Your MSP business isn’t some cookie-cutter enterprise. It’s unique to the marketplace. Certainly, there are businesses with greater individuality than others; but no two separate businesses are exactly alike. There are always differences. A lifestyle business, for example, can exactly match a start-up in terms of appearance and service provision, but be a totally different creature in terms of the existential root.
What are the Differences?
An MSP business just starting up likely begins calling itself that with visions of unicorns dancing through its head. A unicorn business is a rarity that rockets to billion-dollar status with exceptional rapidity and becomes a prime mover and shaker in the world. Facebook is a unicorn. Uber, Snapchat, and Pinterest are also unicorns. Most of these are startup companies. They wanted to provide a game-changing service that would better the world, and profit from it going forward. Having such a mindset, the startup company owner will capitalize on all opportunities, continuously strive for the finest optimization, and generally have a more competitive nature.
Meanwhile, a lifestyle business is more about providing the individual who is involved with it the lifestyle they’re seeking. Lifestyle businesses usually have monetary comfort as a goal, but they aren’t concerned with exceptional expansion or changing the world. A business based on lifestyle provides a comfortable living for those who operate it and requires minimal attention to maintain.
If your MSP is innovating, changing, competing, and seeking to hit the unicorn status Snapchat and Facebook did, you’re going to need continuous innovative operational techniques. You’re going to need to use every success as an opportunity to expand. You’ll need to get more employees, invest in research and development, do requisite marketing, and the list goes on.
Meanwhile, if you’re an MSP providing services to a handful of clients that aren’t looking to innovate substantially, you may be operating a lifestyle operation. If you’re operating a lifestyle business, your concerns are merely sustaining your reliability. All you’re really trying to do is make sure nothing knocks your operation off course and messes with your lifestyle. This means only researching and developing when there’s no choice, rather than as a competitive edge facilitator.
Sometimes your business may start out one way, but as you gain momentum, you may realize that you could be on the cusp of something else. It may be time to look into a lifestyle shift toward start-up territory. Sometimes your startup hits a sustainability point, and you realize other operations are doing similar things in a way that you can’t, and don’t need to; then it becomes time to scale back.
What you need to keep in mind is that whatever happens going forward, your business doesn’t exist in a “static” sense. It’s always in transition. From beginning to sustainability to decline and eventual closure, your business has a life cycle like any tree growing from sapling to redwood. Maybe for a while, your business crawls along in a lifestyle larval stage until you encounter enough sustenance to build an upgraded cocoon which turns you into a unicorn butterfly. Maybe as a butterfly, it becomes time to find a field of flowers and end the Monarch migration.
A Wide Road
Look at where your profits are at, what forward solutions are possible, and consider what your ultimate goals are. Goals are the key, here. Even the most progressive startup will reach a point where its founders must change their lifestyle, and transition of leadership of the company begins.
Determine what options you have available and “drive down the road.” The bigger, slower, and more expensive your vehicle, the further down the highway you need to plan in order to reach your destination safely. If you’re in a motor home, you may plan out every step of the trip! If you’re in a sports car, you might be more cavalier. With your MSP business, you need to understand your place, and where you want to be. This will help you plan accordingly.