Episode 73: Stop your MSP’s staff repeating the same mistakes

Episode 73: Stop your MSP’s staff repeating the same mistakes

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 73: Stop your MSP’s staff repeating the same mistakes
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In this week’s episode

  • Does your team make the same mistakes again… and again… and again? Ever considered that this is actually down to you? This week Paul has some great insight into how you can eliminate this problem
  • Also on this week’s show, a financial expert joins Paul to talk about which numbers you need to focus on, to grow and increase your profits
  • Plus, what’s your ‘happy balance’ score? Paul explains what this is and how you can improve it

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
Hi there. Welcome back, and how are you doing today? Here’s what we’ve got coming up in this week’s show.

Stephen King:
Pricing is the single most important decision any business will make. It’s the difference between companies that are knocking it out of the park and those that are struggling to survive.

Paul Green:
I’m also going to tell you how you can get a free copy of my book on MSP marketing. I’ll tell you about that later in the show, and we’ll be talking about how to stop your staff making the same mistakes over and over again.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
But let’s start this week by talking about something called the happy balance. What is the happy balance? Well, it’s five critical areas that you must have in perfect balance with each other. So if you’re currently, how can we put it, not happy with your lot? You’re not satisfied. You’re just not feeling that your life is quite where you want it to be, which as business owners is a bit of an unusual feeling for us, isn’t it? Because we’re used to having high levels of control.

Paul Green:
In fact, we’ve got them. We’ve got high levels of control, but if you’re still not quite happy, the chances are it’s because one or more of the five areas of a happy balance are out of balance. Now, let me tell you what these five areas are, and as we’re going through this, just give yourself a little internal score. So how are you doing on this? Are you where you want to be? Is there still some work to do? Or are you desperately not quite there yet?

Paul Green:
So the first of the five areas of the happy balance is cash. You need to have enough cash to do the things that you want to do with your life. Now, this is the one that’s most likely to be out of balance. You know most MSPs that I work closely with are looking for more cash from the business. This is not about greed, is it? It’s a measure of a well-run business that delights its clients and keeps staff happy that chucks out cash.

Paul Green:
And yet most MSP owners I talk to, they’re making an income from it, but it’s just not enough. When we start our own business, we hope to generate so much surplus cash, so much extra net profit, and so much personal income that it becomes a must do. The business is something that absolutely is worth us spending a large amount of our time on every day, because all of that cash allows us to build up assets. It allows us to go on nice holidays, treat our family. It’s a just reward for all of the hard work.

Paul Green:
But of course, running a business isn’t just about cash. In fact, the wrong reason to start a business is about cash. The right reason is to get a good balance in your life.

Paul Green:
And the second of the five areas in the happy balance is time. There’s no point having a ton of cash if you don’t have sufficient time to enjoy it. Now, this is also most likely to be out of balance, as cash and time tend to be the two things that are completely out of whack.

Paul Green:
If you don’t have enough time, you’ve got to do something about that, because time is the most finite thing that we have. You and I have exactly the same amount of time, and when it runs out, when it’s been spent, we can’t get it back. You can’t get back yesterday or what you did earlier on. It’s gone. There’s no more of it there.

Paul Green:
And you know what? This is slightly morbid, but we have a finite amount of time here on this wonderful rock that’s hurtling around the sun. And when that time is up, it’s up. I mean, you and I, we would hope to have many more happy years ahead of us, but what if we haven’t? This is why it always baffles me when people waste their time. Time is so precious, the most finite thing you have.

Paul Green:
Now, if right now you don’t have enough cash and you don’t have enough time, the way to get started with this is to start tracking your time. You’ll have heard me talk in the podcast in recent months about something called timeular.com, which is a physical time tracking device that I like to use. In fact, we had Manuel Bruschi, the founder of Timeular, he was on the show a couple of times in the last few months.

Paul Green:
I found that a great way of tracking what you’re doing with your time, which I think is the first step in figuring out how you can improve your time management. Actually, I have read that time management is a myth. You can’t manage your time. All you can do is just make sure you use it in a better way.

