Kicking Off The New Year Right!

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Happy New Year! Okay, Time To Get Serious About 2020!

Did You Have a Great Year? If So, I Hope You Celebrated…Now, It’s Time To Get Serious

But before we move into 2020, did you celebrate by encouraging your team? Did you reward those who contributed in big ways to your success? Do they know you love having them on your team?

Fact is, most employees feel under-appreciated, and with a new year in front of us, chances are they have their resume on the street in case a better opportunity comes up. Most people do – don’t kid yourself.

5 Things You Want To Do To Make Sure 2020 Is Better Than 2019…

There are probably more than 5, but let’s hit these biggies to kick the year off.

ONE: In case you missed the meaning of my opening paragraph, make sure you have the right people on the team (The Jim Collins proverbial bus), and in the right seat.  I was talking to my adult kids just the other day, comparing a company I ran in the late 90s to one where I served as a manager in early 2000.

Attrition in that first company was nearly zero. We let a few people go, but no one left of their own volition. We were a team and we produced big results. The second, more like a salt mine. People were treated as replaceable contractors and it showed. Your team is not going to give their ALL if they think of themselves as resources at your disposal.

TWO: What do you do?  It’s important to look back and check your own job description. I mostly work with business owners and leaders. I cringe when I ask them what they do and I hear “chief cook and bottle washer…” or some other sarcastic answer that says, everything from selling to taking out the trash. If you own or run the company, your job is business growth.

If your daily tasks look more like inside sales, admin, or book keeping, you’re doing it wrong. It’s easy to get lulled into thinking busy is good. Sometimes it feels good to be busy, but busy leads to non-strategic.

Four things – Business/Strategic (do this yourself), Admin/non-strategic (delegate this), Specialty/one time or infrequent – like building your website or launching a marketing strategy – (outsource this to an expert), Non-strategic/low value (consider stopping this). Lots of companies spend excessive time on busy work that doesn’t actually contribute anything to the long term success of the company.

(P.S. While you’re here, you should look out on your annual calendar and carve out some off-time. People who consistently take time off are more creative, more responsive, and just perform better. Get lots of sleep, exercise, eat well, and be ready for game-day, every day.)

THREE: Review Your Numbers. Do you know where your money came from last year? Where is it coming from this year? A couple of great exercises…

  • Report your clients by Gross Profit… I bet you have a few big GP contributors. This isn’t margin, it’s money. How many clients are actually bringing in real money to your bottom line?  Then look at the low GP clients. I bet there’s a long list of single digit customers. Consider who you can grow quickly, or get them off your list. Todd Duncan, in his book Time Traps, points out spending lots of time cultivating these bottom feeders is a waste of time. Instead, spend your time on the top half of this list and ascend the profit ladder quickly. You’ll double your GP in no time.
  • List your core offerings and what they’re worth on average. Go down the list and estimate realistically how much of each you think you’ll sell. If you know where you need to be to make a reasonable profit, a list like this provides a roadmap to get there.  But what if your estimates don’t get you there? Well, then you know you need to add something or change something.
  • Review your operational budget. Not enough money? Marketing is not the first place to cut. Yet, that’s what happens. The problem is, your operational costs grow over time out of sloppy management, leaving you with a small bank account. Then when marketing comes up, there’s no money. Marketing is what drives growth, not a new sales guy.  So go through your monthly costs with a fine tooth comb and get rid of the waste. (Note: Less waste-of-time appointments will save gas and time, and if you’re spending a fortune on channel events that offer no real value, stop going.)
  • Read Mike Michalowicz’ book, Profit First, and do what he says (except for his comments on debit cards – he’s dead wrong on this – and Mike, if you happen to read this, contact me or any security professional and we’ll explain why).

FOUR: Start thinking of your company as a marketing company…You sell MSP services or some other high-tech offering? Being technically great is important, however it won’t sell anything. Instead, have great tech-skills, but become marketing minded. This is how companies like IBM and Cisco did the things they did. Digital Equipment on the other hand was too technical. (If you’re young, you don’t even know the name – great technology! Bad marketing.)

And that means you need a great marketing plan. Hire someone to help you construct it. And remember, you can’t hire a full-time marketing person…they work for or own marketing agencies. Just like your top tech talent isn’t going to work for a small non-tech client, a real marketing person isn’t going to come work for you. If they say they’re a top marketer and they agree to work for you, they’re lying.

FIVE: Hire a Coach. That’s right, I’m a coach. So am I just selling here? No, because I hire a coach. I’ve had coaches throughout my 16 years in this business, even though I am a coach. Why?

Because when I launched this business, I sought out some very wise people, including my father. And here’s what he said: “You can’t get great counsel from your friends and peers – you have to pay for it.” He went on to tell me how his business struggled for years until he finally met the right mentor. Did it cost him? Yes, it was expensive…but, it made all the difference.

My father is 82 now, well invested, living out his remaining years in style. He’s able to help the people around him, care for his wife, and live comfortably because he made the money he needed, and invested it well. The lesson is, save your money and invest wisely – but in order to do that you need to earn the money. The mentor/coach is going to show you the shortcuts to earning, and keep you on track as you navigate the many hurdles that will come your way.

As Russell Brunson, successful entrepreneur and founder of ClickFunnels says, the pioneers who do it themselves are the guys with the arrows in their back.

Okay, time to get serious…pick a couple of these, comment with more ideas, and let’s get this year in motion!

PS. Trying to build the security side of your business? The Profit RICH Side? Get my free risk assessment template.

Need more clients? Read The House & The Cloud – the only book I know of written specifically to IT Services/MSP providers on how to grow the security business FAST!

© 2020, David Stelzl

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