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4 Biggest Threats for MSPs: Coach's Corner Episode 11

Posted August 6, 2015by Ray Vrabel

Bring it in, team. This week we're going over some of the biggest potential threats that may arise for your business. In the ever-changing world of IT, it's important to try to stay ahead of the game and know when and where new opportunities appear. Huddle up with me, Coach Raymond Vrabel, Director of Technical Account Management at Continuum, as I give you the4 biggest MSP threats, and the strategies on how to overcome them. Tune in now!


Have you encountered other MSP threats we didn't cover? Comment below or tweet at us! @FollowContinuum


Video Transcription:

Hi, welcome back to another episode of Coach’s Corner. I’m Raymond Vrabel, director of technical account management at Continuum, and today in 4 minutes or less, I’ll focus on strategies to overcome some of the biggest threats to your business


  1. Adapting (and not changing) an “old school" way of thinking. If you work to overcome just one threat, I would suggest shifting your thought process in approaching the needs of your SMB customers. Our industry changes on a monthly, even sometimes weekly, basis and with that, you must keep current for your business as well as your clients. Now is not the time to be set in your ways, not open to change. I have had conversations with (now) MSPs who thought they could make their margins as just “the phone guy." This might have been the case 10 years ago, but with managed services gaining ground and customers wanting the full services gamut, this thought process is becoming less relevant, especially with the advent of BYOD and MDM.


  1. Underestimating telecommunications carriers. Many telcos offer services for SMBs that go beyond landline phones; telcos also are keenly aware of the opportunity in managed services and realize that the advent of managed services has brought about greater competition. Several carriers are moving away from a direct model for SMB services and are recruiting MSPs to provide services via their product package. If you are not offering services, this is a great way to start. Reach out to the carriers that you have relationships with and see if they offer any partner programs that would allow you to easily offer a services package for your clients.


  1. Increasing popularity of BYOD. Gone are the days when every authorized employee was issued the same smartphone by the IT department. Now, because of MDM, most SMBs are allowing employees to use their own smartphones, tablets and laptops. While this can sometimes get dicey – because the employee has personal items on a device used for business, and vice-versa – BYOD’s increasing popularity is forcing SMBs to look at MDM solutions. This is especially critical for compliance-heavy verticals like retail, health care and finance. If you have clients in these verticals, helping them set up BYOD policies should be part of your service offering, especially in the age of cyber-attacks and hackers. Furthermore, with an MDM solution in place, you offer your business and clients an added layer of protection and peace of mind, not to mention another revenue-generator to your line card.


  1. Not upgrading technical infrastructure. With standard phone systems easier for the client to administer and manage themselves, this is another tactic that I would prioritize at the top of my list. The days of managing large PBX and wall-to-wall wires are becoming obsolete and it’s easier to get into telco support. Think about what you are offering and how you can upgrade those services. Maybe it means refreshing what you have or updating your services packages? Or, it could mean providing different tiers of service levels based upon individual customer needs.


Implementing just one of these four tactics to overcome today’s challenges will help you get ahead of your competition. But, as the industry continues to change and evolve, it’s imperative to know your customers and their values so you can be there to service their needs into the future. For more on this topic, check out my blog post here (point). Thanks again for tuning into another episode of Coach’s Corner.

In Need of Coaching?

Look out for our next episode of Continuum Coach's Corner! In the meantime, do you have any questions for Coach Ray? Leave us a comment below. We'd be happy to work it into an upcoming program!



Ray Vrabel is Continuum's Director of Technical Account Management and participates in product and service growth initiatives, and also manages Continuum's Technical Account Management team, which supports over 3,500 partners worldwide. Prior to Continuum, Ray joined Zenith Infotech in 2005 and held several positions including Service Desk Manager, Sr. Technical Account Manager and Sr. Manager of Service Operations. He currently has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, specializing in Managed Services, Disaster Recovery, and Cloud Solutions. Prior to Continuum and Zenith, Ray worked at ANH Refractories, a world-class provider of Refractories products, in their Service Desk Department supporting 53 locations and 1,500 employees. Ray also worked for a startup venture at Body Media a pioneer in wearable body monitoring systems as a technical lead in their Technical Customer Support Department. Ray holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Technology Support and Training from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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