[00:00:00] You. Hello and welcome to our second special for Christmas and our first podcast of 2024. Welcome to a brand New Year. I am delighted to have you here with me. I don't know about you, but I'm going to have a cracking year this year. I've made that decision, and I hope that you're going to make the decision too, to make 2024 a fantastic year for your MSP. Now, this week's podcast is a very, very different and special episode. We've never done anything like this before, so it's a bit of an experiment. See if you like it. I am taking you out on a walk.
[00:00:35] It's winter here in the UK and it's cold, and I'm going out for a nice crisp walk around one of my favorite lakes. I'll tell you about the lake in a second, but I'm taking you with me. This is also an audio only podcast. We've been doing video versions for the last couple of years, but just this one because it is just you and me. I thought you'd like to come out with me on a walk. What I want to do in this podcast is I want to help you make a link between the things that you do on a daily basis. So literally, the actions that you take on a daily basis and the results that you get. In fact, more than just the results you get, the lifestyle you get. I want you to understand that every single thing you choose to do or choose not to do this year, and it's always a choice whether you do something or whether you don't do something. I want you to see the direct connection between that and the house you have, the car you have, the lifestyle you have, what you do with your family. So that's why I've brought you. Paul. Paul. Paul. Paul. Paul. Paul. Paul.
[00:01:39] Paul. Paul. Paul. Paul Greens MSP Marketing podcast in a city called Milton Keynes in the UK. It's a fantastic city. It was built from scratch sort of about 60 years ago. And one of the things they did, they planned it very, very well. And it's based around a whole series of very, very beautiful lakes. They're actually sort of water balancing lakes, so they stop the place from flooding in theory, but they're also just great for leisure as well. And it's nice and early in the morning and I'm just wandering around the lake. In fact, this lake has a. I don't know, it's always been a very special lake to me. I've come here many, many times with my family, my daughter, where I'm standing right now. My daughter, literally on this spot, learnt to ride her bike. It's like that kind of lake. And I'm looking out across the lake, there are swans. If you're outside of the UK, you won't know what a swan is, but they all belong to the King. I'll tell you about swans another day. And I can also see the Peace Pagoda. The Peace Pagoda is a very famous part of Milton Keynes. It was, I believe, the first Buddhist peace pagoda in the west in the 1980s, something like that. So I like to come here and I like to walk and I like to think. And in fact, every single year, normally around about September time, not quite as late as this, but I come for very long walks around lakes like Willem Lake, and I just think about what do I want to do? What do I want to achieve, what do I want my lifestyle to be next year? And you and I together, we are going to go through a set of things that we're going to think about along those lines. In fact, what we're going to do is we're going to talk about the vision for your future life. Then we're going to talk about the goals that you need to set in order to achieve that vision. Then we're going to talk about the strategy to achieve those goals. Because I'm making the assumption those goals are goals for your MSP. So when the one we should set a strategy, we'll then talk about the tactics that you need to implement in order to achieve the strategy. And then we'll talk about the daily actions that you need to take in order to make those tactics happen. So vision, goals, strategy, tactics and daily actions. And as we're going through this podcast, I'm going to give you some points where I might say to you, hey, just pause the podcast, particularly if you're out for a walk yourself. Great at this time of year to do that before you get back into the rough and tumble of work.
[00:03:56] But yeah, so it'd be great for you to just sort of pause and think along. As I give you examples of things in my life, it would be great for you to do some thinking about what you want to achieve with your life. This is an MSP Marketing podcast special.
