Episode 87: How to launch a new security bundle

Episode 87: How to launch a new security bundle

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 87: How to launch a new security bundle
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In this week’s episode

  • With all the security news over the last few weeks, you’ve put together a new security bundle and now you want to launch it to your clients and prospects. It’s great you’re excited about the new stack you’re selling, but how do you get others to care about it? Especially when they’re “uneducated” about security matters, compared to you. This week on the show Paul gives some great advice on educating clients and prospects so your offering sells itself
  • Also, do you get stressed about recruitment? If you’re finding it hard to attract the right kind of future employees, here’s a different way to look at recruitment
  • Plus Paul’s special guest this week is an expert in turning OK businesses into highly sellable businesses. It’s an awesome approach because it can make your MSP even more profitable and enjoyable to run, whether you want to sell it now or not

Show notes

Episode transcription

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

Paul Green:
I’ve got a cracker for you today. Here’s what’s coming up in the show.

Steve Preda:
If you really want to tap into where most of the money is, then you want to have a business which becomes a product in itself.

Paul Green:
We’ve also got a great book suggestion from another MSP owner, and we’ll be talking about how to launch a new security bundle, the best way to take whatever it is that you want to sell and launch it to your existing clients and new prospects.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
I don’t know what it’s like where you are right now, but many of the MSPs that I work quite closely with in our peer groups are saying right now that recruitment is a real issue, as in a real, real issue. Certainly here in the UK, we’re seeing lots and lots of people kind of going for job interviews without really having the intention to switch, which I think is quite a cruel thing. They’re almost using it to get a pay rise at wherever they’re working right now. So they’re saying, “Oh yeah, I went for a job interview. I was offered the job. It’s five grand more than I’m getting here. Oh, if you can match that, there’d be no need for me to leave.” And of course because everyone knows that right now recruitment is a bit of a nightmare, and we all know how much it costs to actually replace an employee when they leave, lots of companies are doing that. So that’s a bit of a trend that’s happening.

Paul Green:
There’s also just a general dearth of people out there. This might just be a unique UK thing because we’ve got this thing called the furlough scheme, which is coming to an end soon. And it’s basically where the government has allowed you to put people on furlough. And it’s been going on for some time, it’s been going on pretty much since the pandemic started and it’s coming to an end and there’s going to be a whole series of redundancies, and oh, it’s just going to be all difficult. And all of this is just coming together and making recruiting really difficult right now. And for difficult, read expensive. The MSPs I work with who do recruit people, are either having to do lots more advertising than they’ve previously been doing, or they’ve had to go to head hunters, recruitment agencies, and actually do that. And you know how expensive that can be.

Paul Green:
What’s it like where you are right now? Actually genuinely I would be interested to know. You can drop me an email, hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com, I’d love to hear what recruitment is like in your neck of the woods right now. But whenever I have these conversations, it always strikes me that recruitment is like many business problems and can actually be solved with great marketing. Because if you think about recruitment, it’s no different to marketing. General marketing is where you’re trying to attract the attention of people who could go on to buy from you, build up some kind of relationship and trust with them, before you ask them for something in return for your service. The thing you’re asking them for is money.

Paul Green:
Now when it comes to recruitment, you’re actually asking someone for something far more valuable than money. You’re asking them for their time. You’re asking someone to put their complete trust and faith into you and your business, and in return you’ll give them some money every month, all being well. And in return, you’ll treat them well and you’ll train them and you’ll develop them and all of this kind of stuff. And I’ve always looked at being an employee and having a job as a really risky thing. Maybe that’s just a business owner mindset. Do you feel the same way? But recruiting people into your business is hard and it should be hard because the employees, although it looks sometimes as though we are the ones that are taking the big risk, you and I know we’re not really. We’re the ones taking the smaller risk, because no matter what the employment laws, we really hold all of the cards.

