If you want to achieve accelerated growth in the Managed Services industry, you can’t do it alone. Not only does it take a team, but it also requires a certain type of culture. While “startup culture” is most known for ping pong tables, tee shirts, and open floor plans, there is far more below the surface that we can learn from.

Brand everything

One of our most impactful decisions was to move out of our shared office building and into our own standalone space. While tripling our square feet per person was expensive, it finally gave us the freedom to do what we wanted to do and be who we wanted to be as a business. In outfitting our new space, we branded everything we possibly could, from lime green walls, to logo-centric wall hangings, and light up signs. You couldn’t go anywhere in the building without knowing where you were and what you were part of. 

This proved to be most beneficial in building our team for growth. When potential employees walked in the door, they felt excitement. Even more, they knew that the logo meant something to us and if they joined the team, they would become stewards of it as well. Building a brand is not about generating an endless amount of impressions on social media. It is about creating a badge that reflects your authentic identity as a business and then wearing it with honor.

Stay lean

One way to lose the valuable culture you have built is by under-staffing and over-working your team. Some people think that this is what it means to be lean, but this is not necessarily the case. Staying lean is more about building a multi-talented team that can willingly wear many hats and trusting them to do so. While each individual may not be an expert in everything, they should have an eagerness to learn and willingness to try.

Part of building this type of team is knowing that perfection has a price. If you micro-manage and demand absolute perfection, your productivity is sure to slow down. Demanding effort, instead of perfection, will ensure that your team is working hard and providing the best work they can at an accelerated pace. Being able to accept when something is not quite perfect is not always easy, but it is necessary to keep pace if you want to grow quickly. 

Fail fast and often

I recently had a conversation with an MSP founder who pointed out that most mature IT companies were around 10 years old. To him, this meant that fast growth was nearly impossible in this industry. Personally, I disagreed. I believe it takes these companies 10 years simply to make all the wrong decisions necessary to learn the right ones, eventually putting them on the right path for growth.

Without recognizing your mistakes and pivoting, it can be an incredible challenge to grow. This is the quicksand that most smaller IT firms find themselves in today.

One way to accelerate this process is to fail intentionally. Taking calculated risks, while knowing you have a high rate of failure, can put you on a growth shortcut you would have never found otherwise. This type of experimentation and innovative thinking will differentiate you from competitors. If you are listening to your customers and adapting toward demand, you can never take too many risks or pivot too many times.

Trust the numbers

One of the key elements of growth in today’s business technology landscape is data. Using data and analytics as a compass, you can discover what your customer needs and why. Having blind trust in your numbers is not always easy. There are times when your gut and decades of experience tell you one thing, but the statistics may say otherwise.

To this I would say that numbers never lie, but occasionally their truth can be misinterpreted. As with anything, reading analytics and interpreting them requires practice.

Creating a culture around the use of data and analytics to make business decisions is needed to achieve fast growth in today’s market. Reading the signals accurately and making fast decisions will give you a significant advantage against your competitors. To maximize this advantage, surround yourself with team members that speak the analytics language and trust their judgement to react accordingly.

For more ways to grow your Managed IT Business through integration and analytics, follow the Growth Hacking for MSPs series right here on Smarter MSP. More in-depth coverage and actionable examples of the topic can also be found on MSP Growth Hacks.

Ready Set Managed

Photo: Disobey Art / Shutterstock

Kevin Clune

Posted by Kevin Clune

Kevin is a former Operations Director of a Top 500 MSP and current Co-Founder/Editor of MSP Growth Hacks, a content platform that helps Managed IT Providers grow their businesses through technology. His past experiences also include Digital Marketing and B2B Lead Generation.

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