IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

The Value of Vision

Creating a vision statement for your MSP business helps to align all decision making around what you are trying to achieve. By Colleen Frye

DEFINING A VISION for who your company is and what it does is more than just a management exercise. The clearer you are about what your business stands for, who it serves, and what it aspires to become, the easier it is to make decisions about who you hire, what you offer, and who you market to.

Yet many MSP business owners “can't think out three years from today on what their business looks like” because they are caught up in the day-to-day work, says former MSP Adam Bielanski, CEO of Sierra Pacific Group, an IT management consultancy and ConnectWise integrator. “They're engineers,” he continues. “They just start their business and suddenly now they have a multi-million dollar or million-dollar business.”

Adam Bielanski

These MSPs without formal business training have often “stumbled our way into success, and not that it's bad, [but] all of the energy is not oriented in the same place and there's a bit of the scattershot approach,” says Todd Kane, president of Evolved Management Consulting, an MSP growth advisory. That’s why both he and Bielanski encourage their clients to create a vision for their businesses. “That vision and that alignment around what we're ultimately trying to achieve helps everyone to agree upon what's necessary to get done,” Kane explains.

A vision statement differs from a mission statement, says Paul Parisi, president of SaviorLabs, an MSP in Boxford, Mass. “The vision statement is, ‘What do you want to achieve as a company?’ The mission is how you do it.” Parisi says the vision helps answer the question, “What am I in this for?”

Bielanski recommends his clients create a three-year vision statement. He modeled his firm’s own 14-page plan on the book Vivid Vision by business consultant Cameron Herold. “It's pretty detailed [and] comprehensive. It goes over finances, culture, what services we offer, and so forth.” It includes details such as what you want your office to look like, your brand and any associated swag, and your core values, he adds. “It influences the type of people you hire as well as the clients that you're going to be engaging with.”

For Bielanski, the No. 1 criteria for both employees and clients is culture fit, and that’s detailed in Sierra Pacific’s vision. “We want [clients] who want to invest in their own change, that's one of our key things. … If they don't fit that then we don't bring them on as clients.”

The vision document is typically “driven by a CEO,” continues Bielanski, who spent about two weeks writing his. “As you get larger, you need to have the executive leadership team being brought into those conversations. But at the end of the day, the CEO needs to deliver and take responsibility for what the direction of the company is.”

About the Author

Colleen Frye's picture

Colleen Frye is ChannelPro's managing editor.

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