2016 News Archive


CompTIA ChannelCon 2016 was a smashing success!

MSP-Ignite had a great session at CompTIA’s 2016 ChannelCon.  We discussed the five best practice areas you should evaluate to ensure your MSP is operating to its fullest potential.  Among them were business generation, delivery and operations, customer relations, business management, and business direction.  So many MSP owners are so involved in the day to day that they never have time to look up and work on the business itself.  In this session we talked about what to focus on when you actually find time to work on your overall strategy.

Watch Recorded Session Now:  https://mychannelcon.zerista.com/event/member/270016

MSP-Ignite is dedicated to the betterment of MSP and IT company owners that are looking to learn from colleagues in the same space.  We focus on profitability, accountability and building wealth through the intentional growing and improving of your business.  To learn more about how MSP-Ignite can help your IT company succeed, contact us today at 888.972.0236 or msp@MSP-Ignite.com.

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How much growth can my business handle?

You just signed up for the platinum marketing package.  They promised you 10 leads per month.  You are ready to see that stream of leads coming in.  You can’t wait.  But what if you actually get 10 leads a month?  Can you handle all of that new work plus your existing clients?  You might just say, “sure I can”, but first impressions are everything.  What if you can’t onboard new clients with the same quality as you once did?  What if your existing clients don’t see you as responsive as you once were?  Is it possible that these additional leads could actually cause your business to ultimately shrink due to unhappy customers?  It’s a definite possibility if you don’t know what rate your business is capable of growing at.  Most companies don’t have a clue of what their infrastructure will support growth wise.

You have to consider all the components that will be strained with a faster rate of growth.  Staff, billing systems, ticketing software, managed services processes and more.  Do you even have structured systems in place?  Can your staff and systems accommodate a 25% percent increase in work and still function properly?  How do you know?  These are things that need to be planned for and built in to your company so that you don’t waste the money you put towards marketing by not being able to respond to new leads in time or by dropping the ball with existing clients.  Just like you can spend any amount you want, you also can’t grow any amount you want.  You need to see what you company can handle.

Here is the quick checklist of things to look for:
1.       Do you have dedicated resources to onboard new clients?
2.       What is the impact on existing clients when you onboard a new client?
3.       How long does it take for a new technical resource to carry their own weight?
4.       Do you know how many additional clients and users your current staff can handle?

These four areas are the most common places where things fall apart in a high growth mode.  You need to have a plan on how you are going to address each of these areas to avoid buckling under the pressure of growth.  These are the kinds of topics we address at MSP-Ignite.  Contact MSP-Ignite today to find out more about how you can start to fuel growth by tapping the resources of other IT leaders. Visit us at www.msp-ignite.com or call us at 888.972.0236 or email us at msp@MSP-Ignite.com to get started today.

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Growing Your MSP Through Acquisition

Slow, steady, organic growth is probably the best overall way to grow a business. But what if you want to grow faster? Or what if you have a great opportunity to buy a competitor that’s fallen on hard times? A good acquisition strategy can help you identify and properly execute an acquisition before one presents itself. Let’s look at the top reasons an acquisition fails so we can learn to avoid these pitfalls.

Can’t Make the Numbers Work
It is totally fine to either buy a profitable, successful company or one that is failing and not profitable. The key is knowing which one it is and factoring that into the equation. Some of the very best acquisitions done are buying failing companies and turning them around. But you can’t pay for it as though it were raking in the cash. You must do your due diligence in order to see what the company is actually worth.

Culture Clash
You need to understand not only the numbers of the business you are buying but also the culture. Culture can kill even the most profitable acquisition. It’s not about how good the company works but it’s also about how well it will continue to work when you begin meshing staff. All too often you will lose the respect of some of your key staff if they feel like the newly acquired staff are not pulling their weight or are focused on the wrong things.

