TL;DR, : At the CompTIA MSP User Group, Richard Tubb spoke on the challenges and benefits of working with your MSP peers; how to make the initial connections at events, when to refer third parties, and when not too, and how to mitigate the risks of a bad referral.
Why Working With Your MSP Competition Isn’t as Crazy as it Sounds
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Networking with your MSP Peers
Richard talked about the different types of relationships you can have with fellow MSPs, and the benefits of these relationships. Working with other MSPs may not be as scary as it at first sounds.
Referrals should never be made for financial reasons alone. Anyone you refer should be someone you “Know, Like and Trust”.
Whether it’s a third-party recommendation, or as a subcontracted entity within your own business, bad service will ultimately reflect unfavourably on you and your business.
Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to know who you’re recommending, and how you’re working with.
Richard gave some great tips on how to network, and said this is something all MSPs can do now, even if they don’t think they’ll need to work with their competitors.
To build up a rapport within the community was an investment, and an opportunity not to be missed. That to give up your time and expertise in order to foster good relations is never a waste of time.
A tip Richard mentioned was to write your specialist area of expertise on the back of your business cards, so that when you hand them out at community events, you’ll stand out amongst the crowd for your focus in a particular area.
Though some of the delegates had bad experiences to share, it was generally agreed that the MSP community is a generous community who want to help if they can.
Benefits of Working with Other MSPs
You may need to work with other MSPs for any or all of these reasons:
For example, when you can’t reach all of your client sites effectively for support.
An MSP who already knows the area can have the experience you’re lacking when procuring the right resources.
You need to implement new technologies but lack expertise in-house.
Richard suggested the Meetup app was a good way to find technology user groups in your area. The opportunity to meet with people face-to-face is a great way to engage and develop a relationship where they could be in a position to help or recommend contacts to you.
You may need more staff to provide the standard services you offer, while you focus on developing your business. Whether its acquiring new contracts, or expanding your portfolio to include more higher-level services.
It might just be because you need a bit of breathing space so you can have a holiday.
For further reading Richard recommended ‘The Go-Giver’ by Bob Burg and John Mann, as an example of how giving can lead to a successful business.
Richard added that the “Go Giver” was definitely applicable in the Managed Services community.
While working with other MSPs (also called building Strategic Alliances, or “buddying up”) or IT businesses may feel scary, the benefits far outweigh the concerns.
Whether it is to add complimentary technical skills, pool additional resources or even gain coverage in an area outside your local geography, buddying up with other IT companies can serve your MSP business well.
Would you ever consider buddying-up with another MSP to deliver your services? I’d love to hear your comments on the subject.
If you’re a CompTIA member, or wish to register for access, you can access the replay of this user group session!