[00:04:11] So let's talk about vision then. And as I say, I come round this lake when I'm setting out what I want to achieve in 2024. So I did this a few months ago and I was primarily thinking lifestyle things. So when I think about vision, I think, what's the lifestyle I'd like to make this year? What's the change I'd like to make this year? And lifestyle. Some people see lifestyle as things, as stuff. And sure, the house that you live in and the car you drive and the holidays you take, the vacations you take, all of those are part of your lifestyle. But I do think that actually, lifestyle is more to do with what you do with your time. And certainly as I'm getting older, and I'll give you a confession, I'm going to turn 50 this year. Slightly terrifying. The more, the older I get, the more I think, what do I want to do with that time? And as business owners, you and I, we have the ability to affect what we do with our time based on the amount of cash that we can generate. So I have things I want to do with my time this year. I want to spend more time with my daughter. She's going to turn 14 this year. She still likes me a bit, so I want to spend more time with her because soon she won't like me. So I'm thinking about what vacation, what big holiday we're going to take this year. I'm thinking about more trips that we can do. She's really into her musical theater, so let's go and see more musical theater this year, all of that kind of stuff. And that's the kind of lifestyle things I've been thinking about. This isn't a big shift year for me. That will be a few years time when she leaves home, but this year, it's just about spending more time with her. So as I'm thinking about that, I'm thinking, right, I need two things. I need time and I need cash.
[00:05:45] I need cash to do the things I want to do, which obviously churns up cash, burns up cash, and I need the time to go and enjoy it. And that, for me, that's my lifestyle. That's my vision. So if I was to think about my vision for this year, it's to generate even more cash. And it's to do so in a way which doesn't tie up all of my time. It's no fun. In fact, I have friends who are cash rich and time poor, and that's not fun. Just as it's also not fun to be time rich and cash poor. That's not fun at all. Having lots of time but no money to do anything with it, that's not fun, is it? So the goal for you and me as business owners is we want to be cash rich and time rich. We want to have enough cash and enough time to do exactly the things that we want to do. And that's my vision for this year. I kind of did my whole big change vision a few years ago, and I moved house to Village I've always wanted to live in, and a part of that village, the specific location, almost a specific street that I wanted to live in, which is where I now live. I have the car I want, I live the lifestyle I want. I have enough time, et cetera. This year. I just want a little bit more of the same. And that's my vision for 2024. Take this moment now, if you want to, to pause this podcast and just have a think as you're out on your walk or on your drive or whatever you're doing right now, and just think for this year, what's your vision? What's the thing that you most want this year? This is an MSP Marketing podcast special, and we're back. So, from your vision, once you realize exactly what it is that you want to achieve this year, we've next got to make the business actually do that for you. And I say that because the beauty of this podcast is it is aimed at business owners. I know we have so many listeners who aren't business owners, and hi to you if that's you. But primarily we're talking to the owners of MSPS here. And even if you're not a business owner, you can still go through this exact process. It's just you perhaps don't have the amount of control that business owners do. Being a business owner is a double edged sword. It really is. It's both the best thing and the worst thing in the world. Wouldn't you agree? It's exactly those two things. Because it's the best thing. Because you do have control and you can generate good cash and you have a relative amount of freedom. And it's the worst thing because often you have no cash and you have no freedom and you work 60 hours a week desperately trying to keep everything together. And I think it's certainly very hard in your first few years. But it does get easier as someone who's been going since 2005. That's when I started my first business. So it does get easier as time goes on. And I can't ever imagine having a job, that's for sure. Anyway, I digress. So, as a business owner, when we set out a vision for our life, we can then use the business and set goals for the business to help to fulfill that vision. So I was saying to you that I want a little bit more cash and I want a little bit more time to enjoy that cash so I can do the things I want to do with my daughter. Well, that means that my business has got to generate some more net profit. Net profit, of course, being the money that's left over after you've brought in all the money, all the money for the things you've sold and paid all of the bills. The net profit that's left over, that's yours, you pay some tax on it, but it's your money. Right?
