*Originally published on CommercialIntegrator.com
These are the priorities any managed service provider business plan should highlight as we transition into a very new — but very promising — business era.
Running a managed service provider business right now is really a double-edged sword: on one hand, business owners who don’t rapidly adjust to worldwide changes will be doomed to fail; on the other hand, clients need their services more than ever before.
At the recent ASCII Success Summit, Erez Zevulunov, CEO, M.I.T. Consulting, provided a set of managed service provider business plan priorities for those who don’t want to fail in the new year.
Now is the time to rebuild your offering and ride the new wave of IT needs. Here are some ways to do just that.
The new work reality
Remote workers – endless video meetings and working long hours are causing some employees to rethink just how much they like working from home, but for the most part, companies are embracing semi-permanent WFH structures for the foreseeable future
More outsourcing – a major uptick is expected in the MSP sector
Change in productivity – the move to cloud-based applications and increased overall demand for technology tools
Mental health – what real effects does working from home have on the majority of the workforce? We’re still finding out
They’ve been selling hardware for decades – laptops, mobile devices, on-prem & cloud services.
The necessary technology is already available – though Zoom, Skype, etc. had already been established, everyone wants and even NEEDS them now.
MSPs are very well-positioned to guide companies into the new normal.
Differently-sized orgs: Supporting clients is more difficult with working from home still going strong; so if your team is small, the difficulties are compounded. How are you protecting your business? Not walking into new offices or homes?
Supply chain issues: “I have a client who wanted a WiFi mesh network, but we’re looking at an extended timeframe of November to December for an order in late August,” Zevulunov says.
Not every MSP is 100% in the cloud: “I know there was more money to be made in the legacy solutions because it was there an tested, but we have to look at what customers are going to want,” he says. If you don’t have the full-cloud offering available today, you’ll miss out next year.
More opportunities to stick out
Proper e-commerce platforms: “We need to provide a simple, pane-to-glass solution going forward. We’re playing against big box stores like Best Buy. If you have this, you’ll be ahead of the game.”
Cloud offerings: Stack up more and more products that would fit your customer base. There are solutions out there that can be a bolt-on that your customers will want in the near future.
Disaster plan refreshes: This is more work, but prior to COVID, when we talked about disaster planning, we talked floods, hurricanes, and hacks. Now, that’s not enough. We’ve got to think about building lockdowns due to breakouts of COVID or a possible future outbreak.
Threats in the unknown future
One out of seven businesses may close by January, so you have to be careful about how you’re operating your business. The more receivables you have, the more risk you have of shutting down.
Funds are also limited, with banks not readily lending as much money.
The “bigger players” are going to start offering major cash incentives to move your clients’ businesses to them. Smaller MSPs need to fight those battles and justify why your clients should stay with you and the value you’ve added to them.
A quick MSP operations checklist for the next few months
- rebuild your offerings
- pay attention to marketing, making sure you are in front of your clients’ eyes
- call your clients! ask them questions and reassure them you can help with anything going forward
- buy up the companies looking to get out
- hire a coach or mentor