Navigating the Path to Selling an IT Company: Balancing Relationships, Technology and Success

Selling your IT business? Setting expectations and maintaining communication will help achieve a positive outcome for all.
Navigating the Sale of an IT Company

Selling an IT company is a multifaceted process that requires careful consideration of various factors. For owners who have gone through the journey of starting and building their businesses, whether motivated by retirement plans, financial goals or a desire to explore new ventures, selling an IT firm necessitates thoughtful preparation.

While financial aspects and operational details are undeniably important, the value of relationships often takes center stage for MSPs. The strength of customer connections, built over years of trust and collaboration, becomes a significant factor in evaluating the worth and success of the sale. There are a lot of complexities to examine when selling an IT company, including exploring the intricate balance between technical considerations and the undeniable influence of relationships that MSPs have with their customers.

Maintain a Personal Touch With Clients

In the MSP space, relationships play a vital role to your success. It can be emotionally challenging to watch someone else service your clients. But being present during the transition is crucial for customer retention and knowledge transfer.

“The most important thing the purchaser of my MSP was buying was relationships. There was no intellectual property being sold. The clients were the deal, as there was a structured earn-out deal that was based on retention,” said Michael Einbinder Shatz in a podcast episode after he sold his MSP.

Buyers value the personal relationships established by the seller and rely on their expertise during the initial phase of ownership. By setting realistic expectations and maintaining clear communication, a positive outcome for all parties involved can be achieved.

Minimize Disruption With Tech and Billing Alignment

When selling an IT firm, finding the right buyer is of paramount importance. A buyer who shares the same technology stack, utilizing similar vendors and solutions, can ensure seamless transitions for the end users.

“I just transitioned off clients,” Chavous Champ said when he sold his MSP business after 20 years and started focusing on real estate.

Alignments in technology infrastructure allowed for a smoother handover and minimized disruptions in services delivered as well as billing practices. By prioritizing these factors during the selling process, MSPs can enhance the likelihood of a successful sale and maintain customer satisfaction throughout the ownership transition.

Owning an MSP often means juggling technical work with sales, administrative tasks, accounting and compliance documentation. This shift from hands-on technical work to managerial responsibilities can become overwhelming and take away from the true passion for technology.

“I sold my IT business because I realized that my energy lies in the tech work,” former MSP owner Alan Feldman said.

Grow the Business Through Consolidation

The MSP industry is currently witnessing a significant focus on buying and selling IT companies as a means of growth. Many individuals entered the business driven by their passion for technology but found themselves less enthusiastic about the business side of things.

Consequently, these are individuals who will likely be selling their MSPs in the future. Retirement is a common motivation for selling, and if you are considering selling in a few years, now is the ideal time to start the process, as earn-outs and buyouts typically occur gradually.

Buying MSPs presents a fantastic opportunity for growth, and now is a favorable time for industry consolidation. This consolidation makes MSPs larger, better, faster and stronger. As we explore the complexities of selling an IT company, we recognize the importance of relationships for MSPs.

While financial considerations are crucial, the value of customer connections cannot be underestimated. The personal relationships established with clients are often the driving force behind successful sales, with buyers appreciating the seller's expertise and relying on their guidance during the ownership transition. By setting realistic expectations and maintaining open communication, a positive outcome can be achieved for all parties involved.

2023 State of the Channel

CompTIA members get exclusive research into the latest trends impact tech vendors, distributors and MSPs.

Barb Paluszkiewicz  is CEO of CDN Technologies and an executive council member of CompTIA’s North America Community.

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