My Biggest Mistake As An Entrepreneur

My Biggest Mistake As An Entrepreneur

managed services mistakeFirst, the good news: MSPmentor and its parent company (Nine Lives Media Inc.) continue to grow. However, I made a key mistake in 2008 that nearly caused me (and my business partner, Amy Katz) some pain in 2009. Plus, I suspect many managed service providers (MSPs) are making the same mistake. Here's where I goofed.

I failed to take my own advice: I often tell MSPs they should interview at least one new job candidate per month -- even if you don't have any positions open at the current time. That way you can make a fast hiring decision when a position does open up at your company. In other words, you should always have a shortlist of people you want to hire on the spot.

Inside Our Business

Now, let's apply that advice to Nine Lives Media Inc., which currently operates MSPmentor, The VAR Guy (covering what's next in the IT channel) and WorksWithU (the independent guide to Ubuntu Linux).

Frankly, we dodged a bullet. We happened to find editorial talent "just in time" without any formal business processes in place. Christopher Tozzi (an open source wizard), Scott Dahlgren (a channel expert and a former channel chief himself) and several other voices are now contributing bloggers on our sites. And we'll be debuting new names and personalities across our sites throughout Q1.

But most importantly: We now have clearly defined processes in place for recruiting, testing and engaging new editorial talent as needed.

Who Did You Interview This Month?

As a managed service provider you need to continually replenish your talent pipeline -- even if you don't expect aggressive growth in 2009.

Put aside one morning or one afternoon each month to recruit and interview top talent. And put business processes in place to ensure you're following up regularly with your best potential hires.

During bleak economic times, you can make some fantastic hires -- but the secret to success is finding those potential hires before you urgently need them.

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