Key Strategies to Avoid MSP Burnout

While workplace stress and task overload are long-standing business concerns, the global pandemic and ensuing labor shortages have escalated those problems. Those issues are doubly concerning for IT services owners, with costs on the rise and hiring challenges forcing many to work even harder to keep profits in line with expectations. Those are just a few factors behind the increase in MSP burnout.   

That tide affects owners and workers in virtually every industry. Approximately 50% of employees and 53% of managers say they are burned out, according to a recent Microsoft survey of 20,000 people in eleven countries. Those numbers are likely higher than the norm in the IT industry as demand for computer support grows exponentially. At the same time, the supply of qualified technicians, engineers, sales professionals and other specialists lags far behind the need.

The rise in employee no-shows and “quiet quitting” creates even more stress for business owners. When workers feel exhausted or get frustrated with ever-increasing duties and more demands on their time and attention, they may scale back their daily efforts or simply do the bare minimum. “Quiet quitters” are especially challenging for MSPs who want to follow the proper HR protocols. Unfortunately, delaying those inevitable firings often increases tension across the workplace as co-workers or owners pick up more of their slack.      

A Deep Dive Look at the Business   

Meanwhile, MSP owners find themselves and their team members being asked to do more for each client. From upgrading cybersecurity stacks and addressing the latest compliance requirements to providing onsite and remote support for a growing number of end-users working at home or from hybrid environments. Businesses need and demand more from their IT services providers today.

All of these situations contribute to MSP burnout. What specific steps can an IT services provider take to lessen the burdens on themselves and their employees? Here are a few options:

  • Automate. Technology is power. As the IT experts, MSPs should employ as many time-saving tools as possible to remove manual tasks and minimize human errors. When providers implement automation across their operations—on both the client and internal side of the business—it reduces work pressures and lowers the anxiety level for everyone. For example, integrating and automating the collections process with a PSA, accounting package, quoting tool, and secure payment platform helps boost cash flow and lessen financial, physical, and mental strain for MSP business owners.          
  • Delegate. Many IT business owners have more expertise in technology than in managing a business and tend to take on a proportionally higher workload than most entrepreneurs. Hiring and training others to handle those tasks alleviates much of the stress and anxiety of running an MSP firm and gives leaders more time to develop and execute their long-term strategies. Providers who can devote more days to working “on the business” instead of “in the business” (handling tasks that other team members could easily manage) typically enjoy greater success without getting burned out.   
  • Streamline collections. One of the best ways to minimize everyone’s stress in a managed services business is to define and refine the billing and payments processes. Implementing clear policies and procedures, including an autopay requirement for every client, decreases collections calls and repetitive tasks and employee anxiety. Automating those processes is a sure way to lower the risk of burnout for team members and MSP owners.        
  • Strengthen cash flow. Nothing soothes the soul like having 3-6 months of expenses in the bank. Whether adding more profitable services or collecting more of the money MSPs earn from servicing their clients, increasing the size and regularity of that cash flow reduces stress and future financial pressures for business owners and managers.      
  • Pick a Lane. Whether offering managed services to the local SMB community or supporting a niche market with specialized offerings, building around those targets is critical. The technologies and IT management requirements for each business can greatly differ. Providers can lessen their workloads and headaches by developing a consistent portfolio and core set of services and cross-training team members to handle multiple responsibilities.
  • Reevaluate. Look inward. What changes could simplify operations and make life much less hectic for the owners and employees without compromising profits? MSPs often get too busy or too close to the situation to properly evaluate the direction of their business and end up spiraling downward. Unless they make significant changes in their operations, many will end up closing their doors for good. One of the best ways to avoid hitting that wall is to periodically evaluate the key areas of the business, including:
    1. Strategic plans. MSPs must continually assess their objectives based on various metrics, including quality of life for themselves and their employees. Could more hires or fewer “high-demand, low-profit” clients make a difference?
    2. Current clients. What’s the ROI of each business customer? MSPs should always be mindful of the cost of acquiring new clients while not overlooking the “unquantifiable expenses” of the bad ones. Constant complaints and after-hours emergencies are leading causes of MSP burnout. 
    3. Markets. Are the targets aligned with the company’s core strengths? If not, what needs to change to reduce workloads and anxiety? Many MSPs overlook the financial and mental costs of poorly aligned sales and marketing efforts.  
    4. Toolsets. IT services firms may need to realign solutions and suppliers to reduce management requirements. Juggling too many vendors leads to management complications and headaches, so many MSPs rate their offerings based on margin potential and resource requirements. For example, Kaseya IT Complete (which includes ConnectBooster) provides a comprehensive suite of tools that IT services providers can manage from one central dashboard. With deep integrations and a host of time-saving features, platforms reduce anxiety, and the risk of burnout for IT services business owners.   

Every MSP owner and their accountant knows the struggle of variable billing and the collections process. Eliminate the stress and ongoing accounting tasks that contribute to burnout with intelligent automations.  

ConnectBooster connects your CRM/PSA with your accounting software so you save time on bookkeeping, eliminate double-data entry, and reduce human-error. Plus, you’ll reclaim your time. After adopting ConnectBooster, most MSPs report saving 8-20 hours per month previously spent on manual billing-related tasks. Schedule a ConnectBooster demo to see how your MSP can save time and resources.

Published November 10, 2022

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