It happens to the best of us. You started your tech company, maybe as a one-person team. As it grew, you hired a few more techs to keep up with the demand for your company’s services. Unfortunately, this pushed you further and further into a management position rather than doing the tech that you love. Eventually, instead of getting a thrill when you hit your goals time and again, you began to feel apathetic and started to wonder whether it was worthwhile to continue the business.
Welcome to burnout. As the stress of managing and developing a strategy to keep your business growing builds up, the joy that you used to take in solving technical problems have faded. If you don’t have a particular talent for management and business strategy, you may find yourself downright miserable. It’s not an uncommon problem, and more than half of the tech industry as a whole feels burned out in one way or another, at a whopping 57% in a 2018 survey. Several big industry names, such as Amazon, Oracle, Intuit, and Cisco nearing the 60-70% range. But what can you do about it?
Here are some popular tips to consider, with commentary from Ross Siroti from Rekall Technologies.
Burn Out & Stress: Huge Challenges For MSP Business Owners
Take a Break
Take a week’s vacation with no phone and no Internet access. Set your out of office reply. Have your techs keep notes on any client request they can’t satisfy.
If you’re practically running 24-7 and have clients with your home or mobile numbers to contact you in an emergency, it’s more than time for a break. When you started your business, it was probably expected that you’d burn the midnight oil a bit to get everything off the ground. However, as time has gone on, you should have made some adjustments to your policies and practices to get a break in on evenings, weekends, and some time away to really keep a handle on your stress level. The practices should include rotating on-call duties among your employees or hiring someone to manage third-shift help-desk issues if it’s really that busy. A break gives you the option of figuring out what direction you want to take when you return.
Hire Fresh Talent
Hire someone or promote someone to take over (your) management duties. Look at the business as an investment (you) don’t have to be super involved if (you) don’t want to.
No, we’re not talking techs – you’ve quite possibly hired a few of those already. We’re talking business professionals. If you got into your business because you love technology but have discovered that you hate the business management side, why not just hire a general manager to take care of that side and go back to handling the more challenging problems your clients throw at you? You might just discover a new specialty that you didn’t have the time to explore before, giving you a new direction.
Step Aside for Promising Employees
Tell them you want to remain in the business as a tech and make sure your cultures will mesh well together. You’ll get to go back into a tech role, and your business will be less of a mess which might even make your employees happier.
If you’re not comfortable hiring outside talent, why not take a look at your existing team? Do you have someone who is already handling some portion of the tasks you hate? If they’re willing to step up into the role, but don’t have the training to really manage everything well, you could offer to pay a portion of their education if they wanted to go back to school while taking over as much of the load as possible in the meantime. This frees up more time for you and allows them to advance in their career. Eventually, you can focus solely on tech, while still providing occasional input on the direction of the company.
Sell the Company
If running the business isn’t something you want to do, then sell it and get out before it destroys the very thing you’ve loved.
Sometimes it’s just time to kiss the business goodbye. Maybe you’ve discovered a new passion that you want to pursue and want to leave the tech industry behind completely. Perhaps you’d like to go back to being a one-man shop and build a new business. It could even be time to just retire, even if it’s a little early. If your business has run its course and you’re considering selling, talk to a business appraiser and get advice on what you need to get in shape before offering it for sale. In many cases, simply seeing the light at the end of the tunnel provides sufficient incentive to stick with the business a little longer.
By understanding the causes of your stress and acting accordingly, you’ll be able to keep your stress at a more manageable level and regain the joy you had in life, whether you look at selling your business, hiring new talent, or just taking a break. When you need advice and news focused specifically on the tech industry, MSP Tech News delivers what you need with an angle towards your business’ interests.