Business Tech Playbook

#19 – Last Year Wrap Up, This Year's Goals

6 months ago
Transcript
Robbz

This is the business tech playbook. Your source for it, help for your business, BJ. Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, happy hanukkahs, all of the ones in between. Because when they're listening to this, it's going to be, after all of those, right?

BJ

They're totally going to be listening to this. And it's not even going to be President's day or something, but at the end of the day, like, this was recorded between Christmas and New Year's, you.

Robbz

Think it's going to be a wrap up? It's going to be more like a wrap down.

BJ

Throw a, you know, if we really have to start doing gangsters paradise or can, we can certainly do that.

Robbz

We should be the people to do an it parody of gangsters paradise.

BJ

I may or may not have had Chad GPT write me one already.

Robbz

Oh, wow. Do you have that handy? Because this is a great time. This is the end of the year wrap up for those that are listening, if you've joined us for the last, I don't know, 17 episodes. Thank you for joining us. We're going to do wrap ups, and then, of course, because it's January, we have to do our goals and things that we're going to try to do for the podcast and our businesses. But, yeah, if you had that gangsters paradise verse for at least the end of the podcast, or maybe some hidden bonus for the discord, that'd be fantastic.

BJ

So I wrote it about, actually, I did a rock superstar by Cypress Hill. Do you know that?

Robbz

Well, as long as you didn't do a song by Peaches. Also, don't google that.

BJ

Oh, no, I did not do a song by Peaches. Okay, so one of the tools I used is called Roost, and it's a process automation tool.

Robbz

I promise we're going to have those people on the podcast.

BJ

Yeah, they're amazing. But basically, you want to be a code superstar live a large house. Yeah, whatever. Well, I'll post a link on the podcast, show notes. It maybe isn't something you should actually read, but it's pretty funny nonetheless.

Robbz

Well, let's begin a recap. What do you have in mind, my friend?

BJ

Oh, goodness. So, honestly, this was just thinking through some of the. We had 17 podcasts we recorded this year, 18 or 19 if you count this one. I don't know. 17 released is ultimately where we ended up. Right. We covered everything from some of your best security steps that you need to take for cyber insurance. What should it do for you? VoIP, how to pick hardware pranks on and offboarding of users. Honestly, it's been a really good year, and I've been kind of dreading thinking about what to do for the podcast because we've talked about so much stuff, and so a lot of our conversations are around what are we going to do for 2024 and to keep things going and better. And it dawned on me we really need to refocus on Brian, the CFO, and maybe Brianna or what was our office manager's name.

Robbz

I'll have to look it up. It was another b, for sure.

BJ

Well, we can go with Brian and Brianna. It's just thinking through, like, what does next year bring? And a lot of it will be just revisiting what Brian and Brianna would need to know to keep their company running. And our goal is to hopefully keep it simple, jargon free, and straightforward. And hopefully over the next couple of months, we start getting a lot more questions from our listeners about things that would help them understand how to better make decisions in it. Something I've talked about with more than a few other MSP colleagues is like, we don't typically lose deals because they go with somebody else, right? We almost always lose the deal because people just don't make a decision. And so part of why we built this podcast was to help partly myself have better language skills around it, better explanation, better ways to self train people how to make good decisions in it. And so have that be part of my sales process, just explain things more fully in nontechnical manners. And it's easy in it to immediately go to the technical answer, and realistically, it's continuing to drive the point home. Here's what types of decisions you need to make. Here's the direction you need to help your company go. And I'm hoping that our podcast will be part of that for you.

Robbz

Indecision I think we've explained this in the last 17 episodes. Indecision is the issue that most people have. If you make a wrong decision, you got data from it, you alter direction and you change course. It may have cost you money, but not as much as fumbling around and having stuff go the wrong way. And you can't collect that data. So in the sales process, just to give a little cue on what BJ has and other msps deal with is at least good msps deal with is it's not the car salesman where they show up and like, oh, you didn't like the know? Maybe someone else has a car for you. It's the lack of they know they need someone they don't know how business affecting it is not having someone on your side. And then we'll make that contact. Then down the road something will break and be like, you know what, I really should have onboarded either an it person in the department or an MSP to have them already take care of this stuff. And now that I'm working in an emergency, there isn't a lot they can do. They have to now work with downtime. They have to now address this as reactive instead of proactive. And it costs you x fold much more money. And that's the unfortunate part of our sales process is we go there, we explain what we can do for you, then it's not like they're going to another competitor. They're just kind of sitting on their hands going, I don't know if I want to be a big boy today. And then they have to deal with consequences later completely.