Paul Green:
If we don’t want someone to stay with our business, in the long-term, they’re not going to stay with our business. We will always find a way, legally of course, but we’ll always find a way to get rid of bad staff. I think the employers really do hold all of the cards regardless of the laws that protect employees. And I’m not saying you should be a bad employer at all, far from it, I’m saying you should be an absolutely great employer. The point I’m trying to make is that recruitment is a marketing problem because it’s exactly the same set of circumstances. You’re trying to talk to complete strangers, pre-qualify that they’re suitable for you, build a relationship with them and then get them to commit to you in some way, except in this case, it’s with a job rather than just giving you money for a service.

Paul Green:
So if this is a marketing problem, why are we approaching recruitment with short-term thinking? Because if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of short-term marketing. You’ve got to be in it for the long-term. You’ve got to build audiences with people, build a relationship with them and then be there at the exact moment that they are ready to take action. Recruitment should be exactly the same thing. Here’s how I see it. You should be building up pipelines of people. Do you want first, second, third-line techs? Then build yourself up a pipeline of those people. Now the first-line, they’re easy. They’re the ones who want to get into the game, want to be trained by you, want to perhaps switch over from something else that they’re doing, which isn’t quite first-line, but they’re certainly interested in it.

Paul Green:
You want to find those people and interview them and have a whole collection of them. So the second you have a first-line vacancy, you’ve got a whole pool of ready people. Maybe they’re at college right now. Maybe they’re in unrelated jobs. Maybe they’re just people that are good people and you’re thinking, ooh, the clients will love this person, all I’ve got to do is train them to be a good first-line tech. And it’s ever so easy to train people, it really is. In fact, this is why they say, and they’re right, that you should hire for attitude and not aptitude. If you hire someone with a great attitude, you can always train them to have the skills that they will need, especially a first-line tech. I know I’m not a tech myself, but I’m sure even I could be trained to be a first-line tech. I’d be a slow one and you’d fire me eventually, but even I could do that. So first-line techs are really easy. Go and find great people and just build up a relationship with them. And we’ll talk about how you do that in a second.

Paul Green:
Now, your second and third line techs, that’s where it starts getting a little trickier because these are people who are doing the job that you want them to do for you, but they’re doing it for someone else right now. So where do you find those people? Well, I think you start by looking on LinkedIn. What are the big companies in town that are employing these people? In fact, which are the businesses in town which are diametrically different to your business? So it could be that, let’s say, for example, you’re a small MSP, go on LinkedIn and look at the big MSPs. Who are the second and third-line techs working at the big MSPs? Because there are going to be some of those people who feel lost, they feel like they’re just a cog in the machine because they’re working for a big business. So it could be that down the line, they will happily switch over to a small MSP because they want to be a big fish in a small pond.

Paul Green:
Or it could be the other way round. If you’re a big MSP, you do this to small MSPs. You’d make contact with their second and third-line techs. You don’t have to just look at other MSPs, you could look at who else is employing second and third-line support? Who are the big employers in your town? Are there any software development companies around? Who are the big players and who have they got? And all of this information is going to come off LinkedIn. In fact, I think LinkedIn is just your greatest weapon. Not just in general marketing, but in trying to recruit people as well. Because you can go and look at all sorts of people and you can send them a message, and the kind of message that you would send them is very simple.

Paul Green:
You would say to them something like, “Hey, I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you. I run so-and-so IT. We’re not currently looking for anyone, but I want to build up my… Now we wouldn’t use the word pipeline, so what’s the word would you use? I want to build up my connections with people that might want to have a look at job opportunities in the future. I hope you don’t mind us connecting. If you’d rather we didn’t do it on LinkedIn, then drop me an email.” And you give them like a private email, perhaps a Gmail or something. People will feel a lot more comfortable emailing you at a Gmail address than they will at your company business address. But you could do that to, I don’t know, 20, 30, 40 people in your local area. In fact, this is the building audience stage, you should be constantly connecting to potential future employees. Not just people who apply for your job, but this is potentially years before you even have a job, it’s building up your pipeline.