[00:08:57] So I want a little bit more net profit, but also I want to just knock my hours down a couple of hours. Again, I don't work massive hours. I perhaps work 30 hours a week, but when I work, I work. I'm very hardcore on that work and I will work some odd hours, I'll work late in the evenings because obviously I'm in the UK and I do loads of webinars for across the world and I don't mind doing that. But there are probably still two or 3 hours a week I'm doing stuff I probably shouldn't be doing. So one of my business goals this year is exactly that. It's to look at ways that I can make the business more efficient, try and reduce my own work a couple of hours, and also actually looking for my team. I've got a fantastic team and I think across the board, everyone's just wasting a couple of hours a week doing stuff we really don't need to do. And maybe we don't realize that we're doing it for no reason. So that would be a pretty good efficiency drive. And a good goal for this year is let's see if we can make a little bit more money and let's see if we can just free up everyone's time because everyone wins then, don't we? If everyone gets two, 3 hours a week back to go and enjoy their life, then that to me is a massive, massive win. So that's our goal for the year. And that's not, not just a very tangible, very specific goal, but it's a. Oh, and by the way, we do have massive growth goals as well as a business. We have some very, very specific growth goals for this year, but that's kind of relevant more to the business in terms of helping the business or making sure the business fulfills my vision for my life. Those are the things that matter more, is actually clawing back a little bit more time and that's kind of like a sub goal that I've got running underneath the very ambitious growth goals that we've got. So, a pause moment for you again. What does your MSP need to do this year? What's the performance that you need this year? It could be money. It could be that you need the MSP to churn out more money. Or it could be that your goal this year is to remove yourself from technical work, for example. That's a fantastic goal. Or when I say remove yourself, it's having the option. It's having the option to say, yeah, I'll choose to jump in and do third line tech work if I want to, but actually, most of the time I'm going to choose not to because I've got a better set of things I want to do. And actually, after however many years you've been doing it, maybe you're bored of the technical work now. So let's have a pause point. Pause this podcast if you want to, and just have a think to achieve the vision, the thing you most want to achieve with your lifestyle this year, what does your business need to achieve? This is an MSP Marketing podcast special.
[00:11:26] Okay, so we've talked about Vision, the vision for your future life, and we've talked a little bit about goals. Let's talk now about strategy. So the strategy is kind of like the Satnav. The goal is the destination. It's the thing that you want to achieve. It's a very tangible thing. You either achieve it or you don't. I have a very specific figure in mind for the extra net profit I'd like us to make, and I have. Well, I think I said to you 2 hours, isn't it? I'd like to knock off 2 hours a week of my work. Still have the same output, but doing 2 hours a week less work, that's a tangible thing. So I'll know when I've achieved that or not, and you can do exactly the same in your MSP. But then we come to the strategy, the Satnav. The how do we get there? We know where the destination is. We just got to plug it into our Satnav, and that gives us a strategy. Now, strategy and tactics, people often confuse the two and get a know. They're not quite sure what's the difference between the two. The strategy is if you like the big plan. So let's take the Sat nav analogy. Here in the UK, we have big roads called motorways. They're sort of smaller versions of what you would know as freeways in the US, much, much smaller versions. Having driven on some of the Los Angeles freeways, which are about 700 lanes each way. They're terrifying. So anyway, we have those motorways, but those are the big, big roads that we use to sort of move places in the UK. And then once we're off the motorways, we then come onto a roads, which are also big roads, but not quite the same standards. So the traffic doesn't tend to flow as well, but they're still big roads. And then you come down to B roads and B roads are smaller roads, the kind of road that if a car breaks down, all of the traffic is going to get backed up. And we've got a very simple road system in that respect. And if my strategy to reach my Satnav destination was just to use motorways, then obviously I would be traveling faster.
