Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Core SOPs for Small IT Providers - Five Week Class starts July 2nd

Core Standard Operating Procedures for Small IT Providers – W501

Taught By: Karl W. Palachuk

- Five Tuesdays

- July 2 - July 30

- Register Now!

You're guaranteed to learn something that will make or save you the price of admission!

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

- All classes are recorded

When I take on new coaching clients, they have many of the same issues over and over again. This is true of clients with $50 Million in revenue as well as those under $1 Million. And almost all of them boil down to SOPs – Standard Operating Procedures. Or the lack thereof.

Everyone knows you need SOPs. In fact, you probably know which ones you need. But where do you start?

This course will cover the most important procedures you need to have in place to run an efficient and highly profitable Managed Services Business.

Whether you're a new Computer Consultant or an experienced Managed Service Provider, you need to create successful processes that will propel your company forward. Nothing is more critical to making profit than having the right processes and procedures in place!

When I take on new coaching clients, they have many of the same issues over and over again. And almost all of them boil down to SOPs - Standard Operating Procedures. Or the lack thereof.

Everyone knows you need SOPs. In fact you probably know which ones you need. But where do you start?

You will learn:

  • A practical introduction to SOPs
  • The relationship matrix of SOPs
  • - Clients
  • - Employees
  • - Vendors
  • Internal Organization
  • The Ten Most Important SOPs for your IT Consulting Business
  • SOPs management, organization, and updates
  • Implementation strategies internally
  • Implementation strategies for clients
  • Service Department SOPs
  • - Building
  • - Training
  • - Deployment
  • - Upkeep
  • Avoiding the biggest pitfalls with SOP development and deployment
  • Building an Action Plan that works
  • and more!

Course Outline:

Unit 1 Introduction and Organization of SOPs

Unit 2 Managing Time and Money

Unit 3 Service Delivery and the Service Board

Unit 4 Practical Operating Considerations

Unit 5 Putting It All Together

Delivered by Karl W. Palachuk, blogger and author of the very popular "SOP Friday" posts at http://sopfriday.com.

Includes five weeks of webinars with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor. All classes are recorded for download.

ITSP University Certification:

Meets Certification Requirements for:

  • Management
  • Service Manager
  • Technician

Register Now!

Only $399 

per person

-- -- --

Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community Members: Register for free or at a huge discount. See the Deals and Freebies forum for the code you need.

Members with annual subscription attend for FREE. Email the Community Concierge to get started.

Details at https://www.smallbizthoughts.org.


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Dual Path to Your Exit Strategy

I've been involved in several discussions of KPIs recently. (And I hope you saw my big webinar on KPIs at https://mspwebinar.com/measuring-success/.)

KPIs have become a big discussion topic in the SMB IT world over the last few years because of the frenzied activity around mergers and acquisitions. This has led to discussions focused specifically on a series of KPIs that are not necessarily related to running a good, solid, profitable company with a long-term view of success. But they are useful to companies with a bunch of money who are trying to find measures of profitability so they can filter the companies they might buy.

Last week, I spoke at a conference where I was asked to give my thoughts about exit strategies. But the intro was not about a variety of exit strategies. The session intro focused on buying an MSP business or selling your MSP business. And that led me to give some thoughts they were not looking for.

Truth: What it takes to run a healthy long-term business is NOT the same as what it takes to maximize the sales value of your business in the 12-24 months before you sell.

For years (decades), I have quoted the following line from George Sierchio: "Run your business as if you're going to sell it."

The theory behind that is that focusing on things like profit, contract renewals, excellent service, and a great culture are good for the long-term health of your business. And that's still true. But today, I would take a two-pronged approach to success.

You need to follow TWO tracks toward your business success. The first is the long-term, good, healthy way to run your business. Focus on that for years and for decades. Focus on that for as long as you need to build a great, well-run business.

The second track only applies to the one or two years before you sell. ONLY then should you explore what companies are looking for to filter through managed service businesses to see which ones they want to buy. There are two big reasons for this. First, many of those measure are useful for big money investors but are totally unrelated to running your business well. Really!!! 

