Guest Blog: Grow Your Managed Services Practice The Smart Way

This NetEnrich Blog post was contributed by Paul Smith, Partner with Datasmith Networks, a NetEnrich partner.

As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the false notion that the only way to properly take care of your customers is to do everything yourself. When you operate under that belief, you create a lot of unnecessary pressure. You end up settling for subpar profit margins and may compromise your customer service by having to address multiple IT emergencies at the same time.

Consider, for example, what it would cost to hire a Web expert, a virtualization expert, and a database expert — easily $300,000, right?  And, let’s say you actually do succeed in finding that talent; you’d be lucky to achieve a 70% utilization rate on their time.

We used to operate like that. And, looking back I see now what a mistake it was, not only for the reasons mentioned above, but also because we didn’t look very smart or sophisticated to our customers.

We wanted to offer 24/7 support, so we used a “punch through” call service that recorded our customer’s after-business messages and then paged whoever was on call at the time. The customer often had to explain the same story twice because call service personnel weren’t familiar with IT and didn’t know the right follow-up questions to ask.

A few years ago, while attending an Ingram Micro partner event, our company was introduced to NetEnrich, an IT company that specializes in providing outsourced NOC and RIM (remote infrastructure management) support to VARs and MSPs. After meeting with them and hearing about their value proposition, we decided to try them out and have them provide RIM support for six of our dental clients. Within a short period we were able to see for ourselves that this decision was a win for us as well as our customers.

Not only do we not have to worry about utilization rates any more, but NetEnrich provides several additional services that we weren’t able to offer previously. For instance, if one of our customer’s websites goes down, as soon as NetEnrich receives notification, the tech assigned to troubleshoot the problem captures the resolution process via video. After the problem is resolved, I can provide my customer a link to the video that shows how their problem was solved step-by-step. What a huge selling point and relationship builder.

Nowadays, we’re totally upfront with our clients about the fact that we have a team of virtual partners to supplement our staff.  This team reduces our operational overhead and allows us to consistently deliver exceptional service.

If I could offer any advice to a small business owner who is currently considering hiring more IT talent and/or building their own data center, it would be to first visit, set up an account, and start investigating vendor partnerships like NetEnrich to see how they may be able to help with your current business, sales, technical and staffing challenges. I’m confident they would discover — as we did — that you do not have to do it all yourself!

Teaming up with good business partners takes some of the burden off your plate, allows you to spend less time working at your business and more time working on your business, which is a key requirement for future growth.