There’s no point feeding into the paranoia, but now that we’re seeing big events cancelled because of the coronavirus, or COVID-19 pandemic, it just makes sense for you to start putting together a contingency plan for your MSP. Obviously family is priority #1, but if you own or run a business that’s probably priority #2. So here are some things you might want to think about.
Social isolation has entered our lexicon, and remote work is one of the best ways to make it happen. You don’t want anybody on your team to get sick, let alone your entire team, so implement a remote work plan. There’s no time like today to start setting your team up for remote work, if you’ve not done that already. Cloud-based apps are essential to remote work. If you’re stuck doing the on-prem thing, you’re putting your employees, and your business, at risk for no reason. Just make sure you’re using tools that are set up for 2FA, because you have less control over the security of the networks your employees are logging in from than the ones in your office.
Inoculate Against Business Disruption
If things get worse, don’t be surprised to see business disruption. There are two things you’ll want to think about here. One is that you want to work with your clients to ensure that both you and they are operating at the highest level of efficiency. Your margins are basically a cushion against any sort of slowdown—control your costs by focusing on efficiency, and make sure that you’re delivering value for your clients to help them be at their best. You can boost your margins by running the most efficient service desk possible, where you’ve all but eliminated the time it takes for your team members to find the information they need to do their jobs.
The second thing worth thinking about is making sure you’re not seen as a line item by your clients. This means communicating your value—you’re not a cost center but playing an important role as the technology advisor. In 2020, it’s hard to run anything bigger than a shoe shine stand without being dependent on technology, but there are a lot of businesses – small and large – that haven’t quite built that reality into how they perceive IT.
Establish regular communication with your clients by scheduling a regular business review cadence—quarterly is the norm. This is especially important during times of crisis – being there both on a professional and human level is something that makes an impression. Make sure they know you’re not a line item to be cut, but a critical part of their business. Discuss with them how you can help them get through this crisis, and what steps you can help them take to minimize disruption to their business.
Your Role is More Important than Ever
Don’t use the COVID crisis as a reason to ramp up your sales pitches. That’s not cool. But business is going to change because of this, and some of these changes are going to be permanent. Remote work is likely here to stay, for example. When we get through the crisis your clients are going to revisit a lot of things about their business, such as getting more into the cloud. So talk to them about cloud backup, or other solutions that can help them use this crisis as a pathway to implementing a more future-forward approach to their businesses. So take the time now to think about what the future of your clients’ businesses will look like, and what you can do to help get them there.
Regardless of where the coronavirus crisis goes from here, one thing is certain, that business will change as a result of what we’re seeing. So now more than ever it’s time to protect your employees with a remote work plan, and keep an open dialog with your clients so that you can work with them to help manage the shifts in their business, whether that’s moving to more of a cloud-based infrastructure or anything else.