What Are The Top 3 Business Indicators You Use To Measure Your Company And Why?
Total revenue is important to us to see how we’re doing. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is our most important indicator because it’s how I judge if I’m really growing. I want to build a company that is going to last, so if I’m bringing in clients and they’re going right out the back door, then the company is not building, and something is wrong. Net profit is also important to measure. However, we are more focused on gross growth. Great revenue growth allows us to heavily reinvest, and because of that, we’re getting a lot of new opportunities we never would have received otherwise.
What Is The Top Lesson You Had To Learn To Kick-Start Your Business Growth?
I had to learn I didn’t know anything about marketing and I needed to treat marketing as a department of my company. Before finding Robin Robins, I tried a lot of little marketing things, and I got zero results. I had departments for accounting, tech, and so on, but I didn’t have a marketing department. That was the wrong approach. I had to change my thinking and make marketing as important as anything else. Once I realized, “I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’ve got to find someone who knows marketing,” things changed. I needed to get help internally to do the marketing because, as the business owner, I was wearing too many hats, and I just couldn’t do it. I ended up hiring a marketing assistant to start. Now, I have five marketing people. The lesson that catapulted our business was to find a marketing process and then add the right marketing people.
Your Company More Than Doubled This Past Year. What Would You Say Is The Single Biggest Secret To Your Success?
I would say it was listening to and following Marcus Lemonis’ advice at Technology Marketing Toolkit’s Boot Camp in 2020. Marcus said to double-down on your marketing, so we did. We doubled our marketing staff and invested a lot more into our marketing. We did the opposite of everyone else. Our efforts were amplified because everyone else was drawing back their marketing dollars, and we were putting more in, both financially and effort-wise. It worked. We more than doubled revenue and added 79% in MRR.
What Would You Say Is The Biggest Challenge You Had To Overcome This Past Year Related To Reaching That Growth?
There were two things. We had to trust that doubling our marketing efforts would pay off. When the pandemic was in full swing, our results flatlined for a couple months. Nothing was happening, but we kept mailing letters, making phone calls, doing online events — we just kept that same effort up. We struggled to believe that we shouldn’t stop. But trusting the process and keeping that consistent effort allowed us to have extremely great results in the third and fourth quarters. Our other challenge has been keeping up with onboarding new clients. Our marketing team is like a well-oiled machine. They are so good at marketing that our technical team ends up having a lot of new customers to onboard all at once.
What Partner Or Tool Helped You Along The Way?
One of the reasons we win business with prospects is because we use IT Glue from Kaseya. We focus on how we can be the most transparent IT company out there. A lot of IT companies get all the information about the customer, then hold it real close to the vest. They don’t even let the customer have their own information because they’re afraid of losing the customer. It’s like their way of getting the customer to stay with them. I believe that is an extremely bad practice, so we flip it and do the opposite. With IT Glue, we store all the customer’s IT information and make sure the customer has access to it as well. IT Glue helps us keep extremely organized about how we collect and secure their information while helping us be exceedingly transparent. We even use it during our sales process and say, “You’re going to have full access to your IT information. We’re not going to hold it hostage like your other IT company.”
Who Would You Say Is The Most Impactful Business Leader Whose Techniques Or Leadership Style You Try To Emulate Or Are Influenced By And Why?
Marcus Lemonis has definitely been a big influence on me, especially with his methods, and taking his advice is working out so well. One of the reasons I trusted his advice at the boot camp was because I already knew who he was. My son, who just turned 18, is a young entrepreneur. When he started showing an interest in being an entrepreneur, I suggested we watch Marcus’ TV show, “The Profit,” together. Watching him always looking at small businesses and trying to understand what’s working, what isn’t working, and what changes are necessary to make business flourish helped me develop that mindset. It’s like being a business troubleshooter, and it forced me to look at my business from a higher perspective to say, “What are we not doing, and why aren’t we doing it?”
If You Were Going To Recommend A Book To Other MSPs Or SMBs Trying To Grow Their Business, What Would You Say They Should Read?
“Broken Windows, Broken Business” by Michael Levine — that book made me realize that even the little things a customer sees wrong create a perception that everything is wrong because if you’re letting the little things go, how could you possibly be handling the big things? After I read that book, I offered $50 to any employee who bought the book and read it. Now, it’s a regular segment at our team monthly meeting. I ask, “Who knows of a broken window in our business?” Everyone gets to talk about one. We put them all on the table and then we vote. Whoever is picked gets $50 from me.
You Were A 2021 Better Your Best Finalist. What Words Of Wisdom Would You Give To Other MSPs Looking To Grow Their Business The Way You Have?
Treat marketing as a department from the very beginning and take marketing extremely seriously. We have 22 employees today. My third employee was a part-time marketing assistant. Now, she’s our marketing director. When I look back, that was the best decision. Early on, as an MSP, we tend to just want to polish all the technical parts of our company before we go out and start marketing. But that doesn’t lead to growth at all. Don’t be afraid. Get committed to having a dedicated marketing person early on because that’s going to lead to growth more than anything else.
To find out the marketing strategies Neal used in his business to add 77% in monthly recurring revenue, visit www.MSPSuccessMagazine.com/Neal.