The industry has changed a lot since Brian Mauch got his start 21 years ago. Tools that didn’t exist then are now at an MSP’s fingertips. Processes are simpler and more streamlined.
“Take one- or two-person shops, for example,” says Mauch. “For them in particular, starting out used to be a heck of a lot harder. There weren’t as many tools and technologies available to help jump the hurdles that everyone faces. Think RMM and PSA — those didn’t really exist when I first started, or at least there wasn’t a lot of information about them.”
To be clear, Mauch isn’t saying that today’s MSPs aren’t presented with their own sets of challenges, despite the overabundance of tools and processes now available designed to make “starting out” easier. Nope, no indignant, “Well, back in my day” speech or finger wagging from him.
That’s why he sat down with us to share his experiences, valuable insights and key takeaways from … yes … “back in his day.”
1. Take off some hats.
Hire more people, leverage yourself and focus on sales and growth.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to keep things manageable on your own. You will end up saying “no” a lot more than you’d like to keep things moving. In order to keep customers long term, you must take off some hats.
It’s not easy to do; there’s an element of control in keeping everything under your thumb — but it’s essential if you want to keep people, provide growth and opportunities within the company and start leveraging yourself more effectively.
2. Invest in your company culture.
Spend some serious time and effort creating the kind of company that you want to own, and hire the types of people you want to work with. Think about and plan your staffing decisions, the type of environment you want to cultivate, the benefits you want to provide and the processes you want to implement.
A ways down the road, draw an organizational chart. It doesn't matter if you're a one-person company or a 100-person company, this is extremely important. Map out all the different roles that you want your business to have in the future. As you grow – as you're expanding, hiring and bringing on new clientele – think about that next "box" that you want to fill. What is that next hat that you want to take off? Always be thinking two or three steps ahead.
3. Join an industry peer group right away.
Bubbles are bad. Operating in a closed environment is a good way to stunt growth.
“For the first 10 years that I was in business, I operated in a silo,” says Mauch. “I didn’t change my methods; I just kept adding clients as I went. Ten years in, I went to my first tech conference, just by fluke, and my eyes were opened wide because I finally had the chance to talk to other people doing exactly what I did.”
There's so much power and knowledge to be drawn from being part of a community. You have the opportunity to learn from others, share best practices, keep up with industry happenings and become involved in ways to give back to the community.
“I love learning from other people and figuring out what works and what doesn’t work,” shares Mauch. “Going to conferences and joining into these peer groups completely changed my outlook and approach, and completely changed my business.”
Brian Mauch is the founder and CEO of BMC Networks, a Vancouver-based outsourced IT provider that specializes in law firms. Brian obtained both law and commerce degrees from the University of British Columbia, and then combined his education with his passion for computers to form BMC Networks in 1997. Brian focuses on strategic planning and advice for BMC’s clients.