Starting an IT Security Business today is important than ever before. The amount of companies related to furniture, kitchens, homes, and the home services are growing. However, if you consider that cyber crimes are increasing in the digital world, you might have a new niche that isn’t saturated and can represent a new opportunity for you.
After all, businesses are also suffering from a rising financial burden. According to an IBM report, the average data loss costs $3.92 million. There is way too much money spent on restoring and protecting information; thus, finding reliable companies is more than a need.
Companies with large budgets can hire cybersecurity personnel, but this doesn’t guarantee the people hired will be enough to handle all cyberattacks and risks. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses are often unable to afford full-time cybersecurity staff, and the risks are higher.
This is why your cybersecurity skills can be turned into a profitable security solutions business out of the regular options in the entrepreneurship world and can bring great benefits and earn your way.
Your focus will usually be these smaller businesses that need a hand from someone who offers individual services and can protect them from cyber threats like data breaches and cyberattacks, malware, phishing schemes, and other digital threats.
But if you decide to start your own business here, how can you do it?
No one said that entrepreneurship is easy, and there is no exception for an IT security business even when the logistics and factors involved to make it happen usually seem to be less than usual.
Well, we are sad to tell you this will be a wild ride, but it is one we can help you with by providing all the steps you need to start it.
Are Your Certified? Make Sure You Are
It is only logical to invest time in obtaining all the knowledge you need to work in this industry, especially in one that involves a lot of details and crucial elements you need to protect for your clients.
This is why you need to take your time to get certified and become a professional (if you aren’t already) in order to offer your services without ending up being a scam for others.
If you know there’s no need to take all those classes and courses; you can show that you are skilled in cybersecurity and IT-related businesses by taking the right tests and getting certified.
Remember that being knowledgeable isn’t the same as having experience, so you might want to add details regarding how capable you are. But focusing on the certifications, these are the ones we recommend you to obtain:
- Certified Ethical Hacker Certification: It is issued by the EC-Council to cybersecurity professionals who examine systems for weaknesses and handle network security for a fixed cost of $100 and takes approximately four hours to complete.
- GIAC Safety Essentials Certification (GSEC): It validates IT professionals’ information security knowledge, costs $150, and takes about five hours to complete.
- Certified Cloud Security Professional: This certification is issued by the ISC, which shows potential clients that your skills are able to secure, design, maintain and secure cloud data, applications, and infrastructure. It is one of the most expensive certifications as its cost is set at $599.
- CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CompTIA CySA+): The exam measures candidates’ threat detection abilities, ability to interpret and analyze data, and to find security problems for a price of $359.
Other certifications are available based on your location and the specific services you aim to offer in your IT security business. Yes, you need to choose the specific services you will be working with to set a services list.
Also, remember that although certifications and skills are important, they are only one part of a successful strategy to start a cybersecurity company and usually the start of the journey.
Design Your Business Plan
This is something you will probably get tired of reading about. Still, a business is nothing without a well-written and designed business plan that can follow all the journey and steps you should take to achieve your goals and avoid as many issues as possible.
Although business plans are required throughout the business’s existence, the launch will be the most influenced phase of the company due to the inexperience and recent years that come with common issues.
Now, creating a business plan isn’t that simple, and we are very aware of this. It involves a lot of information, sections, details, other strategies, and plans included inside it, and well, it is a lot of work.
However, to make your life a bit easier, this is the information—the essential one—that should be included in your business plan for an IT security business:
- Write down information about you, including your experience in the industry, career history, and qualifications potential clients should know about in order to highlight the information later during your branding and marketing.
- Aim for the simple yet crucial aspects of the business, including the name, services, customer goals, and operating model.
- You should include your mission, vision, and values to make them clear while promoting your business.
- A SWOT analysis is required to identify weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business, your ideas and steps to take, and any aspect of the company.
- Start determining how to finance your business, try to forecast sales or services hirings, and create launch budgets.
- Come up with the descriptions of your services along with their prices and what you need to perform them to add the equipment or elements needed to your budget.
- Determine the legal procedures and documents you need to start your business based in your country but also state and city.
- Include market research in all relevant areas related to your business and niche.
