As we start to come out of lockdown; there is still a lot of uncertainty. People are talking about a ‘new normal’ with no clear idea of what that means for many businesses – what will the impact be when staff come back from furlough and longer-term plans can be made? Will project work restart or will the upturn be faster? Our work patterns as lockdown eases will be likely to look different and it looks as though remote working will be here to stay in some format for many businesses.
So, how have the changes affected you, as the owner of an MSP business? I’ve spoken to several MSP’s over the last few weeks – some who are my clients and some who are not. And their experience of the pandemic has been quite uniform except for one thing – how confident they are about what comes next. Across the board there was a rush of work as they helped their customers get set up for remote working in March – which meant tremendous pressure on resources – and that’s now settled down. At the same time many had orders delayed, projects postponed and cashflow worries became a real concern. Those who maintained robust marketing activity are starting to see new business convert and many existing clients are realising that shifting working patterns means office-based servers won’t work going forwards. For many, it’s accelerated moves to the cloud which is a transition to modern working practices and for MSPs improved revenue streams and profitability.
How you and your business reacted to the pandemic and now respond to this ongoing period of uncertainty can depend on where you are in what I call The MSP Journey. This is the model I use when working with my MSP clients and this month I’ve made it publicly available for the first time. It helps MSP owners understand whereabouts they are on the path to success. I’ve split the journey up into 4 key stages – Survive, Drive, Thrive and Arrive – and each stage is recognisable by the way the business is working, what the owner is typically doing, how many staff you have and what sort of turnover you’re doing.
Many of my clients, who have been working with me for a number of years, have been in a position to react well to the current crisis. This has been because they have stable and secure businesses and were able to respond quickly to the needs of their customers and upscale their services as required. They haven’t had to furlough many staff and where they have, it’s been a response to reduced working patterns as opposed to cashflow problems. As a result, they are ready to move to the next phase as customers look to return to work and the government lifts restrictions.
What’s made the difference between those businesses who are thriving despite these difficult times and those who are surviving? Well, the Boy Scouts had it right – it’s ‘Be Prepared’. I realise that a global pandemic is not what we all expect to be prepared for – but all businesses should be prepared for uncertain times. Because you never know that your biggest customer is about to go bust, or a key member of staff is leaving, or you get an unexpected bill – until it happens!
I work with MSP owners to help them build a unique plan, for their own business, that reflects their own goals – both for the business, and themselves. Some owners desperately want to release themselves from the day to day running of the business and just concentrate on the bits that excited them enough to start the business in the first place! Some want to build an empire. Most are somewhere in between. Whatever your business, and personal goals, having a business coach can help you get there. Because I specialise in working with MSP businesses, I understand the unique quirks of the IT channel and have years of experience to back me up. Have a look at my website – www.stuart-warwick.com and see for yourself what some of my customers say.
In the meantime, you can now download The MSP Journey for yourself! I’d love to know what you think – so please, download, enjoy and get in touch!