If you are looking to take your business to the next level, joining an industry peer group may be your best option. Surrounding yourself with your peers can work wonders when you’re trying to determine what to do next. But without the right framework in place, you and your peers are left looking for direction. That’s why joining a peer group with a tested curriculum is key to your success.
“Many small and medium sized companies do not have a board of directors or stockholders to report to, so the only person keeping you accountable is yourself,” Danny Carlson, EVP of Platinum Systems, a Kenosha, WI-based IT services and managed cloud solutions provider, told me during a conversation we had on why more MSPs should join peer groups. “A peer group can help you fill that role by holding you accountable to your action items and goals while also giving you the responsibility of playing that same for the other members in your group.”
During our conversation, Danny revealed why he decided to join TruMethods’ TruPeer (which offers its members in-person meetings, webinars, educational content, ready-to-deploy documentation and more), stressed the importance of MSPs joining peer groups, and also shared how his business has benefited from TruPeer.
A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.
Why did you join the TruPeer accountability peer group?
Our company had recently gone through an acquisition, which brought a lot of change. As a result, I had noticed we were slowly getting away from our core values, processes and standards. When looking at other successful and growing companies, I noticed there was a common trend: They were all a part of a peer organization for their industry. We had been a TruMethods member for many years. We had implemented many of the TruMethods processes; however, we were not keeping ourselves accountable or always following the process. When I heard about TruPeer, I knew we needed to sign up.
What were your expectations when joining the peer group?
We have long believed in the TruMethods process, but for the last 2 years, we have not been fully living it. I was excited at the opportunity to become reengaged and focus on the business rather than the day-to-day busy work. I was looking forward to not only reviewing the areas of the business we already had in alignment, but to work with a peer group on areas we need improvement. I wanted to learn if other companies were having the same issues we were having and what they have done to overcome them. I was also hopeful that some of the areas we have been successful would be beneficial to the group. Finally, I wanted an outside group to help keep us accountable for our goals and tasks so we can start seeing progress made on our ultimate path as a company.
What did you enjoy most about the peer group?
So far, the process of just getting started has been very enjoyable. The group has done a great job helping us identify some key measurables, especially as we are going through the COVID pandemic. The timing of starting in the group could not have worked out any better. Just like many companies going through the pandemic, we have struggled with our 2020 business plan. Being a part of this group has helped us focus as a company on a dynamic 90-day business plan. We have identified new priorities to help us not only protect our existing customers and business, but also to look beyond and be aware of how to take advantage of our current situation to come out of this as a stronger company.
Why do MSPs benefit from peer groups?
It is easy to come up with a goal or to know where you want to be in three years. What is not easy is actually getting there. You can read books, attend webinars, watch training videos all day long, but until you actually start implementing and holding yourself accountable to achieving your goals, you will continue to just operate the way you always have. Being a part of a peer group helps you focus on what is important and the areas of the business that really matter. It allows companies to compare themselves against their peers and see how they stack up.
How are you implementing what you have learned into your business?
The first step we have taken is to set new measurables for each of our departments. This has helped us to put priority and the correct focus on the areas we are looking to improve. It gives our employees a clear target and understanding of how their role is important. In our company wide meeting, we have shared with the entire company our current plan and goals so each employee knows what path we are on and we are all aligned and working towards the same goal. It has helped them understand why their new measurables are important and gets their buy-in to the process.