Stop 'Being a Janitor': Focus on Building Your Customers’ Businesses

The key to true success is to put the broom down, stop cleaning up messes and be a business owner.

Allison Francis

June 14, 2021

5 Min Read

All too often, MSPs focus their go-to-market strategy on how good they are and how much they know. One can hardly blame them for that mindset in today’s ultra-competitive landscape, but what happens when you lead with the customer in mind? It almost sounds cliché at this point, and nearly everyone says they are customer-focused … but are they?

Juan Fernandez, VP of managed service at ImageNet Consulting, believes in putting the emphasis and focus on people and value vs. technology and solutions. According to Fernandez, it is really understanding three important tenets: Why it’s important; how you are doing things differently; and then, ultimately, what is in it for the customer? Focusing on these sets you up to make an actual difference in today’s crowded marketplace, which is saying something.


ImageNet Consulting’s Juan Fernandez

“These are the three keys that I use to unlock the door to a business,” said Fernandez. “If I can’t answer those, then we don’t move forward. Without those, there’s no point in actually doing it. In every aspect.”

Juan Fernandez is a member of the 2020-21 Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board. Learn more about our full team of board members here.

According to Fernandez, you must examine what the product is and what’s the competitive advantage. Then, what is the ultimate long-term profitability and customer success model? 

Background and Silver Bullet Formulas

Fernandez’s 26-year career in IT is a testament to his investment in improving business outcomes with technology. Starting out, he didn’t have any intention of becoming a business owner. Starting out at the help desk, his ambition was to become the best technician he could possibly be. Gradually he realized that his knack for business and understanding what a high level of customer service could yield was opening doors he never imagined. 

“I understood what customers wanted; at least, I felt they did,” said Fernandez. “So I started my first MSP, which actually turned out to not be the greatest success. It was a lesson that I needed to learn from a humility perspective, but also from a business perspective on what not to do. So, I pivoted. I went back into the industry and sought to understand how the buyer buys. I realized that if you can change a customer’s business, you can actually make it profitable with a technology advantage and help move the business forward, you’ve got it figured out. It’s a formula that actually puts the customer’s best interest first.”

Taking that intuition and pulse of how people buy, Fernandez landed at ImageNet, where he put that methodology into practice.

“I realized that if you can change a customer’s business, you can actually make it profitable,” Fernandez said. “By giving them that IT technology advantage, and helping move their business forward, you’re creating a vacuum of opportunity. Forgot the old adage, “if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.” That mindset is very, “what’s in it for me?” You have to change that to “what’s in it for the customer?” 

As we come out of the pandemic, we see a technology world forever and irrevocably changed. The record doesn’t spin in a circle anymore; rather, the needle jumps and moves in erratic patterns. 

Fernandez looks at the changes in the industry through a pair of binoculars. Even with your eye on the puck, or ball – whichever sport you prefer – you can’t be 100% sure where …

… things will go/shift. While there’s sense in having a playbook, it’s important to be adaptable.

“I think what we’re gonna see in the channel is a lot of niche markets being carved out,” Fernandez predicts. “I think we’re gonna start to see MSPs create marketplaces of their own products and services. The other side of this is that everyone seems to be getting into the managed services space. Relationships are being formed to merge products and services; I think we’re going to see certain nuances where MSPs are going to have their own marketplaces. I also think we’re going to see an adaptation and support of new emerging technologies, and partnerships forming to be able to do so more efficiently. It’s already happening. I think vendors are disrupting the traditional channel as well, because of the fact that those direct-to-market opportunities are emerging.”

Fernandez goes on to say that these models will keep diversifying and changing, and partnerships will look very different in the next few years.  


One of the best pieces of advice that Fernandez lives by is to stop “being a janitor.” Put the broom down, stop cleaning up messes and go be a business owner. This is a bit of a switch in thinking, as a lot of MSPs don’t know how to delegate tasks. You must focus on getting the right people in the right place so that you can grow your business.

“Don’t let the business run you,” says Fernandez.

The other pillar is to truly understand what customer experience as a service means and how that factors into their/your go-to-market strategy.

“Take and understand how your product and service benefits your customer, and then work meaningfully with them in a way that technology becomes a competitive advantage for them,” said Fernandez. “If you do this, you won’t have to have the cost conversation because you will already be generating money for them. You are an essential piece of their business. Take your seat at the table and actually partner with companies. Stop selling products; start offering solutions to build and benefit their businesses. With that, you will build your business and encounter a lot less complexity in the market space. That will unlock the door to everything.”

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About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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