Vitaly Ogulev, the owner of Brisbane, Australia-based NetComp Solutions, shares three suggestions he’d apply if he were launching an MSP from scratch today:
1. Market to attract new clients – If I went back in time, I would really focus on AdWords, with pay-per-click Google campaigns.
Also, practice cold-calling campaigns.
It doesn't work as much these days. Ten years ago, it would still be a huge opportunity to get new clients.
It still brings leads across though.
It's just much tougher, since people got used to call centers overseas.
Not sure how it is in the U.S., but in Australia, people got sick of foreign call centers calling, the energy providers, telecom providers, and so.
Cold calling is not as great as Google AdWords but it still works.
If I started out now, and was told here's the budget, spend it on marketing.
Majority of it – I'd say 60 percent – would go to Google, and 40 percent to cold calling.
Those two avenues work best for us.
2. Develop your offering packages thoughtfully and early – It took us a while to allocate a model that we'll give to our clients.
We came up with three simple ones.
One is just Monitoring: we monitor your devices, whether it's a server or a workstation. It's kind of like an ad hoc support, with constant engagement.
If there are any tasks that are required for the client, we'll advise them and charge them appropriately.
The second one is Flexi Care package: we monitor the devices and the service but we also apply all the security patches, performance control and what not, and if there's any help desk support required from the clients, we'll bill them accordingly.
And the third plan is the Ultra Care: it's all-you-can-eat in the support scenario.
We support everything for a fixed fee per month.
And if there's any extension in the business, we charge extra.
That's the delivery of our services.
If I were to go back in time I would create those packages immediately to better suit the client and us.
This helps with clarity.
Previously, when we started, we were selling blocks of hours and it was harder for us to manage it, and it was harder for clients to understand what happened during those blocks of hours in a month.
There was a lot of miscommunication and a lot of reports that we'd have to provide, whereas now it's pretty simple.
You have ten computers and a server.
That's going to cost you this much to monitor and it'll cost you so much to provide a Flexi Care support (the middle tier), and it'll cost you so much for unlimited support.
It's easier for clients to comprehend and also easy for us to manage it.
It's easy for us to market it as well, because when you speak to non-tech people, they have no idea what you're trying to sell them.
If we keep it simple, it's easier for them to understand.
3. Choose your MSP RMM, PSA tools wisely – Previously, everything was recorded in folders, files or Excel spreadsheets, all over the place for each client.
We're using Pulseway.com as our RMM tool. We've tried all others and Pulseway is the best one.
And for a PSA tool, we developed something in house.
It's still based on the same principles as the other PSA tools – you have your ticketing, knowledge base, procedures, dashboards, locations, maps, scheduling.
These are the tools we had when we started ages ago, and it helped us a lot to streamline our backend operations.
Tools give you flexibility and ease of management at the back.
From the client point of view, they don't care how we record their information or procedures.
All they care about is that it has to be done.
At the backend, we need to make sure that we can pass it on to any technician whether they are new or experienced and just say "look, here are the details of the client, here's the problem, get it fixed."
If we don't have those tools in place, it would take longer for a technician to find out what needs to be done, how the whole setup is done at a particular client.
It consumes our time.
Editor’s note: Comments are edited to improve readability.