MSPs: How to Chase Post-Recession Opportunities
If you believe the official reports, the recession is over. But with unemployment still hovering at 9.7%, down from 10.4 % last month and some corporate buyers still reluctant to spend, it will take more than statistics to make it feel like the recession is truly over.
That being the case, how confident should IT solution providers be about their prospects for the remainder of this year and beyond? Should you take a defensive stance, accepting whatever business you can get at discounted prices, or take a bolder approach – to get out there and find new opportunities to sell your services and pump up profits?
The answer is obvious: This is a perfect time to make a bold business push to widen and deepen your customer base. The reasons are twofold: For one thing, customers are slowly starting to free up more money to spend on IT. For another, depending on your needs, you may be in a position to take advantage of some lower business costs and increased access to financing options.
Let’s start with the latter. Like your customers, over the past year you may have put some projects on hold as you wait to see how the economic situation would shake out. Perhaps you held off on physical expansion to keep your overhead under control or you delayed some business growth strategies because the banks tightened up on lending. But now you may be able to take advantage of lower commercial real estate lease rates. As for the banks, while credit and financing remain tighter than pre-recession days, they have started to loosen up a little.
Just as you may be ready to execute delayed growth plans, so will many of your customers. Especially in the small business sector, customers are going to need solid IT infrastructures to support their growth but they won’t necessarily want the burden of managing IT. They will look to Technology Service Provides to handle it for them.
IT services buyers will be very cautious on the heels of a recession, and that is good news for Managed Service providers who present alternatives to their clients. The more you know about the specific vertical market that you are engaged with, the more you have a leg up on the competition and your value-to-cost ratio will set you apart. And in cases where recommendations and/or upgrades are needed, the MSPs that offer a wide array of products and services that their clients are searching for will find themselves in the enviable position as a trusted advisor.
Managed services providers should always be on the lookout for new services they can introduce to their clients. MSPs are in a position to identify their needs better than anyone else so expand your services in the area of security, backup, DR, VoIP, and virtualization and open your door to many more opportunities.
Lastly, solution providers should have a good handle on what the market is doing from a macro perspective so they can zero in on specific opportunities. Specifically, vertical markets need to be identified and tagged for growth. What’s your approach going to be? How do you gain their business? For instance, as retail and financial services start to make gains after taking a big hit during the recession, you should be identifying potential clients in those verticals and how you can go after them.
There is no better time than when customers are starting to loosen the purse strings to make a strong business push. With the worst of the recession hopefully behind us, solution providers have to be ready to act, otherwise they may have their own ongoing individual recessions with which to contend.
Maurice Saluan is VP-Channel Management for Zenith Infotech as well as seasoned sales veteran in the managed service arena. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor’s 2010 Platinum sponsorship. Find all of Saluan’s blog entries here.