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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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11 New Year's Resolutions All MSPs Need to Stick To

Posted January 9, 2018by Scott Wittstock

11 New Year's Resolutions All MSPs Need to Stick To

Each new year, we gear up to make positive changes in our personal lives. We take time to organize, get active again and set our goals for the new year. The motivation for wanting positive change to happen at the new year exists because of the fundamental psychological drivers we share as humans. If we can capitalize on the inspiration we feel, then we can continue to grow and improve year after year.

In business as well, there is a compelling force that drives us to close out the old year and usher in the new year with improvements that help us strengthen our business in positive ways. Below are eleven resolutions every MSP should stick to in order to better their business in the new year.

The marking of the new year gives us a chance to shake off some of the daily grind and refocus. We continue to practice this year after year in our business, and I find the best and most lasting change happens when we approach the year-end checklists with forethought and planning. We document what we do and when we do it so that next year we won’t be surprised or unprepared. These become annual habits rather than resolutions. Then, habits become part of our process, and as time passes we get a little bit better because of them.

In the same way we approach completing projects for our customers, we start each new year with lessons learned from the previous year so we can build upon those successes and failures. Failures are as important as the successes—to name them, confess them and learn from them instead of repeating them.

From our list of annual considerations, I’ll share some ideas in the hope that one or two might spark an idea that could benefit your business as well.

Physical Office Space

  • Clean up and declutter your file cabinets. Archive long term files, and set up a file structure to get more organized for new year.
  • Inventory your warehouse or storage spaces, and pare down on accumulated junk.
  • Consider moving employees around. This can help them clean up their physical environment, and can give a renewed sense of spirit with a change of atmosphere.

Employees

  • The new year presents a good opportunity to review the people on your team. How much value are they bringing to the company? Is someone being compensated too much for what they are bringing to the table? Is someone towing more weight than others and deserves an increase in pay?
  • Ask employees to set goals and share them with managers. Training and development goals can be solidified after these conversations, and a schedule can be set to execute on these goals and add to their credentials.

Sales and Marketing

  • Set (and reset) sales goals. Maybe these goals are determined by a dollar amount, or possibly around a per-seat or number of agents deployed. Whatever it may be, setting these types of goals for sales is important to give your team a different way to achieve their goals.
  • Plot out your blog articles, website changes, and social media updates for the year or the quarter. Even if these ideas aren’t fully baked-out yet, it’s always a good idea to think ahead and know what’s coming.
  • Keep track of and map out historical trends. You can seriously benefit from knowing what times in the year are good for certain product sets, or which lines of business so you can spend less time in training and internal development.
  • Review trade shows you’ve attended and organizations you belong to. Did you gain anything by these alliances? Is the cost worth it or was the ROI not worth the alliance? Now is the time to reevaluate some of your business relationships to ensure you’re on the right path going forward.

Technology

  • Plan for your office technology road map. Do you have a replacement schedule for PCs and network equipment? Map out the purchases by quarter to get a holistic view of your spend.
  • Assess your existing technology. CRMs, PSAs, RMM tools—what are you not using to its full potential? Consider ways you can maximize the systems to better work for your processes.

As a small business owner, I’m sometimes struck by the fact that it hasn’t always been a given that similar companies share their successes and struggles with fellow business owners in our industry. I’m glad to share a few of the ways we have found success over time, and I hope this might help others to feel motivated to share what works for you. Learning from each other can propel our growth and strengthen our businesses. Happy New Year, and wishing you successful business and personal growth in 2018.

Know of any other resolutions that have benefited your business? Share with us in the comments below!

 

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Scott Wittstock, RCDD, is the founder and President of Fidelis Inc., a technology service provider in the Seattle area. His professional history began by serving as a US Marine where he was honored with multiple distinctions including; meritorious promotions and Marine of the year. After his military time, he went on to spend 20 years in the telecom industry where he predominantly installed large scale PBXs for enterprise customers and managed operations teams. In 2008 he founded Fidelis as a low voltage and voice communications company which has grown into the IT and MSP space.

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