We all get by with a little help from our friends—and it’s no different for MSPs.
The opportunity for MSPs to network, learn from each other, compare vendors and software stacks, and discuss best practices are a few reasons why MSP peer groups and online forums are so popular.
They provide a venue to discuss ideas and industry trends, to form potential business-expanding partnerships, and of course, to find out tips and tricks on growing your business.
What’s more, there’s actually research showing tangible business benefits—service providers who participate in peer groups reportedly outperform those who aren’t part of any such groups, according to a 2018 ConnectWise-commissioned report.
Here’s are 13 peer groups and online forums available to MSPs like you. (Listed in alphabetical order).
ASCII Group www.ascii.com
The ASCII Group’s history stretches all the way back to 1984, which makes it the oldest professional community that focuses specifically on MSPs, MSSPs, and VARs. With over 1,300 members, it’s one of the largest and most active MSP peer groups in North America. In addition to its nine annual conferences, the organization hosts a popular online knowledge-exchange forum so you can network from the comfort of your living room.
Founded in 1982, CompTIA is one of the biggest professional groups for the wider IT industry. Its main event, ChannelCon, occurs annually in both North America and EMEA. The organization also offers several 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, and also expand your expertise around emerging trends that could affect your business
IT/MSP Entrepreneurs Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/itentrepreneurship/
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.htgpeergroups.com
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.
MSP subreddit www.reddit.com/r/msp/
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 labels itself as the “largest and oldest vendor neutral organization” for MSPs and independent cloud providers. Founded in 2000, it’s grown to over 30,000 members. Its focus on being a “unified voice for the managed services industry” provides a great opportunity for MSPs to connect with one another and share insights at the group’s events. The annual MSPWorld conference aims to deliver practical, educational sessions with real-world applicability.
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 is comprised of people from non-competing industries, so you don’t give away your secret sauce by sharing advice.
The Network Groupnbg.co.uk/
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.
Robin Robins’ Producers Clubwww.robinrobins.com
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.
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.
Taylor Business Groupwww.taylorbusinessgroup.com
At Taylor Business Group events—namely the BIG Big Conference—you’ll meet MSP owners and leaders who work together to share best practices and meet aggressive sales and performance goals. The main focus of this peer group is on boosting the profitability of its members through business improvement, sales transformation, and overall efficiency. There are many digital resources available, such as webinars and toolkits, in addition to live events.
The Tech Tribewww.mytechnologybusiness.com
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.
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?”