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Build a Better MSP - Blog

3 min read

Quick calculation formula for vCIO opportunities

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 5, 2016

The other day I made some calculation with a client about vCIO services. Fortunately it is very easy to calculate your opportunity in creating a profitable and scalable vCIO service offering.

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5 min read

How Slack can be a revenue generator for your MSP

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 29, 2016

Last week we went through how we can stop giving out free advice and making consultation a revenue generator. Let’s see that in practice. Our example today is Slack, the latest silicon valley unicorn (1B+ valuation). Slack, in most cases, is a free tool designed to enhance your internal communication. So how can we as IT service providers deliver value and earn revenue with this great tool.

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7 min read

The Fall of the Era of Free IT Advice

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 21, 2016

 Many IT managed services providers (MSPs) and internet telephony service providers (ITPs) are suffering the challenges of charging for IT consultation. The IT industry has taught its customers that we sell big expensive boxed packages that come with free consultation, placing the value in the big boxes and none in the advice. There are no big expensive boxes anymore, but still the advice remains free. However a systemic shift is taking shape finally reversing this conundrum. It is about offering low-cost SaaS applications and solutions with high-grade consultation fees, placing more value in the advice rather than the tool.

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3 min read

Execute your IT Strategy: interview with Gary Harpst

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 15, 2016

 

We are continuing the “MSP 2.0 bestseller” series in January, as well. The pick for this month is Gary Harpst - Six Disciplines of Excellence. Gary has been a part of the IT industry since being the founder of the well known ERP solution Solomon Software that was sold to Great Plains then to Microsoft. After the acquisition he shifted his focus to one question: how to help companies to execute their strategies. He has put together a very solid methodology in a program called “Six Disciplines” and written a book about this topic. This book is in my top 10 business books and has changed my way of thinking.  I was privileged to meet him in person and have a long talk about these challenges.

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10 min read

7 requirements for a scalable vCIO offering

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 11, 2016


The MSP 2.0 model is catching fire around the world. Many MSPs have already started to design, sell and deliver vCIO services. Adding $2.000 - $4000 of vCIO monthly recurring revenue (MRR) to a current 40 seat $5000 MSP MRR is now doable but requires some preparation. We’re going to take a look at the requirements (which can be easily overlooked) of the delivery to make sure we make it profitable.

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1 min read

Transform your MSP sales approach

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 8, 2015

Branden Baker, President of Integration Technologies from Hawaii is a modern Tom Selleck. He shares a story about the transformation of his sales approach.

His team had not been able to close any MSP deals for more than a year. But he got involved in the vCIO conversation and after only a few weeks he landed his first monster six-figure deal.

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3 min read

Break your sales barriers with Ian Altman

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 4, 2015

We are starting our "MSP 2.0 bestseller" monthly book review. We want to start strong, so the first book of this series is the new consultative selling holy bible, Same Side Selling. The co-author, Ian Altman, CEO of Grow My Revenue, is a sales visionary, bestselling author, Forbes contributor and keynote speaker.

While speaking with Ian it became clear he knows how to win the hardest battle IT managed services providers have ever faced: commoditization of the IT infrastructure services and the resulting price pressure, shrinking margins, and the lack of differentiation from competition.

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1 min read

MSP Financial Intelligence with Larry Cobrin

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 27, 2015


Larry Cobrin, CEO/Founder of MSP CFO, has been working on a project to make financials available for IT managed services provider to make better decisions. In my first call with him I knew we needed him to talk about finances! I was fascinated by his insights about clients’ profitability trends, classifying them and taking actions for better profitability.

He shares a lot of hints and tips about different data you need to look into (which are mostly available already in your PSA) for your organization to make better decisions. If you feel you are leaving money on the table check out this interview!

