How to Love Printing Again

Summary

In this podcast episode, Joe, Jeff, and Mitch Kranitz discuss Mitch’s journey from MSP to print vendor. He discusses how he went about building a successful print business while avoiding common challenges. The “print partner” concept has been instrumental in his success.

By forming a close working relationship with MSPs, he has found that he is able to help them avoid the difficulties that often arise when working with random print vendors.

Mitch and his team work with a wide range of MSPs across the US. They have over 450 MSP referral partners that they collaborate with. They have a proven track record of identifying and pursuing high-quality opportunities, and they are committed to building strong relationships with their sales reps and MSPs.

Overall, Mitch’s journey and the success of his business offer valuable insights for anyone looking to build a successful print business and form strong partnerships with MSPs.


Featuring

Mitch Kranitz, MSP Channel Manager – Print Partner at Green Office Partner

Mitch built and sold two Managed Services Provider businesses over the past twenty years. During that time, he had a preferred vendor for print – Green Office Partner. He referred all of his customers to them and, as a result, had a trusted partner that he could count on to collaborate with my team on print issues.

In 2020, Mitch joined Green Office Partner to build Print Partner, which has hundreds of MSP referral partners across the country, introducing them to their clients as their preferred print vendor.

This is something Mitch enjoys more than anything he’s done in his professional career.

What is the problem you solve, and for whom?

Print vendors are a standard pain point for MSP. They are notoriously unhelpful, they point fingers at MSPs when print devices are flaking out, they try to offer their own MSP services at every opportunity, and hardly any MSP makes a penny from print unless they are billing hourly for troubleshooting.

We provide MSPs with the opportunity to partner with a nationwide print vendor that they can rely on for collaboration on support, provide protection from other print vendors that offer MSP services, and give generous commissions for deals they bring our way.

How do you help MSPs

We provide three things regarding print: Collaboration, Protection, Commission

Your Company Website/URL

What you are promoting:

Bring us an opportunity, and we will pay you at least $250 regardless of the outcome.


Transcript

Jeff Loehr: Joe, have you ever heard of the California Gold Rush?

Joe Rojas: Just a little bit. I watch Bugs Bunny.

Jeff Loehr: I’m glad we got it to your level, Joe, down to the Bugs Bunny level.

Joe Rojas: Yosemite Sam?

Jeff Loehr: Yosemite Sam was here. You know mining is not allowed at Yosemite. I want to make sure that’s clear for everybody. It’s actually a protective space.

But anyway, what I was going to say, you know who made money from the gold rush?

Joe Rojas: I don’t know the guys who made the little strainers or the shovels.

Jeff Loehr: That was one of the things that they made. But the point of it wasn’t the miners, right? The one who made money was actually John Sutter and Sutter’s Fort is in Sacramento, and everybody would go to Sutter’s Fort, and they would buy their little pans and their shovels and their picks and their Levi’s jeans, and then they would head back up into the hills to go prospecting. And he’s the one who made all the money because everybody had to buy a shovel, and only a few people ever found gold, right? Yes. And it is interesting to me.

I love these businesses. That are shovel-type businesses, things that are just important and a little bit under the radar. You don’t necessarily think of it as this is a sexy business over here. It’s just a business that makes money. It’s like over time. And when we talk to Mitch Kranitz today, I think what’s interesting is they do printers, right?

And they took that thing that everybody hates. Again, we come back to the process of I’m gonna find something that’s painful, that hurts, and that thing that everybody hates, and they took it out of your life. And then they manage that whole thing and pay you money for the opportunity to do it.

Right. Well, if, If you’re the MSP, obviously, the client pays money. Yeah. But my point is they take the whole hassle of printers out of the MSP life. They take care of the whole thing. Rather than making it hard for the MSPs to do printing, which feels like a shovel business to me.

Joe Rojas: The thing that MSPs hate the most is printers. I can’t think of something you dislike more than a printer when you’re an MSP because nobody wants to do it.

If you’re a small MSP, the owner is the one that ends up doing it all the time cause their techs to want to touch any of that stuff, right? It’s like printers. I don’t know what that is. I dunno how that works. Why do they print? They’re a law firm. They have to print. Why? Why?!

Everything’s digital. Why are they printing?

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. Somebody said to me, millennials don’t print; no, sorry, millennials print. All right, so let’s just get over this. There are times when you gotta print stuff out and

Joe Rojas: I agree.

Jeff Loehr: Guys, when we say digital business, See, this is what the new generation doesn’t get. Now I’m gonna be like the crotchety old man. We used to have rooms filled with filing cabinets with tons of files, right? So that’s what the rooms used to be like, and now it’s digital, which doesn’t mean that everything’s digital, but it does mean that we don’t have rooms filled with file cabinets anymore.

We just print it out when we need it, which brings us back to printers and the fact that the more digital you are, the more important it is to have a printer. So no, you do have to have a printer, so stop.

