Computer IT Consulting: What Services Does It Offer?

If you don’t specialize in information technology (IT), assessing the value of IT services can be difficult, especially at a time when computer technology improves monthly. To learn how your company could benefit from IT solutions, the best option is to contact a firm that specializes in computer IT consulting to analyze your business’s IT needs, and then suggest solutions that meet them. In some cases, businesses require a single solution to a single problem, while in other cases the solution involves more than one approach. Below, we list some common IT solutions and how they could benefit your business, depending on its needs.

Four Computer IT Consulting Services that Could Benefit Your Company

Email and Spam Control

Email is an indispensable business tool, and nothing threatens its usability like spam. On the average day, spam is conveniently filtered away by your spam filter. But what happens if your filter malfunctions? For the next few hours, your inbox could flood with spam mailings until you couldn’t address business emails in a timely manner, costing you time and missed business opportunities. One of the best methods for preventing a spam attack is to have a computer consulting firm manage your spam filtration remotely, a strategy that routinely keeps companies on track in the event of filter failures.

Network Security

Every business has at least two network security concerns: preventing network attacks from the outside, and preventing them from the inside. Some companies address network security by conducting it on site, while others have it managed offsite, a decision that typically results in the highest level of security, as most computer consulting firms specialize in implementing the latest security strategies to combat the latest hacking and interior corruption strategies.

IT Budgeting and Planning

If your company doesn’t have its own information technology department, or it doesn’t have an informed, updated budget for its department’s needs, hiring an computer consulting service to analyze your company’s IT needs and develop a budget that would meet them on an ongoing basis is key to eliminating short-sighted spending and over economizing. Without an informed budget in place, companies often resort to spending as little as possible on information technology, jeopardizing the safety of their data and the smoothness of their computer based business processes.

Data Back Up and Disaster Recovery

Because a company’s data is usually its most valuable asset, data back up and disaster recovery should receive first attention when implementing new information technology solutions. Many companies make the mistake of backing up their data onsite, a scenario that could lead to data loss due to fire, flooding, theft, or other happenings. Imagine your proprietary data and sales and marketing information going down the drain. For most companies, such a data loss would result in their going out of business shortly thereafter. One of the easiest ways to avoid data loss is to back up your data offsite through a computer consulting service.

A Fund Raising Idea That Instantly Funds Any Special Project

Are you a member of a church that is looking for a unique fund raising idea to complete a current project? Would you like to be that “knight on a white horse” that brings the idea to the table that sends nonprofit fund raising results soaring? Read on…

In the next few minutes,Guest Posting you are going to learn the steps to implement a fund raising idea that can raise significant cash within a very short time frame. As opposed to simply asking donors to dig deeper into their pockets, this fund raising idea provides tax and increased income benefits to the donor. If you are involved in any facet of nonprofit fund raising, you can use this technique, for example, to buy or pay off the church organ, add another kennel at the local animal shelter or add a room on to the private school.

Three Steps to Funding Your Project

1. Select an insurance agent

This fund raising idea involves annuities; annuities can only be placed by a licensed insurance agent. I would suggest selecting an insurance agent from outside the organization. Look for agents with the CLU, ChFC or CFP professional designations.

My experience is that you are asking for trouble if you try to use an insurance agent who is on your board or active in your cause. Chances are there are several insurance agents to choose from and you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Resist the temptation to spread the business among several agents, as you want to keep things simple.

Having been in the insurance business for 35 years, here is my rationale: If any agent within the organization expects to earn the commissions resulting from this fund raising idea, they should have brought the concept to the organization long ago.

2. Communicate the Fund Raising Idea

Prospects for this fund raising idea are senior members of your organization support group. They should be age 70 or older. The older the donor is, the greater their benefit.

Here is a simple outline of the fund raising technique.

a. A person donates cash or a highly appreciated asset.

b. If an asset is donated, your organization sells the property and pays no tax on the sale.

c. A portion of the sale proceeds purchases a single premium immediate annuity on the life of the donor.

d. Your organization keeps the difference and can immediately fund your need.

e. The donor receives an income tax deduction, which can be spread over 6 years if necessary.

f. The donor also receives a guaranteed life income. The rate of return that the income represents is normally much greater than they have been receiving.

g. The net result is that the donor receives an income tax deduction and increased income benefits. Your nonprofit receives immediate cash.