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2 min read

MSP 2.0 Podcast

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 27, 2015

We have been producing interviews with MSP Thought Leaders and with our clients for more than a year now. We started this as an ad-hoc practice to usher great MSP 2.0 insights into the community. People seem to be enjoying the free interview format without presentation, special offers and other sales tactics.

Now with over 16 interviews we’ve received a ton of feedback and the message we’re getting most often is to make the content available in a podcast format. Many people like listening to these inspiring talks during their commute, or just in the background.

So we have transferred all videos to a Podcast format and it’s available here.

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1 min read

Closing 11 Virtual CIO contracts in 3 weeks

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 20, 2015

Greg Tanner from Denver is a maverick, no question about it. His “Technology Quarterback™” slogan has become a meme among the MSP 2.0 community. We spoke the other day and I am still speechless. He started crafting this vCIO offering back in June, piece by piece, and started selling it in early October. Since then he’s closed 11 virtual CIO contracts with over 20K MRR! In this video, Greg shares the secrets to these amazing results. Be aware, he has very strong opinions about MSP 2.0. (Even stronger than me - Haha!)

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10 min read

12 mistakes most MSPs make with their Virtual CIO services

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 19, 2015

 

The Virtual CIO phenomenon is not new, yet the promises of the role have not been realized across the industry. Some mature MSPs who believe they have a functioning Virtual CIO practice, on closer inspection, still show challenges with delivery, scalability and profitability.

While we could go in depth to identify the root of these problems, instead here we'll highlight the twelve most common mistakes MSPs make with their vCIO. At the end of this article there is a questionnaire where you can measure yourself against other MSPs.

#update - We released this blog a year ago. This is an updated version covering the latest developments. It seems that the MSP 2.0 community was able to solve most of the issues during the last year. These mistakes now can be prevented. It has been a long year, for sure... :-)

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4 min read

10 ways MSPs are leaving money on the table

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 15, 2015

Keeping up the margins for IT managed services providers is getting harder and harder. The competition is catching up and while needs of the clients keeps growing, the price still seems to be dropping - and many IT companies are making a practice of leaving money on the table. Let's look at 10 things you can fix to prevent losing money every day.

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1 min read

Increase revenue with process related Virtual CIO services

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 8, 2015

Ryan Williams is a superstar CEO of the ProcessPlan SaaS application. He really knows the MSP arena well, as he is also VP of Business Development for the MSP Nexxtep

I was intrigued to have an interview with him because of my belief that IT companies are specialists in process. Clients need process management experts, but that’s usually seen as a management role, and not a tech discipline. Ryan has changed this with his tool: ProcessPlan is awesome software that can be used for planning and managing processes. It makes the process problems tech problems, so the IT managed services providers can leverage them to sell process related Virtual CIO services to their clients.

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1 min read

Cold calling best practices with Carrie Simpson

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 1, 2015



Carrie Simpson, Founder and CEO of Managed Sales Pros is the one and only MSP Cold Calling guru- an expert on what drives tangible results. Though we are very much focused on the inbound marketing side of lead generation, we cannot deny the potential performance of cold calling.

I was really interested in her best practices in getting leads over the phone, and surprised by some of the hints and tips Carrie shared with me. She talks on how to overcome call reluctance, how to build a winning script, and how to best manage the time investment.  

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1 min read

Building Starter vCIO Services

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 1, 2015

There is no question that vCIO service is no longer a nice to have service offering for IT managed services providers.

  • It is a needed offensive strategy to tap into the growth potential of the prospects with high maturity.
  • It is a perfect defensive strategy to keep the prices up and protect our client base from low price entrants.

However, the delivery of IT Management services is not entirely new; most IT companies have some issue to monetize on this opportunity.

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4 min read

5 ways MSPs can leverage Business Model Canvas 

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 24, 2015

Business Model Canvas has been a very hot management tool recently. Personally I have created 100+ Business Models over the last couple years for clients and for our companies. One of our companies is even a "Use Case" in the Hungarian edition of the Business Model Generation Book. We have developed different ways for IT managed services providers to use the tool for different reasons. Let's take a look at 5 practical ways to leverage this tool.

