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During my 9-hour flight back from England, after the MSPU/SPC International boot camp, I had an opportunity to review the lessons I’ve learned over the past several years running my own IT services company in Calgary and working as a MSP coach for the past couple of years..
The lesson that immediately jumped out at me was the one that Gavin Steiner, who runs Barrie IT support company Interprom, shared with me. The important life lesson Gavin taught me was this: when a (insert particular channel company) is done with you, it will spit you out. He was referring to a big one from Redmond, of course. Gavin, you were right.
Then, I got to thinking about my successes when running IT Matters in Calgary. When we were hitting our stride at IT Matters, which I sold in November 2008 after hitting about $5 million in revenue and hiring 30 employees, we were focused on learning and serving the community in Calgary. I think it started to go downhill for me when I started to get too involved with things that didn’t generate direct revenue such as sitting on the advisory councils for TechSelect, HTG and others. I met great people, but it didn’t benefit our business directly.
You see, the clients didn’t care. They only cared about whether or not we provided them with quality IT services.
Fast forward to today. I am a coach and consultant for many IT firms in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. My advice for clients is this: Focus on doing what directly affects your business. Do things that benefit your clients. Turn off the distractions. There are many vendors all wanting your attention, but you don’t have to listen to every single message or be involved in every webinar, conference call or whatever. And you don’t need to be at every single conference being held. If you have a need, satisfy it. Then get back to focusing on providing exceptional services for your clients.
The MSP community is one of abundant noise. Tune into what matters to you; pick your specializations, and team up with people who have done it successfully in the past. Find peers who are going to get you to the next level. Get involved in your local community. In fact, do that first. You’ll find most of your clients in your own backyard. And you want them to know that you’re interested in more than just making money.
I don’t want this to come across as a negative for the IT channel noise makers out there. For some of you, I am one. For others, my stuff is valuable.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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