New business, If I were launching an MSP now

If I Were Launching an MSP Now: Netsurion's Guy Cunningham

Guy Cunningham, vice president​ of alliances and distribution for Netsurion, shares three suggestions he’d apply if he were launching an MSP from scratch today.

1. Pick your tech vendors intelligently. Whether it’s your RMM vendor, your backup technology provider or your security provider, you need to go through a very thorough vetting process so you don’t end up having to change products after a year or two. This causes operational headaches, which are a huge pain and should be avoided. At all costs.

A lot of the time, when someone is getting started as an MSP, it’s tempting to go with the least expensive products. There are several reasons for that.

Guy Cunningham

At the beginning, companies don’t have the name brand recognition, or many customers to give references on their behalf, so they tend to compete on price. But have patience. If you want to be successful in growing the business, then it’s going to take awhile to mature in your technology choices as your operations mature and your customer expectations increase.

2. Don’t try to do everything yourself. It’s simple: Find the things you’re good at as a technology service provider, and then find other organizations to partner with that do the things that aren't your forté.

For example, as an MSP, I might be really good at selling. So I’m going to focus on growing my business through customer acquisitions, but will opt to outsource my help desk, my backup strategy and my security strategies to other partners.

Another scenario is an MSP that is a technologist. They have the network and help-desk functionalities down cold and can win customers that way, but would opt to outsource their backup strategy and security.

Those are just two examples.

Essentially, if you only rely on organic growth, it’s going to be a slow road. This is simply due to the fact that when you start from scratch, you don’t have a lot of people at your disposal inside your organization.

Find the areas where you can add value, and then find other companies that you can partner with to fill in the gaps. If you want to grow at a decent pace, you need to find places to expand your capabilities beyond what you have behind your own doors.

3. Create as much process and standardization as possible. The ideal MSPs are the ones that are run like a professional company. They have come up with a way to market their services in an easy-to-consume manner.

The most successful companies that I’ve seen have a package model — sort of a “silver,” “gold” and “platinum” range of options. For example, silver includes X, Y and Z; gold includes X, Y and Z plus A, B and C; and platinum includes the white glove treatment — the whole shebang. And of course, there are varying services included in each one of those options.

If everything is custom and unique, it adds layer upon layer of complexity for all parties involved. Nobody knows what the answers are, there is a lot of needless research involved, and it leads to customer dissatisfaction.

This standardization is the essential part. It makes it much easier for your customers to understand exactly what they get with each offering and for your support people (your staff) to understand what they are supposed to be delivering.

Guy Cunningham is vice president, alliances and distribution, for both Netsurion and EventTracker. Cunningham helps resellers, managed service providers (MSPs), and distributors realize the full potential of Netsurion and EventTracker’s offerings for small to midsize organizations. In his prior positions, he expertly managed not only internal relationships but partnerships with other companies as well. Most recently, he served as director of global alliances for Veritas Technologies, managing the relationships for both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Hitachi Data Systems.

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