[00:13:16] I would probably get there quicker, but I would do more miles along the way. Because the thing with the motorways is, although you're going faster and you get there faster, you tend to do more mileage. So I guess that's not quite as fuel efficient compared to using the A roads. But if my strategy was to use A roads, I'd do physically less miles, but it might take me a little longer to get there. But it might be more pleasant, I might pass more. You don't see a lot of visual treats from motorways, but you do from a roads and definitely from B roads. But that's what we mean by strategy. So the strategy might be get there as fast as we can, use the motorways. Speed, speed, speed. That's the strategy. And then the tactics would be the specific roads that we pick. Let's bring this back to a business analogy or a business thing. So let's say for you, your goal was to generate another 50,000 in net profit this year. Let's just pick that one out as a goal. Just say. And you'd say, well, what's my strategy going to be for that? And what are the tactics? So if your strategy is to generate more net profit this year, then you might, for example, set out a strategy. We say, right, well, we want to bring on board six new clients. Or maybe you do it by number of users, actually, because obviously six clients of two users is a lot of work for not a great deal of profit. But you might aim to say, right, this year I want to bring out bring on board, let's say 200 users, 300 users, 400 users in no more than five clients. So we want to bring on board five or six clients this year. And in total we want to onboard another X 100 users. So that would be the first part of your strategy, and that's about new clients. That's about bringing on new people. The second part of that strategy might be about selling more to your existing clients. And the strategy might be that, let's say you're generating revenue of, I don't know, 30 or 40 Pounds or dollars per user per month, say. So it might be that your strategy is to increase that by five pounds or $5 or whatsoever. So strategy number one, let's just recap that. Strategy number one would be to bring on board X hundred new users split across no more than X clients. That's our first strategy. And the second strategy is to grow our average spend per user by X amount. Can you see how those are very, very Specific and actually very, very easy to follow strategies? And that's the beauty of a really good strategy. A good strategy is as simple as two lines, which is what we've just talked about there. Two very, very simple lines. And the more complicated you make it, the less likely people are to actually follow it. Because when you have a strategy like that, it's Something that can inspire the whole team. You can say to your team, it's your choice to tell them about the goal or not. Remember, your team aren't particularly motivated to make you more Money, but they are motivated to follow a really good strategy. A Simple thing like, hey Guys, right? This year we're going to bring on board 200 new users. In order to do that, at Some point we're going to have to take on a new first line tech or we're going to have to do this or invest in this software or whatever. So that's Our first thing. And our Second strategy is we are going to grow our average revenue per user per month. And the reason we're going to do that Is Because Overall, at the end of the year that will Help us grow the business by 20%. And one of the reasons I want to do this is so I can give you guys more Money, because Right now we cannot really justify another huge bunch of pay rises, but we Can, if there's A Chunk more Money coming in. Can you See the Power of that? Can you See the focusing Power? Imagine if you typed out your Strategy and you had it very, very clearly on a big bit of paper on the wall above your desk, and It Said, these Are the two things we're doing this year. We're adding X hundred new users across x new clients and we're increasing average revenue per client by this amount. That's it. That's all we're doing every single thing we do is about that. That's what a powerful strategy is. I've just come to a very beautiful part of the lake where I'm going to pause, and you're going to pause in a second as well, if you want to. I can see parts of Milton Keynes, the city. I can see Xgate, which is this huge, domed building, contains, like, a ski slope. It's a bit of a leisure destination for Milton Keynes. And I can see there's a very posh, nice hotel as well, as well there. I've had a few dates there recently, which has been quite nice. Anyway, I'm going to pause here and just look out on this beautiful view and watch a swan flying across the lake. And then why don't you pause and just have a think? What's the best strategy for your MSP? What's the simplest way for you to achieve the things you want to achieve this year? This is an MSP Marketing podcast special.
