How MSPs Can Thrive in Today’s Market: Advice From Gary Pica


In our latest Financial Fridays blog post, we delve into the critical realm of cash flow and business valuation for MSPs, guided by the invaluable insights of Gary Pica, President of TruMethods and the visionary behind TruPeer MSP Accountability Group. Through an engaging interview, Pica shares his profound understanding of the MSP landscape, garnered from overseeing a vibrant community of nearly 450 MSPs. His perspective sheds light on the challenges and opportunities facing small, entrepreneurial MSP businesses amidst a rapidly evolving technological and competitive environment.

The criticality of cash flow

Pica emphasizes the paramount importance of cash flow for MSPs, a reflection of the industry’s dynamic nature and its susceptibility to technological advancements and market fluctuations. “MSPs are mainly small entrepreneurial businesses having to deal with way more change than ever before,” Pica states, highlighting the increased complexity of managing an MSP in today’s digital landscape.

Strategies for boosting valuation

A significant focus of our discussion revolves around preparing MSPs for a potential sale, where valuation plays a pivotal role. Pica reveals that “a very small percentage, maybe 10% to 15% of MSPs, are truly optimized for a significant exit,” highlighting the gap between the leading MSPs and the broader market. This disparity underscores the need for MSPs to closely examine their operational efficiencies, customer relationships and profitability metrics.

Key takeaways for MSPs

  1. Elevating management practices: “The business requires more professional management, and that’s hard for a small business where the owner is still doing tickets,” Pica explains. This evolution involves delegating day-to-day operations to focus on long-term strategic goals and business development.
  2. Strategic market positioning: Identifying and targeting the right market is more crucial than ever. Pica highlights the need for MSPs to clearly define their niche, especially in a market that’s become highly competitive with the entry of larger, well-managed firms and private equity-backed companies. “You really have to decide who your target market is and where you want to compete,” Pica advises, underscoring the importance of differentiation and strategic focus.
  3. Preparation for acquisition: With mergers and acquisitions becoming more prevalent, Pica points out that only a small fraction of MSPs are optimally positioned for a lucrative sale. He encourages MSPs to consider their long-term strategy and optimize their operations, not just for immediate profit but also for potential future valuation. “A very small percentage, maybe 10% to 15% of MSPs, are truly optimized for a significant exit,” says Pica, highlighting a vast opportunity for improvement across the industry.
  4. Profitability and customer selection: Profitability isn’t just about the bottom line; it’s closely linked to the quality of customers and the efficiency of service delivery. Pica emphasizes the significance of understanding customer spend and managing service delivery efficiently. By focusing on high-value customers and optimizing service delivery, MSPs can significantly enhance their profitability and attractiveness to potential buyers.
  5. Leveraging industry peer groups: Pica is a strong advocate of the power of peer groups in driving business improvement. “Every MSP should be in an industry peer group,” he asserts. These groups offer a platform for benchmarking, shared learning and networking, which can significantly accelerate an MSP’s path to optimization and growth.
  6. Adapting to technological advancements: The rise of automation and AI presents both challenges and opportunities for MSPs. Pica warns that traditional areas of value, such as project work and support, are becoming commoditized. MSPs need to adapt by offering more strategic services that cannot be easily replicated by technology. “Unless you become a true business advisor… the rock bed of tickets and projects and alerts is going to turn to sand,” he cautions.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, Gary Pica’s interview underscores the dynamic nature of the MSP industry and the need for proactive management, strategic planning and continuous adaptation. By embracing more sophisticated management practices, zeroing in on a well-defined market position, preparing for future acquisition opportunities, focusing on profitability through selective customer engagement, participating in peer groups and adapting to technological advancements, MSPs can ensure their long-term success and sustainability.

Join us every two weeks for more insights and strategies on Financial Fridays, where we’ll continue to explore the world of financial literacy for MSPs. Additionally, stay tuned for our upcoming webinar, which will delve more into actionable tips for optimizing cash flow and revenue streams and maximizing profitability. Until then, happy tracking!


MSPS Guide to Predictable Cash Flow in Uncertain Times

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