Transforming Thoughts: Top 6 Mindset-Altering MSP Blog Posts for a Successful 2024

While many things in life are out of your control, your mindset isn’t one of them. You and only you determine how to respond when “life happens.” You typically have two options: Sit and sulk or adapt and overcome. The choice is yours.

But what’s often not so simple is changing your mindset. This takes time, discipline, and a lot of falling and getting back up. With the right strategy, you can shift your perspective to lead a more fulfilling life.

Browse these six handpicked blog posts from TruMethods, each crafted to reshape your mindset and guide you toward success in 2024.

Too Many Anchors Are Holding You Back

The concept that we are influenced by the five people closest to us suggests the importance of choosing positive associations while being cautious of well-intentioned individuals who may unintentionally limit our growth. Awareness and self-protection of our attitude and potential are crucial. Sometimes, distancing ourselves from those who hold us back is necessary for achieving our true potential.

The Dangers of Perfectionism: When Striving for Perfection Becomes the Enemy of Good

Perfectionism, while tempting, is an unrealistic ideal that can lead to frustration and impede progress. Embracing imperfection fosters adaptability and growth. It’s better to start with a basic framework and seek real-world feedback rather than over-plan and risk paralysis by analysis. In the fast-evolving MSP business, simplicity is vital. Simplifying processes, standardizing workflows, and seeking straightforward solutions can enhance productivity and success. Avoiding perfectionism and prioritizing simplicity allows for clearer communication and more effective teamwork.

The Power of Changing Beliefs: How It Makes You Wiser

Reflecting on a financial decision unveils deep emotional ties to long-held beliefs about money. This realization prompts reevaluating perspectives on life aspects like career and relationships. The process emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and personal growth, highlighting journaling as a tool for gaining insight and fostering wisdom.

Unlock Your Leadership Potential With Self-Awareness

Self-awareness, encompassing understanding personal emotions, thoughts, and social perceptions, is rare, with studies suggesting only 10-15 percent of people truly possess it. Overestimating abilities often lead to a false sense of self-awareness. Developing true self-awareness hinges on introspective reflection, identifying and accepting strengths and weaknesses, and gaining insight into what triggers certain emotions. Journaling about emotions and reading widely on human behavior and self-improvement are critical practices recommended for developing this quality.

Seeing the Cathedral, Not the Bricks: The Power of Perspective in Business

How one views life and business plays a significant role in determining success. This concept is exemplified through a tale of two bricklayers, where one perceives his job as mere bricklaying, while the other sees himself as building a cathedral, showcasing the impact of perspective on work. Success is primarily driven by attitude, self-image, and self-discipline rather than just knowledge. It’s essential to evaluate oneself regularly, instill a positive mindset within oneself and among team members, and strive toward a meaningful purpose. Setting personal and business goals through introspection is essential. The key takeaway is that positivity, a vital element for success, starts with the individual and has the power to spread.

Why Every Business Owner Needs a Strong Foundation: Avoiding the Groove of a Lousy Swing

Champions stand out by consistently doing what others can’t or won’t, making it seem effortless. Mastering in any field, including business, requires dedication to the proper practices. It’s not just about the hours spent but how they are utilized. In business, mastering fundamentals like command, planning, execution, and accountability is essential for reaching one’s full potential. Success and quality of life are not mutually exclusive; effective leadership can enable team members to realize their untapped potential. For instance, TruMethods members are encouraged to consistently engage in crucial activities like attending meetings, understanding metrics, preparing quality business updates, and participating in accountability calls. This approach, focusing on core practices, can be applied across various roles and tasks to build a foundation for success.

Maximizing Return on Luck: Lessons from New Balance and Coco Gauff

In the book “Great by Choice,” Jim Collins introduces the concept of return on luck (ROL). After comparing good and bad luck events at numerous companies, he found that, on average, the high-performing companies, or as he called them, the 10X companies, had the same number of luck events as their counterparts. What set them apart? Their superior returns on luck.

Consider this recent example. New Balance signed tennis star Coco Gauff when she was 15, around the time she turned pro. For a while, the investment wasn’t paying huge returns for the company — until she won the US Open. Now, sponsoring someone who goes on to win the US Open is a great luck event for New Balance, but their response was noteworthy.

The company released a t-shirt in stark white with bold black text. Initially reading “Call me Coco,” the word “Coco” was strikethrough and substituted with “Champion,” rendering it “Call me Champion.” New Balance had already conceived this design and even had a few in circulation for prior tournaments. Yet, they significantly increased their inventory for the US Open, staking millions in the process. Imagine the atmosphere in that decision-making room.

