IT Consultant

Just as an automobile generally delivers improved gas mileage following a tune-up, your employees will often demonstrate improved efficiency after an IT audit. During IT audits, computer consulting services check for system weaknesses and inefficiencies. Once you understand these “Achilles’ heels” in your IT managed services, you can work to correct them. A sharper competitive edge, improved productivity and decreased labor costs are just a few of the benefits you can see from an IT audit.

To help you determine whether your IT systems could use a bit of tweaking, we list common signs of IT risks and inefficiencies below. If you’ve spotted these warning signs in your organization, consider bringing in an information technology consulting firm to uncover and amend weaknesses.

1. Lack of Standardization across IT Systems

Information technology consulting gurus report that organizations waste money when their IT managed services are inconsistent. To explain how non-standard IT systems can impact the bottom line, consider the wasted time employees spend translating different versions of the same document. If everyone in the office had the same version of Word, that lag time would disappear. Another common inconsistency involves software updates. If your firm lacks a consistent “patch day” when employees’ computers are automatically updated, your machines are more likely to become infected with viruses, which in turn leads to employee downtime.

2. Poor Communication between Company Leadership and IT Professionals

In their report “IT Risk – Closing the Gap,” PriceWaterhouseCooper discovered that 76 percent of company board members alleged that they had a good comprehension of the IT risks facing their firms. In stark contrast, just 32 percent of internal auditors concurred that board members totally understood company IT risks. From this, we can extrapolate that company leaders are often unaware of risks in IT systems and don’t realize it. If you feel your company leaders could better steer your company if they had a full understanding of IT risks, consider arranging an IT audit. Information technology consulting specialists can thoroughly assess IT risks and then explain audit results to the board in easy-to-understand layperson’s terms.

3. Outdated Hardware Data Storage

The days of server storage closets have passed. You no longer need to rely on pricey, finicky on-site servers to back up your company data. Instead, progressive companies are switching to cloud-based or virtualized systems, both of which are more cost-effective than traditional server setups. When switching to cloud-based data storage, many companies find the help of a computer consulting services firm invaluable. An information technology consulting professional knows the ins and outs of navigating cloud services and can help make the transition as seamless as possible, while protecting the security of your firm’s sensitive data.

If you recognize the inefficiencies we’ve listed here, it’s a good time to think about retooling your IT managed services. From improved data storage to increased understanding between board members and IT managers, an IT audit offers many benefits.

A Pressure Washing Consultant’s Tips for Flat Surface Cleaning

At an initial glance, flat surface power washing may appear to be one of the most basic and easy power washing applications for a new business to launch.

As a power washing consultant will tell you though, this is not true. “Flat surface cleaning” generally refers to pavement, asphalt, concrete or interlocking bricks – not wooden decks. In addition, most of this type of power washing occurs on commercial, industrial or multi-family properties, such as apartment buildings, all of which present their own considerations to take into account.

Wastewater Recovery and Disposal

These surfaces and locations present some of the biggest challenges because of local ordinances regulating wastewater emissions and control. These areas often lack a vegetative buffer to absorb wastewater, and have multiple storm sewer drains that professional power washers will have to be aware of. So in addition to providing basic power washing services, a pressure wash consultant will advise you to provide for wastewater recovery and disposal.

Flat surface cleaning for automotive service locations, gas stations and similar businesses is even more challenging as the chance of having contaminated wastewater is high from contaminants located on the surface. For example, the cleaning of a dumpster will result in contaminants such as oils, hydrocarbons and plant/animal fats that cannot be disposed of through a standard storm water drain.

Failure to be aware of local ordinances and federal regulations on the appropriate handling of wastewater can have expensive consequences. For example, recently a fast food restaurant contracted with a power washer to clean the area around a dumpster at the restaurant. The power washer failed to provide for wastewater recovery and disposal, and as a result, the city fined the restaurant owner $6,000 for improper disposal of contaminated wastewater.

Wastewater management can provide one of the biggest challenges for professional power washers. But the good news for businesses considering starting or expanding flat surface cleaning is that this can be a very profitable year-around service in many parts of North America.

Good business owners and managers know that not only does a clean business attract customers, but that health and safety regulations require periodic cleaning of sidewalks and other surfaces. If you’re in an area where flat surface cleaning is seasonal, a pressure washing consultant will advise you to use the downtime to offer a discount to customers who pre-book spring pressure washing in advance.

