For many IT Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers (MSP) businesses, including micro businesses and “one man bands”, the responsibility for the growth of the business can fall to just one individual.
In this scenario it can be very tough for the business owner to balance business growth objectives with the day-to-day running of the business.
I hear from many MSP’s that I work with that they struggle to “find the time” to grow their business.
I counter that it may be that they’re actually struggling to “make the time” to grow their business. We all have the same amount of time in a day. If it’s important to you, you’ll make it happen.
But it’s tough! As the former owner of an MSP, I know all too well the challenges you face. So how do you find the strength and determination to do what needs to be done, rather than what falls in your lap?
Making yourself accountable to others
One method is to make yourself accountable to others.
By sharing your goals and aspirations with others, instead of a “wish list” for you and your business, you take the first step on the path towards making those dreams a reality.
If you’re a sole owner, micro-business or “one man band” then you might think the buck stops with you. And you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make yourself accountable to others for doing the right thing.
Here are examples of four different types of people you can make yourself accountable to
If you have members of staff, share with them your goals for the business. Involve them. Include them in the responsibility for reaching that goal. If you’re the only sales person within the business and the goal is to increase sales - share this with them and ask for their advice. By making sure everyone internally is aware of a goal, you’re much more likely to reach that goal - and much more likely to be reminded of it often.
At all stages of my career as an IT business owner, I’ve always worked with a business coach. Having somebody external to the business to take a realistic and honest view of what I’m doing and what I’m achieving (or not!) helps to keep me on the right track.
If you are struggling to meet your goals, then engaging with a business coach to hold you accountable might be the best move you ever made.
It’s lonely being a sole business owner, so having somebody to talk to who understands what you are facing can be important. I often get told by my own MSP clients that the highly value having “another voice in the room”. Don’t underestimate the value in this.
If you don’t have the resources or inclination to engage a business coach, then consider looking for a peer or user group to hold you accountable. You may find likeminded individuals who share your goals and who you can work towards with together.
Either way, involving somebody outside the business in your goals and asking them to hold you accountable to them is important.
Friends and Family accountability
Don’t forget that you probably have friends or family who would be happy to hold you accountable and support you as you try to reach your business goals.
The challenge here is that a loved one holding us accountable for something can cause friction, so it’s important to set the terms of the accountability “agreement”. Ask friends or family if they’d hold you accountable on the understanding that you will never, ever answer them back, argue or get irritated if they ask you how the goal is progressing.
They are there to remind you of the path you’re on - and you should value that support.
Remembering Why You Want to Achieve A Goal
But you can’t just do things because you believe it will please others. You’ve got to believe in it yourself.
Do you want business growth? Why? Is it to…
- Create a better quality of life for yourself outside of work?
- Spend less time at work and more time with your friends and family?
- Spend less time doing jobs you hate?
- Spend more time doing the work you love?
Spend time figuring out WHY you want to grow your business before you ask others to hold you accountable for growth.
Once you’ve worked out the “Why”, then share this with those you want to hold you accountable - they can use this to remind you of exactly why you’re working so hard during those times when you might forget yourself.
It can be lonely being a business owner, but it doesn’t have to be.
It can be difficult to find the time to do the things that are important, and without anyone to keep you on the right path, it’s easier to do what is urgent rather than important.
By making yourself accountable to others, you’re putting your goals for your MSP business out there and giving yourself a leg up, ensuring that if you don’t do what you say you were going to do - someone can hold you accountable for it.
Looking for More Ways to Prove Your Accountability?
Listen to our August webinar on "The Metrics That Matter".
As the former owner of an award winning IT Managed Service Provider, Richard Tubb works with MSPs to help them increase sales, take on employees and build up relationships with key industry contacts. You don't have to do it alone any more - contact Richard and have a chat about your needs and how he can help you.