BJ

Well, I literally had a prospect get referred to us a couple of weeks ago and they had been down for three days when they finally called us. And at that point is not the time to have the MSP conversation. Right. I jumped and took care of it and I actually helped them get fully back up and running in about 2 hours because leaving somebody down just really doesn't sit well with me. Right. Like their existing it person just didn't return their calls for three days, like hard down. And they're not a huge company, but still, seven, eight employees, they're probably one to $3 million a year. You figure that's $3,000 a day of lost productivity pretty easily. I had them back up and running in like 2 hours from the time they called me.

Robbz

And that was lucky. Not that we can do that. We're not sitting here telling you and promising you that we have a magic wand and can do that. That's a very unique situation where he was lucky enough to know the one piece. But most of the time when they call us and they've been down for three days, we don't know what's going on. And it's going to take time to identify onboard tools, figure out your network because we want to do that beforehand, so we're ready when that happens.

BJ

Well, and our clients just don't have that experience. Right. So if a client's building was completely gone now, we could have them up and running in a failover data center in about 3 hours, their building is gone and they can keep running. That's how we work and that's how your MSP or your IT company should work. And so it's sorry I started wandering off, but honestly, part of why I brought that up is like, I have since proposed, fully managed for them and they're just like, wow, that's super expensive. And I'm like, well, I get that you're not used to spending this kind of money on it, but you probably should have been because if you had been, you wouldn't be in this situation.

Robbz

And sometimes we get lucky and show that, hey, here's when you called me last time and how much it cost you. That was that and more of that budget, right? Yeah, that's more of what we want to plan is focusing on Brianna and Brian through the following episodes, through 2024, giving more tools to you guys to help make decisions. We're going to bring on more guests, I know that.

BJ

Absolutely.

Robbz

We're going to be reaching out to huntress. We're going to try to have them on and show what EDR is. You keep talking about this roost tool, but we have to have these people on Roost is a lot of our magic here at eTop. We live and breathe on the roost tool, and using a tool like roost or roost itself can save all different types of money on the it side, but even can be used to stretch past that. So we'll get them on for sure. But also, we need to talk about changes that we're going to be doing as a company here for Etop and tooting our own horn a little bit.

BJ

Well, if we don't toot our own horn, what's the point? I kid, at the end of the day, our goal is not to be salesy. It's literally just to explain what each of these things means and help people have a better understanding of what decisions they need to make. One of the things that would be really awesome, Robbie, is, as we work through the next year, is I would like to dedicate a month to possibly even talking about different control sets like NIST 800 171. I know these are real page turners and people, please don't be bored and look away for them. But our goal, honestly, another one would be cis controls v eight. They can sound boring upfront. And to be honest, if you actually read them, they are.

Robbz

We're going to tell you why it.

BJ

Matters, but we're going to tell you why it matters. We're going to tell you how to effectively implement. And the goal is to not necessarily implement every single thing in day one. It's to choose two or three things that are going to have the biggest ROI for your business help you align more fully with the control set that you've chosen, and once you've done that, it's going to set you up for just absolute success.

Robbz

I know one of them that we've talked about a little bit before is also getting an expert on talking about what protocol was it for compliance, for taking payments?

BJ

Payroll processing. Not payroll, sorry, payment processing. My brain apparently has dropped off as well. So you'd be dealing a lot with PCI compliance?

Robbz

That's the one, yes. So that's a big question. And that's going to be pushed super hard in 2024 for people that they're going to be finding out, hey, I need to be compliant. What does that mean? We can certainly help you out with that as well.

BJ

Well, and compliance is being driven by a lot of different fronts. And so you're dealing with PCI compliance has been around for a long time. Right. But you're seeing a lot heavier enforcement on the technology side that you didn't used to see. And you're seeing the same thing with HIPAA, you're seeing the same thing with FINRA, some new CMMC. I apologize. Tons of different acronyms just came at you.

Robbz

Imagine that it's your local government. Let's just pretend another subject to try to really paint the picture here. Your local government says that you need to be compliant for handicap entry. They'll tell you this. And for 5678 years, no one followed up. Right. Maybe you did have a handicapped parking spot. Maybe you had a handicap entrance for your local town or city, and suddenly that's required. Now they're finally going through and saying, hey, you need to prove to us that you're already certified or we're going to send people out there. So now there's tools that actually test to make sure that you're compliant. Go through the whole measurements and we'll deep dive that one for sure.