The agent can assist with presenting this fund raising idea to your constituents. That is his or her forte. Many types of media can be used to communicate the idea; for example, a mailing, a post on your web site, a seminar, or an audio CD outlining the benefits.

3. Set Up the Simple Administrative Procedure

Mechanically, this is how the entire fund raising idea flows:

a. Your organization uses the cash or the proceeds from the donated asset to buy a single premium immediate annuity on the donor. A simple letter is usually required, signed by the donor, to establish insurable interest. A one-page agreement, which complies with the laws of your state, outlines each party’s obligations.

b. Each month your organization receives a check from the insurance company for each donor.

c. Your organization could endorse these checks over to each donor or you could issues separate checks. The process is very simple. It is just a couple of new line items in your accounting system.


You may recognize this fund raising idea as a charitable gift annuity. Many national nonprofits have gift annuity programs. However, most small nonprofits do not. This is the power and simplicity of this fund raising idea. It is simple, straightforward and your organization receives funds immediately upon the completion of each transaction.

National gift annuity programs do not fund your program immediately. Furthermore, national programs do not realize any gain until the person dies and then the gain goes into their coffers, not your organization’s.

If you are involved in a charter school, a church or any nonprofit, here’s how the numbers could work out.

Let’s assume there are 500 supporters and this fund raising idea applies to just 2%, or ten individuals. Further, assume that the range of donations is between $10,000 and $50,000, with the average being $25,000. This would bring in $250,000. The cost of the immediate annuities will vary by age, but let’s assume this cost is $125,000. That puts $125,000 in your organization’s pocket.

This fund raising idea appeals to the average person. The donor benefits financially in two ways: a tax deduction and a guaranteed life income. Moreover, they get to see the end result of their gift. Your organization receives a large influx of cash quickly to fund a pressing need. This fund raising idea is a win-win for everyone.

Creative Brainstorming: How to Channel Your Best Ideas to Create a Winning Product

Generate and identify the most creative ideas, breakthrough ideas.Reachg goals through your creativity.

Creative Brainstorming is that phase in the production process that is all about idea-generation. Some of the best ideas known to man have been thought up during this phase. But just what happens during the brainstorming phase? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how brainstorming occurs because it can be different for different people. But we have focused in on some of the most important elements of brainstorming that aid in the creative process.


In science there is an idea about “the theory of everything,” which implies that every single idea or thing came from one central original thing. It’s an interesting idea and can be applied somewhat to the idea of creative brainstorming. Consider brainstorming as the generating of numerous ideas that come from one major concept. From this major concept you can brainstorm various subtopics that can fall under the main topic and then further expand from there. This technique is good when you need one major concept from which you can build specific details and ideas that surround the central theme. This sort of brainstorming often works well with “mind maps,” which take the idea of growing ideas from one major concept and expanding out.


Once you have let all of the creative ideas out in the open,Guest Posting you will want to focus on your goals. Whether it be for more sales in your business, more engagement from readers (as an author), or just more interest in your ideas, you need to decide what it is that you wish to accomplish from your efforts. This will guide your brainstorming so that it won’t include every single thing, but begin to be more focused toward reaching the goals you have set forth.


In this phase of creative brainstorming, you will want to consider each and every idea that your team through out in the initial brainstorming session, while always considering what you should eliminate to fine-tune the concept. For example, if your central idea is to expand your Human Resources department, in the weeding phase, you will want to focus on all of the ideas that you think you could feasible carry out within your organization and weed out those that you don’t have the budget for, or which are not practical within your work environment. Don’t forget though to also brainstorm ways you could try new ideas, including outsourcing work when needed, in order to meet your goals.


Steve Jobs once said, “There is a quantum leap between an idea and a marketable product.” There is a lot of truth in this. So when engaging in creative brainstorming, you will eventually want to fine-tune the idea into “what sells?” In other words, while money is not the entire goal, you should always keep the practical aspects of your idea in mind, and how it will sell once on the market. You must also brainstorm what market your finished product will likely fit into as well.


During the process of brainstorming, you will want to not only brainstorm about your product or idea, but also about the market that you plan to put your product in. By knowing your specific market, you should be able to fit the needs of your customers more to your product, thereby increasing your sales and loyalty to your product over the long haul.

