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As a business coach for MSPs, I have the opportunity to meet and work with hundreds of IT providers. One of the most fascinating things to observe is the great disparity in results achieved by MSPs.

A small segment has learned to grow predictably and produce profit margins that are three to four times the industry average. Why does a small group of companies thrive while the average MSP has what amounts to a pretty good job? What separates these groups of entrepreneurs? For the most part everyone in both groups tends to be smart, hardworking people who care about their clients and deliver good service. So if intelligence and great support don’t determine your financial success then what does? I want to tell you a story about a business owner that may point us in the right direction.

A year ago I met the owner of a small MSP and we had a conversation about the frustrations he was having in his business. His margins were low and his sales stagnant. He told me that his goal for 2010 was to add $24,000 of new monthly recurring revenue. He said that if could increase his recurring revenue base his profits would improve.

Basic math tells me that to add $24,000 of new monthly recurring revenue for the year you need to add $2,000 each month on average. My experience tells me that to add $2,000 each month you need to have four to five good prospects in your pipeline worth $6,000 to $8,000 total.

So I questioned him about his goal: "Do you have four to five good prospects in your pipeline today?"

His reply: "No."

I decided to dig a little deeper: "To build and maintain a pipeline with four to five good prospects you need to be in front at least one new prospective client each week. Do you have a process to reach this level of activity? "

His answer was no.

"Do you have any resources dedicated to achieving the activity levels needed to reach your goal?"

Again the answer was no.

Fast forward to January 2011, I called the MSP to see how his year turned out. I was not surprised to hear that he did not achieve his goals; in fact he made almost no progress towards his goals.

Unfortunately, this is a common story. Although his intentions were good his focus was not aligned with his goals. He had not taken the time to connect his goal to what needs to happen in his business everyday to make that goal become a reality. I see this over and over again with entrepreneurs, they always feel that their business is ready to grow dramatically but it never seems to happen. If you have experienced this take a look at your focus and ask yourself, "is my focus aligned with my goals? "

Here are a few tips to help you with this process:

  1. Set one primary goal that will most impact your business in 2011.
  2. Determine all of the activities needed to reach your goal.
  3. Look at what actions are required each month / week / day.
  4. Put an accountability process in place to monitor your progress.
  5. Be sure to focus on the daily activities required to reach your goal.
  6. Download the free TruMethods Goal Calculator.

Focus is one of the key factors that separate the top MSP’s in the world from the rest of the pack. So focus your way to the best year ever in 2011.

Gary Pica is a Resident Expert at The ASCII Group which provides coaching and consulting to its MSP/VAR Community. Pica spent 12 years building a top MSP. He is regarded as one of the foremost experts on building a thriving, profitable managed services practice. Today Gary is the president of TruMethods, a coaching and mentoring company aimed at helping IT providers and MSP’s grow sales and profits. Click here for more information about Pica and TruMethods.