Running a managed service provider (MSP) business is certainly not without its challenges. Being available to address issues as they crop up—in other words, day and night—is draining, even for large, established MSPs. Whether it’s a problem with a client, an employee, your system, or some other operational concern, one thing’s for sure: it doesn’t stop. While this is the nature of the business, your sanity and happiness are also important to consider.
Here are some of the most common MSP headaches and tips for reducing the strain they might put on your day to day.
1. HR headaches
Hiring, firing and all other manner of never-ending personnel responsibilities can be truly overwhelming; particularly for MSPs, which tend to have little formal training in human resources. And yet HR is 100% vital to your MSP’s success! It becomes important to ask yourself which platforms you will use to advertise jobs, manage payroll and conduct onboarding.
- Consider joining a professional IT association like CompTIA, which offers a customizable employee handbook. This approach will only go so far, however, since every MSP has unique and unforeseeable needs.
- Consider contracting a local HR specialist to outsource some of your HR tasks. It’s worth noting, though, that if they can’t be onsite, they would act as more of a consultant.
- If you have the budget, your best option is hiring an HR professional.
2. Sales team headaches
Fact: the time and effort you invest in each and every top sales professional can vanish in an instant if they choose to leave. The damage is even more striking when a company puts all their resources into just one representative who then departs unexpectedly. In this situation, the best many MSPs can hope for is to find a way to recover while minimizing their losses.
- Especially if your company is still new, consider providing your most valuable sales professionals with an incentive by offering them a stake in the organization, or a profit sharing agreement. The vast majority of employees with some level of ownership in a company tend to have a lot more staying power. They also tend to be more motivated. This means they’ll find ways to keep expenses low while keeping their skillset refined and up to date.
- Alternatively, if you have the resources, you might look into expanding your sales team. Ensuring they get the training required is key. In order to be successful, this option may require some well-planned marketing initiatives, along with technical resources that can support a growing team. If you’re able to pursue this approach, you’ll be much less dependent on individual representatives.
3. Tech team headaches
Most MSP headaches are employee related. The reality is that your technical team is no less important than your sales force. Making sure that the products and services you sell are well supported by tech is integral to your MSPs success in both the short and long term. Your client retention rate is inextricably linked to your customer service scores. This means that when you have a skilled team who work well together, the result is an increase in recurring revenue. You know, rather than a bunch of expiring contracts and disappearing customers.
- How to retain and recruit top tech talent, you ask? Like staffing a quality sales team, think incentives. Offer your top people an ownership stake or a profit-sharing Encourage your staff to get advanced training and help make it happen. As your team grows their skillsets, it will hurt a lot less if one employee leaves the company. Always keep in mind that not all losses are preventable. Sometimes employees need to relocate or move on for personal reasons.
- Consider outsourcing all or part of your helpdesk to fill gaps in your technical team, or to expand its capacity. Going this route can also supplement the skills your bench doesn’t have, like mobility or VoIP support. Live helpdesk services can significantly reduce the volume of calls your team takes, freeing them up to focus on higher-priority items, like digital transformation, or the big picture growth of the company.
4. Cash flow headaches
Dealing with accounts receivable and other cash flow concerns absolutely requires a professional with formal training and accounting skills—skills most IT providers don’t have.
- CompTIA and other associations do offer rudimentary training for MSPs that wish to manage this area of their business all by themselves, but without a serious time commitment and considerable effort and focus, problems tend to arise.
- Successful tech companies need to either employ or outsource these services to experts who know exactly what they’re doing as well as what’s at stake.
5. Work-life balance headaches
This is by far the most difficult headache to manage, even though it may not feel that way initially. The million-dollar question: why build a successful MSP if you never get any time to enjoy life outside of work?
- Implement tools such as PSAs and RMMs to help streamline your business and lighten your load. To get the most out of these tools, make a commitment to sticking with them and doing all you can to leverage them. Resist switching tools before you’ve even had a chance to see what they can accomplish. Don’t have time to implement each tool thoroughly and properly? Delegate it to an employee as a continual review the status of system implementation and training monthly and help the employee find new uses for the technology. Need outside input? Join communities and seek feedback from others who use the same products.
- Look into possibilities for collaboration. Are there other MSPs you could partner with to support a specific client or market? If you and/or your team are tired of being on call 24/7, it might be high time to time to think about outsourcing your helpdesk. Doing so can vastly reduce your workload with 24/7/365 and after-hours white label support.
The right partner can make running your MSP business a breeze
We mentioned IT associations, but a value-added partner can also give you a leg up when it comes to growing and operating your MSP business without sacrificing your piece of mind. Check out Sherweb’s Partner Guide for how we might be able to help. We also recommend downloading this handy guide to learn more about what your MSP can accomplish when you outsource your helpdesk.