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Build a Better MSP - Blog

4 min read

Unleash Your Growth Potential

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 11, 2019

Whether you’re a “one-man-band”, an emerging MSP with a handful of people, a team about to reach the 20 people mark or even a large 50+ organization you have one thing in common: you may have reached a growth plateau and want to unleash your potential to get to the next level. In hindsight you can recognize that it all comes back to bottlenecks in your organization’s capabilities to unleash those potentials role by role: Account Management, vCIO, Technical Account Management, Sales, Cybersecurity and even the owners. All of them have low-hanging-fruit opportunities and by snagging those you can get to the next level in a smooth, predictable way.

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2 min read

How Do I Get Visitors to Engage with My Website?

By Russell Stalters on Oct 8, 2019

How to Do I Get Visitors to Engage with My Website?

I mentioned this in my last Blog post. We live in a very “noisy” world and we need to grab their attention in less than a couple of seconds.

This is true for our website too. People don’t read website content any longer. When someone lands on your homepage they will start skimming the page very quickly to decide if they want to spend more time diving deeper.

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5 min read

How you steal money from your own MSP and how to stop doing it

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 4, 2019

Unfortunately this is not a cheap cliffhanger title just to grab your attention. You’re reading it on your mobile so I’ll be brief like a bumper sticker: you steal money from your own MSP because you address the symptoms of problems with tactical Bursts of effort. That only generates more work and expends resources to generate tiny bits of unsustainable value. Sure, you feel busy and productive, but you don’t solve the problems in the long run. Sound familiar? Let's take an example and see how to fix it with Smart Goals and an action plan.

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5 min read

7 Smart Tips to Maximize Your Continuum Help Desk Partnership

By Josh Weiss on Sep 18, 2019

My Journey

After my business grew from a break/fix it tech provider to a full fledged MSP, it was clear that I needed to offer 24/7 Help Desk service. I weighed the options and decided to outsource this role, choosing specifically to partner with Continuum’s Pittsburgh team. This partnership has thrived for the last 4+ years, expanding to encompass our Server Management, Security Operations, Network Management roles and more.

But, even though Continuum is an excellent partner, I learned the hard way that outsourcing a core operational process, like a Help Desk, can not be treated like ‘set it and forget it’. There are instances where it will not fulfil your needs... where you have to tailor it to fit your business. I also learned that the only way to take advantage of all that it offers is by first understanding how it works. It took me years and many mishaps to figure that out.

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3 min read

How to Make Managed Service Provider Marketing Better

By Russell Stalters on Sep 11, 2019

Here are two ways to make your making better.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) most often have really complex solutions. One challenge most people in the IT industry suffer is the “curse of knowledge”. The term was coined by Chip and Dan Heath back in 2006 and then they wrote about it in their 2007 book, “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”. Later, Lee Lefever described practical ways to combat the “curse of knowledge” in his book “The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand”. I highly recommend both of these books to anyone who is marketing and selling IT solutions.

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2 min read

Make Your MSP Blog a Sales Tool

By Derek Marin on Sep 6, 2019

Okay, you just exchanged business cards with the owner of an accounting firm during a chamber event. 

He said, “Sure, let’s plan on meeting some time over the next 2 weeks.

Awesome! You left the event with a qualified lead! Plus, he agreed to meet and he already shook your hand. 

The problem, because we all know it’s never that easy, is that there’s a delay. You couldn’t ask him much of anything, and nevermind describing what makes your MSP unique.

There’s no set date for the appointment, and who knows, he may bump into a competitor or research online in the next 10 days!

So, what do we do now?

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4 min read

Why your QBRs are costing you, customers

By Adam Walter on Sep 2, 2019

For those of us who have been in technology for a while, we have seen some pretty crazy setups from well-meaning people. Largely this is because we have very smart capable people trying to work in environments with limited knowledge.  Most were trying their hardest but just didn’t know any better.  

Some of the crazy things I saw back in the day were “vlans” that were actually just subnets, firewalls with giant holes in the ruleset, and unrestricted VPNs that were completely insecure. These mistakes were not made by lazy admins, they were made by well-intentioned technicians that didn’t know they were doing anything wrong. All they knew was that things were working smoothly.

