Entrepreneur - - By Andrew Neitlich

Let’s Get Started

I’m delighted to have been selected to write this blog! Thank you Georgina and the Sitepoint staff for putting your trust in me.

My charge is to post about 3 blogs each week (along with one column each month). That’s a lot of writing. While I’m happy to write about issues that my current consulting clients face in marketing and selling IT services, or just talk about common marketing and selling issues, I’d prefer to respond directly to your issues and questions in this blog.

So, do you have a burning issue related to the business-end of running your web business? My expertise is especially on the marketing and sales side.

If so, either post a reply to any of the blogs in this section, or email me directly (with Sitepoint blog question in the subject heading) at andrewn@itprosuccess.com.

For instance, George has already written that when he started his business he didn’t have a clue about how much “painful administrative B/S” there would end up being.

He couldn’t be more correct. There’s bookkeeping/accounting, invoicing, proposal development, contracting with clients and (maybe) contractors and employees, benefits management, paying bills, and on and on.

There’s also marketing and sales, which should be your top priority, but which many IT professionals perceive to be “administrative BS.”

Here are some high-level pieces of advice about George’s issue:

1. Go out today and buy any of Michael Gerber’s E-Myth books. His focus is about why most small businesses don’t work. To him, most business owners spend too much time working IN the business, and not enough time working ON the business. To create a successful business, you need to develop a “franchise” — a repeatable set of business processes that allows you to grow. So how would you handle all the administrative stuff if you were working ON the business instead of IN it?

2. I can’t stand the administrative stuff either in my own consulting practice. So I budget 2-3 days a month to do all of it. By scheduling administrative days, it makes it easier for me.

3. I also hire part-time support to take care of the things I really can’t stand doing — especially bookkeeping. That way, I can spend more time marketing and growing my business, and developing client relationships.

4. It gets easier as you go, especially if you develop procedures (e.g. a common proposal/contract template) and use technology (e.g. QuickBooks with automatic bank downloads and electric bill pay) to save time.

5. Please don’t ever consider marketing and sales to be administrative BS. Business development is the lifeblood of your business. A great web developer who can’t market will lose to a half-decent web developer who is a great marketer — hands down, any day.

That’s it for the first blog. Please keep in touch.