Pre-Quote Inspections and Other Considerations

Before providing a quote, a good power washing consultant will always recommend that you personally visit the site to be cleaned, and flat surface cleaning is no exception.

By performing a pre-quote project evaluation, you can build a relationship with the potential customer and provide an accurate quote. Professional pressure wash consultant advice is to also use the on-site inspection as an opportunity to point out other areas of the property where your services may be useful, such as for graffiti removal or awning cleaning.

To quote a job accurately, measure the linear feet to be cleaned and use this to calculate the total surface area. This should give you a good estimate of the time required to clean the area, and include time for set-up and take down in your calculations. When you provide the quote, offer it for the entire job and not at an hourly rate, otherwise you risk losing money if your technicians are extremely efficient on that job.

To finish a job, and exceed your customer’s expectations, a pressure washing consultant recommends a quick rinse of the entire area, such as window ledges, trash cans and benches. This will put the finishing touch on your job and present a fully polished exterior for your customer.

Pressure Wash Consultant Cleaning Tips for Flat Surfaces

- Make sure concrete has had time to cure and is not brand new.
- When cleaning pavers, always use caution and don’t blow the sand out from between the stones.
- Explain to a customer that you will do your best to remove a stain, but never guarantee that a stain can be removed entirely.
- If cleaning a concrete slab, be extremely careful cleaning around the edges to reduce debris scatter.
- Always begin with a low PSI setting (about 2000) to test the durability of the surface and reduce the chance of damage.
- Follow the recommendations of your pressure cleaning equipment manufacturer regarding distance between the surface and spray head. If too far away, the cleaning may be ineffective; if too close, you risk damaging the surface.

How to Find a Blog Consultant

There are millions of blogs on the internet, but only a few can manage to hold the attention of the readers. Needless to mention, there are endless bloggers on the globe and everyone seems to call himself an expert of blog writing. Blog consultants though not magicians yet, they know certain all the required SEO tricks which can be of great help in attracting readings and gluing them. I have tried to list are few very basic factors that can be of great help when you need to find the right blog consultant.

1. Find their work online:Bloggers cannot do cheap tricks, but rather, they invest their time into words and write blogs that matter. No blogger in the world can be successful with all of his blogs, and he might have had his share of success and failures. However, taking a look at his blogs, one can easily tell the kind of writing services that he can offer. As a reader, one may not like all the matter that has been written, but it definitely identifies the traits of the blog consultant.

2. Blog consultants must be popular among readers:Blog consultants are experts in the subject of attracting new readers and retaining them. A blogger is not merely a writer, but he is rather a preacher of his own thoughts. When a blogger writes, he is not just asking someone to read, but he is trying to capture the reader to become a regular of his writing. While looking for a consultant, it is essential to know the things he applies in attracting his viewers.

3. Experience matters:When it comes to blogging, only experience counts. An experienced blogger knows the ways in which a subject may be presented to viewers, and hence, his experience can only be of significant help. If you have a blog to deal with the expert deals with a good number of them day in and day out. But of course it is his daily job and thus, the expert can be relied on based on his past performance which can be clearly gauged from the results available.

4. Personal Touch: A good blog consultant shares his views and uses his insight to portray his work to his clients. He will always be there for his esteemed clients for he knows the value of professional relationships in his business.

There are no direct rules that can be applied to the success of a blog. However, hiring a good blog consultant can be of immense help as his professional thinking can be beneficial to the main subject of the blog.

Make Money Instead Of Losing It With The Help Of A Business Plan Consultant

Opening a business without any planning often ends in disaster. Unless a person is business-savvy, most first-timers wind up losing money rather than making anything. This is the reason small business consultants exist. They are here to make life easier for people who cannot seem to get things started. Individuals like this have years of industry experience. Why risk your funds when you can have a structured organization that will ensure positive results.

One thing that a business plan consultant takes care of is a company business plan. This is the framework of how your organization should operate. A plan like this is never permanent. It serves its purpose while the company is in its early growth stage. As things progress, expect the structure to change as well. As the client, you need to provide all your relevant information to this person. Your business plan is based on this as well as an assessment of your industry.

