Combining Acquisitions And Organic Marketing, We Grew By 80% Last Year With $7.6M In Revenue And A Cool Million In Profit!

Stephen Taylor Genius of the Month

13 Years Of Overnight Success

An entrepreneur at heart (and therefore unemployable), I founded LeadingIT 13 years ago. Three years later, I attended Robin Robins’ Boot Camp, watched seven Better Your Best finalists present their unbelievable success stories and knew I wanted to be on that stage one day.

Right then and there, I joined Producers Club, got hooked on the Kool-Aid and finished that year growing 50% to just over $1.3M. For the next several years, we learned, we grew, we fought, we flew. LeadingIT crossed the $2M threshold just three years later, earning us an Inc. 5000 award.

Stephen Taylor – LeadingIT

Throwing Down A “2 Years To $5M” Gauntlet

I thrive on challenging myself. So, four years ago at the TMT Roadshow in Chicago, I gave myself a near-impossible challenge: to break $5M in just two years. But when the world hit a wall with the pandemic, I too hit a wall. I was mostly miserable and wondered if I should just sell it all and live in a van down by the river. I realized I wasn’t growing. I wasn’t being challenged. I wasn’t taking any risks. What I needed was some good, healthy DEBT.

We Are ALL In The Acquisition Business

The average MSP adds less than five clients a year. That’s way too slow for me. I wanted “Go fast, don’t die” growth. So, let’s go acquire! It turns out we are all in the acquisition business. Some of us acquire one client at a time while others scoop up 20 or 50 clients all at once. Plus, you get all of the employees you need at the same time. I knew ACQUISITION was my quickest path to $5M.

Two years ago, we made our first acquisition. Immediately, I knew that was the challenge, the risk and the growth I needed. We closed that year at $4.3M, growing OVER 40% and adding 15% growth to the company we had acquired. Last year, I got the buying itch again. I discovered a perfect $2M+ MSP and began our due diligence. Just seven days prior to my challenge deadline, I got the funding, closed the deal, and SKYROCKETED OUR GROWTH 80% year over year! 

How You Too Can MULTIPLY Your Revenue Through Acquisitions

Remember, my “overnight success” took about 13 years. My first acquisition was just two years ago, and today we have four acquisitions under our belt. But we GREW INTO these opportunities. Before we could acquire, we grew our MSP organically by following TMT’s proven sales and marketing path. As a result of ensuring LeadingIT is a profitable business BEFORE acquiring, we don’t require private equity or investors. In fact, our first acquisition was purely cash and creative structuring.

If you’re interested in literally DOUBLING your business overnight through acquisition, here are the steps I recommend:

  1. Grow your business first – Start with enough profit and cash reserves that you don’t have to take on too much debt.
  2. Start having conversations – No deal gets done without having solid relationships with other businesses. Attend industry events and speak with MSP owners who are considering selling.
  3. Values matter – Make sure your goals and values match those of the company being acquired. If you don’t appreciate and understand the person across the table, it will be a very rocky transition.  

Hey, We Can Grow Organically Too…We Added 16 New Clients And $66,097 In MRR With Direct Mail!

Beyond our acquisition growth, we also grew our MRR by consistently running Robin’s direct mail campaigns with phone follow-up. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter which campaign you send out. Pick one you will commit to because they’re all proven. We’ve had great luck with them all.

Years ago, we were mailing Robin’s Sitting Duck campaign, complete with a miniature rubber ducky. Every letter had the same message and goal: to set an appointment and do a free assessment. But the real secret is in the follow-up. Every letter we send out is followed up with three e-mails, three phone calls, and multiple LinkedIn messages.

We started with the Aspirin campaign, then moved to the Poker Chip, then the Closer Look letter. We now consistently mail 200 letters a week. Last year alone, our consistent approach to direct mail brought us 54 net new leads, which led to 16 NEW CLIENTS worth $66,097 in MRR!

