100% Break-Fix And Zero Marketing, I Had To Grind My Way To Success
I started Network Providers 23 years ago with just two clients and big dreams. Relying on my exceptional service to grow my business, I ignored marketing. About eight years ago, I got the itch to grow. So, I did what a lot of IT owners who shun marketing do. I hired a salesperson. In two full years, that salesperson added just ONE new client. It was the most expensive lesson I ever learned.
But that lesson also taught me: nobody else has the passion that I do for my business. Therefore, it was up to ME to grow my own business. Not sure how to grow, I grinded 12 to 14 hours EVERY DAY. That year we hit $1.5M in revenue. The next year, we did $2M. But never taking a day off, sacrificing vacations, and neglecting my family… was it worth it?
Choose Your Hard
After multiple years of working crazy long hours, I finally realized I no longer wanted to invest this amount of time and have nothing to show for it. Working 12+ hours a day is hard. But finally learning how to operate a business the right way is also hard. I needed to choose my hard.
That’s about the time I got this red envelope from Robin Robins. It talked about marketing. I thought to myself, “I’m doing pretty well. I have 15 employees and I’m on track to do $2M in revenue.” Then I remembered what my son had said: “Dad, keep telling yourself that.” He was right. I was spending 12 hours working and 80% of my time doing tech work. I would peek at my bank account just to see how my business was doing. And I was still doing the same damn thing after 19 years! It was time to do something different. I went all in with Technology Marketing Toolkit.
Starting With The Right People In The Right Seats
I knew before I started to grow that I needed to learn from MSPs who had already done it. TMT and Producers Club taught me that a good company organization chart is vital for excellent customer service and growth. Will Nobles, who grew from $1.2M to $13M, shared his own org chart with me that I keep on my office wall.
By following his chart, I hired a help desk coordinator, a client success manager, and a salesperson with a clear vision for growth. I also promoted an operations manager and marketing manager. With the right people in the right seats, it was time to GROW!
Our Most Successful Growth Initiative Added $15,538 Of New MRR Last Year!
For nearly 20 years, I had never spoken to another MSP owner about how they ran their business. Fortunately, I shared a Rapid Implementation Workshop with Charles Swihart, just a couple of months before he won Better Your Best. Then, over pizza, Charles gave me strategies to finally move from break-fix to a real MSP, including how to do TBRs. On the second day of class, I scheduled six appointments. Then, just two weeks later, I had $16,322 in annual recurring revenue – amazing!
Now TBRs have become a regular part of my schedule. And with MAP, they are easily automated. Two years ago, I added about $96,000 in new annual recurring revenue from TBRs. Last year, I moved three break-fix clients to managed services and increased our MRR by $15,538! They also helped me save a few clients by resolving issues.
Turn Your Passion Into Profit
Create a campaign around something you love. If you like golf, sponsor a golf tournament. I love movies, so we built campaigns around movie events. Two years ago, we offered a free dark web scan to promote a free Spiderman movie event (See Marketing Example). My marketing manager sent out invites, created Marvel shirts, handed out cards for free popcorn, and even delivered donuts and cookies as a thank-you. We bought out the theater on a $5 movie Tuesday and asked a vendor to pay for half. Of course, I presented Network Providers’ benefits before the flick. We got 20 leads from that event.
Because it was a success, we did it again last year for the movie Black Adam. We mailed out over 800 postcards and even used our Shock-And-Awe box (See Marketing Example). We invited prospects, current clients (so they could talk to the prospects), and their kids. This event led to 10 concrete leads and one new customer worth $21,000 in MRR! Yes, we are planning another movie event this year.
Rewarding Clients With $100 Gift Cards Brought $16,230 In New MRR
When you’ve been in the business for 23 years, referrals come naturally. I quickly learned that the second you begin a rewarding referral campaign (See Marketing Example), the number of referrals multiplies. By giving out $100 gift cards, gourmet cookies, and other incentives to thank our clients, we added $16,230 in MRR!
Will a client give you a referral without expecting anything in return? Possibly. But if they get a gift of appreciation, they will likely remember that and actively seek out future referrals.
Adding $2,865 Of MRR From Automated Drip Marketing
One of the first things I implemented when I started with TMT was the TechTips drip marketing campaign (See Marketing Example). From our automated MAP system, a client received a TechTip explaining what to do if you left your laptop in a Starbucks. It triggered a question that prompted a conversation about them adding an office. Last June, we added their new location at a $2,865 monthly managed services contract.
What Can Posting On Social Media Bring You? How About $28,000 In MRR!
At Boot Camp, Robin stressed how nobody really needs a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon – that is until the day they actually need an item from that store. Likewise, you should maintain a top-of-mind presence with your prospects because you never know when they’ll be ready to switch MSPs.
Late last year, my marketing manager started using Robin’s Prospect Hopper (See Marketing Example). We do three posts a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Business Profile and even Nextdoor. Turns out one of my old clients was looking for me, saw our LinkedIn posts and reached out. That single social media connection turned into a $28,000 MRR deal!
Don’t Sleep On Targeted Trade Shows
To gain even more referrals, my marketing manager and I attended a Dental Association event. We mailed out 426 promotional flyers (See Marketing Example) to dental professionals and advertised in a local dental magazine for 1,927 members. This single weekend event gave us 18 qualified leads, two first-time appointments, one pending proposal and one new client!
Webinars Offer Great Value And Double As Social Media Content
Last February, we did our first-ever cyber security webinar (See Marketing Example), titled “Who’s Phishing for Your Data?” We had 50 register and 18 attend live. Our second webinar brought 27 live attendees. Our final cyber security webinar, called “Risky Business with Utah Representative Walt Brooks,” had 23 attend. Not only are these qualified leads that you can continue marketing to, our videos and content make for valuable social media content.
“You Can’t Steer A Parked Car”
When I presented onstage at Boot Camp in front of the Sharks, I focused on Robin’s saying “You can’t steer a parked car.” That was me for nearly 20 years. Stuck. Today we’re still learning. We’re making mistakes. We may even crash a few times. But we’re moving forward and growing.
I still keep the same motto: Just Do It. I could never really figure out how to get started, so I just did it. I read the books. I asked questions. I collaborated with my Accountability Group, with Charles Swihart, and with Will Nobles. Surround yourself with people who have the answers and cheer you on.
Adding $769,611 In Revenue And Increasing Profit By 176%, I’m A Proud “Better Your Best” Finalist
Last year, Network Providers experienced huge growth and success. We added $769,611 in gross revenue to climb to a little over $3.2 million. We increased our MRR by $118,659 – from $153.781 to $272,440! And our profit shot up by 176%! When I first started with TMT three years ago, we had 15 employees. Last year we added 10 employees for 28 total employees today.
These are the growth numbers that enabled me to stand onstage with four other Better Your Best finalists and present in front of the Sharks. But the TRUE success is that I’m finally running my business rather than it running me. And I have felt free to take time off work and even took my family on THREE vacations last year. TMT has been a huge blessing in keeping our family together.