Think different – this was the well-known slogan that Apple used from 1997 to 2002. While this sentiment may no longer be in use by those who made it popular, the words are worth heeding today; including MSPs. For MSPs hoping to evolve their business practices and organizations overall, it is critical to challenge yourself to think – and act – differently.

At Barracuda, we are lucky to have Neal Bradbury, who demonstrates this behavior daily, pushing and challenging all of those he interacts with to change the lens through which we look at things, which helps us become more strategic and focused in our approaches. That’s why we are extremely excited to announce that for the eighth consecutive year, CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Neal Bradbury, VP of MSP Strategic Partnerships at Barracuda to this year’s Channel Chief list. This list recognizes the top leaders in the IT channel who excel at driving growth and revenue for their organization and their channel partners.

One thing that Neal continues to teach us is that thinking differently doesn’t start at work, it starts from the moment you wake up and carries on to when you tuck your children in at night. With three young daughters, Neal often finds himself uncovering important business lessons in surprising places —  in the books he reads with his children, such as Green Eggs and Ham and Amelia Bedelia. To give you insight on how children’s books can help you grow your MSP business, Neal shared an important lesson he learned from Amelia Bedelia.

What MSPs can learn from Amelia Bedelia

Amelia Bedelia, by Peggy Parish is a story about Amelia Bedelia, who works for the Rogers family. Before leaving for work, Mrs. Rogers shares a long list of tasks with Amelia of things that need to get done – such as dressing the chicken and dusting the furniture. She takes the tasks very literally, and the results are quite comical. When the Rogers family comes back, they find their house in disarray; their chicken is fully clothed, and their house has been dusted with a layer of baby powder. While the Rogers family was shocked to see their house in the state it was in, Amelia managed to win their forgiveness with a freshly baked dessert.

One of the business lessons you can learn from this children’s book is that you should never assume that you know what someone is looking for. Before immediately acting and setting off on a series of tasks, take the time to ask questions to gain more clarity and ensure expectations are met. What are they truly hoping to achieve – and how can you help them do so? By taking the time to clarify, you can ensure you have a full understanding of the challenge at hand, and ultimately achieve better results faster. For example, if a customer is looking to secure their business-critical data, you need to ask a plethora of questions. This could include: where is their business-critical data, can it be stored offsite for backups, and more. Understanding their intentions and what they are hoping to achieve beforehand can help you assemble a successful plan.

However, even when we ask all the right questions, plans can still get derailed. When this happens, it is important to take ownership of any errors in order to maintain customer loyalty. For Amelia, this meant presenting them with a simple dessert – but you might want to take a different approach for your business. Instead, acknowledge and take responsibility for the mistake, find a way to rectify the situation, and tell them what you will do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This will help you build trust and move the partnership forward in a positive direction.

To help your business grow and be better, you need to think – and act differently. By looking for business lessons in your simple day-to-day activities, you may discover unexpected small changes you can make that have large impacts.

Photo: Sergey Ryzhov / Shutterstock.

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is a content and product marketer with several years of experience in the IT channel. She has created and developed content that helps managed service providers grow their business, and has written many articles featured in SmarterMSP’s The MSP’s Bookshelf and Ask an MSP Expert series.

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