SuperOps.ai hosted a superb event in London; The Road to £1 Million, where the focus was on MSPs. Specifically, aimed at how MSPs can reach that difficult £1 million revenue threshold.
The afternoon was filled with networking opportunities, keynotes and panel discussions. Practical advice from industry experts.
The event took place at:
Introduction – The Road to £1 Million
Following a light lunch and networking session, SuperOps.ai Founder and CEO Arvind Parthiban gave the opening welcome introduction.
Setting the tone of the afternoon ahead, he asked; what are the challenges faced by new MSPs in reaching £1 million revenue?
How can we add value and make a difference?
If we can share the playbooks of successful MSPs, we can allow new MSPs to make, and learn from, their own mistakes.
If I Were To Start An MSP Today
Richard’s Origin Story
To give a bit of background, Claire asked about Richard’s Origin Story. Starting out in corporate IT, he learned about scalability and process-driven solutions.
He always wanted to build a business that would run effectively without him.
Growing from a one-man-band into a successful MSP over a number of years, he decided to sell it after his father passed away. So many people had said what a good man he was, and that he was always helping other people. Deciding that was what he wanted to do too, Richard decided to become an MSP consultant, in the business of helping others achieve success in their MSP businesses.
Claire asked; As a big advocate of outsourcing how would you advise going about it today?
Establish your core competences – focus on the things you are good at and want to deliver as an MSP. For everything else, outsource it, such as:
- Get a telephone answering service – let someone else deal with answering your calls while you carry out the important work you need to get done
- Cybersecurity – as it’s such a difficult discipline to master these days, but there are plenty of experts who can do this for you day-to-day
Richard added: As MSPs we ask our clients to focus on their business and leave their IT to us. So why shouldn’t we outsource the things that we don’t want to do.
Richard has been an early adopter of content marketing for a long time. It’s effective if you keep at it, and keep it consistent – just go out there and connect.
He mentioned that people have got in touch with him after reading articles he had put out there a long time ago. It all helps you connect people with your brand, because they know, like and trust you. Richard added that SuperOps.ai are a prime example of this with their consistent marketing strategy.
If You Became An MSP Again Today, What Would You Do Differently?
Tailor your offerings to appeal to your ideal client, and don’t try to snare everyone.
Avoiding pricing yourself at the wrong level. If you price yourself too low, you’ll only attract the wrong type of client who will ‘nickel and dime’ you.
These clients are never happy and do not accept your true worth to them. Raising those prices to begin with will filter out those clients, and you’ll often find that those that are happy to pay above the lowest premiums will trust you.
What Can MSP Owners Do To Look After Their Own Mental Health and That Of Their Team?
If you’re feeling the strain, firstly, you’re not alone. Be upfront about it and let your team know.
We use some practical techniques at Team Tubb, including:
- Geekbot – This is a weekly check-in tool which asks each member of the team how they are, what they’re working on and if there are any obstacles ahead
- Truth Tuesdays – Which is a weekly post with an inspirational quote or teaching, which the team can react to. Whether that’s with a positive message in response or just an emoji
What Are Your Top Three Book Recommendations?
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
- The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen
The Winding Road To The Seven Figure MSP
Ian Luckett of IT Experts chaired a panel of 5 MSP experts and asked them a series of questions relating to MSP growth.
The panel consisted of:
- Chris Gorman – CEO of Apex Computer Services
- Daniel Shone – MD of Apex Computer Services
- Mark Copeman – Author of Helpdesk Habits and Founder of WiseCurve
- Tracy Pound – Founder and MD of Maximity Ltd, and Chair of the Board of Directors at CompTIA
- Perry Ashby – CEO of Urban Network UK
The MSP Journey – When Are You Ready?
Daniel: A big change for us was when we started working more in partnership with vendors, and hiring external experts.
Chris: You should plan your business hires in advance for when your business grows further in order to keep up the momentum.
How Important Is Planning Your Strategy
Tracy: Planning is incredibly important. Before you reach the £1 million mark you need to plan for what is coming next.
Top Tips For Getting Out of Your Own Way
Chris: It’s important to know when to step away, and when you delegate responsibility, it should be from a position of trust, with a care to verify.