Paul Green:
So it’s fairly easy to find people. And you might only find that something like 1 in 10 people actually reply to your message or actually connect to you. That in itself is a prequalification, isn’t it? If they’re not willing to connect to you on LinkedIn or even have an early stage conversation with you, that’s great. You’ve just saved yourself a hell of a lot of time and hassle and grief there. But here’s the next thing. Once we’ve built that audience, even if it’s just two or three people to stay in touch with, how do you build a relationship with them? Well, the good news is because this is recruitment and ultimately they’re going to have to trust you, and you’re going to have to trust them, you can do this the old-fashioned way. Go out for a coffee, go out for a beer if that’s appropriate. Have a meal together now and again. Just stay in touch.

Paul Green:
I think meeting someone for a coffee is the right thing to do, and you do that whether it’s first, second, third, anyway kind of job. Just meet up for a coffee. See if you click. See if you get on with each other. If you think about it, the people that you employ, are people you spend more time with than any other people. Do you know that really important person in your life, the person you love? You spend less time with them than you do with your paid employees. This is crazy, but this is the way the world works, unfortunately. So you might as well see whether or not you click with these people before you even start to think about working with them. Nine times out of 10, eight times out of 10, yeah, you click. It’s going to be okay. Great.

Paul Green:
Well, the next stage is just getting to know each other a bit. Go out for a coffee once a month or every other month, just keep in touch with them. Share the news about your business. Nothing confidential, of course, just keep them up to date. Essentially treat them like the future employee they could be. It’s a scheduled task. Something you can do once a month to drop them a WhatsApp or an email, hey, just checking in. How are things going with you? This is what we’re doing here. And for those that you know are going to be job hunting at some point, because they’re unhappy with their current employer, then you can sort of just update them on when you might be looking for a job or even just keep talking about their goals.

Paul Green:
And the idea is that when one of your team walks in and says to you, “Can we have a little chat?” You don’t have to be stressed. You don’t have to worry. You don’t have to bang your head repeatedly against the desk because someone’s just created you a whole ton of work that you didn’t want. It’s okay. You’ve got a pipeline. When you’ve got a pipeline, everything’s okay. You just work your pipeline. You send out your WhatsApp messages, hi, all right, so the moment is here, we’ve got a vacancy. Dave’s going to be moving on to something better. Is it worth us having a chat or is this not the right time for you? And they’ll soon tell you, because that’s the thing with the pipeline. It doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed an employee, a future employee in there, but it’s a great place to start. It really is. And if you’ve got to know them, and they’ve got to know you along the way, this is a very clever thing to do.

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

Paul Green:
I can imagine just how excited you are. You’ve spent months pulling this together. You’ve looked at vendor versus vendor. You’ve been in your peer groups. You’ve been on your Facebook groups. You’ve asked all of your connections, which are the best security products? You’ve tried two or three, you’ve put them together, and now you’re ready to launch. You’ve got your brand new security bundle. Now what do you do with it? Because you’ve got this bundle, you’ve got all the right tools, but what’s the best way to actually get it in front of the clients? This is a surprisingly common question for me. When I start working with MSPs and they’ve got this new bundle together and they’ve put together the right, should we call it a security stack? Is that the right thing to call it? Let’s call it that. So you’ve put together your right security stack and you’re ready to launch it. What do you do?

Paul Green:
Now the worst thing that you can do is say to your clients and your prospects, “Hey, we’ve got a new security stack.” Because do you know how much they care? They don’t care at all, do they? Remember ordinary people don’t really care about cybersecurity in the way that you do and in the way that I do. I mean, they do care if they get hacked, they don’t want all the hassle and the pain and the expense, but it’s just not top of mind for them. In the same way that if you and I were selling burglar alarms and we were selling security cameras and monitored alarms to go into their home, most of the people we’d talk to just wouldn’t be that bothered about it until something happens. Their friend down the road gets burgled or their car gets stolen off their drive or there’s some kind of incident that if only they’d had a camera system, that’s the point at which they care about security.

