Q: During this holiday week, it seems like most of my customers are out of the office. While I’m happy to have a break from the controlled chaos that usually comes with running an IT services business, I want to make sure we use this time productively. What can I do to make the most of my customers’ holiday vacations?
We’re glad to hear you’re enjoying some well-deserved downtime! Some of our MSP Partners have also mentioned that they’re experiencing a similar lull in requests from their customers and have time to focus on other projects for a week or two.
While it’s nice to relax, it’s good to hear that you’re thinking about how this break can benefit your business. Even just a few hours of free time can be used to do something productive that will grow your MSP business. So, during the next few weeks of relative peace and quiet, make sure that you and your team are using the time wisely, and tackle a few of your to-do list items that you usually don’t have time to address. It will leave you feeling organized and accomplished heading into the new year.
Here are four things you can do to make the most of the peaceful holiday season for your MSP business:
1. Dig into your end of year numbers
It’s important to look over how your business performed in the past year. Compiling your key business metrics will provide you with a high-level review of the year. Looking at these numbers will also help you draw insights into what you should be focusing on next year. For example, perhaps you hadn’t realized that the time of the average support case had risen significantly. Reviewing the monthly averages will bring to light these challenges so you can address them heading into the new year.
If you’re unsure where to get started, take a look at the number of new customers you signed, revenue per account, account growth rates, overall revenue for your business, EBITDA (profit), sales pipeline values, close rates, and average support ticket age in hours. The numbers you choose to review will depend on how you measure your business, but these are a good starting point.2. Set business goals for 2016
Hopefully by this point in the year you’ve already completed your business planning for 2016. Ideally, you have a one-page business plan written down that describes your growth strategy for the next year. If you haven’t done 2016 planning yet, this should be at the top of your list this week. As part of this plan, you should include short-term and long-term goals for your business. Remember to keep them specific and make sure they’re attainable.
If you already have these numbers compiled, use this time to meet with each of your team members to outline their personal goals and how they fit in with the overall goals of the company. This will help each of your employees to feel like a part of the company’s success and motivated for the year ahead.
Due to the day-to-day challenges of running an IT services business, you probably don’t have any time to step back and look at how things are going from a high-level, so use this time to review the day-to-day processes and operations in your business.
Look for ways to streamline tasks and communication amongst the team. Review how your team works through different support cases and challenges. Are there things that work quite well and others that create problems? Are there processes you could automate or create SOPs for? This will help you evaluate what’s working and what’s not and find opportunities to simplify.
4. Research growth opportunities
The new year brings new possibilities for your MSP business. As anyone in the IT channel knows, change is constant, and with that comes opportunities to grow your MSP business. Over the next few weeks of quiet, read up on the latest industry news and analysis and look for ideas or opportunities you want to explore further.
If you’re unsure where to get started, we’ve put together the top 10 IT channel experts to follow on Twitter and the top 6 websites for managed service providers. These resources will provide you with interesting, thought-provoking content that could spark a new idea or highlight an emerging trend that your business could benefit from in 2016. For example, perhaps you only sell to one specific vertical market and there’s value in targeting a new market. Or, maybe there’s a small business trend that might change the way you support your customers. In either case, it’s beneficial to keep up on what’s happening in the channel.
As you spend this downtime preparing for the year ahead, don’t forget to enjoy this time with your team and celebrate together. It’s also a convenient time of year to thank your customers for their business. We hope you’re able to make the most of the holiday season!
Ask Intronis is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. Submit your questions by emailing AskIntronis@intronis.com.