From The Expert Feature Article
April 04, 2017

MSPs, What's Holding You Back? Overcoming Common Barriers to Growth


By Special Guest
Gabby Nizri, CEO of Ayehu

Moving up the stack from basic IT support to a full-fledged MSP isn’t necessarily an easy transition. There will inevitably be a number of obstacles to overcome along the way. Thankfully, many have gone before and essentially paved the way for newer players to enter the field. Learning in advance what challenges you can expect and the best way to meet those challenges head on will help you avoid potential pitfalls that might otherwise become a barrier to growth. The three most common issues today’s MSPs struggle with require a shift in both mindset and strategy.

Fear of Change

Let’s face it. Making a major change to your business model is scary. What if things don’t work out? Will you be able to recover? The reality is, however, that success requires a certain degree of risk. If your team is feeling particularly leery of making the shift to MSP and/or pursuing aggressive growth initiatives, the key will be communication. Be open, honest and transparent. Acknowledge the uncertainty many of your staff members are experiencing and take the time to address those concerns and put them to rest.

Additionally, there may also be an underlying fear that switching to managed services will result in the loss of business. Chances are very good that this will indeed happen, as not everyone requires a MSP level of support. Understand, however, that while you may very well end up saying goodbye to a small portion of your customers, over time your opportunity to gain others will be even greater. It’s just part of the shift.

Lack of Differentiation

Without question, the MSP field is highly saturated. The organizations that thrive are those that have found a way to stand out from the competition. This is especially critical for those just entering the marketplace. If potential clients can get the same service from an established player that they already know and trust, why take a chance on an upstart? It’s up to you to demonstrate unique value that only you can provide.

To do so, you must identify what new and better services your company can offer. For instance, if your prospects are seeking growth themselves, focus on services that help maximize efficiency and empower them to achieve those goals. If you’re unsure of what angle to take, tap into your sales team to find out what they’re hearing in the field. Or, better yet – ask your clients and prospects directly.

Underpricing

Finally, there is the challenge of how to appropriately price your services. In fact, making a switch from fixed price to a more profitable pricing model can be a difficult transition. This is often compounded by an understandable, yet insufficient level of understanding and a subsequent underestimation of the true value of the services you will now be providing.

At the end of the day, you want your customers to pay you what you’re worth. If you are undervaluing your services, chances are you are also underpricing yourself, which means you will not be able to achieve sustainable growth. Be honest and do your homework. Figure out what you are worth and what you will need to make in order to bring your business to the next level and then implement the necessary changes to make it happen.

Now that you have a clearer picture of what may be standing in your way, it’s time to get to work turning things around. Here are a few helpful pointers to overcome these common issues:

  • Evaluate your current business plan and strategy, as well as team member skills and abilities.
  • Utilize technology and tools, like automation, to make service delivery much more efficient.
  • Build technical credibility through key certifications and specializations.
  • Understand your pricing model to ensure that it properly supports your level of service.
  • Keep in close contact with customers to recognize and capitalize on trends and opportunities. 

Making the transition from basic IT support to full-fledged managed services may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, with a well thought out plan backed by a confident team and advanced technology, you will be well positioned to compete in today’s fast growing market.

 About the Author

Gabby Nizri is the CEO of Ayehu, Inc.  Ayehu provides IT Process Automation and Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication and recovery from cybersecurity breaches.




Edited by Alicia Young




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