Joe Rojas: I agree. But this is what happens. What happens is that those technicians don’t want to go out there.

They don’t want to touch it. And so having a partner that comes and takes all that pain away for you and gives you money, Very cool.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. So when I found that, I thought, okay, we gotta talk to him and see if this is for real, right? So we’re gonna chat with Mitch, and I think he’s a really interesting guy.

He started two different MSPs in 2001. And then another one later in 2007. Started first break, fix. And then going into the MSP space, right? So managing that transition. So it’s interesting to hear sort of his stories around that.

And he’s very familiar with that challenge that I think everybody faces is that how to hire and manage demand? Because you need labor, but you don’t necessarily need it all the time. So how do you hire people and manage that level of employment and align it with the level of revenue?

And I think we’re learning that one of the key ways to do that is to outsource a significant part of what you do, right?

And to find those opportunities to outsource and to take fixed, painful costs and turn them into variable costs. So, in this case, revenue.

So you move from, I hate printers. I have to hire people to do printers. I never make any money off printers, too, and now I’m gonna make a little bit of money off printers. But more importantly, Even than the money you’re getting, you’re not bogging your people down with that. And so they’re able to work on your core product.

Joe Rojas: Yeah. And your clients are happy, and you’re not risking losing clients because another MSP that does printers is doing the printers for you. So there’s exactly there’s all of that.

Jeff Loehr: But I just keep coming back to this idea of outsourcing because we have the same thing when we talk about places like FieldNation, this outsourcing and this thinking of how can I take something that’s a fixed cost, like the people that I’m gonna hire and it becomes so fixed.

How do you turn that into a more variable way of working, which is crucial to growing a business and finding ways to get revenue without adding to your fixed cost base?

Joe Rojas: That’s good. And you can look in a whole bunch of different places for that.

Jeff Loehr: So let’s have this conversation with Mitch, and I think the idea of taking printing out of the equation is a good one. And then, we’ll see if we can get someone from FieldNation to chat with us and talk a little bit about how you can use their labor to grow your MSP.

All right. Without further ado, let’s move on to Mitch and the Print Partner at Green Office Partners.

Introducing Mitch

Mitch, welcome to the Start Grow Manage Podcast.

Joe Rojas: What have you been up to? What’s going on with you? I haven’t seen you in a bit.

Mitch Kranitz: I haven’t started a new venture like you have since last we talked. But just staying busy, juggling all the great things life offers, and just feeling grateful for the opportunity to do it all. Awesome.

What are you up to now?

Jeff Loehr: What are the great things you’re juggling now?

Mitch Kranitz: We just got back from Morocco. We were there for two weeks.

Jeff Loehr: Oh, that sounds like a great thing. Yeah.

Joe Rojas: You went to Morocco. You didn’t call me.

Mitch Kranitz: You know I did. I did. But your assistant told me you were doing podcasts, so we would’ve had you.

How was Morocco?

Joe Rojas: How was Morocco? Tell us about that.

Mitch Kranitz: It’s really eye-opening. It’s the furthest outside of my comfort zone that I’ve ever been in travel before because it was just so different from anything that we experience here in the States, Canada, or in a lot of Europe. It’s beautiful. The people are incredibly warm and welcoming. The food’s fantastic.

There’s a different vibe that just took some time for me to allow it to sink in. And after I did, it was fantastic. It felt good; I felt like I was allowing myself to tap into another culture.

I was in the middle of the desert. It’s a massively powerful site to behold.

Joe Rojas: Yeah. Yeah. It’s like being in the middle of the ocean; it’s there’s this I don’t know, you get how infinitesimally small you are when

Jeff Loehr: when you’re standing in the middle of the desert.

Joe Rojas: Yeah. I used to go on cruises, and you’re like, You’re in the middle of the ocean, and every direction you’re looking, it is just water. It’s the same thing in the desert. Every direction you look at is just sand, and you get you’re tiny.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. But see, if you’re on a cruise, you’re on a big cruise ship. I had that experience on this little sailing boat, right? Where like a crew of four of us on a, I don’t know, I’m gonna lie if I know how many feet, like 20 feet. But it was like your traditional sailing boat with a couple of sails and four places to sleep.

And so we were sailing for a couple of days, and you feel isolated when you’re out in the middle of nowhere. You don’t have anybody to talk to. There’s no music; there’s no buffet.

Mitch Kranitz: There’s no stopping off on the side of the road

Jeff Loehr: You better know where you’re going because you suddenly realize that the ocean is a vast place and that island you’re heading to is a tiny town. So please let the GPS go in the right direction. What if they flip the GPS tomorrow, and then it’s like all of a sudden everything’s wrong, and you’re like, oh my God.

Joe Rojas: You better have a compass, buddy. That’s all I’m saying.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah, but you know what, it’s interesting, you don’t do that anymore. Like it’s all GPS, it’s all electronic. I don’t even know if you had paper charts. It’s not. Yeah.

