By Carrie Dagenhard (Tech Writer)
Want to scale your MSP business to take advantage of the surging demand for IT expertise? Here’s how to do it, according to several successful tech entrepreneurs.
Starting an MSP business is one of the most challenging and rewarding paths you can take — especially as an IT pro. As organizations of all industries and sizes increase their reliance on technology (and those solutions grow in complexity), the market demand for IT expertise will only continue to grow. This surge in need translates into more opportunities, but only if you have the capacity to take them on. Because, as difficult as it may be to launch your own business, scaling that venture can be even harder.
Luckily you have an opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants. Countless entrepreneurs have founded and grown their organizations from scratch, and they have plenty of wisdom to impart.
To help you muster the courage, fortitude, and strategic decision-making you need to scale your IT business, we’re sharing proven tips from a few highly successful entrepreneurs:
Ask For (And Apply) Constructive Feedback
Some of the ideas you create will be brilliant, and others will be total flops. Without a crystal ball, there’s no way to know for sure. However, one way to increase your likelihood of making the right call is to tap into your network and ask for a gut check. “We all need people who will give us feedback,” says Bill Gates. “That's how we improve.”
Who should you ask? Reach out to peers inside and outside your industry. Talk to business partners, mentors, customers, and even friends and family. While you don’t have to take everyone’s advice as gospel truth, gathering feedback from multiple sources is an excellent way to assess how well (or poorly) a risky idea may impact your business.
It’s also important to let people know you want and respect criticism, so you know you’re getting their honest opinion.
“Take as much feedback from as many people as you can about whatever idea you have,” says Elon Musk. “Seek critical feedback. Ask them what's wrong.”
Be Mindful of Your Hiring Decisions
When you scale your IT business, much of your success will depend on the people you entrust to carry out your decisions. That’s why it’s essential you seek out employees who are not only qualified from a skills standpoint but also aligned with your goals, values, and culture. Make sure you select candidates who you can trust to support you and the organization as a whole. “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher,” says Oprah Winfrey.
And don’t attempt to take on too much yourself. People often gravitate toward entrepreneurship because they’re fiercely independent and self-starters. If you’ve chosen this path, you’re no stranger to rolling up your sleeves and working hard. But, you’re likely also prone to over-extending yourself. After all, when you put everything on the line for your business, it’s hard to resist the urge to control everything. But, if you have any hope of scaling your company, you have to step back and let others share the load.
“First, hire well so you can delegate,” says Grant Cardone, sales expert and bestselling author. “You’ll never scale if you have to handle everything yourself.”
Focus on Customer Experience
Your customers’ experience with your organization is vital to your business regardless of whether or not you decide to scale. But if you’re focused on growth, it’s even more important. That’s because your customer retention and referral rates depend entirely on the way your customers engage with your service, how well they feel you’re able to solve their problems, and their level of trust in your team.
“The more advocates you have, the fewer ads you have to buy,” says Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot.
You need to go beyond merely meeting your customers’ needs — you need to exceed their expectations. That means ensuring every interaction with a customer or prospect is positive, memorable, and pleasant.
Not only should your customer-facing employees have the technical skills necessary to solve their problems, but they should also be excellent communicators, actively listen, and display empathy. And investing resources into improving your teams’ customer service proficiencies can have tremendous ROI. Because satisfied customers not only stick around longer, but they’re also more likely to recommend you to their peers.
Invest in Automation
When you’re looking to scale your IT business, it’s crucial you keep a close eye on your budget and make sure you’re mindful of where you invest. Often, this means tightening the purse strings in some areas of your organization and it can be tempting to put a moratorium on any new tech expenses until you’ve reached a certain growth milestone. But, the truth is, you can’t scale without spending.
Productivity and efficiency are key to creating sustainable growth, but you can’t increase either by simply demanding your employees work faster — you have to support them with the right tech. And that’s where professional services automation comes in.
“A lot of computer work is tedious, repetitive and boring — but it’s also unavoidable in today’s workplace,” says Christian Brink Frederiksen, co-founder and CEO of LEAPWORK. “This can cause you and your staff to lose focus, increasing your risk of committing costly errors. You’ll also end up wasting time you could otherwise use to focus on other, more important tasks.”
When you relieve your team of tedious minutiae, you free them up to focus on more critical big-picture tasks. You also clear a path for you and your team to work more proactively, which will also help you grow your business. (After all, when you’re spending all your time, energy, and other resources reacting to problems, it’s difficult to get into growth mode.)
With so much demand for technical skills, it’s an excellent time to be an IT entrepreneur. But, to capitalize on these opportunities, you need to be ready to scale. Luckily, by following the advice of these successful founders and CEOs, you’ll be well-prepared to ignite your organization’s growth.