Building a successful MSP is much like building any other business. You need to make sure that you can get to know your clients, build relations and solve their problems, while building up your own business.
If you’re looking to level up and grow your business, here are four things you need to consider first.
As any service provider knows, the quality of your work is only half the job. The other half is building and maintaining good relationships with all your clients. This doesn’t mean playing golf and buying expensive gifts (though you can be sure lots of business owners wouldn’t object), it means getting to know their industry and gradually being able to preempt their needs. If you can become their first port of call for any problem, you know that you’re onto a winner.
One of the strong temptations you will have as a business is to make yourselves out to be much bigger and much better than you are. Of course, there is always going to be a bit of peacocking in the sales pitch but honesty is the real watchword here. If you are consistently honest with a client – even if it means telling them something they won’t like – they will respect you much more for it. It is always better to exceed expectations than to build yourselves up and then disappoint. Be real with them and you will get along just fine.
The best businesses are the businesses that can run themselves with little input from the top. That means one thing: automation. The more processes you can automate the smoother your business will run and the easier it will be for your staff to get on with the important things like client relations and problem solving. Automation will also ensure consistency and standardization across your business.
You should definitely invest in a decent RMM platform in order to stay on top of your client’s needs and to provide remote solutions to their problems. This system will allow you to automate daily tasks and create reusable solutions to even the trickiest of problems. Above all, this system is designed to make your job much easier and give you the reports and statistics you need to be able to recommend changes and upgrades to your clients.
How you market your company will have a real effect on how well you do and the kind of clients you attract. You need to have a strong brand, a few key messages and a clear USP to bring in the clients that will suit you best and make the most of what you can provide. You should also consider how you are going to develop campaigns and integrate content marketing.
But before you panic, don’t worry about marketing your msp – get a specialist company to do it all for you. Your skill sets are better focused on building your msp up rather than trying to put together a marketing team and figure out what to do next. A specialist company will be able to put together a brilliant website to bounce your marketing strategy back to and will quickly gain you new clients too.
Offer Flat Fee Services
When you are just starting out and only have a few clients, the temptation is to negotiate each contract individually. In the short term this is great be cause it allows you the flexibility to take on the work you can handle for the best price. However, in the long term, having a different contract for every single client is going to be a real headache for you and the accounts department!
Instead, you should figure out what a flat rate should be and then don’t allow for negotiations. Sure, you could offer a tiered system of different flat fees for different services but you must make sure that everything your client wants is covered in that one recurring fee.
As MSPs run on upfront charges to cover costs, you should also consider whether you want monthly, quarterly or yearly payments. This will largely come down to the number of clients you have and the number of staff you have. Again, the most important thing here is consistency. You don’t want to have to waste staff time chasing payments .
Simplicity is key to any business but it is also the best way to manage an msp. If you can keep your accounting simple, automate the jobs that can be automated and continue to build positive, honest client relationships then there’s really no reason that your company shouldn’t succeed. The world is your oyster.