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7 Key Considerations for Your U.K. MSP Business Plan

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5 Ways to Strengthen Your Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Posted by Mary McCoy on 14 October, 2016


One of the keys to successful managed services is managing client expectations. Your Service Level Agreements (SLAs) do much more than affix metrics to the list of things you promise to do. Well-crafted SLAs build trust and confidence in your company. Your client knows what will happen in any given circumstance, and you know you can deliver as promised. This is the strongest marketing tactic you can employ to build your MSP brand and grow your business.

Here are five ways you can sharpen your SLAs.

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Topics: Business Growth

How to Scale Your MSP Business Using a NOC

Posted by Craig Sharp on 22 September, 2016


Primarily focused on growing technical skills and expertise, IT professionals tend to be a very particular bunch. Technical ability is at the heart of their world and, understandably, many take pride in being able to solve pretty much any problem. After 20+ years of providing IT services to UK SMEs, I've experienced this firsthand. I know that within my own MSP business our technical team tends to focus too much on the details and not enough on the business dynamic. In other words, they may waste time working through low-impact technical changes and in effect, reduce bandwidth for IT services that drive revenue.

If you want to grow your MSP business, then you need to strike a balance between technology and business strategy. Yes, your MSP business is there to solve clients' problems. That's how you earn revenue. Still, you can't afford to neglect other revenue-generating initiatives, like upsells, cross-sells and any program that grows client stickiness. But how can you free up company time and resources to accommodate these demands?

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM

6 Must-Know Formulas to Grow Managed IT Services Profitability

Posted by Mary McCoy on 23 August, 2016


Just because your firm is bringing in revenue doesn’t mean you’re making money. You have to earn a profit in order to sustain your business and grow. Revenue is good, of course. But revenue doesn’t do you any good if your costs exceed it. That’s why it is critical for MSPs and IT solution providers to track profitability as well as income. 

How do you do that?

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Topics: Business Growth

7 Key Considerations for Your U.K. MSP Business Plan

Posted by Craig Sharp on 20 July, 2016


All organisations need to write a formal business plan as a guide, even if it's just at the beginning. Business plans help you manage transitional periods and growth within an existing business; working out where you are and where you want to be in the future.

Many MSP business owners come from a technical background and therefore, business best practices don't always come naturally to them. For this reason, drafting a business plan is more important than ever. By sticking to this blueprint, you'll make sure you stay true to your business vision, objectives, financial goals and more. 

After 20+ years of providing IT services to U.K. SMEs, I understand that writing and enforcing official business documentation can be nerve wracking for MSPs with little related experience. Rather than struggle to find examples to model yours after, optimise your MSP business plan by checking out my seven point plan approach.

The plan–based off of the tried and true McKinsey Seven S's plan–is purposely designed to be broad and open to interpretation but by following it, you’ll set your MSP business up for success in the long-term!

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Topics: Business Growth

5 Things to Know About the U.K. SMEs You’re Selling IT To

Posted by Craig Sharp on 12 July, 2016


Ah, you've landed that coveted prospect meeting, but what you're hoping to get out of it and what the SME is hoping to get out of it are two very different things. 

From your perspective, you may be trying to expedite the managed IT services sales process. Perhaps you typically prepare for these prospect meetings by working out your fees, printing contracts and developing pitch presentations. While all of these materials are sales essentials, your prospect is typically working toward a different agenda than yours. At this point in their buyer's journey, they may need more convincing that you're someone to do business with. 

How can you use that first meeting to guide them towards a close down the line? Hint: not by discussing the speeds and feeds of your various technology products.

After 20+ years of providing IT services to U.K. SMEs, I've learned what resonates with potential clients. Here are the top five considerations you, as a professional MSP, should know before that first prospect meeting.

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Topics: Business Growth, Sales & Marketing

Excess IT Labor Demand in the UK Signals Need for New Business Model

Posted by Mary McCoy on 14 July, 2015


Business is booming in the United Kingdom's (UK) IT market! According to CompTIA's UK State of the Channel Report (2015,) the IDC estimates that the UK IT market has reached approximately £97 billion ($163 billion), making up 4.5% of the global total. Unfortunately, as we're seeing worldwide, this market growth has triggered a higher demand for highly skilled IT labor than there currently is a supply of, driving the cost of labor sky-high. How can MSPs subject to these constraints not only survive, but thrive under such an IT skills shortage? 

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM

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