Scott Granicki, owner of Milwaukee, Wis.-based AF Technical Resources, shares three suggestions he'd apply if he were starting an MSP from scratch today.
1. Don't forget no matter what you do, it's service first - Always take care of the client. It's a service company, no matter what you do. Everybody can fix IT problems, but not everybody can offer proper service for the clients. If you focus on service first, the rest of it will fall in place. If the client is treated as value-added, they will call you back. They will support you. It's the fine line of what the client expects from you and meeting that and exceeding that.
2. Choose your partners carefully - Whether it's a hardware manufacturer, software manufacturer, or cloud services partner, make sure you understand the terms of the agreements with them. We use the phrase "manage divorce before the marriage." Make sure you understand how to get out of something before you get into it. If product offerings change, if you sign long-term deal with RMM and in a couple of months you hate this, you need to know how to get out of it. If there's a way to change your product mid-stream, you want flexibility to do that. If you enter into a long-term contract with a vendor and either their products or services change, how can you make sure that you are protected and not stuck paying for a product or service you have no interest in selling.
3. Find a niche market, or a vertical market - It would be ideal to have a niche market like hospitality, medical, or legal, but when you are starting out, you don't always have control over that. As an MSP, you can’t do everything for your clients, and don’t waste time trying to. Find what you do well and repeat it as often as possible. It's ok to say, "No I don't do that," but if you can, have a third-party partnership for that service, whether it's a VoIP phone system, or other areas you don't do. Try to find a partner in place that will fill those gaps for you.
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