If I Were Launching an MSP Now: ISCorp’s Tim Roloff Fits Square Pegs Into Round Holes
Tim Roloff is the vice president business development at ISCorp, a private-cloud solutions company. We sat down with him this week to discuss the ins and outs of starting an MSP, intersecting business and IT, thinking strategically, having that entrepreneurial spirit, and being flexible and open to new ideas.
Tim is a big believer in thinking outside of the box — an overused phrase, he admits, but a good one. He also touts the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit, and above all, having flexibility.
“If you don’t don’t have these elements, you’ll lose your edge, your differentiator,” says Roloff.
“This business, what we do here, is hard,” he says. Square pegs, round holes. “But if you’ve got the right culture and spirit, every one of these square pegs is an opportunity.”
And that, folks, is pure provider poetry.
1. Take a leap of faith.
When you’re an MSP, revenues are difficult to overcome from a revenue-recognition standpoint. You’re not just selling a product and collecting the full price up front. For example, rather than selling something for $100,000 and collecting that cash up front, you might collect $100 per month for the next seven years.
Nowadays, we tend to follow the drip pricing model, which essentially is just a headline price with all sorts of fun fees hidden underneath.
You’ve got to be willing to take that initial risk – stretching that payment out over an extended period of time – and that’s where that leap of faith comes in.
2. Give the people what they want.
Deliver a product in a way that, to put it simply, your consumer wants to consume it. This may seem like somewhat of a “duh” statement, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.
Have some flexibility in your go-to-market metric. Deliver or resell your product in a way that aligns with your customer’s go-to-market. The customer may want to consume on a per-customer, click or transaction basis — whatever it might be. Have some billing flexibility.
3. Strategy, my dear Watson.
You’ve got to think strategically. Now this may seem rather… elementary … but you have to apply this way of thinking to your long-term relationships. Long-term relationships are key. In order for the revenue mile to work, this is essential.
This ties into the first and second points. You’re not just selling a $1 million piece of equipment and collecting $1 million on day one. As an MSP using the recurring-revenue model, you’re only going to collect, say, $1,000 per month on that services engagement. So what’s critical here is to build long-term, meaningful relationships so that you can eventually capture the revenue from the opportunity.
All that [said], you may very well be underwater for the first couple of months just to recover that cost. That’s why these long-term relationships are critical to the MSP model.
Tim Roloff, vice president of business development for ISCorp, has over 10 years of private-cloud management industry experience. ISCorp has been building mission-critical business solutions to enable companies to achieve their strategic objectives since the company’s founding in 1987. Since 1999, ISCorp has been delivering Progress-based services, and today ISCorp’s managed private cloud platform supports over 1,200 production Progress OpenEdge databases, serving over 3 million end users globally.