Every MSP is on a journey for success, relevance, and growth. But in all likelihood their current business model may not be enough to sustain that pace for much longer. To differentiate themselves, MSPs should look to adapt and adopt new qualities that people will actively engage with and respond to. Implementing strategies and initiatives that echo the values of those in your community and go beyond offering a product or service will set you on a path to becoming your “business of the future,” according to Dan Scott, IT Nation community manager, EMEA, at ConnectWise, and vice chair of UK Business Technology Community.
Scott outlined five areas that MSPs should focus on to prepare for their business of the future: security, sustainability, community, diversity, and culture, during a UKI Business Technology meeting in Manchester, UK. Here’s a closer look at each:
Cybersecurity: The Shift from Add-on to Cornerstone
Security threats are on the rise and the shift from cybersecurity being an add-on to a cornerstone in service offerings has already happened. Scott suspects that within three years, security will go from being 30% of most MSPs businesses to 80%, a dramatic jump.
Unsurprisingly, this means employing security offerings that are unique to clients’ needs and cover a wide range of risk profiles—all of which is exponentially more important than ever. Market research company, VansonBourne conducted research interviewing thousands of SMBs across a host of industries, their findings show that 92% of respondents would be willing to shift their entire IT services provision, even if they’re happy with the relationship to another company that better aligns with their business goals and risk profile. These numbers support the claim that if you aren’t going beyond basic service offerings to meet clients where they’re at, they’ll seek out someone who is.
Sustainability: Act Now or Get Left Behind
The road to reaching net zero poses challenges in the IT Industry no matter the size of your business, and the significance of MSPs adopting sustainability policies is growing. “There are ways and means of achieving a sustainability policy written in plain English that is friendly and is part of your service offering.” said Scott. In doing so, you will set yourself up for success as more companies favor sustainable alternatives when considering business partnerships.
Integrate into Your Community: Your Community Will Give Back to You
As an MSP it can be easy to be insular, but they can learn a lot from looking outward to other professional services organizations within their communities for inspiration. No matter where you’re at in your success journey, take a step back and ask yourself: What role does my business play within my local community? Does my business give back in meaningful way that positions me as a leader worth following?
The good news is, no matter your answers to those questions, there are ways in which you can improve. Build your company around the love of your community, support local causes, look to others in your community for inspiration and most importantly, give your time and talent to those around you, even those you are not commercially involved with.
Implement DEI Initiatives: Tomorrow’s Decision Makers Don’t Think Like You
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has become an enormous challenge with massive global impact, and strong DEI initiatives can be the backbone to any business’s growth. By understanding that those you work and do business with don’t think the same way as you, and by actively surrounding yourself with people who think differently than you, you’ll begin to foster an environment where growth stems from your employees and clients feeling heard and inspired.
“Don’t think you can enter a market and go and talk to people and use opinions and viewpoints you don’t understand. … Tomorrow’s decision makers don’t think like you. Adapt or lose out,” said Scott. The leaders of the future are cognizant of what is important to others and understand that implementing DEI initiatives will drive their business much further than staying stagnant in old practices.
Become a Liberated Leader: Culture Will Follow
Culture and leadership go hand in hand and understanding how your employees want to be led is the steppingstone to creating a strong company culture. You must know yourself and lead yourself before you can lead others. “It’s all about putting a fire within your team, rather than under them. It’s about a different wavelength of thinking, making people believe that they are capable of even more than they believe,” said Scott. Actively working on a process to become a liberated and intentional leader who understands how to provide their people with appreciation, strategy, vision, and recognition in a way that is meaningful to them will set you on a path to becoming your business of the future.
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