How to Build a Multi-Million-Dollar MSP in Three Years or Less

“You’ve got to build yourself up with the right attitude for success, and combine that with the skills and know-how – then, you’ll reach your business goals.” So says Stuart Crawford, CEO of Ulistic LP, a strategic marketing company specializing in IT Managed Services Providers (MSPs). “You’ve got to follow the right recipe that others […]

“You’ve got to build yourself up with the right attitude for success, and combine that with the skills and know-how – then, you’ll reach your business goals.” So says Stuart Crawford, CEO of Ulistic LP, a strategic marketing company specializing in IT Managed Services Providers (MSPs). “You’ve got to follow the right recipe that others have laid out for success,” he continues, when speaking about how to build a multi-million-dollar MSP in three years or less.

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Joined by Neil Bradbury, Senior Director of Business Development with Barracuda MSP on a recent webinar which was broadcast on ChannelE2E, Crawford relates his history of “doing managed services back when it wasn’t a popular buzz-word,” as he says, on through to present-day as an MSP marketing leader. This includes working in all areas of managed IT services – from the hands-on technical work to the business development to sales and marketing.

Building a Successful Company on Valuable Lessons

“What I learned that was very, very important for me was that although the technology is crucial, there was no progress until I failed. I moved forward by trial and error, failure and success, realizing I had to create bigger, better strategies,” Crawford continues.

“Sometimes you have to sell an idea before you create it,” says Crawford, perhaps citing the need to really kick yourself in the pants sometimes and pull innovation out of mid-air. For Stuart and his business partners, it’s all gone into a recipe for success that’s built from the ground up via combining technical expertise with innovative sales and marketing moves that work.

But, as stated above, Crawford and Co. knew that you had to stand on the shoulders of giants first, then leap off onto your own road. Initially, you use established recipes for success, which any good MBA knows is the golden rule in a general way. But, for the rest who are searching for what works – the Ulistic story is an inspiration.

MSPs from all over North America and Australia come to Stuart Crawford because he’s now an established graybeard with the right recipes and rules for success that demonstrably work.

He built a multi-million-dollar MSP marketing business in just under 8 years, which is still growing strong.

He can help you, whether you’re in the planning and startup funding stage, are just getting off the ground, or are at any stage of your business cycle. Even if you’ve gone through an arc of success and have expanded and contracted – Stuart can help you build your MSP back up with strategic tools that will get you greater web visibility, sales leads, conversions, and ultimately – the online promotional growth and service vector you’re seeking.

Specializing in being a successful marketing company selling IT services is confirmation of the evolution of Stuart and Co., which stands as one of the paragons of technical-experts-as-marketing-mavens extant in the world today.

Avoiding the “Churn” Effect with Smart Onboarding

45 percent of reporting HR departments estimate that over $10,000 each year is wasted on poor employee onboarding.

The statistics seem pretty grim, but there is hope. A study conducted by Madeline Laurano in 2013 found more about the best onboarding strategies. As it turns out, the most commonly used strategy in the new employee onboarding process is creating a checklist. Coincidentally, Stuart and friends can help you refine and develop yours.

One example: Developers are sometimes thrown in at the deep end when joining a new company, expected to teach themselves any parts of the code base and architecture they don’t know. While this works for some people, it can be incredibly stressful and might make your new hire want to quit.

The costs of replacing a developer are tremendous if you think about the half-finished projects and time it would take for a new employee to fill the gaps, so we have created a developer onboarding checklist for you to use every time a developer joins your team.

Prepare them for what’s to come, make them feel welcome on their first day and keep up with their work in the following weeks by using this simple developer onboarding checklist.

“Be first or be different, said one of my mentors once upon a time – and Stuart embodies that principle,” says Neil Bradbury of Barracuda MSP. “There are opportunities for getting new customers in the door, making them happy, and finding new opportunities for adding recurring revenue, and he has the means to implement them.”

Bradbury goes on to speak of how entrepreneurs and enterprises must have a process, and have it documented, narrow that process down and make it standardized, and that’s when you’ll have success.

Some of the Best Customer Onboarding Practices

Make it extremely easy from the start. This cannot be stressed enough. Life is complicated enough and if you do not make it very easy to sign-up for your site, you will be losing customers. It’s honestly just that simple.

Take a little time and figure out exactly what you need to know about your customers and the bare basics. This is all that should be included in the sign-up process. Strip away any questions that are superfluous and pare down the process to the absolute minimum.

Save them time. How much spare time do you have? How much do you enjoy filling out lengthy registrations? If you answered not much, and I’d rather have a root canal, congratulations! You’re just like the rest of us. We don’t have a lot of spare time. We value our information and don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing a lot of information right from the start. Social log-ins are a great time saver that are appreciated by a vast majority of consumers.

Sure, you’re going to have some people who do want to use this option, but you can offer a different mode for them. Pinterest is a great example of this. They have the option for a social log-in, or you can create a direct account, it’s up to you. Do the same thing for your visitors.

An integral part of the onboarding process is making a new member feel welcome. You want to thank them for taking the time to join your site instead of ignoring them. If you don’t yet have a welcome email, create one. It doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, long. Rather, it should be warm in tone, fun and offer additional guidance if necessary. For example, if you’ve got a few videos available on how to make the most of their experience, this information should be included both in the email you send out, and their welcome page.

Make it worth their while to stay. Why would you go through all the hard work we’ve just covered only to push someone out the door? Once you get a customer or site member, it’s now up to you to do all that you can to convince them to hang around. While retention isn’t typically looked at as part of the onboarding process, it actually plays a very important role.

In fact, you can look at your onboarding process as planting seeds for future retention. You only get this one chance to make a great first impression and win a customer for life. How are you going to act? If you start looking at onboarding in this light, you will start to see just how important it is to invest some serious time and effort into fine-tuning it.

Invest in streamlining your entire process. You’re going to need to invest both some time and money into streamlining your onboarding process. You can ask friends and family to go through it and get their honest opinions. You can also hire testers to assist you in highlighting areas that need work. Bottom line, you’ve got to be willing to take the time that it takes to do it right.

With more and more MSPs asking Ulistic how to set up successful customer onboarding, it demonstrates what a challenge it is (among so many others) in building a business successfully.

Whatever your challenge is in building a multi-million-dollar business, though, Ulistic can help you overcome it with flying colors, and get it done in a 3-year time-frame!

Contact Ulistic Today for Further Advice on How to Build a Multi-Million-Dollar MSP Business

Whether its successful customer onboarding, establishing recurring revenue streams or optimizing your web profile, Stuart Crawford and Ulistic can help your MSP achieve its loftiest marketing goals. Give us a call at 855-964-2608 or email us at for more information.


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