Following her victory, they swiftly distributed these shirts to her family in the locker room, ensuring they were worn, not merely draped over shoulders. During her post-victory speech, as she mentioned her father, the camera spotlighted him donning the shirt, surrounded by similarly attired relatives. This led to a staggering 500 percent surge in traffic for New Balance, resulting in massive sales of both the shirts and their sneakers. This was an exemplary execution of maximizing return on luck.

As MSPs, we’re in the middle of a massive good luck event. We’re navigating a historically booming market. The luck event is uniform for all of us. The question remains: Who will achieve the highest return on luck?

Two Questions to Gauge Security Posture

I’ll conduct a free security audit for you by asking just two questions.

One, what is your average seat price? Two, do you have at least one person in your service delivery organization who’s 100 percent proactive? In other words, they don’t bill professional services, and they don’t do any support tickets. They’re purely proactive.

Based on your answers to these two questions, I have a pretty good idea of your security posture. Did you notice that I didn’t ask about certifications, tools, or services? There’s a reason for that.

Security is about process and discipline. If you don’t charge enough and don’t have dedicated roles, process, and accountability, your customers are not as secure as they should be. They would be more secure if they had a truly proactive MSP at the right price.

Once you understand this, you will not only mature your business and your security posture, but you’ll be able to right-size your current agreements and win new customers at the right price. You will have learned how to weaponize your competitor’s low price. When you achieve this, you’re ready to fulfill your true potential. This logic applies as you speak to every new potential client.

I recently listened to a podcast where the MSP featured performs a full security audit they charge for as the first step of their sales process. If this is your process, and you’re having unbelievable success, stick to it. But I think you can ask eight to ten questions of a decision maker and have a great idea of their IT and security posture — at least enough to talk through pain, money, and decision. In some cases, you may end up doing some type of audit, but they’ll be fully qualified first, and most deals, in my experience, get closed without having to do that.

Here are the two takeaways. First, your business and security posture can be measured greatly by the two questions I asked. Next, you can use the same logic with every prospect you talk with to close more deals at a higher price.

The Perfect Storm for Private Investors: Why the MSP Market Is Now Prime Real Estate

Over the last few years, many MSPs and industry pundits have claimed that our industry is undergoing a rollup. While I’ve consistently argued that the transaction volume has been minimal in relation to the market size — with data supporting my stance — I now believe we are genuinely entering the initial phase of a comprehensive industry consolidation.

So, what’s a rollup?

It’s consolidation. This is when the market has all the attributes to make it attractive to private investors, meaning private equity companies are willing to invest. These attributes include a rapidly expanding total addressable market (TAM), recurring revenue, solid margins, low churn and opportunities for synergy.

The MSP market checks all those boxes for the first time. I estimate that there will be more than 100 private equity or family offices looking to invest in or are already investing in the space. I sit on the board of two platforms for one private equity investor. After three years of involvement, this is not as easy as some investors think it is, and many of these companies will not achieve their desired goals for return on investment.

While it’s difficult to consolidate, we see several successful examples of that scale. By scale, I mean 100 to 300 million in revenue. So, why should you care?

Well, every MSP has the opportunity to create enterprise value at a rate that’s never been possible, and you don’t have to sell your MSP to private equity to unlock some or all of your value. The same factors creating consolidation make growing your business easier. We all benefit from the same market conditions.

I had been saying that this was the gold rush for several years.  However, looking back, I realized that was just the gold walk. Now is the gold rush. (If you don’t feel that way, you have some work to do to get yourself there.)

Be aware that your competition is changing and will continue to change. We are up against professional sales and marketing teams with deep technical capabilities. These big companies used to be big and dumb, but not anymore. So, to compete against them requires deep relationships with our current customers, and more focus on go-to-market.

After decades in this business, I’m thankful I can be here to watch this unfold and see the positive impact the current market will have on so many MSPs.

Thriving in the New Normal: Understanding the Challenges of Attracting and Retaining Talent

We are in a new normal regarding the issues surrounding attracting and retaining talent, and many factors contribute to this.

There’s near-zero tech unemployment, the competition for talent is no longer localized and your requirements have changed. Additionally, you’ve doubled the number of tools in your stack in recent years, your customer’s technology has changed and your target market has also crept up. All these things require more experience and knowledge during a time when it’s harder to come by. The outcome is that tech resources need to know more.

So how do we adapt? Here are just a few things to consider.