Creativity in brainstorming is not hard. But it involves going through the stages from original concept to production, so that you not only focus on the idea but also on the end result. In business, this is as important as the creative process itself and it keeps the creative process focusing on end product, so that there is more of a fit between what you create and the customers’ needs and wants. In creative arts like writing or music composition, for example, it will help you to fine-tune the art that you put out so that your work not only inspires the imagination but also finds its audience.

Succss Tip: Business Plannning 101

SELLING YOU ON YOUR BUSINESS You’ve probably heard it said that a business plan is a selling … While it is very true that your business plan will be an … aid to you in selling your bu

SELLING YOU ON YOUR BUSINESS You’ve probably heard it said that a business plan is a selling document. While it is very true that your business plan will be an invaluable aid to you in selling your business to others,Guest Posting you may not have considered that it can be a great way to sell or re-sell YOU on the business you have started. By examining how your ideas and products fit into the competitive environment, you can get excited about the potential of your business and become reinvigorated. A business plan can also be a good way to determine new directions your business should go. As you delve into the marketplace, examining your competitors and their products, and consider market trends, you may see new avenues for your business to follow and may even discover a potentially hot market niche that isn’t being filled. This could lead to a whole new direction for your company and vastly expanded revenues. By contrast, the discovery process you follow to develop your business plan might show you that the path you thought you wanted to follow isn’t viable, saving you months and years of frustration and a lot of cash! It may help you see a different path you need to follow and/or encourage you to concentrate on a different aspect of the business. HOW DOES A BUSINESS PLAN SELL YOUR BUSINESS? In order to succeed in today’s challenging business climate, you will need to exploit every opportunity that comes your way. The only way to do this is to understand where the opportunities are and put your business into a position to pursue them. A business plan makes this possible. Just as importantly, your company’s business plan is seen by others as your company representative. It tells interested parties who you are, what you do, how you fit into the crowd, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. Your business plan can help you with the following: · To obtain bank financing: Bankers are understandably nervous about risking money on new endeavors, and there are many more companies out there asking for money than there is money to be distributed. Companies that have a written business plan have an edge because banks understand the importance of formal planning. · To acquire investment funds: To investors, a business plan is a screening device. If they like what they see in your business plan, they’ll take the next step and talk to your executives. · To arrange strategic alliances: A business plan is often the only tool an established company has to assess whether they want to do business with a company that is not yet established. · To obtain large customer contracts: Large customers are reluctant to commit funds and take business risks to do business with an unknown entity. Your business plan helps them understand that you are well grounded and know what you’re doing. · To attract quality employees: A well designed business plan allows potential, key employees to get a comfort level with your company so they will be willing to commit their professional future to you. · To complete mergers and acquisitions: Companies that are looking to buy other companies look closely at these companies’ business plans before deciding which ones they want to pursue. THE RESULTS OF NOT CREATING A PLAN CAN BE A KILLER FOR YOUR BUSINESS! Your business plan is an invaluable tool for helping you understand your business environment so that you can optimize your revenues. Through this important document you will come to understand your competitive environment. You will also be able to determine how you should market your product and what avenues your sales efforts should pursue. The negative results of not performing these exercises can be overwhelming if you are working under limited resources. The following case study, based on a real company whose name has been changed to protect the innocent, is just one example of the many costly mistakes you can make if you don’t create a plan and stay with it. Case Study – The John Doe Company The John Doe Company didn’t have a Sales and Marketing plan. They had no go-to-market strategy and didn’t even know who their target market was. The sales and marketing function was represented by an individual who didn’t have any sales or marketing in her professional background. Not having a comfort level in an area where she was not skilled, and working under no specific plan, this individual was subject to whim and fancy in her marketing decisions. The unfortunate result? The company attended several trade shows a year, spending thousands upon thousands on travel, show fees, and lost man hours for something that brought them no actual revenues and no real leads. In addition, the company instituted expensive giveaways at these shows, such as diamonds, which brought them nothing in return. This VP with no sales and marketing plan also lost the company thousands of dollars advertising in magazines that did not attract the company’s target market and spent untold thousands flying around the world to pursue customers from leads that had not been qualified. Since the leads had not been qualified, many of these expensive customer visits were with customer representatives who had no intention of buying, had no money earmarked to buy, and/or who were not even empowered to make a buying decision. The John Doe Company’s lack of a sales and marketing plan, along with having the wrong individual in a position to make unguided decisions, has most likely cost the company more in lost revenues and squandered resources over the 3 years they’ve been in business than they’ve made over that same period of time.

