Episode 170: Should you use AI for your MSP's marketing?

Episode 170: Should you use AI for your MSP’s marketing?

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 170: Should you use AI for your MSP's marketing?
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Episode 170

Welcome to the MSP Marketing Podcast with me, Paul Green. This is THE show if you want to grow your MSP. This week’s show includes:
  • 00:00 Should you use AI for your MSP’s marketing
  • 11:42 Beware of killing sales with ‘samey’ marketing
  • 19:10 Get out of your own way to grow your MSP

Featured guests:

Stuart Warwick and Ian Luckett are featured guests on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Stuart Warwick and Ian Luckett from The MSP Growth Hub for joining me to talk about how get out of your own way to grow your MSP.

Following many years successfully helping large corporates grow and mastering skills in Business & Leadership Development and Commercial & Financial Performance, Stuart and Ian now help ambitious MSP owners to Scale with Confidence.

Extra show notes:

Transcription:

Voiceover:
Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world, around the world, this is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
Hello and welcome along to episode 170 of the show. Here’s what we’ve got coming up for you this week.

Stuart Warwick:
Hi, this is Stuart Warwick from the MSP Growth Hub.

Ian Luckett:
This is Ian Luckett.

Stuart Warwick:
Getting out of your own way is the number one key to scaling your MSP with confidence.

Ian Luckett:
If you’ve come into January and you’re now in February and you’re feeling a little bit flat, we will help you get that momentum and energy back into your business.

