No matter how much joy you get from running your own business, everyone needs a little time away from it all once in a while. The routine can get tiresome and the pressure associated with managing employees and dealing with difficult clients builds over time, and conversations with even the nicest business partners can get a bit stale. A little time away for “recharging the batteries” can also be vital for the continued success of the organization and the sanity of the other people who make it all happen. Repetition, no matter how enjoyable it may seem, can be toxic to morale and concentration for business owners— as well as their employees.
Of course, for managed services providers, the “routine” operations are what keep their clients’ business systems online and ensure their customer support remains top-notch. As everyone knows, when business and support processes are not working perfectly, the life of an MSP becomes a lot more complicated. That’s why it’s so important to not only implement industry best practices, but to continually refine those procedures to ensure they remain effective over time. It also makes employee onboarding and training much easier, which helps ensure long-term business stability which, in turn, allows the owner more time to step away from daily operations.
For those who wish to maintain their sanity AND successfully grow their business, process continuity and automation are critical. Routine operations are best delegated to subordinates or, when possible, computer applications and other machines. When those everyday tasks are removed from an owner’s list of responsibilities, he can focus more attention on the company’s strategic plans and other imperative business pursuits—and leaves time for family, friends and non-work activities.
That’s why it’s so important for MSPs to put the right people and the proper systems in place. Both offer assurance that these companies can operate effectively with, or without, their principals on site and helps ensure that their client’s systems will receive the appropriate attention—regardless of who is in charge.
While summer is almost here, MSPs still have time to initiate changes that may let them take a few extra vacation days this year, or at least an afternoon off every week to hone their golf game or sailing skills. Each of the following four project ideas can help providers find the time and energy needed to develop strategic plans and grow the business, and give them a well-deserved break from the daily routine.
- Fully implement the company PSA: professional services automation applications are much more than ticketing systems. They offer a variety of integrations and features that allow MSPs to streamline their operations, but many companies utilize an extremely small percentage of these capabilities. Just connecting the company’s remote monitoring tools or its accounting package can shave several hours form its workload each month.
- Automate everything possible: beyond the PSA, most MSPs implement the same technologies in their own business that they recommend to their clients. Cutting-edge providers employ automatic marketing systems and unified communications, linking CRM and web processes to speed client acquisition and customer service operations (while reducing the manual labor and associated labor costs).
- Leverage business partners: MSPs who collaborate with peers and contractors have more options for building new practices, improving sales and getting away from it all. Partners often offer support for specific vertical market applications and unique technologies, or lend resources or a helping hand when needed. Outsourced help desk providers are also a great resource when MSPs need extra assistance or some rare expertise.
- Cross train employees: ensure that the “home team” has the skills and expertise needed to manage multiple job responsibilities, especially when needed. Does every key staff member have a backup who can step into the role? A bench full of cross-trained techs gives an MSP more scheduling flexibility and offers options when the star player needs a day (or week) off—or leaves the organization.
Of course, none of these tasks can be accomplished overnight and none are ever really complete. Each offers an opportunity for an MSP to improve internal processes and increase revenue, which makes taking a vacation a lot easier.