Who do you trust to have your back?

One of the most important parts of running a business is holding the members of your team accountable. Even the best, most productive people need someone to keep them on track sometimes, to guide them and help them see the bigger picture.

But when you’re the CEO of an MSP, who does that for YOU?

For David Shaffer, the CEO of Tier One Technology Partners, it’s Heartland Technology Groups, an international peer group comprised of CEOs and key leadership from IT companies (mostly MSPs) that support each other in learning more about their industry, improving their practices, and altogether staying accountable to their own success.

“If you’re serious about your business and growth, becoming an HTG member is like putting the rubber on the road,” said Dave. “You can’t hide there! There are goals set every quarter, and if you’re missing your goals quarter after quarter, your group is going to be talking to you about what you’re doing, how to improve and how they can help you move the ball down the field.”

As a leading MSP in Baltimore, Tier One is really able to capitalize on its CEO’s membership with HTG as a major selling point for the company.

“At Tier One, when we deal with prospects, we highlight five differentiators (because you bet they’re talking to other people), and one of them is our involvement in HTG,” said Dave. “Prospects understand the connectivity between you investing significant time and their own success, and that’s a fact that you can highlight” You will find that some prospects participate in peer groups of their own so they immediately recognize the benefits”.

In addition to providing a network of peers to communicate and collaborate with, HTG holds quarterly meetings at different locations in the United States and around the world. Counting the two days of the meeting itself, and a day of travel on each side, that’s four days four times a year, put entirely towards thinking about how the CEO of an MSP can lead a company successfully.

“There’s a level of accountability for leaders of organizations that’s normally hard for them to impose on themselves,” said Dave. “Lots of CEOs or other leaders have coaches because no one else is holding them accountable. HTG provides a great level of accountability for leaders in our industry.”

These days, Dave and his peers are really focusing on the changes in our industry and how we need to be ready to change and evolve in response:

  • MSP 2.0: Where is our profession going? What is the next iteration of our business, with the impact of the cloud and various tools that we use regularly now becoming cloud-commoditized?
  • The IT Strategist: Getting out of the “I fix stuff” mindset and becoming the IT leader for the clients that don’t have the time or the resources to do it for themselves.

“As IT providers for SMB clients, we are only going to be viable and provide value if we can in fact provide sound IT leadership for our clients in addition to whatever other services we provide.”

Additionally, HTG encourages its members to pass the planning and strategy they apply to their own goals along to the members of their team. “We should be helping our people create balance in their lives, because IT is very demanding,” said Dave. “Part of what we do at HTG is create life plans for ourselves and our families, and we bring these kind of well-rounded plans back to our teams, talking to them about how to influence their lives in a better way.”

Ultimately, membership in HTG has helped Dave not only forge a better path for himself and his team, but helped show off Tier One Technology as a leader in the IT community.

While joining HTG might not be in the cards for you right now (they have some size requirements for members, though there’s also an HTG online group for those getting started on this path), it’s easy to see how joining a peer group helps you to improve yourself and your business. The question is: are you willing to put in the work?

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