At the start of any new year, it’s wise to reflect on the previous year and consider what you want to improve. For your business, what did you do that made a big impact? What fell flat? What did you hope to get around to that you couldn’t? Your resolutions for 2018 probably include finding new clients and improving profits. But what are a few less obvious milestones that might lead you to those larger goals? Let’s dig in.
Freshen Up Your Look and FeelPresentation matters. When it comes to building your business, branding is an essential component. A great visual look and feel helps you stand out among competitors, demonstrate a level of professionalism, and create consistency for every customer touch-point—from website to service truck. When is the last time you took a hard look at visual aspects of your company? Look at the following visual elements of your company and ask yourself, are they consistent? Do they feel up-to-date compared to other companies? How might we improve them?
- Logo and colors
- Marketing materials
- Business cards
- Service vehicles
Reduce Ticket TimeDepending on your company’s size and business model, you might be inundated with requests and help desk tickets. If you can service clients quickly, they feel satisfied and you start building the trust and loyalty that will keep them around for years. If service times are slow and clients are losing productivity while they wait for you, they might start thinking about hiring your competition. So how can you up your service game?
- Update your current helpdesk software. Are you using PSA and RMM tools? How much of the ticketing process is automated? Is there a solution that might better accommodate your needs today and in the future? See what’s out there and try something new.
- Consider providing self-help options. If you give users an easy way to answer their own questions and fix basic problems, you can prevent tickets from ever landing in your lap. Does your website have an FAQ for your clients? Are you sending regular tips that might help end-users? Do you have videos that walk people through simple problems? Think about how you can educate them, and they’ll be empowered to handle the basic stuff themselves.
- Set clear expectations with service agreements. Clients should always know when to call you and when not to. They should also know how quickly you’ll solve various problems and shouldn’t be left wondering when you’ll arrive to help get them back to work. Outline these details in your service agreements and be clear with clients about what they can and can’t expect—you’ll not only reduce tickets, you’ll also make sure clients always know what they can expect from you.
Finally Get Around to that Whole “Marketing” ThingMarketing is often an afterthought for small businesses. It can seem like a burden that requires a lot of upfront effort and money that may not result in new clients. The fact is, though there’s often some trial and error involved in marketing, there are some simple basics that work and don’t require loads of time and effort. From basic strategy to budgeting, these four articles have awesome tips for making marketing magic in 2018:Simple Social Strategy for IT FirmsPlanning for 2018: The MSP’s Guide to Marketing Budgets3 Digital Marketing Basics for MSPs5 Easy MSP Marketing Tactics that Work
Hardware and Software RefreshWhen’s the last time you updated your internal systems? Is everyone using the latest and greatest laptops, or are there a handful of people that could use an upgrade? Are your servers starting to slow? Outside of the RMM and PSA software we mentioned, could you be using more efficient operating systems, email clients, or customer management systems? Look at what you’re using and think about what really needs to be updated this year. Investing in new hardware can help improve employee morale and increase productivity, and it can also give you a competitive edge. Plus, you’re an IT firm, right? Why not show you’re the best by using the best hardware?
Clean Up Your ClosetDo you have old keyboards and mice lying around? Do you have actual mice crawling around? How dusty are those server closets? Are cables a knotted mess? Take time now to schedule a New Year cleaning for your office to get everything sparkly and organized, and if you’re lacking a good process for keeping your equipment tidy, now’s a great time to put one in place. Consider who should be responsible for cleaning what and when they should do it. You may also consider doing an equipment audit to make sure everything is accounted for. Nothing feels better than having a neat, organized office, so be sure to schedule some time to make it happen.
Plan Backup and DR TestingIt’s common to test backups, but there’s a big difference between testing an individual backup and testing a detailed backup and disaster recovery plan. Start now and schedule quarterly DR-plan tests that go through the gamut. Don’t just focus on simple stuff like whether a backup can be restored, but consider whether a client can get up and running quickly if a hurricane, earthquake, or other major disaster sweeps its way through—and don’t forget about your own company as well. Backups are awesome and so are DR plans, but you can’t depend on either if there isn’t a way to make sure they work. Test, test, and test again. After you’re done, test once more. Creating resolutions is great, but like DR testing, they only matter if you can follow through when it counts. If you don’t write down your goals and make strides toward completing them every day until they’re done, you might find the same resolutions on next year’s list. So start now and make it happen! What are your IT firm’s New Year’s resolutions?
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