Scenes From Schnizzfest: MSPs Gettin' Schnizzy With It

Giving The Schnizz

TruMethods held its second annual Schnizzfest in Philadelphia recently for more than 100 managed service provider members. The confererence offers MSPs guidance on how to run their business from TruMethods executives and fellow members. Here, TruMethods CEO Gary Pica, fifth from right, joins a crowd in "giving the Schnizz," which involves extending your thumb and pinky while leaning in.

What Is Schnizz?

Pica (left) and TruMethods' Bob Penland (right) are joined by Tom Zarella of Technology Advisory Group, to give a Schnizz. According to TruMethods, the Schnizz concept is the "embodiment of your attitude and self-image. Success in life and business is 90 percent attitude, self-image and self-discipline. It includes, passion, intensity, enthusiasm, confidence, single-mindedness, and the feeling you’ve won before you’ve even started."


MSPs gathered for a reception the night before the conference. Pictured here, from left: Scott Harvey of RTP South; Wendy Gauntt of CIO Services; Mike Reece of Reboot; and Mary Bennett Henrichs of Integrity Technology Solutions.

Eat. Sleep. Schnizz.

Andrew Morgan, TruMethods' director of business development, opened the conference by saying he joined the company after Pica convinced him he'd be adding value and changing people's lives. "After 12 months, I've learned more from Gary and Bob [Penland] than in my previous 10 years in the industry," Morgan said.


Schnizz Up

TruMethods' Penland and Pica command MSPs to stand up and go through some "calisthenics," which of course involves practicing their Schnizz.

A True Schnizz

Penland demonstrates his well-honed Schnizz. Note the sincere look of facial attitude given at the same time.

A Pep Schnizz

So what is Schnizzfest? Think business school meets motivational speakers meets peer-to-peer group meets morning radio show. More specifically, it's first and foremost about helping MSPs be more successful, said Pica, at right.

"The goal of the event is to give them more perspective on the business and change their expectations about what's possible and show them ways to leverage TruMethods to have more of an impact on their business. We don't have to provide a ton of content [at the show]. We already have a platform of content online. We do two Webinars every month. We get 30,000 page views a month from our portal. We can take this and change the kind of business people they are."

Take Control Of Your Schnizz

TruMethods has attracted about 500 MSPs members since launching two years ago. Pica opened the conference by describing the "TruMethods way," which included advice to MSPs to take more control of their own business fortunes and not rely on external factors.

"The first thing to do is re-raise your expectations. If you're a business owner, you're already taking risk and putting time and effort into your business and you have high expectations," Pica said. "For some people in this room, your expectations have [lowered]. Your reality of business has changed

Managed Schnizz Providers

Pica led a roundtable discussion where three MSPs detailed how TruMethods helped them successfully build their business around recurring revenue. From left are: Michael Drake, CEO of MasterIT in Memphis, Tenn.; Myles Keough, CEO of Spade Technology in Mansfield, Mass.; and James Ford, president of ActiveCo in Port Moody, B.C.

Ford said he's found success by having clients visit his office to review his processes instead of the other way around. "It differentiates you and if someone is that interested [in traveling], you know they're for real," Ford said.

Cupcake Schnizz

MasterIT's Drake, second from left, detailed how he customized a TruMethods bit: marketing chocolate cake instead of marketing the chocolate, sugar and eggs, to help win him more brand in the market.

He explained the concept of offering the complete solution instead of the ingredients at a large business gathering in Memphis and then brought out 150 cupcakes to the attendees.

"I've never seen adults go so crazy over food. Now they see me and it's 'you're the cupcake guy.' It was simple and we're not talking bits and bytes," Drake said.

Schnizzin' With Chisholm

Paul Chisholm (right), CEO of mindShift, a Waltham, Mass.-based MSP that has made nine acquisitions in eight years to become a $100 million company, offered his tips for success with TruMethods' Pica. Chisholm advised MSPs to differentiate themselves through their unique service offerings.

"Added pressure is a fact of life for all businesses but with better scalability, better financial performance. A bad economy forces you to focus on what make money and what what doesn't make money," Chisholm said.

Don't Schnizz Yourself Short

Pica advised MSPs not to worry about getting price competitive in the market if they are adding value. Price your offerings the way you feel you need to and walk away from bad business, he said.

"People who sell the most in this industry sell at the highest price. It seems counterintuitive, but you have to charge enough to deliver your company's way. If you're not selling enough, it's not because your price is too high. It's probably because your priced too low," Pica said.