“I Guess We’ll Start A Business”
Remember National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, when Clark Griswold was expecting his big Christmas bonus but got a Jelly of the Month subscription instead? Yeah, that was me. Working as a one-man tech support department in 2004, so my fat Christmas bonus replaced with a $20 gift card for a sandwich. Rather than wait for a pink slip, I figured it was time to start a business. So, I proposed a plan to offer IT consulting services to my boss. They became my first client, and Your Computer Hero was born!
For 14 years, I ran my one-man IT services firm from my house. Every time we added another kid (and a grandmother) to our household, I would move my office. As we added new walls to make more bedrooms, my office got smaller and smaller. Finally, I set up shop in the basement.
I did a lot of door knocking and network groups, but averaged just $700 a year on marketing. Growth was painfully slow, and I was getting burned out from LOW-REVENUE, HIGH-DEMAND clients. Struggling for years, we needed to make a change.
Out Of The Basement And Into A Growth Mindset
A few years ago, we moved out of the basement and finally committed to growth. We hired a technician and my wife, Jenna, joined the team. To take our MSP to the next level, mindsets were shattered and reformed. Relationships were challenged. Jenna and I were working to exhaustion but had little to show for our efforts.
Then, a member of Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership recommended Robin Robins’ Toolkit to us. We were sold and quickly DEVOURED it. We built a list, sent out postcards and newsletters and implemented the Bad Date campaign. Then…Covid hit. Jenna took the off-ramp to deal with the home front while the Toolkit went back on the shelf for a cooling-off period.
Losing 2 Clients For 2 OPPOSITE Reasons Lit A Fire Under Us
You can’t please all the people all the time. I found this to be true when I got a call from a 10-year client who told me I was too small for them. They were going with another provider. I could accept this, as it was probably true. Then, just days later, another client called to tell me we had gotten TOO BIG for them. Seriously!?
This two-client loss ignited my desire to grow again. Plus, at the end of last year, we retained very important data from our first rendezvous with Robin. We identified seven NEW CLIENTS and $45,000 on our books from the Bad Date campaign! That evidence was enough to get us on a flight to Nashville for the Rapid Implementation Workshop in December.
Cold War Vs. Nuclear War
Did we mention we are a husband-and-wife business? Behind the scenes, we vacillated between a cold-war style (me) and a nuclear-war style (Jenna). I’m more operations-driven and evaluate every nuance of the business. It’s low-risk, but slow-growth. As a stark contrast, my wife’s finger is always on the button, as if to say, “Let’s just do it…and we’ll sort it out later.”
While in the workshop, our jaws dropped when Robin revealed the perfect slide (image below) that totally summed up husband-and-wife MSPs. While Robin had never met us, she clearly understood our potential for self-destruction. We had one foot on the gas and the other smashed on the brake! No wonder our business machine was lurching, smoking and throwing sparks. It was time to put the pedal to the metal!
Conducting 32 Technology Business Reviews And Network Assessments In 90 Days, We Added $78,896 In Annualized MRR And $108,950 In Projects!
Before working with Robin, we had never done a single technology business review – or TBR – for a client. Why not? FEAR. What if they say no? What if they express their disappointment? What if we lose them as clients? But everyone we spoke to at Technology Marketing Toolkit raved about how much they increased their MRR through technology business reviews. So, borrowing a page from Jenna’s nuclear-war approach, I went for it!
Our first TBR was with a larger company. I went into the meeting fully expecting a “No.” Imagine my surprise when she THANKED me! “Bill, worrying about a cyberthreat is what keeps me up at night,” she said. From there, everything I offered was met with a “Yes!” After multiple yeses, I finally gained enough confidence to conduct 32 TBRs and network assessments over the next 90 days that would bring in $78,896 in annualized MRR, $108,950 in new projects and a bunch of project revenue in the pipeline!
The secret behind our success with technology business reviews starts with our new and improved cyber security stack. Several TMT members suggested adding ThreatLocker, IDAgent, Password Boss and Galactic Scan. Combined with our NinjaOne product, I felt our greater value was really worth our new price.
Aside from the increased revenue and profits, we saw many benefits from conducting these 32 TBRs. First, it builds better client relationships. Next, from discussions we gather critical feedback to improve our organization as a whole. Third, a selling opportunity is built into every TBR. And finally, it’s a perfect time to ask for referrals. These TBRs will continue to be a cornerstone of our service as we perfect the process.
Getting 12 Client Appointments At The Workshop!
