IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Partnering Up

Channel pros are no strangers to partnering with peers to fill gaps in skills or resources, but in today’s complex and competitive landscape it is becoming a necessity. By Colleen Frye
Reader ROI: 
IT’S INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT to be an expert in everything, so partnering with other channel pros is becoming critical.
PARTNERING enables you to add new service offerings, expand your geographical footprint, and meet surges in demand.
VET PARTNERS thoroughly and establish the terms and conditions for how you will do business together up front.

THE OLD SAYING, “Two heads are better than one,” seems extra fitting in today’s complex and varied tech environment.  Almost no channel pro can understand or support all of IT on their own, which makes partnering with peers more essential than ever.

“In today's world, having another set of eyes, especially in terms of security and knowing how to fine-tune some of the configurations and setups, is really important,” says Lori Tisinai, owner of Computer Concepts USA, an MSP in Lake Bluff, Ill.

Partnering can also drive your business forward in several ways: expanding your service offerings, providing the ability to respond to a surge in demand, and increasing your geographical reach.

“Because we have built these communities [of peers] with each other we have the ability to interact and talk to people in other places,” says Stanley Louissaint, principal and founder of Fluid Designs, an MSP in Union, N.J. “I think that definitely helps us to be able to expand our own footprints.”

Of course, no reward is without risk. Customer poaching, however, is more fear than reality, according to Paco Lebron, CEO of ProdigyTeks, an MSP in Chicago. “We as MSPs have this notion that everyone's coming for our business and our hard-earned dollars … [but] I think what a lot of MSPs really should see is there's enough business for everyone.”

The real risk, says Louissaint, is angering or losing a customer if a partner does a poor job, or worse, fails to show up.

Indeed, not partnering in unfamiliar fields can put you at a disadvantage. Louissaint, for instance, readily admits his firm isn’t skilled in access control, “but I know how to sell it, and I know how to get my partner to come in and handle the executing of that.” Lebron, for his part, partners with a security camera expert who better understands the liability issues. And they both partner for their low-voltage wiring needs, not because they don’t have the skills, but because it’s not where they want to expend their resources. 

About the Author

Colleen Frye's picture

Colleen Frye is ChannelPro's managing editor.

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