An MSP business should remember Douglas Adam’s sage advice atop his fictionalized volume, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Don’t panic.” When you panic, you start running around in circles. You quit thinking critically. You make mistakes. What’s worse, you spread panic. You don’t do anyone any good. Your panic increases until it reaches an event horizon. Basically, a psychological break will happen.
Troubles Will Come
When you’re working as a manager, owner, or primary facilitator of an MSP— especially in LA where things are hectic and people are skittish to begin with— there are going to be problems. If you take the big picture and expand from there, to not expect such problems is downright reckless. Servers are going to crash. Legal issues are going to tie up business. Clients are going to leave and new ones will have to be catered to very specifically. You’re going to get sick; IT professionals working to facilitate operations are going to get sick. People are going to drop the ball and the competitors on the other team are going to score. All these things will happen at some point over the course of operations, period.
Take a Look at Your Life
Taken in aggregate, such exigencies are quite alarming. But if you just focus on taking things one step at a time, it’s not a big deal. Look at an aggregate of the bad experiences in your life. You’re going to get injured, you’re going to get sick, you’re going to get ridiculed, and you’re going to lose money. You’re going to be in hard relationships that likely end in substance abuse. You’re going to get taken advantage of and mistreated by the closest people to you. If you have a pet, that pet’s going to die.
But should you never leave your cloistered white-washed environment just because these negative things are going to happen? Should you never get a pet because it’s going to die? God forbid! You want to go out and experience life. Run into people with different lifestyles and beliefs. Get in trouble and get out of it. Because here’s the other thing: you’re going to have good experiences, too; and those taken in aggregate are usually better than the painful experiences in the end. It’s the same with your MSP business.
The key is, when things start getting difficult at your IT company, you must remain calm and not panic. You must look at the bigger picture and realize that every crisis is an opportunity for growth, not a reason to throw in the towel, panic, and sink into yourself. Especially in LA, you’re going to have to put those acting chops to work— and of course, you have them! You’re in LA! Even if you find yourself in the pit of despair, you must put a good face on it, or that despair will translate to your employees, and it will be a negative domino effect from there. If it gets bad enough, their panic will drive them to look for other companies. Additionally, it will be communicated to clients. If you don’t put a lid on it, it’s going to spread like wildfire and throw your company into a downward spiral. You cannot crack under pressure or your company will crack under pressure. You must be strong, like the captain of the pirate ship who always wore a red shirt going into battle against other pirates so that his crew never thought he bled. He kept it up even when there were 30 ships against him, but he changed the order slightly. Before, he said: “Bring me my red shirt!” because he was hiding the blood. When 30 ships came against him, he swallowed, put on a strong face, and said: “Bring me my brown pants!”
Be a Real Captain
You must be like that captain. Though operations are going to throw you:
- Unexpected problems
- Unfair situations
…and more, you must be strong enough to hold a “stiff upper lip.” Your MSP business will succeed, then, because your employees will additionally catch the contagion of confidence, and like a positive upward spiral of self-fulfilling prophecy, you’ll experience success. So… “Don’t panic!”