For small business consultants to stay on top, they must stay ahead of everyone else. To do this, they have to compile industry reports, conduct feasibility studies, and profile potential consumers. Aside from this, they also analyze consumer trends and gather legislation reports. All this information will have a future impact on your intended venture. Businesses that prove successful are those that learn from past mistakes while building on a foundation of tried and tested results.

One area that you must focus on is your competition. The business plan consultant you hire will study your chosen location carefully. Let us say Starbucks is the existing coffee shop on your block. People frequent this place based on brand name alone. How do you challenge an industry giant like this? You need recommendations from small business consultants. They will tell you what services your competition is lacking. It is then up to you whether you choose to incorporate these or not. One way to bring in new clients is to telecast live NBA games for free.

In case your investment is a coffee shop, a business plan consultant will figure out a possible location. Knowing that this kind of place does well, they will have to figure out whom to sell your products to. In this case, who are these potential customers? Are they office workers? Are they students? These are questions that need to be asked carefully.

You need this if you want to source funds from a bank or lending agency. Calculating costs and projecting profitability studies are what small business consultants do best. They will prepare all your pertinent financial documents to ensure that you get that loan. Aside from this, they can devise business strategies that helps you stay ahead of your competition.

In the end, you will not regret hiring a business plan consultant. This person is the key to your long-term business life and success. Listen to what they have to say carefully. All your long-term and short-term goals should be set and implemented in a timely manner. With this in mind, you may involve him or her in your daily operations.

Consultative Sales – 7 Steps to Hire the Right Person

Consultative sales people don’t like to talk and they usually are not the best golf players, either. They are good listeners, they understand the challenges in the marketplace, and they are consistent in their database management.

In short – get rid of the MAD MEN fantasy, the fifties are over. Consultative sales people need to be patient, they need to be hunters, too but they also need to be observers and good at research.

In this new, sometimes challenging business environment where hardly anything will work they way it did, even as recent as two years ago we need to be more consultative and we need to change things up a bit. Everybody talks about social media and getting to results faster. I get it. I use social media myself. But what about the basics of human interaction? Courtesy, listening, professionalism? What about picking up the phone instead of tweeting? Sometimes it’s important to go back to the way we used to do things, just in a better, improved way. With 24/7 availability and social media connectivity we sometimes forget that we are humans targeting other humans.

Yes, procurement gets involved a lot sooner and companies are more careful with their spending and only the providers that really add value will get a chance to get their foot in the door. And then you still have to navigate through the sales cycle and close the deal. That is why it’s so important to understand who the decision makers are, understanding our prospect’s needs and being targeted in our approach. Nobody wants to be sold to.

Here is a checklist to hire sales people for a consultative sales environment

1) Invite them to an interview and observe how many questions they ask

2) Schedule a phone interview as a first or second meeting. Most sales transactions happen over the phone and phone manners are crucially important to being successful.

3) Monitor how diligent they are following up. Keep in mind, the way they present themselves to you will be the way your prospects and clients will experience them. If they don’t follow up with you after the interview, there will be a chance that they are not diligent in following up with prospects.

4) Test their writing skills. Ask them to put together a short e-mail that they would use when prospecting on behalf of your company. If they focus on generics, not being able to grasp the value that your company brings to your audiences, they will probably end up having a rough time guiding a prospect through the sales cycle.

5) As part of the hiring process, have them do some research. A huge part of the consultative sales process is doing proper research. Before picking up the phone, sales people need to know who they are calling on, what the industry challenges are, etc.

6) Test their social media skills. In today’s business environment, sales people need to be social media savvy. They need to be able to use LinkedIn and other sources to identify targets.

7) Have them take a personality test. There are tests available that companies can use to determine if there might be a fit. Not everybody has it in them to be a good sales person. And trust me, most people don’t have it in them to be a good consultative sales person. Sales people with high affiliation scores usually want to please people. People pleasers want to be liked and they shy away from confrontation. They have a really hard time saying “no”. And saying “no” at the right time is part of the consultative sales process.

Hiring the right sales people results in:

- Happier, more efficient employees

- Satisfied clients

- More revenue

I work with highly motivated professionals who want to embrace a consultative sales approach using an unfettered approach to create personal and organizational success and to increase revenue.

