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Focus on the Facts! with George Bardissi Founder and CEO of bvoip and the MSP Initiative


George Bardissi

Focus on the Facts: Prioritizing People and Data for Success in the MSP Industry

The center of the MSP industry is not technology.

Yes, it’s important—of course.

But it’s the people and their problems that sit in the center of everything you do as a service provider. Technology is meant to help and serve people.

So, what are those people-problems that we need to solve? And, how does the data and facts get us there?

This is the exact mission George Bardissi seeks to solve through his three companies: BVOIP, MSP Initiative, and Bardissi Enterprises. He’s got a superpower for staying nimble and quickly pivoting his businesses to current market conditions and needs.

To share more about what he’s learned in life and business, George joined us on a recent episode of The Stride to Freedom podcast. Check it out or read the key takeaways here.

Learning from Hard Lessons

Success doesn’t usually just happen. As George puts it, you either learn the hard way or you learn from others learning the hard way.

And for him, it was mostly the first. As a child of new immigrants to the USA, George received the message at a young age that hard work is required to get anywhere you want to go. And so he’s always been focused on the grind—putting in the hours and effort to build something up.

But hard work doesn’t always mean its smooth sailing, either. George is someone who always asks “why” and wants to push against the status quo. He’s direct and likes to focus on the facts at hand.

And some people don’t like this.

They’re heavily invested in the “way things have always been” and don’t want to engage in tough conversations. This has, at times, created real challenges for George to move forward with his projects because there’s communication and relationship hurdles to overcome.

By staying consistent to who he is, though, George works his way through those challenges and focuses on building relationships and having honest conversations with anyone in front of him.

Staying Nimble and Running Three Companies

George is a lifelong learner, always eager to understand what’s happening and take advantage of new opportunities in the industry.

And this ability to stay nimble and pivot into different opportunities goes back all the way to high school. George started an IT company that made enough money to pay his own tuition. There was a time in which he was the only student with a laptop and figured out how to get an internet access point.

He then went on to wire the rest of the school and launch his own IT company by bidding on contracts with his school.

From there, he’s added on two additional companies to his consulting firm—bvoip and MSP Initiatives.

Bvoip is a company committed to helping MSP solve real-world problems through automated and integrated workflow solutions.

The MSP Initiative is a recent initiative that George started during the pandemic. It’s a community-based approach to the IT and MSP services industry that brings professionals together to learn, grow, and sharpen their skills.

And how does he run it all? Well, George is the first to admit he works more than a full-time job.

But he also ensures that he delineates tasks and responsibilities to team members so that everyone, himself included, are using their time on what they do best. In doing so, George is able to take on more high-value jobs.

People Over Technology

Through all of his work, but MSP Initiative in particular, George has learned the key importance to everything he does: people.

Like anyone in the tech space, George loves seeing innovative and exciting developments. But they don’t mean anything if they’re not helping people solve real-world problems.

It’s the people and their “human problems” that matter. George’s mindset is centered on the fact that technology is a tool to help people. So, he prioritize relationships and conversations to understand how to better help people. Collaboration is so much more powerful than working alone in isolation.

There’s so much more to learn from George and all his exciting initiatives. Listen to his full interview on the Stride to Freedom podcast, and if you want to keep up with him, stay connected on LinkedIn, or check out his three companies: bvoip, Bardissi Enterprises, and MSP Initiative.

And if you want to know more about us at Stride Services, contact us today. We offer back-office accounting and CFO services, including stable and efficient bookkeeping, cash flow management, and actionable analytics for growth.

You’ll enjoy this Podcast episode with George

Listen Now

We are fortunate to have George available to spend time with us on this edition of Stride 2 Freedom. If there is a speaker you’d like us to interview, click here and let us know. Stay well. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Show Notes and Links From Episode:

George Bardissi: LinkedIn

bvoip: Website/LinkedIn

MSP Initiative: Website/LinkedIn

George Bardissi: Top 10 Takeaways

George Bardissi: gbardissi@mspinitiative.com

Episode Transcript:

Russell Benaroya: Hello, everybody, and welcome back to another episode of the Stride 2 Freedom podcast. I am your host, Russell Benaroya. What is the Stride 2 Freedom podcast? Well, the Stride 2 Freedom podcast was specifically designed to help business leaders get and stay in their zone of genius.

What is your zone of genius? Your zone of genius is that thing that you do that is so uniquely you, where you are feeling powerful. But it’s effortless, and you lose track of time. You wish you could spend more time in that place.