Although the above case study could be considered a worst case scenario, it is fairly representative of the types of problems companies encounter when they have no sales and marketing plan. YOUR BUSINESS PLAN CAN SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCE BUSINESS RISK A business plan that is truly a working document can substantially reduce business risk for your company. Day to day decisions should be run through the filter of your business plan to determine what fits and what doesn’t. Your plan can validate issues that fit within it, and should be altered when necessary to allow for new opportunities that may stretch the parameters of the plan but support your overall goals. The result is that you will make “strategic” decisions rather than pursuing costly whims or suffering under an “idea of the day” mentality. In addition to pro forma financial elements, the business plan foundation is cemented with solid sales and marketing elements to guide you toward more revenues and higher profit. It should identify routes to market for your optimum sweet spot, and show you when to hire key personnel, and who to hire, saving you from costly hiring mistakes. GETTING STARTED: ANALYZE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN TO BECOME MORE COMPETITIVE The first step in becoming more competitive is to perform a complete, objective analysis of your business plan. It will be extremely difficult for you to view your business dispassionately and perform an objective assessment. For this reason, you will probably want to look at contracting with outside professionals to perform your assessment. These industry experts have decades of corporate experience in building successful sales and marketing strategies to help them understand your challenges and how to address them. An outside consultant can provide you with a comprehensive analysis that culminates in a gap analysis and steps to address the holes in your overall business plan. Once you have this assessment and know where the gaps are, you can begin to build a plan that will enable your company to effectively win against any and all competitors, big or small. You can either perform the steps to execute the plan internally, or hire outside expertise to perform those functions that you don’t have the knowledge and experience to perform. This straightforward and easy to implement process will get your company on the fast track to more sales. KEY BUSINESS PLAN ELEMENTS Key elements of your working business plan include the following: · Executive Summary: vision, mission, company objectives, keys to success · Company Overview: focus, current product/service description, future products/services, positioning of products/services, business concept, current situation, key success factors · Organization: stakeholders, board members, employees, strategic advisors · Operations: key personnel, organizational structure, human resources plan, product/service delivery, customer service/support, facilities · Market analysis: the overall market, anticipated changes in the market, market segments, target market and customers, customer characteristics, needs, and buying decisions · Competitive analysis: key competitive capabilities, key competitive weaknesses, competitive evaluation of products/services, industry overview, nature of the competition, changes in the industry, primary competitors, competitive products/services, opportunities, threats and risks · Sales and Marketing Plan: go to market strategy, competitive overview, sales tactics, marketing plan, channel plan, advertising plan, promotions/incentives, publicity, trade shows, partnerships and alliances · Financial Overview: short and long term views of the company’s situation/needs, assumptions and comments, starting balance sheet, profit-and-loss projection, cash flow projection, balance sheet projection, ratios and analyses YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IS A WORK IN PROGRESS If you created a business plan when you started your business but have not taken the time to update it over the months and years, you are not much better off than if you’d never created one. Business plans are meant to be working documents, and will become stale and useless if they aren’t updated. As stated before, a business plan is a selling document. It sells your business and its executives to potential backers of your business, from bankers to investors to partners to employees. Early stage companies need effective business plans to attract investors. All companies need an effective plan to guide the business. Companies that lack effective and updated business plans often suffer from unrealized revenues, lost opportunities, significant competitive losses, reactive hiring decisions, and poor profit and loss financial performance. Rather than being a working document that guides your business, an unrealized business plan can become a nagging item on your strategic “to do” list. Ideally, you should maintain a workable business plan to determine where the company needs to go, warn of possible roadblocks, develop contingencies, and keep the business on track to reach planned goals. LET YOUR BUSINESS PLAN WORK FOR YOU Sales and Marketing Pros can guide you through the process of revising or developing your overall business plan. SMP’s Opportunity Maximizer Workshop performs a full-scale assessment of your business plan, including your sales and marketing infrastructure. The workshop provides you with a gap analysis and steps to close the identified gaps. SMP also offers part or full time Advisory Services from executive level business professionals, sales and marketing experts, business writers, and a full array of document, graphic, and website support; allowing you to just pick up the phone and request help as you need it. SMP is ready to work with you and your team to package your business so that it embraces the future. With creative planning and packaging, you will win the in marketplace, at both the investor and the customer levels. Contact Bob Decker at 952-955-1200 or via email at [email protected] for more information.