Topics: QBR
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4 min read

The 4 roles that make you a high value business partner

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 30, 2019

Transforming your Basic IT Service Provider company into a high-value business partner is a study in communication - why you communicate, what you communicate and who is communicating to whom. There are four roles that are critical to your relationship with your clients. The communication from these four critical roles will determine whether your company is becoming a commodity or a differentiated brand. Let’s take a look at these roles and what you can do to make sure their communication will be excellent.

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2 min read

Building blocks for Strategic Engagements

By Skip Ziegler on Aug 23, 2019

The Strategic Client Engagement.  It’s a fancy name for a meeting; but it helps set the overall goals of what we are trying to achieve: an opportunity to talk with our clients about how technology can help drive their business to meet their current and future needs.

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7 min read

The 4 Steps of Successful Cybersecurity Service Monetization

By Caleb Christopher on Aug 15, 2019

The problem

In my observation, previously working for an MSP and now with MSPs: for some, monetizing security is an elusive goal that seems to be reserved for those who already have connections, experience, and the right customers. Why?

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3 min read

Why MSPs are not closing business enough

By Mark Woldman on Aug 5, 2019

You pro­vide a great ser­vice, the price is right, your mar­ket­ing cam­paign is spot-on, yet very few deals are actu­ally clos­ing? Does this sound like your com­pany? Sadly, a good offer often times isn’t enough to win a client over. Some­times a lower level com­peti­tor gets the busi­ness. Why? Bet­ter sales tech­niques. In order to go from con­tact to con­tract, you need to be one step ahead of your com­peti­tors, espe­cially as it relates to sales processes and tech­niques. Fol­low­ing are some help­ful tips that will help you close the sale faster – and eas­ier – than ever:

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4 min read

Why vCIO Programs Fail

By Adam Walter on Jul 25, 2019

The industry is changing, you need to evolve or be left behind by your clients. The next step to MSPs is vCIO, but how do we get there?

I have spent the last few years coaching MSPs on how to create successful vCIO programs. There is a consistent message across every single MSP:

“We want a vCIO program but have not been able to get it going”

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2 min read

What does EOS have to do with becoming a CCSP

By Jamison West on Jul 25, 2019

I'm talking to you today because I've been getting a lot of questions about why I've been so focused on EOSTM (Entrepreneurial Operating System) and then other strategic methodologies and all of these teachings that I've been bringing to you regarding shifting from a traditional managed service provider to becoming a Cloud-Centric Solution Provider (CCSP). And what I've realized as I've worked with different clients is that one shoe doesn't fit all...

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1 min read

How much time should you spend on account management activities?

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019


Are you spending all your Account Management resources on your noisiest clients? Does this mean some clients are being overlooked and underserved? What’s the best way to segment your clients and assign the appropriate resources?

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1 min read

The IT budget spreadsheet you never find time to build

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019

Have you always wanted to sit down and design a great budget spreadsheet that clearly explains IT spending? One that your clients will understand, complete with pretty graphs?

Here you go!

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3 min read

Client Engagement Excellence Program

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

Here is the Problem...

Communicating with your clients at only the technical and tactical level will eventually lead to diminished engagement. Executives are looking for more strategic and business-oriented conversations. Without a clear understanding of the roles for the Account Managers, Technical Account Managers, Technical vCIOs or Business vCIOs it is nearly impossible to leverage any process, best practice or tool to get your critical audience excited.

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2 min read

Monetize Microsoft 365 Services

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

On this interview Rich Anderson (Imagine IT) and Adam Walter (Virtual C) talk about leveraging Microsoft 365 for business discussions, differentiation and as a platform for growth.

Rich has been successfully validating the opportunities behind MS365 discovery processes and services. Adam has built a remarkable audit process for turning productivity issues into projects.

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1 min read

6 Best Practices of Top Performing vCIOs by Virtual-C

By Adam Walter on May 31, 2019

If you think technology strategy involves talking to your client about firewalls and server patching levels you are doing it wrong!