Mitch Kranitz: 100% Faith in your technology.

Jeff Loehr: A 100%.

Joe Rojas: I’m old school. When I go camping, I always have a map and a compass cause, you know, I love my phone and all that stuff, but if I’m camping, I love camping.

Jeff Loehr: Camping, yes. But when you’re out at sea, yeah. It’s a different story. You don’t have landmarks.

Mitch Kranitz: Did you watch Moana? If you watch Moana, then you got it. You don’t need a man.

Jeff Loehr: I need to get up on the right technology, but I’ll watch Moana and get my education.

Joe Rojas: That is precisely what you have to do.

Jeff Loehr: The other problem is you can only get your longitude during the day. And your latitude at night. You’re constantly guessing, which is anyway.

Mitch Kranitz: Oh man. You’re a step ahead. I didn’t even know that.

Jeff Loehr: No, I know how to navigate. I know that we didn’t do it. We talk about this with our clients. There’s a difference, Mitch, between knowing the theory of something and actually being able to put it into practice.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah. GPTs have taken that into full effect. We got people who know how to write articles, people who know how to write music, and people who know how to dig deep and do that. But now we’re able to offload it to chat GPT.

What’s interesting about Chat GPT

Jeff Loehr: You know what I find interesting about Chat GPT.

You can’t get really insightful writing from Chat GPT. It’s all derivative. But the code I was just playing over the weekend. I’m like, how could I create a website where our virtual assistants could type in an email, type in their response, I wanna say no to this person and then click a button and get Chat GPT to spit it out.

So I went to Chat GPT and said, write me a website that does this. And so it did. And it said, you need to sign up for this API; you need to do this. This is how you set it up. But put it in, and there you go. Done.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah, I read an article about the 24 Ways Chat GPTs are being used in New York Times.

And the most remarkable one was that it was being used to model components that are being used to support space flight. They said that the complexity and the results are tremendous. Even though, like them, they end up with this final result of something highly effective and able to support their need, and it’s super lightweight and this and that.

They said their own tools couldn’t, and their skill sets could not have conceived or modeled what Chat GPT came up with. Yeah. How does that even happen?

Jeff Loehr: It’s the ability to crunch massive amounts of data, right? Like it’s taking. So much information and doing something with it in a way. Yeah.

That we just can’t replicate with our brains. We’re still smarter, but we still.

Joe Rojas: Yeah. We’re smarter, but we can’t replicate it. The ability to compute mass amounts of data simultaneously that we don’t have because we don’t have all the data.

Jeff Loehr: But I wanted to learn about Mitch and what you’re up to. I know we met a bit earlier, but it’s interesting how you’re in the print space.

How did Mitch get into the print space?

Mitch Kranitz: Interesting is, one way to put it. It was the worst decision I could have made when I first started. It was the last place I ever wanted.

Jeff Loehr: When I started in IT, the printers were the one thing you never touched.

You’re like, no. We will cover everything. We will do anything. We will reprint chips for you and change your light bulbs. We’re not doing printers, so

how did you be like, oh, I know what I’ll do is I’ll take the ugly stepchild and go right for it.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah. I’m just gonna embrace it and hold it gently in my lap. It’s funny. Actually, I was an MSP for 20 years. I built and sold two.

Jeff Loehr: MSPs,

Mitch Kranitz: and I tell you, I could have used you guys way back in the day because everything on your website hits me like square in the chest. It’s like, ugh.

I was that classic engineer turned business owner.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah.

Mitch Kranitz: I had all the chops. I happened to be social enough and charismatic enough that I could convince people that I knew what the hell I was doing. I grew up in the air of fake it till you make it, and I could fake it pretty damn well. In fact, I was a great problem solver. Great engineer. And then what’s more lucrative? Working for Blue Cross Blue Shield in their claims processing division. Like doing something. You’re just part of a giant cog or helping customers innovate, build new infrastructure, and expand their businesses.

That definitely appealed to me, but

Joe Rojas: sounds like more fun

Mitch Kranitz: being a great engineer is no substitute for being a quality business owner, and so and

Jeff Loehr: That’s interesting.

Can you tell us about your two MSPs?

How did that go about for you? Because you, you did it twice. You have done it since then.

Mitch Kranitz: I know I was stupid enough to do it twice. Oh, God.

Joe Rojas: I did it four times. So don’t

Mitch Kranitz: I’m in good company. The first one was a break-fix in 2001. It was a break-fix, and in 2007, Karl Palachuk managed services in a month. I read it, and I implemented it. I flipped my entire client base, the ones that didn’t come along. I sent ’em on their way to some trusted people I was referring business to anyway. The rest of ’em, I, I kept it in intact, but every time that the company got to a point where I had to hire, an accounting got more complicated, and I had to consider insurance.