Perhaps The Longest-Running Monthly Printed Newsletter In The TMT Community

Long before the Technology Marketing Toolkit team offered a Done-For-You newsletter, we were creating our own monthly printed newsletter. Every single month for YEARS, we would brainstorm ideas and have a ghostwriter create valuable content that fills four to five pages. Beyond our newsletter, our content gets recycled everywhere – in blog posts, E-mail blasts, LinkedIn articles, and social media.

While I cannot attribute any MRR to our consistent newsletter, I know it works. Our clients often ask for additional copies. We see our newsletter on prospects’ desks. Our newsletter makes a memorable impression that helps keep LeadingIT top of mind when prospects are ready to switch MSPs.

Turning Our Website And LinkedIn Into Lead Generation Magnets

Over the years, we have updated and improved our website to the point where it is now “Robinized.” And it recently underwent a refresh as well. Today, our website is drumming up real leads for us.

Regarding social media, because our customers tend to hang out on LinkedIn, that’s where you’ll find us. First, we use LinkedIn to figure out the size of a business and who the decision maker is. Next, we put a ton of content on LinkedIn, much of it repurposed from our newsletter. Not only is it a lead generation tool for us, but just about every time I’m in public, people tell me that my face is on top of their LinkedIn profile. Finally, we are constantly chasing and messaging prospects on LinkedIn to follow up.

Perpetually E-mailing Our Mega List

In addition to our commitment to consistently send out direct mail and our monthly printed newsletter, we do a ton of e-mail blasts weekly. Every single week we are reusing our newsletter content via e-mail to stay in touch with both prospects and clients. Whether it’s our Tech Tips e-mails or simply valuable education, our list of 4,000 to 5,000 people are constantly seeing LeadingIT in their inbox!

The Shock-And-Awe Box Is A Game Changer For Us

When I first joined TMT, we immediately fell in love with Robin’s Shock-And-Awe box. Ever since we began sending out our box to prospects before meeting with them, it’s been a differentiator when it comes to closing sales. We keep it refreshed all the time. That creative box has paid dividends for us for years.

And now that I am one of this year’s Top 5 Better Your Best finalists, I will have the opportunity to be featured on the cover of MSP Success magazine. I can’t wait to include that in our boxes!

My Best Advice: Fire Yourself Today!

There’s no getting around this – get the hell out of being a technician. During my first year in Producers Club, we added half a million dollars to our revenue. My secret that year? I FIRED MYSELF. I was no longer the technician, and I suddenly had a different mindset about growth. The sooner you can trade in your tech hat for a sales and marketing hat, the sooner you too will start growing exponentially.

My next piece of advice revolves around one word: CONSISTENCY. First, start with the marketing you ENJOY doing and will COMMIT to. Then be consistent. Rather than a flash in the pan, it’s the long game. Keep doing it for at least five years, and real value and real results will be created from it. We aren’t one of Robin’s members who bang out 50 campaigns a year. But I’m certain our success is tied directly to our consistency.

Going Fast Enabled Us To 10X Our Growth In 10 Years!

It took us five years to get to $1M. It took another five years to get to $3M. We were going fast…but I wanted to go faster. So, we left the race car behind and took a helicopter over the “valley of death,” and last year we did $7.6M with about $1M net profit! Because I achieved those eye-popping results, I was a Top 5 finalist in TMT’s Better Your Best competition this year.

Last year, we organically added 16 new clients and $66K in recurring revenue alongside the $140K in recurring revenue that we purchased. So, both ways work: organic and acquisition. It’s just a matter of HOW FAST you wish to grow. This year, we expect to add an additional $2M in revenue to nearly $10M. So, we have essentially 10X’d OUR GROWTH in just 10 years! And I have a path for us to get to $29M by 2029.

Find out how Stephen and the other Better-Your-Best finalists were able to add new and better clients, add new MRR, and finally have the freedom of a secure business