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Do I Need a Master Services Agreement? by Thomas M. Fafinski What is a Master Services Agreement (MSA)? If you desire a predictable, long-term relationship with several transactions between you and your customer, you should have a Master Services Agreement in place prior to the sale of any product or service. A Master Services Agreement is an agreement between at least two parties (normally just two parties) dealing with the terms and conditions that will apply to future transactions between the parties. It is likely used when the parties contemplate more than one service or offering between them. What are the Benefits of an MSA? A Master Services Agreement ...
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Marketopia Ranks No. 875 on the Inc. 5000 List Inc. Magazine Unveils 38th Annual List of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies — the Inc. 5000 AUG 23, 2019 08:00 EDT PINELLAS PARK, Fla., August 23, 2019  -   ​​​Inc. has announced that Marketopia landed No. 875 on its annual Inc. 5000 list. The Inc. 5000 is the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. With an impressive growth rate, Marketopia joins the ranks of other fast-growing companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy — America’s independent entrepreneurs. Companies such as Yelp, ...
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In the previous post, we highlighted   how risk assessments bring value to your quarterly business reviews , but that’s not the only good use for risk assessments. They can also be used to help with the sales process, and even with prospecting. Given that marketing and sales remain perpetual challenges for MSPs, anything that helps improve these processes is definitely worth exploring. So how do risk assessments help with your sales and marketing efforts? Let’s take a look. A risk assessment is one of those critical pieces of documentation that can showcase the competitive value your MSP can provide to a client. By providing a sample risk assessment, a prospective ...
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Throughout my years in the telecom industry, I attended hundreds of workshops, seminars, keynote speeches, and self-help courses designed to help business owners grow their companies and become leaders in the industry or a local market. Some of those companies grew with moderate success, and some failed because of lack of staff or budget. But those that succeeded all had something in common—they were giving back to the community or were involved with charities. by   Joe Schiavone  on Jul 30, 2019 I did the same throughout the years while growing my previous (and very successful) business. And here’s my advice to those of you who want to ...
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Like for many small businesses, it is not easy for MSPs to allocate a significant amount of resources (time, money, staff) for marketing. And sometimes, even with those resources, MSPs find their marketing is not as effective as they would like it to be. With rising competition in the IT industry, effective marketing is the key to success for small and medium-sized IT service providers. But how to crack the code to success? Here are four ingredients for the effective marketing “secret sauce”: Have a marketing goal Have a target Be consistent Measure what you can Let’s go over each of them and see why they are so important. Have ...
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The Lost Art Of Closing

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By   Joe Schiavone   July 2019 The growing SaaS and Cloud trends are making the IT services market more competitive. In some spaces, like UCaaS or cybersecurity, where there used to be three or four major players, there are now literally dozens of them. Most of the vendors claim to sell through MSP partners and agent channels, but many still keep their direct sales groups active in the market. These changes push MSPs to be more aggressive with their sales, although we see the trend of losing more deals than winning them among our MSP partners. What causes this situation and how can an MSP fix it? The trend we’ve discovered ...
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How to Track Risk