Paul Green:
And it’s exactly the same with cybersecurity. They don’t really care about it until it becomes real to them. Now there is a way that we can make it real to them, we’ll come onto that in just a second. But launching a new security bundle actually starts by not focusing on the fact you’ve got a new security bundle. This is news to you only. And of course you’re excited about it because you spent weeks and weeks, if not months and months, putting this bundle together. You know it’s the best security stack that you’ve ever had, but going at it from that angle is completely the wrong way to promote it. Sometimes when we invest huge amounts of time and effort and attention into something, we think everyone else is going to be as excited about it as we are, but they’re not. They’re really, really not.

Paul Green:
So let’s not approach it from our point of view, let’s approach it from their point of view. From their point of view, nothing has changed. So you’ve got a new offering, who cares? What matters is looking at it as they do. And remember they don’t care. So actually, whenever you want to launch any kind of new security offering, the very first thing you’ve got to think about is education. Now your new security stack might offer all sorts of protections in all sorts of different ways, but put that to one side for a second. That’s you doing your job properly. That’s you making sure that you’ve covered off as many bases as you can protecting your clients in every possible way you can. From the point of view of educating them, you’ve got to keep it really, really simple and just show them all the things that could happen.

Paul Green:
There are some resources that we provide to the members of our MSP Marketing Edge service, and these resources are designed to do exactly this, to educate the people that they’re speaking to, the people our MSPs are speaking to, and educate them about cybersecurity. So for example, we have some videos, they’re called the Hackers Toolkit videos, and we paid a certified ethical hacker to do three hacks on victim’s machines. They’re actually his virtual machines, but he filmed both sides of the hack. So you can see what the hacker does and just how easy it is for them to encrypt a machine and launch a ransomware attack. In fact, it’s terrifying to watch it. And I say this as a non-tech, really, truly terrifying. You show a video like that to an ordinary person and suddenly it’s like the light bulb has gone on in their head. They get it.

Paul Green:
It’s the same reason we provide a book, it’s called Email Hijack, and it’s written from an ordinary person’s point of view about how easy it is to get 20,000 out of their bank account, just by getting into their email and altering an invoice and changing the bank account details. Again, you put that in front of an ordinary person, the light bulb goes on in their head. So I think education is always the right way to launch any kind of new security bundle or even just to revitalise your existing one. Educate, educate, educate. Remember, the people you want to speak to, the people who are going to be your future clients and who are going to buy you a Porsche, they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t even realise that cybersecurity is the big thing it is. They don’t realise how terrifying it is.

Paul Green:
Now and again, something will raise up into their consciousness, like the Colonial Pipeline hack from a few months ago, but then it just sinks back into the obscurity of their mind and they don’t realise it’s a big thing every single day. And you and I know they’ve got terrible working practices, they’ve got weak passwords, they don’t use MFA, and it’s enough to make you tear your hair out. Maybe you do actually physically tear your hair out because this of course is your world and your nightmare. But the more we can educate them the better, and that’s where a launch always has to start.

Paul Green:
Now the next thing is to try and make it easy for them to try things out. Because even when we educate them about cybersecurity and all the things that could go wrong, we’re not necessarily making it easy for them to take the next step, which is to try these security services out. Could you do a free trial of your bundle where you say to them, “Hey, try this out for three months free, and if you don’t like it at the end, we’ll remove this and you’ll never have to pay anything.” Now I know that’s going to create a whole load of work for you. Starting a whole load of services and then finishing them, but actually the vast majority of people, or certainly a majority of people, will just continue off the back of that free trial and will just start taking the service. They’ll just start getting billed for it.