Rather than waiting weeks or even days to see results, we got results the very first day of the Rapid Implementation Workshop! We didn’t expect much from using Robin’s 9-Word E-mail to schedule technology business reviews with clients. But responses IMMEDIATELY flooded our in-box.
We left the workshop with 12 appointments on our calendar! When we got home from the workshop, we went on appointment after appointment and watched our monthly recurring revenue tick up and up.
Finally Defining Our Target Market
In analyzing our database, our most valuable clients in terms of length and money spent were manufacturers. Our research reveals there are about 4,000 manufacturers with 10 to 50 employees within a 30-mile radius of our Minnesota office. We are currently working on cleaning a list targeting manufacturers.
Bolstering Our Credibility With A USP,“5 Reasons To Choose Us” And Testimonials
We understand the importance of differentiating Your Computer Hero from other local MSPs. With the help of our clients and our Technology Marketing Toolkit coach, Will Nobles, we created our avatar, as well as our “5 Reasons To Choose Your Computer Hero to Support Your Computer Network”, which we added to our new “Robinized” website.
We also nailed down our unique selling proposition (USP): “We specialize in helping small and midsize manufacturers in the Minneapolis area eliminate technology-related headaches and downtime. We have been serving manufacturers for 18 years and understand their unique need for highly responsive IT service, robust data security and advanced problem-solving.”
In addition, we got several quality client testimonials! We added 14 testimonials to our website and now have 45 Google Reviews for a strong 4.7 rating.
Progressing From Bad Dates To An Addiction To Aspirin
Because we had great results from Robin’s Bad Date campaign, we are excited to now send out her Aspirin campaign. We are religiously sending out 50 letters to prime candidates every single week. Here’s hoping it generates new clients and new MRR, just as her last direct mail campaign did.
Improving Our Close Rate With A Little Help
Through our TMT peers, we learned how important it is to deliver a Shock-And-Awe box to prospects before appointments. It turns fence-sitters and tire-kickers into ready-to-sign clients. Because there’s only so much time in a day, we chose Robin’s Done-For-You service to create our Shock-And-Awe box. It’s awesome to have a team of people working on things behind the scenes. Plus, the graphic design team did a fantastic job. It’s fresh and professional. We LOVE it!
TechTip Postcards Version 2.0
We are very familiar with TechTip postcards from our first venture with TMT. This time around, we’re doing it right. Because we now have MAP 2.0, it’s simply a matter of mail-merge and print. Then MAP 2.0 will automatically build a list of candidates to receive our postcards based on previous interactions and then track the mailing and response. We’re starting these now and look forward to the results!
Better Newsletters With A Better Process
Back in the stormy do-it-yourself days, we were sending out printed newsletters. Today, the layout is complete for our new and improved monthly printed newsletters, and we’re putting them into motion again. MAP 2.0 is tracking our best prospects to receive our newsletter. Between the postcards and newsletters, our drip marketing is on point!
Our Advice To Fellow Members
Bill’s Advice: Give your marketing seed time to germinate. When we first ran the Bad Date campaign, we got no results in the first few months. Most MSP owners would have given up on marketing right then and there. But five, six, even seven months later, prospects who SAVED THE LETTER were calling us! It takes time for marketing to deliver results. You must have your foot squarely on the gas. Running “start and stop” marketing never works! You’ll be back where you started minus a whole lot of time and money.
Jenna’s Advice: Start with the lowest-hanging fruit. For us, that was TBRs. It’s important to build up drip marketing, such as sending out postcards and newsletters. But, by doing regular TBRs with our clients, that initiative provides us multiple wins that not only increase our recurring revenue, they also increase our confidence to keep the marketing engine firing.
Your Computer Hero Is Finally A MARKETING HERO!
If Jenna and I weren’t seeing these numbers on our own books, we would not have believed it was even possible. Last year, we hit $385K in revenue – a record for us. But it’s nowhere close to where we are today. Since the Rapid Implementation Workshop, we added $227,846.04 in new revenue! Plus, we are on track to hit $650K this year.
In just 90 days, we generated $55,176 in annualized MRR and $84,950 from project work. Plus, we have eight projects pending. The bulk of our new revenue – an estimated $40,000 in annualized MRR – came from across-the-board price increases from conducting a total of 32 TBRs and network assessments. Throughout this ride, we placed the highest priority on steps that bring in as many sales as possible. Most importantly, we LOVE our business again! We are learning to better apply the gas to drive our business forward SMOOTHLY toward steady growth.