What Should REALLY Scare You This Halloween

What scares you?

In my teens I cleaned homes to make money. One of the homes I worked in for over five years was a family-owned funeral home. They lived on the second floor and had funerals on the first floor. Creeped me out. But the lady of the house said to me once, “You know, dead people won’t hurt you. It’s the living you gotta worry about.” So true. We all tend to be scared of the wrong things.

Most MSPs are scared of the wrong things when it comes to their business. Making a sales call. Doing a TBR/QBR. Raising their prices (even though they desperately need to). Confronting break-fix clients to move to managed services. Sending out a campaign they might get criticized about. When you’re properly growing your MSP (not just treading water doing what’s comfy), you ought to be at least a little bit scared on a daily basis, but not about these things.

Even little kids know you have to go out into the dark of night and knock on strangers’ doors to get a bag full of candy.

What SHOULD scare the pants off most MSPs (but apparently doesn’t) is the total and complete lack of security they have in their business. No recurring revenue, low profit margins, no systems and processes, no real focus on cyber security, no marketing plan to generate revenue quickly if needed, inadequate insurance, reliance on ONE client or ONE key employee, no legal contracts, no systems and processes, no management and no controls. All of this should terrify them, but they seem as oblivious to the danger as a toddler playing at the top of a flight of wooden steps.

This brings up another scary question: are you REALLY an entrepreneur? By definition, it’s a person who acts as an intermediary between capital and labor for the purpose of generating a profit – not someone who labors for capital. That’s an employee. Your job as CEO is to create a plan for your business to secure consistent, profitable growth. Yes, that means working in it some, but simultaneously working ON it. Working on growth. Working on building a perfect client-fulfillment system that doesn’t involve you doing it all. Working on hiring an exception team. If you’re not sales-driven and unwilling to do this and learn the business skills required to get the job done, what the heck are ya doing running a business?!?!? Do you need a hobby that bad?

The other day a prospect asked what percentage of our clients use the Toolkit materials for two years or more. A question I cannot possibly answer accurately. What does “use the materials” mean exactly? Does pulling out one or two campaigns count? Do you count ideas learned, implemented and then made part of the way they do business in perpetuity? Major shifts in their mindset for what’s possible that changes their outlook and subsequently gives them the confidence to grow two to three times? Price increases that I embolden them to trigger that profits them for years? Managed services plans designed and sold that I gave them? And why two years? Is there magic in that number? Why not 3 years? Or 10? There are HUNDREDS of campaigns, tens of THOUSANDS of ideas, tools, campaigns, strategies and thousands of clients. I can’t possibly answer this.

Besides, it’s the wrong question to ask. This is what an engineer would ask, not someone in the mindset of an entrepreneur. The fact that someone uses or doesn’t use a particular coaching program or a sales and marketing tool is not a good metric of its value. THAT is a metric of human nature…of honest entrepreneurial ambition. What should scare this prospect (but doesn’t) is the fact that he has been in business for nearly 20 years and still hasn’t broken the $500K mark, has zero managed clients, zero marketing or sales systems, zero vision for what he’s creating and zero entrepreneurial skills.

If you want to succeed in business, you have to acquire business skills. Simple. There’s nothing more common than unrewarded and underpaid technical skills. A GREAT painter who is earning what all painters get paid. A GREAT dentist who earns on average what a dentist earns. A GREAT landscaper who earns roughly what most landscapers earn. The money is in the building and running of a business – creating a perfect turnkey profit machine that consistently gets, keeps and expands the relationships with clients.

If you’ve been the “walking dead” for too long, meandering and fumbling around lost, making less than you need and want, sucking wind as a “technician” suffering from an entrepreneurial seizure (thank you, Michael Gerber), it’s time to get serious about being a sales-driven entrepreneur.

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