For each edition of our printed MSP Success Magazine (sign up to get your FREE subscription here), we feature an MSP who has excelled at growing their business and give you tips and hacks you can swipe. Read their story below.
What Are The Top 3 Metrics You Use To Measure Your Business And Why?
We’re laser-focused on driving our MRR up because that pays our bills and ensures our future success and continued growth. We look at top-line sales and set goals based on that to make sure the overall business is growing. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) is essential, too, because we don’t want to bring in business just for the sake of bringing in business. It needs to be profitable so we can do what we need to pay our people, give raises, host events, continue to grow, pay our rent, and so on.
What Are The Top Ways You Have Grown Your Business?
We’ve specialized in three niche industries: legal, property management, and dealerships. That’s enabled us to charge more because we are considered experts in each community. We have a solid brand in these industries and are viewed as a trusted advisor. This means people are willing to pay more because they see the value of having an IT company that knows their industry inside and out.
When you work in a specific vertical, you build expertise in that industry. You get to know their exact, unique needs and the terminology they use, which is critical when marketing to them. This allows us to be laser-focused instead of just putting marketing campaigns out and hoping something sticks.
We focus on building strong brands for our team. Every week during staff meetings, we talk about personal growth, professional development, and how everybody needs to view themselves as leaders. We’ve also focused on the team’s soft skills and emphasized Lisa’s direction on answering the phone, dressing for success, and self-care.
All these things lead to a professional partnership with our clients because they feel good about who they are dealing with. This has benefited us because now the engineers aren’t viewing themselves as just someone who goes in to fix a problem, then leaves. They view themselves as someone integral to the relationship with that client. Strong service after the initial sale cultivates a better relationship. This has changed the mindset of our entire team for the better.
We’ve invested in marketing and expanded our sales team. Before, I didn’t recognize the value of spending money on marketing. Now, we’re looking for marketing opportunities. There isn’t a week that goes by where we don’t have at least one direct mail campaign going out. Sometimes, we do two a week, plus weekly emails, monthly newsletters, and postcards. Don’t have the mindset that “I can’t afford to hire somebody, or I can’t afford to invest in marketing, or I can’t afford to invest in a salesperson.” At this point, how can we NOT afford to do it? It’s a huge business opportunity for us.
(Note: The Shorrs pay college interns to do marketing tasks, which helps their budget.)
What Kicked Your Growth Into High Gear?
We watched the numbers, set goals, then moved forward. In 2016, we weren’t tracking anything; we were trying to go out and do our very best every month, every year, with limited success. Our growth wasn’t what Lisa and I wanted. That simple tactic of tracking everything and setting SMART goals around those numbers made a huge difference.
What Would You Say Was The Single Secret To Your Success This Past Year?
Perseverance! And having a growth mindset.
What Was The Biggest Challenge You Had To Overcome This Past Year?
We’ve had a lot of ups and downs due to churn we haven’t traditionally had. We had several law firms where the partners retired and closed the law firm, including our biggest client. We just kept plugging away at our campaigns. We had things in the pipeline, which is important because those are opportunities we work on for well over a year, sometimes as long as three or four years. With our marketing engines revving, it’s brought us new accounts, and we’ve been able to replace that income and keep moving forward.
Name A Partner Or Tool That Has Helped You Along The Way And How It Helped You.
We’re excited about our new partnership with RocketCyber. It filled a huge gap because security is key to protecting our clients. We don’t run three shifts, which means we didn’t have people constantly looking at things overnight. RocketCyber enables us to pull all our security tools together into one place so we can monitor what’s going on. There’s a 24/7 SOC, so if there is an emergency or an alert for something we need to know about, people are watching on the other end who can help us.
Now, we can go to one portal to update our firewalls, Office 365, workstations, and servers; RocketCyber is full of great stuff. It makes it easier for us to be proactive regarding security because hackers aren’t going to attack when it’s convenient for you. They will strike overnight, on the weekend, or during holidays. With RocketCyber, somebody is always watching. As MSPs, you make a lot of promises like “We’re going to protect you, you’re going to be safe,” and RocketCyber helps us back up that claim.
Who Would You Say Is The Business Leader Whose Techniques Or Leadership Style You Most Emulate, Follow, Or Are Influenced By?
Robin Robins. She has perseverance to the nth degree. She has a drive unlike many others and a focus on growing businesses. She’s transformed our business. We’ve more than doubled our business since we met her. She’s allowed me to grow a second business, Shorr Success, an image consulting and branding company, because I could take the foundation and strategy she gave us and apply it.
What Book Would You Recommend MSPs or SMBs Trying To Grow Their Business Should Read?
“The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. It discusses the power of getting outside your business to build and grow it.
“Fish!” by Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen. We give this book to every new employee.
“The Pumpkin Plan” by Mike Michalowicz. It teaches you to focus on the accounts that will be the best fit and profitable for you.
In Closing, Any Specific Advice Or Words Of Wisdom You Would Give To Other MSPs Looking To Grow Or Build A Successful Exit For Their Business?
If you’re looking to sell or merge, knowing your numbers will be a critical component, so get those in order. Also, you must be laser-focused on growth, and that means NOT working in the business, so if you are an engineer or working technically, you need to get out of that and focus on sales, marketing, and running the company, and that will pay big dividends.
For more information on Secure Future Tech Solutions visit www.securefuturetech.com