IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Breaking Down Growth Barriers

Here’s what to expect on the way to $1 million, $3 million, $10 million, and beyond, and how to get past it. By Rich Freeman
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SUCCESSFUL CHANNEL PROS face different challenges at different stages of their growth.
THE BIGGEST ISSUES on the way to $1 million a year are adopting tools, hiring people, and establishing processes.
TO REACH $3 MILLION, you must be disciplined about metrics, targeted about customers, and specific about roles/responsibilities.
VISION, CULTURE, M&As, and possibly a private equity partner are common milestones on the road to $10 milliion-plus.

RICK JORDAN MADE IT to $100,000 a year in revenue relatively fast—and then stayed there for what felt like forever.

Now CEO of Chicago-based MSP ReachOut Technology, Jordan was a solo operator back then. What finally got him past that first plateau to $300,000 a year, seemingly overnight, was hiring someone to take some of the technical load off his back so he could spend more time on sales. Later, handing sales over to full-time professionals and devoting more time to strategic leadership got him from $1 million, where he’d been stuck for two years, to $3 million in months.

Lesson learned? The secrets to growing your business change over time. “What got you here is not what’s going to get you to the next phase,” Jordan observes.

Indeed, veterans of the process say that getting to $1 million, then to $3 million, and from there to $10 million and beyond, involves overcoming an evolving set of very different obstacles.

“People are generally aware that there will be challenges,” says Peter Melby, CEO of Greystone Technology, a multimillion-dollar MSP in Denver. “There’s not a very clear awareness of exactly what those challenges will be to the point that they know how to start preparing for them.”

Melby, Jordan, and experienced channel pros like them do know what to expect, however, and have plenty of advice to share.

Getting to $1 Million: Investing in Success

Rick Jordan

Most channel pros begin their entrepreneurial journey with little to draw on but technical skills. Getting to that first big landmark—$1 million a year in revenue—is mostly about laying in a more complete foundation for growth.

If you offer managed services, that process begins with implementing a PSA solution, an RMM system, and other critical tools. Inexpensive options are available for newcomers with little initial revenue, but Jordan cautions against using them. “I don’t believe in cheap or free, because cheap or free is not scalable,” he says. “You have to invest in the right tools in order to grow, and the right tools cost money.”

To get peak return on that investment, though, you must also take full advantage of the software’s capabilities. In the case of RMM platforms in particular, that entails scripting as many management tasks as possible. “Almost everything is automated in our RMM,” says Jordan, who does a service ticket review with his team monthly to spot further opportunities for eliminating manual effort.

About the Author

Rich Freeman's picture

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

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