Without a doubt, getting your MSP business through the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for MSPs. If you can successfully protect your business, you’re going to pull through and come out a stronger business on the other side.
There are several ways you can protect your MSP business during the COVID-19 crisis.
Evaluate your current situation before making any decisions
Even though we’re all experiencing the same crisis, our businesses are facing different challenges. That’s why it’s so important for you as a business owner to evaluate your current situation and address whatever obstacles are in your way — not somebody else’s.
For instance, you can’t compare your cash situation to another company’s. Even though you should be doing this regularly, assess how much cash you have on hand. What do you have available in the bank? Do you have open lines of credit? Don’t forget to calculate out what’s owed to you. Is it possible for you to collect on accounts receivable sooner than usual?
Find out what matters most in your situation, then act accordingly.
Be transparent with your stakeholders
You also want to communicate with your employees, clients and vendors regularly. All these stakeholders want to hear from you, especially during a time of uncertainty. Communicate with them through the appropriate channels.
For example, these stakeholders are currently receiving plenty of emails about COVID-19 from other companies, so you may want to pick up the phone instead to stand out. The good news is many decision makers are now available to take your call.
Now, more than ever, is the time to be transparent with your stakeholders.
What are your contingency plans and triggers?
Nobody enjoys running through what-if scenarios (especially when many of us are trying to stay optimistic), but it’s absolutely necessary. Preparing for what lies ahead when there’s uncertainty coming at you from every angle can protect you from surprises when you least expect them.
This exercise is designed to better prepare you for making tough decisions when they arise, so be particular with your what-if scenarios. “What if I lose revenue?” isn’t a good enough question to ask yourself. Be more specific. “What if my revenue drops by 30 percent?” is a better question.
Then, determine the best way to address each scenario on your list. For example, how will you handle a customer asking for a rate reduction? Is a rate reduction out of the question? If it isn't, how much of a reduction are you willing to provide?
It’s much easier to make business decisions on the spot if you’ve already considered what-if scenarios ahead of time.
Don’t lose sight of who you are as a company by reinforcing your values
It’s easier for your employees to make the right decisions when they’re aware of what the company they work for represents. Now, more than ever, it’s important for you to reinforce your company’s values with your employees on a daily basis. Your company’s values are tested during a crisis.
Even though your employees are more than likely working remotely right now, it’s still possible to protect your company’s culture (typically made up from your values, attitudes and beliefs) from afar. For instance, if employee safety is of the utmost importance to you, continue holding meetings with your employees to check in on more than just work-related matters. Show them you truly care by asking how they and their family members have been holding up and what you can do as a leader to help them through these challenging times.
Losing track of what your company stands for during a crisis can set you up for failure.
Pay down your technical debt
Now’s the perfect time to go back to the things you let slide when previously servicing your customers.
Remember that time when you were supposed to update documentation but didn’t because you were “busy”? What about the security gaps you left open while quickly setting up your clients to work remotely?
Pay down your technical debt before you end up having to pay more later.
If you don’t protect what you have today, you may not have anything to grow tomorrow.