And all of a sudden, my clients are growing.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah.

Mitch Kranitz: And I had to make a choice. Do I hire, do I invest money and this and that. I had no fucking clue what to do. I was a deer in headlights the first time it came around, and I saw my client base was growing so fast, and I’m like, if I don’t decide quickly on what to do and stick to it. Then I’m gonna lose my client base. And so I just scrambled and built a best case for, like, how can I sell my business? And this was early when MSPs weren’t, it wasn’t like, as regular of a commodity, and I managed to work out a decent deal. And that’s in 2010. And I managed to sell it to a larger MSP.

I worked with them for three years and integrated my client base, expanded my service offering, did that whole thing, and learned some chops from ’em. And then I started a backup disaster recovery business that was like a fart in the wind. I thought I went to Datto’s training camp, and I thought I was going to sell backup disaster recovery to doctors all day long.

HIPAA compliance penalties were looming, and all this stuff. And I invested all my savings and. Over six months, I learned doctors only want to spend a penny on backup. They don’t wanna spend money on technology, period. So I had to scramble to start a new business. Some old MSP clients wanted me to take them back over.

I was able to do it at a higher rate. I said, all right, I’ll do that. And then next thing you know, I’m back in the MSP biz, and it got massive fast. It was great. But the same exact thing happened the second time around. Anyways, I could have used you guys. Looking back, I see the services you guys provide as a clear answer to my failure to run a business. Period.

Jeff Loehr: And I think we’ve all been there; Joe and I have both failed enough times to have learned what to do the right way cause it is a challenge, it’s a real challenge to start a business, having the technical expertise, but to get out of the technical knowledge, to run a business instead of do the work.

And it’s a complete mind shift.

Mindset shift from technician to business owner for MSPs

Joe Rojas: It’s not only that, it’s hard. At least the way it was for me is that I didn’t want to; I love doing the work, man. It was like zen. It was like I was in the zone while doing the work, and you’re in it, and you’re like, I’m gonna solve this problem. And they don’t even know they have this problem, and I’m gonna tell them about it, and they’ll love me because I’m gonna solve it. And you like, get so into it. And then to give that up.

Mitch Kranitz: All that dopamine, you’re just constantly being gifted dopamine, cause you’re just like bing bong thing. Boom.

Joe Rojas: Yeah. All day long. And so you gotta give that up to solve this other problem where you don’t know what you’re doing. And it took me a while, like now I feel that way about running the business, but that’s not how it was in the beginning.

Yeah. I was like, I wanna go back to that other stuff. I know that. It’s simple.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. That’s really what happens. You go to the stuff that you know. Yeah, I know that. I don’t have to think so hard about that.

Mitch Kranitz: That scared the crap out of me. I didn’t like anybody I talked to about doing that; I had a lot of people that felt confident. They said, yeah, I’ll do the thing, and I’ve got all the background, and these people mentored me and whatnot.

But they didn’t have the tech chops. And they’re just like, gimme 40% of your business. And I’ll help you do it. I was just like, I don’t even know what that looks like. So I bounced both times.

Jeff Loehr: Which is why it makes sense to promote yourself first as CEO and do that, and then you can go back to the tech.

But, it is tough to outsource from go running my business. Yeah. Cause you have to give up. So much of your vision to get there.

Joe Rojas: I like how Jeff tried to throw the carrot; it was cute. It was cute what he did right now; I don’t know if you noticed, but first, you upgrade yourself, and then you can go back.

Dude, you never go back.

Jeff Loehr: I dunno, Joe, sometimes you’re like, you’re just crawling under the desk, and you’re like, no, but I gotta tie up the cables.

Joe Rojas: That’s true. But you never really go back. When I first really got it. I started hiring people who knew much more about all the new stuff coming in.

It was like back in 2002 and 2003, the server had just popped and all that stuff, and we were moving outta server to that. And I was like, I’m not gonna learn the new stuff. I’m just gonna hire people. And that was a hard thing for me, but it was better than giving 40% of the business up to have somebody else come and run it.

The hiring experience as a small business and how it evolves

It was easier for me to say, you know what, I’m just gonna hire people smarter than me and forget about trying to learn this new stuff. I’m gonna focus on growing the business.

Mitch Kranitz: And you clearly had contracts or your revenue structured so that you could make that decision. I don’t know how much pain that was for you.

But for me, hiring was always a pain point cause I was like, Do I have enough money to hire? Yes. Right now, I do, but I’ve only got this much project work, and in two months, that revenue’s gonna change. I didn’t know what was coming and lacked confidence, so it really scared me every time I hired somebody.

And it worked out each time, but it was so scary. So scary.

Joe Rojas: Yeah.

Jeff Loehr: You can only hire when you have a processor or a job for them to do. The mistake that so many people make is they hire labor. They like to hire people to do stuff with the assumption that they know what they’re doing, and it’s, Hey, come into my business and go do.

