IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Why I Started a Second Managed Service Business

Mauricio asked me a question no one ever asked me before. He attended my roadshow and sent me this note:

"Thank you for having us, we really appreciate all the information you provided us definitely planning on utilizing the information as soon as we get back into town. , looking forward to attending more of your shows.
Just out of curiosity; you mention you sold your manage service company twice, Why would you sell a business that is making you money and then start all over again?"

Selling the first business (KPEnterprises) had a lot to do with a personal "perfect storm" involving the recession and a divorce. My service manager, Mike, was spectacular at executing my SOPs as outlined in my books. He bought the company (now America's Tech Support) and kept me on as a coach/adviser/manager/etc. I did a lot of client relationship work, ran some major projects, and helped with client roadmap meetings.

When Mike sold the business two years later, I no longer had any connection to it. Many former clients contacted me for help. Some literally begged me to come back. When one of them had a huge system-wide failure due to firewall update, I jumped in to help.

That's when I realized that I could create an even MORE profitable business. All I had to do was wait until my absolute "A" clients from back in the day contacted me. One by one I took on a handful of truly perfect clients. They all took my advice, spent whatever I asked them to spend, trusted me, held roadmap meetings, paid their bills on time, and so forth.

I literally created a small sized but hugely profitable company with only perfect clients.

I had one part-time tech and an administrative assistant who split time between that business and Great Little Book, my publishing business. All in all, it was a pretty sweet operation. We operated out of my house and it was a pretty easy, low-maintenance company.

But . . . I realized that I was not making the kind of progress I wanted to make on publishing new books. And I wanted to hit the road almost non-stop in 2017. So, with heavy heart, I decided to give up being a managed service provider (or working in a MS business).

My friend Tom bought the business and I introduced him around. He kept me around as extra help on an "as needed" basis. I've been called into a couple strategy meetings. But he's doing a great job taking care of my clients.

I ended December 2016 with a week in Hawaii with my daughter. I started January 2017 with a week in Key West. Then I hit the road for the big 2017 SMB Roadshow. In addition to speaking in almost three dozen cities, I managed to put out two books last year.

If I can just take time to sit at my keyboard, I hope to have at least one or two new books out this year. I have five books in the works right now (ALL new books - not second or third editions). I love writing and I am worried that I'll get old and die before I finish I the books I need to get out of my head.

I hope that answers the question.

Side note: I have a secret master plan that has been brewing for years. Step One was to create the four-volume set of SOPs. Step Two was to update the Service Agreements book as well as Managed Services in a Month. With those books all out, I felt I had a large enough "body" of work to make Step Three a reality.

Ruben, my web guy, is actively working on Step Three. It's been years in the making, so I'm going to be patient enough to make sure it's right before I let anyone see it.

More questions welcome.

:-)

About the Author

Karl W. Palachuk, is a technology consultant, author, speaker, trainer, and coach. He is the author of fifteen books. He has built several successful businesses, including two managed services companies. His books include Managed Services in a Month and The Network Documentation Workbook. Karl is a frequent trainer and speaker in the SMB Community. His popular blog can be found at SmallBizThoughts.com. He has more than twenty years experience as an I.T. professional and serves on advisory panels for several hardware and software companies.

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