3 min read

It’s the Little Things

By Adam Walter on Sep 6, 2022

As an MSP, you’re going to have moments when you mess up. There will be times when you forget a project or miss a deadline. Have you built up enough goodwill with your clients that in these instances, they’re going to tell you that it’s okay?

Let’s paint the picture using chips. Your client has a bag that, anytime you do something nice for them or perform a favor, a chip gets placed in the bag. Eventually, you’re going to withdraw chips from that bag when you need a favor of your own - but what happens when there are no chips in that bag? Well, the bag is likely to be thrown at you.

There are some people that are constantly doing nice things for other people, though they never spend the chips they earn by asking for favors of their own. They’ve built their business and are unaware of how to ask for help due to being too independent. It’s important to not only collect chips, but to spend them, as well. You must have a flow of exchange in order to develop a mature and productive relationship with your client.

This is where the little things come into play.

Topics: IT Account Management Disruptive MSP Technical Account Manager
2 min read

Automated Pentesting and Profit: Part 2

By Adam Walter on Aug 29, 2022

Last week, we discussed pentesting and why it’s important. This week, we are going to dive into how MSPs can utilize automated pentesting to generate higher profit margins.

Pentests have never been so accessible in terms of a price point and turnaround times, making it a valuable tool to add to your security tech stack as an MSP. However, you’re already as busy as it is - despite the revenue that an automated pentest can generate, you just don’t have the time to implement it into your offerings.

This is where a third-party consulting firm comes into the picture. They will advance your security stack to include pentesting, which ultimately attracts businesses who are interested in improving their uptime.

Topics: Disruptive MSP Implement New IT Services IT Security
2 min read

Automated Pentesting and Profit: Part 1

By Adam Walter on Aug 22, 2022

Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing - more commonly known as pen testing - play a huge role in cyber security, something that is more important than ever. According to a report by Dark Reading, businesses suffered a 50% increase in cyberattack attempts per week in 2021. This huge increase should alert all business owners to ensure their networks are adequately protected.

To more efficiently help business owners do just that, there have been some drastic changes in the world of vulnerability assessments and pen testing. Here are some of those key changes, and why you should care.

Topics: vCIO Win New Clients IT Security
2 min read

Rebranding Humanize IT

By Adam Walter on Aug 15, 2022

Humanize IT - The new face of Managed Services Platform

The landscape of your business will continue to shift and change throughout the years. You may find that the vision and mission you started with have morphed into something new. Any successful company knows that its business is constantly evolving. Change is to be expected.

In 2013, Managed Services Platform set out to deliver client success by creating a platform to empower operations through personal connections. Four years later, we partnered with Virtual C with the mission to help young companies navigate the sometimes tumultuous seas of running a business. Yes, there have been changes, but one aspect of our journey has remained consistent - humanizing the IT experience. Humanize IT.

Topics: Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Dimes, Dollars and Profit

By Adam Walter on Aug 8, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/fjYb1uKnNNQ

Dimes, dollars and profit. Put away every dime you make and save it for the future. It’s an idea we’ve all heard and are eager to follow because it usually makes more sense to save every penny. But the truth is that stashing money away will never lead to making a profit. You’ll start making money when you prioritize where to spend your time, making human connections and even where to spend your money.

In the corporate world, it’s not unusual to find oneself doing nothing and still making money. But as MSPs, we don’t have that luxury. We have to keep things moving, provide solutions for our clients and, most importantly, have conversations.

We’ve all found ourselves in those meetings - the kind that can last for hours and take up huge portions of the day. Meetings are important. It allows us to sit down and hammer out all the kinks that may be holding us up and plan for the future. But if these happen too frequently, you’re spending money paying your employees to sit in, they’re losing out on the time where they could be helping your clients and you are losing opportunities for more client engagement. Again, meetings have their place and purpose. However, it is imperative that you prioritize topics of discussion to ensure that you’re spending your time and money wisely.