And they’re like, okay. Or they go, and they do it wrong. Actually, that’s different from the way we do it right here. You gotta teach me how to do it, but I think hiring without a process to explain to people without a strategy for hiring, just, and it might work at first.

Joe Rojas: What happens is that, In the beginning, especially when you’re small, you find people that you like and you get along with, and they understand the stuff technically.

So what happens is that they gravitate toward you, and you gravitate toward them because you have shared similar values, and you’re like, yeah, this is great. And when you have two or three people, it’s easy to manage the mistakes and manage the stuff. Yeah. But once you get over five, It gets really hard cause now somebody comes, and they jive with you, but they don’t jive with the other person.

So now you’re having to deal with all this other stuff cause you didn’t have a hiring process that was filtering for values and

Jeff Loehr: And then you figure out how to become an owner, and then you’re going through life in a pretty okay way. And then you’re like, you know what really sucks is printing. So I think what I’ll do is I’m gonna go manage the MSP channel for printing. That’s a really great space to be in. And

How Mitch got involved with Green Office Partner

Mitch Kranitz: it is absolutely the coolest thing I’ve done professionally. Look, I love nerding out and all the stuff I did as an MSP, but.

So this company, Green Office Partner, has been my preferred print vendor since 2011. Yeah. I had a product for everything. I had my BDR solution and my antivirus solution. I had cabling vendors I worked with, and I had something for everything.

My toolkit and print vendors were not on the list cause they were sharky and unreliable, and I never got a good feeling from them. These guys approached me and said, Hey, introduce us to your customers. We’ll pay you for an intro commission.

We’ll pay you for every copy sold in the deal. And I was just like, at least they’re not ignoring me; they seem okay. And I basically said, as long as you don’t gimme a reason not to make introductions, which I was expecting would happen within a month or two, as long as you don’t gimme a reason not to introduce yourself, I will keep introducing you.

And I did, and it worked. And then I did, and it worked. And I’m working for this company. It turned out to be great because whenever I had bigger clients or clients asking about print, I didn’t want to burn three hours trying to figure out the right make and model for their 10-location healthcare organization.

I didn’t want to figure out page counts. I didn’t wanna advise them. I love advising ’em on everything else. Should you implement Power BI? Should you create an internet? Should you replace your infrastructure? Like, those things were super exciting.

And those other things I get paid on ’em. I’m talking about print; I’d lose money. So finally, I say, Hey, talk to these guys. Let them take the deal. And at the very least, they would make a recommendation on something. So it worked out.

And in 2020 I’d sold my second MSP in 2018, and I was planning to separate and get into something else, and it was gonna be a tech. And these guys saw I was a gun for hire, and they asked me if I’d come on board, and my immediate answer was like no way in hell. I’m not getting into the print biz.

I love working with you guys, but I legitimately said no. Wait, that’s the most ridiculous idea.

Jeff Loehr: That’s an excellent indicator, like when you’re hiring somebody, and you go to them like, this person’s smart and this person’s really gonna work out, and you talk to them and they say, absolutely not.

It’s a good indicator. You’re like, oh wait, there’s something here. I once went to my wife, and I thought we would move to South Africa. I think there’d be, and she said, no, I’m not moving to South Africa. That’s how I knew it was a done deal; there was no way we weren’t moving to the South a because it’s like when you’re definitive about something, that’s when you know it’s, I don’t know, maybe hatred is closer to love or something.

It’s to flip you over. So anyway, you go to them and are like, no. I am not doing print partners.

Joe Rojas: Not happening.

Mitch Kranitz: I’m like, what would I even do for you? I’ve got this bright future in technology, doing something big in IT. And then they were compelling. And I thought about it over a weekend and conceived of the entire print partner concept.

I staged, I purchased the domain, I’ve I created the logo, I staged the whole website, and I had it crystallized literally like everything that we’re doing today. Crystallized in my mind, and it’s just been there ever since. And I pitched it to ’em on Monday. They had no clue what I was talking about.

They were like, it sounds like a good idea. You say like you have a lot of faith in it. Let’s give it a shot. And so here we are. And so year one, we brought in over a million dollars in revenue to the company. Year two, it’s just been growing and growing. We’re in year three, and we’re really focusing on high-tier Class A, Class B MSPs, 20 to 50 million MSPs with these massive networks of customers with multi-site, multi-location print needs. And we’re crushing it. And it’s so much fun. This relationship between the MSP and a print vendor has never existed like this before.

And to help facilitate these relationships. And show MSP what an alternative to just being complacent and letting random print vendors operate in their client environments. The alternative to that is fantastic. It’s really cool.

Joe Rojas: I lost a couple clients because a rando print vendor would come in and start working with the client.

Then they would offer their MSP services, in and way back in the day. So then I got really selective about my printer vendors. And then eventually, I found a company that I liked, and then I bought it.