Paul Green:
They’re going to be here later on in the show challenging you to get out of your own way. Now we’re also going to be talking about your marketing and the fact that samey kills sales.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
We’re going to start this week’s show by answering three common marketing questions that I get asked by MSPs. I do loads of webinars and I hang out in lots of different forums and places, and you do tend to see the same kinds of questions coming up again and again. I’ve picked out three common but not that common ones. They’re not the usual ones, which is how do I generate leads? That’s the number one question I get. How do I get more new clients and how do I get more new leads? These are some of the newer, more common ones that are starting to come up. The first of them is about TikTok. Paul, should I be using TikTok to market my MSP? I can give you a one word answer for that and then I’ll expand on it. The one word answer is, nope.
You really shouldn’t be using TikTok for marketing your MSP. The main reason for that is because TikTok’s audience is primarily not the middle-aged business owners and managers that you want to reach. The thing with any social media platform is to look at who is using that platform. Now, I appreciate that TikTok is kind of moving into the mainstream. It’s trying very hard to reach people like you and me. In fact, here in the UK, I can’t remember where it was, it might have been some posters on the Tube in London, but I saw some posters kind of aimed at me. It certainly wasn’t aimed at 13 year olds going like, “Renegade, Renegade, Renegade.” Whatever it is that 13 year olds watch on YouTube. It was definitely aimed at me.
I can see the power of TikTok, I see the shorts on Facebook and on YouTube. That sort of short style, zip through quickly video is certainly growing in popularity, but right now, even though TikTok is huge and it’s used by so many people, and there will be MSPs doing marketing on it, it’s not for you right now. At the point at which a bulk of the audience is middle-aged decision makers, and obviously the Gen Z, the generation that’s around right now, they’re going to be using TikTok for, we assume they will, TikTok for search and for answers and video and entertainment and content down the line when they are decision makers. Right now the average decision maker isn’t on TikTok.
In the spirit of there are many other platforms to focus on, I wouldn’t use TikTok. If you’re going to do videos, I would focus more on YouTube. YouTube is the everyone social media network. I mean, people say that Facebook is the universal one, but actually YouTube is. Do you know anyone who doesn’t use YouTube? They may not use it as a social platform, but the commenting side of it is so big on YouTube, everyone, putting that in speech marks, everyone uses YouTube. If you’re going to focus on something on a new platform, I would focus on YouTube ahead of TikTok.
Another question, and this has only really come about since the backend of last year when ChatGPT released the, what’s it called? It’s called ChatGPT, isn’t it? Where you can go in and you can ask anything of the AI and it will generate something. The question I’m increasingly getting is, “Paul, can I or should I create content for my marketing using AI?” Because you can go into ChatGPT with a free account and you can type, “Write me a 300 word blog on how businesses should buy technology.” The content is good. It’s not just okay, it’s good. It’s almost as good as low level writers on Fiverr and Upwork are outputting.
In fact, if I was a low level writer on Fiverr and Upwork, I’d be genuinely scared right now. Because there’s no personality in the content that’s produced, but if you just want basic content to go onto your website, perhaps for SEO purposes, then you could output hundreds of blog articles in just a couple of hours using ChatGPT. You’ve been able to do this for a while using Jasper, but ChatGPT is new. The interface is great and it’s free currently for low level use. The question is, should I use it to generate content? My answer is yes with extreme caution.
When I talk about generating content, I don’t really mean good marketing content that you would use for humans, but if you just need, for SEO purposes, you need 50 blog articles for your website, absolutely go in there. You could tighten the brief. The tighter the brief you give to ChatGPT, the better the output. Please write me a 300 word article that would be of interest to business owners in the US who are thinking of switching from one IT support company to another about the things they should ask about, the factors they should ask about it. That’s certainly, when you tighten it down like that, it produces a very targeted and focused piece of content in about 20 seconds or something like that. Absolutely use that to fill up your website.
My big caveat with this is going to be that at some point, Google and the other search engines will kind of figure, well, I believe this. I could be wrong, but I believe they will figure out a way of spotting AI generated content. Because what’s going to happen is if we continue down the trajectory we’re going, where you can do virtually anything with AI at the moment. You can produce written content, you can deep fake yourself. I was looking into how much it would cost to create an avatar of me and it wouldn’t pass the uncanny valley test. I can recreate my voice and my likeness for a couple of thousand dollars I think. I thought, ooh, for creating quick and easy instructional videos, maybe that’s something worth doing. The technology is rapidly becoming not quite mainstream, but nearly mainstream, and certainly within the next few years it will become good enough.
I believe that people will start to use, generate thousands of blogs a day and put them on their websites, which would immediately give them a massive search engine boost. I think Google will find ways of detecting AI content. Already I’ve seen some things about OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, building in some kind of watermark. I don’t know how that would work, but within the words, within the pattern of the words, some kind of water mark that would tell people this is AI generated content. I believe that eventually Google will find a way of identifying it and they will essentially discount it for SEO purposes.
