Businesses asking - what should we offer



  • Is it just me, or does it seem particularly odd with regards to the number of businesses posting on SW asking, what should we offer, how should we go about drumming up business or how would you grow your business. Or the best yet "What services should an IT provider provide :-)"

    Now don't get me wrong, I completely feel a business needs to grow to sustain themselves, but there seems to be an alarming number of these types of topics that are cropping up.

    Which seems completely insane, shouldn't they be querying their customer base and determining what their clientele needs? Shouldn't it be painfully obvious based on what services this company provides, and what they want to provide are two distinct items, and subsequently different business models.

    Asking for advice, or guidance is one thing, but asking a question in such a direct fashion leaves everyone else out of the conversation, who is in the same market. They no sooner want to give advice, but would love to receive it for their own gain. How is this not understood when a question like this is posed?

    The advice provided may sound "sound" but very well could be putting the person/business into much deeper water then what they're prepared for.

    Sure something like in the above link "My advice is to work your way out of the break/fix support model toward a managed services (MS) support model." is boiler plate sort of advice, but offers nothing. (I've refused to read iandrewmartin's entire response).

    A businesses leadership should have a focus, something that their looking to do & support as their product. A lowly employee may say "Hey we really should do this" but it doesn't mean any results will occur from that conversation...

    Am I just reading to much into this? Maybe. But I think it's completely insane for people to ask for advice like this.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Which seems completely insane, shouldn't they be querying their customer base and determining what their clientele needs?

    Honestly.... no. It is actually quite rare that a customer knows what they need. People rarely know what they need and if they do, they generally don't need it any more by the time that they have figured out what it is. Knowing what you need is such a huge component of actually having the thing that while sometimes this is true, by and large it is not.

    This is why Spiceworks doesn't even look at their suggestion box for SW features - because their users are crazy and request horrible things that they would never use and would make the product useless for most users. Successful software companies never solicit design features from their customers for this purpose. Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, IBM, etc. all hire smart people to think about what their customers need and build what makes sense for their needs - if the customers had any idea how to build software to meet their needs, they would be making lots of money doing so.

    There are exceptions, of course. But by and large, customers are a very bad source of knowing their own needs.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said:

    The advice provided may sound "sound" but very well could be putting the person/business into much deeper water then what they're prepared for.

    Very common. If you need told what service to offer, obviously it is unlikely that you know how to offer that service or would have already been doing so.

    Although I am unclear thus far as to his business model. Is he an MSP? Is he a VAR? The question is odd for an MSP but makes a bit of sense as a VAR.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Sure something like in the above link "My advice is to work your way out of the break/fix support model toward a managed services (MS) support model." is boiler plate sort of advice, but offers nothing.

    Yes, you could sum up that whole thing as:

    I recommend you do a good job.



  • But in the above example, this is an Service shop, offering a Fix-IT type service. If the business is looking to change to an MSP you'd expect them to know what they need to offer, wouldn't you?

    The business is effectively changing from a single customer (ie broken laptop) to a business customer needing to have something managed.


  • Service Provider

    It's viable to look at it that way. But also to look at it as moving from reactive to proactive support of the same things.


  • Service Provider

    It would be really weird, though, I agree, for a company to have customers and want to just "support them better" and yet have no idea what they would need. But this circles back to my MSP vs. VAR question, an MSP should always know what to provide but a VAR relies on connecting people to the right resources. So for a VAR, the question makes more sense.



  • Well that's what I mean above with the above questions. As the business, you must be having conversations with your customer base about their day to day life, and things going on in them / in their business.

    This should provide the Fix-IT business many conversation points to come up with new business models. Things to investigate if the business really wants to expand.

    Instead a random question like this is posted to a public forum, eliminating everyone else in the region from responding. But certainly monitoring so they might gain an edge.



  • Even if this business doesn't have any competitors who "care" it still seems odd to ask this sort of question, right?


  • Service Provider

    Oh, it is a weird question, that is certain. How would random public forum commenters have any idea what services he should be providing? Good feedback or at least highly useful feedback will be lean.



  • @DustinB3403 I like the fact that the OP in that post actually directly asks their question instead of beating around the bush.

    While iandrewmartin's advice may seem like Captain Obvious, type remarks, I think he does give a clear statement, if not a mostly complete business plan, lol. There's also the chance that the OP really doesn't know how to get past the break/fix type support. Especially if he's not helping his customers do much with virtualization.

    You are right about asking their current client base about their needs!


  • Service Provider

    @dafyre or just doing some research - like having the techs who work with these clients talk about the problems that they see and collect that information.

    Or think about how they can improve things for their clients.

    Or look at ticket databases to see what issues come up all of the time.


