Making a Difference as an MSP
Several weeks ago, I ran into Alex Rogers, CEO of Chartec. We grabbed a cup of coffee and sat around talking about IT in the early 90s, “edlin” and “memmaker,” RLL drives and all the myriad of changes that have occurred during the last 20 years in the channel. Back when I was a new to this industry, when nothing about an OS worked as well as it should, I spent many afternoons editing config.sys and autoexec.bat files, and honestly, I pretty much hated every minute of it.Later it struck me as Alex and I were laughing about the good old days, that I didn’t appreciate the joys of being a solutions provider back then as much as I do now, in hindsight. It might be the same for many of you today; maybe there’s too many days where providing managed services to SMBs just doesn’t feel joyful.
For me, it’s hard not to fantasize about building the quintessential MSP / CSP business. I imagine leveraging the expertise of all the peer groups, the channel marketing and lead generation pros. I would leverage all the strengths of PSA and RMM providers, and of course I’d be backing up my clients’ critical data with Intronis. I’d tear into the market with reckless abandon. There’s abundant opportunity throughout the channel to deliver value to end users. Success seems virtually unavoidable with all the resources available to MSPs today – and many of you are extremely successful.
Still, I am constantly reminded that there are precious few vocations as challenging as being an MSP, both yesterday and today. The work is often thankless, and the expectation is 100 percent uptime. How many times have you labored to provide complex solutions to nightmarish problems just to be rewarded with, “Why didn’t you set it up that way to begin with?”
Add to that the challenges associated with hiring great people, keeping morale high and dealing with an increasingly complicated tax rules, and suddenly the idea of being an MSP loses some of its luster. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in the struggles of the day and lose focus on the larger rewards (both financial and personal) that are the hallmark of success in this industry.
It seems to me that a key component of being a successful MSP is to step back and review what you are doing every day as if you might not have the chance to do it tomorrow. Leverage every opportunity to make your business the best that it can be, focus on delivering business value, and most importantly, at least once a year, ask your customers to give you specific feedback about how you enable them to be more successful. Celebrate the praise, address the constructive criticisms, and take advantage of the feedback to identify opportunities for improvement.
A recent Microsoft-commissioned survey found that 76 percent of SMBs believe they are the backbone of the economy, and 79 percent believe that technology can make their jobs more enjoyable. While it might not seem like it some days, channel partners are making a difference and regularly contributing to the success of small businesses everywhere.
Ted Roller is VP of channel development at Intronis. Find out more about Intronis’partner program. Guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.