Scott Granicki is a big believer in staying in one's swim lane. He also touts having a solid support system and really focusing on and leaning into your skill set, but he really wants budding MSPs to know how to "just say no."
"As you develop your offerings, you're going to want to do everything," says Granicki. "You’ll spread yourself too thin that way, and it will cripple your growth later on." For Granicki, who has been in the business for nearly 30 years, this is a big one.
"The dollar shouldn't drive a business. Find your specialties and stick to them like glue."
We sat down with this industry expert this week to get his insights on what it takes to be a successful MSP.
1. Stay focused.
Go after the target client that you want, and stick to that. You can’t be everything to everyone, so don’t chase a “quick sale” just because you can. It will be tempting to go after the easy dollar, but knowing what you want to do and sticking to that path will save a lot of time, money and wheel-spinning.
“Say you go to a customer, tell them that you offer backup, disaster recovery or antivirus solutions, and they come back and say that they also need a plumber,” says Granicki. “Your first instinct might be to say, "I can do plumbing, sure!' even though it falls outside the scope of your specialties and core services. Because you want to make an easy sale, you’ll be tempted to take all you can get, but the last thing you want to do is give a customer a false idea of your capabilities.”
It’s an easy trap to fall into, but stay focused. Don’t be a "yes" man — it is OK to say no.
2. Partner up.
Surround yourself with good people. This is the case no matter what stage you are in your business, but it's particularly important when first starting out. Have a trusted network of people that you can sound off to, complain to, laugh with and cry with as you go through the ups and downs of running a business. Whether it’s friends, partners competitors or vendors, you need a good group of folks that you can turn to and rely on.
It’s essential to have help, to have a support system. Not just from an aid standpoint, but for idea sharing as well — people who will take you under their wing and say, “Here’s what I would do if I were you.”
Don’t be afraid to ask people questions. If you get bogged down, it’s essential to have extra help. You will be so much better off.
3. Do what you do best, and do more of it.
Decide what your forte is, and lean into it. If you are adept at getting rid of viruses, or at performing backups, or setting up email for cloud computing, showcasing that kind of specialty will get you through more doors and into situations where you can demonstrate your other capabilities.
Picking an initial swim lane will gradually open up more swim lanes. Lead with your strengths, and everything else will follow suit and spread like wildfire.
Scott Granicki is owner of AF Technical Resources LLC based in Milwaukee Wi. AF Technical Resources, LLC was founded in 2011 and focuses on the “service” part of their Technical Service offerings. Scott has worked in the IT world since 1999 in various roles with other IT providers and used that experience to start his IT firm.