This is a common challenge for MSPs.
Here are some good questions to ask as you consider new hires:
- Will this hire enable the owners to delegate service and/or administration tasks so they can work more on the business instead of in the business?
- Does this hire have potential to develop into more than they are on Day 1?
- Does this hire exude the culture characteristics we are trying to establish?
- Will this hire help us move away from having higher-end resources do lower-end work?
If your MSP is currently at four employees, it may make sense to add technical depth and muscle for the next hire or two. But after that, it is time to build a service team that doesn’t have an owner as the captain.
Hires six through 12 will be critical. One goal to keep in mind is to establish a service team that is not highly dependent on the owner(s) to function. Ultimately, owners should focus on sales, finance, business strategy, and, to a degree, technology platform.
By the time you are 10 or 12 employees, you should have a service team with a help desk, field tech and engineering capabilities, and a dispatcher. There should also be a non-owner service manager that the team reports to. It’s also ideal to have someone in place to handle basic administrative duties like bookkeeping, ordering, and answering general phone calls.
A common mistake burgeoning MSPs make is to keep hiring to address immediate and apparent needs in front of them without considering if each hire is going to put the business in a better position to scale. Often the owner or owners solely focus on addressing the current workload.
The long-term goal is for the owners to be leaders with a strategic focus, instead of a tactical one. This can take a long time, and there are a lot of ways to get stuck. One of the easiest is for the owners to stay in the middle of everything of consequence that goes on in the company.
By the time your MSP is up to 10 workers, most employees should be reporting to someone who isn’t an owner. If you build a whole service team before bringing in or developing any other leaders, it’s tricky to transfer leadership of that service team to someone else as you grow.
The key to scaling profitably is to get good leaders and good processes in place. Start early.
Dave Cava is a partner at Encore Strategic, overseeing the company’s recruiting arm and serving as a peer group facilitator. See more fascinating details about Cava on channelWise.
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