BJ

Exactly. Well, there's a ton of compliance coming down the pipe, and it's going to be a lot of fun for us. Hopefully it's not too painful for you, our listener, because it's coming. The changes are happening, whether it's insurance, whether it's government, whether it's your upstream vendor, it's coming. One of the big decisions you need to make is what are you going to align yourself with and push forward? And frankly, who are you going to partner with to make it happen now.

Robbz

What are some goals that we have at etop this year? This is where I get to poke the boss to see what's coming down the pipe myself.

BJ

Oh dang.

Robbz

That we can talk about publicly, mind you.

BJ

Yeah, right, exactly. So internally our goal is to add between six to twelve new clients in 2024. So for us that has a pretty big impact on our top and bottom lines, but we're also pretty selective on who we bring on, which is way more impactful for the business because it allows us to be a little bit choosy about who we work with. We're hungry but not starving as a company. And so that's one of my big goals personally, is to go to add in six to twelve really solid clients. As far as company goals, that is one of them we've been going through and helping our clients upgrade their licensing for Office 365. And as a result we're able to go through and it's allowing us to reduce our tool sprawl. It companies msps have just massive amounts of sprawl.

Robbz

And just to elaborate on this, this is something that we try to do on a yearly task to touch our customers is see what tools they've used, what processes and how we can already incorporate stuff that they're already paying for to do it to make it easier. It's kind of our big check in. We check in or the customers multiple times a year, but we'll try to find most of our customers slower season, like for instance January. Not going to be tax professional slow season, let me tell you that. But other companies that we have will have slow seasons check in and sometimes we can save them x thousands of dollars monthly on their tool set just because we already have a new tool that was brought in in 2023 from Microsoft they didn't have before. And that's a very real thing. Microsoft and Google tool suites continually grow and we have to not only keep ourselves up to date, but then let our customers know, hey, this is part of your package you already use. This could really change your business.

BJ

No, absolutely. Some of it is the less tool sprawl we have, the more efficiently we're using the tools we have. Right. And so that's part of what we are going to be doing internally. We're really doing our best to minimize our tool changes this year other than a couple of very select things, just because it's a lot of work to migrate things without a lot of upside, unless it's like a really big.

Robbz

You gave me a real cheesy mantra, but I really appreciate it.

BJ

Let's do it.

Robbz

You said that less is more this year. It seems like that's just a guy.

BJ

More in 24.

Robbz

Less is more in 24. Now, not only is that a bad dad joke, but most people can take that as, oh, we're just being cheap and trying to save money. Honestly, no. Yes, onboarding new solutions and doing changes costs money. But we need to polish and figure out how to really onboard the most of the tools we have. And when you're in a continual cycle of change, you're really not getting the most out of it. So polishing down the processes and making sure they're mapped to the tools that we have right now. We introduced this last year, a suite automation button for a lot of our simpler tasks day to days, and it's good, but I know in the next coming months, internally, for us, it's going to be great. That's one example. I wish we could tell you more, but we have secret sauce. We don't want to tell you how our engines work and be Toyota. We want to help you out where we can. But honestly, taking time and just improving what we already have goes a long way. And then it helps unchange fatigue a little bit. If you take a break, step back and really refine your process.

BJ

Well, to kind of your point, I'll spill a little bit of the secret sauce because, oh boy, I'm glad you're doing it.

Robbz

Not me, because then I'm not the blame.

BJ

I'm allowed to. I don't get in trouble as much.

Robbz

Good.

BJ

They can't fire me if I get basically. So one of the tools we use roost specifically is launching something called an app platform. And what that means is it's going to allow us to launch basically portal sites for our clients. And if people are like, ooh, yay, another portal. Well, the goal is to centralize everything that we can into one simple dashboard. But like think through this. If we can centralize your company's SaaS applications as much as possible into one dashboard, even if it's just a launching off point now, you can submit a ticket, you can review your tickets, you can see where anything is at at any given time, and you also can get to all of your tools internally at your company. Oh, now that we have stuff integrated into your company, now you can fire up automations for yourself. So the goal over the next one to two years is to really build out our ability to build automations for clients. And so now you can save time. Not only are we doing the it support, now we're becoming your business analyst, where we understand your business process top to bottom and we're able to drive automations into your organization. Oh, we got an email from XYZ engineering firm. We need to do. Here's the process that needs to be followed. Now. You forward that email box into, you forward that email into help desk. It picks up on the proper keywords in it and it just does the whole thing. That's the direction we are trying to go, not just being it support. Instead of having to hire another person, we automate it for you.

Robbz

Less is more in 24.

BJ

Less is more, baby man.

Robbz

Again, we're not marketing people.

