Now that school is officially back in session, we figured it would be fitting to put together a post on MSP education. After all, while many service providers are loaded with IT scholars, not all possess the business acumen needed to maximize their true potential. To paraphrase hip hop legend Mystikal, “90 percent of this game is your business, 10 percent is your talent!” Without further ado, here are some resources for managed service providers looking to brush up on their sales, marketing, and business knowledge.
1. IT-Focused Books
The MSPBuilder blog did us all a solid by compiling a list of great reads for IT professionals. Touching categories such as Sales and Marketing, Social Media, and Personal Growth, this list is comprised of titles service providers can use to grow and take their business to the next level. While the number of MSP-specific books are limited in general, there are a few potential gems here, including Managed Services In a Month by Karl W. Palachuk, and Julie L. Mohr’s The Help Desk Audit: Blueprint For Success.
2. The Social Web
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are excellent tools for extending your reach, creating awareness, and building relationships with your audience. Social media is also a great learning tool, and in this domain, your competitors are some of the best resources to learn from. By studying your fellow MSPs, you can learn exactly where you need to be in the social space and what type of content works best in these venues, in addition to what not to do as well.
3. Community Groups
Online there exists a community for every culture, and though it may be harder to pinpoint initially, the MSP field is no exception. Tracking down the right resources is all about knowing where to look. You can start by checking into HTG, CompTIA, and other companies who have a finger on the pulse of the IT industry. From there, head over to LinkedIn and use the search function to seek out groups that meet your exact criteria. Be active, contribute by sharing useful information whenever possible, and community groups can be go-to sources for expert knowledge on a wealth of topics.
If you rarely have time to attend seminars, their web-based alternatives may be more your speed. Available right from your desktop screen, webinars deliver educational content in a comprehensive format while creating an environment that lends itself to easy interaction and opportunities to join in the discussion.
We host the monthly webinar series for StorageCraft partners on the first Wednesday of every month. If you want to know more about backup software, our monthly broadcast will give you the latest scoop.
Register for our webinar series here: http://bit.ly/1MHcSRS
5. Self-Help Documentation
Lastly, there are a number of websites you can help yourself to for information on MSP-related topics.
The Recovery Zone blog features articles on issues such as industry trends, storage infrastructure, data security and even customer care.
MSP Mentor also has a section with dedicated articles and resources to help with your business.
The IBM’s MSP Marketing Launch Pad serves up videos, articles, and insights to help you shape your marketing strategy from campaign planning to execution.
Just using these resources should be a good point to start.
No matter how successful you are in business, there’s always room for improvement – even if it’s just learning to be more patient when fielding help desk inquiries. Feel free to add to this list of educational resources and share with your network.
Photo Credit: Tommy Ellis via Flickr