Paul Green:
You, me and multi-billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk from Tesla, all the guys like Mark Zuckerberg, we all have exactly the same amount of time. It’s just they do different things with their time compared to you and me. So if you haven’t got enough time, start tracking it and then use that information that you’ve gained from the tracking to change things, to put in place different ways of how you use your time.

Paul Green:
This is where my favorite acronym DOA comes into play. DOA doesn’t stand for dead on arrival, unless you’re trying to do everything yourself. It stands for delegate, outsource, automate.

Paul Green:
The third factor in the happy balance is family. I mean your other half, and if you have any children. Now, these are the most important people in your life, and they have to be looked after. Because I know people, I have business friends who have lost their family. They were so busy with the business, making money and throwing themselves into the business six, seven days a week, that one day they sort of put their head up and they’ve got teenage children and another half who didn’t want to be with them anymore because they didn’t know who they were.

Paul Green:
Because you can’t have a good relationship based on two holidays a year or a couple of weeks in the sun every now and again. You’ve got to be present for your family. You’ve got to be there for them, not every single day. They understand that you need to go to work and you want to throw yourself into work, but it’s all about being in the room, isn’t it? If you’re here in the room physically with someone, you’ve got to be in the room mentally with someone, and you’ve really, really got to look after these people.

Paul Green:
Trust me that you will miss your family when they’re gone. You really will. And my friends who are now on their, well they’re either on their second wives or third wives, in some instance, and some of them a second family. While others are living in a small flat on their own and looking after their children for two days a week. This is not as good at life as living in a family home. It really, really isn’t.

Paul Green:
Now the fourth element of the happy balance is fun. I love fun. Do you love fun? Do you have enough fun in your life? Because life isn’t just for work. Without fun, we quickly become very pale versions of ourselves. Fun can take many forms at all. It doesn’t have to all be, let’s get a drone and go and fly that. It doesn’t all have to be wind surfing and golf. Me, my fun I get out of running. I get it out of going for long walks. I get it out of photography. Very, very simple things that you can do virtually any time. Of course, I also have fun when I’m with my daughter, who’s currently 10 and still thinks I’m cool.

Paul Green:
But identify your fun. What is your fun? And make sure you make some time for it every day. I think if you go any day without fun, it’s rubbish, isn’t it? In fact, just before recording this podcast, I just took my daughter to school and we were having such great fun in the car, singing along to one of our favorite songs. It’s from Frozen 2, from the film. Such a ridiculous film that, and yet we love watching that film and we was really belting out. The music was on loud. I was singing loud. She was singing loud. What an amazing thing to do.

Paul Green:
Oh, and when she gets back from school tonight, we’re going to do a cool thing with some popcorn. I’m going to get her to lie on the floor with her mouth open, and I’m going to see how far away I can get some popcorn, like throw it into her mouth. It’s going to be 10 minutes at the end of the day. She’s going to love that. It’s going to be one of the highlights of her day. And do you know what, as I’m talking about it, I’m thinking that’s going to be such great fun.

Paul Green:
So, so far we’ve then got four areas of the happy balance. We’ve got cash. We’ve got time. We’ve got family. We’ve got fun. There’s one more. It’s meaningful work. Now you and I, we know about this one, don’t we? Because people like us, we need to work. I don’t work because I want to, I need to do it.

Paul Green:
I took six months off five years ago when I sold my first business and the idea of six months without anything, with no responsibility or anything, it feels amazing when you think about it. But let me tell you, it was awful, just awful. I got so, so bored. I was taking on little bits of work where I could, getting consulting bits and bobs. I ran an SEO company for my friend for six weeks. It was just awful. I was doing anything I could just to keep myself interested.

Paul Green:
And that’s why I had to start what is now this business, because I was so bored. I had to give myself something to do. I had to almost give myself a purpose. People like you and me need to make sure that the work we do is meaningful.

