I’ve been working as a part time consultant for small and start-up companies in Cambridge, MA. These clients ask me to design and build their IT infrastructure. Most of the time, the infrastructure is built in-house, and sometimes they are put into the “clouds”. It largely depends on which architecture make sense for the clients. For instance, some clients generate huge amount of data in-house, so it make sense to build the storage infrastructure inside their premise.
Once the infrastructure is built though, most will be in operations mode. This mode does not require huge amount of time — specially in small companies. You only get called when there are problems. Should you then look for new clients, so you can generate more revenue? I believe it is easier to focus on existing customers and generate more work (and revenue) from them. In fact, if you focus more on looking for new clients, your relationship with existing ones erode, your service become stagnant, and in some cases you end up losing their business.
To focus more on existing clients, here are three proven methods to generate more revenue from them:
1. Provide timely responses. When something breaks, fix it right away. If you cannot do it in the next hour, provide a feedback when you can work on it and the estimated completion time. Improve your customer service skills and communicate often.
2. Address unmet needs. There will always be unmet needs in the Information Technology space. For instance, the client may not know that due to regulation, data containing any personal information of employees and customers such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc. should be encrypted. Offer to create a project for this unmet need.
3. Offer value added services. For instance, offer a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan. Tell the client that a simple backup infrastructure is not enough for the business to continue to operate after a major disaster.
It’s hard and expensive to find new clients. Your existing clients will be happier (and will pay you more money) if you focus on them.