If You Sell Your MSP Business, Will You Risk Breaking Promises to Clients?
Historically, acquisitions of an MSP business leave your clients looking for a new services provider. This happens for a number of reasons. Mergers and acquisitions leave a great deal of uncertainty and make for turbulent times. This has significant impacts to your clients. The end results usually reflect negative client satisfaction levels during and after the change of ownership.
Impacts to Clients
Your clients suffer a great deal when you sell your MSP business. They are going to have new customer service reps to deal with, new procedures, and new expectations. While you have been there to work with them, the new owners might not be as understanding. This is seen a great deal, especially in cases where the overtaking company is very large.
There is a lot more to the decision of choosing your company than just the level of service. Over the years, you have built a relationship with these people. Many of these business relationships have moved into more personal level than a simple business agreement. During this time, your commitment to important things has swayed them to do business with you. Acquisitions leave all of these little, but important, aspects in the air.
Some of the common promises seen are investing in local non-profits, focusing on customer service when hiring, and not nickel and diming your customers. These are the things that your clients are expecting. There is a very little guarantee to them that these expectations will be met by the new owners of your company. The uncertainty that they face impacts their decision to find an alternate service provider. This is a risk that they don’t want to take, but are often left to go through.
Reducing Client Risk
While negotiating the sale of your company, you need to advocate for your clients. It is a business decision for you, but it cannot stop there. The success of the sale relies on you being a strong voice for your current clients.
Many of the commitments that you have made are unknown by the new controlling company. It is important that they be made aware. It hurts them, and your clients, to have critical promises forgotten. For the new owners, it leads to reduced revenue and a smaller client base. For you clients, it means sacrificing and mismatched expectations. This is not an ideal situation for either party.
Speak up to the company you are negotiating the deal with. This ensures a smooth transition, both for the new owners and your clients. It is best to show your clients that you still care about them. You achieve this caring appearance by being their voice at the negotiating table.
Communicate with Your Clients
To ease the transition, be sure to talk with your clients regularly. They are going to be uncomfortable, but interactions with you settle their nerves. Give them an idea of what is going on. Keeping them in the loop gives them a second thought before they immediately jump ship at the mention of new ownership.
Many clients have ideas on what they would like to see from the new owners. This is important data for the new owners to use. It sets the business up for success, which keeps the new owners, and your existing clients, happy.
Changing ownership is a business decision. You likely have a number of reasons to sell your MSP business. During this time, it is important that your clients be taken care of by the new owners. Keep your clients happy by ensuring that your promises are upheld by the new organization. Communication and cooperation help keep your clients from jumping ship during the sales process. Your work with the new owners helps ensure that your promises to your clients are upheld, now and into the future.
About our Contributor
Mark McGarvey is president of One Click Solutions Group, a managed IT services in San Francisco and security provider serving small and mid-sized businesses with 20 to 100 employees in the Bay Area. Mark began his career in IT consulting, before living in San Francisco, in the 90s as a senior support technician for a then-small company in Austin, TX called Dell. After working for a number of organizations in desktop support/management and systems administration, Mark realized a passion for two things: Ensuring computer systems ran smoothly and keeping the people that used these systems happy and productive.
This passion helped him get his IT services business started in San Francisco! As a small business owner, Mark empathizes with other business owners that need IT Support in San Francisco and understands the things dearest to them: Increasing productivity and efficiency and keeping costs low and ROI high.