It’s something every business owner struggles with: How do I leverage time management to effectively grow my business without working 80- to 90-hour weeks?
This is especially a challenge for managed service provider (MSP) business owners, who may be working with small business clients with significant IT needs or who may only have a small staff (or even just themselves) as they look to grow their business.
However, it’s important for every MSP business owner to implement practices early and often that improve their time-management skills. No matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day and seven days a week.
Consciously taking steps to maximize how those hours are spent will lead not only to a more efficient business but also to less burnout and an overall healthier work-life balance.
Further reading Are You A One-Man Shop? Here’s How To Avoid Burnout
According to Dr. Donald Wetmore of The Productivity Institute, only 20 percent of the average person’s workday is spent on “crucial” or “important tasks,” with the remainder spent on items with little to no value. As an MSP business owner, you can easily find yourself juggling tech work with the many administrative tasks that come with running a business, such as office management, financials, taxes, insurance, scheduling, sales, and planning. In an industry like managed services or IT, where there's always more to do, it's important to prioritize those crucial tasks that directly grow the business and support clients before everything else.
What those priorities look like for each business may be different. Once you've determined what those top priorities are for your specific MSP, one tactic that can help to ensure the focus stays on those items is time-blocking. Setting aside specific days or times for tasks like invoicing, sales and quoting, and planning or review (if those are your chosen priorities) ensures that these tasks get completed and puts the priority on the items that are necessary in order to move the business forward.
Further reading Building a Successful MSP Business
Hire Where Possible
It’s always nerve-racking for any business owner to make their first hire but, as the business grows, it may be inevitable to hire additional tech talent or even an office manager to help with administrative tasks and to schedule all work. By delegating some of these tasks, you, as the boss, are freed up to focus on more advanced tech work, relationship management, and business management.
To make hiring possible, it’s also important to charge your clients what you’re worth. Many new MSP business owners may fall into the trap of undercharging clients for the value of their work, especially if they're small businesses. By setting the standard for pricing and the value you provide, you are setting yourself up for the opportunity to grow and support clients for the long haul.
Further reading Hiring New Employees: 6 Essential Steps for MSPs
Invest in Automation
Finally, choosing a strong remote monitoring and management (RMM) or professional services automation (PSA) tool can help automate simple or repetitive IT or client management tasks. That way, you can focus time on more strategic tasks, like strategy, advanced tech needs, or client relationship management.
Establishing strong time-management practices sooner rather than later will go a long way in the earliest stages of your MSP business. However, it’s never too late to start!
Taking small steps every day to prioritize and improve your time management will be an evolving practice that will not only help to grow your business over time but also ensure that it's done in a sustainable way.