Guest Column | April 24, 2023

Growth: It's All In The Niche

By Tim Truelove, Wildix Inc.


Specialization is at the heart of your business longevity

Owning and running a business is all about looking to your future and, more importantly, what value your organization offers its customers. Success in any industry, IT or otherwise, comes down to whether you’ve succeeded in growing your company.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of room to achieve that growth for those of us in unified communications. After all, UC&C has seen immense growth within the past few years — so much so that Gartner predicts that worldwide spending in the field will grow at 4.1 percent CAGR, reaching $50.8 billion in 2025. But acceleration in your industry doesn’t always translate into growth for your business. Getting in on the cloud with the right technology won’t guarantee you a slice of that multi-billion-dollar pie.

What will bring you far more reliable growth comes down to whether you’ve achieved a specialized hold over your customer base.

I say “specialized” here because, as so many MSPs forget, not every customer is aligned with the services you’re most able to deliver. Even within the UC&C niche, the market is highly subject to segmentation. We see this most frequently with the partner-driven side of the market. According to Canalys, the channel software market will reach $8.9 billion by 2027 — a substantial difference from Gartner’s $50.8 billion growth projection.

It’s still worth noting that $8.9 billion is a significant figure and represents enormous growth within the UC&C partner channel. However, MSPs can’t expect to see growth throughout the entirety of the industry. I’m sure every systems integrator out there (myself included) wishes they could sell to every business on the planet. But the fact is, some targets are just going to be out of reach. Business longevity isn’t achieved by pursuing every possible prospect — instead, it happens when you dig deeper into your niche.

And, believe it or not, that niche is going to be part of this wave of growth, for the simple reason that now, every company is a “tech company.” Across every industry, businesses have a growing need to invest in technology and move to more advanced systems as developments change the working standard. As a result, we can expect all of their spending on technology to increase.

In fact, this same need for technology is driving this segmentation in the first place. Concerning reducing overhead and becoming future-oriented, UCaaS is now a necessity, not simply a commodity. Considering how digital solutions both lower costs and significantly improve business continuity, there is a clear need for UC&C to plan amid rough economic waters. Security also must come from a setup designed specifically for an organization and industry, not just any UCaaS solution. Today, winning deals comes from that positioning in particular.

So that being the case, let’s revisit the figure of $8.9 billion that the channel is expected to reach in value. Canalys points out this number is a total of various parts; it represents different sectors of that channel market — data management, ecosystem recruitment, data and mapping, and relationship management — all brought together as one. In other words, it’s a web of niches united under the umbrella of selling IT, with each niche pursuing its specialty.

For MSPs, lasting success is knowing exactly how to build and deploy a solution targeted at fixing a specific industry’s problems. This approach not only differentiates you from your competition, but it also endears you to the customer and brings them far more apparent value.

This is all critical because of a four-syllable word too few MSPs think about: valuation. The overall value of your business — especially if and when you choose to sell it — comes down to the relationships you’ve built and the revenue a new owner can expect to attain from it. While brief, one-shot deals may give you a quick cash infusion, their value is next to nothing against reliable cash flows from ongoing relationships and subscription services. The growth of your business depends on finding good customers and sticking by them, even encouraging their growth into a greater source of income years down the line. And if anything is going to encourage that long-standing relationship, it’s a thorough understanding of how to address their business needs.

The segmentation of the channel speaks to this same need. The market is going through an enormous land grab right now, and chunks of it are being carved up under our feet. If you hope to hold onto your source of profits, you need to stake out territory for yourself — not cast a wide net over just anyone in search of a new phone. Any meaningful value you achieve during this rush will be from customers who pay you regularly and continuously use your services, simply because they represent and provide a lifetime of value for your business.

Settling into a niche will be the difference between just staying above water and thriving amid the growth the industry will undergo. Everybody may become a “tech company,” but that also means everybody will want to be the technician who sells to those tech companies. When you approach them, what they need to know first and foremost is why you’re the business to buy from and stick with for the long term. Without a full embrace of your niche, that differentiation simply wouldn’t exist.

Maybe you can still land one-off sales — but holding onto buyers for the long term and growing from their expansion becomes less and less likely a prospect. To establish actual value in the long run, the one thing to do is integrate with those customers and drive their growth with a specific value. Anything else is just asking for a more suitable part of the channel to swoop in and claim your slice of the pie.

About The Author

Timothy Truelove is the Country Director of the Americas branch of Wildix Inc. As the head of the America’s region market, he leads an international team in efforts to maximize the growth of Wildix and its channel partners with new revenue streams and improved business processes. A former telecoms business owner and Wildix Partner, Tim brings 30 years of Telecom and IT experience to consistently grow the channel with proven business leadership and in-depth industry knowledge.