Technology is becoming a commodity. Just a few years ago you needed an engineer just to install wireless. Now anybody with a cheque book can order turnkey solutions from amazon and manage their entire technology stack from the cloud. Businesses need partners to help them compete, they don’t need to be more educated on the greatest next generation firewall.

Topics: Virtual CIO
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2 min read

Get Buy in from Executives on Required Projects

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

 

Problem: long decision making process and postponing of urgent/important projects

When projects are vitally important or urgent but the client is hesitant, doesn't make a decision or simply ignores the facts, then they do not see the value that you do.

Your goal is to demonstrate this value, make the decision easy and instill a sense of urgency to move forward.

Because this is a crucial conversation, structured meeting tools can help to:
Use visuals to align the client with the problemGenerate a high level perspectiveMake the deliverables tangibleRationalize the decision with an ROI Calculator.

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3 min read

Bring your reports to life with embedded applications

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019

There’s no arguing that interactive experiences are a lot more fun than just being handed a pre-canned report. The best meetings all share 1 inherent quality: They tell a story that the audience wants to participate in. Now you can structure an impressive, engaging client meeting and consolidate lots of great information in a relevant way using 3rd party applications.

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3 min read

Stop Dumping on your Clients

By Myles Olson on May 30, 2019

Today let’s investigate how to deliver incredible client experience in your meetings. But first, we have to inspect what we expect from the meeting. 

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3 min read

Smart Shoppers Won’t Buy What They Think They Already Have

By Myles Olson on May 29, 2019

There are collectors, like Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay with exotic cars, Imelda Marcos with shoes and Donald Trump with golf courses, but most of us try to economize, and don’t go shopping for something we already own.

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2 min read

Start vCIO with Quick Productized Projects

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 2, 2017

Starting vCIO services can be a struggle not just for you and your people, but for the clients too. There are some established expectations of vCIO services, which sets a hurdle right at their kickoff of these services. There is, however, a natural way of solving this problem: use easy to sell and easy to deliver productized vCIO projects.

Of course, developing such effective and elegant solutions does take time, so we’ve set up a shortcut to start, and let you build up vCIO Project products instead. Don’t worry - this isn’t taking on new work - just solve problems you’re expected to already, but start getting paid for all you do.

Let's see seven examples of typical vCIO products:

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4 min read

Productized IT Strategy Guidance to clients and prospects

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 23, 2017

We had a great debate in our Banff Workshop about timing one’s IT Strategy correctly when meeting with new prospects. Some people were adamant the IT Strategy meeting be a requirement to even sending a proposal, while others were more inclined to implementing an IT strategy creation process after the onboarding, after we fix all the client’s technical issues. This is often the case in a workshop, when everybody was right but in conflicting ways. Let's see how to best approach this question.

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5 min read

Systematic service development process

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 17, 2017

One of the hot topics in the bootcamp was a typical MSP issue - managing client agreements. The problem gets verbalized in different ways: "I have many new services I would like to sell to existing clients" or "I have to re-onboard all of our customers because the agreement is very old" or "I want to increase our prices to reflect the improvements and additional tools we introduced" or "I barely make any money and I need to renegotiate our prices". Sound familiar? We’d like to introduce a systematic approach to solve this problem for now and the future.

 

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4 min read

My 7 Ah-ha! moments on the first MSP 2.0 boot-camp

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 9, 2017

We just finished our first ever live 3 day Managed Service Productization boot-camp in Banff, Canada. With 25 participants we worked to crack the code in scaling up the managed services. Jam-packed with real work, the workshop groups created amazing content and generated ideas that have been sparkling. I wanted to capture some of the more intriguing ideas the MSPs came up with.

I’ll be elaborating on these topics in upcoming weeks, since I see each topic as worthy of more than a blog post, but here are the main ideas. These are my personal Ah-ha! moments.

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6 min read

ROI Calculation of the Account Management role

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 2, 2017

If you’re running a successful, growing and modern MSP practice, you either have solid Account Management / Technical Account Management practice in place, or you’re still doing it ad-hoc, and plan to develop a clear structure as soon as possible. In both cases calculating the ROI of the new role is critical, as well as setting goals and realistic expectations for the employees. Check out this ROI calculation and the huge potential of proper Account Management to growing your business.

