Big businesses have CEOs, COOs, CMOs, and more—a whole “C-suite.” Small business owners certainly qualify as CEOs, but we all know that that title often comes alongside Chief Bottle Washer. In a small company, almost everyone wears multiple hats.

But there’s one hat we suggest that small business owners shouldn’t wear—that of the chief technology officer or CTO. A small business owner may be a highly capable and successful doctor, lawyer, or architect, but technology is both too foundational for every business and too massive of a topic to entrust to someone who isn’t steeped in the field...and dedicated to that single function.

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In my 15+ years serving companies across a wide range of industries, I’ve noticed consistent trends in IT decision-making. Whether I’m working with a non-profit, a graphic design firm, or an emerging marketing technology brand, everyone tends to make the same top 5 mistakes. And they call us to make it right:

Referral cash is income offered in return for your recommendation of a product or service to someone else. Because you earn that money for a referral alone, and no direct work, it is considered passive income (the holy grail in business ownership). For example, if you sell a third-party tool or service to a client, and they pay you to manage that service, that is NOT referral cash. But if you sell a 3rd party service to a client, and every month that 3rd party is doing the work, collecting the money from the client, and paying you a small portion (like a dividend), that is referral cash. 

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As IT Consultants, we tend to focus on the computer problem. A client will contact you saying something is wrong, and our mind goes “ok how do we fix this as quickly as possible”. But then a piece of your mind sneaks in and says - “but wait, we bill by the hour, why fix this quickly?

So the question is, how do we structure our billing to be fair to, and benefit, both the client and our own bottom lines?

IT Consulting is More Than Fixing A Computer

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