surgeJust like the ocean, the IT landscape is constantly shifting. Are you ready to ride the wave to success? Timing is everything, especially when it comes to poising your MSP for the next big trend in the industry.

Multiple revenue-generating opportunities are popping up, such as managing digital business transformation projects, supporting more environments in the cloud, and securing the Internet of Things (IoT). However, determining which activity can generate the most revenue might pose a problem for your MSP.

Instead of waiting for the industry to reveal what the next big break is, learn how to jump on board and capitalize on the trend before it hits. To help you do this, we recently read Mike Michalowicz’s book Surge: Time the Marketplace, Ride the Wave of Customer Demand, and Become Your Industry’s Big Kahuna. In the book, Mike shares his method for how MSPs can surf their way to success.

How to time the next wave

Customer demand is always shifting, so identifying what the next big ‘surge’ is in the marketplace can be challenging. To identify the next big thing, Michalowicz suggests looking at what industry experts are forecasting and the areas where customers are implementing their own workarounds. For example, they might be having problems with IoT security, integrating tools with their CRM tool, or maybe even compatibility issues with their current software set.

By listening to your customers and finding out where challenges exist, you can offer new solutions, products, or services designed with them in mind. When used alongside Michalowicz’s SURGE method, this can help you set you up for success and differentiate your MSP. SURGE stands for: separate, unify, rally, gather, and expand. While this method is particularly helpful with consumer products, it can be applied to services as well.

Separate — This is the first stage. The book suggests segmenting and separating your customers to identify your true target market. Do you position your MSP services to highly regulated industries but find that you’re serving more mid-sized companies? By determining where your niche in the market is—not just the businesses you wish to sell to—you can position your IT services correctly and figure out how to sell them more effectively.

Unify — This phase helps you find the direction the industry and your target market is moving next. It requires a lot of research, and the book suggests looking for patterns in your IT service niche. Do you find that many of your healthcare clients avoid the cloud because of HIPAA constraints? Is there a solution workaround to help them? Look for common threads between your clients, and tailor your solutions and messaging to them.

Rally — The book suggests rallying your community to believe in your mission. For an MSP, this would mean rallying your techs and current staff to get them to believe in your new mission. What will you accomplish, and how you will get there? Get your team on board so they can be with you every step of the way. Then, launch your marketing efforts and start to get the word out there.

Gather — This is the step where you start to see results. As customers continue to tell others about your services, you start to see momentum with your growth. From a marketing standpoint, the book says you’ll know you’ve reached this stage when your marketing efforts slow down but you still have a steady stream of interest.

Expand — As the growth starts to decline in your niche, it’s time to expand into new markets. For example, you may have been focusing on the healthcare industry, but now that you have successfully penetrated that market, you can begin the process again to diversify and expand into another niche.

How this method could help your MSP

In the IT channel, it can be difficult to determine what the next big thing could be—but by following the SURGE method, you can uncover more revenue-generating areas where customers are already looking for help. It could be something as simple as training against persistent threats and how to stop them, or implementing a solution that minimizes their pain points.

In today’s market, there are so many things you can add to your managed service offering. The trick is finding out what your target market wants. Sure, one customer may want help with a business transformation project, but there could be five or six other customers looking to secure their IoT devices. Chances are, if more than two or three customers are looking for something, there could be a greater business building opportunity for your MSP. You just need to learn how to spot it.


Time the marketplace, ride the wave of consumer demand, and become your industry’s big kahuna

By Mike Michalowicz

147 pages. Obsidian Press. $26.95.

Have suggestions for what we should read next? Tell us which book we should read next on our MSP bookshelf.

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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