Thomas Fox, founder and president of Detroit-based Tech Experts, shares three suggestions he'd apply if he were launching an MSP from scratch today.
1. Instill documentation mentality - That involves making sure you have proper documentation on client configurations, and just documenting that process. Document environments and service ticket revolutions from the very beginning. We've kind of been spotty with our documentation efforts and I really feel that if we were starting over, that would be one of the first things we would focus on.
2. Make sure that we're pure play MSP right from the start – When I started out in late '80s, early '90s, we were doing managed services, but we didn't call it that at the time. We were offering a flat monthly fee for service. It was all-inclusive, one flat fee per month, and we took care of all the service work. At some point, 10 to 15 years ago, that morphed into a block time type of situation and now, in the last 4 to 5 years, we're moving back to being a pure MSP. I would stick with just being pure MSP from the start. This provides a better overall experience for the client. Working in a managed services model puts the client and the MSP on the same side of the table, meaning that we both want the same outcome: the least downtime with predictable results and no surprises.
3. Standardize on a stack early on – We've been using ConnectWise for about 10 years. Before that, we used another product, and another product before that. If we had started on the ConnectWise 15, 20, 30 years ago, when I started in business, and stuck with that, we'd probably be further ahead than we are. Same with our RMM platform. We made a couple of changes. We're pretty much standardized on Labtech now, but I think the way that I would approach that if I were starting out is to talk to and look at the top companies in our business. So, when we were evaluating ConnectWise ten or so years ago, we looked at HTS, Hardware Technology Solutions, as one of the leading companies, and some other companies closer to us. We said, these guys are really doing it right. What tools are they using? That's how we settled on ConnectWise. And I think we would do that with all of our tools, which lets our staff kind of become subject matter experts really early. The other important part of that would be to work with companies - TSA, RMM, virus, whatever it is - that we want to be our partner and aren't just looking at us as only a customer.
Editor’s note: Comments are edited to improve readability.