It’s kind of like link farms. If you go back, I don’t know what, 7, 10 years, link farms were the big thing and the big SEO tactic was to pay to have, because it was all about links. It was having a high quality link to your website was massive for SEO. It’s still part of SEO, it’s not as big as it was, but back in the day you could pay to have thousands of links from link farms all over the web directed to your website. Google didn’t like that because it was artificial, it wasn’t real. They eventually discounted, and link farms are not good now for link building. I believe they could go down that route with AI if they can figure out a way to spot AI. Maybe there’s a new arms race starting here between the search engines and AI content.
Yes, my short answer is yes with caution. Certainly keep track of which pages you’ve put on your website in case you do need to take them off if and when Google has a rule against AI. Be very cautious with just using that content straight to humans. I would certainly put that content through an editor first to make sure. It’s all about emotionally talking to people and affecting someone emotionally and persuading them emotionally. People buy from people. The content on your website is just all part of that process. You want to make sure you’re affecting them in the correct emotional way.
Then the final, and this isn’t a very common question, but it’s been asked of me twice in the last month and by different people, and I thought that’s quite an in interesting one to answer. Paul, if you only had a hundred pounds to spend on marketing or a hundred dollars to spend on marketing, what would you spend it on? I have sort of sat and thought about this. Most of the marketing that I recommend, the strategy that I recommend, which is to build multiple audiences and build a relationship with those audiences through content marketing and then commercialize that relationship by picking up the phone. There’s very little actual cash cost in that. The cost is in time. Someone somewhere has to set up the social media profile, set up the email database, post content, put content into the email and send the emails out.
Someone somewhere has to pick up the phone and call people, but they say that’s a time cost. That’s not a cash cost. If I only had a hundred pounds, I would be doing all of that. It’s the same question, in fact the version of the question that was asked me was if you had a hundred pounds or if you had to start again, what would you do with your marketing? I would do exactly that. I would build multiple audiences, I would work those audiences, build a relationship with them. I would get them to a stage where I could be picking up the phone and literally working round all of my prospects until I found someone who’s nearly ready, willing and able to buy. Then obviously I can move towards a sales meeting.
I think if I had a hundred pounds, I would actually spend that on business cards, really expensive looking, good quality business cards with my photo on the back, because people remember faces rather than they do names. I would go to networking meetings. I would invest that hundred pounds, a hundred dollars into networking. This is on top of all the digital stuff. I wouldn’t just do this. I don’t think networking on its own is of great value, but networking added in to really good content marketing, to really good phone follow up is dynamite.
Because when you physically meet someone in a room and you have an overpriced horrible tasting breakfast with them, your relationship with that person, one meeting with someone can be the equivalent of a year’s worth of emailing them or a year’s worth of LinkedIn stuff. It really is surprisingly dramatic what a difference it makes meeting people. Didn’t we all find that or rediscover that post COVID? I would invest that money in going networking, but I would be there, I’d be the first person there, I’d be the last person there. I’d meet everyone in the room, I’d put all of their emails into my email database. I would start emailing them my newsletter. I’d ring them all up anyway just to say it was great to meet you. Because somewhere, if I could meet 300 people for that a hundred bucks, it’s somewhere there, there’s someone who is nearly ready, willing and able to have a conversation about leaving their incumbent MSP and moving somewhere else. Your chances of getting the right timing go up the more people you meet and the more marketing that you do to them.
By the way, if you have a specific marketing question, I would be delighted to answer that. You can either go and put it in my Facebook groups. If you go into Facebook and type in at the top MSP marketing and go to groups, it’s a free Facebook groups. It’s just for MSPs. There are no vendors in there, or you could just email me directly and I’d be delighted to hear from you with any question at all. The email is hello@paulgreensMSPmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
This would be a fun exercise to do. Get five ordinary people, ordinary business owners and managers. Get them into a room and show them a whole load of websites of MSPs in that area. Literally just bring up the homepage of each one and get those ordinary people to go and look at all of the homepages and then ask them which of those MSPs is the best MSP in town? Which of them is the very best? Which is the one that they would call if they were looking for a new technology partner? Now I predict that they would all pick one or two pretty much the same MSP, and that would be based on the friendliness and the warmth and the marketing superpowers of their website.
Of course, it can’t be based on the actual technical knowledge and the efficiency of the business because at this stage they have no idea. In fact, they’re normal people. They couldn’t assess that anyway, but they would typically pick the website that was different, that was better than all of the other websites. The reason they would do that is because if you do actually look at a whole load of MSP’s websites at the same time, you quickly realize they’re all exactly the same. I mean literally exactly the same. They may have different words and different pictures, but they’re all different on the same theme. They all pretty much say the same things.