How to Get a Fast Business Loan For a Consulting Firm

You would think that when you’re working in a business like consulting where you can make hundreds of dollars an hour that you wouldn’t need to apply for a small business loan, but there is some work to be done before you can reach a point of comfort where the business can sustain itself. Those hundred to five hundred dollars per hour clients don’t just appear out of thin air and they don’t pay that kind of money unless you have something substantial to offer. Your previous experience has been earned, promoting the existence of that experience and the availability of your knowledge costs money.

A management consulting firm, in its early stages, is a concept more than a physical entity. You are taking your knowledge and experience and offering it to others for a fee. You can sum up what you have to offer in a sales package but there is nothing for a bank to look at when they are searching for security. What makes you different from every other member of the profession you worked in? Why would someone in that industry want to hire you and how will you get your name out so they know you’re available?

The approval for a fast business loan for consulting firms is based almost entirely on your business plan and your previous credit history. The business plan needs to be detailed and thorough. Taking a concept and turning it into a profit making enterprise requires specific actions on your part. You’ll need an advertising strategy, a marketing plan, a complete sales package with each of the past positions you’ve held itemized and explained for potential clients to see. You’ll need to convince business owners to hire you as a consultant, but first you’ll need to convince the bank to give you a fast business loan to get going.

The type of loan you will need for a consulting business, since you really have no assets other than your personal experience, is basically an unsecured business loan. That means that you’ll be asking the bank to give you funds when they have no guarantee of repayment besides your word. You have to convince them that word is good. This can be difficult in the skeptical world that we live in, so make sure you apply to as many lenders as possible. Online sites are good for this, as are private investment firms. If you have valuable knowledge that you want to impart to others and you can get a lender to see that, you’ll get the money you need to tell everyone else. Then you’ll make those hundreds per hour that you want to make.

What Services Can You Outsource to a Marketing Consultancy Firm?

If you are thinking about hiring a marketing consultancy firm to help you with your marketing needs, read on to find out what kinds of services you might be able to utilise:

Business & Marketing Review

A consultancy firm can look at every aspect of your business. You can have a business audit that helps you learn about potential missed opportunities, redundancies, and growth potential. You can have a consultant look at any or every aspect of your company to help you see where you can improve and / or grow.

Web Optimisation

Do you want to increase your online presence? A consultant can help you learn how to do that. You might be surprised at the dramatic difference that a few minor tweaks can make. A marketing strategist knows how to capitalise on free traffic, how to squeeze as much profit as possible out of paid campaigns, and how to measure your current success so that you can expand upon it.

Brand Management

Want your reputation improved? Want to capitalise on great skills that you have? A specialist can help you get the word out and help you manage your reputation.

Lead Generation

Are you currently capitalising on every visitor to your storefront (whether electronic or bricks & mortar)? There’s often room for improvement and growth.


Want to grow but don’t know how? Growing too fast right now and feel like things are spiralling out of control? Get help with outsourced services that can coach and help you succeed at getting and retaining customers.

Conferences & Exhibitions

Do you currently avoid trade shows, conferences, and exhibitions? You could be missing great opportunities to network and showcase what you’re great at. You might need help pulling presentation material together and creating a strategy. A consultancy firm can help.

Competitive Analysis

It’s more important than ever to analyse the competition. There are more tools available than ever that can help you do that. Doing so helps you do what the competition is doing and maybe even better. It also helps you capitalise on what they’re not so great at so you can effectively woo their customers over to your side of the fence.

Whether you want help because you don’t have enough man power or because you don’t know what to do next, a marketing consultancy firm can be a partner in excellence, doing as much or as little as you want and need to reach your goals.

Environmental Consulting – Announcing Five Surefire Tips to Improve Your Environmental Consulting

What if you discovered basic tips that can help you out to provide excellent consultation to your clients and generate huge income for you?

The purpose of this article is to teach you important steps that can help you to consult your clients about environmental factors in their businesses.

Here are five thrilling steps to get you started easily…

Step 1 – Keep learning from experts.

Step 2 – Be specialized.

Step 3 – Market yourself.

Step 4 – Gain more knowledge.

Step 5 – Enhance your skills.

Here are step by step details that you can apply quickly and easily…

Step 1 – Keep learning from experts.

If you want to improve your skills about environmental consultant then you should contact other experts and learn something valuable from them.

This will give you ideas about the whole process and you will know how they go about providing consultation to their clients.

