Tips For Boosting Your Revenue From A Fast-Growing MSP

  • Company:  DominionTech Computer Services
  • Founded: 2001
  • Headquartered: Williston, Vermont
  • Geographic Market: Vermont
  • Top Growth Indicator: Monthly Recurring Revenue
  • YoY Percent of Growth: 38%
  • President/CEO: Brian Curtis

What are the top metrics you use to measure your business and why?

My No. 1 metric would be employee engagement. The “why” behind this is that I believe a great culture attracts top talent, and I want to be around people who are winning and having fun. To measure our employee engagement, we do semiannual surveys — we actually call them employee engagement surveys — and then we measure the increases and decreases in engagement by category. My No. 2 metric is customer referrals. I think that referrals really prove the value we’re providing for our clients, and they’re the highest compliments we can receive. My No. 3 metric would have to be reactive hours per endpoint managed (RHEM), which is basically how much time we spend doing support calls per end user who we support. Our goal is to keep that number pretty low and to reduce the number of times the businesses we work with need to ask for support. Low RHEM proves our process is effective at reducing ticket counts for our customers, and that ensures our profitability is strong.

What is the top lesson you had to learn that allowed you to kick-start your business growth?

The biggest lesson I had to learn was how to focus. In the beginning, my team and I tried to be a little bit for everyone, but as the business matured, we had to focus on what we were really good at. We have a few things here that we call our “superpowers” — those are our preventive processes and strategy processes. We’ve stopped taking clients who aren’t looking to prevent IT problems or make long-term IT strategies, and instead, we now focus on targeting and working with our ideal clients.

What would you say was your single “secret to your success” this past year?

I’d have to say that the biggest “secret” for me was process improvement, which included working on consistency in our sales and marketing. I started 2019 really determined to be a little bit better every day than the day before. To do that, we automated everything we could automate, continued our deployment of Infusionsoft, and created run books for our different campaigns so we can repeat them without a lot of labor and effort. We improved our processes everywhere, but targeted sales and marketing specifically. All across the business, we made an effort to make things more structured and predictable. It was a bigger learning curve for me than for my employees. They were really the ones who drove the process. Rather than having me hand them new accounts, they decided they needed structure and wanted to build out systems, so we did.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome this past year relating to your business and growth?

The biggest challenge for us in 2019 was finding qualified IT talent — people who could do the technical work and also have a positive demeanor and be outgoing. I wanted people who would be good in front of clients, interact with others well, and have charisma, but they also needed to have the necessary technical skills for the work we do. It was a tough problem, so to solve it, we did a couple of things. First, we dedicated one of our team members (my partner and wife, Misty) entirely to recruiting. Then, we formed a great partnership with a recruiting service that sent talent our way.

Who would you say is the most impactful business leader or business thought-leader whose techniques or leadership style you either try to emulate, follow, or are influenced by, and why?

In the early days of building DominionTech, financial expert Dave Ramsey was really impactful for me. Back when I was doing consulting work a good 20 years ago, I spent a lot of time in my car, and I started listening to his radio show. Since then, I’ve been a consumer of his business resources. We’ve gone to a couple of his live events, and I listen to his podcast and read his books. I’ve even been to visit his radio show in person! Ramsey taught me a lot about the importance of valuing people and how to delegate.

The other big thing I learned from him in the early days is that debt equals risk. It was perfect timing because this was when I had just started my company, and I had actually started it on a credit card! Thanks to Ramsey, I realized that might not have been the smartest thing to do, and I fixed my mistake early on.

What book would you recommend to other MSPs or SMBs trying to grow their business?

I listen to a lot of audiobooks while I’m traveling because I don’t like to see any of my time go to waste, and three of my favorites are “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t” by James C. Collins, “EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches” by Dave Ramsey, and “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wickman. “Good to Great” really opened my eyes to how highly effective teams operate. While good is okay, great is my goal. “EntreLeadership” taught me how to not only be a leader but also teach my team to be leaders as well. It was one of the books that helped me transition from being the only leader in the company to developing a core group that acts as my management team. “Traction” is kind of a how-to guide for running a small business. It helped me with meeting rhythms and taught me how to stay accountable for getting things done.

In closing, do you have any specific advice or words of wisdom you would give to other MSPs looking to grow or build a successful exit for their business?

My words of wisdom really point back to the lesson I learned last year. If I could give my fellow MSPs a piece of advice, it would be this: Focus on one thing, the one thing that you’re uniquely capable of or good at, and revolutionize that. Don’t try to be like every other MSP. Remember the 80/20 rule, which says that 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers or offerings. Your path to success is finding and maximizing that 20%.