Our friends at IT-Glue hosted an awesome webinar to get you ship-shape for 2021. here’s what you missed!

There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about 2021. After all, for many, this is the peak year for clients who turn to us, openly accept our help, and ask for our expertise!

If you’re looking to build up some smart new year’s resolutions for your MSP in 2021, IT Glue hosted an amazing webinar with author and industry expert Richard Tubb from Tubblog.co.uk, about how to innovate as we’re leaving 2020. If you missed the live event, you can easily catch up here, or read on for our highlights, and what we learned.

The smartest business owners are realizing now is an opportunity

COVID-19 has exposed not only weaknesses but also strengths and opportunities. Now is the time to do a SWOT analysis, looking at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. One example of weakness and a threat is credit control, as due to the pandemic many clients are paying later, or perhaps not at all. Marketing has also been a huge challenge for many, especially without face-to-face networking.

Many of us may be going back to an office in 2021, but the world has changed, and lots of people may choose not to go back to the office this year, if ever. One of the opportunities there for MSPs is the opportunity to upgrade and manage to work from home environments. Lots of MSPs have put together working from home add-ons for their clients, and they are making good money offering these options to their clients.

Here at Atera, we couldn’t agree more! That’s why our working remotely package hit the scenes within weeks of the global pandemic. Other options include hardware such as business-grade routers, firewalls, and other equipment. This isn’t just a great upsell, it’s also a good way to drive your own costs down moving forward, as business-grade equipment simply breaks down less.

We can’t know what 2021 is going to bring, but we can make plans for different outcomes so that we’re ready for the most likely eventualities. It’s okay to be conservative, but allow yourself to make ‘stretch goals’, goals that allow you to be flexible and adaptable, rather than hold you back.

Digital transformation is no longer a buzzword – it’s what’s going to help your clients compete

Lots of MSPs have shifted to almost a short-term survival mode, where they’ve hunkered down, wrapped up, and said – the storm will pass soon. It’s time to wake up! It’s a new world that we’re living in, and there’s a lot to adapt to. You’ve got to make digital changes, both to remain competitive, and in many cases – to survive.

In many ways, as MSPs, we couldn’t work in an industry that’s more prone to change. And yet, so many of us are averse to this change, and that’s what is ultimately going to cause problems and take your advantage away. The MSPs that are actively looking to do online better, social media better, the digital transformation itself better, those will be the ones that succeed. Don’t forget to involve your team in the changes you feel that you need to make. This could be directors, colleagues, managers, or even an external peer group – you’re not in this alone.

Sharing the load is also a smart way to ensure that you aren’t a single point of failure for your business. Documenting processes, sharing decision making, and encouraging knowledge bases or systems that codify how things work in a detailed way – this all makes for smarter working practices. If you’re not sure if you have any ‘single points of failure’ in your business, ask yourself the following telling question, “When was the last time someone asked you a question that only you could answer?”

“Manage by Metrics”

Another issue that may be holding you back, is to do with reporting and analytics. It’s true that way too many MSPs rely on gut feeling on how things are going. ‘I feel like I’m growing as a business because I’m busy.’ ‘I feel that this particular project is going well because I’m making good progress.’ We would never say to ignore gut feelings, they can be helpful, but it’s important to use more than just intuition alone. Embrace reality, by using measures and metrics!

Richard Tubb calls this “manage by metrics.” At Atera, we offer in-built reports and tools that can help you to measure your profitability in a smart way. For example, your biggest client isn’t necessarily your most profitable one. When you’re asked, “who is your biggest client”, this is usually easy to answer, but what about “who is your most profitable?” Sometimes when you look into this, not only are the biggest clients not your most profitable, they’re actually a drain on your time and may not be profitable at all.

We have all weathered the storm this year, been good to our clients, and maybe even given away hours in free consultancy and support, but going forward to 2021, we need to make sure we’re managing by metrics and understanding which clients are profitable and which are not.

Build KPIs to track utilization, the productivity of employees, profitability, and drill down to individual clients, employees, products, and tools. Start documenting now, because as Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying, “what can be measured, can be managed!”
What are the Majority of Growing MSPs Working on for 2021?

So many contenders, but Richard Tubb is calling it for… Automation! A lot of MSPs are making this their number 1 goal, to help drive down the cost of support and increase profits. Common automation opportunities are password resets, printer, driver, and software installations, onboarding or setting up users, and more. The simple truth is, that if you aren’t getting on board, you’re being left behind, as automation helps you to do more with fewer people. The other top priority is systems and processes. Those businesses that have thrived in 2020 are the ones that have systems in place, so can be easily location independent, and therefore can continue accessing the same systems and processes from anywhere.

The last priority according to Richard Tubb is the focus on people, something Gartner also calls a strategic trend in the technological space for 2021. Lots of MSPs are saying, ‘whatever happens in the future, we’re going to embrace the fact that the people in the business are the people who make things happen.’ This could be anything from ensuring you can offer flexible working hours, better equipment, business-grade broadband, work from home upgrades… it’s whatever works for your people. That’s what will differentiate the great MSPs from the ones who are just getting by. On top of that, it will also help to show that you ‘eat your own dog food’. Build the business your clients want to have, and they will find it easy to come to you and ask for advice and support.

Want to see what the Atera ‘Work from home’ solution looks like? Start your 30-day free trial today.

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