Paul Green:
Even if 75% of people did that, that’s a really easy way to offer something extra to your existing clients, isn’t it? Try this out for a month or two or three months, I think probably a month would be enough. And if you don’t want it, at any point you can just downgrade and cancel it. We’ll do that, no problems. But we’d like to try this because we want to offer you greater levels of protection. I’ve said that completely the wrong way, haven’t I? It’s not about what you want to do, you want them to be protected at higher levels. It’s always about them.

Paul Green:
The other thing that you could do is you could offer them a choice of three packages. Now we call this the good-better-best approach, or bronze, silver, gold, and the psychology of this is so powerful. Because when you offer someone the choice of buy it or don’t buy it, well, that’s the choice, isn’t it? It’s either yes or no. Do you want this? Yes or no. That’s not necessarily always the best choice, especially when they don’t understand what it is that they’re buying. A better approach for this is to offer them a true choice. Hey, we’ve got three levels of this, so you can choose the one that’s right for you. We’ve got our bronze package, which includes this and this, and it’s this price. Or we’ve got a silver package, which is better. That’s got this, this, this, this, and this, and it’s got this price, which is a bit higher than the other price. And then we’ve got our best package, the gold package, which has got you reel off 20 items, and of course it’s got the higher price.

Paul Green:
And then the question you asked them is this, which of these is the right package for you? That’s a very, very, powerful way of saying, which one do you want to buy? Let me say it again. Which of these is the right one for you or which of these is the right choice for you? Because as they look at it, their mind is comparing the packages. In fact, you put the package you most want to sell in the middle because it’s got a double comparison. They can compare it to something that’s not quite as good and they can compare it to something that’s actually better. That’s a double win. Because when you do that, again, the majority of people will look at that and they will plump for the middle package simply because it seems to be the best value. It seems to be the right choice for them. The middle of the road choice.

Paul Green:
One final thought on this is when you are launching a security package, and this does come with a caveat, one thing you must always do is to ask your vendors for help. So whoever you’ve put into your security stack, don’t forget that these guys have been selling security for years, their specific security package. They might have some MDF, some marketing development funds, or even just some resources available to you. My one caveat with this is just remember that a lot of vendor marketing is far too focused on the actual product or service and it should of course be more focused on the person themselves, on the prospect, because it’s the prospect’s. And when you get into their head and into their heart, that you actually start to sell this stuff.

Paul Green:
So as long as the vendor stuff isn’t too focused on the vendor and they’re not insisting on stupid things like having their brand name mentioned and all of that kind of nonsense, if it’s a nice sensible marketing program or marketing resource that’s focused on the prospect, then it wouldn’t hurt you to pick that resource up and use that to sell a lot more of your security stack.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
Call me weird, but I’m reading my own book here. It’s called, Updating servers doesn’t grow your business. And I wrote it back in 2016. It’s still completely valid for you. It’s a great mini guide to marketing your MSP. I’m just on chapter seven, which is on page 27 and it’s called, make your business famous. It’s all about PR. How do you get your local newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, news blogs, magazines, forums, how do you get them talking about your MSP in the right context? The answer is in this book. And do you know what’s great as well? This is a physical printed book and we’ll print it and send it to you completely free. We don’t even ask for any money for shipping or anything like that. This isn’t one of those things where we’re trying to get you to put your credit card number in so that we can then go and sell you something. Far from it.

Paul Green:
I want to start a working relationship with you. And the best way to do that is to send you a physical copy of my book for free. Maybe you’ll read it on the toilet. I’m quite happy with that. So listen, if you’re in the States or you’re in the UK, we will physically ship those to you. If you’re anywhere else in the world, we’ll just send you a PDF. Or you could move to the States or the UK, and then we’ll physically ship you a copy. Perhaps an extreme thing to do. Anyway, you can get your free copy. It’s on the homepage of my website. Go to paulgreensmspmarketing.com, just scroll down the homepage a bit and you’ll see a picture of that book. You just fill in the form there. paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Steve Preda:
My name is Steve Preda, I’m the author of a new book called Buyable: Your Guide to Building a Self-Managing, Fast-Growing, and High-Profit Business.

