Improving your profitability is only going to happen if you change the mindset you have now to an entrepreneurial mindset. What I mean by that is the way you wake up in the morning and look at your role in your business.
An entrepreneur wakes up and looks around to see what’s possible for the growth of their business. When you wake up as a “tech with helpers”, you wake up and you look at what you’ve got to get done today, how you prioritize your day, and where you invest your money and your time. If you’re thinking like an entrepreneur, you’ve got an entirely different day than if you’re waking up looking at it like it’s a job.
However, there’s good news here.
There’s no such thing as a natural-born entrepreneur. It’s all about mindset.
I know you’ll hear some people say, “Well, I started a business when I was two years old, and I was selling candy to other kindergarteners.” Some people are like that, but like most entrepreneurs out there, that is not their experience, and that’s not my experience.
The good news is that it’s a skill to learn how to look at your business so you can prioritize your time, package your services, and make it attractive to a target market that you’ve chosen.
Above all, when looking at your marketplace, say to yourself- where do I fit in in the market that I’m in? Who are my competitors? Where are we providing value? What do we need to build so that we can own a segment of that marketplace where people will be delighted to do business with us? They need to be so pleased that they are thrilled to write us a check because we solved this problem for them and we do it better than anybody.
See, that’s an entrepreneur. For example, one who wakes up with that kind of passion, with that kind of vision, with that kind of mission.
Being an entrepreneur is a skill. It is NOT a talent.
Talent is overrated. I live in Nashville, TN, go down Broadway one Friday or Saturday night, and there are a shit ton of talented people that are all broke. Talent is overrated, but highly developed skills is another thing entirely.
When you see a top performer, maybe they have some talent, but it’s mostly putting the time and effort into refining and developing skills. Further, when you look at most entrepreneurs, they have the kind of mindsets that you want to think like.
Usually there’s two kinds of mindsets. The operations mindset and the entrepreneur mindset.
If you’re running a business, you got some level of an entrepreneur in you.
The question is, how skewed are you on one side or the other?
You’ll probably find that you are far too heavy on the operations side. It would help if you moved over some of your thinking, decision-making, viewpoint, and mindset to an entrepreneur.
I’m not saying operations is bad, however, the entrepreneur is the gas pedal in the business, and the operations are brakes.
Entrepreneurs are drivers. They’re saying things like:
- How do we get this new campaign out?
- How many customers can we bring in?
- How many appointments did we have this week?
- How much new MRR did they bring on this quarter?
Entrepreneurs set goals, and they measure against those goals. Then, they know how they’re performing against those goals.
On the other hand, the operations feel like they’ve got enough stuff going and feel they can’t add more customers, they can’t change their operations, or they can’t even find good people. They’re wondering how they can even do this, and they are constantly hitting the brake.
Now, you’ll die if you don’t have brakes on a car, but you can’t drive a car forward with your foot on the brake.
So what you have to do, if nothing else, is take your damn foot off the brake!
On the other hand, maybe you don’t even push on the gas pedal yet, but at least take your foot off the brake.
For example, you could start to think like an entrepreneur in this way:
- Who do we want as a customer?
- What do we have to be able to deliver?
- Can we promise to be more than competitive so that people will take our meetings?
- They will answer our emails and our phone calls.
- They’ll want to meet with us because what we can do is something they’re not getting right now.
- We need to focus on what to build that people want to buy.
Alternatively, give up thinking like an operational tech in this way:
- No, no, no, no, let’s look at what everybody else over here in the MSP world is doing.
- What are they including?
- What are they charging?
- How are they packaging it?
- How are they pricing it?
- Let’s build that because that’s safe and that’s known.
Thinking like an operational technician doesn’t take any creativity, and doesn’t require you to understand a customer. That just requires you to be a copycat. Then, when you copycat, you get Applebee’s, which is middle-of-the-road and uninteresting. It’s the “we’re fine” type of business, and then nobody wants to talk about doing business with you.