- Create a separate marketing plan that includes free and paid methods for your business.
We must mention there isn’t a specific standard of everything you should include in your business plan, but the previous points are more than just the basic ones for sure.
However, find yourself noticing relevant elements and information that should be included since your business plan will also be shown to possible financers. You should add it as long as everything is well developed.
Work in Identifying Your Market
As we mentioned before, you need to determine what services you will offer. We fall down to this aspect in specific right here since the IT security niche involves many alternatives you can cover or choose to specialize in.
To come up with a decision in this matter, the market analysis should be able to provide enough information to make a well-informed decision since you can spot potential opportunities with the familiarity you gain from your research.
But what does this market analysis must include an answer for you to make a decision?
Focus on determining your competitors’ weaknesses and strengths and what makes them stand out in the industry.
With this, start answering questions related to how you can impose yourself as an authority and take the market share from your competitors.
The previous SWOT exercise mentioned can be used for this in specific, considering what it allows you to determine.
If you have your doubts about all the services you can cover in this niche to work in identifying your market based on competitors in them as well, these are part of the most common ones:
- Endpoint security.
- Malware protection.
- Mobile security.
- Threat intelligence and safety.
- Mobile app security testing.
- Web security.
- Security analytics.
- Security awareness training.
- Hybrid cloud security.
Time to Choose Your Legal Structure
Have you ever thought about how businesses are built? Or, to be more specific, how everything works around a structure and the difference between each of them? Or is it as simple as just starting one and getting some documents done in a day? Well, it is more complicated than this.
First, it is crucial to understand the legal structure of your company and the options you have available for it since this has a significant impact on everything, from your daily operations to taxes and financial risk.
Based on the information provided by the SBA, five legal structures are chosen over other new and no so new alternatives:
- Sole proprietorship: It is the most common and simple since it doesn’t take long to set up. It consists of a single person running a business and reporting company profits and losses to the individual tax return. You can be personally held responsible for any debts or obligations the business owes you because there is no legal distinction between you and the business.
- Partnership: This is the usual structure for companies that 2+ people own and thus, cannot be registered as a sole proprietorship. Each person reports profits on their individual tax returns, which is one of the biggest differences from the previous options.
- Limited-Liability Company (LLC): To keep it simple, an LLC is a mix of a sole proprietorship and a partnership. The concept of this structure is to limit the liability of owners and segregate your personal assets from your company. However, owners must still report income and expenses to the business on their personal income taxes.
- S corp: Confident you haven’t heard much about it, this one allows you to pay yourself a salary and be responsible for all payroll taxes. Any profits left over can be distributed to the owners as distributions. This option has the advantage of a lower tax rate, but it comes with more rules and paperwork.
- C corporation: The structure allows the corporation to be a separate legal entity. It can make a profit, tax, and be held legally responsible. The corporation can have unlimited shareholders, with limited liability for its debts. However, they can be subject to tax on any earnings.
To make the decision of what structure would be the best for your business, not only focus on the fact if you will have partners or not, and the other superficial aspects. Instead, make sure you discuss the topic with a lawyer to understand all the pros and cons and what suits you the most.
Get Your Business License & A Separated Bank Account
To open a cybersecurity business, you will need to consult with the appropriate state and local authorities to determine what licenses you need to start your business.
However, we know that you don’t require a federal license, unlike many other companies in different niches, which will make the process of getting all your licenses much quicker.
There are different terms and conditions to apply for a business license and have it approved, which will vary depending on the state and sometimes, even the city.
Also, a business bank account will be frustrating to handle since a lot of paperwork is required, and we know you will feel tempted to just open a personal account, but seriously, don’t do it.
You can find fee-free accounts at local, national, and online banks, which will save you lots of money for your business if you just handle the paperwork for a bit.
In addition, a business credit card may be something you might consider. This can allow you to keep your personal and business finances separate and avoid any problems with the budget and other parts of the money.
Business credit cards often offer better terms and greater limits than personal ones as well. You will get a revolving credit line and perks such as cashback and rewards points.
No matter what legal structure you have, any small business can get business credit cards. However, your credit score will affect the offers and cards available to sole proprietors as well as new businesses.
