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When you think of Managed Service Providers (MSPs), you probably think of companies that provide IT services for small and medium sized businesses, but these companies can be more than that. They can help grow startups too.

That’s because MSPs can help extend small startups by offering their services to their slate of clients. As MSPs, you have access to a large number of potential customers. If a small startup is short on staff, they can team up with an MSP, it not only helps extend that staff, it provides a sales mechanism too.

In that context, MSPs have become an adjunct of the startup business by helping sell and deliver the product, acting in a sense as a de facto sales and customer support arm.

Startups are often over-extended. If they are doing a brisk business, they probably don’t have the employees to keep up. It’s a good problem to have, but you could end up with tired employees and unhappy customers. That’s a situation a startup wants to avoid if it hopes to be successful over the long haul.

Startups often have creative approaches to solving a problem, ones that the larger less nimble companies might not have thought of, or might think is worth their time because the markets are too small (or at least they think they are). But because startups are young and unproven, it can be difficult to convince customers that startups will support them in the way they have become accustomed.

MSPs can help

It takes some creative thinking to help grow a business at a manageable pace. When working with MSPs, ISVs, and systems integrators is one way to expand a company’s reach without having to hire more sales and support staff.

Fleetsmith, a company that announced a $30 million Series B investment this week, is a good example of using MSPs to expand their reach. Fleetsmith helps IT pros automate the management of Apple devices via a cloud service.

Company co-founder and CEO Zack Blum says the advantages their product apply to MSPs too. “Those value propositions enable our MSP partners to provide better customer service, onboard their customers more quickly and actually serve more customers at the same time, which is kind of like the holy grail,” he said.

The MSPs get more than pure product advantage though, which is a given. Fleetsmith also provides free training to MSP consultants and staff to get the best use of the platform plus free onboarding and competitive partner pricing.

For Fleetsmith — which is still a small startup with 30 people — that’s invaluable for them. Yes, they have to invest money in the relationship, but it allows them to scale the business faster without having to hire too quickly.

Fleetsmith is just one example. This is kind of arrangement happens every day between businesses, and this offers a way for startups to get their service out there faster and to more customers than they ever could on their own without MSPs’ help.

Photo: GaudiLab / Shutterstock

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Ron Miller

Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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