Rather than attending a business school to attain a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) a very large portion of the leadership of most solution providers today are graduates of the hard knocks school of business. They often typically got their start in IT before leveraging those skills to launch an IT services business.
To provide those “accidental entrepreneurs” with access to more acumen on how to best run a business ConnectWise, a provider of professional services automation software and services, has acquired HGT, a consulting firm that specializes in coaching executives working at solution providers in the channel.
ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini says the need for more business acumen among solution provider executives has never been more acute. Many of them have considerably expanded the number of services they provide employ multiple business models. ConnectWise has developed a series of applications and services designed to make managing all those services simpler.
“We like to say we provide an MBA in a box for great technologists,” says Bellini.
The challenge is that less than half of solution providers today are availing themselves of PSA tools. Most continue to rely on spreadsheets and small business accounting software to run their business. ConnectWise is acquiring HTG to provide a consulting service that enables solution providers to become more profitable and efficient.
Arlin Sorenson, founder, and CEO of HTG, says it’s not uncommon for solution providers to double their profitability once they get exposed to how a well-managed business should run. That’s especially critical because solution providers are under pressure to generate income that can be reinvested in their business to create additional services, says Sorenson.
In addition, Sorenson notes that any owner of a solution provider needs to be able to demonstrate that the business can effectively generate profits after they sell.
“Any potential buyer is only going to be looking to acquire for the best-run companies,” says Sorenson.
As many business owners in the channel contemplate retirement, their exit strategies almost invariably require them to revisit how their business is managed, adds Sorenson.
Obviously, solution provider executives have multiple options when it comes to acquiring additional business acumen. The difference now is that ConnectWise is starting to bundle the education needed to gain that expertise with the actual tools required to monetize the time and effort that was required to gain it.