Ash Pirwani, president of Houston, Texas-based eNet Systems, shares three suggestions he’d apply if he were launching an MSP from scratch today:
1. Have the right tools from the very beginning – There are three main tools that are absolutely necessary for any MSP today.
Those are the RMM, the PSA, and accounting software – a lot of companies use QuickBooks.
These are essential tools that every MSP must have because, not only do they allow an MSP to provide services based on their promise or SLA, but they also increase a team's productivity.
These tools allow management of more endpoints with the same number of people.
They increase efficiency and productivity, and therefore the margins and the bottom line.
So, without these three tools, you just can't operate an MSP today.
2. Find a niche – It is a big market, especially in a city.
A lot of MSPs are invariably in very small towns.
But a lot of us are in large cities, so there are lots of providers.
And how do we differentiate ourselves? Finding a niche.
There's multiple ways to do it, but find a niche.
Find out what the niche needs and then create solutions to solve those needs.
Those needs can be based on frustration that these people may be having, on compliance that they're supposed to have - like the medical industry or the financial industry - on what the market is dictating, or what the competition is doing.
Get very good at delivering the solution for that niche.
There are a lot of MSPs out there.
Everybody's becoming an MSP.
Why should a prospect pick you over the next company, which promises the same level of excellent customer service, same expertise, same tools?
Become a specialist, because a specialist always gets paid more than a generalist.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone.
The niche can be based on a number of things. It can be an industry vertical, a particular company size in a vertical, a particular type of solution, a solution of a specific problem. Everybody could expect that an IT company will be proficient in what they are delivering, but there's no differentiation in that.
It's like a hair salon saying - we style hair. That's an expectation.
But a hair salon can specialize in people who have thinning hair.
Is that for everyone? No.
But can they charge more for that? Yes, they can.
3. Focus on company culture – MSPs are filled with technical people.
We focus on computers, on technologies - even as management we do that.
But I feel that focusing on a company culture from the very beginning is essential.
The way to do it is the management has to be clear on the company goals.
They have to be open in sharing those goals with the team.
They have to be open in showing the team what they need to do in order to achieve the goals, and then they have to publish the results - whether they're hitting or missing those goals.
People value, more than money, the kind of work they do, who they do it with - meaning their team - and where that work will take them.
They value that more than money and benefits, a lot of times.
Management has to give them something they can sign up for.
The senior management of the company has the responsibility to show their team where they're going to take them.
The CEO is the captain of the boat, and needs to show the team where they're headed, what role the team's going to play in order to get there.
If the goal feels exciting and challenging to the team, then they'll sign up. And the ones that don't sign up, they don't like the goal, and they'll get off the boat.
Soon enough, you'll have the people who are rowing hard in the same direction to get to their goal.
People are always asking, "I want to hire happy employees. Where do I find them?"
You create them.
Once you create the culture, those happy and motivated employees will be visible to everyone, whether it's customers, vendors, partners - whoever walks into the office.
It will be clear to them that these are happy employees, and happy employees are going to go above and beyond in taking care of their customers.
And the customers, in turn, will take care of the company.
Editor’s note: Comments are edited to improve readability.
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