Determining your MSP offering - Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

Ben Taylor

In the early days of starting an IT business, it’s tempting to grab every potential client and assignment in the pursuit of revenue.

While this is an understandable strategy, as we mentioned in our earlier post, 5 Things You Should Know Before Becoming an MSPit makes more long-term sense  to have a clear idea of exactly what services you are going to offer and how you are going to deliver them.

Agreeing to carry out tasks that don’t fit with your skills is a fast road to stress, and probably plenty of unpaid overtime as well. This article gives you five pointers to help you make an accurate inventory of your strengths and weaknesses.

hard-work1. Be honest about the things you hate

You didn’t start a business to detest the working day, so if there are jobs you really don’t want to do, then don’t include them in your service portfolio. For example, many IT businesses don’t like to get involved in laptop repairs as they are fiddly and intricate.

Outsource, delegate or just say “no” – but don’t spend your working life doing things you hate.

2. Audit your Technical Knowledge

Spend some time forming an honest assessment of the technical skills possessed by you and your team. If you then, for example, find that there’s no one within your company who could honestly proclaim to know much about SharePoint, then you need to fill the gap with training, or decide not to agree to offer support for that product. Those who fake it always get caught out eventually.

partnership3. Consider Partnerships

Just because certain tasks and contracts may not fit your company’s combined skillset, it doesn’t mean you will have to turn down dozens of opportunities.

By partnering with other businesses, you can perhaps gain commission for passing business on, or have more suitable clients sent in your direction.

4. Look at the Competition

Perhaps you have strengths that allow you to tailor your offering to a particular niche? Look at what your competitors are doing, and ask yourself if you have strengths that would allow you to do something better, or different in a way that would pique interest in your target market. Everyone needs a unique selling point.

say-no5. Don’t be Afraid to Say “No”

Customers respect a focused business that plays to its strengths, even if that means that occasionally the answer’s “no.” By maintaining a clear focus and resisting the temptation to become a “jack of all trades,” you will gradually build a reputation as an expert in your chosen area.

Above all, never put a service offering out there if you’re not confident you can deliver on it AND satisfy your customers. Your business reputation is of paramount importance – so spend time getting your offering right.

Don’t forget that GFI MAX customers get access to the full Building Blocks material which can help you when determining your MSP offering, why not get a free trail to find out how!

Do you have any additional advice for new MSPs about how to get your MSP offering right? Are there any services areas you always avoid? Let us know your thoughts with a comment below!