As business leaders, we often struggle to find our genius zone and to architect our business to stay in it. My responsibility on this podcast is to bring leaders to the show that are in the business of helping other leaders get and stay in their zone of genius.

We have the unique gift really and privileged today to have on our guest, the person that I call the Tasmanian devil of the IT services industry. What is the Tasmanian devil of the IT services industry?

This is a guy that is everywhere. He moves fast, he makes things happen. And he is contributing to make an impact on an industry so much bigger than himself. His name is George Bardissi. George, how are you?

George Bardissi: Doing great. How are you doing today, Russell?

Russell Benaroya: I’m great. It’s so good to see you. A little bit of a quick background. George is the CEO and founder of bvoip, MSP Initiative, and George Bardissi Enterprises or Bardissi Enterprises, excuse me, which he’ll tell us about.

What I find so interesting about you, George, is that you have a really keen sense of jumping into entrepreneurial initiatives based on what’s happening in the environment. You’re nimble, and you’re responsive. And I’m interested to learn more about it.

He’s learned a lot of hard lessons over 20 years. We’re going to have a chance to learn some of those today, get a bead on what he’s doing for the industry and how he helps business leaders get and stay in their zone of genius. Are you ready to roll?

George Bardissi: Let’s rock.

Russell Benaroya: Tell me about some of those hard lessons over the last 20 years. Maybe it’s in the context of your journey, but that always makes for such a rich introduction to who you really are.

George Bardissi: So many hard lessons. I almost have to think hard about the ones that bubble to the top. But here’s the reality. You can learn the hard way, or you can learn from others learning the hard way. That’s how I see the world. I’ve done both.

I would argue I’ve done more hard way than learning from others the hard way, at least earlier in my journey. Then obviously, as we’ve progressed, I’ve hopefully matured and learned a little bit along the way. But the status quo is real. It is.

No disrespect for the people that came before me and the companies and the people that have spent a lot of time and energy and money to build and grow and become the people at the top of the food chain.

I always said, “Hey, people should respect people.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Any little thing along the way could be taken as disrespect. And then all of a sudden, you create a rift that shouldn’t exist or needed to be in play to begin with. Unfortunately, that’s just people.

That’s not specific to our bubble, our sandbox, or our industry. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. Even at a young age when I was in school and I was dealing with people and adults and people who were supposed to be communicated in a certain way or addressed a certain way, my response was, “I don’t care if you’re the Pope, the president, or the police or whoever, we’re all people. I don’t understand why I can’t just have a conversation with you.”

Apparently, everybody has an image in their mind of the right way. I guess my image is just different. I’ve ruffled people the wrong way over the years, not because I’m just playing a joker position and just trying to fire things up. But simply because I just don’t understand what the problem is.

If I have a question, I’m going to ask it. If I think there’s a problem, I’m going to say it. If I think something could be done better, I’ll surely share it. Maybe that’s the Northeast way of life because I’m here from the Philly area.

That’s just normal for me, whether I’m walking down the street, I’m at a drive-thru ordering a sandwich, or I’m dealing with somebody in business. This is how we are. This is how we live.

As I’ve traveled the planet, and I have circumnavigated it many times, people just receive and deliver messaging differently. I don’t know if you want to call it emotional intelligence or whatever the right terminology is, but I guess not everybody is just, “Hey, yeah, everybody’s on the same level and wants to be talked to the same way.”

That’s something that I’ve had to learn better over the years. I think that that’s one thing that if I would tell you any other story, and there’s so many, that’s probably at the foundation of a lot of them.

Russell Benaroya: We spend a lot of time talking about the world that we live in to distinguish between stories and facts. What I’m hearing you say is we live in a world of stories. The way that we interpret what we hear from somebody else, the words aren’t the issue. The story that we make up about the words are the issue.

Like you said, “Oh, some weird rift can get created.” That’s not on me. That’s on you. If it’s a problem in the way that you receive it, “Oh my gosh, let’s talk about it.” But it doesn’t need to promulgate some-

George Bardissi: Because the sandbox is so small. Like they say, it’s a small world. It’s true. It’s getting smaller because we can communicate faster, we can get to places faster. It also means that people can react faster.

Then all of a sudden, that secondary sweep up conversation to reset whatever was taken however the way it was, you don’t necessarily get there fast enough. And then things happen.

I’m just a facts guy. Listen, I love to have fun and have a good time and create memories like anyone else. But I’m a facts guy. I’d rather just get to the heart of the matter and talk straight. Some people don’t like that. Some people don’t like blunt force trauma like we call it here in Philadelphia.

