The 2019 ASCII SMB IT Success Summit gathered MSPs, IT solution providers, and other industry experts in Bethesda, Md., this week, in the third of nine business-building events planned for this year.
Jerry Koutavas, president of The ASCII Group, opened the event on Wednesday, April 24, with a presentation on “Understanding What High Growth MSPs are Doing to Close Business.”
Presentations during the first day covered topics including the dark web, growing your MSP, marketing, cybersecurity, and telephony. In the peer business session, Leo Bletnitsky, president of LBA Networking, a business and medical IT specialist in Las Vegas, gave tips on the do’s and don’ts of mergers and acquisitions, based on his personal experience with a successful M&A and a not so successful one. The day concluded with a member meeting followed by a networking reception in the evening.
On Thursday, Rayanne Buchianico (pictured), owner of Clearwater, Fla.-based IT and accounting consultancy ABC Solutions LLC, kicked off the morning with a presentation on “Key Financial Red Flags Most MSPs Miss.” She encouraged attendees to pay attention to their books, particularly what they reveal about gross profitability, debt, working capital, cash flow, and net profitability. If there is a problem within any of those areas she recommended starting with one issue, such as reducing debt, to gain a quick win, then moving on to address the next item. To improve your business’s financial health, “you don’t need any special tools,” she said. “It’s all in your P&L.”
Following that session, Koutavas provided updates on ASCII member benefits, including the rollout of a new member communications platform coming within the next month. The platform will include features such as a new member directory and an associated mobile app. Those and other features will “roll out in stages,” he said.
Throughout the day, sessions covered topics such as cybersecurity, cloud as a business, growth opportunities in the channel, networking, email security, vertical opportunity in HVAC/plumbing/electrical, and service KPIs.
Keynote speaker and author Adam Steltzner, recognized as one of NASA’s leading—and most unique—innovators, talked about “The Right Kind of Crazy: A True Story of Teamwork, Leadership and High Stakes Innovation.” He stressed the importance of both collaboration and curiousity to achieving goals.
The event ended with voting and a closing awards ceremony. The winners were:
- Best Education: ID Agent
- Best Partner Incentives: Solutions Granted
- Best Presentation: SOCSoter
- Best Rapid Pitch: Zorus
- Best Keynote: Mailprotector
- Most Innovative Solution: TruGrid
- Best Market Opportunity: Mailprotector
- Best Revenue Generator: Datto
- Best Partner Support: Pax8
- Best Channel Program: Pax8
- Best Partner Involvement: Pax8, Datto, ID Agent
- Top Distributor: Pax8
- Best of Show: Pax8
Next up for the ASCII SMB IT Success Summit is Charlotte, N.C., May 15-16.