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“I thought you were taking care of that!” When a client tells you that, you know you’re going to have a fantastic conversation. That’s because something bad happened, and revealed a common disconnect between IT service providers and their clients. The client assumes that the IT service provider handles every single aspect of IT service, including everything security related. You, the IT service provider, probably have a more realistic view. But in a way, the client has a point. It’s not their fault that if they are unaware of the risks. And how would they know what you are handling if you don’t tell them? This is where the risk assessment comes into play. ...
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How many privileged accounts do you administer? If you don’t know the answer, that’s not good. But you probably do know, and it’s somewhere in the 2-5 range for every client that you have. Could be more, could be less. So what’s the problem with privileged accounts? They are the accounts that hackers love to target, and they are also the most difficult to secure. That makes for a bad combo. Privileged Accounts = Targeted Accounts The math here is pretty straightforward – privileged accounts are just as easy to phish or hack as any other account, but they have access to way more stuff. As in, stuff you can sell on the dark web, or goodness knows what else. ...
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How to assess your website’s SEO performance “How can we get to the first page on Google? Do we even rank on Google?” These are some of the most difficult questions for small businesses around the world, and I know it by experience. SEO (search engine optimization) is a complicated concept with ever-evolving rules that are hard to understand for people who are not savvy in digital marketing. Whether you decide to hire an SEO firm or manage   SEO in-house , it’s always a good idea to assess where the work starts and how it progresses. Here are three tools we recommend you use to assess your website performance. Google Analytics In order to ...
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Most documentation efforts fail, especially in smaller IT service providers or understaffed internal teams. But there are different points of failure, which means that solving one issue might not get you anywhere near where you need to be. In fact, you might find yourself playing a game of whack-a-mole, with a new problem scuttling your documentation dreams just as you solve the first one. To solve the many different IT documentation problems, you’ll need to know what they are. Let’s go over the big ones. Point of Failure #1 – It’s Flat A common mistake a lot of IT folks make is thinking that the documentation process begins and ends with ‘writing stuff ...
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Maybe you’re a business owner whose company is humming right along, all cylinders firing, prospects look good. Or maybe your company is facing increased competition, higher costs, and lower profits that hinder growth and expansion. Either way, another company or investor may approach with a merger or acquisition proposal. What factors should you consider if your company faces this dilemma? Merger vs. Acquisition. A merger is when two companies join together, even if one company has made the first move. Typically, a new company will be created with all or part of the original companies included. An acquisition is similar. When one company   acquires ...
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What happens when you bring on a new service or partner with a new vendor to boost your business? Every MSP understands that to keep up with the customers’ needs nowadays, they must reach beyond their usual scope of service and add more technology choices to their portfolio. Finding new technology partners isn’t an issue because every vendor today wants to work with MSPs! But signing up with the vendor isn’t enough to get the sales going. In the last month, we have been interviewing our own MSP partners to find the reasons why the pipeline is not growing as fast as we all want. Here’s what we found.  MSPs expand their horizons but keep the customers ...
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The intangible nature of intellectual property makes it difficult to protect. You can’t just park a security guard next to your intellectual property to keep people from stealing it. In fact, intellectual property (“IP”) has been   defined   as “… a collection of ideas and concepts…”  Though harder to protect than your company’s computer equipment or warehouses, business owners and innovators still have ways to safeguard their IP assets from theft or misuse. Copyright Protection A   copyright   protects original works of authorship, including novels, songs, computer software, and architecture. It does not, however, protect “facts, ideas, systems, ...
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What does it mean to be a successful MSP? In the current landscape, there’s really no final destination for this. The MSP business as a whole is in a constant state of change – of evolution. What once made an MSP profitable, is no longer sufficient. Rather than reaching a final destination, success for MSPs is now characterized by their ability to keep up with the change, or better yet, stay ahead of it. So what can you do to ensure your MSP is in a good position to adapt to these changes? We put together some thoughts. How is the industry changing? The industry is simultaneously growing and consolidating. Established players are seeking growth by acquisition, ...
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So you want to reap the benefits of automation, but don’t have the expertise to leverage an API. We’re here to tell you that it’s easier than you think. The best explanation I received of an API is that it allows two technologies to talk to one another. Looking at it that way, these technologies must have their own language, their own way of communicating with one another in order to achieve certain ends. So to equip you with the tools you need to start leveraging APIs and automation, you first need to get a sense for this language. With the help of our Product Owner, Hanson Do, and one of our Sales Engineers, Travis Brittain, we put together some of the ...
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Fine print. Seems like contracts are full of it. The clauses and provisions that make up a contract each have a specific purpose, though. Indemnification, for example, is often used to protect a party to a contract. That may sound simple, but can be complicated and costly if entered into lightly. Indemnify means to compensate an individual or entity for a specific loss or damage. In some contracts, you might be the person being indemnified. In other contracts, you may be the party indemnifying another. Indemnity agreements are common in contracts between businesses and even between governments. Indemnification in Action An insurance policy is technically ...
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Video marketing is on the rise and rapidly taking over the content marketing world.  If you haven't implemented video marketing in your content strategy, now is the time. Here is why and how to get started. Why MSPs should integrate video content into their marketing strategy According to the   2019 State of IT report   by Spiceworks, by the end of 2020, 71% of businesses expect to use video marketing for brand awareness and product education. In   “Understanding the Expanding Benefits of Marketing with Video,”   Aberdeen Group says that video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year and achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness. ...
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The ROI of API

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“What’s the ROI of that?” We often forget to make this question part of our decision-making process. It’s easy to see why ROI is overlooked for smaller decisions – you might not have great numbers to work with, you might be trying to solve a problem and keen to work with whatever solution presents itself. But at the end of the day, anything that you do should add value. After all, If it doesn’t add some sort of value, why are you doing it? So let’s look at using the  IT Glue API . It’s pretty easy to work with if you have a little coding experience. But there are definitely some folks who would like to streamline processes and build out integrations, but either ...
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Family business ownership is an integral part of American history and commerce. In fact, about 90% of American businesses are family-owned. Business and families have varied purposes, so it should come as no surprise that certain business entities offer greater protection to family-owned enterprises. Of course, there are pros and cons to any of those entity types, including family limited liability companies. The Family Limited Liability Company You may have heard of family limited liability companies (FLLC) and their first cousin, the family limited liability partnership (FLLP). The structure is essentially the same: The FLLC or FLLP is established, ...
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A merger is a deal where two companies join together as fairly equal partners. Sometimes the two companies involved simply form a brand new company. Other mergers result in the merging of previous names into a new name. For example, when America Online (AOL) merged with Time Warner in 2000, the company they formed was called AOL Time Warner . An acquisition, however, is typically a larger company buying or otherwise acquiring a smaller company. Some companies may merge their identities. Sometimes, however, the smaller company is simply absorbed by the larger company, becoming part of its brand and identity. Why would two companies want to cede control ...
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