November 16, 2018
Erik Knight, founder & CEO of SimpleWAN, is a firm believer in well-rounded service, and doing what’s necessary to become and stay competitive in the market. This means building a solid, versatile portfolio, being a master of much and really tapping in to what your customers want.
SimpleWAN’s Eric Knight
“Really focus on what’s going to give you your competitive edge,” says Knight. “For example, keep abreast of emerging technology, don’t just stay in your comfort zone and stick with what you know. Customers will come to know that they can rely on your expertise, which is vital to success.”
Boom — customer loyalty.
Erik sat down with us this week to give us his well-rounded insights for MSP success — if he were launching an MSP now.
1. Get your head in the cloud.
Don’t get bogged down by premises-based services, but rather embrace the cloud straight out of the gate. There is a reluctance among some MSPs to migrate because they get most of their revenue from selling software, hardware, things that are ingrained and being supported, etc.
There is a huge opportunity here for MSPs just starting out to dive headfirst into the cloud. That’s the way things are moving, so if you start out that way, it will put you in a really good, competitive position. There is more money to be made here.
To piggyback on top of that, following the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) model provides a predictable, recurring revenue stream that one-time, lump-sum sales just can’t. With money rolling in day after day, you can easily project ahead, invest in efficiency and provide better quality services overall.
2. Cast a wider net.
In distributor and channel land, there has been a recent convergence. Back in the day, you would have a phone partner, a computer partner, a cabling partner and an internet partner, and all were separate. These folks would get together to sell these services, pass around the wealth and share commission.
Now, the model is changing — it’s not all separate entities anymore. MSPs must cast their net wider and become experts in all different kinds of areas, adding all different sorts of offerings to their portfolios. Why? The answer is simple.
“If someone is looking for a certain type of provider, you must have/be that answer as a service provider,” says Knight. “It is vital to have expertise across a broad range of areas — to know a little bit about a lot of things. You have to be the one to provide them with everything, because if you don’t, your clients will go to someone else.”
Give the people what they want. Which is a little bit of everything.
3. Don’t try to be perfect — listen to your customers.
Ever heard the expression, “perfection is the enemy of profitability?” At some point, you have to bring your services to market to really get a clear picture of what your buyers want.
“You can’t just sit in a silo by yourself, exhaustively preparing and perfecting a service that misses the mark completely,” says Knight. “For example, cybersecurity is super important right now – a really hot-button issue with providers and customers alike. It is your job to understand this, but also to sniff out what folks are saying they want, and educate accordingly. You must familiarize yourself on where the market is going and then advise based on that.”
Erik Knight is founder and CEO of SimpleWAN, an award-winning Arizona-based provider of cloud managed networking for multilocation businesses. Prior to SimpleWAN, Knight founded COMVOICE, which sold to Jive Communications in 2014. A thought leader in SD-WAN, networking and cybersecurity, Knight has appeared on numerous national media outlets including Forbes, Newsmax, Fox & Friends, and CNN.
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