If you’re thinking about starting an IT business, one of the essential steps is specifying the types of IT services your company provides. No two IT companies are the same because there are tons of different opportunities out there for delivering value to clients.
Types of IT Services
Here are some popular types of IT services to consider.
Managed IT Service
Many IT service providers that work with small businesses are called managed service providers. This can actually encompass a variety of specifics but allows the business to service the company’s network on an ongoing basis at a regular rate. It is often less costly for companies over time since it can prevent expensive problems from forming in the first place.
This is the type of service that Joerg Laves eventually landed on for his business, IT Secure Services. Laves says, “We decided to make the change from reacting to problems and move toward a standards based configuration where we provide surveillance to see what’s going on and resolve issues before they actually turn into problems.”
On Demand IT
Another way to structure an IT service business is by offering services on demand. You can still offer the same variety of specific functions. But instead of companies paying a regular monthly fee, they just pay for each individual service when they need it.
You could also offer a preliminary setup service for businesses just looking to get their networks up and running. It’s possible to offer this as a standalone service, but could be even more valuable as part of a managed IT package.
Cybersecurity is a major concern for all businesses. So evaluating and responding to potential threats is a popular service for a lot of IT businesses. IT Secure offers this as one of the services in its managed IT offerings. But some businesses also offer it as a separate service.
A database is the system that a business uses to monitor and access its data throughout the lifecycle. It would include things like customer and employee information, sales and finances. Database management includes organizing that data to ensure compliance, security and performance of data-driven applications.
This category includes any type of IT service that is delivered over the internet or a dedicated cloud network. So a cloud platform or SaaS offering would fall into this category. So essentially, you could create a type of software that is delivered to users over the cloud and then charge them a membership fee for the ability to access it.
If you enjoy dealing with software products like those that run databases, spreadsheets or multimedia, you can offer a service where you provide support for users that are in need of technical fixes. You can focus on a specific type of software or list of programs, or offer a more generalized service.
A platform or service can be provided for companies or individuals to store their data. Both cloud platforms and on-premises storage options are available for system backups or additional storage, allowing users to avoid storing everything on their main devices. Combining this with a security offering is also an option, especially when dealing with sensitive or proprietary data.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. You can offer an online service that allows your clients to communicate with others via voice calling, either on an ongoing or as-needed basis. You can even add this service in as an option for a managed IT service, as IT Secure Services does.
If you prefer working with hardware like computers, motherboards and graphics cards, you can provide repair services for companies or individuals in your area. This type of work does usually require meeting with clients in person at some point, so you probably need to focus your target market within your local community.
What IT Sectors are the Most Profitable?
The profitability of service firms can vary widely based on the market and the specific industry they operate in. That said, certain sectors consistently emerge as particularly lucrative. Among these, IT consulting stands out as one of the most consistently profitable fields. Alongside IT, other industries like finance, healthcare, marketing, and advertising also often report high profitability. The rapid evolution of technology and the increasing reliance on digital solutions have only amplified the demand and profitability of IT services in recent years.
How to Get Started as an IT Service Provider
Starting as an IT service provider requires a blend of technical skills, business acumen, and a clear understanding of market needs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
- Assess Your Skills and Interests: Decide on your niche based on what you’re good at and passionate about. Are you inclined toward cybersecurity, cloud solutions, IT consulting, or software development? Your niche will determine the courses you may need and the certifications to pursue.
- Obtain Necessary Training & Certifications: Based on your niche, you might need to get certifications. For instance, if you’re focusing on network services, consider certifications like CCNA or CompTIA Network+. For cybersecurity, there’s CISSP, CEH, and CompTIA Security+.
- Create a Business Plan: Outline your business’s objectives, target market, competitive analysis, financial projections, and marketing strategy. This will not only guide your operations but can also help secure financing.
- Legal Requirements: Register your business, get any necessary licenses or permits, and understand the legal requirements in your jurisdiction. This might also include getting insured to protect against potential liabilities.
- Invest in Equipment & Software: Depending on your services, you might need to invest in hardware, software, and other tools. Always prioritize quality over quantity.
- Build a Strong Online Presence: Develop a professional website detailing your services, qualifications, testimonials, and contact information. Also, consider leveraging social media platforms to connect with potential clients and network with peers.
- Networking: Join local or virtual IT groups, attend conferences, and engage in community events. Networking can lead to partnerships, collaborations, and referrals.
- Set Competitive Pricing: Research what competitors are charging and determine a pricing model that’s fair yet profitable. You might start with promotional rates to attract initial clients.
- Offer Exceptional Customer Service: IT services are not just about fixing issues; they’re about building trust. Be responsive, deliver on promises, and always go the extra mile.
- Stay Updated: The tech industry evolves rapidly. Continuous learning and adaptation are vital. Subscribe to industry journals, attend workshops, and always be on the lookout for new certifications and courses that can boost your expertise.
- Seek Feedback: Encourage clients to provide feedback. Positive reviews can be used as testimonials, while constructive criticism will help you refine and improve your services.
- Plan for Growth: As your client base expands, consider hiring more staff, scaling your services, or even diversifying into other related IT domains.
This table provides a summarized comparison of each step, which can serve as a quick reference or checklist as you embark on your journey as an IT Service Provider:
|Assess Skills & Interests||Determine your niche based on skills and passions. Select between cybersecurity, cloud solutions, consulting, etc.|
|Training & Certifications||Based on the niche, pursue relevant certifications such as CCNA, CISSP, or CompTIA Network+.|
|Create a Business Plan||Detail objectives, target market, competitive analysis, financials, and marketing strategy.|
|Legal Requirements||Register the business, obtain necessary licenses/permits, and get insured.|
|Invest in Equipment||Acquire essential hardware, software, and tools prioritizing quality.|
|Online Presence||Design a professional website and leverage social media for networking and promotion.|
|Networking||Engage in local/virtual IT groups, conferences, and community events for partnerships and referrals.|
|Set Pricing||Research competitors and set a fair yet profitable pricing model. Consider promotional rates initially.|
|Customer Service||Build trust through responsiveness, reliability, and going the extra mile for clients.|
|Stay Updated||Engage in continuous learning, subscribe to industry journals, and stay aware of technological advancements.|
|Seek Feedback||Encourage client feedback for testimonials and to refine services based on constructive criticism.|
|Plan for Growth||As demand grows, consider hiring, expanding services, or diversifying into other IT areas.|
Remember, the success of your IT service business will depend on your dedication to continuous learning, your ability to adapt to industry changes and the quality of service you provide.
Photo via Shutterstock
This article, “10 Types of Essential IT Services Your Business Can Provide” was first published on Small Business Trends