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The Best Pieces of Advice for Growing MSPs

Posted September 14, 2018by Lily Teplow

The Best Pieces of Advice for Growing MSPs

If you’ve been on LinkedIn recently, you’ve probably seen the #NextGenMSP challenge floating around. Started by Continuum, this challenge engages MSPs and asks them to post a video sharing their top growth tips for the next generation of MSPs. 

With over 60 videos and counting, the challenge has taken over our LinkedIn feeds. These videos contain excellent pieces of advice from fellow IT providers, MSPs, and vendors. We noticed a couple key trends and themes, so we’ve decided to consolidate these to bring you the best pieces of advice we’ve heard thus far.

1. Standardize and Consolidate Your Technology Stack

A lot of the advice we received revolved around how MSPs should consolidate their tech stack off the bat for greater operational efficiency and profitability. Here’s what some fellow IT providers had to say:

“Standardize your technology stack as soon as you can; it’s going to lower your support costs and make your clients happier.” – Ian Richardson, CEO & Founder of Doberman Technologies

“Streamline the business wherever you can. Try to consolidate the toolset that you’re using to manage your customers. Don’t use multiple RMM solutions, don’t use multiple AV solutions. It all erodes at your profitability.” – Brian Coffey, Channel Account Manager at Webroot

In his #NextGenMSP Challenge video below, listen to Jake Solis’ advice on how to standardize for easier management.



2. Differentiate Yourself

Every MSP is offering a similar—if not the same—flavor of services. Here are some top pieces of advice for how you can differentiate yourself from the competition:

“Be different, do something different. Right now, all [MSPs] are kind of the same and pretty much offer the same thing. We offer managed services, managed security solutions, backup and disaster recovery, antivirus, IT support services, help desk services, NOC services, etc. So, you have to do something different.” - Mark Calzone, President of Ash Creek Enterprises

“Put your clients first. We do a couple of things in relation to that. One is produce stories that highlight our customers’ success—some call them case studies, I call them customer success stories... The second thing that we do is we bring our clients in every week to present to our engineer and developers on what their business is doing to succeed, because we know that the more we learn from our clients’ businesses, the better we can help them.” – Priscila Bernardes, Head of Sales & Marketing at Lancom Technology

Take a listen to Matthew Han below and his advice on how you can re-establish a human element with your clients.



3. Prioritize Company Culture 

A great company starts with empowering your employees. Here are some tips on how to build a strong company culture:

“Start working on your culture straight away. Driving culture is really done by identifying your true values. At Support Tree, we realized that our true values were we the good behaviors and the value shown by our core team members, not just the ownership. So, we identified the common values that run through our team members and started living by them... We found that it’s had a profound impact on the energy in the office, and you can really feel the culture changing for the better.” – Neil Denning, CEO of Support Tree 

“I’d like to encourage every MSP out there to empower their employees. Empower your team to go out, look at the different vendors that are out there, look at the different software technologies that are there, listen in on webinars, watch demos, come back as a team and do a collaboration of which vendors are going to protect your clients the best... These are all things you can empower your team to do, and by giving them the ability to go out and look at these vendors and the different software products, they will buy into the processes and they will want to set up the technology in a way that is going to best protect your clients... You, as a business owner, can’t make all the decisions on all the tools that you’re going to use. You have to empower your people, empower your team, get their feedback and let them help you decide what is the best solutions to protect your clients.” – Charles Henson, Managing Partner at Nashville Computers

4. Embrace the Cyber Security Opportunity

Security is ever-present today, and it’s time for MSPs to embrace the opportunity it presents. Here are some great pieces of advice on how you can add value with security:

“I want to talk about the grid that’s going around in the MSP cyber security world. Basically, you have 12-15 items that are advanced security related that you go in and sell to your clients. Now, that may not seem like a very big tip but here’s what I have to say about it for the next generation of MSPs. If you don’t do each one of these items yourself in your own environment and make sure all of your staff members know every single one of these inside and out, how can you sell it to your clients?... Eat your own dog food, MSPs! That’s the most important thing I have to say... Make sure you implement things on your own before you sell them to a client.” – Joy Belinda Beland, CEO of Pink Hat Technology Management

“Invest in a cyber security practice. With competition increasing and margins under pressure, you’ve got to find ways to add value and differentiate yourself from your competition.” – Guy Cunningham, Vice President, Channel Sales at EventTracker

When it comes to selling this cyber security offering, though, here are some tips from Jaq Baldwin and Robin Robins. 



5. Leverage Your Peers

Take advantage of your peers and industry events for tighter vendor, client alignment, quality peer advice and business growth strategies. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of these opportunities:

“My pro tip for other MSPs would be to get out of your office. I’ve always found that the best way to work ON my business is when I’m not working IN it, and the easiest way to do that is to get out of the office. So how do we do that? I think that attending industry events—boot camps, technical events, events like Navigate—is an amazing way to get out of the office and work on my business... The other thing about industry events—especially like Navigate, which I love going to and I get a lot out of—is that I can network with other quality MSPs that are using the same tool sets as I am, and quote often have solved problems that I’ve dealt with.” – Brent Whitfield, CEO of DCG Technical Solutions

“We all have key vendors and partners that we work with, so what I would say is really leverage on the content of their events... The amount of content available is unbelievable, and more importantly, the collaboration among the MSP community. The amount of information, sharing information, and value-add you can get to your business is unbelievable—from the track events but more importantly, from what you can learn away from the conference.” – Greg Jones, CTO of Aabyss 

Have some growth tips of your own that you’d like to share? Want to get involved with the challenge? Follow it on LinkedIn at #NextGenMSP, record a video sharing your tips for the next generation of MSPs, and post it on your feed using the hashtag!

 

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Lily is a Content Marketing Manager at Continuum and is passionate about helping businesses solve their biggest challenges. She is responsible for managing Continuum’s MSPblog and writing on a variety of topics, from sales and marketing to cybersecurity, helping establish authority in the MSP market. Lily is also a seasoned content creator and has supported Continuum’s PR and media efforts. In her spare time, Lily enjoys singing, traveling the world, and cheering on her favorite Boston sports teams!

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