Mary Gunther has been a sales representative for a large computer firm for seven years. She took this job after graduation from a large university, where she had majored in computer science. Recently Mary has been thinking about leaving the company and starting her own business. Her knowledge of die computer field would put her in an ideal position to be a computer consultant.
Mary understands computer hardware and software, is knowledgeable about the strong and weak points of all the latest market offerings, and has a solid understanding of how to implement a computer system throughout an organization. Mary believes many medium-sized firms around the country would like to introduce computer technology but do not know how to do so. The large manufacturers, such as the one for which she works, are more interested in selling hardware than in helping their clients develop a fully integrated, company-wide computer system. Small consulting firms have to be brought in to do this. Mary feels that as a consultant she not only would be able to evaluate a computer’s effectiveness, but also would know how to set up these machines so they would provide maximum benefit to the company.
Mary estimates that if she were to leave the computer firm tomorrow, she could line up ten clients immediately. This would provide her with sufficient income for six months. She is sure that during this period she would have little difficulty getting more clients. Six of these ten firms are located on the East Coast, two of them are in the Midwest, and the remaining two are in California. Mary estimates that it would take about two weeks to install a system and have it working, and it would probably take another 2 days to correct any problems that occur later on. These problems would be handled on a follow-up visit, usually 10 to 14 days later.
The idea of starting her own venture appeals to Mary. However, she is not sure she wants to leave her job and assume all the responsibilities associated with running her own operation. Before going any further, she has decided to evaluate her own abilities and desires and make certain this is the right career move for her.
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