Congratulations! You’ve done well. You started your MSP business from the ground up, and it’s grown over time. Your forecasts are up and to the right, and clients are beating down your door. All good things, right?
Absolutely. However, in order for this wave of success to last, you need to scale effectively. You’ve likely been doing this all along; increasing your resources, technology and employees strategically to take on more and more business. But even with this perpetual growth/scale cycle in place, it’s possible for a business owner to actually get in the way of their company’s own growth without a proper structure for your organization put in place.
Let’s be honest, as an MSP business owner, you are pulled in many direction every day, wearing multiple hats as a technical expert, a salesman, a marketer, finance/accounting, and more. Many MSPs are very comfortable being the person who turns the lights on in the morning and shuts them off late at night. This dedication and commitment is commendable, and at one point it was the best financial decision. But at a certain point in your business’ life cycle, it will become detrimental. In order for businesses to continue a steady rate of growth into maturity, they require the expertise and experience of more than one leader. At this point, it’s time to take off a few of those aforementioned hats and build a leadership team to manage different aspects of your business.
Aside from time management, hiring a leadership team will add skillsets to your business it will need, provide focus to execute day-to-day tasks and longer-term projects more efficiently, and give your employees more immediate access to management, so you can focus on driving your organization forward into the future.
Here are some of the more common positions to seek when structuring a growing business for growth.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
This is the person who is in charge of your business’ finances. Budgeting, profitability, cash flow, accounting all fall under the purview of your CFO. Furthermore, this is the person who will advise what is working financially in your organization and what is not. Key purchasing decisions, leases, and any other money-related issues all fall to this position. Unless finance and economics are your passion and you know how to successfully manage this area of your business on a large scale, you need a CFO.
In short, this person “makes it happen.” Responsible for carrying out the processes, programs, and general business infrastructure necessary for your business to run, the COO is the person who figures out the best way to get from here to there efficiently and successfully. But, it doesn’t stop there. The COO implements processes for measuring the efficiency and success of your operation, determining KPIs that are most important and measuring metrics to see what is working and what is not. A Chief Operating Officer can elevate your business’ efficiency and profitability immensely by making sure thing are being run as best they can, while nothing slips through the cracks that may have otherwise. Installing this person in your organization can increase profitability in ways you may have never dreamt.
You’ve likely done some work to market your business to your prospective clients, maybe even hired a few people to run a marketing campaign or two, but when you’re serious about bringing in new leads and elevating your brand to its full potential, you hire a Chief Marketing Officer who will effectively tie their efforts directly and measurably with new revenue coming into the business. A great CMO can provide the experience and leadership necessary to drive the entire public-facing communication of your business, making sure you, your product and your organization are represented as best as possible, and then use that to drive marketing campaigns that will be the growth engine for your MSP business.
Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Technology is vital to running your business, and strategic decisions on what/how to invest in your business’ technology is managed by the CIO. In addition, this person is responsible for the health and security of your business data, making sure processes and systems are in place for the storage, transmission, and receipt of sensitive business data and client information. Depending on your business focus, the CIO will also be responsible for executing data compliance measures to make sure your organization is in compliance with all standards necessary to do business.
Should You Hire a Chief Executive Officer?
For the most part, MSP business owners see themselves in this position, and rightfully so: they are the ones who want to steer the ship, so to speak, and make the key strategic business decisions that drive the company forward to success year over year. CEOs put the right people in place and know who needs to be transitioned out, and when. They’re big thinkers, and come up with plans to propel growth, profitability and success. They think about what resources they need to enact these plans and who they need to make it happen.
If you’ve made it this far you’re likely already doing this, and assembling your leadership team will allow you to move into this role in an even greater capacity. Unless you're adverse to the big-picture decisions about your company, you’re the CEO.
It’s important to know when it’s time to bring in new leadership to your business, but it’s even more important to realize that you may not be the expert in every aspect of your business as well. Hire the smartest, most skilled people you can for these positions, and get comfortable not being the smartest person in the room. That’s why these positions exist in the first place; because if one person could do it all, many business owners would. Your MSP business can only grow at a large scale if you can step back and allow the experts you’ve put in place to do what they do best.
Looking for other hiring best practices blog posts?
- 3 Tips for Finding, Hiring and Managing Super IT Talent
- Are You Ready to Hire Your First Sales Rep?
- 5 Ways to Hire the IT Best & Avoid the Rest
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By Gretchen Hoffman
By Gretchen Hoffman