The IT conference season is a very busy period when dozens of conferences aimed at IT Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) take place worldwide. Wherever you are in the world, there will be an MSP-focused conference near to you!
Thousands upon thousands of MSP owners attend these conferences globally. If you’re one of the many MSP business owners who has never been to such a conference or doesn’t have any of these conferences scheduled in your calendar, you might be wondering what the draw of these events is!
Why do so many successful IT business owners go to so these MSP conferences? How do they afford the time out of the office to do so?
MSP conferences are one of the secret ingredients for growth in your IT business. Here, I’ll explore why you should attend and how you can justify the investment in doing so.
What to expect from an MSP Conference
If you’ve never been to an MSP conference before, then you may not be familiar with the format.
Several large vendors in the IT space put on big MSP conferences annually (in some cases, more than once per year). There are also vendor-independent conferences run by trade associations, such as the CompTIA ChannelCon and the ASCII Success Summits.
These conferences range from one-day events to multi-day gatherings. The fees to attend are usually in the range of a few hundred dollars.
So what can you expect from these conferences?
Typically, the events are a mixture of education and inspiration. The event organisers will schedule an itinerary of speakers and workshops for you. You can attend everything, or you can pick and choose your spots.
Typically, MSP conferences are a mixture of education and inspiration, with an itinerary of speakers and workshops. You can attend everything, or pick and choose your spots.
The speakers you will hear are usually a mixture of industry experts (for instance, you can join me on the road to see which events I’m speaking at), thought leaders, and even fellow IT business owners. These speakers will give you advice, guidance, and thought-provoking insights into how you can overcome challenges and grow your business.
During these conferences, there will also be break-out sessions. These can be seminars on how to do something specific (such as learn a technical skill or become better at MSP sales) or even round-table sessions where attendees can debate a topic and learn from one another.
You can also expect to find vendor halls at MSP conferences. These are conference spaces where MSP vendors pitch their stalls for you to learn about their products, chat to staff members, and see if these vendors might be a good fit to partner within to help your client’s and growing your business.
In short, these events are a great way to learn what’s new in the MSP industry, and speak to and hear from people who have been there and done that. You should expect to return from these events full of ideas, inspiration, and some practical steps on overcoming the hurdles to your own MSP business growth.
Sounds great, right? But how do you justify the time and expense of attending these conferences? Aren’t they just one big jolly?
The power of MSP conferences
Let me start by saying this. One of the biggest investments I ever made in my own MSP business was by taking the time to attend conferences. You may have picked up that I used the word investment there. That’s because attending MSP conference is an investment in your business that you will see a return on.
“One of the biggest investments I ever made in my #MSP business was taking the time to attend #conferences… the techniques I learned helped me save time and money.” – @tubblog
When I invested time in attending some of the world’s top MSP conferences, I saw an acceleration in the growth of my MSP business. The tools and techniques I brought back to my business saved me time and made me money. The time I spent out of the office allowed me to take a step back from working in my business and think about how I wanted to work on my business.
What’s more, my attendance at these events started my journey on the path to becoming a true business leader. As I took on staff and built relationships with the wider business world, the lessons I learned from the speakers and my peers at these conferences helped me to grow in confidence and become a better boss.
After selling my MSP business, I now encourage the IT business owners I work with to attend conferences. It’s one of the commonalities I see with every successful MSP business. If all that sounds too good to be true, then I’d encourage you to find out for yourself.
Schedule time to attend an MSP conference near to you. Turn your phone off for the day. Shut down your email notifications. Be in the moment and see what you learn.
I’d encourage you not to see your attendance at an MSP conference as a luxury, but an investment in your commitment to growing your IT business.
Which conferences have you attended this year? Which events would you recommend? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Photo: Gennady Danilkin / Shutterstock