You can learn new techniques and you can attract more people to join your services.

Step 2 – Be specialized.

It will be easy for you to become successful if you become specialized in your area of work.

If you have high interest in legal activities then you can become specialized in legal environmental consultancy.

Step 3 – Market yourself.

You need to market or sell yourself in order to achieve huge success in your consultancy field.

Step 4 – Gain more knowledge.

Knowledge is the key to get success with your environmental consulting business.

Keep gaining more and more knowledge in your field and this will help you to become massively successful.

Step 5 – Enhance your skills.

Identify your inner skills and enhance them to grow your environmental consulting business.

Learn basic skills like how to research something, how to communicate with your clients, etc.

This will surely improve your consulting services and satisfy your clients finally.

Lean Consulting – How It Can Help Your Business

If you feel that your company is not running at optimum efficiency then you have to bring in the experts, especially from a Lean consulting firm, who can point you out in the right direction. There are many interesting management practices in use these days. Once implemented correctly they will help eliminate waste and increase productivity. However, it takes a lot of skill and knowledge to use these practices correctly.

It is perfectly understandable that you do not have the time or the knowledge to move your business in the right direction, especially if you are involved in the day to day running of the business. Besides, you might have become used to doing things in a particular way even though it might not be the most efficient way. If you bring in a Lean consulting firm then it will analyse the various processes involved in getting your product across to the customer and will suggest better ways of getting them done. The consulting firm will also help you come up with a strategic plan for the future after taking your company’s business environment and capabilities into account.

Many companies find it increasingly difficult to comply with government regulations whilst still maintaining profitability. At the same time, there are always competitors snapping at their heels. If this is the position that your company is facing then you certainly need to start applying sophisticated management practices to your company’s style of operating.

Once you make changes that have been suggested by a Lean consulting company you will see significant changes in performance. You will be able to achieve increased productivity at lower costs and your employees will also feel a lot more motivated to work than before since many unnecessary processes will be eliminated. There will also be improved safety at the workplace. If you are able to retain employees by offering them a better workplace and also be increasing their motivation levels then you will be able to get better work done by them.

A very good Lean consulting firm will spend sufficient time with your organization in order to understand various processes better. It will also try to understand what your employees’ capabilities and expectations are. As a matter of fact, the various solutions that it proposes will come from your management and workers teams itself. Your business will make remarkable progress and you will be able to move far ahead of your competitors.

How to Close More Free Financial Services Consultation Leads

Free Consultations are powerful lead generating tools for financial services advisors. These brief meetings introduce prospects to your company and builds rapport between you and the future client.

The problem is that it’s becoming harder to get warm leads to commit to consultations. In my experience, the problem can be tracked to poor pre-consultation communication. Here are some proven strategies to strengthen your free consultation marketing:

Pre-Sell The Meeting

Online sign-ups for free consultations are often treated as “throw-away” opportunities. Usually, the professional will just put a button or form that asks for name and contact information and leave it at that. This is the wrong approach.

You should “sell” this free consultation as if it were your main product. Sit down and write out 2-3 benefits that you will deliver during the consultation. Focus on how you will help your prospect make money, save money, or save time. Tell them exactly how you will contact them and what they will feel after the consultation. Once you’ve breathed life into your benefits, you will find more visitors submitting requests for your consultation.

Follow-up Immediately

Send a friendly confirmation email to your prospect as soon as a prospect submits your free consultation online form or calls your office. This email should come within 1 business day of receiving the request.

In this email (or phone contact), reiterate the benefits the prospect will receive. Your goal is to get your future client to imagine how it would feel to do business with you. You want them to come to the consultation having already made the decision to do business with you. Prompt and detailed follow-up is key.

Stay Top of Mind With Every Contact

Resolve to stay in contact with your prospect even if the consultation doesn’t end in a sale. Place your leads contact information in your email database and send them monthly emails about your services and other helpful information.

A recent study on sales success shows that most people buy a product after 5 inquiries. Most salespeople give up after 2 inquiries. Use your email follow-up to stay top of mind until your prospect is ready to move forward.

Make the pre-consultation communication as rich and benefit-focused as the actual meeting and you will see success. Remember that sales is a game of numbers and persistence. Take the time to make sure that your complete consultation process is wired for success.