Pricing and Margin Similarity
If your hourly rate is $120 per hour and you purchase a company that charges $100 per hour, you can easily make that work. You can acclimate their clients to your rates over a period and move up and on. But what if you buy a company who’s rates are $65 an hour? Most of their clients will never be able to make the leap to $120 an hour even over a 2 year period. Make sure the markets served by the acquisition potential is aligned to your own.

None of these things will guarantee a successful merger but if you can watch for these and address them they will go a long way to helping you successfully integrate a new acquisition into your own company. Contact MSP-Ignite today to find out more about how you can start to fuel growth by tapping the resources of other IT leaders. Visit us at www.msp-ignite.com or call us at 888.972.0236 or email us at msp@MSP-Ignite.com to get started today.

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MSP-Ignite Partners with CompTIA To Assist IT Service Providers

MSP-Ignite’s whole mission is to help MSPs, VARs and other IT professional services companies improve their businesses.  Mainly this is accomplished through peer groups that connect IT company owners together so that they can learn from each other in an environment of encouragement, being challenged and being held accountable.  As part of being a member there are numerous benefits and access to premium services that are made available.

Since CompTIA’s mission is nearly identical to MSP-Ignite’s, it made perfect sense to work together to offer even more value to the channel.  As such, MSP-Ignite is announcing it has officially partnered with CompTIA as an affiliate partner and now can offer its members a $100 annual discount off of the CompTIA premier membership, normally $300 per year.  CompTIA provides a lot of content and materials to its members and now that MSP-Ignite has become an Affiliate Partner we will be able to provide much of it as well.

MSP-Ignite is committed to increasing the value we bring to our membership through peer groups, access to best practices, providing quality content and offering great benefits designed to truly help owners of IT companies.  To learn more about how you can improve your technology company visit us at http://www.msp-ignite.com

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Don’t Let Policies and Procedures Get in the Way of Great Customer Service

In my travels I'm always paying attention to the customer service message that companies are sending out via their employees actions.  Like everyone else business and personal travel forces contact with employees of rental car companies,hotels, restaurants, Internet Service Providers, car services, and more. Generally speaking these people are pleasant and seem to enjoy what they do. That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally come across someone having a bad day or that truly should not be dealing with the public however that really is few and far between.

On my most recent trip I took note of several instances where corporate policy either helped or crippled an individual from delivering a pleasant experience. Here are a few examples:

- Budget Rent A Car has lost my business permanently over their policy of charging $50 for filling the tank of the rental 7 miles from the airport instead of 5.

- Hampton Inn continually shines by; 
     - Having front desk people who call with status updates on airport shuttles.
     - Training cleaning staff to leave the TV Remote in the same place every single day.
     - Having shuttle drivers always willing to pick me up after a long day at a clients office.
     - Those hot cookies that I shouldn’t eat tempting me every afternoon.

- Enterprise Rent A Car made me laugh and feel appreciated when an agent told me that he marked the car as having only a 1/2 a tank of gas instead of 3/4 in exchange for my cooperation “punking” an agent at the location I was returning the car to.

- Intuit has a policy where an issue cannot be escalated unless you stay on the phone with them while they process the escalation and pass the issue up the ladder. This recently cost me an extra hour of my time and I’m still waiting to hear back from someone a month later.

My point to all of this?  Don’t let policies and procedures designed to make your life easier drive away customers.  You cannot assume that the customer relationship will be retained, you must always “win” their business with each transaction.  Your policies and procedures should first and foremost be designed to make doing business with you a delight.  What’s the point of being more efficient if you are losing customers and revenue?  Take a hard look at some of your rules and examine whether they are there to make life easier for you or your customer. Provide some leeway in your policies that empower your staff to demonstrate to your clients just how much you appreciate their business. At MSP-Ignite we discuss these types of topics and many more to ensure that your IT company is running smoothly and growing.  To learn more contact us at http://www.msp-ignite.com/contact

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Improved Connectwise Efficiency Through Outlook

