Networking — the person-to-person kind, not the computer kind — is critical to running a successful business. For starters, getting together with MSP peer groups is a great way to share knowledge, identify best practices and assess vendors. You get to hear real-life stories of what works and what doesn’t from companies just like yours. Another big benefit of networking is helping you reach more customers by connecting you to other service providers that offer complementary services. Maybe you don’t take on a lot of mobile support, but your referral partner loves that kind of business. In exchange, he might send you business that aligns to your strengths—say, security.

Together, you can provide your customers with a fuller range of service options, helping you both retain business you might otherwise lose to a competitor.

The connections you make with peers can also give you new ideas, encourage you to reach for big goals, serve as a sounding board, give you a kick in the butt when you need one, and just generally keep you sane.

Here are eight great MSP peer groups and the major events they hold. (Listed in alphabetical order.)

ASCII Group www.ascii.com

Alan Weinberger, founder and CEO of ASCII
Run by: Alan Weinberger, founder and CEO
Focus on: All things MSP and VAR-related, with a special emphasis on marketing

 

The ASCII Group’s history stretches all the way back to 1984, which makes it the oldest professional community that focuses specifically on MSPs and VARs. It’s also one of the largest and most active MSP peer groups in North America. In addition to its eight annual conferences, the organization hosts an online knowledge-exchange forum, providing a way to network without leaving home.

  • Main events: IT SMB Success Summits
  • Where: Each event is in a different US location, from Texas to Wisconsin
  • More info

 

CompTIA www.comptia.org

Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA
Run by: Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO
Focus on: Broad range of IT areas, from networking and security to cloud and Linux

 

CompTIA also has a long history, tracing its origins to 1982. It has one of the biggest names among professional groups for the IT industry in general. In addition to its major event, ChannelCon, it organizes a range of smaller events–both physical and virtual–devoted to various topics. This gives you the chance to participate in the ones that are most relevant to your areas of technical focus.

  • Main event: ChannelCon
  • When: Aug 3-4, 2021
  • More info

Frankly MSP Community https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12047655/

Auvik Networks
Run by: Auvik Networks
Focus on: MSP productivity, efficiency, and profitability

 

The Frankly MSP Community is a request-to-join LinkedIn group. Once you’re in, you’ll find other MSPs talking about their tech stacks, discussing industry news, and sharing tips and tricks to help you run your business with more productivity, efficiency, and profitability. The Community is also your main space to discuss topics from the Frankly MSP podcast and to ask questions when some guests from the show stop by to participate in interactive Q&A sessions.


IT/MSP Entrepreneurs Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/itentrepreneurship/

Stetson Blake, IT/MSP Entrepreneurs Facebook group
Run by: Stetson Blake, co-founder
Focus on: Crowd-sourced advice and recommendations

 

This isn’t a peer group but is certainly a community where MSPs leaders and IT pros can ask questions, discuss best practices, and recommend vendors. It’s a place where MSPs can feel supported by each other, and find a variety of solutions to everyday problems. Also, memes.


IT Nation Evolve (formerly HTG) www.connectwise.com/theitnation/evolve

Arlin Sorensen, VP of IT Nation Evolve Peer Groups
Run by: Arlin Sorensen, VP of peer groups, former founder of HTG
Focus on: Business development and management

 

HTG Peer Groups was acquired by ConnectWise in January 2018. Though the brand has shifted to IT Nation Evolve and the leadership team has adopted new roles, the group’s goal remains the same: to enable groups of 10-12 MSPs to learn from each other and share business strategies. All members are executives or owners at IT companies. Both the regular peer group meetings and the quarterly events that bring together all the groups from across the country will continue in HTG’s style and format.

  • Main events: Quarterly Business Reviews

MSP subreddit www.reddit.com/r/msp/

Reddit logo
Run by: The community
Focus on: Crowd-sourced advice and recommendations

 

The MSP subreddit is a place for MSPs to hang out and swap tales. Lots of questions are asked and advice is shared, along with jokes and recommendations. Never a dull moment.


MSPAlliance www.mspalliance.com

Charles Weaver, co-founder and CEO of MSPAlliance
Run by: Charles Weaver, co-founder and CEO
Focus on: Managed services and cloud computing

 

MSPAlliance bills itself as the “largest and oldest vendor neutral organization” for independent cloud providers and MSPs. Its focus on the MSP world makes its events a great opportunity for MSPs to connect with one another—as well as with security professionals and investors who also attend. MSPAlliance’s MSPWorld event promises to deliver practical, educational sessions with real-world applicability.

