Friday, 4 September 2009

Some Thoughts On a Fall Back Position

There is a lot of upheaval going on in our industry.

The recession has led to the downsizing of all sorts of companies to the outright closing of others.

We have had close contact with some of the local and regional I.T. company casualties in both the PC and Mac world.

So, in our case, we are fortunate that our business has kept growing throughout the last year though we are certainly an anomaly in this regard.

But, in the last 6 or 7 years of our company’s history, there have been times where business was slow. The times where this happened and we had not yet adopted a monthly hybrid MSP model were the hardest.

So, I fell back on picking up jobs in the local construction market. We had to eat, pay our bills, and keep things moving forward as best as possible all the while keeping as much cash flow in our fledgling company.

With the economy being what it is now, and the ongoing risk of running our own business and thus funding our livelihood, there is always the need to keep all of the options on the table.

Some of those options are in my case:

  • Contracting and construction
    • Many years subcontracting my carpentry skills framing, house building, and home renovations.
    • Bulk and finish painting in both industrial and home markets.
    • Drywall and taping.
    • Concrete foundation forming (Wikipedia).
    • Road and rail construction crews.
    • Plumbing and electrical work.
  • Automotive
    • Was about a year away from my journeyman’s ticket as a mechanic many years back.

There are others, but besides the industry that I find myself in, construction is probably the next best option as I love working with wood, concrete, and steel.

We are fortunate to be living in a province in Canada that, while hurt by the recession, still has a lot of construction going on. So, finding a very well paying job based on my abilities would not be difficult.

Where is this post leading to?

We live in uncertain times. Our world is in an economic upheaval. Our own industry, which I really love being a part of, is in upheaval as well.

There is a lot of change happening around us on so many scales that it can be tough to process or even remotely get a handle on.

That means that decisions need to be made.

One of those decisions is to make sure to always have a fall back when in business for ourselves. Even when we are employed by a company, it is a good idea to take the initiative to gain more education, to branch out into other areas of expertise . . . to feather the intellectual knowledgebase nest so to speak.

Another one of those decisions is making sure that we have a good grasp on that part of the I.T. industry that will directly impact our business model and the future, or lack thereof, of our I.T. company.

Vlad, is awesomely blunt about the need to be real and honest about our position, and how it is changing, in the I.T. business world.

As company owners, we absolutely must have a good business plan in place. A part of the ongoing development of that business plan is making sure that every employee in our business has input on it and the directions we should be taking with the company.

Another aspect of that business plan is having a focus on the specific aspects of the existing I.T. industry as well as forthcoming aspects that directly impact our company.

We need to ask ourselves, our employees, our peers, and others how we can grow and adapt to the upcoming changes.

We live in neat times. There is a lot of opportunity to be had today. The “Business Sense” is tingling and there is a lot of clients to be gained and money to be made!

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*All Mac on SBS posts will not be written on a Mac until we replace our now missing iMac! (previous blog post)

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