BJ

Yeah. Less is more in 24. That's right. One of the things that we are adding on is we're adding in a vulnerability management tool. So we're going through and it's going to allow us to align our clients much more effectively with CIS controls, specifically IG one and IG two. And so the vulnerability management reporting is part of that. It's not sexy. It's absolutely critical.

Robbz

I'm going to roll those back that now have glossed eyes over their face. What we have to do, our clients, not just to make sure that they're compliant because someone told us to, but because we need to make sure that our whole job is you pay us monthly to make sure that you have no downtime. So to make sure that you have no downtime, we need to make sure that all of your assets, your computers, your servers, your entire network is as less vulnerable as possible. So we do vulnerability audits. Those audits tell us things that maybe were left on by accident, maybe something wasn't removed that someone had before we started them. Maybe a setting was turned off by mistake. I mean literally hundreds if not thousands of possibilities. And we have to go through long manual checklists to figure out these types of vulnerabilities that may be set on your network. This is part of our responsibilities. And to make that better, we're giving a dashboard where it can automatically do an audit for us, bring all of the things to attention. And then we, instead of being the guys trying to find it, we can switch to the guys trying to fix it and have our tools do that for us. That's huge.

BJ

Absolutely.

Robbz

That's huge. Instead of a manual process, having it picked up as soon as the setting was gone. To give you an example, let's pretend that so and so, this is something that changed from one of our tools that automatically assess. Someone said that they wanted to go to this cool new SaaS app and they wanted a free trial. They clicked yes. And then the app automatically, like on your phone, asks for all of your company's permission. They want access to your email, your contacts, your calendar. That, for us, is a security vulnerability. You're giving up all of your private information to this app so it can work for this free cool tool that's a nightmare for us because that's giving away company information. So as soon as that button was hit, it immediately sends us a report saying that this happened and then audits the rest to see if there's anybody else doing it instead of us picking it up. And, oh, 30 days when we were doing our next audit. Those tools are golden, and we have quite a few on board. We're going to go crazy with ones that actually go compliant to some of our customers needs.

BJ

Well, so, five years ago, I was literally having a conversation with a couple of really smart guys. Today they luckily were talking to the dumb guy in the room, and that's me. But the conversation was around documentation. Five years ago was very easy, comparatively. You had a number of checkboxes, you had a couple of templates that you followed, and people had servers, people had a couple of apps, and that was it. Well, now we're having to figure out how to document where doc data is stored, and that could be on your server in office 365. Well, those are the obvious ones, right? But now you're dealing with, like, is it in Monday? Is it in Dropbox? Why did somebody sign up for a personal Dropbox account that we have no management over? You have data in your VoIP platform, you have data in your ad platform, you have data now. We have data that lives in like, 50 different places, not to mention the.

Robbz

Ones that are by mistake because someone misclicked and gave it to honey. Oh, my God.

BJ

Yes.

Robbz

You didn't know what they were doing.

BJ

You have your HubSpot, you have your eRp, you have LinkedIn. Like LinkedIn, right? I mean, goodness knows. Hey, I feel like I'm being called out here, but.

Robbz

Follow BJ on LinkedIn. Good Lord, that is his favorite place. That is his Myspace. And trust me, he's got a lot more than Tom on there, I promise. Love you. He just logs into LinkedIn. Look, just me and Tom, all right?

BJ

Goodness. Yeah. I connect with pretty much anyone on LinkedIn, so feel free to connect at any time.

Robbz

I promise you guys, if you're listening to this, if you can go to LinkedIn and just send him an emoji of a duck, that is all he needs.

BJ

Chickens or ducks? That's fine. I'm happy with that. If you send me an emoji of a duck, I will guarantee to accept and reciprocate.

Robbz

He'll send you one back, don't worry.

BJ

Maybe two, but, oh, goodness.

Robbz

Regardless, we have to play whack a mold. It's no longer, here's your computer, here's the data on the server. Now, because everybody's everywhere, we have to do much deeper audits than ever thought of. And the only real way to get it done is humans can only go so far. Having automated tools to do this is the must. So we got to get deeper into that.

BJ

It's 100%, and it's part of why I think even companies that have in house it or think they've got things on lockdown, work with a company, work with a managed service provider, interview them. We talked about this a little bit in one of our previous episodes. I think it was actually the last one, how to interview for help, or the last released one. So it's episode 17. But at the end of the day, you need to have a guy on your side.

Robbz

Yeah.