Sales are important. It’s what keeps your business growing and makes your money. But when you walk into a meeting with a potential client, you’re not just selling your product or services. You’re selling your story, listening to theirs, and aligning them so that you can both be excited about your venture together. Make your client engagement memorable. Get to know them. Take them to dinner at their favorite restaurant for your next quarterly meeting. Host an event where your new and existing clients can get together and have fun! Customers are more likely to do business with you if you have taken the time to engage with them. When they know you understand their mission and are passionate about the value you bring to their success, you can continue cultivating a lasting relationship, even if your competitors have lower prices.

In the tech world, we tend to be service driven. We have a task or goal and work to get the job done. We focus on the operations and forget about the human element that drives people to want to do business with us. Balance operations and the time you take to engage with customers and staff. The personal touch is guaranteed profit. Your staff feels heard and valued and your clients know that you are invested in their mission. Make sure you are someone that you would do business with, someone you want to work for.

Turn your dimes to dollars and start making a profit! Human engagement with both your clients and your staff will drive up your revenue and make your work enjoyable for everyone involved.
yone involved. 

Topics: IT Sales Person MSP Pricing IT Business Development Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Gap analysis for profit

By Adam Walter on Aug 1, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/jSRDaSpEdBw

When reviewing a gap analysis with a client, we often come off as the person on a terrible first date. Instead of conversing with our clients, we sit down and point out all the wrong or missing things. No one wants a date like that, and your clients are no exception.

A poor approach to gap analysis can hurt your business and the relationship you are trying to build with your customers. Of course, you need to do a gap analysis for your clients. It’s part of what helps you understand the goals of their business and how you can help. However, if you can’t align your findings with the needs and values of your client, you’ll find yourself getting nowhere. When approaching your client with your analysis, it’s not your thorough, super detailed report that will catch their attention. It’s understanding your client and the value you bring to the table. When your clients come to the same understanding, you stop becoming a nag with the same repetitive concerns. You become a partner and an asset.

Talk to your clients about their business. Make it a point to understand what aspects of your gap analysis are most valuable to their operation. You may have a lengthy list of items that need to be addressed, but not all of them are things your client will care about. Let them know how your gap analysis helps them run their organization and generate profit. When you take the time and effort to have a conversation with your customers, you start to build trust, which will, in turn, open up more opportunities for you!

There will be gaps that your clients will not understand. This is not a foreign concept to those of us in the IT world. We have language and lingo that a layperson does not use. While this can be a challenge, you should take this as an opportunity to showcase what you have learned about their business and how your gap analysis pertains to their success. Educate them as to why your services are needed. Prioritize the things that are most important to them. This is not you being a salesperson. It allows for a customer-led strategy! Your customers have the chance to do the work for you by prioritizing what risks need the most attention. Then let them know what future steps you can take to improve things in the future. It’s a win-win scenario!

Remember, you do not know every gap in your customer’s portfolio. When a client seeks your services, you are often given a small window of insight that usually only pertains to IT. Make an effort to build rapport. It will help you prioritize the gaps that need the most attention, and your client will start to trust you to make decisions. Again, this allows you more opportunities to expand your services and build a business relationship that can last decades.

Gap analysis doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive. Use it as a tool to strengthen your business relationships and turn them into a profit!

Topics: Demand Generation for IT Companies Technical Account Manager IT Security
2 min read

Right Person, Right Seat

By Adam Walter on Jul 25, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/wJKWn98LKWs

So, you’ve started a company. Great! Now the hard part; finding people to run it. Many companies look at their employees as nothing more than bodies in a seat. Once a seat is empty, they’ll look for anyone to replace it. But running a company is more than just ensuring that seats are filled. Your company’s mission statement and culture not only tell your story, it tells your employees who you are, what you value and how they are a part of your vision. It’s important that you hire people who possess more than just the skills or education needed to do their job. Find people who care!

Establishing the culture of your company is crucial in hiring the right people. Many individuals may have all the qualifications to fill a needed position. But if they’re not a good fit for your company culture, hiring them will only hurt them and your company. When you talk to potential new hires, make sure you make your company culture clear. How do you operate? What do you value? How do your employees and executives interact and communicate? Pay attention to a candidate’s approach and demeanor. They're not the right fit if they don’t align with your company culture.

