MSP Minds #5 was awesome! This time, we went all out for the end of 2020, and hosted our very own CEO and founder of Atera, Gil Pekelman, alongside Chris Wiser, CEO of 7-Figure MSP, and Danny Merkenhof, Owner and CTO of Apex ICT.
With such an all-star cast, and a rocking conversation with our dream team, it was tough to get all of those incredible insights into one blog, but we did our best!
How to Start 2021 With Big MRR Wins
We started off our session by talking about how our MSP Minds panel has handled the challenges of 2020. Chris believes that despite everything, it’s never been a better time to be an MSP! As the CEO of 7-Figure MSP, a consultancy that helps entrepreneurs to make their business profitable, he’s seen all of his MSP clients accelerate in 2020, as IT work has increased due to telework. In fact, for the first time, the end-user has been forced to budget for IT, and this gives MSPs a chance to shift from a race to the bottom, to a race straight to the top!
Danny gave us straightforward advice on how to start 2021 strong, by simplifying your offering. “Instead of all the different services, create a simple bundle to help you to move away from break/fix and position yourself better.” Chris took that further, by imploring us all to move away from commoditized pricing and start selling on risk and value instead. For many MSPs, this will be uncomfortable, but it’s the only way to move away from price objections, and tie people into emotional reactions, related to things that they truly care about. “People don’t care about the tech and the bits and bytes. They care about the stuff that matters to their business.”
We loved Gil’s advice on being ready for the next shift, as we move out of crisis mode. As an optimist, he’s planning to say goodbye to COVID-19 by Q2! He also gave important advice on being on top of security for your customers, as the risk is huge right now, and security can be a great business opportunity when handled correctly. Chris jumped on this topic, reminding all of us with tough love, that if we’re not managing security and protecting data, and the client needs to turn to an MSSP, the MSSP will have no trouble managing IT operations instead of us.
Danny gave our listeners some fantastic practical advice on anchoring our bundles when it comes to pricing. He sets a high-priced top bundle, with the intention of encouraging prospects to say yes to his medium one. Smart thinking!
Jump-starting the MRR Conversation
Here’s how our dream team make that initial conversation about moving from break/fix much easier. For Danny, it’s all about giving customers the practicalities and letting them know that there will be no surprise costs. Being able to plan ahead is valuable to the customer. Gil reminded us all that MRR is a win/win situation, and so it should be easy to explain the benefit. The predictable and lower costs for the client are met on your side by a better, more streamlined model internally.
Chris added the importance of having regular business reviews with the customer. Not ticket counts, not conversations about back-up, but actual business discussions. One great tip he shared was asking for a 2021 security check-in conversation, and planning ahead of time for the meeting by completing a data risk assessment. “No one is going to argue with the idea that they need different security tools in place than they did in 2020. You then turn those conversations into the risk conversation we talked about earlier, and that turns directly into MRR.”
How to Overcome your Biggest Roadblocks
Chris and Gil both spoke about the mental challenges that face MSPs, while for Danny, the physical challenge of finding enough hours in the day is what he put as his #1 roadblock. For Chris, the answer is a shift in mindset, from being in control of all the practical work to setting aside time to build a growth mindset and becoming sales-first. “It’s hard to make that happen if you’re in the trenches 50, 60, 70 hours a week! Grab your time back, and go grow your business instead of being the person doing all of the work.”
Chris also believes that you have to always be evolving as a person. Be constantly educating yourself, doing different things, and realizing that the community is shifting all the time, and you need to adapt in order to be at the forefront. You can’t do this alone.
Think about how a personal trainer helps you achieve your goals for fitness, and now consider what you need to make the same thing happen in the business world. “You have to find a peer group, a mentor, an online group, whatever works for you and force yourself to evolve. Otherwise, we as people naturally do what’s comfortable. Comfort is easy, after all.”
Gil also echoed the idea of a growth mindset and ironically finds that the desire to help people could end up being your biggest roadblock. You need to be able to be a businessperson first, and grow and scale, and keep that in check with your drive to help, or you won’t find the time to grow your business at all.
The Winning Mindset for 2021
Our panel gave us some fantastic advice for 2021. Here we go, in their own words!
Danny: “Simplify your services, and just keep going! There are new lockdown restrictions going into force around the world, and we don’t know exactly when this pandemic will be over. It will bring its own challenges, but just keep moving forward.”
Chris: “We are actually in a time where we can reach more people sitting in our houses than we ever could on the road. It’s hard to scale door knocking, it’s hard to scale chamber of commerce meetings or live events. We all love those events, but we can only be in one place in one time. On the other side of the coin, social media and online have helped me to reach so many people and been a huge factor in growing my business, all for free. Tell yourself: In 2021, I’m going to reach more people than I ever thought I could, and it’s going to be cheaper than it ever has been.”
Gil: “I’m going philosophical! I’m a start-up guy myself, and I believe in putting a goal up for yourself, make yourself a vision board, whatever works for you. But, decide where you want to be, and then step two – Use OKRs to break down the steps that will bring you to that goal. Then execute it. Execute it like crazy! Put the goal there, put the system in place, and make it happen.”
We loved hearing Chris talk about his own vision board, too. “People used to laugh at my vision board, but a few years ago they stopped laughing. They see things move from my vision board to my driveway or my house, and they realized what I was achieving. My advice is, keep going until you get to what you want. So many people float through life, but I grow with purpose.”
What Can Make Your Success Simpler?
We ended off by asking our panel for a final piece of advice, on how to make success simpler in 2021. We loved Danny’s answer to this question. “Supporting each other, as we do in the Atera community. If you have questions and challenges, no worries, just ask each other, and that will make it easier to overcome these challenges.” On top of that, Danny also mentioned that having a good foundation of services that will allow you to automate and streamline tasks, and makes it easier to be successful.
Chris believes it’s all about stepping back and focusing on your business. Most MSPs spend 100% of their time focusing on clients. Their phones are ringing off the hook, and so they don’t have time to focus on themselves. Get more dispatchers, delegate, be less available, put some rules and processes in place. Put in SLA, and make sure your clients adhere to them. Don’t be at their mercy, because you need that time. Chris blocks out sections of time in his calendar to work on his business. He isn’t a slave to his prospects, but he does hold himself accountable to his calendar, working exclusively on sales and marketing 2 entire days a week!
We finished off with Gil’s great advice, that simplicity breeds simplicity. If you have a simple, clear streamlined offering, your life will become simpler. “We experience that at Atera. We offer a transparent offering with simple, clear pricing, and the simplicity begets simplicity across the board.” Chris couldn’t agree more – and gave us a great quote to end on, “the confused mind says no!” Be clear, be simple, and go for what you want, success won’t be too far behind.
If you want to catch up on the full webinar, you can watch it here.