They all talk about technical services, they all talk about the things that they do. They sometimes throw in a bit about the area, but they’re more focused on services and capabilities than anything else. Certainly when I first got into the world of MSPs back in 2016 and I was doing my research and literally looking at hundreds and hundreds of MSP’s websites and I remember thinking that they’re all the same, they’re all exactly the same. That lack of differentiation makes it very hard for a prospect to pick you.
There is a lovely three word sentence that summarizes this, and you should have this tattooed on your hand, perhaps just in temporary tattoo. The sentence is this, samey kills sales. If your marketing looks and feels and appears to be the same as other MSPs marketing, and I don’t just mean one other MSP, I mean all the other MSPs, then it’s samey. Ordinary people who don’t understand technology and can’t tell the difference between a good MSP and a bad MSP, they are not picking you based on what you do and how you do it. They’re picking you based on your marketing. If your marketing looks the same as all the other MSPs, then you just simply aren’t going to stand out. You have to be different with your marketing.
Maybe this is a good exercise for you to do. Go and pull up and you could do it right now, unless you’re driving, you could go and pull up all the websites of all of your local competitors and look at them. Are they the same as yours? The designs will be different, the words will be different. It’s very hard for you to do this because you’ve got to take away the emotional thing, the emotional reaction that you would have. Because you that Dave is a really nice guy, so you look at his website and you see it through the filter of Dave is a nice guy filter. Whereas actually the ordinary people who are just Googling and have come onto Dave’s website, they don’t know Dave, so they’re looking at it completely emotionally cold, just as they’re looking at your website completely emotionally cold.
It’s a very hard thing for you to do, but if you look at your website and your competitors and they’re all broadly the same, you have a problem. You’ve got to stand out and be different. I would argue the more different you can be, the more extreme you can be, the better. Here in the UK we have a spread, like a food spread. It’s called Marmite, it’s called Vegemite. The same thing is called Vegemite in Australia. I think there is a US equivalent, I can’t remember what it’s called. Someone did tell me and I’ve forgotten, but Marmite is made of yeast extract, so it’s a bit of a, well, you either love it or you hate it. In fact, they ran an advertising campaign for years which said, “Marmite, you either love it or you hate it.” Their thing was it was black and white. Either it suddenly stands out and you love it or you absolutely hate it.
People talk about being Marmite-ey in your marketing, having Marmite marketing, this is a good thing. You want to be Marmite. I deliberately, I’m obviously the face of the business. I’m not the entire business. I have a team, but I am the face of the business and I try very hard to be Marmite because I appreciate some people will not like me. I can live with that. I really can, because there are many people that do like me and what I’m saying and the stuff I’m putting out there. It’s not really me, it’s the form of Paul that you hear in the podcast or you see in the videos or whatsoever, but I go out of my way to be Marmite in my marketing. I’d rather stand out to a bulk of people than stand out to no one, and you should be trying to do exactly the same thing.
The thing to focus on is the one thing that you’ve got that makes you completely different from your competitors that can never be copied. That thing is you. Look at yourself now in the mirror. Actually, even if you’re driving, you can look at yourself in the mirror just not for too long. You are the most unique thing in your business. Because what you do and the methodology by which you do it is not of interest to ordinary people. That’s a differentiator, but they don’t know or care about that. They do know and care about how they feel about your business. Ordinary people do not pick an MSP based on what they think about it. They pick an MSP based on how they feel about it. The more you can stand out and emotionally influence them with your marketing, the higher the chance you have of them picking you.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
I mentioned earlier that I have this Facebook group for MSPs. It’s the MSP marketing Facebook group. Completely free. We don’t let vendors in. It’s only for genuine MSPs. Now I’ve got the group open on my phone here. I’m just having a look through some of the recent posts. We’ve got a post here from Paige, how much do you budget per month for digital ads? What platforms are you seeing a return on for ads? LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Ads, et cetera. Some interesting replies on that. Alexa’s looking for recommendations for both outsource support and a 24/7 knock service. Here’s something from me, oh, it’s website Quick win Wednesday. What’s the one thing you could change on your site that would make it more engaging with prospects? We’ve got 13 comments on that.
Then I’ve got here I shared a link about page on Google. You’d probably know, you might have heard this, Google is switching to continuous scrolling. There’s no more sort of skipping onto page two, three or four. It’s continuous scrolling. Then we’ve got here something about doing more marketing. We’ve got something on here about what you want to achieve with your MSP this year. We’ve got something else about being tired. Habit tracking cards.
There’s tons of stuff in here. Anything that can help you to market or grow your MSP, that’s what we talk about in the MSP marketing Facebook group. I drop in there at least once a day and engage with every single comment and post that’s been put there. It’s kind of like the natural companion to this podcast. If you’re not already a member, grab your phone, fire up Facebook. Up at the top in the search bar, type in MSP marketing. This is important, go to groups. We do have a page, but it’s kind of old and gone and don’t really think about it. You want to go to groups. MSP marketing Facebook groups, and just a couple of questions for you to join. We will be checking that you are an MSP before you join. This is a vendor free zone, so no sneaking in.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Ian Luckett:
Hi there, I’m Ian Luckett from the MSP Growth Hub.

