By Angel R. Rojas, Jr., DataCorps Technology Solutions, Inc. and member of The ASCII Group since 2017
The old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is no stranger to business owners. Yet, when I chat with my peers, it seems like we are all winging it.
Many of us are surviving on a day-to-day basis. We barely have time to plan for what we’re going to do this afternoon so tomorrow seems overwhelming. It's a recipe for disaster but, somehow, we embrace this chaos! Many “gurus” out there use the word “hustle” as a badge of honor but us amateurs tend to embrace it as an excuse to get away with making stuff up as we go along. But why?
First, let's look at the value in planning ahead. Here are three important reasons why you should take the time to plan for tomorrow:
- Your business depends on it. How many of you have thought about the fact our businesses grow in a healthy fashion when we execute a plan consistently. We never want the tail wagging the dog — it’s critical the dog wag the tail. You have to know you and your team's capabilities and have metrics tied to them. This begins a lengthy — but highly beneficial — process of drawing a map and drafting a plan. By planning ahead client expectations are met, employees thrive, finances are more predictable, and stress levels go way down because you're no longer guessing what you will do if something happens: You know what's going to happen, when it's going to happen, and how you will handle it. Sure, there will be surprises along the way but you'll have more energy to deal with them.
- Firefighting is not productive. Many MSP owners I speak with regularly are stuck fighting fires. This sucks, and there's just no other way to put it. It's a crazy illusion, too! It feels like we're doing work and being productive but, when you zoom out a bit, there was nothing accomplished towards remedying the situation. To borrow some industry language; we work IN the business rather than ON it. And I'll go ahead and take a stronger jab — it is neglect of our own businesses. This neglect, to our own detriment, trains clients to dictate what’s urgent and what is a priority. Have I hit a nerve yet? This is a path of zero growth and high stress.
- Life happens. People get sick … worse yet, people die. So far this year I have lost five friends, and it hurts. Without planning, there’s no margin to grieve. There's no margin to recover from illness. There's no margin to care for family. And there's no margin for employees to do the same. In addition to that, sometimes opportunities come up that we have to have the time to address. For example, we were presented with an opportunity to put a large phone system on a cruise ship. One of the requirements was we meet the ship in Italy and install a proof of concept system. Had we not had systems in place, I couldn't have spared my Senior Engineer to go knock it out of the ballpark. Without margin, there’s no room for error, illness, or opportunity. And without a margin of error or appropriate time to heal, we literally put our life, our business, our families, and everyone around us in danger.
About The Author
So, how do we fix this? We're IT people, not jacks of all trades, so I did the only thing I knew to do — I sought outside help. There are coaches, consultants, and other industry professionals out there who can help assess the situation and assist us to draw a plan to get healthy and flourish.
A word of warning, though; This stuff takes time — sometimes YEARS depending on where we're at — so be prepared to play a long game. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
Angel R. Rojas, Jr. is president & CEO of DataCorps Technology Solutions, Inc. and has been a member of The ASCII Group since 2017.
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solution providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solution providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.