How To Be a Successful Computer Consultant

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9780070575547: How To Be a Successful Computer Consultant

Designed for computer professionals who want to start, develop and expand their consulting business, the third edition of this guide includes new material on object-orientated technology; integrated software development tools; CASE; networking standards; and alternative architectures. The guide includes tips on 1. Why people use computer consultants: the background needed; how to find clients; and how much to charge. 2. How to choose services and products: what to specialize in, based on prior experience; selecting a business name; and determining a target market. 3. Where to turn for business know-how: managing capital outlay, cash flow and financial statements; setting fees; marketing a business; hiring outside help; and meeting tax requirements. 4. How to use publicity: ways to get it; writing for publications; and giving seminars that sell. 5. Ways to stay current in the field: business and computer books; useful periodicals; and professional organizations and user groups. 6. What the market will need in the 1990's: six hot topics and how to turn them into opportunities for success. 7. Managing future growth in a changing market.

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Product Description:

Here is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for anyone who wants to build a successful career in computer consulting. This is the only book written specifically for the computer consultant and software designer. The author, an experienced computer consultant, tells readers why people use computer consultants, how to choose your services and major products, where to turn for business know-how, when publicity is important, how to stay current, and whether to expand. The second edition includes information on microcomputers, software engineering, artificial intelligence and expert systems.

Review:

Though plenty of working computer consultants would argue that you can't teach their trade in a book, author Alan Simon takes a stab at it. In this book the experienced consultant shares tales from the field and lessons he's learned, saving you the trouble of learning them the hard way.

That's not to say that this book represents a consultancy-in-a-box. Any business endeavor is going to involve trial, error, waste, and second thoughts. Simon's book merely increases the odds that successes will outnumber failures and that your new business won't die of honest mistakes in its critical early years. Furthermore, Simon does not (and cannot be expected to) impart any technical knowledge through these pages. If you're even thinking about becoming a consultant, it's assumed you have a high level of technical expertise.

The author opens with a discussion of the key questions that must be answered by any business plan: What will the business do, and why? He discusses several dozen consulting specialties--including four focused on the year 2000 problem--and the specific issues involved in running each. He then goes on to cover writing business plans, managing employees and subcontractors, and dealing with finances. (His coverage of "revenue spurts" and "dead times" rings particularly true.) He talks about such perennial challenges as figuring out what customers want and how to get more business without swamping yourself or sacrificing quality, all in a readable style. --David Wall

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Alan R. Simon
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