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Which channel events should I attend this year?

As a VAR or MSP, the big question is always which events should I attend this year? Taking time off from our business to attend a conference is always a challenge, but choosing the right ones can be very beneficial.

I have been an attendee at the ChannelNext events since the first one in St-Sauveur (Quebec) in 2004. Out of all the various conferences I have attended throughout the years, I have always felt the ChannelNext events worth my time. Because of the intimate setting, relationships with vendors and fellow VARs/MSPs can develop.

The current format starts with a half day with keynotes and panel discussions, speed introductions and reception supper. Day two starts early and involves 4 group meetings and 2 workshops followed by lunch and expo pavilion.

This year’s event had an exciting tone. Not only were VARs/MSPs encouraged to evolve with the changing market conditions by embracing Cloud solutions for instance, but they were also challenged to work on their business. A key focus this year was to use tools that would help the business, such as a CRM tool to track sales. Social Media strategies are also required to not only reach out for new customers, but also get closer to existing clients. We were also encouraged to tweak our business using Mastermind Groups to leverage peer support. It was announced that VAR Mastermind would soon launch which would provide a wealth of support for the industry.

Keeping with that theme of building your business, one the most appreciated group meetings on day 2 was the open discussion with VARs/MSPs on the challenges that keep them up at night. This was just a small taste of the power of a Mastermind group. Some of the issues that were shared were:

How to transition from a VAR to an MSP
Human Resources issues – hiring and retaining talent
New client acquisition
Invoicing reoccurring revenue
Low hardware margins
Capturing lost billable time
Partnering to complement offering

It was interesting to see, when one was willing to be vulnerable and share their issues that colleagues were ready to jump in with suggestions and lend a hand. It demonstrates that many of us share the same issues and roadblocks, but together we can solve them and all advance with our businesses.

Look for the next event in your area at: www.channelnext.ca and take advantage of the opportunity to build a better business with new vendors, services and peer relationships. See you at the next event!

Randal Wark
IT Revolution