Stuart Warwick:
Hi, I’m Stuart Warwick, also from the MSP Growth Hub.

Paul Green:
It’s so exciting to finally get both of you in one room on the podcast. As a bonus as well, it’s Valentine’s Day and I can’t think of any better podcast dinner date. Is that sounding a bit weird of having you two on here? You’re both very good friends of mine and I do enjoy talking to both of you. Because what I love about you guys is you are big thinkers, and you’re big thinkers who are there to help MSPs get out of their own way. That’s the topic of what I want to talk to you about today.
We’ll get a little bit more into what you do to help MSPs towards the end of the interview, but let’s talk about this idea of MSPs getting out of their own way. As we’re standing today, we’re six, seven weeks into the start of the year. The excitement and the buzz of, woo-hoo, it’s a new year, that’s gone, that’s passed. We can’t rely on that anymore. A lot of MSPs now are just kind of settling into, oh here we go, it’s another month of the same old this the same old that. Do you see that with a lot of the MSPs that you work with?

Ian Luckett:
One of the problems, challenges, opportunities probably all wrapped up together is the fact that so many MSPs, the longer you stay in business, the more referrals you’re going to get. You can kind of make a good lifestyle just by turning the lights on and doing what you do every day. It gets to a point where some people just go, “I’ve had enough of this now.” They just want to carry on, don’t they? Just go faster.

Stuart Warwick:
Enough is enough, I think is a point where you get to, but the really frustrating thing for us is that particularly this time of year, as you just said Paul, there’s all that new year, new me buzz in January. All that kind of self expectation, and now we’re in February and it’s kind of starting to drift back to kind of same old, same old. Those that make the biggest difference, and we’ve seen this year in, year out, are the ones that kind of go, “Actually no, I’m not going to drift. I’m conscious that I’ve drifted. I want more than this. Actually how do I effectively get out of my own way, my own mediocrity and really take my MSP where it could really go?”

Paul Green:
Why do you think we get caught in these loops, these patterns of repeat behavior where you know can easily spend 5, 10 years working in a business and being trapped within that business without ever being able to break out? Is that the fault of the individual person or is that kind of the default path that every business owner gets trapped in unless they do something different and break out?

Ian Luckett:
Many, if not all MSPs started out as techy business owners, as technicians and they’re happy doing what they’re doing. They’re in their comfort zone and you’ve got this whole fear of failure. Am I good enough? We talk about this in the MSP journey, don’t we? Am I good enough? Can I really do this? Am I worthy? I’m only just a technician, which might sound a little bit raw, but it’s very true that some people have a real scare of being successful.

Stuart Warwick:
It’s a fear of the next step and we all have it at some point.

Ian Luckett:
We’re all guilty of it.

Paul Green:
Sorry to interrupt you, but is it a fear of success or is it more a fear of failure? Do you think people get trapped in patterns of behavior that are comfortable with them because that’s easy and that’s easier than trying something new, or is it something different?

Stuart Warwick:
I think it’s actually something different because it’s actually about comfort, what we know. As human beings, we’re designed to be safe and most of us are happy in our comfort zone. I know it’s a cliche. Once we feel safe and we’re… We started our business, we started our MSP, we’ve got it going, we’ve got some clients, we can put food on the table, we’ve hired one person. We feel good, but how long do we sit feeling good before we go, do you know what? I want a bit more? Those that have got real connection to where they want to go, their ambition, and they find a way to spend less time in the comfort zone and more time in what you might call a stretch zone, a learning zone, fear zone, the faster they will progress.
I think the important thing for MSPs that are ambitious, and not everybody needs to scale up beyond a lifestyle business. It’s a choice, but the choice is if you want more, then how can you spend more time in that learning growth zone, which will be invigorating for an entrepreneur, a business owner mindset, MSP owner, as opposed to getting there and then spending possibly, and sometimes in some cases, sometimes 10 years, just kind of navigating the safe zone. Two, three, four, 500k, when actually deep down you want a true business that ultimately works for you, but you kind of don’t know quite what that means because you’ve never done it before. It’s ignorance. I think it’s as much fear, safety, as well as ignorance.