Paul Green:
And who doesn’t want a self-managing, what was it? Self-managing, highly profitable, well, basically a wonderful business? And you were telling me just before the interview that the goal is to build a business, which not only is incredibly buyable, and I know you’ll explain the difference between a buyable and a sellable business in a second, but also along the way is to create a business which is actually fun to run.

Steve Preda:
Exactly. So I’m an entrepreneur and I believe in the beauty of building a business and the excitement. The journey of finding the right people for your business and to work with them and come up with the idea and execute it and see your business grow and bloom. I think it’s a wonderful journey and it’s also an opportunity to create a legacy. I mean, who has this kind of opportunity that you are a business owner and you can create something where you employ other people and you’ll see them become successful themselves. And then your business goes on in perpetuity. Maybe it becomes part of another business, but it’s something that you create and it’s going to be there even when you’re gone. I think that’s just tremendously exciting, that idea.

Paul Green:
It’s not tremendously exciting thinking about a time when you’re not here. I know exactly what you mean about the legacy of that business. And of course we all get so tired and so worn out running our business day to day. It’s sometimes quite hard to remember that, to keep that in your mind. So let’s go back a little bit in time, Steve, and let’s talk about your career and essentially what qualifies you to write a book about making a business more buyable.

Steve Preda:
My career, when I was 35 years old and I finally broke the chains of employment and I started my own business. My business was helping other people. So it’s mergers and acquisitions, it’s what it’s called in the UK. So helping other business owners make their business buyable and actually find the investors for them. I grew the business and it went pretty well. I mean, we had our share of troubles in 2008. We almost went out of business, but we recovered. And 2011, we had the Eurozone crisis and I was in London at the time. And then the Bank of England poured in £500 billion into the banking sector in a single week. And after that I realised it was a very crazy situation. And my wife and I decided that we would try to not wait for strike three and we would come to the U.S.

Steve Preda:
And as I was packing my luggage, I got call from a private equity group manager, and he invited me to be his partner. He wanted to create this merchant banking business, my MNA, and his private equity, and kind of roll it out to Central Europe. And I told him that I was not ready to do that because of the move, but it was kind of good timing. And if you want to give an offer for my business, I was open to offers at the time. And I have been regretting ever since saying that because when I got his offer, it became very, very clear that I didn’t have a business to sell. It wasn’t a buyable business. He basically told me that he would be glad to pay for my fancy furniture and my computers, but the business was too dependent on me. And I was the chief cook and bottle washer in the business and without me it’s not a business, so there was nothing to buy. He would pay us a commission for our deals, but that was it.

Steve Preda:
So that was a big humiliation for me having advised others and now I was the emperor without clothes. So I hunkered down and I stumbled upon a couple of books during that time, before and during. The E-Myth is one and the other one was Traction. Both of them, I call them management blueprints. They help you implement management concepts in your business to make it much better. And I implemented Traction at the time, and during the year my business became buyable. And then I moved over here and started coaching businesses. I ran a couple of CEO peer groups, and started doing EOS, which is Entrepreneurial Operating System, Traction consulting. And I realised that this was the book I had to write. So it’s all about the seven management concepts that small companies can kind of emulate big companies and implement it in their business. And then you have the management blueprints, which help you implement those management concepts in a cookie cutter way. And this is part of the buyable process. How do you make your business buyable? This is all part of the system.

Paul Green:
Okay. And we’re going to come back to that book in a second. But before we do, let’s talk about MSPs, because I would imagine a number of MSPs would be in exactly the same position that you found yourself in all those years ago, where actually there is no business if you take the person out. If you take the owner of the business out. Even perhaps an owner with two or three techs, it’s not really a real business because it can’t stand on its own two feet without the owner. Now in a situation like that, is a business buyable just for the client contracts?