Me? Owning My Own Business?

Me? Owning My Own Business? The idea of a home-based business sounds really good to many people, at least in theory… The idea that prosperity, wealth and financial independence are…

Freedom is something we here in the United States cherish. We,Guest Posting as a nation, have never been defeated, within our borders, by any other nation. Our ancestors fought for freedom. We have demonstrated, as a nation, the fulfillment of the American Dream: the idea that prosperity, wealth and financial independence are available to anyone willing to put forth the effort through honesty, hard work and strong determination.

Therefore, the concept and expectation of freedom seems to be engrained within us as Americans. This being the case, we naturally tend to rebel against any form of tyranny or oppression. 9/11 demonstrated this, as at least some form of patriotism became strongly evident. We value the freedom to make our own decisions and live our own lives, without fear of reprisal or repercussion.

We value the freedom to create our own schedule, own personal property, and voice our own opinions, in a world filled with dictators and mad tyrants. We value our leisure time, as sales of sports equipment, video games, and many other items relating to recreation will testify.

Freedom is one thing that makes the idea of a home-based business attractive. You can make your own hours, set your own pace, and not worry about someone else telling you what to do. Being your own boss is an idea that sounds really good to many people, at least in theory.

The idea of setting our own schedule seems very obtainable to us, living in a free country as we do. This is why the idea of having a home-based business–not having to report to a boss—seems so attractive to us.

Perhaps you think “I could never do that; I could never be successful on my own, in my own business.” If you have such doubts, don’t worry; a lot of people tend to have the same concerns when starting out. But let’s set aside the defeatist attitude for a moment and think about the possibilities.

If you examine the lives of those who have been successful, you will find an attitude of determination. If you want something badly enough, you will usually get it.

A weightlifter who thinks, “I’ll never lift that!” will fail. A black belt attempting to break boards with his hand and thinks, “There’s no way I’m going to break that!” is merely going to hurt his hand. Yet the person who says, “I’m going to do this, and nothing is going to stop me” will succeed. Obstacles may come, but as long as that person keeps his eyes on the goal, and not on the obstacles, he will get what he’s after.

There are thousands of opportunities out there. You should not expect to get rich overnight, and you can’t believe all the claims that are advertised, but if you can find what it is you enjoy, and turn that into a home-based business, life might even then become a little more enjoyable and fulfilling.

A friend of mine has always had the attitude that nothing is going to stop him from obtaining the goals that he has set for himself—goals that are often quite lofty and not easily obtained. But you know what? He has, so far, obtained every single goal that he has set for himself. Why? Because he doesn’t let obstacles stand in his way. Has he merely had it easy? No way. He has had all kinds of things try to hinder him. But his attitude is one that is unstoppable. He has made up his mind to obtain those goals, and in his mind, those goals are already obtained. And he’s not afraid of putting forth the work and effort that is required to reach those goals.

Have you ever sat down and talked with a handicapped person? Most of them, despite the fact that life seems to have ‘ripped them off’ in at least one area, go on with their life, despite their handicap. And often they are a stronger person because of it. It would be easy for them to use their handicap as an excuse to give up on life, but many of them instead have a positive, overcoming attitude towards life.

Helen Keller said, we can do anything we want as long as we stick to it long enough. Someone else said that if you do nothing, you will make no mistakes. Yet, if you do nothing, you will get nowhere. If you never try, you will never know what you could have accomplished. Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes another one opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

What is it that you want out of life? What is it that is stopping you from getting it? Once you answer these questions for yourself, you can then explore ways to overcome any obstacles that are hindering you from obtaining your dream.

Working from home has currently become the “in” thing. Home computers, fax machines, e-mail, and the availability of the internet have together made owning your own business easier than ever. Throw in factors such as commuter traffic; rude drivers; single-parent families; wanting to spend more time with your kids; lack of job security; an increasing necessity to work past retirement age; and the idea of being stuck in a 9-to-5 daily slot, and working from home becomes a very appealing and attractive option.