  • Main events: MSPWorld
  • When: Coming Soon!
  • Where: Orlando, Florida
  • More info

MSP-Ignite www.msp-ignite.com/peer/MSP/

Steve Alexander, founder and CEO of MSP-Ignite
Run by: Steve Alexander, founder and CEO
Focus on: Collaboration, profitability, growth

 

MSP-Ignite says its unique peer group angle is the emphasis on member collaboration and idea sharing. Each peer group, of which there are several categories (MSP, VAR, service manager, IT company, and Autotask), is facilitated by a business advisor, who helps members think through common problems and work together to find solutions. Each group consists of people from non-competing industries, so you don’t give away your secret sauce by sharing advice.

  • Main events: Bi-annual meetings, webinars

The Network Group nbg.co.uk/

Phylip Morgan, managing director of the Network Group
Run by: Phylip Morgan, managing director
Focus on:Emerging technology, best practices

 

Run out of London, UK, the Network Group offers live events to help businesses in the IT channel connect with each other, assess vendors, discuss best practices, and find solutions to common business problems. Members have access to vendor discounts, shared resources, training, and operational tools such as an online procurement and purchasing portal. In addition to regular large events, called VISION and FOCUS, the Network Group has roadshows around the UK where members can meet vendors and network.

  • Main event: 2021 Exhibition and Gala Awards

More info


Robin Robins’ Producers Club www.robinrobins.com

Robin Robins, founder and CEO of Technology Marketing Toolkit
Run by: Robin Robins, founder and CEO
Focus on: Marketing, sales, business growth

 

Robin Robins’ Producers Club is a program for her Senior Technology Marketing Toolkit members that goes above and beyond her basic consulting. Members get access to exclusive marketing tools and resources, sales strategies, and business development tactics. In-person events are personal, focused and exclusive (there’s an application process to attend and the organizers say only those applicants who are the “right fit” can participate). MSPs also benefit from getting to pick the brains of other members. Essentially, it’s life coaching for MSPs.

  • Main events: Producers Club, Boot Camps, & Roadshow

Taylor Business Group www.taylorbusinessgroup.com

John Christophersen, president of Taylor Business Group
Run by: John Christophersen, president
Focus on: Financials, profitability, business management, sales

 

Auvik attended the BIG Big event in 2015 and we can tell you from first-hand experience, the people who attend are focused. You’ll meet MSP owners and leaders who work together to share best practices and meet aggressive sales and performance goals.

  • Main events: BIG Big Conference
  • When: TBA
  • Where: TBA
  • More info

SMBiT
www.smbitpro.org/

Brett Chalmers, director & CEO, SMBiTt
Run by: Brett Chalmers, director & CEO
Focus on: Growth, efficiency, SMB clients

 

SMBiT is an Australian peer group that serves MSPs with small to mid-sized clients. The group offers best practice education around problem solving, boosting efficiency, and scaling your business. Members can communicate with experts in the association’s forum, by email, or at monthly member meetings at each chapter—there are five in Australia and one in New Zealand. SMBiT also provides members with industry insurance, vendor discounts, and other business support resources.

  • Main events: Monthly chapter meetings

The Tech Tribe www.thetechtribe.com

Nigel Moore, founder and presidentnof the Tech Tribe
Run by: Nigel Moore, founder and president
Focus on: Profitability, business improvement

The Tech Tribe offers a library of resources for members to improve various areas of their businesses—including (but not limited to) pricing and service agreement templates, training and workshops, email scripts, private coaching, quick-win video explainers, and virtual collaboration sessions. The founder, Nigel Moore, ran and sold his own MSP. He’s based in Australia, but has members globally.

  • Main event: TBD

TruMethods www.trumethods.com

Gary Pica, founder and CEO of TruMethods
Run by: Gary Pica, founder and CEO
Focus on: Business growth, profitability

The goal of TruMethods is to help its members find their “superpower”—a competitive advantage that results in profitability. A proprietary software product together with coaching promises to help streamline your business operations and save you from the “reactive spiral of death” that arises when day-to-day tasks interfere with planning for and investing in the future. TruMethods’ annual event, Schnizzfest, is attended only by MSPs, making it a great opportunity for networking and sharing business strategies. While the ideas exchanged are serious, the event—as its name implies—offers a lighthearted and relaxed atmosphere. Tagline: “It’s Schnizzfest… how could we not have fun?”

  • Main events: Schnizzfest


Ryan LaFlamme

About Ryan LaFlamme

Ryan LaFlamme is Auvik's Content Manager. Ryan has worked as an advertising and marketing professional for 10 years, working with leading global brands in Canada and internationally.


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