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 Practice.

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Business Processes for SMB IT Companies

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