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1 min read

Implementation of the Virtual CIO Services with Rich Anderson

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 17, 2015

 
Implementing vCIO services can be a challenge. New ways of thinking, new lines of services, pricing and packaging, and service delivery all abound. Rich Anderson, CEO of Imagine IT has been working on this for a couple of months now. I asked him about his experiences, challenges, solutions and results. If you are thinking on implementing Virtual CIO services, or if you have been working on that already, let’s pick his brain. He’ a smart guy and explains everything very clearly with tons of hints and tips. Enjoy!

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6 min read

Starting vCIO projects the right way

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 11, 2015

Many IT managed services providers see opportunities with their clients that aren’t related to the existing infrastructure. Clients are instead looking for help deciding which CRM they should use; how they should migrate their many Excel spreadsheets to a Process Management application or with something else that needs IT management expertise. You want to help them, of course; you are the trusted advisor, even a dedicated vCIO. The main question is: how do you start a project AND start charging for your project management duties from day one?

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5 min read

How to turn an unknown visitor into a lead easier than you thought

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 4, 2015

We’ve been talking about the 4+1 Website Sins Preventing MSPs from getting more MSP leads. Many of you are asking, "Okay. I know our MSP website doesn’t generate leads like we wish it did, but we don’t have the money and time to re-work it, so what do you suggest?" 

Here we describe a process to add elements to your current MSP website in under 60 minutes and generate leads.

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1 min read

How to work on the business rather work in the business

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 3, 2015


"Work on your business rather work in the business" is a bold statement. It is not that easy to put in practice. We have been working on a solution to make it way easier. This video shows you how to leverage the tool to build your MSP much faster.

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3 min read

Leveraging the IT Quarterly Business Reviews

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 21, 2015


Many IT managed services providers are doing some type of Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) and most have trouble delivering it with the right cadence and voice.  It’s too technical and fails to shows business value to the executive team. Introducing QBRs poorly can backfire and land the MSP into a more technical role. Let's take a look at some cool techniques to engage clients with Quarterly Business Reviews.

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1 min read

Calculating the utilization and profitability of a vCIO

By Myles Olson on Aug 20, 2015

How many clients can a vCIO viably service, and what is the utilization rate? How much revenue does a virtual CIO need to generate? What is the W2 goal rate for a vCIO? Many questions like these need to be examined if we want to structure our vCIO services successfully. Let's use the vCIO calculation sheet to figure it out!

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1 min read

How to transition from the server room to the boardroom

By Myles Olson on Jul 29, 2015

This week's question: How do I become a virtual CIO when I'm “just a tech?”  This week Denes and Myles discuss a path to transition to the vCIO role. You may be more comfortable in the server room, but now you're needed in the boardroom.

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1 min read

How to overcome the competition when they over-promise their services

By Myles Olson on Jul 22, 2015

In this installment of our weekly Q&A, Denes and Myles discuss how to deal with your MSP competition when they over-promise what you know they can’t deliver...strategies and tools you can use to demonstrate real value to your prospects and customers and be accountable in ways your clients can readily measure.  

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1 min read

Preparation for a vCIO budgeting meeting

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 17, 2015

This week Denes talks about how to manage other vendors during the vCIO budgeting session. This small template can help you manage the discussion.

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2 min read

Defining vCIOs from around the world: Part 4 - United States

By Péter Torbágyi on Jul 17, 2015

After Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, we take a look at vCIOs in the United States.  70% of all registered Virtual CIOs operate in the USA. Because of this dominance the US vCIO trends are often difficult to separate from the international scene. When we talk about US trends, we are talking about the international trends at the same time.

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2 min read

Defining vCIOs from around the world: Part 3 - Australia

By Péter Torbágyi on Jul 10, 2015

As part of our work with companies in the process of implementing virtual CIO services we are interested in the general vCIO movement worldwide. So we’ve created a series of research discussions country by country.

