TubbTalk 131: Why You Should Build a Strong MSP Culture for Your Business

TubbTalk 131: Why You Should Build a Strong MSP Culture for Your Business

TubbTalk 131: Why You Should Build a Strong MSP Culture for Your Business image

An Interview with Simon Heath MSP culture

In this episode, Richard talks to Simon Heath, a director at The Final Step. They’re a long-established MSP based in London, supporting time-poor business owners with a white glove IT service. We discuss the importance of having a strong MSP culture, and how to build one. I also recently interviewed Simon’s colleague and founder of the company, Raja Pagadala.

The MSP Culture at The Final Step 

Simon says that (founder) Raja has put a lot of thought into questions such as ‘Why are we in business?’ ‘What’s the point of us; are we needed or are we just another MSP?’

Doing so has allowed him to take an organisation-wide approach to helping people fulfill their potential. This then extends to the wider IT community, partners, and even clients.

“So for Raja, it’s about finding ways to be of service. And that sets you up for dealing with people in a significantly different way. We’re big fans of Bob Burg’s Go-Giver parable – it’s not about how much you can get, but how much you can give and help. Clients notice that about us.”

How They Find Clients 

Like a lot of companies, The Final Step finds that their best source of new business is referrals. Simon explains: “I think it’s because if people enjoy working with you, genuinely derive a lot of value from it and they feel the benefit from it, they’re generous with how they refer.

“It’s nerve-racking to make a referral, you worry that it won’t work out for the other party. It’s not to be taken lightly; it’s how we find a lot of our business. But of course, sales and marketing are also important. For us, we tell our clients stories, so they understand how we help them reach their business goals.”

How the Pandemic Led to Clearer Values and a Really Strong MSP Culture

Simon agrees that the pandemic meant that The Final Step did things differently. “However, I wonder how much of it was a change and how much it was a reinforcement of values. It’s relatively easy to be a go-giver in a time of abundance. But when things are tight and difficult, that’s when your values are really put to the test.”

When people were struggling to find household necessities, it would have been easy to keep things to yourself, Simon adds: “But we stayed true to our values. We’re part of a community, and many of our clients were struggling through no fault of their own.

“So we looked to see how we could help and support them. We’ve ridden out recessions before, but nothing on that global scale. But this time, we decided to take extra good care of our staff. And to over-communicate, because they were such uncertain times.”

What does it mean to build a strong company culture in your #MSP, and how do you do it? Simon Heath of @thefinalstepIT tells Richard Tubb more. Click to Tweet

How to Build a Strong MSP Culture

Simon says the most important thing to consider is the capacity of the people you have within your organisation – that can be the biggest limiting factor. So you need the right people around you to help you to move forward.

“People’s decisions are crucial. So look at how you recruit new people. A rigorous process is required, with lots of data points. It’s not enough to go on gut feeling – you need evidence.

“Because if you make the wrong decision, it could be very costly later on. So recruit the right people, and have a great onboarding process so they have a good first impression. This is your opportunity to show them the MSP culture and help them to fit in with it.”

The SuperOps Awards Process  

The Final Step won the “MSP with the Best Work Culture” award at the recent SuperOps award ceremony. Simon explains that they found the process refreshing. “So you worry about answering all the questions in time for the submission deadline, but it’s also good because you have the opportunity to look at your culture and see how you’re doing.

“And it also lets you see how far you’ve come. You don’t realise how far you’ve come; how much your business has achieved. It allows you to give yourself a pat on the back, and to benchmark what else you need to do.”

Simon would recommend entering awards to any MSP owner. “It lets you look at your peers and how they represent themselves. And it highlights what else is happening in the industry, and what you should be doing too.”

The Challenges and Successes of Running an MSP

Simon admits that not coming from a technical background has been a challenge. “I notice it at peer group events. The MSP owners are former engineers, and they get very excited about technology. And they’re used to jumping in and filling in gaps because they’ve got that experience.

“It also means that when our technical manager comes with something new, I struggle to understand what it does and why a client would buy it.” But on the other hand, there are some positives to working in the IT space.

“It’s really nice being of service, actually. I do genuinely enjoy that sense of fulfilling organisations’ or people’s potential. Because it’s nice to look back and see that a colleague or client is a better version of themselves because we’ve worked together. I’ve helped them make a transformation, and that’s really satisfying.”

How to Connect With Simon Heath

How to Connect With Me

Mentioned in This Episode

You Might Also be Interested in

RICHARD TUBB

Richard Tubb is one of the best-known experts within the global IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) community. He launched and sold his own MSP business before creating a leading MSP media and consultancy practice. Richard helps IT business owner’s take back control by freeing up their time and building a business that can run without them. He’s the author of the book “The IT Business Owner’s Survival Guide” and writer of the award-winning blog www.tubblog.co.uk

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