If you’re looking for a way to boost your MSP business, become a more effective leader, trim your costs, or acquire new customers, the right book might provide the tools you need.
Here we’ll take a look at 10 recommended books for MSPs that want to grow their MSP business. From behavioral economics to pumpkin farming, there’s a little bit of everything in this list. If you’d like to add a recommendation, let us know in the comments!
The Pumpkin Plan
What’s it about? Mike Michalowicz, a former MSP CEO himself, explores how small tweaks can have a big impact on business growth.
Why should an MSP owner read it? The Pumpkin Plan is Mike’s approach to going from the grind of “sell it/do it” to a profitable business by making the right adjustments. Plenty of other books have a similar value proposition, but they don’t come with the MSP cred Mike has. Mike has made successful exits from previous MSP businesses, and his books are often recommended by MSP pros. Plus, what other book will help you apply the wisdom from the domain of pumpkin farming to your MSP?
If you’d like to hear Mike before you read his book, check out his 2019 appearance on the Frankly IT podcast!
The Trusted Advisor
David H. Maister, Charles H. Green & Robert M. Galford
What’s it about? Maister, Green, and Galford outline the five steps advisors (aka business owners) need to take to create trust-based relationships with their customers.
Why should an MSP owner read it? This book is often recommended to new and aspiring MSP owners— and for good reason. As an MSP, it’s your job to be your client’s trusted advisor for all things IT. The more effective you are in that role, the more indispensable you’ll become to your clients—which is one way to help “recession-proof” your MSP.
From Expert to Executive: Mastering the SOPs of Leading
Edward E. Tyson with Michael Ashley
What’s it about? Ed Tyson, ex-marine and executive coach, lays out his “SOPs of Leadership”—Structure, Operate, Perfect.
Why should an MSP owner read it? Getting SOPs right can make or break a business. That’s a no-brainer for IT workflows, but it can apply to leadership practices too. Ed Tyson’s book uses fictional stories to drive home key leadership lessons and explores practical standard operating procedures for leaders.
Levers: The Framework for Building Repeatability Into Your Business
Amon Schwartzfarb and Trevor Boehm
What’s it about? Creating a framework for predictable and repeatable business results, and identifying the pathways to applying it.
Why should an MSP owner read it? Repeatable, predictable, and sustainable growth is every MSP’s dream. Levers focuses on workshops for five key business domains: marketing, sales, finance, product, and operations. While the “product” domain isn’t as applicable to MSPs as other businesses, the metrics and process focus of Levers make it an interesting—and potentially powerful—read for MSPs.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
Michael E. Gerber
What’s it about? Gerber takes on two classic myths for any startup: Most small business founders are entrepreneurs, and understanding the tech side of things means you can run a business based on that tech.
Why should an MSP owner read it? This one is arguably a small-business classic, and it’s particularly applicable to MSPs. Many MSPs are small businesses with technical founders, and both of the “myths” the book explores can apply directly to those MSPs. The E-Myth Revisited can help small MSPs and technical leaders avoid the traps that have hamstrung others.
Outliers: The Manager’s Path
What’s it about? Tech lead turned CEO Camille Fournier shares how to effectively manage and lead technical teams while avoiding common mistakes.
Why should an MSP owner read it? It’s tough to make the leap from a one-person shop to leading a team of technicians. This book helps provide guidance on making the transition from a solo technical expert to a leader. That transition is important for MSPs that want to create a productive and healthy culture while scaling their business.
Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing
What’s it about? A concise but thorough guide to service marketing.
Why should an MSP owner read it? Fundamentals matter and many tech pros don’t have the marketing background our business counterparts do. Selling The Invisible focuses on service marketing and drives home key principles MSPs can use to improve their marketing strategy and build better customer relationships. Getting those things right can improve customer acquisition and retention.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Roger Fisher and William Ury
What’s it about? Handling negotiations and conflict resolution in mutually agreeable ways every time.
Why should an MSP owner read it? Win/win outcomes in contract negotiations are great for long-term customer relationships and your bottom line. However, contract negotiation is just one of the many areas where the methods discussed in Getting to Yes come in handy. Disputes with — or between — employees can lead to high-stress disputes. So can unresolved tech issues that escalate beyond the help desk. Being an effective negotiator can help you defuse these situations and get back to valuable work faster.
Never Lose a Customer Again
What’s it about? Loyalty: customer retention, avoiding buyer’s remorse, and delighting customers.
Why should an MSP owner read it? While contracts lock customers in for a certain period, referrals and customer satisfaction will be key drivers of growth in the long term. Coleman’s book emphasizes the importance of delighting customers in the first 100 days after a purchase to set the stage for long-term customer loyalty. While many examples are product-focused, the principles and the emotional stages described in the book can apply to service businesses too.
Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
What’s it about? Nudge is a behavioral economics staple from Cass Sunstein and Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler. Nudge is all about how context, cues, and framing can change how people behave.
Why should an MSP owner read it? One of the biggest takeaways from Nudge is the power of default options. IT in general, and MSPs in particular, can solve a lot of problems with the right defaults. Additionally, from a more strategic perspective, the concept of “choice architecture” can be a game changer across the board. Properly framing things for your clients, staff, and partners can make a world of difference when it comes to business outcomes.