The Wall Street Journal’s homepage on January 17 featured a headline that included the words “IT Firm.” VARs and MSPs take note: a fellow solutions provider is caught up in a nasty, politically-charged debate being litigated on a national scale. Obviously, your clients are not paying you in large sums of cash handed over in plastic Wal-Mart bags. This story is preposterous in so many ways, and it’s far outside the realm of what’s normal for how VARs and MSPs operate. As absurd as the entire situation might be, this story does raise a few legitimate questions about IT service provider business models that are worth rehashing.
Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model is a must-read for leaders in the channel who come from a tech background and not from a business background. Here are some of the top takeaways for VARs.
Instead of lamenting over shrinking hardware margins, Technology Recovery Group (TRG) continues to diversify with unique offerings that keep its tier-one retail clients coming back for more.
We dedicate a good amount of editorial to encouraging VARs to innovate, to add to their line cards, and to transition their business models. We should spend more time reminding VARs the importance of keeping existing customers happy by ensuring your customer support operation is up to par.
Back when Channel Executive was named Business Solutions and VARinsights.com was BSMinfo.com, those publications used to host Channel Transitions conferences. The name of those events was quite literal – they were designed to help VARs in the IT channel transition to a managed services business model. Our brand names have changed, but we are still providing content to help break/fix VARs transition to the wonderful world of recurring revenue. I distinctly remember several panelists at Channel Transitions conferences advising audience members to tackle the VAR-to-MSP transition gradually: start with a small handful of customers, and only add more when your cash flow allows it.
The technologies VARs sell and the services VARs provide change drastically in short periods of time, and it takes persistence to evolve your business to keep up. That’s why Built To Last is a must-read for VARs.
The lack of women and minorities in the channel is such a complex problem. We can’t keep forgetting about diversifying the channel – it has to be an ongoing conversation about how our industry can find better ways to recruit talented women and minorities and help them advance to leadership positions.
My addiction to podcasts is why I jumped at the opportunity to join a POS industry-specific podcast venture with industry veterans Jim Roddy of Worldpay, Sean Buckley of Vend, and Jeremy Julianof CBS NorthStar We plan to read a book and discuss its applications to POS resellers and software companies on a regular basis. Our first episode is a discussion about The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.
When James Laszko founded Mythos Technology in 2010 he likely didn’t expect he’d be able to afford to fire the lowest performing 20 percent of his customers in 2018. But that’s exactly what he has set out to do this year. You can read more about his customer rightsizing initiative in the May 2018 issue of Channel Executive magazine. In the meantime, there is another side to the Mythos story: how to find the customers who are the right fit so they won’t end up on the chopping block a few years down the road.
Why is a scrappy, bootstrapped IT services company splurging on zip lines and basketball courts for its new 34,000 sqaure foot office building? After all, BNG Holdings didn’t earn a 133 percent three-year growth rate and a spot on the Inc. 5000 list by spending frivolously. Brady Nash and the co-founders of BNG Holdings started dreaming of building a Google-like work environment in Fargo, ND while they were still 18 and 19-year-old college kids selling telecom and cable services for a multi-level marketing company. Fast forward a little more than 10 years later, and the technology company sees real estate as just one more way BNG is diversifying its portfolio.
SaaSMAX and CompTIA recently teamed up on a webinar to share findings from CompTIA’s state of the SaaS channel report. Carolyn April, Senior Director of Industry Analysis at CompTIA, and Clinton Gatewood, VP of Partner and Reseller Development at SaaSMAX, presented data that any VAR or MSP either currently selling, or considering selling, SaaS products should pay attention to.
Advice on selling your business can improve your company now.
A data capture and scanning executive shares how he’s combating the challenges of a lucrative vertical opportunity.
Darek Hahn, president and CEO of Dynamic Strategies Inc. (DSI), details the challenges of his company's shift in customer focus, sales strategy, and corporate culture.
Russ Levanway, CEO of California-based MSP TekTegrity, recently let me pick his brain about how and why the company acquired four MSPs in the five-year period between 2010 to 2015. Like many solutions providers looking for ways to grow, TekTegrity used these acquisitions to expand its regional footprint and establish itself in new verticals. In the process, Levanway had to integrate differing cultures and a rapidly expanding headcount. The company developed a regimented onboarding process for the companies it was acquiring, which included weekly one-on-one check-ins for six months with each new employee.