Steve Preda:
Sometimes. But the client contracts, maybe they will get a multiple of two or two and a half times of revenue and then you have the expenses of generating that revenue. And then if you try to sell that, then probably your buyer is going to ask you to stay behind so those customers don’t go away. Not going away. So it’s possible to sell contracts, but the value of it is much, much lower. If you can sell it as part of a company, which actually runs on its own and it’s got its own management team and it has a vision and is going somewhere, then you can talk about the future of this company. So the focus is not going to be on the contracts, it’s going to be on the future of this business, where this business is going. And then the buyer is going to be focusing on, okay, how can I grow this business? How valuable it’s going to be, and then the discussion is totally different.

Steve Preda:
The multiples are going to be much higher. And then you actually have a business. And the business is defined as assets plus goodwill, right? So you are actually selling the goodwill that you created, not just the assets, which is the customers and the contracts.

Paul Green:
So help us understand the mindset of the typical buyer. Are they really looking for something that’s self-contained, that operates without that original owner? Or are they looking for something that’s perhaps a bit more broken that needs some work, but there’s a higher upside. There’s a greater opportunity for them.

Steve Preda:
So there are different types of buyers. There are each type that you mentioned. So you have the buyers of the mom and pop business who are looking to operate the business. Essentially they’re buying themselves a job, right? It’s similar to buying a franchise. You’re buying a business where you know that it’s not going to work without your blood, sweat, and tears, and you will have to take it over. You essentially replace the owners. And then the business doesn’t have to be self-managing. You just have to be able to take it over from business. But these businesses sell at two to three times multiple of profits. It’s not a very lucrative thing. It doesn’t really have much goodwill, these kind of businesses. If you can build a bigger business, which has its own leadership team and its own vision and it has its own dynamic and you can step out and it works without you, then it’s going to be a much, much more valuable business.

Steve Preda:
Now there are of course buyers who want to buy broken businesses because they want to get the bargain and their skill is to turn it around and then to sell. It’s like flipping a house. You can buy a house that needs to be painted, maybe you build a deck around it, you spruce it up, and then it’s going to be a more valuable thing. You’ve got these kind of buyers, but if you really want to tap into where most of the money is, then you want to have a business which becomes a product in itself. And then you can access private equity buyers, strategic buyers who are in your industry or family offices and what all these people want to do, they want to buy a business which they don’t have to worry about because they have money. Their business is not to take your job, right? They want to have an asset which is growing, which is profitable. And they want to put their money in that high return yielding asset.

Steve Preda:
There’s always something going wrong, so therefore at the start, they definitely want to buy something that if everything is going right, they don’t ever have to touch it. And if something is going to go wrong then they will have to touch it. But the least worry they have about it the better, and therefore you should make your business, if you want to attract this broader audience, buyable, so that that’s the kind of asset that you have.

Paul Green:
And so your book, Buyable, that talks you through the actual strategies, the ways to create the business that is more desirable by the end buyer?

Steve Preda:
So the buyable process has four stages. The first stage is for you as an entrepreneur to figure out what you really want to do. And maybe what you want to do is just own this lifestyle business and just grow it single digit every year and just have this job and be engaged with your people, and that’s fine. But most people want something more. Most people want to be at a certain kind of business or they want to be in a different business and they want to use this as a springboard. Or they want to retire or they want to pursue their hobbies or they want to do philanthropy or they want this business to be self-managing so that they can go back into the business and just do the computer programming perhaps that they really were passionate about in the first place, but they don’t want the hassle of the management and everything.

