Ask an MSP Expert

Q: With the holidays coming up, it seems like a lot of customers are going to be out of the office. While it is nice to have a bit of a break, I’d like to use my time productively to move my MSP forward. What are some things I can do when it slows down around the holiday season?

While it’s nice to relax this time of year, even a few hours of free time can be used to do something productive to grow your MSP business. In the next few weeks, plan your time wisely to 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. Evaluate your 2017 numbers

To successfully plan for 2018, it’s important to look over how your business performed in the past year. Compile your key business metrics to provide a high-level review of the year. This can help you draw insights into what you should be focusing on. 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, 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 want to measure your business, but these are a good starting point.

2. Set business goals for 2018

Hopefully by this point in the year you’ve already completed your business planning for 2018. You should have a plan written down that describes your growth strategy for the next year and what goals you’re hoping to achieve.  If you haven’t done 2018 planning yet, this should be at the top of your to-do list.

If you already have your business plan set, use this time to meet with each of your team members to outline their personal goals and how they fit in with the company’s overall strategy. This will help each of your employees feel like a part of the company’s success, and they’ll be more motivated for the coming year.

3. Review your day-to-day processes

Due to the everyday challenges of running an IT services business, you probably don’t have any time to step back and look at how things are going. So, this is the perfect opportunity to review the day-to-day processes and operations in your business.

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Look for ways to streamline and simplify tasks and communication among the team. Review how your team works through different support cases and challenges. Are there things that work 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 new 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.

Recently, a study conducted by The 2112 Group and Barracuda MSP highlighted selling Security-as-a-Service to their SMB customers as a significant opportunity for MSPs going into 2018. Even with today’s looming threats, only 15 percent of the channel companies surveyed are offering some type of security service today, but 62 percent are planning on adding security services in the next 12 months. This could be a tremendous opportunity for your MSP to capitalize on in the coming year. To learn more about how to integrate security services into your offering, check out the e-book Mastering the Art of Selling Security-as-a-Service.

As you prepare for 2018, don’t forget to enjoy this time with your team and celebrate your success together. It’s also a great time of year to thank your customers for their business as well.  We hope you’re able to make the most of the holiday season, and we wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!

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Photo:  Elnur / Shutterstock.

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is an Editorial Associate at Barracuda MSP. In this position, she creates and develops content that helps managed service providers grow their business. She also regularly writes The MSP’s Bookshelf and our Ask an MSP Expert column.

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