Joining a peer group takes a lot of courage. While being in a peer group can benefit you in many ways, the process usually isn’t for the faint of heart. Peer groups are designed to give you tough love when it’s warranted. Being open minded is key to your success in any peer group.
“The number one thing I hoped to change was me,” said Hoyt Hagens, president of ProMission, a Meridian, Idaho-based MSP with customers in several industries,
including healthcare, manufacturing, legal and education. “For ProMission to be successful, I would have to make the change from technologist to businessman, from a guy working in the business to a guy working on the business.”
During our one-on-one conversation, Hoyt revealed how he was willing to be vulnerable and make changes to improve business results, how TruPeer (TruMethods newest peer offering) has made him more accountable, and what MSPs considering TruPeer should know about the industry-leading peer group.
A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.
Why did you decide to join TruPeer?
There were a number of things that contributed to my decision to join TruPeer. I attended Schnizzfest 2020 in Orlando and spent time with other owners that had achieved amazing success. The number one recommendation I walked away with was “join a peer group.” I came to realize that in order to change, in order to achieve the kind of results I saw other owners achieving, in order for me to turn ProMission into a successful business, I had to gain access to people smarter than me who were willing to hold me accountable.
As a technologist, I made a good living. I created a great job for myself that I called a business. I came to recognize that if I was going to have any hope of building something of value, something that did not require my presence to function, then I needed some help.
Where was your business before joining TruPeer and where is it now?
It is important to note that I am in the midst of the journey. I have by no means arrived. When I came to TruPeer, I honestly did not know where my business was. I rarely looked at my financials; I made enough money that I could afford to keep my head in the trenches. But after splitting off a portion of the business in 2017, it became apparent that the managed services side of the business, what was left after the split, was not pulling its weight and I had no idea how to fix it. I joined TruMethods in an attempt to gain knowledge, thinking knowledge was the answer, but soon found that knowledge without discipline and accountability only resulted in good ideas.
At this point in my six-month journey with TruPeer, we are still incredibly chaotic, I struggle with priorities, and we are not anywhere close to achieving the profit I hope to achieve. But, for the first time in my business career, my financials are in line with a (TruMethods) standard, I have a budget, and a one-year business plan. There is a lot of work to do yet. The difference now is that I have a driving force behind me. The success and encouragement of my peers provide proof that all I have to do is keep chipping away at it.
How did TruPeer make you more accountable?
TruPeer helped make me more accountable by my choosing to be held accountable. There is something about submitting your will to a group of professionals in your field that makes you want to achieve. I’m human. I procrastinate. I let other urgent items align my priorities. When you ask someone else to hold you accountable, they help align your priorities, sometimes through gentle encouragement, sometimes through well-deserved peer pressure (public shame).
What should MSPs know about TruPeer?
I am gaining all that I had ever hoped for and more from a peer group. I get to ask questions of others in my field that I was never able to ask anywhere else: What tools do you use? What works? What doesn’t work? How much do you charge? How do you charge? How do I hire? How do you fire? The list is endless.
This peer group is so much more than aligning your methodology with TruMethods. It is also about finding out that you’re not nuts. This is a hard business with some good news attached. It is possible to succeed and be as good at business as you are at technology. And to top it all off, you end up building friendships with folks that you would have never had the opportunity to otherwise.