If I Were Launching an MSP Now | Mike Hopkins
Mike Hopkins, president of Murray, Ky.-based DEVsource Technology Solutions shares three suggestions he’d apply if he were launching an MSP from scratch today:
1. Invest time in solidifying your staff – I would work harder to make sure I had the right people in the right roles.
I would implement personality testing very early on when starting a new company.
We hire for, really, personality first.
You have to have a certain minimum level of technical skill of course.
But very often, specific technical skills can be trained and it's very difficult to train for personality.
Implement a micro-award system very early on in the company so that employees have a way of rewarding one another with small awards.
We've implemented this in the last few years and it's been very popular and successful amongst our staff.
Last week, with the WannaCry ransomware issue, one of our vendors used the older version of the file-sharing technology.
One of my team members figured out a way to quickly upgrade to a new version and received a micro-bonus from another employee in the form of points.
Those bonuses and the comments from one employee to another get posted on our internal Slack channel so everybody gets to be a cheerleader.
2. Define your MSP offering – Very early on in the company we, being less mature, did not have a good firm stack of solutions.
We might have had multiple email solutions, multiple hardware vendors, server vendors, PC vendors, multiple cloud vendors, and so forth.
We didn't have a firm offering.
Almost every sales engagement was a unique quote.
We would evaluate each time and create a custom solution for every engagement.
It turns out that it was the costlier thing to deliver because we were delivering multiple hardware firewalls, for example, and staff had to be trained on multiple hardware platforms.
I would definitely try to define that as early on in the life of the company as I could.
3. Deepen you vendor relationships – Early on, we were willing, as a response to a customer demand, to sell X.
We would find that vendor and become a reseller and sell exactly one of that thing.
And never possibly sell it again.
So, we had a very broad set of vendor relationships but not very deep.
If I had an opportunity to do it over again, I would try to select very few vendors: one firewall vendor, one cloud email vendor, one hardware server vendor, and go deep with those vendors.
I've had the opportunity in many years to deal with representatives from vendors and executives of vendors.
I can tell you – they really appreciate the MSPs that are willing to go deep, who are willing to make an investment in their relationship with that vendor.
This pays off, because that vendor then trusts you to learn and know that your company can handle any complex leads that come in.
And that would lead to a much better vendor experience as well as technology delivery experience for your clients, because your technicians are now experts at these products.
Editor’s note: Comments are edited to improve readability.