According to the authors of a recent study into the mechanics of failure and success, “every winner starts out a failure.”
There is no such thing as an overnight success, and even businesses who appear to have a meteoric rise to the top have hurdles, setbacks and tribulations to grapple with behind the scenes or before they first caught your attention.
Of course, not every failure will manage to turn their story into the next tale of rags to riches, and many companies will never make it into a success story that inspires the next start-up. Here are some of the top tips for MSPs that want to leverage the inevitable failure and turn it into the path to success.
Expect to Lose Clients in the Beginning
In the early days of your MSP business, you’ll probably have a fair amount of ‘one-off’ jobs or partnerships with clients. Turnover might be high, and you’ll provide a service or a product without any long-term agreement or understanding of when this customer might call you next. Clients might come from various industries or backgrounds, through word of mouth or out of the blue from effective marketing or a lucky Google search. It’s all about getting your foot in the door at this stage, building up experience, and trying to build a reputation. It can feel like you don’t know where stability is coming from. Here’s a few tips to turn this on its head.
- Move from break/fix to managed services: Many MSPs struggle to let go of break/fix clients out of fear that even ad-hoc work is better than none. However, break/fix is impossible to plan for, and doesn’t allow you to do your best work either. Our guide to ditching these clients and moving to a managed service offering is a great start if you’re ready to start building a predictable, loyal customer-base. Surround yourself with the right RMM tools for MSP to make the transition smoother.
- Market yourself effectively: If you don’t know where your next clients are coming from, then you’re probably still in those early stages where you’re not sure how to get the word out. It can feel like there are dozens of channels you’re meant to be juggling, with effective messages to create for each one. This is a myth. The truth is, you need one clear piece of marketing that is well-crafted to attract new business. You can learn how to write that content by checking out our blog on content creation for the successful MSP.
- Pick a niche: This is also a leap for many MSPs, who worry about letting go of clients, and question their ability to build up a space for themselves in their chosen area. However, you’re not going to make a success of your business by doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Whether it’s choosing specific services like security, particular products like cloud software, or a target industry such as healthcare or gaming, once you know who you are and what you offer – potential customers will, too.
Don’t Panic! Believe in Yourself and Your Service
Sometimes, being an MSP will feel like a hustle! That’s ok, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re failing. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your chosen industry can be a lot of work, and you might need to pivot your offering more than once as your business grows. When this happens, be transparent with your existing clients about changes to their monthly invoices or the services that you’re offering. If you’re doing your job right, then you should become a trusted advisor to your customers, providing guidance for their own IT and business strategy.
If you’re moving offerings to the cloud and you think they should too? Explain that, and outline the benefits. If you want to add layers of security for your own best practices as well as theirs? Make sure you give them notice, and outline your thought process. You could even consider creating documentation that you can send to your clients, detailing the changes you’re experiencing, how it will affect their own business, and why you’re making those choices in the first place.
It’s natural that you will lose clients along the way, but your belief in your own offering will shine through if you let it.