I see this problem all the time: You’re overworked, can’t keep up with tickets, the phone is ringing, and there is no time for anything other than fighting to keep your head above water.
However, if you don’t change anything, you will never break free. Even hiring an office manager won’t help because if you haven’t taken the steps to create a business machine, they’ll end up increasing your workload rather than reducing it.
So, how do you create a machine? Here are some recommendations.
Focus Your Operations
Start by streamlining workflows through repeatable processes, then document them as you work.
The most common source of inefficiency is solving many problems for many kinds of customers. You will be spread very thin and will never catch up if you work with accountants who have issues with Thomson Reuters, QuickBooks, and Liscio; doctors who struggle with Epic; and architects who need to make Papercut and AutoCAD work.
The key to mechanization is focus. Get spectacular at solving a few critical problems for very specific markets. Focus cuts work out of your process and reduces work throughout the business.
Make Time to Document
A lack of time is a problem for many businesses, but you don’t have time to not document.
Undocumented processes take two to three times longer to complete – sometimes much more – because you figure it out each time. A lack of documentation is why hiring an office manager won’t help.
One of my clients passionately resisted documentation. They were drowning in tickets, unsatisfied customers, and unfinished projects. They also suffered from a lack of sleep. Documenting the first process was hard, but now, they have 5,000 processes documented. Trailing tickets were reduced by 93%, revenue tripled, they hired a team that delivers impressive results, and they take vacations without their phones.
Use Automation Tools
The third piece is automation. But you cannot automate a process you haven’t defined. That creates a mess and endless work. Once you have something defined, automate it.
PSAs and RMMs have self-healing scripts and scripts for common problems that can save oodles of time. Ensure you set proper thresholds so you can detect issues before they escalate. This takes out randomness. Automate ticket assignments and responses, and create canned answers for the top 50 things your techs respond to.
Plus, with open APIs, compatible tools, and tools like Zapier, you can automate an almost endless list of routine office tasks:
- Proposal creation and delivery
- Follow-up processes
- QBR (SBR) scheduling
- Sending birthday cards
By incorporating these strategies, even time-strapped small companies can reduce burdensome workloads.
Jeff Loehr is CEO of Start Grow Manage. He and his partners, who have a long history of building businesses ranging from startups to multinationals, help MSPs break out of the technician trap to grow their businesses. Get to know more about him on channelWise.
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