Your mission statement needs to be clear and unique. Find your “it.” How does your “it” make you the best at what you do? Mediocre and generic mission statements make for mediocre and generic passion from your staff. Live that mission statement every day with enthusiasm. Attitude is like a wildfire. It spreads to everyone, including new employees. When your staff talks to their peers about your “it,” they attract people who clearly understand the kind of company you are and how they can fit in. You’re attracting new candidates who share your values.

As your company grows, your staff may have to adjust. The roles and responsibilities that once marked their performance will shift. It is essential to talk to your team about the changes. This may lead to some uncomfortable conversations, and some people may choose to leave. It may cause you to be short staffed for a while. However, the last thing you want is to fall into the proverbial, shoving a square peg in a round hole. Allow your employees to excel in work that they enjoy. Forcing them into a position they don’t want will only cause for an unhappy work environment. Your staff will lose their passion and leave you to pick up the pieces.

Major corporations will always be a threat to your small business. Right now, everyone is feeling the strain of employee shortages. Make no mistake; those corporations will be happy to poach your staff. They’ll offer more money and benefits that you may not be able to match. But you still have an ace up your sleeve - you’re a small business. When an employee is offered a position from these big companies, take this as an opportunity to talk to them about your unique benefits. Small companies don’t treat staff like an unrecognizable cogs in a big machine. They value their employees. Often, you know them as a person. You know their families, what makes them laugh, what makes them tick. No big corporation can compete with that! People are more apt to stay in a company they love, not the one that pays the most.

Right seat, right person - it’s more than placing a warm body to fill a position. It’s finding people who share your vision and are excited about the role they play in your success. Your team is ready! The roster is yours to create.

Topics: IT Management CIO
2 min read

How to Get Out of Firefighting Mode

By Adam Walter on Jul 18, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/bSQaRC-aT0s

“The cobbler’s children have no shoes.”

We’ve all heard that ironic story of how a cobbler was so busy making shoes for other people that they forgot to make shoes for their own children. Sadly, the same can be said for those of us in the tech industry. We are so busy putting out fires for our clients that we forget to look around and notice that our business is in flames.

Sometimes it can feel like your entire day is spent putting out fires. You hop from one spot to another, fixing bugs that seem to arise minute to minute. Of course, you want to ensure that all problems are addressed. But constant firefighting can negatively impact your work quality and the work-life balance of you and your staff.

There are a couple of things that you can do to get out of firefighting mode. The first may come off as a bit of a shock or an unpopular opinion; drop a ball. As a business owner, it is your natural instinct to want to be all things for all people. Unfortunately, in doing so, you often end up pleasing no one. When you find yourself juggling too many tasks at once, it may be time to re-evaluate which one of the balls you can stand to drop. Take a look at your ROI. Do a risk analysis on yourself! How much will you lose if you continue to produce substandard work because you are busy fixing everyday problems? How much will you lose if you drop a particularly needy client to focus on others? Be open with your clients. Tell them there may be jobs put on hold or delayed, and explain why. Explain how fixing one big problem and holding off on small ones will benefit them in the long run. Clients are far more likely to be understanding when they are forewarned.

If you want to get out of firefighting mode and get into focusing on projects, this requires foresight and planning. Learn to fix problems before they arise. Evaluate what issues come up most often and why. Talk to your staff and executives. Discover which conflicts they frequently encounter and how it affects your overall business. Make it fun! Sit down at a table with a box of donuts and sodas and present them with hypothetical scenarios and problems. How would they solve them? What can they do to ensure that problems don’t happen again? Pay attention and share pertinent information with your clients. It may open up more opportunities to expand your services and pull in additional revenue.

Time management seems like a no-brainer when it comes to avoiding firefighting mode. However, we often plan our tasks down to the last minute. Make sure you allow yourself some extra time for… nothing. Problems are sure to arise, problems that will push back on pressing matters at hand. When you allot for some “nothing time,” you’ve given yourself a window to fix all the little issues that have arisen during the week without impacting more significant projects.