All Done? Not Yet: You Need Funding
Any new business will require significant capital investment, and this is no secret for anyone but rather people’s main worry.
However, this doesn’t have to be a nightmare if you take the time to go over the details. First, you should be able to determine how much money is required to start your private security company and how much you will need each month, every quarter, or every year to pay your regular expenses and make a profit.
The launch budget should include all expected expenses such as premises rent, staff training costs, and insurance. Your sales forecasts should be mapped out for the first three years and appropriate time periods such as monthly.
These figures will help you determine the amount of funding you need to start your business and determine the best financing option.
Personal savings, family loans, friends’ private loans, bank loans, specialist loans, angel investors, or a combination thereof could all be used.
Writing a well-written business plan can help you secure financing from banks and other specialist providers, which takes us back to the relevance of not skipping this step.
Start Promoting Your Business
With the financing secured and all your plans developed, it is only logical to go to the part where you build and start your business, which we will be skipping as it is natural.
What we want to pay attention to is the fact that your business cannot survive without customers. Therefore, marketing is the next important part to handle for your future and success.
You can outsource marketing or hire experts if you don’t intend to do it yourself. Their expertise will be invaluable in helping you launch your brand and service or work from where you left them to bring great improvements.
However, since we are talking about starting a business, start with the basics before you go too far in marketing. A well-designed website is the first step to a cybersecurity business, and it must look and operate more than just perfectly.
Your web presence is your most valuable marketing asset. You need to make it work well and avoid the common mistakes of speed or poor UX and UI.
Search engines and social media can help potential customers find your site. It is possible to establish a social media presence on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
These platforms can be used to promote your business and share cybersecurity news. You might consider hiring a content consultant to help with your blog writing if you have the budget and want to rely on this marketing strategy.
Online marketing is something that cybersecurity companies should consider all the time due to the nature of the niche and how they operate. However, traditional networking is crucial for any business, regardless of its niche, so don’t miss community events in your locality.
Get New Employees & Train Them
You won’t be able to complete all the services of your business on your own, so you will need to hire staff sooner than later.
The cost of staffing can be a major expense. We get the point of your worries about not finding trustworthy people who can meet your standards, guarantee they won’t steal your clients and remain private when working with sensitive data or others of any indole.
This is what you need to make sure you invest in the right people at the right time.
This is why it’s important to carefully consider job descriptions, salary requirements, qualifications, and previous experience to help you save money over the long term and come across the right people.
Frontline security personnel must hold the appropriate SIA licenses and qualifications. You can either hire individuals with these qualifications or create a training plan.
If you’re looking for office assistants, then search the qualifications required and indicate them in your job description.
Background checks will be required for potential security personnel to ensure that they are clean of any criminal convictions. You’ll be able to hire the best staff possible by doing thorough background checks from the beginning.
Finally, Protect What You’ve Got
The best investment you can make in your future and yourself is to start a new business. However, it is often at risk not only by cyberattacks you must be very well aware of but regular people trying to take everything from you out of jealousy.
This is why you shouldn’t forget about insurance for your IT security business, your employees, and yourself to secure everything that belongs to you, even if it is just a rock.
For the insurance company, aim for affordable yet reputable alternatives that can provide all the insurance options you need for the business.
The Local Lead Generation Process for Your IT Security Business
All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?
The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).
Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:
The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.
Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”
You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.
The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.
The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.
Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.
To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.
By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.
An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor
You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.
HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.
They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.
If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.
HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.
Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services. They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).
Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?
They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.
However, you need to remember two facts:
- Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
- They don’t generate “natural” leads.
Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.
Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.
What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.
When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.
What Is Local SEO?
Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.
What does this mean?
Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.
To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.
If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.
Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.
“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.
Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.
Can My IT Security Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.
Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.
Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.
How Powerful Are Organic IT Security Leads from Google?
For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.
This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.
I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.
However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.
On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.
You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.
What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?
Here it goes: you can work from home.
The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.
We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high. Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.
You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.
Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.
So, let’s summarize this:
- You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
- You can bet on passive income.
- There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
- You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.
How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?
Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.
Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?
You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.
You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.