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Business Processes for SMB IT Companies


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A presentation I delivered on 4th November, 2010 to the Thames Valley Small Business Specialist User Group. It looks at using Business Processes to build a scalable and successful IT Consultancy …

A presentation I delivered on 4th November, 2010 to the Thames Valley Small Business Specialist User Group. It looks at using Business Processes to build a scalable and successful IT Consultancy Practice.

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  • 1. Richard Tubb
  • 2. Who am I?
    Founded Netlink IT in 2003
    “One Man Band” until 2007
    Merged with in 2009
    8 Members of Staff, 60+ Clients across UK
  • 3. SBSC PAL FY11
    I have been appointed Microsoft Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead for Financial Year 2011
    Work with the SBSC Community as the main points of contact with Microsoft.
    Report into Dell Quinn
    Two other PAL’s for UK are:-
    Guy Gregory
    The Final Step
    Steve Wright
  • 4. I’m not this type of Pal
  • 5. The value of business systemisation for SMB IT Companies
    Working Title - “How to stop doing all the stuff you don’t want to do, won’t make you rich, and bores the living daylights out of you – and instead start becoming a business owner"
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8. What are Business Processes?
    Work Instructions (documents describing how to do specific tasks)
    Checklists (“Best Practice” guidelines)
    Configuration Information (Client Network Documentation)
  • 9. Basically… Taking stuff out of here
  • 10. … and documenting it for others to use
  • 11. Why bother?
    If stuff is just stored in your head then you’ll struggle to delegate work to others...
  • 12. Either through choice…
  • 13. Or because you have no choice…
  • 14. Documenting processes result in building a BUSINESS as opposed to OWNING A JOB
  • 15. Micro IT Companies
    You are selling your time for money
    Only so many hours in the day for you to sell
    Life/Work Balance is often poor
    Sickness is a double stress
    Holidays are an inconvenience
    Unable to delegate any work
    Business simply doesn’t scale
    No efficiency
  • 16. SMB IT Companies
    Key individuals (typically the owner) often hold key information
    Employees get stressed because they can’t do their jobs – people thrive on responsibility
    No exit strategy – selling the business without key individuals attached is difficult
  • 17. Where to start?
    Simplest method can often be…
    Slow down…
    Write down…
  • 18. Example
    Administrative tasks are an easy win
    If you charge £60/hour for your time
    You spend an hour a month doing Business Bank Reconciliation
    The cost is £720/year for one single task
    Plus you went into business to be an IT Consultant, not an Accountant – Right?
  • 19. Instead…
    Schedule 2 hours in your diary to do the next Business Bank Reconciliation
    Slow down – this is the last time you’ll ever do this task yourself…
    Document every step that you take to complete the task
    Next time, outsource the job for £7.50/hour to someone else to do on your behalf
  • 20. Finished Document
  • 21. Some other examples - Admin
    Producing a Weekly Financial Report
    Invoicing clients
    Chasing client payments
    Paying Suppliers Bills
    Filing VAT returns
    Ordering License Renewals
    Dealing with CV’s
  • 22. It’s not just for Admin
    The next time you have to build a new PC for a client…
    How can you make the task repeatable by somebody else?
    Start by create a Checklist of the software that needs installing, and the settings that need configuring
    You’ll probably start to think about how you can speed the task up further…
    You may discover that creating a standard image using Acronis or ShadowProtect is the way forwards, and also makes documenting the process a whole lot easier…
  • 23. Some other examples - Technical
    Setting up Windows Mobile Devices
    Archiving Outlook e-mails
    Installing a SSL Certificate
    Creating a Windows VPN Connection
    Building a new Domain PC
    Resizing Picture Image Files
    Sending large attachments via e-mail
  • 24. Some other examples – Sales and Marketing
    Direct Mail Marketing
    Cold Calling
    Account Management – Inside Sales
    Public Relations – Press Releases
    Web-Site Updates
  • 25. Benefits?
    Your time will be freed up to go and do fee earning work.
    You’ll have more energy because you won’t be doing the jobs you find a chore anymore.
    You’ll have taken the first step to building a company Business Operations Manual
  • 26. Free Stuff
    Some documented processes for you to SWIPE
    Available as a Windows Live Sync Download
    Give me your business card and I’ll add you so you can download all the examples discussed
    Not got a business card? Two tips for you…
    Buy a ton of business cards and carry them EVERYWHERE
    Send me an e-mail at instead 
  • 27. Does it work?
    In 2007 Netlink IT was a “one man band”
  • 28. Does it work?
    In 2008 I documented all my administrative jobs and hired a Part-Time Administrative Assistant
    I also I documented all my client networks and sub-contracted technical work to trusted peers
    This made time for me to do Sales training, win more business, write blogs, garner positive PR and really get our name out there
    In 2008 Netlink IT became Microsoft Certified Partners
  • 29. Does it work?
    In 2009 we merged with
    In January 2010, Microsoft announced us as their first Small Business Champions
    In October 2010, we were shortlisted for the Advantage West Midlands “Strategic Business Improvement” award
    In both 2009 and 2010 I was a speaker at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference
    Now - World Domination more success is within our grasp!
  • 30. Need convincing?
    “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber
    Life Changing book
    If you do one thing…
    … Buy this book!
    All my recommended books at
  • 31. Which Tools can you use?
    Snagit (
  • 32. Which Tools can you use?
    KeePass ( )
    Start using separate passwords for ALL sites and clients – makes delegating any responsibilities much easier
  • 33. Which Tools can you use?
    Get a CRM package to record client information
    We started with Results CRM (
    Case Study available at
    We now use ConnectWise PSA (
  • 34. Which Tools can you use?
    Sharing documents securely internally and externally is a must
    Well defined File Share is simple >
    Use a standard file naming convention
    Even better, use Sharepoint
    Microsoft BPOS – easy Sharepoint setup
    Microsoft Sharepoint – SBS
  • 35. Which Tools can you use?
    Accredit UK
    Netlink IT became accredited in 2009
    The accreditation process forces you to take a good look at your business and acknowledge and address weaknesses
    Prescriptive advice and guidance on how to document your business
    Help from a Business Consultant with creating your processes
  • 36. Outsource Jobs
    Server Maintenance – Zenith Infotech
    Call Answering – Moneypenny
    Administration – Virtual PA’s
    Web Site – Pronto Marketing
    Collaboration – Work with your SBSC Peers
  • 37. Call to action
    Buy and read (or re-read!) E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
    Visit my Windows Sync Mesh folder and S.W.I.P.E* our Work Instruction Template
    Schedule time in your Outlook Calendar to document one job you find a chore
    Delegate that job to someone else
    *Steal with Integrity and Pride from Everywhere
  • 38. Any questions?
  • 39. How to contact me