Paul Green:
What’s really interesting for me doing this podcast is I get to interview some of the most awesome people in our world. I was just thinking back to, I don’t mean you two, by the way. I was just thinking back to some of the episodes at the back end of last year. Episode, I think it was 162, we had Jamie Warner on who built an MSP up over like 15, 20 years and has then built up Invarosoft, which is a CX platform. Then you’ve got Antasca, who built up again her own MSP over 15, 20 years.
What would be interesting is, as you were talking there, Stuart, about people moving out of their comfort levels and moving into the fear zone. I think Jamie and Anne and many other successful people I’ve interviewed have done exactly the same thing. What’s that trick? Because for every Jamie or Anne, there’s probably 100, 200, 300 people who never make that big leap. They get stuck in that comfort zone for far too long and perhaps to the point where they can’t get out. What do you need to do as an MSP owner to get yourself to that point of actually, as we said in the start of this interview, getting out of your own way?

Ian Luckett:
For me it’s around how you process what you are going to do. What I mean by that is, and I know you probably hear this all the time, Paul, marketing takes too long. Oh, this takes too long. Everyone looks at things in such a big chunk. When they look at something that’s been a 12 month process or a two-year process, they just get scared and they’re not going to get the results quick so they give up. I think the ability to chunk it down into 90 day, 60 day, 30 day plan, and know that you know what? I’m going to go all in on this particular strategy or tactic for 30 days, and at the end of 30 days success looks like this. At the end of 60 days success looks like this. And at the end of 90 days, success looks like this. Because when you get to the end of 90 days and you’ve achieved, you feel better in yourself because that’s what it’s all about.
You feel better in yourself, you feel more confident. You’ve achieved things that you didn’t in the previous 90 days. All of a sudden you go, “Ooh, I’ve just stood on the first step. Where’s the second step?” I think for me it’s how quickly someone can change their thought process and their actions and their routines and their discipline and all the other good stuff. That’s the ingredients to say, “I’m going to do things differently today or for the next 30 day. I’m going to be consistent, I’m going to be deliberate and I’m going to get some help.”

Stuart Warwick:
There’s two other things. The first one is modeling. Model someone or others that have done it before. That then leads on to get yourself in the right environment where you can learn from and model the behavior and actions of those who’ve already done it before. When you get those three ingredients together, you completely shorten the time and the number of mistakes you’re going to make to get you from A to B. That’s the difference between those that seem to make it and those that seem to get stuck.

Paul Green:
Define for me the difference between modeling and copying.

Stuart Warwick:
Modeling is whereby you copy the actions of others but apply it to your situation. It’s why the best tennis players on the planet get coaches. Those coaches teach them how to model the best backhands currently and the best techniques for backhand. Every single person will deploy it in their own unique way. If you go and copy LinkedIn strategies or hiring strategies that the big boys are using, the successful guys are doing, or you try and rebuild a management team with similar sorts of people, it’s still going to be different by definition. You’re modeling the approach, but the execution will be by definition unique to you.

Ian Luckett:
That kind of goes back to the first thing we said, which was everyone’s different. Everyone processes information differently. Everyone behaves differently. Everyone’s got their own DiSC profile and personality traits. That’s why all tennis players don’t play the same. They play in their own personality and their own way, which I suppose is why what we do is quite interesting, isn’t it? Because every single person who walks through the door is completely different to the last person, and that’s what makes it fun.

Stuart Warwick:
I just came off a call with an MSP who was talking about when he, in a six month period, lost 300 endpoints and 225,000 pounds worth of his business. At the time he was a 700k MSP. No fault of his own. M&A activity and a business going into receivership and transition. He had a million ways of reacting to that, but he chose to hire a salesperson and sell his way out of that problem, but it was an 18 month roadmap. Most would cut their way out of that situation. He decided to invest in a BDM. I think that’s the key, is that his execution was unique to him. I think that’s the difference between modeling and copying. It’s all in the execution.

Paul Green:
Well, let’s be honest, everything’s in the execution, the implementation, the action. That’s the only place where magic happens. We will talk about what you do to help MSPs in a second, but my final question for you is for the average MSP that’s listening to this, that might think, oh my goodness, yes, this completely resonates with me. I get this, but where do I start? Ian, you were saying earlier about breaking things down into small chunks so that they’re easier to get started with. Where would you recommend the average MSP get started?