Daniel: In our case, we chose to promote from within, but even if you do that, you still need to support them.
Mark: It’s all about empowerment. Set expectations, but give new hires trust and certain parameters to work within. It will work for the customers.
Tracy: Make sure outsourcing doesn’t lead to an abdication of responsibility. Check the results your outsourcing company provide.
Perry: When you put your trust into other people you have to accept that they may do things differently to you, and that’s okay.
Perry: The RACI matrix proved effective for my team.
How To Enhance The Client Experience And Reduce Attrition
Mark: Our business relies on referrals, but it’s not enough, so that’s where marketing comes in. Reputation is all. You could use positive responses from your clients after resolving their tickets – and set a wallpaper up for your engineers reminding them to ask for a review after they resolve a ticket.
Chris: We have a channel for Engineer Shout-Outs, where they can share any positive reviews with each other.
How Important Is Community?
Perry: It’s so important that you find a community that suits you and your business.
Tracy: Business can be a lonely place – so like-minded people around you is a great thing to have.
Mark: The MSP channel is so supportive – you’d be a fool not to be part of it.
How To Use Your PSA Tool To Build A More Profitable MSP
After a short break, Chris Timm, author of PSA Profitability talked about how to set up your PSA tool to accurate measure your profitability.
He explained that to work out your profitability, you need to understand the difference between your costs:
- Engineer Costs (including the Burden Rate)
- Products (one-off costs)
- Services (regular programme income)
Burden Rate can be determined a number of ways, but Chris explained that keeping it simple is the best approach.
Once you have your costs set up, to calculate profitability, subtract your costs from your revenue for your customers.
Reporting within your PSA will allow you to see month-by-month how profitable each customer you have is. It’s ok for a customer to not be profitable every month, but it if starts becoming a trend, you need to look at the arrangement you have with them.
How Can You Overcome ‘Process Paralysis’?
However, there are four key tools that every MSP needs to have in place:
- Marketing tool
- Sales tool
In order to build the processes around these tools, you often need to do this in reverse:
- Accounting tool – To be able to process invoices is key.
- PSA – Integrate your PSA into your accounting software.
- Sales tool – Your sales CRM puts your new clients into your PSA.
- Marketing tool – Creates the leads that will hopefully populate your sales pipeline.
The processes crossover where they transfer from one tool to the next:
- Opportunity – where marketing leads transfer to sales leads.
- Won – where sales become onboarded clients.
- Invoicing – where client billing occurs.
To summarise, processes will never be perfect.
Make peace with it, and be prepared to review and repeat where necessary.
Allow new hires to contribute and bring their own wisdom and experience.
Integrate everything you can – but don’t allow a lack of integration to stop you.
Life Is Short, Profits Are Easy?
He proposed that the main purpose of your MSP is to raise the highest level of net profit, while providing the best level of service to your clients.
He referenced a book by Bronnie Ware called the Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing
Within this book are real statements that the author heard during her time as a carer for the terminally ill.
- I hadn’t worked so hard
- I’d stayed in touch with friends
- I’d enjoyed my children’s youth
- I had let myself be happier
It was a morbid start. However, he promised to keep the rest of his keynote light!
To have a Happy Balance there are five things we need to keep in perfect equilibrium:
Cash | Time | Family | Fun | Meaningful Work
And yet, there are very few problems that can’t be solved by throwing more money at them.
Question: What’s Holding You Back From Maximising Your Profits?
- Fear of failure?
- Having the right people on your side?
Paul’s advice: Whatever’s holding you back – fix it!
Question: If I Kidnapped You For 6 Months. What State Would Your Business Be In When You Get Back?
If you have to be there all the time for your business to thrive, you haven’t got a business, you’ve got a badly paid job!
As business owners, think about how you can DOA? Delegate, Outsource and Automate.
Closing The Event
Wrapping up the event, there was a big round of applause for the speakers and the event organisers.
The attendees had another chance to network in the bar afterwards before the event.
From the responses, both in the room and on social media, it was very well received.
What did you think of the event? the venue? the speakers? Please leave a comment below.