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One of the longest-running conversations in IT services is whether or you should focus on a specific vertical. Here's why you should let your passion lead your business.
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One of the longest-running conversations in IT services is whether or you should focus on a specific vertical. Here's why you should let your passion lead your business.

When you're starting an MSP, there may be an event or felt need that prompted you to get started. When you're struggling to keep your business going, it's all too easy to go after every opportunity, regardless of whether you feel it's the ideal fit for your business model or expertise. Over time, this can lead to a very diverse portfolio of clients and you may be struggling to gain the knowledge that you need to support a variety of different industries. How can you tell when it's time to step back and focus on a single vertical? While it may feel like a challenging task, there are significant benefits to engaging more deeply with a specific business community.

Gaining an Impressive Knowledge Base

While many businesses have basic IT infrastructure needs such as telephony, internet access and business computers, there are nuances in nearly every vertical that can benefit from IT professionals who have specialized in that business model. Healthcare, legal and financial verticals are particularly challenging, as IT service providers may take years to get up to speed on the various regulatory and privacy issues that affect these lines of business. Once you've gained an extreme depth of knowledge for one client, it makes more sense to leverage that institutional knowledge to support other clients with similar needs than to go learn the challenges for yet another business type. In CRN's top predictions for MSPs, one of the key findings was on the benefits of vertical specialization.

Adding Greater Value to Your Clients

In a world where there are plenty of companies who can competently set up a server or provide Microsoft licenses to clients, what are you doing to differentiate your business? There are a growing number of specialized SaaS vertical options on the market, showing that software companies are tapping into this strategy as well. Says Mat Brogie in a recent article, "Positioning yourself as an industry leader makes your company more attractive to a buyer than another company that doesn’t specify in their niche". Providing greater knowledge of industry-specific compliance issues and cybersecurity challenges help tech companies add strategic insight to clients.

Becoming Accepted in Your Chosen Community

Here's why it's important to select a vertical that aligns with your passion: this isn't a quick-fix change that will immediately start growing your business. You have to put in the time, effort and equity required to become a trusted leader in your chosen vertical. This doesn't happen overnight and may take years for you to become fully accepted and start gaining referrals that will grow your business. When you do your research and have deep knowledge of the challenges facing these organizations, you are able to add greater value to the business which helps move you from the status of being a vendor to becoming a true partner in your client's business growth.

At Ulistic, we are absolutely passionate about focusing on a single vertical -- IT services marketing. We continue to deepen the conversation with IT managed services providers throughout the country by attending (and creating!) events, providing thought leadership through great content and aggressively looking for ways to help our clients grow their business.

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