Last month, I had the privilege of listening to one of North America's most recognizable and respected business leaders, Robert Herjavec, speak at Empower by N-able’s virtual event. Robert is widely known as one of the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank, but he has a long career of building and selling IT companies.
Robert covered a range of topics during his fireside chat and Q&A (including his experience with the other sharks on Shark Tank!), but the running theme throughout was growth for managed services providers. Here are my five key takeaways from what Robert shared about the lessons he’s learned over a long, successful career, and how MSPs can apply these lessons today.
1. The "Golden Age" of Managed Services is NOW
Herjavec says that now is the best time in history to be an MSP – and that’s not hyperbole. Online access is doubling every three months, and IT is seeing more growth than ever in what’s being called the “post-pandemic boom”. But translating industry growth to tangible business growth isn’t always as easy as it sounds. How do MSPs chart an efficient path forward in today’s climate?
2. Sales Equals Solutions
The most direct route to growth, of course, is sales—but how you’re selling is important. Educating the customer about current IT trends can be an effective way to nurture the relationship but coming to customers with a solution for their problems is better.
Take ransomware, for example—it’s terrifying, and it’s rampant. But it’s not helpful to bombard end-customers with technical terms; they’re not looking to become a ransomware expert. MSP sellers should be deliberate in selling into a solution for customers worried about ransomware—not their fear or lack of knowledge. Solutions must solve a problem; for ransomware specifically, a solution should keep the customer’s information safe without them having to worry about the technical aspects of cybersecurity.
3. MSPs Must Stay Ahead of the Hiring Curve
It’s understandable, especially as a small business, to want to exercise caution when it comes to hiring and expanding. But MSPs waiting to see how the post-pandemic landscape unfolds risk being left in the dust. Herjavec predicts we’re about to enter an age of some of the biggest economic booms in history, and MSPs must invest in their own teams—even if that means outsourcing—in order to be able to scale with the new economy. If you wait until you can’t keep up to hire, you’ve waited too long. MSPs need to be providing constant value, and that can’t be done without a sufficiently resourced team.
4. Hire for Skills and Passion
There’s an old adage in entrepreneurship and hiring, that you shouldn’t hire or partner with anybody that you wouldn’t sit on a long airplane flight with—and Herjavec thinks that’s misguided. “A great team is not necessarily a bunch of people that like each other, it’s a bunch of people that respect each other’s strengths,” he says. Focus on hiring people who are passionate about your business’s mission and your customers, and who can work together to achieve that common mission.
5. Drop the Ego and Get to Work
Reiterating the opportunity that’s available to MSPs who are poised to act, when asked for his one piece of advice for IT providers operating in the new mainstream, Herjavec responded “GO, BABY!”
Herjavec added that if you’re running a business, you have to leave your ego at the door. “Ego kills more deals than almost anything else”, he said; if there’s somewhere you want to be, you can’t be afraid to ask someone who’s already there. People are happy to give others advice, Herjavec says, so never shy away from asking questions.
The same approach applies to relationships too—relationships are great but may not be enough on their own. You’ve got to be humble enough to ask people for their business and sell through your relationships.
Herjavec closed by stating that all IT providers have this opportunity in front of them—not just you, not just your competitor—everyone. But MSPs have got to be willing to make moves to grow, and quickly.
Helping MSPs scale is what my team and I do every day—and so much of what Robert Herjavec spoke about rings true from the challenges we hear directly from MSPs. To learn more about how Collabrance can help scale your managed IT business faster with fewer risks, fill out our contact request form, and someone from the Collabrance team will get in touch with more information.
Hannah Allpress is a Sales Development Representative at Collabrance. She attends the University of Iowa and is pursuing a degree in Marketing and Professional Sales.