Over the years I’ve been working exclusively with the owners of MSP businesses, I’ve noticed that many of them have a lot of elements in common – especially around the shape of their business. What do I mean by that? I mean the number of owners or directors who make up the core of the business and are responsible for driving it forwards. Many MSPs have a single owner and director, who started the business from scratch. The next biggest proportion is MSPs with two directors – and again, these are split into two types. Husband and wife teams are common as they are in many small businesses. Likewise, there are lots of pairs who have worked together previously or who have different but (usually!) complementary skills.
I’ve written a downloadable document, which you can get here, called What Shape is your MSP Business, about why MSPs businesses tend towards similar shapes, what the advantages and disadvantages of each shape are, and what action you can take if you want to take your business to the next stage of its growth and development. If you’re the sole business owner, you have the advantage of being able to move faster and make speedy decisions. Conversely, you may be in danger of getting ‘stuck’ in your comfort zone, and this can prevent you making the changes you need in the business to help you move on and realise your ambitions. If you’re part of a couple – whether married or just colleagues, the challenges can be very different. It can be comforting to know it’s not all just down to you – but if you’re a married couple then it can add a different pressure as your whole lives and emotions can be literally invested in the business. If you’re part of a pair of partners sometimes the differences between you can lead to tensions which can be hard to address. And of course, some businesses have multiple directors!
Last month, I shared the model I use with all my clients when I start working with them. It’s called The MSP Journey and I made it publicly available for the first time. If you missed it, don’t worry – you can download it from my website, here. It helps MSP owners understand whereabouts they are on the path to success. I’ve split the journey up into 4 key stages – Survive, Drive, Thrive and Arrive – and each stage is recognisable by the way the business is working, what the owner is typically doing, how many staff you have and what sort of turnover you’re doing.
What I’ve discovered when people start working with me, is how closely the shape of their business relates to their position on The MSP Journey. Most often I see single directors stuck in the ‘Survive’ or ‘Drive’ stages – unable to move on because they’re literally ‘driving’ everything in their business themselves. With two or more directors sometimes MSPs are able to push past these into the ‘Thrive’ stage – or at least to dip in and out of this.
The biggest advantage of working with a business coach, especially one who understands the space you operate in, is that they can bring a fresh set of eyes to your business and give you a view which is unbiased, honest and clear. Sometimes it is easy to recognise what’s stopping you moving forwards. Other times, especially where personal growth or personal relationships are concerned, it can be difficult to understand the root cause of the problem – or uncomfortable to address it! A coach can help by taking away any personal elements or awkwardness and helping you face any issues head on – and resolve them. What I see time and again is that usually what’s stopping an MSP business from growing to meet its potential, is that over time the role of the director or directors needs to change and develop, in some cases into areas of responsibility or action that is new or uncomfortable. But without this change, potential can’t be realised and your MSP will stay ‘stuck’.
So, is now the right time to reflect on where your MSP business is, and what you want from it going forwards? Most MSP owners I work with ultimately want a business that works for them, rather than them working for it. I can help you achieve this by working with you to build a unique plan, both for the business and yourself. Because I specialise in working with MSP businesses, I understand the most common challenges you face and have the experience to help you move past them. You can see for yourself what my customers say on my website – www.stuart-warwick.com Download the ‘What Shape is your Business’ PDF here, and see if you recognise yourself…let me know what you think!