Although the largest vCIO movement is resident in the U.S.A., we also observe distinct trends in other countries where the movement is under way. Having looked now at Canada and New Zealand, let's travel to Australia and see where the vCIOs reside down under.

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1 min read

Content creation for the right audience

By Myles Olson on Jul 8, 2015

This week Denes and Myles discuss how to define the target of your MSP marketing. As service providers we will have a spectrum of potential clients and it’s valuable to be able to identify them by their personas. Define them with clearly and in detail and you can tailor your social media, content and other marketing efforts to speak to your audience more personally.  Neat trick, eh?

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2 min read

Defining vCIOs from around the world: Part 2 - New Zealand

By Péter Torbágyi on Jul 2, 2015

As part of our work with companies in the process of implementing vCIO services we are interested in the general virtual CIO movement worldwide. So we’ve created a series of research discussions country by country.

Although the largest virtual CIO movement is driven by the US, we think it’s important to have a global perspective so we try to present trends of other countries where the movement is visible. After Canada, let's travel to New Zealand and see how the kiwi vCIOs live.

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1 min read

How to handle out of scope/specialty requests from clients

By Myles Olson on Jun 25, 2015

This week Denes and Myles discuss how to professionally handle client requests that don’t fall into specific projects or pre-defined services, and some that fall far outside the traditional MSP service repertoire.  What do you do with unconventional questions and requests?  Watch and find out.

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2 min read

Defining vCIOs from around the world: Part 1- Canada

By Péter Torbágyi on Jun 22, 2015

We work with a variety of companies that are implementing vCIO services, and think it’s important to have a perspective on the general vCIO movement worldwide. We have thus created a series of research country by country.

Although the largest vCIO movement is driven by the US, we are starting this series of analysis on our home soil. So let’s see how the Virtual CIO movement is doing in Canada.

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4 min read

The secret to making money for IT consultation

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 19, 2015

We have been using a very basic management tool called the 10 Point Exercise, where the goal is to channel client issues into a defined consulting "product" rather than just having discussions pro-bono….getting people together to ask specific questions, getting everything out on the table and developing a plan. It’s easy to learn and it turns IT tech guys into business advisors in 20 minutes.  Most importantly though it let them charge for their knowledge instead of giving it away. Let's see how...

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1 min read

Escape the free-advice MSP trap once and for all

By Myles Olson on Jun 19, 2015

Have you ever been asked for IT advice with the expectation that it comes free of charge, and even takes time away from your paying work? Of course you have. The moment it’s discovered that you know about technology you become the go-to guy for reliable “free” advice.
 
Worse, this isn’t limited to friends and family. Your clients are doing it too, and you let them because you’re a kind person who’s passionate about helping people and savvy with technology, and the people asking aren’t consciously trying to steal your time. The problem is once you’ve set this precedent with your clients it becomes difficult to shed the expectation you’ll help for free.
 
You may also be needed to give advice on IT you know works and should be implemented, but aren’t the expert on. How do you charge for advice about something you can’t explain like the engineer who made it? The vCIO 10 point exercise is your solution! Find it here and take part in the video Q&A for more information.
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4 min read

Get out of the MSP commoditization trap

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 12, 2015


One of the more common problems we see IT managed services providers suffer is increasing difficulty with the commoditization of services and differentiation within the industry. There are three factors involved here that we need to understand and manage to solve these problems. 

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1 min read

What the heck is the MSP marketing funnel?

By Myles Olson on Jun 12, 2015

MSP marketing funnel

Denes and Myles discuss the top, middle and bottom of the MSP marketing funnel and how it relates to the buyer's journey through your marketing process.  Understand what type of marketing works at the different levels. Follow these steps to learn how to define your buyer-personas so your marketing efforts directly target your ideal customers.

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