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This is made worse when a past employee wants to continue working in the same industry as direct competition to their former employer. Sometimes, an employee opens their own MSP marketing agency or accepts an offer at a competing agency. In this situation, it is possible for them to steal your clients or simply diminish your market share. However, there are a few different ways that you can protect yourself from past employees.
One of the best ways to prevent former employees from immediately stealing your business is through a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement. A non-compete agreement is a signed contract in which a current employee agrees not to work for other companies in the same industry for a certain period of time. Once this agreement has been reached, whether an employee chooses to stay with your company or not, they cannot join competing companies for a designated period of time that generally falls between 6 and 12 months. The maximum period allowed by law will vary by state, but all non-competes must have a reasonable expiration date.
A non-solicitation agreement is similar, but it protects your business from former employees trying to steal your clients. A signed non-solicitation agreement means that a current or former employee cannot attempt to steal clients for a given period of time. Again, this time should generally be between 6 and 12 months. This will give you enough time to solidify your relationships with your clients and prepare for competition once the agreement expires.
Whether you work with freelancers, consultants, part-time help, or full-time employees, you will want to protect your current staff from former employees. More often than not, your employees will form strong work relationships with one another. So, when one employee leaves to form their own organization, they may try to bring some of your current talents with them. Obviously, this would be a huge blow to your operation.
To prevent the poaching of your current and even past employees, you need to include a clause in your contract that forbids this activity. Alternatively, if you do not wish to completely forbid this action, you can add a hefty “finders fee” to the clause. For example, if a former employee wishes to hire one of your freelancers, they will need to pay a set amount to you. Setting a high fee, like $100,000 or more, will be an effective deterrent.
This step is something that you should always practice, regardless of the circumstances. However, maintaining strong relationships with your clients is especially important when a former employee is attempting to steal business from you. Perhaps this employee worked directly with some of your clients and has formed a professional relationship with them as a result. It would be relatively easy for him or her to take away those clients if your relationship with them is not strong.
So, how can you make sure your client relationships are strong? Here are a few tips for keeping your clients happy and preventing them from taking their business elsewhere:
Looking for more help to protect and grow your MSP Marketing Agency? Grade your MSP website now at https://www.ulistic.com.
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.