Ian Luckett:
What I would recommend for anybody listening to this is find out where you are today. What does the business look like? How does it make you feel? How does it feel to other people? How do people in it working, how do they feel about it? Then work out where you want to be in three, five years time in terms of turnover, endpoints, clients, employees, that sort of thing.
Then you’ve got what we call, and we talk about it every day, the gap. We need to analyze that gap and look at what’s in the way? What’s stopping us from bringing in fresh leads? What’s stopping us from recruiting the best technicians? What’s stopping us from recruiting a salesperson if that’s what we need? We were on a call earlier on with one of our clients this morning looking at buying a new office and he said, “It’s going to give employee engagement, it’s going to give them space. They’re going to have better time to relax and people are going to walk in and go, ‘Wow, this is an amazing place to work.'” He’s worried a little bit obviously about the money with what’s going on in the world and everything like that.
Now it’s identifying what’s in that gap. Then really the question I would ask is, because the channel is one of the most amazing places in the world to work, who do I know who needs to help me? It could be joining CompTIA. It could be joining any of the other organizations or any of the other. The tech tribe, or just asking people for some help. It’s such a giving business sector. I’ve never known anything like it. Then just start putting a plan together, small plan, bit by bit, small successes to close that gap and to start putting some targets in place and measure what matters.

Stuart Warwick:
Just to link on top of that is very simply, am I happy with where my business is today and does it give me what I really want out of life and out of business? Professional fulfillment? If the answer is no, then do exactly what Ian just said. I think it’s a very simple self-audit as a business owner. How do I want this business to work for me rather than me for it? If you’re scoring six out of 10, then it’s mediocre. Who wants a mediocre business? Then go find the right community, the right environment to put that plan together so that you can actually deliberately execute in the right direction for you.

Ian Luckett:
This whole competition thing about all MSPs do the same, there’s not enough people, it’s absolute rubbish. There is more than enough work out there, particularly since the pandemic, for every single MSP on this planet to have a very successful business. We put competitors in the room together to work together to help each other become more successful. One person might have a recruitment problem, the other one might have a technical problem. Another guy might have marketing issues where another guy might actually be nailing the whole sales process. Everybody’s different. Everyone’s doing it differently and it’s such getting out of your own way. The only people who are in competition you’re with is people who are not listening to this podcast because everyone who’s listened to this podcast wants to do something about it. Everyone who’s not listening to this podcast is your competition, not the people in the room.

Stuart Warwick:
In fact, your biggest competition is you. Not you, Paul.

Paul Green:
Yes.

Stuart Warwick:
Yourself.

Paul Green:
Yes. No, not me, but you’re in competition with yourself. I admire and respect both of you and I think you know so much and you have so much value to add. Ian, you know I’m going to now pick on you and praise Stuart and give you some criticism because that’s the nature of our relationship. Stuart is one of the most quotable people I’ve ever interviewed. Earlier you said, Stuart, you said, “No one wants a mediocre business.” You said a quote to me about two years ago and it’s actually, give me a second. I’ve got to see if I can grab the board at the back of my office. I have this on my board and Stuart said, “Businesses grow to the size of thinking of the owner.” I was so inspired by you saying that to me a couple years ago that I actually printed that out when I got home and put it on the board in my office.

Stuart Warwick:
That’s amazing.

Paul Green:
Well done for being quotable, Stuart.

Ian Luckett:
Your board is obsolete because we’ve actually updated that quotation. We had a good think about this actually, and it now comes out as, your business will grow to the size of your thinking. The reason why we changed it is because it’s not just down to the business owner to grow the business. You could have a senior tech, you could have a leadership team, and if your leadership team’s thinking big, guess what’s going to happen?
If the people second in command while you’re out and about doing the networking and whatever it might be, they’re thinking big, then it’s going to grow bigger. We had quite a good chat about that. We just kind of evolved a little bit. That now applies to everybody in an MSP. Your business grows to the size of your thinking. I would like you to update your chart, please.

Paul Green:
Challenge accepted. I will update my chart. Now, you mentioned that you and Stuart are married. Obviously you’re not married in the traditional church sense, because you both have other halves and families, but you have married your businesses. Briefly tell us sort of what’s happened in the last couple of years. Each of you had your own individual businesses working with MSPs, but you’ve come together and you’ve created something amazing in this MSP Growth Hub.