[00:18:00] Right. Okay. Clearing your strategy. Yeah, of course, you're not. You're not going to get a whole strategy done just in pausing a podcast for a couple of minutes. But it's something to go think about and remember, it's almost impossible to figure out what your strategy for growth for the year will be before you know what the goal is going to be. And kind of, it's almost impossible to know what the goal is going to be before you know exactly what lifestyle you want the goal to feed. If that makes sense. You almost can't do this backwards. You have to start with the vision. You have to start with the goal before you can start thinking about the strategy. And it's only when you've got the strategy that you can start to come up with the right tactics. The tactics are the small things we do. So in the Satnav analogy, it's the specific roads that you take. And in growing your business, it's about the things that you do. So if your strategy was to bring on board X new clients and X 100 new users, well, instantly we've got to change the buyer persona, the type of business that you are targeting. We've got to make sure that they're businesses that have got enough users. If we know we want, let's say, 300 users across, no more than six clients or whatever your figure is, then you can't onboard a ten user client. It's to be a 2030 40 user. So you've got to change your buyer persona. You got to make sure all of your marketing is targeted at that person, you've got to make sure as a business you can actually onboard that many people, because if you're looking for 50 user clients, there's no point doing that unless you know you can onboard them without creating utter chaos in the business every couple of months. So you've got to kind of get geared up for that and get focused on that, especially with your marketing as well. It's different marketing that talks to bigger businesses than it talks to smaller businesses. But then you'd look at it and you'd say, right, if I need to reach these people that are 2030 users, where are they? Where are they and how can I find them and how can I reach them and how do I get talking to them? And what's the reason they would pick us? Why would they pick us as opposed to any of the other many MSPs that are around? Which, by the way, is a very, very core and key question to ask. If your strategy was to grow your average spend, your per user spend every month, then you'd say to yourself, right, how do we do this? What's the most robust and authentic way to talk to our existing clients and try to sell them more stuff? And the answer to that, by the way, is what I call the holy trinity of selling more to clients. You've got strategic reviews, you've got your profit matrix, and you've got technology roadmaps. So strategic reviews are where you sit down with your clients, and once a year you have a strategic review. You look ahead what's coming up in their business, what their plans are, and you set yourself up as the technology strategist in between them and their future, which locks them into your business. It's beautiful. You then use something called the profit Matrix, which you can find this in an old podcast, but it's just a grid with clients down one side and services down another with little marks so you can see who's buying what, and more critically, who's not buying what. And that will guide what you talk about in the strategic reviews. And then you've got technology roadmaps. And technology roadmaps work very well with strategic reviews. It's literally a plan. It's a plan of the next X years, three years, four years, maybe longer, probably three years is about right. And it's you and your clients together creating a plan of what technology they are going to invest in, what are they going to do with their business's technology over the next two to three years. And the beauty of having a plan is you have essentially got them to commit to three years of spend. They know what's coming up, so they know what needs to go into a budget. And again, it locks clients and MSPs together. I love technology roadmaps. I love strategic reviews. It's a ton of work. But the reward is that you grow your per user revenue, which is maybe one of the big strategies that you want. So, as I say, tactics. There's a million tactics. A great deal of the things that we talk about in this podcast throughout the year are tactical things, things that you can do that work, things that you can do that can try. And please do. Keep listening, and thank you for listening, but please keep listening, because we almost will never, ever run out of tactics and things that we can talk about. But it's really important that you have a very clear strategy to achieve that goal. This is an MSP Marketing podcast special.
[00:22:15] Okay, we're onto the final one. Just got some joggers coming past.
[00:22:21] I miss running, by the way. I don't know if you know, I've talked about this on the podcast in the past. I've been a runner for about five years, but about a year ago, I tore my knee quite badly, and I need surgery, which is actually coming up in about ten days time. So I'm looking forward to that. But yeah. And then I'll be back out doing my running around the lake. Although it's been really nice, I've actually taken you on a very slow walk this morning, and it's been lovely. Just looking at the visual, it's just so beautiful, especially in wintertime. Don't get me wrong, I prefer the spring and summer, but wintertime, it is utterly beautiful. Anyway, I digress. We are talking, finally, about daily actions. What I said to you at the beginning of this podcast is that I wanted to help you make the mental connection between the lifestyle you want to lead, the vision for your life, and the daily actions, the things you do every day. So you now, whether you've got it clear in your head now, or whether you need to go and do some thinking about it down the line, you will have a very specific goal for your MSP. You'll have a strategy for how you achieve that goal, and you'll know what tactics you need to implement to do it. Now, we get down into daily actions. The things that you do that you choose to do on a daily basis, or