The entrepreneur mindset focus is what will sell.
That’s why entrepreneurs frustrate the hell out of operations because an entrepreneur is constantly changing, moving, adding, and expanding.
Unlike operations, entrepreneurs are constantly driving on thoughts to do something new, and something different, whether it’s adding on a new service, finding a new opportunity, or hiring people to develop a division.
On the other hand, the operations team is suddenly frustrated as hell and wanting to just stop all this marketing nonsense immediately.
And this is why they don’t grow…that’s why the entrepreneur loves sales and marketing and the operations resents it, they don’t like it and think it’s spammy. They also think they shouldn’t have to do marketing if they were good. They shouldn’t have to put up a good website and all this “nonsense.” They feel like they deserve to get more customers because they’re good at what they do.
Being good at what you do does not entitle you to anything.
That’s bupkis! You need to go out there and sell and market and compete because guess what? You all know this, the best company does not always win. The most qualified person doesn’t always get the bid. However, it’s not about the price either- it’s about the person.
I always say that before a customer buys, they don’t know how good your service is. They only know how good your marketing is.
That might make people mad. That might be grossly unfair. I would agree with all that, but that’s the reality of life.
It’s whoever gets in there and does a better job at marketing and selling, because there’s no way they could sample your services.
It’s not like a coffee mug, where they could feel the mug, look at it, and compare it to another coffee mug.
You’re a marketing engine, and your growth is completely 100% tied to sales and marketing.
If you’re operations-focused and you resent it, (as in you don’t like to do marketing, don’t want to add customers, and your business is a mess), you WILL start to see that affect your revenue.
The entrepreneur wants to go fast where the operations are slow and steady.
An operations manager wants to get up in the morning and have a calm day. They don’t want surprises. They don’t want to have the aggravation of the constant pressure.
People need mid-sized MSPs because they are moving upstream. It’s getting more complicated and sophisticated to run IT.
We all know those small to mid-sized businesses where they used to have one guy, even two or three on the technical side used to handle it, but they can’t anymore.
What have you done this last year to capitalize on those three opportunities alone? Nothing. Why not?
It’s the entrepreneur mindset versus the operations mindset because operations want to know what everyone else is doing or are being told by their customers they have to sell this. Customers don’t tell you they need to buy something.
Do customers find another MSP? Unfortunately, no. Another MSP finds your customer and says your MSP is not doing this for you, and then they poke them and take them away from you.
They’re going to get those opportunities when you drop the ball on your side. So you’ve got to think like an entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur finds ways by asking, “How do we make this work? How do we find good people? How do we do the sales and marketing? How do we execute?”
The operations are always lining up with, “I don’t know how to do that. I can’t do that.”
I just had a call today with a group that should know better. I’m talking to them about a campaign I gave them, and I know a first step to identify who we want to get. However, the guy sitting there is saying, “Well, we can’t call these guys because, you know, they’re not in my market, and we can’t call these CPAs because they’re swamped right now with tax season, and we can’t call these other people, etc.”
I don’t need another reason why it won’t work! There’s no money in that!
Do you realize no one’s going to come to write you a check for making a list of reasons why something won’t work?
I can haul any idiot off the street to do that because it’s really easy to do. That’s not what you get paid to do. You, as the entrepreneur, have to figure out how to make this work. You need to figure out how to execute this, how to make more time, how to increase productivity, and how to get more profit. That’s your job.
How do you define your role?
I’m asking because if you’re sitting there going, I want to make more money, I want to work fewer hours, I don’t want chaos in my organization, I want better quality customers who appreciate IT and pay top dollar.
There’s no Santa Claus that is going to drop customers off because you’re a good person. It’s not how it works. The Easter Bunny ain’t coming along, hippity-hop, with his little basket saying here you go, I’ve got a basket full of customers for you.
You’ve got competition out there who are entrepreneurial, aggressive, who are going to earn YOUR business, and they’re going to lock them up in 3-year agreements.