Managed Service Provider, or MSP. Three little words, covering so many things. In the industry, we tend to refer to one another as a community of Managed Service Providers, but what does that really mean? And is that how your clients see you – or even more importantly, how you want them to see you? Let’s dive into the different names that you can give yourself in Managed Services and how these change the way that your business is viewed.

What does ‘managed service providers’ actually mean?

How many times have people asked about what work you do, and you’ve answered, “I work in Managed Services?” or “I’m a Managed Service Provider”? Probably too many to count, but we can bet that 9 out of 10 times, the person you’re speaking to looks at you blankly, or says – Okay, and what does that mean?

The problem with this label is that it’s just too broad and vague. It leaves too much to the imagination or to interpretation, which is probably why you’ll be unlikely to hear a client refer to you as their Managed Service Provider.

What do clients call their MSPs?

Listen to customers talk about their MSPs, and you’ll probably hear terms like “Technology provider” “IT support” or perhaps “IT consultants”. These certainly describe an aspect of what you do, but you want to try to avoid being thought of as just the “IT help”. This springs to mind a guy with a toolbox coming in to fix the paper jam in the Xerox machine, rather than the person who helps to inform strategy and business growth.

When you’re doing your job right, you’ll be holding quarterly business reviews, showing your clients granular reports on how their services are running, explaining what FinOps decisions they should be making to better allocate their budget, informing their cloud and cybersecurity strategy, and helping them to get more sales, revenues and customer wins on their own behalf. That sounds like a lot more than the guy you call when you can’t remember how to switch your laptop screen back the right way up.

What naming options are there for MSPs?

One option is to come up with your own name for your business, something that is self-explanatory. In some cases, an organization’s branding will be so incredible that the name itself becomes synonymous with the market. Think about Google, Uber, Pepsi, FedEx, and even Jet Ski! You’re probably not going to manage this as an MSP, (Sorry.) What you can do though, is create a name or a term for describing your business that puts your value front and center. Perhaps you’re a Business Growth Consultant, or a Technology Services Guru. If your services are more niche, you might be a Cybersecurity Shield or a Cloud Services Accelerator. The point is that you’re showing your customers (and your prospects) that you’re more than the fix-it person – you’re leading with your added value.

Some questions you can use to help choose your name

  • What outcome are you trying to provide for your clients? How would you want them to complete this sentence when they tell their friends about you? “I have to tell you about this company I hired. They’re amazing at X.”
  • What’s the brand voice of your company? If you’re a bit quirky, IT superheroes could fit the bill, while a more professional brand might stick to IT consultancy.
  • What services are you not currently offering but you wish you could? This will help you to be more future-focused about your branding. Remember “dress for the job you want”? This is the naming version of that.

If you’ve never thought about what you call your business type other than its actual company name – it’s time to put your thinking cap on. The term you use to describe your industry and appeal is often the first thing that your prospects will know about you, and will become the way your brand advocates speak about your value. Isn’t that worth some consideration?

Want to learn more about how to expand your business to new heights? Check out our recent blog on business expansion.

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