Episode 01: Staying Lean

In this episode, Host Kevin Clune discusses why “staying lean” will give MSPs the best chance to survive in the current economic decline.

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“What’s up? This is Kevin Clune

Welcome to The Lean MSP.

Where we look to take on the challenges of operating an MSP in today’s economic landscape.

This means staying lean, working smarter, and achieving more with fewer resources

There are two reasons why I wanted to start this series.

Number one is the economic tide is changing on a global level.

We are about to see a major shift in momentum and growth might not be on the table for everyone.

This is when it becomes crucial to buckle down, get creative, and get by with what you have.

The second reason is because I am in the same boat as everyone else.

My work life and personal life have been on a collission course since the beginning of March.

While I used to sit in my office (it’s nice and cozy), sipping my coffee, listen to the birds chirp while writing long thoughtful articles for MSPs.

Those days are over. Now everyone is home, I have a sitter in the house, and the goal everyday is basically to not kill each other.

Even so, I wanted to bring you with new content, so doing these quick audio bytes seemed to be the most managable format.

Since I can’t do anything at halfspeed, that idea turned into this overhyped, overproduced, concept that you see in front of you.”

What It Means To Be Lean

“This episode is really an introduction to this concept and what it means to be lean.

I think a common misconception is that lean companies are just a bunch of startups filled with college kids eating ramen noodles 3 meals a day trying to get by.

This might be true in a lot of cases, but I think any sized business can take a lean approach.

My introduction to “lean principles” was really through Eric Reis’s book “The Lean Startup”

He gives some fantastic anecdotes, not only what the lean mindset is all about, but also how to start adapting this to your business.

The biggest takeaway for me was the MVP or Minimum Viable Product.

This is basically where you put out something to your customers with only enough features to execute it’s core purpose and then get feedback.

You are then able to build onto this product or service and improve it based on what the market wants and not what you think the market wants.

This saves a ton of time and effort spent before you bring something to market that will inevitably require editing afterwards anyway.

The bottom line is that perfection is expensive and at a time when most businesses are struggling, you can’t afford to overthink things.

Take this podcast for example.

Sure, I could have probably bought a better microphone, done some soundproofing, purchased better editing software, and spent more time planning this out.

But ultimately, I don’t know if this is even going to work or not. I could get emails today from our subscribers saying “Hey, maybe you want to go back to writing for awhile.”

If that’s the case, then I have to listen to the customer and adapt what I am doing. And if so, It will be a good thing that I didn’t over-invest my time and resources before I put out a single episode.

Why MSPs Should Go Lean

“So why is this important for MSPs and why now?

The main reason I wanted to get everyone thinking lean is because we are at a major pivot point.

In a normal operating state, businesses pivot from time to time and usually whenever they feel necessary.

The way things are going now, it appears that almost everyone will have to pivot simultaenously.

The winners and losers will be determined based on who pivoted to what and how they did it.

Take my former MSP as an example. One of our largest verticals was the shared space industry with a large presence in New York City. Think of the “WeWork model.”

The nature of this business is short term leases (sometimes month to month).

With quarantine now running on it’s third week, with no end in sight, I would imagine that many of these shared space customers are not renewing their contracts and these businesses are seeing a mass exodus of their customers.

Had we been reliant on this income right now, we would really be sweating bullets as many MSPs are that are servicing niche verticals that are taking a major hit.

These are the MSPs need to change courses and find a new means of opportunity somewhere else.

For example, many industries are still churning in all of this and when the dust clears, they are going to want to vitrualize and future proof their business even more.

The moral is that you need to be protective of the resources you have now more than ever.

If this situations proves anything, it is that we don’t know what we don’t know.

If you told me in January that I would be attending a virtual birthday party for my 3-year-old niece and that my 90-year-Grandma would know how to use Zoom, I would tell you that you are crazy.

Tomorrow can bring a whole new set of challenges that we were not prepared for and the more weight we carry around, the less nimble we can be in these situations.

This is all for Episode 01. Thanks for joining me and wish you all a great week!”