Mitch Kranitz: That’s right. That’s right.

Joe Rojas: You remember we were doing printers. So printers forever. Because that was the reason, because I got stung, and I’m like, that’s not gonna happen again. So I went, and I started looking. I found a company I bought, and we brought print in-house. We had three full-time printer technicians, and that’s all we did because

Mitch Kranitz: Joe, you’re a rare breed, like yeah. And that’s a brilliant thing to do. Most MSPs don’t have what it takes to do

Joe Rojas: Oh my, do God what it takes. Print is brutal. It’s brutal.

Mitch Kranitz: But the revenues are fantastic.

Joe Rojas: Oh yeah. It was great fun. We made lots of money with it, and we could get into other accounts where we were the printer vendor. In the first year, I got a $150,000 a year account. And then afterward we got into a bunch of other prominent law firms and stuff like that, cause we were doing, a fleet of printers, 200 printers.

Mitch Kranitz: And what you just described is exactly. Why I think print partner has been so well received is because, so you did the reverse playbook, whereas an MSP, you bought a print company

Joe Rojas: Yeah.

Jeff Loehr: And then used the print company to go in and get MSP businesses. Happened to me. I wasn’t gonna let it happen again.

Mitch Kranitz: That’s typical nowadays, and anybody that’s taking the time to listen to this will agree that, like every print printer out there, especially in the light of lost revenues during Covid, but even for the past five, six years up to that, they’ve just been seeing a decrease in print volume.

And they all freaked out, and they’re like, what else can we do to replace that lost revenue? Managed services. So I’m either gonna buy an MSP or start up my own shaky MSP in-house. We’re just gonna tell everybody. It’s so easy.

It’s a black box. No business owner’s gonna know if you’re a quality MSP or not if you have a good sales team.

Joe Rojas: Especially if you’ve been doing a good job on their printers for all these years, and

Mitch Kranitz: Oh yeah.

Joe Rojas: Look at all the great stuff I’ve been doing for you.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah. Printers are absolutely a great indicator of how well they could do on infrastructure and network security.

But it happens. And also another important thing is print organizations are primarily sales organizations. MSPs are mainly service organizations. So you get a sales organization with a robust sales team with quotas to hit every month and this and that and say, Hey, here’s a new catalog of services to offer your clients.

Go get ’em.

Joe Rojas: So, eat your lunch.

Mitch Kranitz: That’s how it goes.

How does Green Office Partner work with MSPs?

Jeff Loehr: How do you work with the MSPs? How do you support them, and do you work with MSPs that are smaller than 20 million? I guess we should start there.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah. Since the beginning, we’ve been reaching out to every and any MSP that would join us. We now have over 450 MSP referral partners we’re working with nationwide in the United States. We just got a license in Canada. We’re gonna be expanding into Canada. This year at some point, we are the first Xerox vendor authorized in their multichannel support program, which means that big print vendors in Europe and all over the world if they have American clients.

They bring those clients to us to help continue the relationship and extend it into the United States.

Does Green Office Partner work with smaller MSPs?

But the question is, do we work with smaller MSPs? And the answer is yes. We work with any MSP. In fact, many of the MSPs that are current referral partners are between $1-5 million in sales.

And they have brought us some fantastic opportunities.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah.

Mitch Kranitz: So yeah, the simple answer is yes.

Do MSPs just refer their clients to Green Office Partners for a commission?

Jeff Loehr: So, does the MSP refer their clients to you. You pay them a commission, and that’s.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah.

Jeff Loehr: That’s how it works.

Mitch Kranitz: It’s that simple. Our focus has been this year on developing the relationship between our sales reps that we attach or tether to the MSP.

We have a one-to-one relationship if your MSP signs up; that day, we associate your MSP with a specific sales rep, and they get in touch with you that week. We talk about hey, business, and how can we show the most value to you? A relationship conversation.

Not necessarily about print, but just what your business needs, this, that, and the other. What are your goals for this year? And then we just figure out how can we best serve your MSP? And then, we try to see if we can guide that MSP to making introductions to the accounts that would be the most meaningful for their business and ours.

So we’re getting better and better at helping MSP identify the opportunities that are gonna be high-quality opportunities. And also it’s just saying, Hey, cause a lot of MSPs are like, I’ve got 150 customers, who do I introduce to you? Yeah. We can do quick work at that with you through a conversation, and the relationship is this.

You sign up. It takes two minutes to sign up. It’s a hundred-year non-compete that we signed at the same time, saying that we will only offer print and print management and print solutions to your customers. We will not, and we can’t operate in the MSP space. We don’t have any sister company that does MSP behind the corner.

All we focus on is print. And then the MSP simply has to spend, after they sign up, you spend two minutes registering for any opportunities or spending some time talking with our sales rep. And then, when you have a chance to register it, it takes two minutes. You can then spend five minutes on the phone with the rep when they call you to discuss the opportunity.