Paul Green:
So find your definition of meaningful and then alter your working day, whatever you’re doing right now. So you spend the majority of your time doing work that matters and let DOA – delegate, outsource, automate. Send the work that you do that doesn’t matter, that isn’t meaningful. Send that off to other people to do it for you.

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

Paul Green:
There’s something unique that we as business owners seem to put up with more than many other business operators would do, and that is our staff making the same mistakes again and again and again. And when this happens, do you know actually, and this is kind of tough to take, but it’s more about you than it is about them.

Paul Green:
When you allow your staff to repeatedly make the same mistakes, it’s a reflection of you and your leadership skills. Now, please don’t be offended or indeed threatened by this. I’m not intending to offend you. I’m not intending to make you feel uncomfortable. This happens to all business owners.

Paul Green:
Because as much as we’d love to, we can’t control everything, can we? My goodness, we’d love to. Wouldn’t we love to clone ourselves, but we can’t control everything all of the time. So as our business gets bigger and bigger and we need to bring on board more people, we need to put in place five elements to ensure that things are done the way that we want them to be done.

Paul Green:
So if your staff are making lots of different mistakes, then here are the five elements to focus on to stop those repeat mistakes from happening.

Paul Green:
And the first of them is simple. It’s to build systems, lots and lots of systems. Go and get this book, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. The best book I’ve ever read about systemising your business well. That and Built to Sell by John Warrillow. Both great books about why and how you should systemise your business.

Paul Green:
But for every repeat task you have, there should be a system or there should be a checklist, no matter how frequently or infrequently it’s repeated. In fact, you do this with your technical work, don’t you? You use IT Glue or IT Boost, or some other kind of system. You seem to systemise everything that happens in the technical side, but do you systemise the marketing stuff? Do you systemise the basic operations of the business? Do you systemise how you want the phone to be answered? All of these things can be systemised.

Paul Green:
And in fact, here’s a third book to read for this kind of thing. It’s called The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, and one of the things he talks about is putting in place an operations manual. You look at your business as if you were going to franchise it. You’re not going to, of course, but if you were to sell it as a franchise, all you’d be able to sell is the brand and the operations manual. Here’s how we do things in this business. Well, you’re not going to franchise your business, but you should still build an operations manual.

Paul Green:
So the first thing to look at is systems. The second thing to look at to stop your staff making mistakes is training. Give formal training to your team on how to implement the systems. Because you can’t just write it down, stick it in OneNote, give it to them, send them a link and say, here you go. This is how you systemise the business.

Paul Green:
You can’t do that. It’s got to be more clear to them on this. It’s got to be utterly clear in their heads, what victory looks like. They’ve got to understand exactly what you are looking for, otherwise they won’t be able to give it to you. So you need to train them on this.

Paul Green:
Now you could do this very simply by having a weekly training session. You simply get all of your staff together once a week and you run through a system, and just make sure that you’re not telling them how to run the system. Give them copies of the system in advance and get them to talk it through.

Paul Green:
Get them to discuss what success looks like. What failure looks like. How they would implement this system, and some of the ways that they would make their lives easier. Going through this on a weekly basis with your staff and picking a different system every week is a great way of getting everyone on board.

Paul Green:
Now, the third thing you can look at, which actually goes hand in hand with training is regular coaching. And I suggest that you have a one-to-one with every member of your team, at least once a month, ideally every two weeks or even weekly, if you can manage it. Now, regular one-to-ones can pick up small problems and they can keep your staff on track when the effect of the training starts to wear off.

Paul Green:
Because we all know that not all staff are the same. You have some great staff, you may even have some terrible staff, and then everyone else kind of sits in the middle. Side notes, if you have terrible stuff, fire them. What is it that you’re waiting for? Just get rid of them. You shouldn’t be scared of bad staff leaving. You should be scared of bad staff staying. Anyway, I digress.

Paul Green:
One-to-one coaching can help you to bring up everyone’s performance. So your good players, your best people, they perform even better. And your average people, they kind of up their game and they get better at what it is that they’re doing. In fact those two things, training and regular coaching are a dynamite combination for improving every single member of your staff.