Of course, starting your own small business takes planning, work and perseverance. Nothing good comes easy. If you’re considering starting your own small business, do as much research as you can. Be realistic in evaluating your strengths and weaknesses. Whatever product you sell, you need to have customers who will be interested in purchasing your product; so you need to find out what your customers like and don’t like.

Of course, business smarts, management skills, organizational skills, and above all, optimism, are very helpful qualities when it comes to owning your own business and being successful at it. If you’re lacking in some or all of those qualities, however, you may be able to partner with someone who does excel in those areas.

Having a unique idea is another thing that can be very helpful, though not necessarily essential. If you can think of something that people want but is not currently available, and capitalize on that idea, you are a step ahead.

How can you make your business stand out from the rest? How is your product different from all the others that are similar? How can you make customers excited or interested in your product? How much are customers willing to pay for such a product? These are some things you need to consider when starting your own business.

The 2010 Census found 2.8 million people working at home. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey found 7.7 million working at home, 4.1 million of whom were working in a home-based business. Obviously, working at home is becoming an increasingly-popular option.

One way to begin a home business is to take advantage of established home business opportunities, including online affiliate programs. That way, most of the preliminary work has already been done for you. Though you need to exercise caution and discernment when examining the many home business opportunities and online affiliate programs, they may provide the freedom and financial independence you have been looking for.

Let’s face it: it’s extremely difficult to come up with a great business idea and then find the motivation, courage and inspiration to actually start the business; not to mention all the legal and management details, etc. That’s why established home business opportunities and online affiliate programs are so convenient.

Profit from Your Idea

Idea planning to come up with a … concept is much like creating a painting or writing a book. It starts with a blank canvas and … Brick by Brick Write down the seed of your idea

Idea planning to come up with a moneymaking concept is much like creating a painting or writing a book. It starts with a blank canvas and visualization.

Brick by Brick

Write down the seed of your idea in one sentence. Describe three ways in which this idea could generate a profit. Ask yourself if this product,Guest Posting plan, or service will meet a need? Who will use it?

Use an exploration tool such as the following to brainstorm your idea:

Stick in there. Gather in a room with a blank wall or a whiteboard and give each participant a set of sticky notes. Then state your goal or idea. Let’s say the goal is to generate ideas for XYZ Division to increase productivity levels. Have everyone write down three to five solutions and stick them on the board.

The facilitators should then designate three appropriate categories, such as Immediate Action, Pre-Planning and Not Appropriate – or something similar – and have the participants come up and arrange the sticky notes into the appropriate categories. This is an excellent technique for finding out what everyone is thinking.

Hammer It Out

In this phase you’ll produce a plan for implementing your idea. The following processes will help you define the practical details to address.

Strategy definition. From the analysis you did in the structuring phase above, you’ll be able to identify the resources you will need to implement these ideas, such as manpower. Does the idea create a viable solution? Is it unique? Can you move quickly with it?

Resource planning. List all the resources you’ll need to develop the idea into reality. Visualize its completion. How will you get there? Using the answers to the questions you asked in the definition phase above, set a timeline and a strategy for implementation and put this plan into an outline format or a project planning software tool. Or do another brainstorming session.

Will It Fly?

How will you know your idea planning has been successful? From the work you did in the building phase above, you should have enough information to come up with the following:

A value proposition. What benefit will your idea bring to your potential customers? To your company?

A format description. Just by pulling together the basic structure of your idea, you’ll be able to consolidate it into a format that describes the idea in detail.

A promotion strategy. Your previous work will help you identify the steps you need to take to promote your idea, and you can brainstorm strategies that will do the best job. This part takes thought, research and focus.

Restaurant Consultants – Should You Use Them Or Not ?

Restaurant consultants can help you avoid some very costly mistakes, when opening a restaurant and save money if already operating.

Many people may not think that they need a consultant when setting up their restaurant but they are vital to making sure that a restaurant has everything that it needs. In fact, a consultant should be called in at the initial start of planning when laying out the floor plan and even planning the concept menu.

Consultants are essential because they are trained to know everything about the restaurant industry and they are trained to notice the small details. For example, most people are not going to think about the fact that in addition to drainage for the sinks you will want drainage for the cutting boards.