6 Copier healthcare organization story

And then you can be out if you want, or we have one MSP who recently introduced us to a healthcare organization. It started out as a six-copier opportunity in California. They spent about an hour chaperoning that introduction and facilitating it. They got an $8,000 check for that introduction within three months.

And then, we quickly sold to two other locations, and within six months, they earned over $20,000 in commission. Cause we pay $1000 for every copier that’s sold in a deal, and that’s for the lifetime of the relationship. So if we sell something, they grow, add new locations, next month or next year, they open 20 new locations, and we do the thing that could be $20,000 in your pocket.

It’s really fun to see this stuff happen.

450 Device customer story

We just landed a 450-device customer through an MSP that closed last week.

Jeff Loehr: So what is it? Thousand bucks. A thousand bucks.

Mitch Kranitz: Per copier. So it’s not a 450 copier. Right now, it’s around 70 copiers, and the rest is a variety of desktop devices.

And we’re taking the whole thing under management, so it’s not just the copiers. Still, every single print-related issue is coming to our support desk now.

Joe Rojas: That’s 70 grand, just off the copiers.

Yeah, exactly. Once they sign up with you, nothing ever goes wrong.

Mitch Kranitz: Of course, man. We’re perfect, actually. Man, print is the worst. It’s still the worst. When it comes to print. You’re always dealing with a vendor. So you have to closely manage your relationship with Xerox with HP.

What’s it like working with print vendors as a MSP

As a former MSP, it was not fun when I had to call a print vendor for support on something. Oh. Our team takes over that whole role. And so it’s like herding cats sometimes. Because we’ve got tons of support calls coming in. Our support team is the director of the service. He’s a former MSP, built and sold an MSP, and is also a Harvard graduate.

And he’s got lots of, lots and lots of brains, and he’s the right avatar to be in that thankless role of, what have you done for me lately. And we are managing and facilitating thousands of support requests between HP and Xerox all the time.

And it’s all the follow-up, and it’s making sure that their engineers will show up at the right time with the customer as we agreed on, and this and that and the other. So sometimes it’s a nightmare. Sometimes our manufacturers disappoint us, and we have to do relationship management.

Most important thing MSPs want from their print vendor

The most important thing that MSP referral partners will say is when the fire starts, and the clients get salty, our response is on point. We’re not looking to blame; we’re not looking to avoid what’s going on. We’ll fly people around the country to resolve it if we need to.

We’ll put as much heat on Xerox as possible to get it what it is. We’ll send our own equipment out if we need to, just to make sure that the issue is met head-on.

Jeff Loehr: And that’s really the important thing. Cause perfection is probably, a high bar. But it’s having; I like the way you put it.

It’s an on-point response. It depends on the situation. And you do what you have to do there without blame, without the notorious it’s no pointing fingers around the printer. Hey, it’s the software, the printer, the guy who supplied the paper.

And just getting to the answer, putting pressure on Xerox.

Mitch Kranitz: Another thing is, that’s typical is when one of the places that we shine, and it’s probably the most important, like the commission’s great, but consistently, the highest feedback we get from our referral partner base is the collaboration.

What a typical MSP – Printer Vendor scenario looks like

Yeah. In the typical MSP scenario, your customer calls up, oh, like I’m the admin for the CEO, and our copier here isn’t working, and can you fix it? And the MSP, sure, we’ll open the support call with your print vendor because we may or may not have their support information handy, but we’ll open up that call.

So they call up the print vendor. Hey, We got a situation, we need it resolved as soon as possible, blah, blah, blah, blah. The print vendor’s gotcha. We’ll take care of it. We’ll have somebody out there tomorrow. Nobody shows up tomorrow. Nobody shows up the next day. Then all of a sudden, it’s a huge emergency at the client, and the client calls your MSP back and is what is going on?

I called you guys; I can’t depend on you. You’re not doing anything. And you’re like, man. I called the print vendor. Do I have to pay my team?

As a MSP, you need to niche

Joe Rojas: That’s really the thing that, that I love about what you’re talking about is that you are managing that relationship. That was our problem.

That’s why we bought a printer company because you couldn’t rely on what the print vendor said. When I was a print vendor, then I really got it. It’s, oh, this is a mess. Yeah.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah.

Joe Rojas: But what we were able to do is really bring in the lessons that we learned on the MSP side

Mitch Kranitz: Yes.

Joe Rojas: To be able to manage that stuff. And we did a lot of what you guys are talking about: you send your own equipment, and you get ’em going because this is what a lot of MSPs don’t get about all of it. You gotta get the client up and running, solve their problem first.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah. Yeah.

Joe Rojas: So there’s really one thing that I love about everything you’re talking about: we tell our clients all the time you have to niche. You have to niche, get down, and own that niche, right?