Hiring and training must be done through a well-thought-out approach, which requires a well-defined process in place. Culture needs to be a real thing that you nurture and get regular feedback on. You also need to be able to get results from less experienced people by leveling them up. This means having a well-defined and well-documented process, providing excellent training, and leveraging automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Each role must be explicitly defined with clear accountability. Also, consider some other sources and potentially offshoring resources.

Ultimately, our businesses are more complex, and this calls for you to become a more mature business continually. You need to set priorities and have a process to stay accountable at all levels of the organization. Human capital is just one example of the new normal for MSPs. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Selling Season

Do you know what time of the year it is? I’ll give you a hint. Many would say it’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about the Christmas season (although that’s right around the corner, too). Everybody from all walks of life celebrates the season I’m talking about — selling season. And this selling season will be a big one for all of us! I’ll go even further and predict this will be the biggest selling season of all time based on market trends.

For our new folks, selling season is the timeframe between the beginning of September and the end of the year when conditions are optimal for generating more monthly recurring revenue (MRR). This is the time of year when decision-makers are planning for the rest of 2023 and beginning to think about 2024. They’re evaluating their businesses and making decisions — and we need to be part of that process.

It is your job to achieve sales goals every quarter, but during the selling season, you hit the gas. There’s something about the psychology of this time of year as business leaders turn their attention to the end of the year. I have seen the impact of selling season over several decades. Every SMB has a new business plan based on the changing economy and all the other dynamics, which means they’re more open to talking and listening. Use this opportunity to get in front of them!

You have all the tools you need. Our message of technology success resonates even more with all the changes prospects see. You also have great wedges with security and collaboration. There’s no reason not to take advantage of the moment. It is “go time,” and that means you kick things into overdrive. If you already have a strategy, now’s the time to accelerate. If you’re still without a plan, this is the moment to formulate one.

New customers at the right price are the lifeblood of every profitable and thriving MSP. When I owned my MSP, I had a self-instruction card that I read every day: “Every day, I stay focused on finding new customers. I don’t let busy work get in my way. Success is too important.”

What are you still doing here? The selling season is upon us. Get out there and sell!

Tackling MSP Challenges: The Collective Wisdom of Peer Groups

Have you ever felt alone running your MSP? (I know I have in the past on many occasions!) With MSPs facing many complex issues today, it’s common to feel that no one truly understands what you’re going through. That’s why I believe peer groups are so valuable to our industry.

By working together and sharing knowledge, MSPs can create a stronger industry where everyone is better positioned for success. Although it may seem like competition is the driving force behind success in business, collaboration and support are the true keys to lasting success.

Think about it like this: One of the most important aspects of problem-solving is perspective, so getting a broader perspective is essential when facing a difficult decision or solving a complex issue, right? Well, being part of a peer group means you have access to different perspectives and can learn from the experiences of others, enabling you to make more informed decisions and solve problems more efficiently.

For instance, I saw a thread on our peer group platform where a member needed help pricing a security offering. Other members who had dealt with the same issue shared their experiences and offered advice. This collective wisdom and support are invaluable for MSPs growing and scaling their businesses.

So, how do peer groups foster information sharing among MSPs? At TruPeer, we’ve designed our platform specifically to promote collaboration. This includes our customer benchmarking platform, regular accountability calls and quarterly peer meetings. By providing a structured environment for sharing information, we make it easy for MSPs to connect.

However, peer groups are more than just for solving business challenges. They also provide you with a support system. You’re among people who are going through or have gone through the same challenges. This can be incredibly comforting and help you stay motivated when all you want to do is stick your head in the sand.

If you’re reading this and without a peer group, I highly recommend exploring your options. Being part of a community that understands and supports you can make all the difference in the success of your business. Whether solving complex problems, sharing information or simply finding support during difficult times, peer groups are essential.

So why go at it alone when you have a community of peers ready to support you?

Overlooking Productivity: A Common Oversight in Business Leadership

Personal productivity is paramount in gauging an individual’s or an organization’s success. How productive you are impacts results more than how hard you work. Yet, many business leaders overlook personal productivity, rarely discussing it during interviews or making it part of their training or performance metrics.

During interviews, I always start with a few questions about productivity, like “How do you organize yourself?” Naturally, if their response is as brief as a “to-do list,” I dig deeper. I then ask them to outline a typical day in 15-minute increments. The idea here is to see if there’s a routine and if it matches how they organize themselves. When asked about their email and messaging habits, many, aiming to impress, reply, “I’m extremely responsive, or I reply instantly.” Unfortunately, this often translates to them allowing constant interruptions — counterproductive, for sure.

