To say this has been an eventful year would be a severe understatement. Over the past nine months (some may say longer), much of our world has been gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic and all the ensuing repercussions. The illness has touched millions of lives across the planet − that part cannot be underscored enough – and its economic effects may negatively affect communities and families for years, if not decades.
The toll on businesses is just as significant. In many areas, entities deemed non-essential were forced to close for weeks, and some have still not been able to fully reopen or generate any meaningful income. Closure could still be in the cards for many small businesses, including some restaurants and hospitality-related organizations that cannot successfully adapt to government mandates or customers’ preferences in the “new normal.”
While 2020 may not actually be cursed, everyone will likely breathe a sigh of relief when that calendar changes at midnight on January 1st. The bad news is there are still a few weeks to go until the New Year’s ball drop, and the uncertainty of the election is sure the fray even more nerves. Are you in need of a hug?
On the positive side, the holiday season is approaching. While the festivities are sure to be altered for many with the current health concerns, any break from the doldrums of 2020 will be appreciated. Thanksgiving could not come at a better time.
Reflect on the positives
Who doesn’t love family gatherings featuring turkey and football? Of course, the original reason behind Thanksgiving often gets lost in the latest traditions, though many still embrace basic concepts. While the Pilgrims gathered with Native Americans to express their gratitude for a successful harvest, bountiful hunting, and good health, those things tend to take a back seat to Black Friday preparations and video gaming today.
This year has the potential to be much different. Get-togethers are being limited in many states by the pandemic, and some big named retailers are actually closing on Thanksgiving this year. What a great opportunity to pause and reflect on the positives.
In general, MSPs have a lot of reasons to be thankful in 2020. Despite months of dealing with the uncertainty at home and at the office, as well as all the overtime ensuring clients can work productively from anywhere, most IT services businesses are prospering.
If anything, this year has shown that people and organizations place a high value on what you do and need your support. What else should MSPs be thankful for in an otherwise thankless year?
#1 IT services firms are essential businesses
Many MSPs have mentioned how little their clients appreciate all the effort that goes into designing, implementing, and supporting their technology systems. Companies most often leave providers with that impression in the contract negotiation process or when making excuses for why their payments are late during collections calls.
COVID-19 flipped the script. In the scramble to enforce quarantines, many states, and other government agencies designated MSPs as essential businesses, ensuring companies like yours could continue to perform vital services. Imagine the problems hospitals, emergency workers, grocery stores, and others would have run into without skilled IT professionals available to help?
MSPs kept companies of all sizes operating during the darkest days of 2020. Whether putting in extra hours to set up remote worksites or scouring the industry to find new technologies to address the latest cybersecurity threats, providers demonstrated how valuable they truly are during the pandemic. No one can take that away.
#2 The Cloud works!
For more than a decade, MSPs have been one of the premier evangelists of digital transformation. You convinced clients to invest in virtual technologies and helped drive end-user adoption so everyone could enjoy the benefits. That persistence and hard work paid off for all those businesses who listened.
When COVID-19 forced many companies to move to a WFH environment, earlier cloud adopters found themselves in a better competitive position than the laggards. The great news is it works! Thanks to the cloud, MSPs were able to keep many of their business clients operational, productive, and happy.
Paying your bills is easier with a steady income. MSPs with substantial contracts and a healthy stream of monthly recurring revenue should be thankful for the security it provides when times are tough. Even if clients run into financial difficulties and struggle with payments, your chances of collecting or negotiating smaller concessions improve with multi-year agreements (with MRR commitments) in place.
Everyone in the IT field should be thankful for technology. Implementing and integrating MSP-related business tools can save your team time and effort and cut down errors. From PSAs and RMMs to accounting packages and payment platforms, connecting those technologies is especially important when your team members work remotely. Automation allows MSPs to focus on the things that really matter, such as helping clients adapt to the new normal and vetting innovative technologies to solve the latest business challenges. For that, you can be thankful.
It may sound strange to be thankful for people who cost businesses (and individuals) billions of dollars each year, but the threats created by hackers and phishers mean opportunity for MSPs. Cybersecurity is a true differentiator for IT services professionals. Those skills are in high demand during the pandemic with the shift to remote work, COVID-19-related email schemes, and other plays.
Put things in the proper perspective
This list could be much longer. In an industry as dynamic as IT services, there is always something new on the horizon that can help you generate more business opportunities, increase profitability, or make your life a lot easier.
Those are some of the things that MSPs can appreciate. Despite all the challenges, 2020 could be a lot worse, and most IT services business owners are faring pretty well considering the circumstances.
Take stock of your situation. What changes could you make in 2021 to improve your sales, MRR, profitability, or other metrics? Being thankful doesn’t mean you cannot do better in the future, especially when the biggest nightmares from 2020 go away.