In a special episode, Craig Sharp delivers a presentation on “How to be a Remarkable MSP” at the Continuum Partner Event in London.
Craig Sharp on How to be a Remarkable MSP
Craig Sharp spoke at the Continuum Partner Event in London on “How to be a Remarkable MSP”. He talked about how IT businesses need to be different in order to grow and provided real-life examples to inspire his audience.
Jonathan Fox ran Flying Fox, a company with the strapline of: “We do IT support for SMEs in East Sussex.” It had been successful, but had also seen bad times and got smaller, so Jonathan decided he wanted to make a fundamental business change.
He decided to identify a niche market.
By chance, he met someone who was a big fan of Xero, the online accountancy software, who invited him to XeroCon, the company’s annual conference. He went along with limited expectations but found he was the only IT company in a room of 400 people and the only person who could implement the things the delegates learned about.
He left the event with 21 new opportunities, all worth four or five-figure sums. By deciding to niche down, and move away from the more traditional services provided by Managed Service Providers (MSPs), he found a market which was not serviced by existing IT companies.
Jonathan was willing to be open to opportunities, to explore new markets and do something different. By doing something new, that he hadn’t done before, Flying Fox was able to niche down and update their strapline to – IT support for Xero-certified accountants, bookkeepers and their clients.
Michael Freeman was the CEO of Southern IT Networks and found himself in a position that many MSP business owners do – working long hours, not taking holidays and being too integrated into the business.
Michael realised he needed to make a personal change for the sake of his health and his family life. He decided he should develop new skills and move away from the day to day business activities by not monitoring everything that was going on.
He was then able to empower and delegate to staff many of the tasks that he had done in the past. It brought about a cultural change within the business, as Michael led from the front and demonstrated that he didn’t need to be so involved.
He started thinking about the business in a different way and started to bring about changes. He moved out of the modest offices they’d previously had, viewing them as a physical manifestation of the modest ambitions he’d had for the business, which no longer served it or the staff.
He was able to make a 1007% profit increase, landed a client worth £135,000, and his technical director authored a book on Office 365. He had become a leader rather than a manager.
Be More than “The IT Guy”
Craig used his own business, Abussi, as the final example. He wanted Abussi to be seen more as consultants than ‘the IT guy’, someone who just came out to fix something when it broke.
To provide value to customers in many different ways, Craig realised he needed to educate them. To make a cultural change, the company had to look closely at how they projected themselves to potential and existing customers.
Craig decided to stop selling, and to be less ‘techy’, because he saw that customers didn’t understand what the company did, and more importantly, they didn’t care. What they wanted was a service which was reliable and reasonably priced, and solved their problems.
He identified people within the business with excellent interpersonal and technical skills but weren’t being used in the right way. By utilising them better, clients valued the company more, which led to more conversations with them.
By being more consultative and less technical, you talk to your customers more and build stronger relationships. You become integrated with their business, and they realise exactly how you can help them
Doing nothing is not an option. You have to realise that change is required, embrace the difference and move forward to grow your business.
Mentioned in this episode
Craig Sharp gave his presentation on “How to be a Remarkable MSP” at the Continuum Partner Event, held at the Churchill War Rooms in London.
Abussi is Craig Sharp’s business and you can find them on Twitter and Facebook and you can see Craig’s blog, Tales of an IT Professional.
Jonathan Fox’s company, Flying Fox IT was acquired by Ocius Digital, which is now known as We are Waypoint and you can find them on Twitter.
You can find out more about Southern IT Networks, also mentioned in Craig’s presentation and find Southern IT on Twitter.
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