Do you already know what MSP stands for? Are you interested in knowing how to become an MSP? Find out some basics about managed services provision, what to offer, how to sell, which clients to target, what tools you may need for the job. In short: what questions to ask yourself before setting out. And on the way, get a glimpse of our efficient and affordable TSplus product offer.
What is an MSP?
First, a few lines for those of you discovering the acronym and even the job behind the description. In IT, an MSP is a Managed Service Provider. Effectively, it refers to outsourced service provision to meet another company’s IT needs. SMBs can opt to pay for such a service on subscription rather than hire in-house staff on a regular wage. Managed services include provision of IT set-up updates and maintenance as well as support for devices, software and network.
How to Start Out as Managed Service Provider: Your Offer and Goals
Deciding what you are going to sell and its price will help give direction to your business. It is important you choose the services and support, decide to flag particular software and put price tags on your offer. Once you’ve done that, you should have a better sense of direction.
Ask yourself questions. In what market and with which types of company do you want to work? How big do you want to grow? These kinds of views will be worth reassessing regularly in fact, as your business grows and time passes.
How to Become an MSP: What About Sales?
Basic training is valuable for you as a manager since, in early days, you are likely to need to do this yourself. Later it also will make it easier to oversee what is being done by others. A sales job includes calls, emails, meetings (face to face or virtual), quotes… And depending on whether you are outgoing or shy, you will face this differently. Practice is the best way to be prepared to face such situations and tasks.
Next, someone will need to take care of publicity. Have you thought of a name for your business? What about your website, telephone number and other such communications means? Are you aware that colours and branding can make or break first impressions? Any idea how to create a leaflet, how to present your service offer? What vectors of advertisement are you planning to use? Have you planned all this into your budget? Are you able to do it yourself or will you delegate? Yes, this is a whole new area to cover.
How to Become an MSP: How About Clients?
A key point is to choose a target audience or field. Of course, you can set out without deciding. But you’re likely to have to do it anyway after all. Indeed, you’ll find that it is easier to present what you do under a positive light when you know who you’re addressing. What you will highlight, how you will present it is dependent on what you know the audience want to hear. When you know your clients’ needs and expectations, it becomes quicker and easier to provide for them.
On the practical front, you will come to need some Customer Relations Management software. It is useful to build and manage your client and prospects database, follow-up, customer service, support. Yet, start simple, with Excel for example. You can step up to something more targeted once you see it is about to be necessary. This should give you time to identify your needs, shop around and budget.
Lastly, it is worth remembering that clients being human, some are always happy and others never will be. And you are likely to hear a lot more often and louder from the latter. Nurture the first group well and look out for all those in between in order to bring them into the happy fold. Brace yourself against the latter but treat them with the same respect. Importantly, don’t stand for any more than is decent lest it undermine you.
How to Become an MSP: What About Tools?
This is generally synonymous of hardware and software. You might also find an office is worth considering. Yet, bear in mind today’s potential for remote working and shared spaces. Especially when first starting out. Next, it’s up to you what hardware you choose. Servers, computers, etc., simply make sure your chosen devices won’t be overloaded too soon. Also, you are sure to need a website and a way to call prospects.
You will want to monitor networks and users, so software like TSplus Server Monitoring is one tool which will be essential. Server Monitoring is a simple user-friendly monitoring tool for servers and websites. It features real-time monitoring, modifiable notifications, customisable reports… These are some basics for identifying any issues with your network and fix them promptly. Thanks to Server Monitoring you can keep your provision up and running as well as efficient.
As already said, you will also need software for project and resources management. Remember! You may not need to start out with an all-singing all-dancing tailored tool right from the word go. Features may include CRM, time-sheets, information and processes records, and more eventually. In the meantime, some simple software will do the job without causing overheads or requiring you train up on them.
TSplus Remote Access is a key tool for application publishing. Though you could make it part of service packages, it is more likely to be one of your favourite everyday MSP tools. Indeed, it enables you to publish legacy and state-of-the-art software to the Web. No re-developing work, just a few clicks. Since MSPs commonly aim to provide and update applications on different servers, read on. With Remote Access, you will gain the ability to do so in one move.
A Few More Tips and Tools for Becoming a Managed Service Provider
Depending on how Microsoft-centered your offer is, our application publishing solution may come up trumps for your customers too. As part of your service provision you could find yourself managing remote access for the employees of your clients. In this field, though, we have a highly specific product. For certain clients, you may tailor TSplus Remote Access to publish each workstation desktop for its user. Doing this, would present your client with simplified management while getting their workforce remote in no time.
Another key point to bear in mind is security. No doubt you will want to keep everything safe from cyber-attacks. TSplus Advanced Security is our shield for that job. It is a 360° protection tool which offers a variety of settings and restrictions to guard networks. It keep remote connections safe via time and country restrictions, brute-force protection and white or black-listing of addresses. Last but not least, Advanced Security includes a regularly updated list of blocked IP. To date, this comprises close on 614 million known malicious IPs.
Finally, MSPs generally offer support as part of their packages, in case anything should go awry. TSplus Remote Support is a straight-forwards ergonomic tool for that job.
To Conclude on Becoming a Managed Service Provider
As for setting up in any trade, it is safe to say there are many things to think about and plan for. How to become an MSP is a venture for those confident in their IT know-how. It also for those ready to invest time and effort in their business.
With the right tools for the job, such as Server Monitoring, the adventure will be even better. For further information and to try out any TSplus products in our software suite, please visit our website.