From remote working to new security threats, here are 6 important considerations to address in your MSP business plan for 2021.
Life is never boring in the MSP industry, especially with the latest trends emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 introduced a range of new dynamics for MSPs, and this means new opportunities.
Here are several points to consider as you begin shaping your MSP business plan for 2021.
1) Reevaluate the market as part of your MSP business plan
A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis is an incredibly simple, yet powerful tool to help you develop your MSP business plan strategy.
Let’s analyze the MSP market using SWOT.
First of all, identify the things in your control and make them work for you. Think about what business processes are successful, what advantages you have over your competition, what you are good at, which of your clients are the most profitable.
These are things that you might need to improve on to be competitive. Explore new market demands adding new services to your offerings like IoT devices relevant for MSPs to monitor, security camera monitoring, unified communications monitoring, etc. as a way to generate additional revenue.
2020 was the year of the big shift to remote work and this brought a lot of opportunities for the MSPs. Now is the right moment to reevaluate how the market is evolving. This will be particularly important entering 2021 to put your MSP in a successful position.
Track new trends to evaluate where your MSP may find new opportunities. Many businesses will soon be entering the next phase of the crisis and they’ll need your assistance with key technology decisions. That is to say, now it’s time for MSPs to take a step back and design offers that are relevant for companies right now.
Threats are external factors that MSPs have no control over. Consider the ways in which you can help mitigate issues and problems. For example, you could adopt a remote network monitoring & management software like Domotz to proactively identify issues and security risks before things go wrong.
MPS nowadays are expected to bring more features to their clients without increasing prices. This means they need to find new ways to manage these demands without losing profits.
MSPs tips for success:
- Identify your minimum profitable contract.
- Outsource more in order to save money.
- Offer more pricing options to deliver the level of service clients need, without service capabilities your customers won’t use.
2) Incorporate your MSP security strategy as part of your business plan
Cybersecurity should be somewhere on your business plan. With today’s growing number of cyber threats, many MSPs have recognized security as the most important service to implement, especially for their SMB customers.
MSP tips for getting started with Cybersecurity:
- Be aware of the risks: As more clients migrate to the cloud, MSPs need to provide layered security solutions that are necessary to keep their customers safe and their remote employees with the same level of security that they had while working from the office. On the other hand, the huge demands of data-driven digital infrastructure during the past years, mean cybersecurity has truly taken center stage for MSP clients. As a result of these trends, SMBs and also MSPs are increasingly a high priority target for cyber attackers.
- Find the right cybersecurity tools. Determine what tools you need to secure your clients. Consider what tools can help you for threat analysis, compliance, penetration testing, cybersecurity training, or even physical threat detection.
- Train your customers on cybersecurity because the most powerful defense against cyber threats is the end users themselves. Getting your clients to think and act with security in mind will ensure they pay attention to the settings of the tools they are using. Ensure that cybersecurity training is part of your services.
Figure out what your MSP business should consider in order to protect your clients. Depending on your capacity, you may want to outsource this entire piece to a third party. Either way, security is a key component for everybody in the MSP business especially in 2021.
3) Look for new monetization opportunities
Every managed service provider today offers IT support, consulting, competitive solutions and is doing a great job at providing traditional monitoring and management services for specific types of endpoints or commonly used software like Office and Antivirus. What other services can your MSP offer?
- Segment your customers and take a look at their clients. Divide them into categories of businesses that are more recession-proof and less recession-proof. Offer them tailored solutions.
- Start monetizing pieces of technology relevant for specific customers: remotely monitoring security cameras, IP phone systems, POS, access control systems, or unified communications monitoring.
- Determine what you need to standardize, automate or outsource.
- A key to success in monetizing new components of your MSP service is having a cost-effective network monitoring software. A system like Domotz allows you to easily monitor and manage critical components of a customer’s network: firewalls, managed switches, wireless access points, and the gateways that these endpoints are sitting on as well as their performances.
4) Connect with your customers and deliver an excellent customer experience
Customer experience is one of the new evolving trends in the MSP businesses. The reason is simple – MSPs that focus on customer experience reduce churn and increase revenues and therefore leading to higher profits!
However, most MSPs do not track customer satisfaction and retention and underestimate its impact on the business. If you aren’t looking at your options in the customer experience area as part of your business planning for 2021, there’s a good probability your competitor is already one step ahead.
How MSPs can develop customer satisfaction:
- Keep a manageable customer base to provide a high-quality service.
- Collect regular feedback from your customers: create a slack channel, send surveys, send 1to1 emails, use social media.
- Set expectations: be sure your service level agreement is complete.
Customer satisfaction can help MSPs differentiate their services, cross-sell and prevent churn. Bundling and cross-selling services is a core driver of revenue growth and satisfied customers are more likely to purchase other services from you.
5) Develop your MSP marketing strategy
This is probably the thing most MSPs neglect when jumping into a new year of planning, cost management, revenue analysis, etc. They essentially put their marketing efforts on hold.
If you are ready to grow in 2021, take a moment to consider 3 simple steps to help with your marketing strategy:
Know your numbers
All smart MSPs and VARs run their numbers. They’ve got clear dashboards and they know what their profit ratios are. There are plenty of tools out there that will help you figure this out. The bottom line is when you run your business with numbers, you make better decisions. MSPs that do not track, let alone succeed in improving, customer satisfaction may find it considerably harder to sell more services to their customers, which has negative implications for the growth of the business.
Update your MSP website
If your website looks outdated, fix it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money doing this.
- Use simple & clear messaging.
- Think about communications: could you add a blog, product reviews, or video content.
- Use social proof: include testimonials, with logos/profile pictures from real customers.
Identify your target audience and choose the right channels to reach them. Choose the core offerings that best meet your prospect’s needs and make sure your messaging is clear and easy to understand. Create powerful marketing messages for each of your channels – communicate something specific of value, clarify the benefits for your chosen group of customers and go.
6) Deal with bad customers
Take a closer look at your business and measure your clients in terms of time, effort, opportunities, and profits. If a customer is monopolizing your time, they’re preventing you from dealing with other clients who might help you grow your business. To sum up, if you analyze your efforts, most probably you would find that about a third of your customers are taking up most of your time. If you can turn this around, you’ll start to make more profit.
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