What to Look for in an MSP for Your Small Business

There are many managed service providers (MSPs) to choose from, so what should you look for when deciding who to partner with?

Startup cost & pricing

What is the startup cost and how do their prices compare with others in the industry? Know that while managed services can be a great option for small businesses, not all managed services are created equal. Know what you are paying for before signing on the dotted line.

Agreement types

 Does the managed service provider require a long term agreement? Is there an initial commitment that is required to get the managed services up and running? What are your exit options if it does not work out with your managed service provider?

Technical expertise

Does the managed service provider have the ability to provide managed services in your industry? Do they understand how managed services can be a benefit to small businesses who may not have the technical resources available for various types of managed services?

Referral & testimonial requirement

 If you ask most managed service providers, many will say that referrals are the lifeblood of their managed service business. With managed services, you get what you pay for, so ask managed service providers if they require referrals in order to maintain your managed services agreement. Also inquire about testimonials, and whether or not these can be shared with other small businesses who may also benefit from managed services.

Finally, managed service providers often have a niche or focus in your industry, so be sure to ask what managed services they have experience offering in your specific industry. This way you can tell if the managed service provider is really familiar with managed services within your market.

Once you’ve narrowed down the managed service providers that are best suited for your small business, it’s time to ask the managed service providers for references and testimonials. Look through their website, social media pages and any marketing collateral they may have before making a final managed services provider choice.

It’s important to know exactly what you are getting in managed services so that when your managed services agreement comes up for renewal you can make an informed decision about whether managed services are still the right fit for your small business.

Remember, managed services can be a great way to take managed services off your list of things to do so you can focus on growing your small business.

Chris Turn

Chris Turn is the pseudonym of a journalist and writer who has published short stories, essays, and criticism in the Los Angeles Times, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and the New York Times. Her most recent book, a novel, is The Summoning (The HarperCollins Canada, 2014). She lives with her husband in Toronto.

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