Ian Luckett:
We met up, through Daniel Welling and the group that we had the pleasure of coming to your acquaintance with, Paul, between us. There was a couple of calls, wasn’t there?

Stuart Warwick:
Pandemic boredom.

Ian Luckett:
We were both doing exactly the same thing, so MSP business growth coaching. Generally most of my clients were smaller and Stuart’s were higher six and seven figures. We just asked the question, if we worked together, could we help more people, have more impact, change more lives and have more fun? It took us about six months. We ate our own dog food. We did our USPs, our value propositions, our company values, our personal values, our why on earth do I want to work with you? What are you good at? What are you crap at? What am I good at? Why do you want? All of these really difficult things that everyone should do before they even probably date anybody. It was all just going yes, yes, yes, wasn’t it?

Stuart Warwick:
Ultimately the fit was right. I think in many things in life you meet people and you have an instinct. You go, “Well, these are good people.” You kind of just get a feel for it. Ian’s great fun to work with. He’s completely different to me. He clearly enjoys working with me. I won’t put words in his mouth, but we’re completely different yet we’re completely aligned and we’re linked by our values. We have a lot of connections in our personal lives in terms of our family and kids, which I think connected us. Grounded us. Then we realized there was strength in diversity of our personalities and our skillsets. Ultimately, as Ian just said, those four things. How can we help more people, have more impact, change more lives, and have more fun doing it?
The ripple effect in the MSP world, there were so many MSPs that we were aware of, and I did the research, we talked about that in one of your other podcasts, which I did back in 2017. So many MSPs are in that kind of comfort zone, mediocrity zone. Many are in a great place and they’re happy where they are, but there’s also so many that aren’t. When Ian and I spoke and said, look, we both absolutely care about getting the results for our clients and seeing them thrive and grow, it was like, well, why don’t we just put our skills together and our knowledge together and do it faster, bigger, better, and have more impact? 18 months later, we’ve achieved a huge amount putting it together into MSP Growth Hub brand, and now we’re ready to really execute on impact, changing lives, fun and going faster.

Paul Green:
Big pitch then. You have 27.4 seconds to tell the MSPs around the world, because you mentioned earlier about your competition is people who don’t listen to this podcast. I’m not aware of any MSPs that don’t listen to this podcast. A little bit different to your podcast, Ian.

Ian Luckett:
Yes.

Paul Green:
I think you’ve got many people. No, I’m joking. I’m being terribly cruel. If it’s not obvious, we are actually very good friends, the three of us, and Ian is generally the focal point of all our amusement.

Stuart Warwick:
All our ribbing.

Paul Green:
Exactly, because you’re an easy target.

Ian Luckett:
Thank you very much.

Paul Green:
Give us the brief pitch. Who’s it for? Why would you get involved and how can we get in touch with you?

Stuart Warwick:
The MSP Growth Hub is for those ambitious MSPs that want to scale with confidence to a million, or if they’re already there, to go faster and accelerate towards 5 million. That’s the key simple thing. If you’re at a place where you want your business to work for you rather than you for it and to become that true business asset that a business can and should be, then if you’re frustrated on that journey, then get in touch.

Paul Green:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. This week’s recommended book.

Andrew Down:
Hi, I’m Andrew Down with Vendasta. My book recommendation is Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Part inspirational, part crazy. To me, it’s about so much more than just literally running, which is a passion of mine. It speaks to being truly authentic to who you are, both in life and in business. I’m a big believer in leading with honesty and transparency. It’s a great read for all and it truly proves that anything is possible for humans.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Darren Strong:
Hi, I’m Darren Strong from ScalableMSP.co.UK. Next week me and Paul will be talking about retaining talent and also using data to build your business and execute on your legacy fund.

Paul Green:
Wherever you are listening to or watching this podcast right now, please do subscribe so you never miss an episode. Because on top of that great interview next week, we’re also talking about using LinkedIn Live as some kind of podcast. It’s a very clever thing to do if you’ve got the guts to go live on a social media platform every single week. Talking of social media, we have loads of content on our YouTube channel. We add new content all the time. It’s all there. To help you get more new clients and generate more new revenue, just go to youtube.com/MSP marketing. Join me next Tuesday and have another profitable week in your MSP.

Voiceover:
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.