Growing a business is exciting. In this industry, the idea of being a $10 million MSP is something many see as a top possible accomplishment. There are thousands of tips and best practices out there to help ensure we’re on the straight and smooth path to reaching this milestone. However, I have been down that path before, and let me tell you, it’s not as straight and smooth as you’d think.
The journey to becoming a $10M MSP is full of obstacles and reroutes, and you might even find yourself stumbling off one or two cliffs. If you aspire to take your business to the next level, you should beware that there will be challenges at every turn. In reflecting upon my own journey, I wanted to share a few important lessons that I’ve learned along the way. Making your way to $10M can be worth it, as long as you don't forget these key things:
1. Keep Your Heart
Although I’m writing this new blog series about the journey to becoming a $10M MSP, the first piece of advice I'm going to tell you is that "$10M MSP" is an incomplete metric. I know it sounds contradictory, but if you center this quest around a financial goal, you might miss out on what makes your business unique to you and your clients. It wasn’t those spreadsheets or statements that got you to where you are now. It was your passion and sweat, and most importantly, your team who were inspired to invest their passion and their sweat.
I’ve learned firsthand how your desire to have a $10M MSP usually doesn't bring the same inspiration and investment as the vision your team signed up for. This is why you need to find a mission that puts your heart and passion at the top. Draw a line from your heart to the benefits of your financial goal, and be sure to talk about your heart more than you talk about your numbers.
2. Stay Client-Focused
To go off my previous point, “building a $10M MSP” should really translate to "showing enough value to your clients that they are willing to pay $10M in exchange." Frankly, nearly every conversation about how to grow an MSP today centers around your structure, metrics, sales, margins and pieces of paper. In turning that around and truly asking and understanding what motivates your clients to do business with you, you will learn how to lead others to the same path. True success is not about how well you sell. It's about how well your clients see the value you are delivering.
3. Trust in Your Team’s Abilities
As an MSP business owner, one of the hardest things for me to learn has been letting other people take over things that I care so deeply about. Your team will carry far more weight than you will ever carry alone, and they should always be viewed that way. What I've learned as we've redefined manager-employee relationships is that a culture that gives employees room to use their intelligence can develop a momentum that no single leader can generate themselves, no matter how hard they push.
4. Be Different
"A satisfied need no longer motivates." - Peter Sheahan
Solving the problems no one else is solving is the fastest way to achieve growth and momentum. All MSPs are not the same, and the ones who define themselves by how well they conform to the industry are likely the ones hitting a ceiling far earlier than they’d planned. Find areas where the industry is lacking – where needs in the market are not being met, and be bold in how you address them. Don't be afraid to break the rules, which leads me to my next point...
5. Have Fun
Call me cliché, but life is more fun when you break the rules sometimes. We all got into this business for different reasons, but none of us did it to be miserable. Growing a business can be intrinsically rewarding, but at the same time it can be devastatingly tough. Find the parts you enjoy and enjoy them unapologetically. You likely started your business to have your dream job. Don't lose sight of what that is.
Check out part two of this series, where we talk about making the most of your team, your talent and your leadership skills!