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Are you thinking about your business in the midst of summer?

Why do some of us feel guilty when we take time off work in the summer to enjoy some good times? It’s time for BBQ, pool, boating, cottage, beach, road trips, camping and just hanging out with family and friends. This downtime is probably exactly what everyone needs to reenergize.

It can also be a good time to take a step back and reevaluate how the first half of the year went for you. Are you on track to reach your goals? Typically most business owners do this self-assessment around the end or beginning of the year, but why wait till then? Actually, a quarterly reassessment is even better!

You may actually find that summer can be a relatively quite time to review and plan. Everyone is more relaxed. Outdoor meetings are a lot more fun (and, if you are the drinking type, what’s better than a cold beer in your hand with some BBQ in the other?).

I asked a selection of VARs and MSPs what business stuff would they be thinking about this summer, if anything. Here are the top 5 answers…

1) How can I get my team moving better in the right direction?
2) Do I have any dead weight that I should cut off? Including Vendors, projects, customers and employees.
3) Which types of Cloud solutions should I add and which partners should I bet on? (Really concerned that the Cloud vendors just want to grab their customers and eventually cut them out of the picture)
4) How can I do better with my digital strategy to amplify my message louder and stay better connected with my clients?
5) How can I find more time for myself?

A little less than 25% of them said they will probably still think about some business stuff, but they will mostly try to chill-out. What was interesting is that profit was not in the top-5 priority list. When I asked, many said that they are making money and while they could make more, the challenges of adapting their business to exploit the changes in the IT industry is what really keeps them awake at night. Many were concerned that the biggest hurdle in evolving their business was some of their staff.

MSPs who were well down the road in the recurring revenue business model also expressed concerns about price erosions, NOC (Network Operations Centre) competition in managed services and Cloud providers nibbling at their customers.

My summer conversations with them concluded on what they thought that their current business was worth today and how are they planning to build a bigger net worth in the future. Their insights were quite interesting and I will share some in a future update as that is a subject for a whole different discussion.

Periodically throughout the year, I reach out to good cross section of VARs and MSPs to have a conversation and get some market feedback. We digest this information to explore how we can improve our channel activities to better serve them. I recommend that all VARs and MSPs do something similar with their customers. One VAR routinely holds an annual summer BBQ for their clients to have fun while getting some feedback and a better feel for the future – Very smart thing to do!

Regardless if you use some of the summer time to rethink your business, or just to have a good time, it is time well spent or as we say…well wasted. Have a great second-half of summer!

Julian Lee