In the movie A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson – as Colonel Jessup – passionately delivered the famous line “You can’t handle the truth!” followed by one of the most masterfully written tirades in movie history about what it really takes to defend our borders and stand against enemies who would delight in destroying innocent lives in the most vicious, vile and heinous ways possible. Was Colonel Jessup right? Well, maybe not about everything, but he did get this correct: most people CAN’T handle the truth about what it really takes to succeed in difficult tasks and accomplish significant success.
A few weeks ago, at Boot Camp, Kevin O’Leary, who is one of my favorite motivational speakers, made a rather “harsh” statement to the audience. He said, paraphrased, “If you are an MSP at half a million in revenue ($500,000) and you DON’T double your sales this year, you’re an idiot.”
To be clear, he preceded his comment with, “I know I have to check myself a bit, but…” and he didn’t say it in an arrogant, condescending way. But he also didn’t mince words, and he didn’t wrap it in a spoonful of sugar feel-good story to make it more palatable, and he honestly doesn’t care if he bruised anyone’s fragile ego – which is why I prize his advice. He tells people the TRUTH – and here are a few of the truths he gave in his presentation, as they pertain to his statement…
First, the pandemic made IT more essential than ever, instantly generating demand for remote workforce solutions. That ALONE should have fueled growth last year to existing clients, if not new clients who had IT people and/or companies that couldn’t handle the demands. Second, ALL the companies in his portfolio have massively increased their spend on tech, specifically in the area of cyber security and remote workforce solutions, which is creating MORE demand, bigger budgets and more opportunity for all MSPs out there. And finally, he anticipated roughly 15% of the people who were forced to work from home would stay remote but has discovered it’s 33% that won’t be returning – a trend that will continue to grow. Given ALL these factors, growth should not be that difficult this year – it’s yours for the taking, but it won’t fall into your lap.
Which brings me to another TRUTH: most MSPs and IT services companies out there won’t grow by much, if at all, because they speak ambition, drive and success – but don’t DO ambition, drive and success.
They have all kinds of excuses as to why THEY can’t. Their market is too small…their market is too big. They can’t find good people. They don’t have any money. They’re strapped for time. They are a “tech” and not good at marketing. They have a lot going on right now and can’t take on any more. They have to bake a cherry pie. (Why not? One excuse is as good as another.) They think it’s “impossible,” and that belief they cling to like an anchor under the water eventually drowns them.
Why aren’t there more rich people? A certain percentage of our population is absolutely convinced it’s because a “privileged” few hold all the purse strings and control all the money. Of course, that’s not true. If it were, there wouldn’t be a single successful person who rose from the ghetto or abject poverty to become a multimillionaire or billionaire, and there are hundreds, many of whom are my clients.
I came from abject poverty, parents separated when I was very young, homeless when I was 12, never finished high school, never had a “rich” mentor or entrepreneurial example in my life, with pretty average intelligence – but I DO have honest ambition and I’m not afraid of work. I don’t have talents, but I DO have some highly developed SKILLS that I’ve focused on developing. If success and wealth were ONLY available to people with good educations who came from good homes in good areas, what I’ve accomplished would not have been possible. I’m a living “inconvenient truth” to those who want to believe success is not possible for those with lesser advantages in life.
So, the reason there aren’t more rich people is simply because there’s a big portion of the population that can earn more (if they worked harder and smarter) but don’t have the ambition or willingness to do the things that will make that happen. As Yoda famously said, you do or do not – there is no try.
If you handle that truth, you’ve come a long way in life.