Steve Preda:
So that’s the first stage. So figure out what you want to do, then basically I help you walk through, figure out what it’s going to take you financially to get there. What is your magic number? What is the value of your business now? What is the value that you need to grow it to in the future? So I have calculators on my website so that you can figure that out. And when you know that you can start to orchestrate your business. Okay, what are those management concepts that you want to implement in the business so that you’ve got a well managed business which has got a vision and a plan and executing well? And when you have implemented these management concepts then it comes back to, okay, how can I drive more growth into this business? Because maybe I’m not there yet. My number is maybe $50 million and I’m not there yet. So I still need to work more on this.

Steve Preda:
The business is well managing now, but it has to grow faster. It has to be more profitable. That’s part three of the book. And part four is how do you transition to this ideal life stage? Whether it’s inside or outside the company. So I talk about different scenarios. How can you harvest your business and how can you figure out how to transition inside or outside of your business? And where do you have to pay attention? What’s the mind game around it? What are the pitfalls emotionally when you let go of your business? Or what kind of investors you can bring in so that you can take chips off the table. So all of that is part four of the book.

Paul Green:
So everyone’s going to exit their business at some point. How many years before you plan to get out do you think you should start the preparatory work?

Steve Preda:
So again, so this is not about preparing for exit, right? It’s about creating an asset which is valuable. I could have called this program, the great business program, as opposed to buyable program, right? It could have been the well managed growing business program. So I could have given it different names because the idea is making your business really good and it’s never too early to do that. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of just not seeing the forest for the trees, right? Just looking and trying to survive and just trying to stay in business for another month and for another quarter and not really thinking about, okay, what am I trying to achieve here? And I think it’s always good to put things in context. What’s an ideal life for you? As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to create whatever life you want for yourself, because your business is a great vehicle to get you there. If you think about it, the better the situation you’re in, you’re going to get there earlier. You can make your business better.

Steve Preda:
So I would invite you to engage with the idea of figuring out what you want in this business. Do you want to stay inside and build it big, or you just want a lifestyle business? I was talking to a prospective client this morning and they have this family business owned by two brothers. And really what they want is they want a lifestyle business which is a little bit more profitable than now and it’s growing a little bit faster because they have to put their kids through college. That’s all they want. They don’t want to scale this business. They don’t want to exit this business. It’s a fun lifestyle business. They love working together. That’s fine. As long as you know that this is what you want, I think it’s important for you to know, and then when you know what you want, then you can have a plan to get to what you want. This is what the book is about using your business to create that plan and execute that plan.

Paul Green:
I love it. Steve, where can we get Buyable from?

Steve Preda:
So Buyable is available on Amazon in all sorts of formats. So there is audiobook, there is Kindle, there’s hardcovers. All of that is there. If you want to check it out before you buy it, then I invite you to check out buyablebusiness.com, and you can download the first 40 pages of the book and so you can sample it for yourself. If you’d like to figure out whether your business is buyable or not, then check out buyabilityassessment.com. You answer 40 questions and you will get an analysis of the six factors of buyability of your business. So you’ll know exactly where you are on the different factors. And there are also suggestions as to what to do depending on where you are. So you can start from there as well.

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

Nancy Sabino:
Hi, I am Nancy Sabino. I am an MSP owner. And the book I recommend is The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Because if you’re an introvert like me, you want to learn about why you should step into leadership shoes, especially because our voices are still needed even in a world that can’t stop talking.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Jamie Warner:
Hi, my name is Jamie Warner, CEO of eNerds and Invarosoft. Super excited to be joining Paul Green’s special podcast to tell you all of my secrets about building my MSP to over $9 million in revenue organically. We’re going to go through all the tips and tricks around sales, marketing, and conversion. And tell you a little bit about the CX platforms that are out there. Join us to learn some amazing gold nuggets on how to scale your MSP.

Paul Green:
Jamie said it all there. It’s going to be a cracking special next week, a whole feature-length episode of the podcast, an hour long, focused on how Jamie built up his MSP and also another business that he built on the side. He’s an incredible guy and I cannot wait to have him on the show next week. See you then.

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

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