- Year Founded: 1997
- Headquartered: Long Island, New York
- Geographic Market: New York and the tri-state region
- Top Growth Indicator: Less customer service calls
- YoY % Of Growth: About 10% per year
- CEO And Founder: Adam Schwam
What Are The Top Three Metrics You Use To Measure Your Business And Why?
Hours spent per client, per month: I want to know how much time we’re spending on each client every month so I know if we are charging appropriately. When I look at the hours spent on each client, I can see how much work is being put in, and these hours are so valuable because if we’re spending a high amount of time on one client, we need to find the source of that problem.
If you’re really good, the tickets that are open should equal the ones that are closed, but if it’s out of control, then we’re behind. The bottom line is that we need to know if we are making money or losing money on a client. You can dive in deep with anything, rip it apart, and disseminate it, but sometimes, you just need to get the bigger picture.
Gross sales: I want to know our gross sales because it’s vital for me to know how much we are selling. It gives me a gauge of what was sold the month before and what that could mean for our company. You want to see that number go as high up as it can possibly go. Of course, you want to see growth in all your metrics, but this is an important one.
Receivables: This is how we know if we are operating correctly. Our billing can be very challenging, but receivables will tell you if people are happy. As the CEO of this company, I want to know if our customers are paying on time, what products we are continually selling, and if I’m doing all I can to ensure the success of the company.
These metrics all work in concert with each other. Knowing how many hours you spent working on a client, how much we are sending back, and how much goes into each account gives me a pulse on how the business is doing.
What’s The Top Lesson You Had To Learn That Allowed You To Kick-Start Your Business Growth?
I was in my late teens or early 20s when I began working in rock ‘n’ roll and night clubs. This was just as computers were coming out, and I used one all the time. I would make passes and flyers, and soon, I was relying on the computer for a variety of purposes. After all, when you work in that business, you develop many talents.
But by the mid-1990s, there weren’t as many clubs, so I had to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew how to work on computers, and I was good at it. So, while IT was still in the embryonic stage, I opened up my doors in a radio station I was working with, and they became my first client. I was lucky enough to have friends in the club business who had many talents, and that’s when I learned one of my biggest lessons as a business owner: delegate, delegate, delegate.
Any task that someone else can do or that you can automate — get it off your plate. As the owner of a small business, your goal is to have nothing to do. A lot of that I had to learn at the beginning because I was starting to flunk pretty quickly. I was starting to do it all myself, but I learned that I couldn’t do that and expect success. If you’re out in the ocean and you have a long swim, you want to do that with someone. It’s difficult to drown when there’s someone else there.
What Would You Say Has Been The Single Secret To Your Success In The Past Year?
I’ve been using Kaseya for years, and Kaseya has purchased all of these really beneficial products that have made our processes easier. There’s one vendor. There’s one support. It all integrates together, and you can see it in one place. It’s a unified platform.
It makes it easier to purchase products, sell products, and automate because you’re using fewer platforms. When you have a backup program from one company, a password holder from another company, and a scheduler from yet another company, you’re opening new platforms all at once, and that’s without opening a client’s machine! You want to be able to unify yourself.
In addition, I have found marketing can benefit charity; it’s not just networking on computers. We network people together, and when I’m integrating myself in the community, I’m networking with those opportunities. Charitable gifting is awesome because it really does help. It feels good, and then those philanthropists support you.
I’m just shy of 50 years old, and I boxed for charity this year! My friend and I raised $65,000. (If you want to see me train and box, you can even check out my film on YouTube by searching for Sandwire. “Rocky” fans are going to love it.)
What Was The Biggest Challenge You Had To Overcome This Past Year Related To Your Growth Or As A Result Of That Growth?
Understanding our workflow and actually utilizing our platforms have been key. For example, if you have to deliver a computer or a network, you shouldn’t start that planning process at the beginning. Work backward. That way, you can work your way through the entire workflow and what needs to happen to get you to each point.
That took a long, long, long time for me to understand. As things change, you really need to re-onboard yourself. At Sandwire, we had someone go through our different platforms from the beginning, learn our process, and comb through the platforms again. Then they had the perspective of our process with a fresh set of eyes.
Who Would You Say Is The Most Impactful Business Leader Or Thought-Leader, Whose Techniques Or Leadership Style You Try To Emulate Or Are Influenced By? Why?
Rob Basso with Associated HCM is a local guy and someone I look up to. Rob has been really successful in business, and it’s because he understands how it all fits together. He doesn’t just understand sales; he gets how sales influence workflow and how that influences the company dynamic. Even though he’s in administration, he understands that there’s a customer service piece that is vital to success.
I’ve known Rob for a while, and he’s a fixture of our community. When we attend these roundtable events, he freely offers this information, understanding that success breeds success. Because of his expertise, Rob has been featured on MSNBC and in Fortune. He’s even written a book called “The Everyday Entrepreneur.”
I would recommend his advice to anyone. His expertise is valuable, and it’s worth learning more about.
What Book Would You Recommend That Other MSPs Trying To Grow Their Business Should Read?
I read a lot of books, but the most intense realization I’ve had came from “Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box” by The Arbinger Institute. I never knew I was standing in such a large box. I couldn’t even see past the flaps! I was like Nine Inch Nails — I was down in it!
This book is unlike any business book you’ve ever read. It tells a story about a CEO who wants an employee to come to a meeting, and you don’t know what it’s about. As you read it, you learn about how you’re deceiving yourself and the people you work with. It leads you through a maze and teaches you how to get out of the box. Hint: The ladder to get you out of your box is all your people.
By the end of it, I realized that I was not the leader I thought I was, and I had many revelations. I saw that it was easy to see the flaws in people, but you also have to understand that they have good characteristics too. It keeps you from surrounding yourself with people who have the capacity to cause major problems. You take a deep look inside yourself to discover the type of person you are and how to look at yourself as a better person. You need to take a long look in the mirror and make those changes. “Leadership and Self-Deception” helps you get there.
In Closing, Are There Any Words Of Wisdom That You Would Give To Other MSPs Looking To Grow Or Build A Successful Exit For Their Business?
It’s interesting because it all comes from the same place. If you want a successful exit, you have to be in order. If you want to be successful, you have to be in order.
Employees and employers have expectations for each other, and those have to be honored. It’s also not just about a client’s expectation of us; it’s about my expectations of a client. You have to have a clear understanding of each other too.
As an MSP, we interface with every person in our clients’ organizations, which means our responsibility is to make sure our clients’ employees are productive all day. We know more about their employees in some cases than they do! So, when I pitch myself to a potential client, I make sure they understand that I don’t take this lightly. We’re the psychologists and the technologists of their company. We sit on the management team of every clients’ company, and you need to set that expectation from the start