Blueprint for Success: CompTIA Community MSP Guidebook Offers Insights, Best Practices

Created by tech industry experts, the guidebook gives MSPs insights and tips on assessing business gaps and opportunities and how to add them.

A Blueprint for Success CompTIA Community MSP Guidebook Offers Insights_ Best PracticesLeading a managed service provider (MSP) company isn’t easy. MSP leaders need to know how to hire and retain top talent, find the right vendor partners, build a strong services portfolio, keep customers happy—just to name a few things it takes to be successful.

To help the entire industry, members of the CompTIA North America Managed Services Committee recently spent nine months collecting and documenting insights and best practices to help MSPs fill gaps and improve processes. The result of their collaboration is the CompTIA Community MSP Guidebook, a comprehensive manual to help MSPs identify areas of improvement, create more efficient processes and ultimately grow and improve their businesses.

Cultivating a New Culture

The 32-page guide includes chapters on assessing your service portfolio, building effective business processes, investing in people and managing vendor partners. More than 30 CompTIA Community leaders volunteered their efforts to complete the document.

“We took a lot of information, boiled it down into core aspects of operations, marketing, customer success and compiled it into practical advice,” said Juan Fernandez, channel chief at SuperOps and executive council member of the CompTIA Community – North America. It’s always a pleasure working with so many great people. It’s amazing how much we can accomplish. It’s iron sharpening iron. All those perspectives were harnessed down to a laser point. It’s not generalized info, it’s very specific and targeted. That came from the professionalism of everyone involved.”

The volunteers felt that MSPs could benefit from structured best practices to cultivate their culture. They designed the guide both for MSPs starting from scratch and more established players looking to fine-tune their process, according to Tim Conti, director of channel sales at Ntiva.

“The CompTIA Community really came together to combine our collective experiences to offer a best practices guide for operational excellence. It was amazing to hear different perspectives and experiences from industry leaders with the common goal of helping MSPs,” Conti said.

Consider the guide a single, complete resource to get much-needed information that is often missing or deficient in MSPs’ businesses, according to Jessica Schroder, director of growth at Choice Cyber Solutions.

“MSP leaders are extremely busy every day just trying to keep the ship afloat. Before, they would have to find and remember multiple places where, ‘Oh, I saw how to do a QBR here’ or ‘how to do marketing there’ or ‘how to do client satisfaction here.’ All of those things being in different places is difficult and distracting,” Schroder said. “Having one guide that they can download, keep on hand and know where to find something is really beneficial.”

How to Use the MSP Guidebook

With so much information to pore through, the guidebook is segmented by business process/challenge, which makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, according to Conti.

“Skip around and look for the areas of improvement that you can bring to your business and find what is most relevant to your situation or problem,” Conti said.

It’s not meant to be read cover to cover but it should be a good starting point to enhance or improve a facet of business, Schroder said.

“Don’t try to boil the ocean. If marketing is where you need help or where you feel there’s a gap or where you can get the most growth, start there,” she said. “Also, do your research and find peers to work with you. The book is a resource so you don’t stay stagnant but continue to ask questions and use your network.”

To that effect, the hardest part of changing or improving business could be unlearning your current policies or procedures, said Fernandez.

“Come into this with a future-focused mindset. If the guidebook matches what you’re doing now, think to yourself what is possible. Look at things differently. Our objective was to provide a perspective for a more effective way of doing things,” he said. “Read through it, adapt through it and use it as an opportunity to see a future of possible. It’s intended to give you an idea of what’s possible in a structured ‘why.’ If you look at it through that lens, then you can potentially ingest new processes into your business. It’s not ‘I’m doing it wrong,’ it’s ‘I can do it better.’”

Get More Value for Your Business

The guidebook helps MSPs think from a different mindset—marketing, business development for example—and shed light on opportunities they may not have previously considered, said Schroder.

“They’re all different frames to consider helping you change the way you look at your business and be more successful. The more stickiness you can have with the things in this book, the better off you’re going to be,” Schroder said.

Added Fernandez, “The ethos of this book is to help MSPs understand the mechanics of making money in managed services. This isn’t a technical handbook; it’s about more effectively running a business to deliver outcomes. MSPs should look for three things: Customer success, employee success and ultimately profitability. If you have all three, you have the ‘perfect company.’ That’s what everyone wants.”

Everything in the book stems from countless conversations between MSPs to understand current problems, pain points and develop processes and insights to address them, according to Conti. “If MSPs take away even one good idea, implement it and improve their operations, then we've done our job,” he said.

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