Lester Keizer Shares Lessons Learned During Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically reshaped the business landscape. For managed service provider leaders, it's been a time to rethink business models and business processes.
In a recent discussion with MSP leader Lester Keizer, we discuss the lessons the crisis can teach us about our business strategies ... and our life strategies. Keizer is a long-time entrepreneur and technology executive. He is the co-owner of Business Continuity Technologies, a Las Vegas-based managed technology services provider. His business provides business continuity solutions and data protection for small and midsized companies, public companies.
What Can Business Continuity and the Pandemic Teach Leaders About Life Planning?
Keizer spoke candidly about several significant health issues he's faced in the past few months. Those scares made Keizer grateful for the planning he had done for his business, which he runs with his brother, Earle.
"One of the things we did in our company was everyone has two job descriptions. One person can do the other person's job," Keizer said. "My brother and I are partners. I can do his job. He can do my job. I had to take a leave of absence. He fell right in and kept the door open without missing a beat."
He also encourages business owners to make sure they have long-term disability insurance. Planning for continued business continuity, financial stability and the important roles that family and friends can play are all critical elements that create a bridge between business continuity and life continuity, he said.
"If you're a business owner and you don't have succession plans in place, you don't have people to take over when you need it, you're dead in the water," Keizer said.
What Can My MSP Do to Protect Our Business During a Crisis?
Keizer discussed his client outreach strategy during the pandemic. He described an approach that will have significant long-term benefits for his business.
“One of the first things we did was to get very close to our customer family. Some of them have been with us for over 20 or 30 years,” he said.
The strategy did not include trying to sell additional services but instead offer high-value advice and expertise … for free.
“This is a time not to sell. It's a time to give,” he said. As clients grappled with shifting to at-home work situations, Keizer and his team were ready to support them. The business provided clients with services necessary to shift to virtual work, with the exception of hardware purchases, free of charge.
“I cannot stress how that was received,” Keizer said. “And, you know what, when this is over, clients are going to remember that for the rest of their business financial relationship with us.”
What Do Different Crises Teach You About MSP Business Strategy?
Having weathered various business crises, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 2008-09 recession, and other health threats, Keizer has advice for those starting out and words that he would say to his younger self.
"I think it all boils down to the frontier experience movement, when Andrew Jackson said, ‘Go West, young man. Go West.’ We still have a lot of West to go in IT. And we are the glue in our main streets that holds our communities together. I would just say, go for it. Make your mistakes … you'll make mistakes, but you'll also be better for it.”
Want to learn more? Speak with Ulistic today to learn more about our business development, marketing, and sales services for managed IT service businesses.