Firefighting all those little issues can be exhausting. Don’t let yourself get inundated with tiny flames and lose sight of the bigger picture. Prioritize, plan ahead and give yourself the gift of time. Those little fires can be snuffed out before they become an inferno!

Topics: Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Why Tech Companies Suck at Risk Analysis

By Adam Walter on Jul 11, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/7uIOwxWU_HU

In the tech world, we tend to focus on the tasks that directly correlate to our work. But if we only focus on things like fixing firewalls and cybersecurity without understanding our clients - that is what makes tech companies suck at risk analysis.

That is not to say that what we do is unimportant. Our clients would not have hired us if they did not need our services. What is important is that we understand that to our clients, there is a difference between technical risk and business risk.

It is only natural that tech companies focus on technical risk. It’s what we do! But, you must remember that business risk will always outweigh technical risk to your client. Make it a point to talk to your customers. Understand what they see as risks and threats to their company, and then align your services with their needs. For example, if you have a client that runs a dog kennel, their main concern is the health and safety of the animals. If you only talk to them about everything you have done to improve their cybersecurity, your words will fall on deaf ears. But, if you can explain to them how improvement to their cybersecurity helps oversee all dogs that they are caring for and allows owners to safely access live streams of their pets from work, you have proven how your goals match those of your customers. Now your client has more features to sell to their customers, and you have opened the door for your business to provide additional services to build an ongoing relationship.

Aligning technical risk with business risk benefits you and your customers by providing a clear path to success. It helps your clients prioritize the factors that threaten their business and enables you to understand how your services help them meet their goals. Use this as a foundation to expand your business.

Business Risk x Technical Risk = Opportunity

When your client understands how the risks and threats to their business can be resolved by addressing technical issues, it allows you to cultivate your business relationship and the opportunity to offer additional services. In turn, it is your responsibility to ensure that you understand your customers. Focus on what your clients care about and what is most important to them. Learn how to identify the problems they face and then mitigate them to how IT can help prevent problems from happening. This strengthens the trust your clients have in you, provides direction for you and your client and creates a base on which you can expand your services.

Tech companies don’t have to suck at risk analysis. We just need to listen and understand how our work impacts client businesses and reduces the threats they face. Building client rapport is more than just doing a good job. Remember, we have conversations, not presentations! Take the time to understand what they value. Turn your risk analysis from sucking to spectacular!

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Management IT Security
2 min read

PitchIT Volume 2

By Adam Walter on Jul 5, 2022

Welcome to the second part of PitchIT with Sean Lardo of ConnectWise! We’re diving deeper into our IT world and how to provide your service to clients.

For those of us who work in IT, we know that our industry is ever-changing and growing. However, the growth that we’ve seen over the last few years has been exponential. When Covid hit, our services had adapt and expand in ways we did not anticipate. People had to stay home and run their businesses while out of the office. Innovation wasn’t what we wanted. It was what we needed!

Serving our MSPs is, of course, always at the forefront of our work. But how do we ensure they have the resources and understanding needed to do their jobs? The answer is simple, and ConnectWise has broken it down into 3 promises they make to their clients.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Account Management QBR
2 min read

PitchIT Volume 1

By Adam Walter on Jun 27, 2022

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/cZnUQXv1mPw

Get ready to share your innovation with the world. Whether your solution solves a need in IT, finance, business operations or sales, it is up to you to make sure that your business has the resources and structure for you, your colleagues and your clients to get the job done.

This week we have a great guest speaker, Sean Lardo of ConnectWise. With so much ground to cover, we have a two-part podcast coming your way!

So many of us have found ourselves in a time when we did not have the right processes or technologies to simplify workloads and make scaleable business models. When this happens, everyone suffers. We may not always have the answers or solutions to ensure that these processes are in place. Sometimes, the right answer is, “I don’t know.” Take this opportunity to learn, make connections in your industry and get excited about the possibilities on the horizon. Teach this to your colleagues and employees. They may not have all the knowledge, but encourage them to ask questions. Take the time to educate them about your industry and get them excited about your mission and the work you do. When people are passionate about your vision, they become a sponge to soak up knowledge! Talk to people in a language they can understand. Not everyone knows the lingo or work of your industry. Get on their level, and they’ll rise to the occasion.

