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If your MSP business is a one-man shop, there are a variety of challenges you face that larger MSPs don’t have to overcome. For example, you probably run into some different objections when pitching yourself and your services to prospects, than you would if you were a larger business. One that may come up frequently when you’re a one-man MSP is employee headcount.

Here’s the thing: When a prospect asks you about your employee headcount, don’t avoid the question. Answer it honestly. From my experience, honesty is always the best policy in business, especially when you’re answering questions from prospects (you want them to trust you, don’t you?). Starting off the relationship with a lie isn’t the right decision.

There are ways to reframe the conversation around employee headcount if you’re a one-man shop. For example, when a prospect asks about the size of your organization, talk about the resources you use to accomplish your objectives.

For instance, you and larger MSPs are probably using the same products and solutions to deliver IT services, right? Think about how many MSPs are using the same remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution. Plenty, right?

Your MSP business is more than one person

Also, you may not have any “employees” on your payroll, but are you paying contractors to help you with delivering your IT services to your client? If so, they’re part of your team! So, instead of saying, “I don’t have any employees”, you may want to say, “I have a team of three.” You’re not being dishonest. You’re simply defining “team” differently.

But more importantly, you need to understand why a prospect asks about your employee headcount. Does the prospect believe larger companies deliver better services than smaller ones? You need to find out by asking follow-up questions.

For example, “I’m thinking there’s a reason why you asked me about employee headcount. Is there a size of a company that you think would be better? If so, what were you hoping to get from a bigger company?”

Once you get the prospect’s answer, you can then talk about the end result, your process, and technology success. Remind the prospect that your process (coupled with your technology) will yield greater productivity and lower security risks.

Finally, don’t be afraid to point out why your customers do business with you. Show your prospects how you’ve added value for your clients. What did you do differently for them? What sets you apart from your competitors?

Being a one-man shop has its challenges, but you shouldn’t view it as a barrier to acquiring new clients. In many cases, one-man MSPs have resources available to them to bolster their ability to provide IT services. Figure out what sets you apart from competitors and drive those points home to prospects.

Photo: Song_about_summer / Shutterstock

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Gary Pica

Posted by Gary Pica

Gary Pica is a pioneer in the managed services field. He is one of ChannelPro's 20 industry visionaries and MSP Mentor's most influential leaders. He has already built two top-performing MSPs. Today, Gary is the President of TruMethods, a training, peer, and accountability firm aimed at helping IT solution providers reach their full potential as MSPs and cloud providers. Gary shares the key ingredients that transformed his business and his life through his training process. Today, hundreds of IT providers around the world utilize the TruMethods business transformation framework.


  1. JOHN H NELSON May 26, 2021 at 11:30 am

    I have been operating in the (one man) MSP mode for 35+ years. Have had customers tell me that what they like best is, they know who they will get when they need assistance. Also, with remote access as it is today, my response to customers is probably faster than many of the larger MSP’s.

    I enjoyed your article on the subject.


  2. I completely agree with John here. We use subcontractors and outsource many of our services for helpdesk, NOC and SOC etc, so there isn’t any real need to add on staff.
    The amount of MSP business owners that I speak to who say they spend more time micro managing staff than working on their business, tends to be on the increase too.
    Don’t get me wrong as I’m sure this can easily be overcome with the right staff, management and incentives etc, but we’ve decide against the risk of training up staff and having them potentially leave. A potential business partner (with skin in the game) would certainly help at times though..

    Nice article though Gary.


  3. Jack and John, great comments. When my MSPs were smaller we chose the right prospects and looked to customers that saw our advantages. Once we scaled to a larger MSP, we did the same thing. The principles for success are the same for everyone, but everyone goals and starting points are different.


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