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5 Steps to One-Person MSP Success

5 Steps to One-Person MSP Success

5 Steps to One-Person MSP Success

One could argue that there has never been a better time to start and grow a managed services provider (MSP) business. The market has continued to expand, with the global managed services market valued at $152 billion in 2020 and expected to reach $274 billion by 2026 — an incredible opportunity for any new potential business owner.

While some MSPs may choose to build a large company with many employees, others may decide to go it alone. However, being a one-person MSP business doesn’t mean that it can’t be successful. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. There is incredible success possible for one-person MSP business leaders who carefully and purposefully capture the opportunity.

For many reasons, an MSP owner may look to forge ahead as a lone wolf. For one, it means limiting the overhead of extra employees or other expenses needed for more extensive operations and capturing as much opportunity for themselves as possible. It may also simply be how the business gets its foot in the door with initial customers before expanding into a much larger shop.

However, being a one-person MSP can also come with its hurdles. Being a one-person shop means more work for the business owner and the need to be on call whenever an issue may arise — even in the middle of the night or if they were hoping to take a vacation. It can also mean juggling a business's many responsibilities single-handedly, from marketing, sales, and billing to customer service and other areas. However, those MSPs willing to work can reap the benefits — building a successful business for themselves and helping clients that need their skills and services.

Further reading Taking Vacations as a One-Person MSP

Building an MSP business starts by identifying the services and technologies they might offer and the potential customers that might need those services. The MSP can then build out their technology stack to meet the needs of those customers and market and advertise these offerings to the businesses that may want them. If the MSP is successful in these tasks, even as a one-person shop, they can capture the opportunity and grow a thriving and long-standing business.

Further reading MSP Technology Stack: Software and Hardware Overview

Building a client base

It may be more challenging for a single person to get the word out about a new business or to gain the trust of potential customers and overcome any skepticism towards the idea that a one-person MSP can fulfill their many technology needs. A potential MSP business owner should be aware of these hurdles before starting on their journey and take steps to mitigate the challenges.

To begin to market themselves, an MSP should consider their potential customer base, perhaps a specific industry, customer size, or geography. Larger customers may not be as interested in a newer, smaller MSP shop, but a small business might. Small and medium businesses (SMBs) also typically need IT support to ensure that their technology systems are in order. An MSP can stand out to these customers with a robust tech stack, a competitive price point, and consistent, steady services. Once this is determined, the MSP should consider what their differentiator is that can be marketed to potential customers. From there, they can begin to reach out to those potential customer targets and work to sell them their products and services.

Further reading MSP’s Guide on How to Get First Clients

To reach these customers, the MSP can take a few different routes. They can consider leveraging marketing tactics such as advertising, email blasts, direct mailings, and social media. Additionally, a one-man MSP can do shoe-leather marketing by knocking on doors and cold-calling potential customers to introduce themselves and let them know how their service offerings can fit their technology goals. No matter the method, putting themselves out there is key to landing the first few customers and expanding down the road.

To reduce your stress level related to your MSP marketing efforts, we created these templates for you to help you sell backup services, including a promo email, customer presentation and a leaflet:

MSP's Marketing Templates for Selling Backup
Struggling to win new clients? Use this set of white-label marketing materials to close more Backup-as-a-Service deals.
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Once the MSP has landed their first few customers, it can be much easier to leverage these case studies to build trust and validate their capabilities to further new clients. If an MSP business leader tells these stories well — or even encourages the customers to share them themselves — this can create a snowball effect towards future growth if they are purposeful about how they use these references to expand.

Scaling capabilities to meet customer needs

As previously noted, one of the biggest challenges that will likely face any one-person MSP is balancing the workload of multiple clients with perhaps different needs. This is an inherent challenge for any one-person MSP, but one that can be overcome with careful and thoughtful planning. The first factor to consider here is the client base. For instance, choosing clients with similar technology needs can help make it easier for the MSP to support.

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Additionally, leveraging tools like automation can help scale the capabilities of a single person, without having to hire any extra hands. Remote monitoring and management (RMM) or professional services automation (PSA) tools, for instance, can help the MSP centralize their operations into a single platform and automate simple tasks, instead of completing them manually. These tools can help them scale their skills to meet customer needs.

Finally, just because an MSP is a one-person shop, it doesn’t mean they have to work 100 percent alone. It can be helpful for the MSP to build a network of non-competitive peers in the region to potentially pick up contract or supplemental work, or augment capabilities that they have for a total package (for instance adding specific cybersecurity or other capabilities on to their offering by partnering with a specialist).

Finding and taking on contract or supplemental work can be a way to help build initial clientele or gain valuable experience that can help them support new customers. Additionally, having a partner can also allow a one-person MSP to maintain coverage if they need to take any time off, by providing temporary support for a week or a long weekend. Otherwise, the MSP may struggle to take a vacation with clients with 24/7 needs.

Opportunity ahead for MSPs that succeed

Building a business of any type isn’t for the faint of heart, especially as a single-person operation. However, the opportunity is also immense for those who take the time and effort to grab it. As digital transformation continues and businesses of every type need to leverage technology to build their businesses, the demand for MSP services will only continue to rise. This is an incredible opportunity for any potential MSP business owner.

While a one-person MSP may not choose to stay that way forever — perhaps ultimately hiring some employees as their business scales — it can be an excellent way for any aspiring business owner to grab this opportunity. The MSP can lay the groundwork for future team growth or a long-term solo journey by succeeding as a single-person shop. In either case, it is a perfect foundation for beginning an incredible journey to help potential customers with their technology goals.

MSP’s Marketing Templates for Selling Backup
  • Cloud Backup Leaflet Template for MSPs
  • Cloud Backup Customer Presentation for MSPs
  • Cloud Backup Promo Emails for MSPs
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