MSPs Overcome Small Hurdles to Raise The Bar
by Adam Stuflick, on Jul 22, 2020 5:30:00 AM
Managed Service Providers face a series of challenges when they are first getting started, and I often see their team members reaching out to more experienced colleagues for advice. Honestly, that is a great idea. But there is one concerning trend that I’ve noticed again and again while looking through the MSP forums in Reddit, Discord, Spiceworks, etc. I always seem to run across a recurring statement with a subject line like “Up and coming MSP, looking for advice”.
Inevitably it is followed with a statement that looks something like this:
After years of working for others, I'm working towards starting my own MSP business. As with most upstart businesses, I don't have a lot of capital to work with. Obviously, in order to sell products and subscriptions, I need products to sell and must have relationships with vendor partners. Common sense dictates that in the current era, Office 365, a PSA/RMM solution, a Backup solution, and an A/V solution are must have’s. In addition, other things we might want include...
- Anonymous Newbie MSP
Getting right to the point, I've noticed that in many online MSP communities, many newcomers list-out all the nice to haves in addition to their must haves. It makes sense to be thorough and forward thinking. But we shouldn't forget that we’re talking about a new MSP with likely a small customer base and limited budget. The very first set of hurdles they have set to starting this business are so daunting - right out of the gate. In my experience helping hundreds of MSPs kick-off their businesses, setting initial goals appropriately is one of the keys to achieving long-term success.
Consider everything that a business needs to flourish in the early years. Those switching from a VAR model have a business model transition to complete as well. Yet so many MSPs have stepped into this market while immediately stretching themselves too thin. Are all of the things listed important? Certainly. But a budding MSP faces the real possibility of going down that rabbit hole of having too many offerings, and quickly running out of capitol.
Additional offerings mean more complex billing. It means more technologies to support, more training and more vendor relationships to juggle. I’ve spoken with MSPs who are offering 4 or 5 backup solutions alone! Imagine the added stress of trying to fulfill so many contracts as a new business.
It’s important for new MSPs to set realistic goals. Start with these 4 steps:
- It’s always an MSP challenge to get new customers. Take a close look at what you’ve attracted and look for commonalities in your client base in order to build your niche.
- Carefully consider what service(s) you’d like to focus on, and define it clearly. This may mean starting with a single offering like Backup As a Service.
- Take a rifle-shot approach rather than shotgun approach to training. By focusing on fewer technologies you become the expert and help to differentiate yourself from the pack.
- Choose the right vendor partner relationship. Much like other aspects of life, juggling multiple relationships can be a challenge. Do your homework to understand who you’re getting involved with up front. Not just software trials, but support, billing and everything about the company.
Starting a new MSP in today’s landscape is an exciting endeavor that will no doubt involve a few bumps in the road. But businesses who give themselves realistic goals in the beginning, position themselves for a more strategic expansion of services that will lead to success in the marketplace.