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Never Let a Serious Crisis go to Waste, But Don’t Sit Around Waiting for One to Happen

I just spent a few days learning from the MSP marketing mavens at the Robin Robins' Big Seminar in Nashville.

The highlight of the event was the Better Your Best competition, where seven different MSP business owners shared their marketing and business growth success stories from the past year. Votes from peers and a panel of industry experts decided the winner. The grand prize was a brand new luxury automobile, compliments of Robin Robins.

Stuff Happens
There was common theme that emerged from most of the contestants, namely, that some form of personal or business adversity helped transform their business and commitment to marketing. Many of the finalists shared a story about a serious crisis, which served as a wake up call for the business owner and their staff. One owner’s business partner literally died at the company picnic, collapsing on the grass after scoring a touchdown in a flag football game. God rest this man’s soul, but suffice it to say, this man’s sudden passing turned this company on its ear. It just so happened that nearly all of the key clients of this MSP perceived the late business partner as the brains of the outfit. What would happen with him now gone? In another case, a driven business owner received a surprise call from his doctor with a cancer diagnosis.

In each crisis, the choice was clear: either fundamentally transform the business or fold up the tent and call it quits. Fortunately for Robin’s marketing mavens, each used the crisis to stop procrastinating; stop going through the motions; and stop being just average. Not surprisingly, death or near death experiences wake people up. They force us to confront our legacy. Why are we doing what we are doing anyway? What are we building? For whom are we building it? Everyone has their own moment of clarity and vision, but for Robin’s acolytes they all turned to marketing to double down on their businesses’ future. Each one became a marketing dynamo, cranking up the marketing campaigns, lead flow, sales results, recurring revenue, hiring, and profits. These turnaround stories are amazing. Each contestant achieved exponential growth and success, when before they were the masters of ho-hum business success.

Are you ready?
At Robin’s event, I also had the pleasure of interviewing John Motazedi, CEO of SNC Squared, on the main stage. Motazedi is very active in the IT channel community, participating in HTG, serving on the eFolder Partner Council, along with a host of different organizations in his local community. Motazedi too was the winner of Robin’s competition in 2012. He too faced a massive crisis in his life, namely the 2011 Joplin tornado, which wiped out half of the city, half of Motazedi’s clients, and John’s office building to boot.

John was able to quickly recover from the Joplin tornado and quickly restore the computing operations of his clients, not through sheer force of will, but because he was prepared. He was prepared, because he had deployed best-of-breed backup and disaster recovery technology to all of his clients. He was confident his client data was protected in the cloud and recoverable, since he had also thoroughly tested the recoverability of his client environments on a regular basis. Operationally, he was ready for a worst case situation. And he was ready to crank up the new client acquisition on the heels of the crisis, since he had already spent years building up his brand in his target market – the medical vertical – and he had already established his authority on backup and disaster recovery. For all the prospects who suffered a near miss on that fateful day in Joplin, it was easy for them to find Motazedi and SNC Squared to get their backup and disaster recovery house in order.

Three Key Lessons
Here a few key lessons for MSP business owners I gleamed from the Robin Robins event:

1.    Never let a serious crisis go to waste

As these stories have shown, you should never let a serious crisis go to waste. A crisis can galvanize people and organizations, allowing them to affect change and throw off bad habits. With Robin’s followers, they were able to double down on marketing and growth after a near death experience. John Motazedi was able to turn the Joplin tornado experience into marketing gold and nearly five years of breakneck growth. The lesson here is to turn crises into turn around opportunities, whether in a business or your personal life.

2.    Invest and be ready for disasters and opportunities

But when disaster strikes, will you be ready? Motazedi’s operations were well tuned and his marketing machine was already running at a steady clip, so he was ready to use the situation to his advantage. As the adage goes, “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” (Benjamin Franklin) You have to expect there will be set backs and even major crises that come your way. However, there will also be opportunities. Those who are investing wisely through marketing, operational excellence, sound planning, and industry relationships will be able to survive and thrive despite any kind of crisis.

3.    Have a plan, or stop waiting around for your life changing crisis

Unfortunately, people are expert procrastinators. We fail to plan. And in reality, most people and businesses just muddle through. For too many, a crisis never strikes and we just coast through life putting up meagre results or barely investing what is needed in the things that matter, such as our family, friendships, health, and retirement. The lesson here is start planning. Get involved with a peer or accountability group, like the Robin Robins Producers Club or HTG. Peers are powerful, as they will show you how to craft a plan and to drive high levels of execution and accountability for the results.

Never let a serious crisis go to waste, but don’t sit around waiting for one to happen either.

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