We are proud to announce a new member benefit that we have negotiated for those of you who are using ConnectWise.  QuickTix, an app that runs in the Outlook app pane, and allows your technicians to log time and work tickets without ever needing to leave Outlook.  It works on Outlook 2013/Exchange 2013 and later, including Office 365, and integrates to ConnectWise via their API.  For more information, visit QuickTix from our Member Benefits page at http://www.msp-ignite.com/partners/

One of our members, Chris Johnson, has been using QuickTix for a while now and offered this testimonial, which is also displayed on the QuickTix website -- "By staying in Outlook, you are eliminating the need to use the ConnectWise client for most of my techs."   So, take it from Chris, if you are facing difficulty in how to answer the question "How do I get my guys to enter their time?", QuickTix might be worthy of consideration.

There is a free 15-day fully functional trial.  If, after the trial, you decide to purchase, we have negotiated that our members receive the equivalent of their 20% off annual subscription, with only the month-to-month commitment level.  Just use the promo code "msp-ignite" and you can get it for $8 per user per month, forever.  If you recuperate one more time entry that would have been lost, it pays for itself quickly, and your [MRR/command/visibility/reporting] improves.

For those of our members using AutoTask, I did discuss that alternative with their product owner, and it is in their roadmap, but no release dates had been formalized yet.  I will keep up-to-date on that progress.

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MSP-Ignite offers quality IT peer groups that boast flexibility and satisfied members

You may think that in order to join an MSP peer group that it will take too much of your time as an owner. You might think there’s an onerous schedule that requires you to be constantly traveling or on the phone for peer meetings. You might think that participating will require following a rigid schedule in order to get your money’s worth. Well, you’d be wrong.

MSP-Ignite hosted a peer group meeting in Chicago in December and three of their members were not able to attend in person but wanted to be a part of the meetings remotely. Aisle8 (www.onaisle8.com), a MSP-Ignite Member Benefit Partner provided the group with high end, cost-effective conference phones and IP cameras. This not only allowed the three members to attend remotely but the remote experience was much better than a typical scenario due to the quality equipment provided.

That’s all well and good you say but I don’t care about how you meet, I want to know what goes on in the meetings. Here’s a sample from our last meeting in Chicago.

We had three partners with major issues going on. From staffing concerns to partnerships gone bad. At times these people needed ideas, at times they needed therapy and at times they needed the group to take charge by providing a roadmap. So if you were to ask these IT company owners how things went in the meeting. Read these unedited comments that they emailed us directly.

     - Once again, Steve's vision of peer group benefits to owners was borne out - in spades!!!

     - Thank you all for your encouragement and confidence building. I, like Bill, could only be "vulnerable" with such a great group of people. It means more to me than you can imagine. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! ?

     - Yeah this was, as always, really great stuff. It ebbs and flows and I’m glad we were able to focus on the issues that needed priority treatment for some members.

     - I agree. My head is spinning and I remember feeling alone in my problems even though I knew you were all there for me. These two days made me realize I am never alone but shifting in the balance of who is having that bad day. I know we are all going through tough times at one point or another or just getting over them.

     - I am confident that we are all better for it and while this may not have been the best in person (I wasn't there) it was a huge impact on me personally and professionally.

     - Thank you all for being there when I need you and when I don't think I need you.

     - I'm on my flight home, and so many things are going through my head on how to improve and grow my business along with thinking of what I can do to support all of you as well. Thanks for the suggestions and support you've all given me

     - I'd like to thank you all for listening and contributing solid ideas that will help me. I truly appreciate it. - Was pretty tough being so "vulnerable" and I could only do so in front of such a great group of people.

     - Remote worked; yes, not ideal and I missed the beer but it was way, way better then missing the meeting totally.

You don’t know how much peer groups can help you grow your own business. Contact MSP-Ignite today to find out more about how you can start to fuel growth by tapping the resources of other IT leaders. Visit us at www.msp-ignite.com or call us at 888.972.0236 or email us at msp@MSP-Ignite.com to get started today.

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