Value of Leadership

Boss, ExchangeDefender, IT Business

I wanted to title this blog post “Why I smile on my way to work every day” but decided to keep it on topic and for those of you that don’t like long winded run-on sentences here is a quickie:

Business leadership is confined to leading your company. It’s different – and far more important – than the industry leadership of being at conferences and industry panels.

The opposite side of the argument is that you shouldn’t be working in your business, you should be working on your business. That argument is dead wrong and leads to unemployment or severe demotions.

And the guys that tried to argue with me with that bullshit no longer own their companies and are either unemployed or hold “management” jobs far from the decision making role of their new employers. Indeed, being full of shit and conference hopping while not going to work has it’s consequences. If you’re curious how some large MSP CEO’s are always at every conference – it’s simple: they are there to sell stuff. They are selling their peer group, their peer product, there as a favor to the management of the company (that may or may not be giving them MFDs in exchange for success stories) But successful people aren’t stupid. They are working.

So let’s set this one in stone please: If you want to successfully lead your business to the next level you’ll actually have to go to the office, talk to the people that work for you and be a part of the solution. There is no shortcut.

The other day I was reminded of this very fact while talking to my VP of Development who is in charge of design of everything we do. By the way, if you’d like to see what we’re up to please join this webinar but only if you’re actively doing a lot of business with ExchangeDefender:

Hank: So here is the UI..
Vlad: Why aren’t you just using the native Windows folder navigation?
Hank: I will on the backend when we map it to a drive letter.
Vlad: But why are you doing this then, seems like reinventing the wheel.
Hank: Because you will invariably want to do custom stuff like permissions, quota display, attaching notes and expiration and I can only build that in a custom control.

Now Hank could just be communicating to me that I’m an ass. Which is fair.

But the alternative view here is that this is a critical component of business leadership.

There are thousands of hosting companies, SPAM filtering companies, offsite backup and storage companies, email companies, VoIP companies, etc.

98% of all of those companies are exactly the same. You may like employees at one place more than the other or you may get a better deal at one over the other. But when everyone just crosslicenses each others stuff then there is no compelling advantage to pick them over one another.

They become commodities.

This is why MSPs so often fail. What’s the recipe for an MSP? Buy an RMM, buy a PSA, sign up with a helpdesk, Microsoft Partner Program, mix a garbage collection of Office Depot color copies with a combo of late night tv / junior college marketing and BAM – you’re an MSP! Then the rest of us have to explain why we’re better than that and charge more than the MSP you find on craigslist.

Business leadership is something different. It’s leading your company in terms of exceeding the norm of services, features, accessibility, performance – you name it.

You refuse to follow the same ol’ “best practices” as dictated by people who failed at being an MSP or haven’t actually run one in years.

I watch a lot of MotoGP on TV. It doesn’t make me a Ducati race driver.

And if I ever cut a corner at 45 degrees like Vale Rossi, my bike and whatever is left of me would fit into a matchbox.

Take pride in what you do, work hard at it and promote everything that makes you more awesome than the next guy with every breath you take. Or stop wasting time and just get a job because you can’t have it both.

This is the best time in the market for service providers. If you aren’t kicking ass you’re doing it wrong. If you are kicking ass… ABP brothers and sisters, ABP. And as always, thank you for your money – we’re just fueling up the rocket for ya here.

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