  • Service Provider

    Wait, OMG, he's local to US!! He's right in our overlapping "local" territory between NTG and @Mike-Davis

    SpiceCorps was held in the little town where this guy is based. Okay this makes more sense, this is a rural NY local business. He has NO local business and no local IT people.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Wait, OMG, he's local to US!! He's right in our overlapping "local" territory between NTG and @Mike-Davis

    SpiceCorps was held in the little town where this guy is based. Okay this makes more sense, this is a rural NY local business. He has NO local business and no local IT people.

    So you're saying I should go down to this guys business and offer him my expertise on expanding his business ;-)


  • Service Provider

    It's a nice little town. If there was work there, living in Auburn is quite nice. I love walking around town at night, it's so peaceful but has great old Upstate NY architecture.



  • Auburn is beautiful. I think I know him! I am pretty sure he has been to at least one of the SpiceCorps down there.


  • Service Provider

    Now that I know he is a document / copier center, not an IT shop, and that he is in Auburn, NY (there are no real businesses to support there) and that he is looking for VAR products to resell it is making more sense why and what he is asking.


  • Service Provider

    This is basically a Crazy AJ's business but in rural Upstate NY rather than Central America. Sadly, there is far more business opportunity in Central America.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    This is basically a Crazy AJ's business but in rural Upstate NY rather than Central America. Sadly, there is far more business opportunity in Central America.

    ha.... ha...



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Now that I know he is a document / copier center, not an IT shop, and that he is in Auburn, NY (there are no real businesses to support there) and that he is looking for VAR products to resell it is making more sense why and what he is asking.

    Actually I know that @Mike-Davis is doing pretty well in Auburn. But he has been in the area a long time and in IT a long time. People know him and trust him.


  • Banned

    I thought we weren't going to be bashing/tearing apart Spiceworks questions on here anymore? It seems unprofessional and undermines the community.



  • @Jason This is a discussion about his question not bashing SW.



  • @Jason said:

    I thought we weren't going to be bashing/tearing apart Spiceworks questions on here anymore? It seems unprofessional and undermines the community.

    Yeah I haven't said "Hey Guys look here, this GUY!!"

    It's a question of why / how can a business ask others to tell them what they should offer and the frequency to which I've seen these topics.

    I would also bring this same question up to any question posted here that matches the same formatting.


  • Banned

    @Minion-Queen said:

    @Jason This is a discussion about his question not bashing SW.

    No but it seems to bash the OP on the SW thread. it;s like having a hidden topic about the OPs topic.



  • I met this guy at the one Spicecorp event I was able to attend. He seemed eager to learn and was asking everyone a ton of questions, most of them good ones.



  • @Jason said:

    @Minion-Queen said:

    @Jason This is a discussion about his question not bashing SW.

    No but it seems to bash the OP on the SW thread. it;s like having a hidden topic about the OPs topic.

    The discussion being held here, is in no way hidden. It's simply a separate topic, about the OP's topic, that doesn't detract from his own topic.

    (Wow say that 5 times fast)

    There is no bashing, this is a conversation about "how can a business, expect to ask other businesses for the keys to expanding and success"

    Scott is already providing the OP some valuable information.


  • Service Provider

    @Jason said:

    @Minion-Queen said:

    @Jason This is a discussion about his question not bashing SW.

    No but it seems to bash the OP on the SW thread. it;s like having a hidden topic about the OPs topic.

    That's true to a point, except Dustin is likely to invite him over here shortly, so it is a little different in that he could theoretically be seeing it right now and almost certainly will see it today.



  • I can honestly say that before getting into the MSP space, I didn't really understand what the space was.

    Our initial thoughts were ... hey we know IT, we'll just consult and help people, not realizing what is out there. Mainly just from never having seen it before. Now that I've been in it for a while, it makes complete sense, and I couldn't imagine it any other way.

    But I can certainly understand not understanding the space, and not knowing exactly what to offer.

    Or, even more so to my own example, going in thinking of offering A, but then talking to others in the space and realizing, hey I really need to offer B.


  • Service Provider

    I've been talking to him and made sure that he is aware of the thread.



  • @BRRABill But at some point, you and the business you worked for said. "Hey we need to offer more or different products, we need to differentiate our business.

    To provide more than an single stream of income, and had some kind of a plan.

    Sure the plan changed, but in the OP, the topic is specifically asking "What should we do to differentiate". There is no answer that will fit perfectly.

    No one can say "Hey we're doing this, if you can do this we'd all win" It's not a crystal ball.

    Only from the OP's own conversation with their clients and seeing what they "need" even if they don't know it could the OP (and business) determine a new product line to offer/support.


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