Mitch Kranitz: A hundred percent.

Joe Rojas: And you guys did that.

Mitch Kranitz: Thank you for seeing that.

Joe Rojas: You’re not doing anything else.

So as the MSP, if I’m the recipient of your service, and I know that’s all you do, a hundred percent. You got my back, and it’s a pleasure to deal with it because I know my client is in good hands, and that’s one less worry for me. To go deal with that. And I can’t tell you, that was one of my biggest, like I always had a problem with that, especially after we took a hit, right?

And it was early on that I took a hit, and then I was like, okay, that’s not gonna happen anymore. But it’s so cool. So I really love what you’re doing, and I love it so niche.

Jeff Loehr: And it makes buying much easier for the buyer when you’ve got a niche, right? And you’re looking at it.

We know exactly what you do. It’s clear we know exactly when we need to bring you in. The for Print Partners, and we know exactly what you will do when you do it. So it makes it so easy to work with somebody with a well-defined niche, and you’re really freaking good at that one thing you do.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah. Yeah.

Jeff Loehr: It’s just it just makes it a pleasure. Whereas, yeah, it’s so much harder to work with people, and I do everything.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah.

Jeff Loehr: Vendors who do MSP work, Joe,

yeah. Yeah.

Joe Rojas: But I, he said those magical words, 100-year non-compete.

What happens after Green Office Partner’s 101st year of their non-compete agreement

Jeff Loehr: What happens in the 101st year? You then coming after my clients?

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah. And my digital avatar will be like whatever my uploaded Google core will be like.

Jeff Loehr: See, I think this is the actual, see he’s not letting on here, but on that 101st year, he is going after everybody.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah. Yeah. Hundred percent.

And you know what? It’s gonna be run by Chat GPT.

Jeff Loehr: That’s right. We will

Mitch Kranitz: in a distributed network of print and MSP. Global takeover

Jeff Loehr: and it’ll be some digital representation of our minds having this conversation because I think physically we’re not going to be here a hundred years from now.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah.

Jeff Loehr: But it’s probably unlikely.

Hey Mitch, this is really a great conversation. One of the things that we like to end with Is giving the MSPs a piece of advice. I think we’ve given them a few pieces of advice. But if there was one message that you could etch into the brain of every MSP in America, what would that be?

What is the thing that they need to know?

What advice does Mitch have for MSPs?

Mitch Kranitz: I’ll offer two things. One for my benefit, stop letting random print vendors operate in your client environments. Just know the vendors know who they are. At the very least, if you don’t have a print partner. That you can trust, find one. It doesn’t have to be us.

Just find somebody.

Joe Rojas: Yeah, I love that.

Mitch Kranitz: And then separately, just from an MSP level, like man, after having gone through, the. The real anguish of owning and running an MSP if you’re stuck now in 2023; if you’re stuck and feeling the burden, take advantage of the resources available to you to find a way out of it.

And Start Grow Manage is just one of those resources that could help you, and just don’t wait. Do it. The sooner you start, the better off you’re gonna be. That’s really true.

Jeff Loehr: And I think, obviously, we help MSPs, but you have to work with somebody that you like and that you get along with and a lot of different people who have different perspectives and different ways of doing things, and you can find the solution and the approach that works with you.

And you could also make a mistake and do something else, but the thing that never works is to do nothing.

Mitch Kranitz: Yeah.

Jeff Loehr: What never works is to hold back and just waste until everything magically comes into place. And yeah, suddenly, you have that life you wanted, but you haven’t gone and sought the tools to make it happen.

So I think that’s really, take action. Find the tools, get the support, with us, with you, with somebody else, whoever it is. Get the support because there are many ways to do it, but doing nothing is not an option.

Join the Green Office Partner MSP Referral Program

We will put the link to join. So it’s a two-minute signup, right? That’s going to be in the show notes.

Mitch Kranitz: That’s it.

Jeff Loehr: printpartner.biz/join

Mitch Kranitz: That’s it.

Jeff Loehr: And you say you’ve got a $250 Commission for the introduction, regardless of the outcome.

Mitch Kranitz: That’s right. Or $500. If you can get us a copy of your customer’s current print agreement, we’ll pay $500 for the same introduction. Even if they decide they don’t wanna work with us 20 minutes into the dialogue.

Jeff Loehr: Nice. Because that way, you can actually tell what their real problem is, and you can go in and talk about their problem.

So once you have that print agreement, we’ll put that link down there and then sell a couple of copiers, and you’re off and running with some great commissions. And they will call somebody else for all of those print problems, which

Mitch Kranitz: yeah, no, they’ll still call you, they’ll still call your MSP, but you grind on it for five minutes and then take it to us.

Joe Rojas: There’s still gonna call, but the beauty of being able to hand it off is magical.

All right, guys. Mitch, thank you very much.

Jeff Loehr: And remember that you are loved.

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