Part of my MSP mission is to put the “B” — as in “business” — back in SMB! Woven into this blog is something that’s frequently overlooked in the real world of SMB consulting and completely absent in many courses taught at Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers: business planning.
Business planning applies to the SMB MSP consultant on two fronts:
First, there is the business of running a business. An SMB MSP consultant must possess sound business skills. You can’t make it on technical skills alone.
Second, SMB MSP consultants are increasingly participating in a client’s business decisions and interacting more and more with business people. This occurs because, at SMB client sites, you are the technical resource. It’s unlikely you will enjoy the opportunity to interact with a large IT staff. Instead, the only people you will interact with at the client site will be business people, who will look to you for your technical expertise and how it relates to their business. Ergo – you are drawn into business planning at the client site whether you like it or not.
BEST PRACTICE: Remember that SBS provides a great SMB consulting opportunity for you to be butcher, baker, and candlestick maker. Not only are you delivering a small business network for SMB clients, but you can help them recast operations along the way. For example, a landscaping company that I’ve advised in years past on SBS decided to create an e-mail newsletter announcing spring sales and the like. This would replace advertisements that were mailed via the post office (and save postage). In this example, the SBS technology capabilities helped to lower sales and marketing expenses.