Being CEO of a newly launched MSP startup is perhaps one of the hardest jobs in the business world. Research show that only one-tenth of startups succeed. That’s because it takes a special person with the right combination of skills to understand small business DNA and excel.

Having myself faced the unique business challenges of the MSP industry; I know that many CEOs are looking for reliable sources of good advice as well as strong mentors. If you are one of these folks, understand that having industry knowledge isn’t going to cut it. Instead, my advice will challenge you to hone skills that will help you drive your MSP startup to success.

 1. A good understanding of KPIs

Keeping the business on a plan is a no-brainer for any startup CEO. Building a management dashboard of the key drivers for the business dictates its success or failure. This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in.

KPIs are a measurable value that establishes how well a startup is achieving its essential business objectives. Anyone heading an MSP today has a huge advantage over someone who started back in the early 2000s simply because there are so many tools to build and fully understand KPIs today. MSP startups usually work in small, agile teams. Understanding agile management principles will help you track KPIs at every stage of project management.

2. Analytical Abilities

As a CEO, you need to be able to calculate things like your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and the Lifetime Value (LTV) of a client for better decision making. That’s not all the number-crunching you’ll need to do. Running a multi-channel marketing campaign will also require some serious data analysis. If this sounds overwhelming, sign up for data analytics master class.

Staying on top of key MSP industry trends and engaging in detailed documentation also stem from good analytical skills. If you manage to document your key business processes, follow them, and continue to optimize them, everyone does a better job. Why? Because everyone wins when your business becomes a more process focused organization.

3. People Management

You will never be successful in the MSP space if you don’t have good people skills, which include cheer-leading the staff from top to bottom and inspiring prospects and investors so they are excited about getting involved with your business.

To be a people’s CEO, you need to master emotional intelligence.  After all, another job of the CEO is to communicate effectively and connect with people on a human level.

4. Training Skills

Let’s shift gears to your team. As a growth hacker for a recently launched business, you should have the hands-on training skills to educate your staff by yourself. This will help you minimize overhead until your business makes it to more stable financial ground. Also, you won’t have to micromanage if you train your team leads and keep evaluating them on quality metrics.

Thankfully, training people is now easier compared to when I started. Today, you can add charts, infographics, video, etc. to your training material to improve learning outcome.

5. Networking Skills

If you ask me personally, getting engaged in the MSP community is key to getting the word out about your business. It’s important to know the different ways to network, share valuable insight, and even discuss similar challenges with other MSP experts.

A great way to achieve this is by attending industry events such as Built IT – an annual event that facilitates ‘knowledge sharing’ among members of the MSP community and industry experts. Community –focused events such as this give you the chance to grow your network, learn from others, and achieve success.

Final Thoughts: During the last decade, the MSP landscape has witnessed profound technological change and business model transitions, bringing in various operational challenges. If you wish to navigate these challenges as a CEO of an MSP startup, hone the skills on this list.