In today’s digital age, staying productive demands even more discipline. There are constant disruptions — emails, chat messages, alerts, not to mention the ever-present pull of social media, which many can’t resist checking every five minutes. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Enhancing productivity by just an hour or two daily can create significant differences. For instance, consider a support desk team with a daily average of seven resolved tickets. Upon refining their process, this number might jump to 12. For less straightforward roles, breaking down primary responsibilities is essential, devising ways to quantify and agree upon productivity benchmarks.

Recalling my early days at my MSP, we had an employee responsible for all our quotes and proposals. Whenever she’d fall behind, affecting our responsiveness to clients, I’d intervene. Each morning, we’d categorize the quotes by size and urgency. I’d then guide her on prioritizing tasks, emphasizing focused work. “Handle these specific tasks. Avoid emails or calls for now.” Typically, we’d overcome the backlog within two or three days, revisiting this strategy weekly to maintain momentum.

Never take for granted that your team inherently grasps productivity. It’s a skill often taught, not instinctual. If you need a starting point, introduce your team members to “The Myth of Multitasking” by Dave Crenshaw. This initial investment in time can pave the way to a more efficient team and faster profit growth.

Why Every Business Owner Needs a Strong Foundation: Avoiding the Groove of a Lousy Swing

Champions do what others can’t or won’t do daily and make it look easy. There’s a lot to unpack in this statement.

Building the discipline to fulfill your potential at anything takes work. It starts with uncovering the building blocks of the role, the task or the skill and then mastering the foundation.

They say that it takes 10,000 hours to master — and maybe that’s true, but 10,000 hours doing the right things. For instance, if you have a bad golf swing and go to the range for 10,000 hours, you’re just grooving a lousy swing. It’s the same in business.

So many business owners worked so hard for so many years just to groove a lousy swing. In business, the basics are command, business planning, execution and accountability. Until you master these things, you’ll never fulfill your potential, no matter how smart you are or how hard you work.

I hate to admit this, but I’ve sometimes grown frustrated with some of our TruMethods members over the years. They claim they want more success and have potential, but they never really put first things first. Over the years, I’ve softened my view of this by saying that not everybody wants the same things out of life. But in the end, I struggle with this logic.

You don’t have to choose between quality of life and doing real work. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’ve watched many business leaders grow, change and achieve great things, but when I think about the most significant impact that TruMethods has made, I think about the team members who work with the business leaders. The managers and the individual contributors I’ve seen fulfill their potential that they didn’t even know they had. This is why I tend to get frustrated with some business owners because you have a choice. However, your team only gets the opportunity if you can do what others can’t or won’t do daily and make it look easy.

So, for example, for our TruPeer members, I ask them to do four things 100% of the time consistently: register and attend our quarterly meetings, enter their smart numbers and understand them, put the time and effort to complete a quality business update for your peer meetings, and attend and be prepared for your accountability calls.

Now, there are many more things you can and need to do, but this is where champions start. This is the core; make these four things non-negotiable. You can apply the same logic to every role, every task or every skill.

Stuck Mid-Air: The Importance of Processes in Business

Weeks ago, I hired a team to paint the trim on my house, which is quite high up, so they had to use a bucket lift to reach it. Everything started smoothly, but then complications arose.

Eventually, I received the following text message from one of the painters, “Hey, sorry to bother you. We seem to have run out of gas with no way down. Do you, by chance, have any gas in the garage?”

My first thought was, you’re kidding me, right? I thought they were punking me! I even went outside and started looking for hidden cameras. After making fun of them for a few minutes, I found a solution to get them down — but what a comedy.

This incident reminded me of countless scenarios within my own businesses and those of the MSPs I collaborate with, where I’ve observed a lack of established processes or checklists. Too often, we don’t think ahead and end up stuck. Remember: You’re playing chess, not checkers. 

Now, your team isn’t stuck 40 feet in the air in a bucket (at least, I hope not), and they don’t risk their safety (at least, not too often). But they do risk your relationship with your customers. While in most cases it’s small, it’s death by 1,000 papercuts. Eventually, one day, lack of process causes a significant issue that costs you money, a customer, or worse.

You need a process in place today to review tickets, projects, and other outcomes regularly to know the impact. A small effort to gain visibility into your team’s work will yield a roadmap to greater efficiency.

So, keep in mind: Without a process, you might find yourself stuck in mid-air.