BJ

You need a team on your side. Even if you have a team of it, people working with an MSP starts to make a lot of sense just because we're seeing things that your team won't see working for one company. So we're a small MSP, right? We have just under 30 clients, but we're seeing 30 different environments. We're seeing threats across 30 different clients. We keep our ears to the ground on what's coming down the pipe. We keep our ears to the. We are paying a lot of attention to this. And most in house people are great. They're amazing it professionals, but they just don't see the same amount of stuff on a day to day basis as we do. And sometimes it means we're way more chaotic than they are. But it's just a function of.

Robbz

I take that bet we're pretty good.

BJ

We're okay.

Robbz

I'm in the trenches. I'd toot my own horn. I take that over some guy that still eating the donut in the morning as the internal it guy, not knowing where the fire is next. I call him chaotic. Well, shots fired.

BJ

Right? Shots fired. I'm staying out of that. Awkward. Oh, goodness. But, no, seriously. A big thing. I've personally taken a very solid interest in making sure that our MSP isn't chaotic. I mean, there's always chaos. Right? There's stuff that you can't plan. But how many real emergencies do we have?

Robbz

Robbie, right now I'm doing a podcast. We have people out of the office due to a sickness and holiday. And I'm still able to sit down and do a podcast with you because we have things under control. My pants aren't on fire and neither is the company's.

BJ

We had three people out of the.

Robbz

Office earlier this week and I still had downtime. Not that I'm a lazy person, it's just I was able to crank stuff out, even throw a couple of memes BJ's way. It was a good day.

BJ

At the end of the day, my goal as a company is to not be emergency driven and not be urgency driven. It's to understand the problem, prevent chaos from happening, and to drive the company forward. Right. And my goal is to do that for ourselves and to do that for you. And. Or if we can teach you how to do that. Fantastic.

Robbz

Well, and if again, you have some pain point in your company, we'd love to do an whole episode on that. If you need some help, let us know. Send us an email at.

BJ

You have the email technology.

Robbz

Thank you. And our website is businesstechplaybook.com. Bob, on the website you'll find a.

BJ

Link to we forgot because it's been like two weeks since we did a recording.

Robbz

Yeah, it's been a hot minute.

BJ

What's our name again? Also, we never actually did the intro. My name is BJPo with etop technology. We're co host of business tech playbook. We just launched into.

Robbz

Holy cow, guys, if you're an episode 18 and you needed a recap of who we are, go listen to the first episodes. Start there. But before we leave, I do want to point out and that we had a fantastic Christmas party. I got to go to Redlands and hang out, and I had the really good caribbean jerk chicken. And I want to say that my mouth is still slightly numb. I just wanted to point that out there for the listeners so you can live a bit of my life. The guy when I asked for milk looked at me like I was asking for ketchup on a steak. It was beyond himself. So I hope next year it's way hotter, just for the sake of conversation.

BJ

Oh, that's so funny. I never thought we would ask for mayonnaise or milk at a caribbean restaurant.

Robbz

I asked for ranch. Ranch. All right.

BJ

Yeah, you did ask for ranch. So if any of you want to come to lunch, I will spring for lunch here in Redlands, and we'll go to dad island and you can have the jerk chicken. It is fantastic. It is a little bit spicy, especially for a Minnesota, a ranch lover. Minnesota. He's basically canadian at this point.

Robbz

Okay, just opened in my hometown is we have a was it 1800 square foot cheese store?

BJ

You mentioned that people go in and carry out bags of cheese.

Robbz

It's bigger than one of the grocery stores in the area of just cheese. I have a different problem.

BJ

That's amazing.

Robbz

And that's laxative. But anyways, right? Less is more. In 24 come get free lunch from BJ.

BJ

You actually said something. If anyone has questions they want to ask us on the podcast around specific topics, and you're willing to come on, we'd be thrilled to have you.

Robbz

We don't even have to have you on. We can go over it by proxy. Anonymous so and so asked a question in here's the episode. But if you are brave enough, we have extra mics in Minnesota or Redlands.

BJ

I know, right?

Robbz

There you go.

BJ

You can even jump on a discord zoom call with us. There you go. I can't even speak. Well, regardless, Robbie, here's the 2024 confetti noise. Didn't your Tesla play Aldlang sign, which is the New Year's song?

Robbz

It does, yes.

BJ

I mean, it's anchors away. Never mind. I forgot what Aldlang sign was.

Robbz

Bye everyone.

BJ

Bye everyone.

Episode Notes

For more episodes got to http://businesstechplaybook.com

Find more on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-pote-75a87233

This podcast is provided by the team at Etop Technology: https://etoptechnology.com/

Special thanks to Giga for the intro/outro sounds: https://soundcloud.com/gigamusicofficial