Paul Green:
Then another factor is to have an environment of excellence. If you tolerate poor performance from even one person, do you know it sends the wrong message to everyone. And this includes your own performance by the way. If you break your own systems and you don’t follow your own operations manual, guess what? Your staff are going to look at you and say, hey, mummy or daddy, because they’re like children, don’t you? And they see you as mummy or daddy. And they’ll say, hey, our parents, they don’t follow the operations manual, therefore we don’t.

Paul Green:
It is like children, like real children. Children are more affected by what you do or what you don’t do than what you say. And staff are no different. So we’ve had four of them so far with four things to help you stop your staff from making the same mistakes over and over again. We’ve had systems, training, coaching, and developing an environment of excellence.

Paul Green:
The final one is to take action on poor performance. We also call this the crunch meeting. Now to maintain an environment of excellence, you’ve got to take action on poor performance and the most appropriate way to do this is through those one-to-ones I was talking about. Sometimes though you do need to escalate things and make your people realise, especially your poor performers realise that this is getting serious now. This is getting urgent and they need to change or it’s going to affect their job.

Paul Green:
Now, of course always get HR advice before a crunch meeting, but this is a good phrase to use with people. “If you were in my shoes and these issues kept occurring, what would you do?” Listen back to that, this such an important one. This is what you say to them. “If you were in my shoes and these issues kept occurring, what would you do?” And then of course you stay silent for as long as you can after asking this question to force them to answer.

Paul Green:
Do you know you owe it to them that they get scared from that question. You really do owe it to them because that could be all it takes to force them into action. And I think your worst performers, they need to know that they are a bad performer, that they’re a poor performer. We owe it to them to make sure that they know that their performance is not good enough so that they have a chance to do something about it.

Paul Green:
I think one of the cruelest things we do as business owners is fire poor performers without ever really telling them that their performance wasn’t good enough. Some of them are going to be repeat offenders. They’ll never be good performers in the majority of the jobs that they have. But most people aren’t like that, and I think you’ve got to give people a chance, but they need to know where they are. They need to know that they’re not quite performing as well as you would like them to be.

Paul Green:
And finally, as I said earlier, but this is such a good point and it’s worth being recapped as busy and as desperate for staff as you are right now, you should never be afraid of your poor performing staff leaving. You should be absolutely terrified that they will stay and continue to act with poor performance.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
If you’ve only just discovered this podcast and you haven’t yet got a free copy of my book, and when I say a free copy, I mean an actual physical paperback copy in your hands that you can read on the toilet or on a bus or on a train or maybe in the comfort of your own home or whatever.

Paul Green:
Anyway, it’s a book about MSP marketing, it’s completely free and if you’re in the UK or the US, we will physically post a copy to you. If you’re anywhere else in the world, we’ll just send you a PDF. The book is called Updating servers doesn’t grow your business, and you can get a copy free right now at paulgreensmspmarketing.com/book.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Stephen King:
Hi, I’m Stephen King of GrowthForce, and we are an outsourced accounting department over the web for managed service providers and service businesses to help them run better, grow faster and make more money.

Paul Green:
Now, Stephen, I know that you work with a lot of MSPs, and when we were just chatting before this interview, you told me that of the MSPs you’ve looked at, people are either doing very well or they’re struggling, and there’s almost nothing in the middle. What are the factors that affect whether someone is doing very well or they’re struggling right now?

Stephen King:
It’s really interesting. The big difference is the ones who have their fingers on the pulse of their numbers and are making data-driven decisions are the ones that are killing it. And so what are those numbers? Pricing is the single most important decision any business will make. It’s the difference between companies that are knocking it out of the park and living that entrepreneurial dream and those that are struggling to survive.

Stephen King:
And what we suggest is, MSPs are all about seat licenses, and cost per seats and revenue per seat. And so, you want to look at unit economics. A unit is whatever appears on your invoice. How many seats are you offering? That’s usually for an MSP, that’s their unit.