They also do not really consider where to store silverware, or pots and pans and those with no restaurant experience may not realize how important the functionality of a kitchen is. There are things like flow patterns to consider and many people consider how good looking a kitchen is first because that is similar to what is done in a home.

This is why it is important to make sure that a budget is set aside right in the beginning when you are deciding how to separate the funding that you have received or when you are planning out what you are going to need funding on. Restaurant consultants should be one of the first considerations when planning out the funding of your restaurant.

If you do not want to open up using a consultant consider using one before you begin any building or construction. You may even want to consult with one while searching for properties if you are planning on using an already existing building for your location.

The results of not using a consultant can be costly. There are some instances when a small mistake is made or something is overlooked that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix when it is found out later. This could mean needing additional funding or even having to wait when it come to opening if the mistake is one that needs to be corrected before the restaurant can open.
Restaurants take a great deal of planning and they do take funding and it is best to make sure that the funding is properly used and that none of it is wasted on mistakes that can easily be found before they become a costly problem. It is important to make sure that a consultant is called in and used as soon as possible in the planning stages of the restaurant.

They should not be called in when the restaurant is complete or for just interior design. These consultants are trained to be able to help with everything from the concept menu to floor plans and some are even trained to assist in budgeting and fund allocation.

Setting aside a budget to pay for restaurant consultants should be one of the first things that is done with any restaurant. This will ensure that costly mistakes do not happen and the little details that make everything run smoothly are not overlooked.

Copyright 2008

Fire Consultants Can Make Fire Safety Much Easier For Businesses

Your business is naturally very important to you and nothing can hurt your business the way that a fire can. You need to be on top of everything that could happen if you own a business, not only to prevent fire breaking out, but to ensure that your premises are safe for your workforce and to make sure you are complying with current legislation. Fire consultants can do a lot of things for your company as they are professional and highly trained people who can give you fast answers to what you need to do to meet your legal obligations.

One option is to use fire consultants to train your staff to carry out your fire risk assessments. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your have a person on your own team who is well versed in protecting your business against the destruction of a building by fire and will save you money in the future. Fire consultants know building design, and the way that fire could start and travel through your building. Imagine having an employee on staff who shares this kind of knowledge too.

Fire consultants learn about concepts like fire engineering, which is the application of scientific and engineering principals, along with expert judgment. This includes a wealth of knowledge about fire, how it can start, the way it travels, what effect different chemicals can have, etc, much of which could be passed on to selected people in your team. For many businesses, this is enough in itself to make it well worth while hiring fire consultants to evaluate their building and provide training in fire risk assessment.

Why Are Fire Consultants a Good Idea For My Business?

Safety consultants are highly versed in the effects of different chemicals, and how they effect the burning of a fire.

Fire safety experts will have seen enough buildings and floor plans to make a good plan for your building as part of your emergency planning procedures.

They can train your staff in the art of fire prevention and detection.

They are versed in protecting your business against the destruction that a fire will cause.

They will give you the peace of mind to know the job is done properly and that you have complied with all current regulations.

They are experts at fire risk assessment, which is the starting point for most of your fire safety procedures.

You need to protect those things that you have taken most of your life to build, and your business is no exception. You do not spend more time in your life doing any other activity, then you do building your business, and one fire could destroy your life’s work. These are just some things that are so important that you can not afford not to do them, or to go down the cheap route. There is no single thing that is more destructive to your business then a fire. There are more ways for a fire to happen then any other form of destruction.

I will cover just a few of the ways that a fire can start in your business. One of the most common ways for a fire to start is if the building has any poor or worn electrical wiring. Malfunctioning equipment, bad or malfunctioning water heaters or radiators are very common causes. The bottom line here is that you should hire fire consultants if you have any doubt about your own capability to carry out a fire risk assessment or train your staff properly. This decision directly effects the safety of your building and your employees, so it is not one to be taken lightly.

Consultants – How to Choose, Use, and Not Abuse Them

Since my first consulting project almost thirty years ago, I have learned a lot about how to successfully manage consulting projects and the client – consultant relationship. Here are some ideas that may help you with your consultants (and your lawyers, accountants and other professionals).

