Below are the top 10 behaviors small MSPs engage in that are going to throttle your profits, and I see it all the time.
1. Constantly “waiting until __” to implement marketing and sales systems
Smaller MSPs often think, “I’ve got to wait to implement marketing.” No matter the month, there’s always an excuse.
Do you know what I hear from everybody in December?
“Well, we’re going to wait till the new year before we get after this marketing because then once the new year hits, then we’re going to get after it.”
Then January hits, and guess what?
They say, “Well, everybody’s got COVID, so we can’t do anything. So we’ve got to wait until this COVID thing’s over. And then once that happens, then we’re going to get after it,” and then they go, “Whoa, hey, you know what? It’s springtime. And so, nobody’s working right now, and there’s the talent war. So we got to wait till we find another engineer before we start this marketing thing.”
Next thing you know their kids are out of school, and they’ve got to go on vacation.
So they’re going to wait until we get past vacation and spring, and then they wait to get into it with the summer months.
2. NO gas pedal (no marketing or sales systems), ALL BRAKE
They start thinking that they don’t have a lot of money right now to invest in marketing.
They’re barely making it as is.
However, marketing should have been the first thing you did when starting your business. Marketing is not something you get around to doing; it is part of the business you’re in.
So that leads to questions like- What is marketing? Who is your target market? What is your value proposition? Is there a process for getting a customer?
If you can’t get someone to write you a check, it doesn’t matter. What are you waiting for?
Go out and get those customers.
I talked to a group of MSPs after we just had Jeff Hoffman speak.
We also had Jack Daly at our Producers Club meeting. And what did they both say?
Hire salespeople because you want to grow and scale, so hire salespeople. You’re trying to be a part-time sales rep, AND you’re the company’s CEO. CEO is a full-time job. I know because I do it, and you’re trying to be part-time CEO, part-time HR, part-time finance, part-time sales, part-time marketing, part-time tech, part-time service.
It’s no wonder you’re not getting anything done.
So you’ve got to stop the waiting. You’ve got to get after it.
3. Abdication of sales and marketing vs. leadership and delegation
Now, this is the next mistake- Some MSPs get to the point where they hire a salesperson, they hire a marketing person, but then they don’t meet with them.
They don’t give them a job description, they don’t give them a scorecard, they don’t set goals, and then they don’t meet with them weekly to go over job duties. They ask, how many appointments are on the calendar for the week? Any campaigns going out? How many people did they add to their lists? What is the quota? No quota.
You hired a salesperson, put them in there…
And then what? You know, six months later, they call me up, and they go, “Well, you know, I got this sales guy on the payroll. He hasn’t closed a single thing. Should I keep them?” Well, no, because he hasn’t sold anything, but it’s your fault because you didn’t train them.
You didn’t give them systems, and you didn’t manage them.
So you’ve got to get after this. You have to let go of the operations tech, start hiring people, building systems and processes and people.
4. Unprofitable model (wrong pricing, inefficient operations)
This is another big one. The last thing you want to do is start adding customers if your prices are too low and you don’t understand the financials of your business or inefficient operations.
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5. Allow themselves to be shackled by low margin, wrong fit clients
The reason you’re shackled is that you don’t have a sales marketing system, so you’re stuck with the wrong clients.
So you don’t have time or money to get better clients because you’ve got so many shitty clients.
It’s like it’s the chicken and egg. You’ve got to get the marketing going so that you can replace those customers with better quality, better paying, higher-paying clients.
6. Tolerating dysfunctional staff or a poor culture
7. Starving the business
You cannot grow smaller MSPs parked on your wallet. You can’t do it.
I’m going to tell you about someone who came to me the other day; they said, “I can’t afford $300/month and more for marketing.” Well, I’m thinking I don’t know what you’re going to do if you can’t put $300/month to learn how to do marketing.
Look, you cannot starve your business. You’ve got to invest.
8. Lust for simplicity and easy buttons
I told you from the beginning, we’re not talking about easy buttons.
If you’re anti-chaos, if you’re easily overwhelmed, and you’re going to constantly hit the brake, it isn’t going to work.
9. Total lack of planning, tracking, measurement and disciplined focus
Again, talking to one of the MSPs I advise, I asked, “How many customers do you have?” They have no idea.
“How many of the customers do you have on a managed agreement?” No idea.
Well, how can I help this person? They have no scorecard, and that is like saying, let’s have a soccer game, but we won’t keep score, and we won’t have goals. We’ll just throw the ball and have people running around.
Well, what’s the point? You’ve got to keep score, know what the goal is, know where you are and you’ve got to pay attention.
Otherwise, you’re not playing the game.
10. 100% random acts, no systems, no process for ANYTHING
This common mistake in MSPs WILL keep you small, struggling and broke.
These behaviors can be fixed and trained; this is not like you’re smart or dumb.
You could be the most competent person in the world and still be #1 and procrastinate.
You could be a genius, have a Ph.D. and still allow yourself to be shackled by a low margin, wrong fit clients.
Even then, you could still not implement and execute a marketing plan.
This is not about smarts.
This is about you waking up in the morning and deciding what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to tolerate anymore.