We focus on conversations, not presentations. Sure, a presentation can be helpful and informative. But how do people really connect and retain what they’ve learned? How many relationships have you built solely on a slide show? Probably none. That’s why it is so important to add that personal touch by taking the time to talk with people. Open communication and conversations with your clients and colleagues make you a better leader and innovator. There’s a lot of passion in building relationships. Bring that passion to your team and your business!

When bringing your vision to fruition, it can feel a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of things to think about because we all know that a well-laid plan means nothing if you don’t have or provide the tools to execute your ideas. For example, if you’ve created the best firewall that’s ever been made, it will not go anywhere without a great sales team to bring in new clients and a crew of staff to keep your operations running smoothly. Sometimes looking at the big picture is not the best idea. So many things to do. So little time to do it. One of the best ways to deal with a huge undertaking is to take a note from the great Sherlock Holmes - keep a clean attic. Clear your head, cut out the unnecessary noise of information and make room in your brain for the context that helps you connect the dots and build. Remember, there’s success to be had when you are the architect with a vision instead of a micromanager who loses sight.

Enjoy the ride! The world is ready and eager for your innovation.

Topics: vCIO Business Building for IT Companies MSP
2 min read

The evolution of Entertainment

By Adam Walter on Jun 20, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/f3VfzE4CSW4

Entertainment and business - do the two of them go hand in hand? Absolutely! This week, we will talk about the entertainment industry and how to apply it to your business.

It is easy to fall into the old idea that the streams of work and play should never cross. But that is not necessarily true. If you think about it, our society is driven by entertainment. For you to be successful, you have to pay attention to what is going on in the entertainment industry.

When you are at work, what tools do you usually utilize? Do you use messaging platforms like Slack or Discord? Do you host virtual meetings with your clients or staff? You can thank the gaming industry for that. Think back to the 90s and early 2000s. Games went from platform leaping side scrolls to remote play. Suddenly, we were able to play games and connect with people all over the world. Next came VR. Now you can share virtual worlds, games and sports with people from the comfort of your own home. Whole companies and businesses have been created using what they learned from gaming messaging platforms and applied it to develop tools that organizations of every kind use on a daily basis.

Need more evidence? Look at crypto-currency. It’s not something you can put in the wallet or purse, but it’s definitely got value! They have turned graphic cards into something that is more than just something cool to look at. It’s an actual form of currency.

Our world is always changing. What engages people, what pulls people in - like it or not, it has to be entertaining. If you want people to lean into your message, they have to enjoy it. This means you have to pay attention to the ongoing trends. Check out the latest YouTube videos or what’s trending on social media. What are people tuning into? What are they watching? What online games are popular? Why? Now, put yourself in your clients’ shoes, answer those questions and help them implement plans to push the envelope and keep them fresh. The same goes for you and your business strategy. Keep up with the times and keep your audience entertained! Your impact will be much stronger when people have fun.

So, how does the formula to success in entertainment match a business model? The answer is simple: When demand increases, so does the value. When the value increases, there’s money to be made! Learn what makes a business tick. Whether it’s you, a client or MSP, it’s up to you to keep things moving. Success is essentially a gaming model. You start on level one, master it and then move on to the next level. It’s up to you to ensure that each level is mastered before moving on to the next.


Now, that’s not to say that everything “old” is obsolete. There’s a whole market for people who still listen to music on cassette or records for the “right” sound. But trends come back! When you know what is happening and what is driving people to engage and tune in, it helps you understand what people value.

Entertainment is successful because it is constantly evolving. It tries something new, releases it to the public and tests the waters. It may not always work, but when it does it can lead to big wins. Businesses do the same thing and like entertainment, they have to change in order to stay relevant. Switch on, power up and be entertaining!

Topics: Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies Implement New IT Services
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