By Brian Babineau, General Manager, Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda
The ringing in of the New Year provides an opportunity for businesses to take stock, reflect on their successes over the past 12 months, and address any challenges they faced along the way. At the same time, those who want to grow in the coming year are setting goals and evaluating new paths and opportunities to explore.
MSPs, like any other business, require a solid strategy and plan for achieving growth and success. Here are three areas to leverage to build businesses in the coming year.
- Measure more than the top line. Customer satisfaction and retention are keys to business growth. When MSPs spend time making their existing customers happy, they earn the right to sell more services. They can start by looking at the number of multi-service (i.e. cloud backup, managed security, etc.) customers they had on the books at end of the year. This will give them an indication of customer satisfaction levels because happy customers tend to purchase more products and services from their MSP partners. By the same token, MSPs should also set an objective for how many new clients they want to recruit on a monthly/quarterly/biannual basis in the coming year. Ideally, they should be able to expand their customer base while keeping satisfaction and retention levels high. Striking that balance can be challenging, but adding a few new customers while maintaining existing customer relationships is key to healthy business growth.
- Remember data protection and security go hand-in-hand. Today, there are countless cyber security risks including ransomware, phishing schemes, and many more MSPs need to be aware of to protect their customers. A good analogy for cyber security risks is a common situation faced by renters and homeowners — break-ins and theft. There are two options available to mitigate these types of risk: (1) prevention systems such as an alarm or strong door locks, and (2) reactive measures such as insurance to help the homeowner recover should a theft occur. When MSPs offer their customers both ways to prevent theft of critical data and applications from ransomware and other cyber threats as well as a way to mitigate loss through backup and data protection, they will be able to demonstrate tremendous value to their customers, which in turn can help them grow their businesses.
- Invest in your team. Finding the time and resources to invest in employee training and professional development can be difficult, especially for small businesses. After all, the time spent training employees means time away from customers or other revenue-generating activities. However, it is important to make the time — and for good reason. With technology evolving so quickly, training can be tied to business growth, and keeping the team up to date with what’s happening in the marketplace is critical to success. Sometimes conventional products with new capabilities create new market opportunities, and when MSPs capitalize on evolving market trends such as managed security services by bolstering their in-house expertise, they may uncover additional paths for growth.
In the coming weeks and months, there will be many new opportunities for MSPs to add value and grow their businesses. Taking time to measure customer satisfaction, expanding multi-service offerings, acquiring new clients at a reasonable pace, and investing in internal training will undoubtedly help MSPs looking to take their business to the next level in 2017 to accelerate their growth and drive success.
Brian Babineau serves as General Manager, Intronis MSP Solutions, for Barracuda Networks. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s managed services business, a dedicated team focused on enabling partners to easily deliver affordable IT solutions to customers.