Stephen King:
The economics is, how much revenue do you get per seat, which is easy to calculate? Your billing on your invoice and you can see it. But you have to match that with the costs of each seat and be able to see what’s the real margin on each seat. And that’s hard because when you’re in a help desk, you’re got a lot of different clients that you’re working on and you’re spreading your time really broadly.

Stephen King:
But if you look at it from a macro perspective, what is important in trying to figure out how to price that seat, you want to look at how many seats do you expect to sell for the year? Meaning how many at the end of 2021, how many seat clients, billings are you going to have? And then look at how much profit do you expect to make at the end of the year. Start with profits first, and then that’ll tell you how much profit do you need to bake into your pricing on a seat?

Stephen King:
Then the next step is do the exact same thing for your overhead. We just looked at a $10 million business, had $3.5 million in overhead, just round numbers. They got 10,000 seats. That’s 35 bucks a seat. Well, when your sales rep comes in and says, I’m in a competitive bid here. If I can give you a 10% discount, we can close this. Instead of just making a gut decision, you make a data-driven decision. You look at it and say, well, if I give a 10% discount, that’s going to come all out of profits and I’m not going to reach my goal at the end of the year.

Paul Green:
So what you’ve said there makes perfect logical sense, and yet the vast majority of business owners don’t think that way. So why is that?

Stephen King:
Fear. First off, I see a lot of business owners who don’t want to look at the numbers, especially when they’re bad. There’s a subconsciousness of, if I can sell my way to profits, that’s the single biggest mistake I see. People, there’s three drivers of profitability. You have to grow the top line. If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking. You’re going to lose clients. Your costs are going up. There’s lots of reasons why you need to grow that top line.

Stephen King:
But if you don’t also grow your margins, you’re not going to make any more money as a percentage. This company I was talking to yesterday was less than 5% profits and they have a 12% to 15% year over year growth. And they’re like, if we grow, we’ll be able to see that translate to the bottom line.

Stephen King:
But the reality is unless you change your margins, unless you get from 40% margins, the minimum that you want to see in an MSP, gross margin before commissions and 50% is where most of the successful ones are. And the difference between success and failure is the difference between 40% and 50% margin. Because that extra 10%, if you’re a $10 million business, that’s a million dollars. It all goes directly into the bank.

Paul Green:
And that’s going to make quite a substantial difference to the owner’s lifestyle as well, including of course the financial health of the business. So you said about sitting and working out your pricing in a much more logical way and looking at your overhead pricing in a much more logical way. How do you actually do that? What are the first steps to get started on that?

Stephen King:
Well, you got to set the accounting system where you separate your above the line costs from your below the line costs. So above the line means it’s the direct costs that your customer directly paid for. It’s the direct labour that the customer paid for and the direct material, the stuff that your customer paid for. It’s the routers and the software licenses and all the cabling. Those are in cost of goods sold, they’re above the line and the line is gross profit.

Stephen King:
So when somebody says it’s above the line it means you have sales minus cost of sales equals gross profit. And those are the only two types of cost of sales, the direct labour and direct materials. You have to allocate those labour costs when you run the payroll and QuickBooks and Intuit does it automatically. Insperity also does it automatically. Those are the only two. Everybody else you can do it with pivot tables, but you run the payroll. It charges the labour costs above the line versus below the line. So you can see what does it really cost you to deliver your work? Then you can see what’s the real margin that you’re making.

Stephen King:
We dealt with a company yesterday. We actually did that for each profit centre. They have two profit centres. They have a service profit centre and a product profit centre. They’re not trying to make 40% to 50% profit on the products. They’re making 30% margins. They’re fine with that. There’s not a lot of labour, but on the service business, we set up a class in QuickBooks to separate out the service. We can really look at and get down to the customer and the job level and see how much margin are we making on each customer on each job.

Stephen King:
And then stack rank those looking at the worst to the best. You want to make sure that every one of your clients is covering its share of the overhead and contributing its share to the profits. Because if you want a $10 million business, they want to go from less than five to 10% profit. That’s a million dollars in profit. You have to make 10% profit on every job, on every seat. And each one of those seats has to cover its share of the overhead.

