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Back to School: 5 Back-to-Basics Lessons for MSPs

Posted August 27, 2014by Brandon Garcin

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It’s that time of year again... The time when we pack away our flip-flops and bathing suits, and bust out our books and notepads. It’s time to go back to school! Oh wait. That was years ago... We don’t go back to school anymore, we just work all year round. True. But who said we still can’t learn something this time of the year? It sure wasn’t this guy:


Feeling nostalgic yet? Each year, during that first week of school, our teachers “show us the ropes” of their class – submit assignments in the bin by the window ledge, check the board for the daily agenda, and always arrive before the bell rings. It’s always important to go back to the basic fundamentals of our managed IT services practice. It helps remind us of what is most important: our business and our customers.

That’s why in celebration of a new school year beginning, we’re focusing on going back to the basics of managed services:

1. Peer Review

Your customers are your lifeblood. They will always be your first priority! When was the last time you checked in with your clients without trying to sell something, but rather, just checking in to make sure you’re doing everything you can for them? Now is the perfect time to do it! The quarter closes at the end of September. Now is a great time to speak with your clients and help them evaluate what’s working for them and what’s not as they move into the last quarter of the year.

Show them you value their business and test whether you’re meeting or exceeding their expectations. They’ll appreciate your non-sales approach and will remember your dedication to their needs in the future. Turn customer service into customer loyalty!

2. Check School Supplies

Tool check! Time to inventory your software to make sure everything is up-to-date and that you’re getting the most out of it. Also, check that your software licenses are allocated correctly and that you have all of your product keys on record. This can save a lot of headaches later on.

Performing an audit of your current software allows you to find out what you have, how you’re utilizing it, and what you should add or subtract in the future. Provide your IT technicians with the necessary components to be successful, and gain peace of mind knowing your staff has what they need, which ensures your customers get what they need. 

3. Extracurricular Activities

Don’t be fooled, cultivating a company culture is key to recruiting and retaining top IT talent. A strong company culture positively influences employee engagement and productivity. Allow your employees to showcase their accomplishments and provide them with all of the tools they need to succeed.

In addition, make it so that employees enjoy coming into work – especially on Fridays. (May I suggest “Bagel Friday’s”?)  Don’t underestimate the business potential of having a fully-engaged office with technicians who look forward to the work week. Client churn is bad, but employee turnover can be even more damaging!

4. Creating Group Projects

Are your sales and marketing initiatives in line with your end of the year goals? It’s important to monitor the effectiveness and ROI of your programs by measuring their direct impact on sales opportunities – and ultimately, revenue.

Marketing and sales have to work together to determine where prospects end up in the sales funnel and set up campaigns tied to those specific groups of possible clients or companies. As a result, your marketing and sales teams will be on the path for Straight-A’s, generating revenue while simultaneously creating successful marketing ROI practices.

5. Check for Understanding

Lastly, check to see if your technicians’ training is up-to-date so they can service your clients effectively. Evaluating your technicians’ training and certifications is important to ensure that your service delivery is top-notch.

It's easy to get caught up in your clients' issues, however, it's important to focus internally too. Making sure your technicians are staying on top of their training helps you maintain control over the internal components of you business.


So with the school year starting back up again, let’s reconsider these MSP basics. The important thing to take is away is to never stop learning! You can learn alot on how to grow your business by asking your clients how they are and how happy they are with you. In addition keeping an open channel with your own employees provides you with a clearer picture of your business's potential. I only ask if someone comes to you and tells you that can’t wait to grow up and graduate you tell them to, “Cherish it, stay as long as you can!”




Brandon Garcin is Continuum's Director of Content Marketing, and is responsible for the creation and execution of a variety of resources designed to win new business and support existing customer accounts. He has authored more than a dozen eBooks which have generated thousands of downloads, and has consulted with hundreds of Continuum partners to help improve their marketing and lead generation efforts through website optimization and content development. Brandon is also the host of The Weekly Byte, a video and audio series produced by Continuum that provides quick, digestible tips and best practices that MSPs can use to help their business succeed.

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