Simple rules can remind you what to do when your mind might otherwise be distracted or overwhelmed.
One of today’s buzzwords in business is strategy. Everyone wants one, but many aren’t sure of the how and why it even matters. In my 40+ years in business, there is little question that strategy, and the required planning to achieve it, are important success factors for any company or individual to reach their defined outcomes.
It was the early 2000s, and I just finished delivering Cisco and BIND DNS training for a client. It was a good fit; they liked me, and I liked them. They asked if I could present a customer service training program for their IT staff. They had previous training with generic customer service trainers who were very good but didn’t understand IT culture. My client wanted me to design a customer service training program from the perspective of a geek — someone who understood our industry’s culture.
It’s unbelievable how time flies when you are the owner of an IT managed service provider. It seems only yesterday that I started by myself in a 500 sq. ft. garage and now ATG-IT has 17 employees working out of 6,000 square feet. Five years ago, we reached 25 years in business. We had been mostly successful, growing sales and profit year over year, having only the odd blip now and then. We didn’t have a significant churn of customers as they were mainly happy.
MSPs are complaining about the commoditization of IT. How does the techie- turned-business owner handle this? Should they accept that their value proposition is not unique and their clients and potential clients can get comparable IT service and support from their phone, internet, and copier companies?
One company’s journey into managed security services.
Mike Bloomfield dropped out of his collegiate studies in computer and electrical engineering to join the ranks of corporate America. After earning an eight-year “graduate” degree in the school of corporate IT experience, he launched Tekie Geek in 2013.
Brian Mauch earned law and commerce degrees from the University of British Columbia and launched BMC Networks on the heels of his 1996 graduation. But, his passion for computers was born long before that. “Going through school, I always had computer-related part-time jobs, and growing up, I was the technical support resource for family and friends,” he says. “I had the first Commodore 64 on the block when I was a kid, because my mother had the foresight to predict that personal computers would be an integral part of business one day.” At a robust 30 FTEs today, Mauch claims his company is the largest law firm-focused MSP in Canada. We caught up with Mauch for some insight into his leadership at BMC Networks.
Being a member of an IT group offers plenty of benefits for business owners, but finding the right niche-focused community will offer more in terms of knowledge sharing, expanded business opportunities, and oftentimes, friends for life.
Whatever sales industry you work in, the first step is always going to be the same: to qualify your sales leads to determine how good of a fit they are (or not). It can be frustrating trying to chase after every deal. It’s ultimately a huge waste of time. It’s best if you can qualify the prospect up front and determine if it’s worth the investment of time and resources to take them through your sales process. When you do this, you won’t waste countless sales cycles chasing bad deals.
Jay McBain is a prognosticator, but he never takes a flyer. The rightfully well-known principal analyst for Global Channels at Forrester is a counter, a chronicler, a statistician, and a scientist. He leverages a weeds-deep, fact-based analysis of the past and present to prepare channel partners for the future. There’s no one I’d more confidently ask for some 2019 predictions, and there’s no one happier and more confident to offer them up. Here, McBain reflects on 2018 and offers up his thoughts on the year ahead.