Stephen King:
So the first step is to separate those above the line, direct costs from the below the line, the indirect costs and indirect is basically overhead. It’s the accounting, IT, HR. It’s the stuff that the customer is not directly paying for, your rent, your overhead. It also includes your sales. Sales is not what the customer paid for. Sales created an opportunity for you to deliver services that somebody else is going to deliver.

Stephen King:
So you keep those sales costs below the line, but you track the commissions, the variable part of that overhead to the customer. And now you can see the net contribution margin that each customer contributes.

Stephen King:
And that’s how you evaluate, am I serving the right people? This company we talked to, I said, you may end up being better off as an $8 million business. And you might have 15% profits because the top line isn’t what matters. It’s not how much you earn. It’s how much you keep.

Paul Green:
That’s so true, and that’s something that when you’re an MSP owner and particularly, if there’s only perhaps you and a bunch of people helping you, it’s so easy to lose track of that, isn’t it? It’s so easy to be caught up in the day to day and to not look at the business with that analytical mindset. I’m guessing that’s where a good CPA, are you a CPA, Stephen?

Stephen King:
Yes, CPA, 36 years.

Paul Green:
Okay, so CPA for my UK listeners is an accountant, a certified practitioner accountant, is that it?

Stephen King:
Chartered accountant.

Paul Green:
Chartered accountant. I’m glad one of us knows what the acronym stands for. But is that something that you can rely on your accountant to help you with? Or is that something that really as a business owner, you’ve got to learn this skillset yourself. This way of strategically looking at your figures.

Stephen King:
It’s not really a public accounting function. A public accountant focuses on compliance. They’re going to make sure that the taxes are done right. They’re going to make sure that the bank is getting the reports that they need to give you the line of credit. They’re going to make sure that if you’ve got to go through any audit, the sales taxes and all the other things, compliance is going to take care of.

Stephen King:
But this is, that’s financial accounting. This is what we’re talking about today is management accounting. And this is typically done by an outsourced CFO or an outsourced controller. There are CPAs who offer that service, but you want to ask them, do they do management accounting? Are they going to help you understand your unit economics, the profitability per seat.

Stephen King:
And it’s important to have somebody who specialises in the MSP world because it’s different. The labour cost tracking is not going to be the same as somebody who’s in construction. You’re going to have to separate out your products from your services and look at the business differently than just a regular service business.

Stephen King:
And it’s also helpful to understand, what I see in the successful MSPs is their recurring revenue covers all their costs. So that if they do any project work, that’s 100% profit. And so that’s another way of looking at it that a traditional CPA may or may not know about that.

Paul Green:
You see, that’s the dream that a lot of the clients that I work with that they’re working towards is where their monthly recurring revenue covers all of their costs. So even to just start the month, knowing that everything’s paid, salaries are sorted, all the overheads are done. Anything else that we sell this month is, just drops straight down to the bottom line. But in your experience, what percentage of MSPs actually get to that stage?

Stephen King:
Less than 30%, 25%, a quarter. But what’s interesting is once you start down this process, once you start to understand, let’s work backwards from there. Now you can start to look at and say, okay, what are our expenses? What’s above the line, what’s below the line? How much do we need to charge in order to be able to get the margins that we need to cover our overhead and generate a profit? Because that’s why we’re in business, to make a profit.

Stephen King:
And so anybody who’s not starting there is not, you’re not going to get there as fast. And what you find then is once you understand those above the line costs, and I love working with marketing folks because they really understand this. Pricing really should be about the value that you deliver. Where you find the value is by understanding those labour costs that are above the line and getting real detailed visibility.

Stephen King:
Why, this company again, I use this example just from yesterday, we stack ranked their clients. They have red ones, which means we’re not even covering our share of the overhead. We have orange ones, which are, we’re barely. Yellow means, okay, yeah, we’re covering our overhead but we’re not making 10% profit. And then you’ve got green ones that are yeah, we’re making 10% profit.