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3 min read

20% rule of vCIO pricing

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 26, 2017

Here’s a mystery you all know all too well - pricing your stand-alone vCIO services so you’re not robbing your clients nor yourself...that trepidation when you’re putting together the proposal, or trying to ballpark a figure in a meeting. It’s always been a gamble. There’s a way to find the proper middle ground, following a simple process to help you to close more deals without risking a critical over or underestimation, of your client’s expectation or your services. Here is the formula...

We just call it a 20% rule....

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4 min read

Five principles behind an engaging Quarterly Business Review process

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 12, 2017

 

In our design of the new Quarterly Business Review tool we wanted to ensure that MSPs can find business opportunities with existing clients, enhance the quality of their engagement, become a business partner and demonstrate the value they provide all at once. Achieving those multiple goals in the midst of commoditization of traditional infrastructure management services requires finding a balance among five different strategies. Let's check those success factors to make sure you deliver timely and engaging QBRs.

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4 min read

Debate on "All In" vs. "Modular" MSP pricing

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 9, 2016

The Managed Services business was created from the traditional suite of desktop management, backup, network and server support. Most MSPs now are offering various services outside the traditional managed infrastructure scope: application management, additional security or virtual CIO services. This is the evolution of managed services, and the right way, however many MSPs have just reactively added some of these services to stay relevant to their customers and protect the core MSP services. They might call themselves "your IT department." Let's check out why it’s a problem and what to do about it.

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1 min read

Packaging and Delivering Scalable vCIO Services

By Peter Torbagyi on Oct 17, 2016

 Carrie Simpson, Founder and CEO of Managed Sales Pros talked with Denes Purnhauser, CEO of ReframeYourClients, and shared the most common mistakes IT managed services providers make when it comes to building their vCIO offerings, and how you can increase your MRR with the correct approach.

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4 min read

Where the MSP serving software industry is going

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 2, 2016

All our accolades to the development people in the Connectwise Team and the super beta users; after three months of development we’re happy to announce the Connectwise integration is live.

I know integration is a boring subject and I don’t intend to explain the details of the features here. But the development process and the results have been prompting many to wonder where the software industry and specifically the MSP servicing software industry is going.

Ours was not just a simple data based integration. Our tool is actually running inside Connectwise with customized screens. One doesn’t even need to log in to our native tool to use all the features inside Connectwise, like execute Account Management, vCIO activities and running discovery workshops with prospects.

The question I am raising is: are we actually heading to where we have only one application that runs our MSP, and all the vendors create “modules” for that application?

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6 min read

5 false Myths of Managed Services

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 26, 2016

As we have been talking with hundreds of Managed Services around the world we have been able to identify several common beliefs, and even myths shaping their thoughts.

The biggest problem here is that these beliefs were valid in the past. The times when the MSP model founded and spread across the world, these concepts were helping people to sell and execute services. However as the market went forward with the tectonic shift of consumerization, cloud, mobile and the overall maturity of IT, these beliefs are no longer valid.

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4 min read

Managing "unrealistic" expectations

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 25, 2016

I just watched a hilarious 2 minute Youtube video where a comedian recounted the tale of someone righteously indignant over the atrocious inconvenience of the wi-fi breaking up during his trans-Atlantic flight. It made me ponder the trend of setting unrealistic expectations when it comes to technology. We have a short memory for problems fixed, take progress for granted and miss the chance to revel in our achievements.

Then I was thinking that perhaps this reminds you of a type of client of yours who is spoiled by all the progress and never satisfied. Who set these unrealistic expectations? How can we make sure we're not creating the problem ourselves? Check out this quick video and see what we can do to prevent it happening.

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3 min read

Three canvases for MSPs to make communication work with clients

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 20, 2016

Having been inspired by the business model canvas, we started our own IT Management Canvas almost three years ago. We’re thrilled to see how creatively people adopt the canvas with the related questionnaire and instigate vibrant client engagement. Through our development of vCIO and IT Security related assessments, the new canvases have been born. Let's check out the revision of the original IT management Canvas, the IT Security Canvas and the vCIO Canvas.

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