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Many have asked me this question, so here is my short answer…

I should preface this by saying the definition of a VAR, MSP, ITSP, ISV etc continues to blend. So whatever you call yourself today, may not be what you call yourself in the future. Have an open mind. Maybe the new term will be “Technology Business Advisor” or “TBA” (a.k.a. “To Be Announced” :o)).

My 5 point answer…

1.    Do not think who you are, know who you are! Take a good hard look internally at your company. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. If you do not know what to do, start by asking yourself the 200 questions that are in the Best Practice Assessment. This will take some time from your busy life, but it will probably be the most valuable thing that you do for your company and it’s free. Actually, most successful companies do this self-assessment throughout the year and every year to benchmark. I would take my key management team for a day to some quiet resort and work through the 200 questions in groups and delegate tasks to each. Don’t forget to add some accountability and incentives for them to improve when they get back to the office or they may slip back into their comfort zone.

2.    Running a business on gut feelings is not wise! Take a closer look at your customers to see where you are really making money and where you are bleeding. Do a third-party survey to ALL of your customers to find out what they really think of you. Get some proper “small data business intelligence” to help rebuild your future plan. Why guess at this when the actual answers can be found with a little digging? If you are going to make any change, do it with purpose and passion, but have some data to back it up.

3.   Complacency is a killer of everything! Review all of your suppliers including distributors, vendors, banks, payment gateways, insurance, hosting companies etc. Every company that you send a check to every month has to be earning your money, otherwise find another supplier who will appreciate your money and deliver what you need. Just by doing this exercise every year, I see companies significantly increase profit margins, reduce monthly expenses and offer better products!

4.    Motivate and support your employees every day! Just managing people’s tasks is not enough and quite frankly, exhausting! Who really wants to be always micro-managing people every day? There are lots of affordable tools to improve the efficiency of employees, save time and make them happier. I know of over 50 such tools! Get to know your staff as they are representing you every day. Bad employees will represent you badly. Good leadership is part of the being a successful business. People typically prefer to follow good leaders so be the best leader that you can be! Get some HR and Leadership coaching help if you are drawing a blank here.

5.    Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is! If you do not know what a puck is, then visualize a ball in any game :o). Understand where the trends are taking your customers and get there faster! If you are not leading the charge in the technology transition of your customer, then someone else will (if they are not already doing just that)! The digital technology transformation of business and the World is already off the charts and with AI knocking at the door, it’s going to go into orbit sooner rather than later. Wait and see is not an option! Get out in front even if you have to step on the bleeding edge.

Others will have different suggestions or priorities so there is no absolute answer. The priority and activities will ultimately depend on your actual situation. However, I can tell you that they are roughly 30 moving parts to a being successful VAR or MSP and in reality, you need to be doing all correctly. That said, if you master the main parts, you should accelerate your success and find more time to work on the rest. Try to improve just 1% every day.

As you continually improve your game, you will hit a tipping point where everything else you need will become clearer and easier to do. If you are lucky enough to be part of a good peer group and have the support of some solid coaches, then you will get to where you want to go much faster.

That’s my fundamental advice but its easier said then done.

How can you actually do it? Here are 6 resources that you can leverage…

1.    Take the free best business practice assessment to uncover your strengths and weaknesses at bestmanageditcompanies.com.

2.    Collaborate with a peer group of 8 with the help of professional business coaches to help you improve your game at 300elitemastermind.com

3.    Find some tools that can help you streamline your business operations and increase productivity at varofficesuite.com or mspofficesuite.com

4.    Learn some tips to help you make significant tweaks to your business game at varcoach.com or mspcoach.com

5.    Implement a simple but effective Marketing Automation Platform that will help you get closer to your customers and generate more sales leads at https://emailplatform.com/en-ca/technoplanet/

6.    Join the next generation of buying groups simply called “The Channel Buying Group”. Already available in Canada and USA, and soon UK in 2019. It’s actually free to join and membership immediately pays real dividends as soon as you sign up! If you want to learn more just ask us http://300elitemastermind.com/contact-us/

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. I also believe that going together is a lot more fun!”

Julian Lee