Leading your MSP Team to Success – (Part 1)

A while back, I wrote here about how to become a thought leader within the larger MSP industry. But before you can take your leadership skills on the road, you first need to practice the art of leading your own company team in the most effective way. I’ve discussed leadership in a peripheral way, in the context of management models and business ethics, but this time I want to address what it takes to be a good leader and how effective leadership (or the lack thereof) can make or break your business. Continue reading

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Managing the Money (Part 8) – Tax Planning

In Part 7 of this series, we discussed how your MSP’s business structure determines how you are taxed under U.S. federal laws. Tax planning starts with choosing the correct business structure. This time, we’ll look at ways to use tax planning strategies to minimize your tax burden. Continue reading

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Are Your Clients Ready To Move To The Cloud?

Moving to the Cloud is unquestionably the hottest topic today for small business owners when talking about their IT infrastructure. Moving data from an in-house server to a hosted provider has many potential advantages, causing more and more clients to ask if moving to the Cloud is the right choice for them now, particularly if they’re at a point where major changes to the network might be in order, such as the upgrade of a server. Continue reading

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Managing the Money (Part 7) – Federal Taxes and Business Structures

In previous installments of this series, we’ve discussed various aspects of managing your MSP’s money, from revenue enhancement to banking to going public to creating and sticking to a budget. An important and sizable part of your budget is an expense that isn’t discretionary: paying your company’s taxes. That will never be a fun part of doing business, but in these next few installments, we’ll take a look at how you might be able to make tax time a little less painful.

I’ll be talking here about businesses located in the U.S.; tax issues will vary from country to country and in the U.S., you’ll be liable for different types of taxes paid to different governmental entities. Continue reading

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Managing the Money (Part 6) – Budgeting

In previous installments of this series, we’ve been talking about how to get more money into your business – through loans, investors or by going public. But bringing money in is only half the story; you also need a plan for how you’re going to spend that money. And that’s where budgeting comes in.

A business budget is a plan that details when and how you expect to receive and spend money. The revenue and expenditure projections normally cover a period of a year (the company’s fiscal year, which might or might not correspond with the calendar year). Of course, unless you’re psychic, you’ll probably come in over budget on some items and under budget on others, but the point is to have a roadmap so you have an idea how much money you’ll have and what you’ll use it for. Line items should be detailed, but not overly detailed. A typical line item would be “Office Supplies” – there’s generally no need to break it down further. Continue reading

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Is Monthly Invoicing Your Least Favorite Task?

Unless you’ve grown large enough to where you can have an in-house or even an outsourced accounting department to handle your accounts receivables functions for you, odds are it’s you who looks forward to that dreaded end of the month where you have to set aside a day or two (or even more) to compile the billable hours into your client’s monthly invoices. Continue reading

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Managing the Money (Part 5) – Going Public

In Part 4 of our multi-part series on managing your MSP’s money, we talked about how to raise money for your business by soliciting private investors. This time, we’re going to examine the advantages, disadvantages, pitfalls, payoffs and process of “going public” – putting the company’s stock up for sale to the general public and trading on the public stock exchange. Continue reading

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Managing the Money (Part 4) – Looking for Angels (and other investors)

In Part 3 of this multi-part series on managing your MSP’s money, we talked about dealing with the bank and finding the right bank to loan you money. However, banks aren’t the only source of funding for MSPs and other small businesses.

If you’re still in the planning stages of opening your MSP business, it may be difficult to get a bank to loan sufficient funds to a start-up. Even if your business is already established, it’s not always easy to get a loan for expansion or just to get you through a temporary cash flow crisis.That’s when you might go looking for someone else who’ll believe in you enough to risk putting money into your company. Continue reading

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Price to the market

I went to my local butcher last week to buy two of his famous ‘family pies’. These are just like a good old-fashioned Aussie meat pie – but big enough to feed a small family. We have a medium-sized family so I needed two. I was being a very good husband – my wife had asked me to pick up the pies during my travels so I was simply doing what I was told. I was therefore devastated when I asked for a couple of pies and was told that they had sold out. I couldn’t believe it – my life flashed before my eyes. How would I cope when I arrived home to tell my wife I couldn’t deliver on her simple request for the day? The car was full of petrol – maybe I could just start driving and I might make it to the next state before she realised I wasn’t at home with her pies. Continue reading

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Is There A Future For The MSP?

The media recently has been pretty gloomy with regards to how this year will go for IT support professionals. Instead of focusing on a (hopefully) improving economy and rebuilding with optimism, instead it seems that virtually all sources of news about our profession is pretty dismal. Whether you’re reading industry articles, blog posts or forums, you’ll notice that everyone seems to be complaining about the coming decline for managed service providers.

While everyone of course is entitled to their opinion, my view for the future isn’t nearly so grim. I don’t believe that our entire industry is in the tank or that managed service providers who have their heads on straight are in any kind of potential danger. Continue reading

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