For me, running my company is about the lifestyle I can give to my family. When the kids were smaller, it was important to me to have them in the best schools that I could afford and involved in team sports. At that time, I was building my business and working WAY too much. I hate to say it now, but I missed some things that I wish I hadn’t as the kids were growing up. Now that the grandkids have come along, I’ve determined that I’m not going to miss anything.

To achieve my “don’t miss anything the grandkids do” goal, I’ve had to look at the things that are soaking up my time in my business.

Oh, I forgot to tell you didn’t I?

I run one of the few wallpaper manufacturing plants still running here in the USA. We managed to survive the most recent economic downturn without having to lay off any workers and have recently begun the transition to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Our long-term employees are pretty happy about that.

But back to the stuff that was burning up my time through the week and forcing me to work later at night and in the evenings.

I took a look at my calendar to try to figure it out.

The problem was, my calendar looked fine.

According to my schedule, I should have time for a leisurely lunch each day, home by five and weekends off.

So, my natural question was, “Why isn’t that happening? I eat my lunch at my desk, I’m getting home at 7:30ish, and the only rest I get on the weekends is the hour I eat supper with the kids and grandkids Sunday afternoon.”

Something didn’t make sense, so I decided to track my time for the next month with one of those apps on my smartphone.

At the end of the month, I concluded two things.

  1. I was wasting too much time in meetings that accomplished nothing.
  2. I needed to hand off our company’s IT maintenance to someone else.

These may seem obvious to you, but for me, these two realizations changed my life.

So, faced with the black and white facts of the twenty-seven hours I had spent outside of my CEO duties on IT maintenance, I decided to bite the bullet and begin the search for a Managed Services Provider in Raleigh.

I had done enough research over the years to know that I wanted both someone that was in the local Raleigh area AND an IT services team that provided Managed IT Services to mid-size companies.

In the past, I had hired break/fix computer support companies to come in and do this or that, but it always seemed to be a short-term thing, and it was apparent that they were more concerned with fixing my systems when they broke down than keeping them running.

I was done with the break/fix model.

That’s why I have been doing all our IT maintenance for the past few years myself.

After all, somebody had to do it, right?

But now, it was infringing on my family time, my “grandkid time,” and the lifestyle I wanted, so it was time to make a change.

For those of you that may not know what Managed IT Services is, let me explain.

Unlike break/fix options that focus on troubleshooting and IT repairs on an hourly plus materials basis, Managed IT Services is a continuous IT support and care model that is based on a monthly subscription fee. Basically, the Raleigh Managed Services firm that I choose will be tasked with the ongoing management, maintenance, and operational monitoring of my company’s front office, manufacturing floor, finance, advertising, and logistics technology. Their job will be to keep it all running and keep me out of doing anything but making high-level IT decisions such as budgeting and IT investment.

So with fun with my grandkids and leisure time as the prize, I began my search for a local Raleigh Managed Services provider by typing “Raleigh managed IT services” into my Google browser.

There were the usual paid ads. — I ignored them. — I always do.

But about half-way down the page where Google shows the local businesses that match search criteria, I found Computer Support Providers (CSP).

They had six decent Google reviews and a sharp looking website, so I thought, “It’s as good a place to start as any,” and I picked up the phone and dialed (919) 424-2000 .

It was the middle of a Monday, so I didn’t expect much. But to my surprise, my call was answered by a polite young lady who took my name and number and promised that a senior sales rep would be in touch, “very soon.”

“Sure,” I thought. “I’ve heard this one before.”

I walked over to the break room to get a coffee.

On my way back, my cell phone began to ring.

Yep, it was CSP calling back.

Yes, I was impressed, and yes, I agreed to meet with them at my office the next morning.

I won’t bore you with all the details of that meeting. The two people that came over from CSP were polite, professional, and knowledgeable. By the time they left we had agreed in principle on a monthly subscription price for ongoing services that included:

I signed the contract they sent over to my office the next day and had my secretary fax it back.

That was two years ago now, and I haven’t had to touch a computer since — except to do my own work.

I’m able to get to my cottage out on Lake Wheeler with the kids and grandkids every weekend through the spring, summer, and early fall.

So if you’re asking me if paying a Raleigh Managed Services provider a monthly fee to care for my business technology maintenance and monitoring, here’s my answer.

I’ll spend whatever I have to in order not to miss more time with my kids and grandkids. It’s not about the money. It’s about the lifestyle I want for myself and my family.

So now that I’ve told you my story, I’m going to get into my car, pick up my wife, and join the rest of the crew down at the lake. It’s Friday afternoon – quitting time.

But before I go, let me ask you a question.

Why haven’t you hired CSP yet?

Do you LIKE working late and weekends just to keep computers and networks running?

It’s time for a change.

Just make the call.

You’ll thank me for it.

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