Read before signing:
1. Before you introduce consultants to the process, be sure you need what you want and want what you need. Beware of consultants that agree to do whatever you want, whether you need it or not.

2. Look internally to confirm the three “C’s” of consulting project readiness: Capacity in budget, time and resources; Commitment of management and staff affected by the process; and Capability to support the project and implement the conclusions.

3. One more “C” – Compatibility. Select your consultants from an organisation that is compatible with yours – are you a corporate multinational or a local entrepreneurial business?

4. Recognize whether your consulting needs are strategic – requiring outside expertise to inspire and facilitate your business planning process; or operational – bringing knowledge, skills and experience that are not available internally.

5. Meet the operating consultant. It may not be the same charming, talented person that sold you the work. And at those fee rates you don’t want to train a recent MBA, who started last week and studied your industry yesterday.

6. Test – whether the consultant arrives with questions, not answers; will operate as neither boss nor employee; and will win the hearts and minds of your staff. Successful consultants will listen, understand, empathize, analyze, strategize, and persuade better than normal people.

7. Remember you are hiring a consultant to challenge and push you. You are not renting a friend to remind you how smart you are.

8. Can you confidently expect a solution that will be yours not theirs?

9. Ask for References. Call them.

10. Ask who is not on the reference list and why not. Learn what they think causes a project to be unsuccessful. And which list will you be on when this is over?

11. Ask for fee rates and a work plan with estimated hours. Then agree on a fixed fee for agreed deliverables – dates, documents, milestones.

12. Don’t let progress reports interfere with progress. Get what you need, not what they need for “CYA” requirements.

13. Check who else is billing time to your project. Sometimes there is a very expensive partner back at the office who needs to keep his billing rate up. Your budget can be quickly consumed while he “supervises” from a distance.

14. Avoid surprises. Ask about additional expenses – travel, telephone, printing. Terms of payment? Satisfaction guarantee?

15. Get it in writing, read it before signing it.

16. Watch for signs of trouble: selling more work before the work is done; long delays between on-site visits; too much time spent “back at the office” and billed to you.

17. And finally, remember consultants are people too. They want to boast about good work and satisfied clients. You can help them help you. Don’t be difficult.

Submitted with my respect and best regards to all my favourite clients and consultants,
Your Uncle Ralph
Del Chatterson
© September 2005

Why You Should Hire Food Service Consultants

Most people will visit new restaurants to try new foods and sample cuisines they are not familiar with. And at the same time are interested in dining in an entertaining atmosphere. Food service consultants can help you in providing a distinctive experience to your customers.

The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Acts that was recently passed is an indication of dining is now slanting towards healthier foods. Restaurant consultants can help you develop a menu and menu offerings that cater to families who want their children to eat foods that are good for them and control their weight. hospitality consultants typically provide a master recipe manual to do so. This is a compilation of standardized recipes, amounts of required ingredients, portion sizes, and detailed production methods. Most providers will include photographs to be used as a training aid to compare your dish with the one in the photo.

Specifications for hiring vendors who will supply you ingredients and guidelines for ordering food should also be part of the consulting services. And of course detailed recipe costing should be provided to ensure the menu delivers strong profits.

Hotel consulting services often includes services regarding kitchen operating procedures. Included in these services would be advice on the ideal locations and positioning of your kitchen equipment, so that orders can be produced quickly. A well orchestrated kitchen design can ensure an optimum efficiency in food getting delivered to the tables.

Staff training for using the equipment and maintaining it is also a service provided by these consultants. Any additional kitchen equipment which can help you earn more may also be suggested by them. Food handling and adhering to safety regulations are other areas where they provide guidance.

Look for a company which has experience in a range of restaurant types. It will be able to suggest many possible concepts for your restaurant. The company you choose should be an established one. The more the number of years of experience its employees have, the better they will be able to guide you.

Check their website to see the kind of concepts they have suggested to their clients. How innovative are they? Choosing a food service consultant which has alliances with architects and interior designers could be convenient in case you are setting up a new restaurant. A package deal may be more affordable.

Food service consultants who are chefs will know the challenges you face. They will be able to advise you accordingly. In case your restaurant is struggling to get business, they can help identify the problem and possible solutions. The Gilkey Restaurant Consulting Group has over thirty years experience in the restaurant industry. Call them today for a quote!