Stephen King:
Then you start to study, what’s the difference between the green and the red? What is it? The industries? Is it the size of the company? Is it the team that is serving them? Because those companies were priced right, or you’re offering additional value that the client was willing to pay for your unique value.

Stephen King:
We have an MSP that specialises in healthcare. We’re in Houston, Texas, the healthcare capital of the United States. They’re able to charge what they’re worth because they’re adding specialised value.

Stephen King:
And you have to figure out who is your ideal client profile? Who is the ideal client where you can differentiate your services to be able to charge what you’re worth? The riches are in the niches. If you can’t figure that out, you’re going to be struggling and you’re going to have less than 5% profit because it’s hard to differentiate when you’re just a commodity.

Paul Green:
Completely agree with you, and I’ve never heard the phrase, the riches are in the niches. I’m going to steal that. You can give that three or four weeks, and I’ll be trotting that out on the podcast as if I got that myself.

Paul Green:
But no, I completely agree with you. If you’re just another business, another MSP. From a marketing point of view, you’re in competition with everyone else, and as you say, from a customer point of view, how do you add that extra value?

Paul Green:
And certainly the MSPs that I’m working closely with, I’ve encouraged all of them to go off and find themselves a niche or a niche as we call it in the UK or a vertical and to keep the general business, sure. But to focus all of their marketing efforts on higher value, very specialised clients. And of course, it’s so much easier to dominate, from a marketing point of view to dominate a sector if you are a perceived specialist.

Paul Green:
And as you say, Stephen, you can charge more as well because you perceptually add value to them. Stephen, tell us a little bit more about your business and how we can get in touch with you.

Stephen King:
Well, GrowthForce does outsource bookkeeping, accounting, and controller services that help businesses run better, grow faster and make more money. So we’ll focus on helping you get actionable financial intelligence and companies come to us when they’ve got one trusted bookkeeper or financial person in-house, but they’re not a degreed accountant. They have somebody working with them for a long time that they trust and they don’t want to lose, but they don’t know how to read and interpret financial reports or build a management reporting system.

Stephen King:
And so, our focus is on helping you get the data that you need and then teach you the leaders and the existing finance person on how to read and interpret those reports. And you can reach me, email is the best way. It’s Stephen@growthforce.com or our website is www.growthforce.com. I’m on LinkedIn as Stephen King, CPA and Twitter @SKingGForce.

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

Paul Charnock:
Hi there. I’m Paul Charnock. So I’m the co-founder of Plexa. We supply monthly recurring revenue streams that MSPs can sell on. My book recommendation is called Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters. It’s a great map of how to understand how our brains function. It’s understanding how we’re programmed by life and what people we come across, but sometimes how that programming can work against us.

Paul Charnock:
It helps us to understand how we can develop positive capabilities of dealing with setbacks and hardships with life. With everything that’s going on in life at the moment, it’s quite a good book.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

John Davis:
Hey, this is John Davis, a corporate action hero. Tune in next week and find out why I no longer wear my underwear on the outside of my pants.

Paul Green:
Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss John’s interview next week. It’s absolutely fantastic. We’re also going to be talking next week about something called marketing signals.

Paul Green:
Now your business sends signals to potential buyers, whether you realise it or not. And next week, we’ll talk about how to be aware of what your signals are, whether they’re sending a message of, hey, come and buy from us, or actually a message of be aware, stay away from us. We’re cheap and we’re nasty.

Paul Green:
I can tell you next week, which signals you’re sending out and what to do if you want to change them.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to talk about putting together a roadmap for your MSP. You do this for your clients. You put together a technology roadmap for them as part of their QBRs or strategic reviews, but have you ever put together a development roadmap for your business? You don’t need a business plan to grow your business, assuming it’s mature. You need a roadmap, and we’re going to talk next week about how you put that in place. Have a great one. See you then.

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

 

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Hi, I'm Paul Green. Couple of times a week I send great marketing advice to 2,657 other MSPs around the world. Want to join them? I'll also send you a free copy of my book Updating Servers Doesn't Grow Your Business

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