Second, unless you're going to sell your business in the next three years, the chances are excellent that these targets will change. As a rule, the people who are buying businesses want to spend the least amount of money to buy companies that will make the largest amount of money. They will lie to your face and tell you that they have a long-term interest in your company. But they will start changing things and extracting revenue as soon as they can after the sale is complete. So, as time goes on, they will change the filters they are looking for in order to maximize their return.

I know that nobody wants to hear this message, but I promise you that it's true. 

Let's say you're in business for thirty years. For the first twenty-eight years, you need to focus on building a great, sustainable, profitable, reproducible service business with a great culture. That's the only game to play until you're ready to sell.

If you plan to merge with a friend, sell to your service manager, let one partner buy out the rest, sell your client list, or other "friendly" exit strategies, then you never need to change the way you operate. Just keep doing what you do.

Finally, if you plan to sell to strangers or well-funded companies who are gobbling up MSP businesses, then you need to re-focus on the measures that matter to them. For many of these measures, there is ZERO connection to a well-run business. The goal is simply to meet whatever metrics someone came up with to compare a bunch of companies they might buy. And what they're looking for today may not be what they will be looking for next year or the year after.

That's why I say to follow the long-term strategy until you really are ready to switch to your end-game. Run you company well, with a great culture and great profit, for as long as you can. Only spend time measuring things that don't build long-term success when you no longer need to focus on the long term.

I welcome your feedback.

-- -- -- 

If you haven't seen my webinar on KPIs, today's a good day. I'm not selling you anything. https://mspwebinar.com/measuring-success/


Monday, June 03, 2024

Avoid the AI Hustle!

One of the phrases that typifies the last few years is "Hustle." 

You know. What's your main hustle? What's you're side hustle? For a real taste of how this term has evolved, head to YouTube and enter the search term Side Hustle. You'll find a million ways to not get rich! Titles include:

  • 7 Side Hustles Students Can Start In 2024
  • Side Hustles: Ideas to Make $1000 Per Month in 2024
  • Best Side Hustle Jobs of 2024 - Make $500 or More This Week
  • The New AI Side Hustle That's Making $1,579+/Day
  • Top 11 Side Hustles of 2024 
  • 6 Realistic Side Hustles You Can Do Remotely in 2024
  • The 7 BEST Side Hustles That Make $100+ Per day
  • 7 Side Hustles for Beginners
  • 3 Side Hustle Ideas To Make $500/Day 
  • Most Underrated Side Hustle Of 2024 
  • 5 Side Hustles For Anyone Over 40 (Keep Your 9 to 5 Job)
  • The BEST Side Hustle For Christian Women

And that's the key to understanding this trend. A "hustle" won't build wealth. While you're promised $1,000 a day doing almost nothing . . . the truth is a lot closer to nothing. In many cases, someone is earning real money. But, as with all hustles, that's one in a million. And they're probably making their money on ad clicks while showing you how to get rich quick.

People have always been tempted to act like sitcom characters - constantly looking for a shortcut to get rich without working hard, or by gaming the system. Today, Artificial Intelligence has become just another excuse for some people to work harder at gaming the system than they would work by simply going to work every day and doing some work!

As I pointed out in my recent webinar on AI, if you use AI as a tool to improve some part of your work, you might be more successful. If you use it to replace yourself so you can work less (or not at all), you will fail. 

One of the few good things to come out of the pandemic was the wide acceptance of remote work and the ability to send much work off to "the cloud" or outsourced services. Many of us in IT have been doing these things for two decades or more. But we could never get our clients to really dig into remote work until they were forced to.

As with all fads, there's a cycle that John P. Sisk labeled "Intoxication and Hangover." Folks who are eagerly seeking low-work and no-work hustles are in the intoxication phase. Stay tuned for the inevitable hangover.

And if you want to make it through this fad successfully, today's a great day to double-down on working on the skills that you know bring success to your job!