the things that you choose not to do because you choose to do something else. And yes, even being interrupted by a client with a ransomware attack, that's a choice. The choice is I'm going to go and save my client, which is of course is the right choice. Right. But when that happens on a regular basis and you're constantly being dragged away from working on the business, that's where you have to make a choice. To do something about that, to do it differently, that's a discussion for another day. But the things that you do every day or the things that you don't do every day directly get you closer to the lifestyle you want or move you further away from the lifestyle you want, it really does come down to that. There is no other secret, no other silver bullet to grow your business other than just getting things done. It's as simple as that. The most successful people I have ever met in my life, and I don't just mean within the world of technology. I know a lot of. I'm lucky to have a lot of very successful friendS. I'll say lucky. I've probably. Well, I know I've chosen to surround myself with them over the years, but the most successful people I know, they get things done. If that means waking at six in the morning and working two to 3 hours before they drive off to the airport with their family, that's what they do, because it's what has to be done. The most successful people get things done and they do this on a daily basis. One of the best habits I ever had in my life, which I'm now out of, sadly. But I used to get up at five every single morning and work at least an hour, if not 2 hours or 90 minutes was about the right length of time, but I'd work for 90 minutes on my business every single day. Now I'm out of that habit. Now I'm a bit older. Getting up to hurtly hurts too much. But also I spend much of my working day, probably about 80% of my working day, working on my business rather than in my business. On of course is doing these tasks. We're talking about implementing your strategy, implementing the tactics, actually physically working to grow the business. If I didn't have, if it all went wrong tomorrow and I had to start a new business again, I would get back into that 05:00 a.m.. Habit. In fact, that's the first thing I would do. I would immediately get back into the 05:00 a.m. Habit of working 90 minutes a day to grow the business. And as I say today, I've got a mature business. I'm fortunate I don't have to do that, but I've actually engineered my entire working existence to work on the business or to spend 80% of my time working on the business. That, by the way, should be a goal for you. You should be. Something you're working towards is spending more time working on the business than working in the business, doing technical work or whatever work you do. So daily actions, the things you do every day, they do directly affect how quickly you get where you want to be or how long you spend in the situation you're in right now. You can change everything, absolutely everything in a matter of a year, and certainly in two years, and absolutely in three years, it doesn't matter where you are today. And whatever your situation is. And I appreciate some people listening to this will be in a very dire position, wondering even if their business will survive this year. And we've all been there, and it's horrendous. And lots of people pull through. Most people pull through. And if you're in that position right now, I genuinely give you my best wishes for the year. But know that whatever happens, you will pull through. It always works out all right in the end. But there are other people who entering this year will be listening to this, thinking, is this going to be another year of just the same, of doing okay, of making an all right income from my business, but working bloody hard for it? Can I do another year like that? Do I want to do another year like that? As I say, you can change everything in a year, definitely in two and absolutely in three. But it all comes down to what you do on a daily basis. If you wake up in March and you're still doing 60 hours weeks and 58 of those hours are doing technical work, that leaves you no time to grow the business. There's no quality time to grow the business. And that's the thing that makes the difference. There is a direct link between what you do each day and the speed at which you get to the lifestyle that you most want to have.
[00:27:49] So I've pretty much finished my walk here at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes. Thank you for joining me on this walk. Thank you for being part of this podcast. I'd love to get your feedback, by the way, just to see what you think. We're not planning to do this very often, this kind of more personal, more intimate, really kind of podcast format, but it's fun to do, and I might do it on an annual basis. Maybe we'll have like an annual Christmas one. So if you like this, or if you hated it, would you just drop me an email and let me know. Hello, Paul. Paul. Paul. Paul Greens MSP Marketing Podcast Just love to hear from you. If anything I've talked about in this week's podcast has particularly resonated with you, then it would be really, really cool just to get your feedback and just to hear what stage you're at with your business and what you are trying to achieve this year. Now, next week we return to a bit more of our normal format, but it is our final special for Christmas and for the new year. And I'm actually going to be doing something which I hate. I hate making cold calls, calling people who don't know me to try and book an appointment with them, like a sales appointment. I haven't done this for many, many years, and yet, next week I'm going to be doing it. In fact, I'm going to be pretending to be an MSP and I'm going to be making some cold calls with a sales expert, Derek Marin. He's going to be there guiding me and coaching me as I make some of those cold calls so you can learn from my mistakes. I'm not looking forward to next week's show at all. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP. Made in the UK for MSPs around the World Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast.