Just like that we’re in 2022. We just kissed 2021 good bye. This year brings on a clean slate with fresh challenges. I’m coming into this year with great optimism but it’s going to require some careful planning.
Highlights of Q4
Completed an SD-WAN Project
I spent a good chunk of evenings learning how Palo Alto Networks does SD-WAN with their acquisition of CloudGenix. I first came to know about CloudGenix from Networking Field Day as a delegate where I listened about their products.
Here I am, now as an end-user and reseller, deploying Ions at multiple locations for a retail customer of Packet6.
At the end of December, I finally got to put my feet up and rest. What a year.
Just in time learning
After reflecting on SD-WAN, I thought about how much reading and learning was required. Having access to documentation and vendor support was critical in helping me understand how certain parts of SD-WAN technology worked.
With my days and nights being occupied with multiple cutovers, I spent the rest of my time sleeping. Without exercise I don’t think I was at my best and I know I definitely gained additional weight at the end of the year. Next step is to put health as a top priority in 2022.
This quarter was exceptional compared to Q3 2020. We were still in the pandemic last year and saw huge decreases all around. Things have positively looked good in 2021 and I remain hopeful.
Businesses are in full swing trying to fix issues as people came back to the workplace. Others were getting ready for the return to office. The trend I have seen is less carpeted office Wi-Fi work was needed. The environments I’ve been in are primarily warehouses or higher education.
Expenses keep creeping up. It’s been a goal of mine this year to decrease expenses and I’ve rolled it over to 2022 as well. They’ll eat into your profits.
|Q4||2020 PY||% Change PY|
Revenue more than doubled compared to the previous year Q4. It’s a good metric to see increase year over year.
There was a big jump pro services, increasing 117.75% compared to Q4FY20. We couldn’t have done it without help. I’ll be tempted to do project work alone especially when you can earn most of that income without paying it to someone else. But working alone is not the answer. More projects begin to pile up and that’s when we start looking for assistance from other professionals.
Hardware reselling activities increased 462.83%. Another big quarter in reselling right before the vendors increase their prices. None of the reselling activity came from cold calling sales activities. This was mainly increased due to new projects from existing clients.
|Q4||2020 PY||% Change PY|
|Pro Services||$51,127.50||$ 23,480.02||41.68%|
This is the category that brings us to a negative profit number. I’ve mentioned it in previous quarters but I’ll say it again – watch your expenses.
What really drove up our expenses this quarter was pre-paying federal taxes. I’d rather not have a large tax bill in April so I ended up pre-paying taxes for previous quarters. I’ll note that I’m supposed to pre-pay quarterly, if not, I’ll see some penalties for skipping it. This was our largest expense item. Not sure if I should even classify taxes as an expense but it was money that left our accounts – a question for my CPA.
Where things went well was the decrease in Office Supplies & Software by 60.90%. But we saw Web services – subscriptions increase by 238.83%. Not a good sign. But that was due to a subscription payment of ZoomInfo for sales, the largest expense in that category. I better make up for this next quarter! Other increases in expenses moving forward will be a vehicle lease. A decision that was made in December.
|Q3||2020 PY||% Change PY|
|Web services – subscriptions||$5,214.13||$1,538.86||238.83%|
|Office Supplies & Software||$2,000.94||$5,117.62||(60.90%)|
|General & Admin Expenses||$17,261.98||$10,528.90||63.95%|
I didn’t meet my goal of decreasing expenses in Q4FY21. At the end of the year there are decisions to spend money which would lead to a lower taxable income, a strategy we’re looking to improve for 2022.
Given that 2020 was a rough year with the pandemic, we did very well in 2021. We were able to meet some of our key objectives of increasing sales by 70%. Reselling of hardware really paid off.
Last year I was able to obtain my CompTIA CTT+. In December 2021 is when I started the planning on how I could better utilize what I’ve learned from CTT+. The goal here is to see the product by the end of Q2FY22.
We closed deals with 5 new clients last year. A few who were new and came through out website and others that were from previous relationships at other companies. It’s always good to nurture the relationships you have since people will change roles or companies often.
Most of the revenue comes from existing clients. Repeat business with companies that trust us. When you treat people like people, have good intentions, and over deliver on promises you will be rewarded.
Where we failed was operating within budget. The expenses nearly doubled. But luckily, it didn’t hurt us.
Our biggest objective is to keep an eye on unnecessary expenses. Even operating as a small business, we’re placing an additional process for expenditures. Budget forecasting is new for us but we have 4 years worth of data to develop a budget. We’re also implementing an approval process which means I can’t go rogue with purchases.
We’re improving upon the processes we’ve implemented in 2021 and continue to add new ones in 2022. Subcontracting will likely be more involved with that process to free up precious time. But we have to be strategic with who we work with.
In 2022 we’ve laid out some objectives to reach:
- Increase website visits by 15%
- Increase reselling revenue by 10%
- Increase pro services revenue by $5-10k each quarter
- Publish training material
- Lower expenses by 7%
- Obtain two new clients via cold sales activities
I hope you found this information useful if you’re thinking about starting your own business.
I’m proud of the progress we’re making no matter how small.