I’m a blunt force trauma guy. I like to receive information that way. I like to give people information that way. I don’t like to beat around the bush. I like to get into the meat of it and get through it.

You said that I’m a pretty nimble guy, I’m able to move quickly, make decisions quickly and get into it. It’s part of how that works for me. If I see something and I think we can act on something, let’s do it.

Obviously, there’s always logistics. And nothing’s always as straightforward as you want it to be. It’s like building anything, a home or building. You always hear, “Oh, well, it’s going to get done in this amount of time for this amount of money.” No, it’s always longer. And it’s always more. That’s true.

I think the difference between a plan and somebody being able to move on their feet sometimes are diametrically opposite parts of the spectrum.

Russell Benaroya: You are a facts guy, and you are a fast guy. Tell me about a few of your businesses that you operate. Why do those exist? Why were they important to start? And what drives you to stay with so many balls in the air at any given time?

George Bardissi: It’s a good question. Not to go too far down history lane, but my parents immigrated into the United States. So lucky me, first generation George here in the Philadelphia area.

Knowing that you literally sell everything, you move to another country, start all over again, the American Dream white picket fence, and money grows on trees. Not so much.

I learned at a very young age, “Hey, you’re going to need to do something. If you want stuff, you want to go places, you want to get things, you’ve got to work. You’ve got to work hard.” So that message was totally received.

At a young age, I started an IT company in high school. I was one of those kids that worked a lot. I went to a Catholic school. I paid my tuition from all the hours that I worked during the summer time. Probably more hours than was legal, to be honest.

I had made enough money, paid for my high school tuition. I’m in there. Then just a crazy amount of scenarios popped up where somehow I roll into the school when it’s open on a weekend. I ran an access point into the cafeteria because somehow I wanted to get on the internet. At the time, I was the only kid with a laptop.

I got caught. My options were to wire the rest of the school or get expelled. So I wired the rest of the school. Later on that year, I started my IT company and started bidding on contracts with the school that I went to. And that’s how I started. There’s more to that story, but that’s the nutshell.

I started an IT company in high school, moved on to college, grew, grew, grew and eventually cut my teeth. This was before managed services was a marketing term, cloud wasn’t even a marketing term. This is in the early 2000s. Then, of course, the industry grew and matured. And I had to learn and grow and mature with it. So that’s how I started my IT company.

Then in a nutshell, for my IT company, one of the things that we struggled with, and there were many things, but when you look at the amount of time that you’re spending in a services business, time is money, literally. I know it’s a saying, but it’s true.

When we look back and say, “Why are we struggling to profit in our IT services business?” we go back to our CRM or ticketing system, PSA, whatever, and we start to look backwards and where we are spending most of our time.

Well, for some reason, phone system vendor management was in the top five of that list. And it was a lot of this. Every manufacturer under the sun, this dealer, that reseller, this manufacturer, “It’s your problem.” “No, it’s your problem.” “Let’s just meet on site and figure it out instead of doing this.” Then that becomes expensive, and it’s not manageable or scalable or standardizable.

Then all of a sudden, it breaks the whole thing. Out of my IT services company, we started bvoip as a channel-only, unified communications voice provider, who literally doesn’t sell direct and only works with other IT managed services around the world, companies around the world, because it just doesn’t seem to be solved. A square peg in a round hole.

You went to all these companies that had a direct sales force. There’s this partner program over here on the side. It never really made sense. The business model over here is completely counter to the business model over here.

It’s almost like, “Do I have to do this? I guess I just need to be able to raise my hand and say, ‘I can do it.’” Just doing something even though it’s unprofitable, well, that’s how you just don’t make money. So it doesn’t make sense to me.

That’s why we started bvoip. One of the things that we really wanted to solve in bvoip other than the business model approach to the whole story was, why is there just a complete black hole when it comes to automation integration workflow between the communication systems in use and the tools that you use to run your business?

Fast forward to 2022. Even though we’ve been building and investing and developing this entire time from 2014 until now 2022 as bvoip, the next set of companies behind us are so far behind because I guess there’s just no interest. I don’t know. Very much interest on our side, and that’s where we spend a lot of our time.

Lastly, we’re in pandemic times. Nobody can say that they weren’t in it worldwide. We’re early on, we’re sitting back, and we’re like, “Huh, well, I guess nothing’s really happening.”

The last event to close down was DattoCon that year. I was just in community calls. I was joking around with some of the people in there like Ken Patterson, who’s been around the industry for a long time.

We were just like, “Hey, if the airplane shuts down, we’ll just get in the van and drive down to this last conference. It’s still running.” All of a sudden, they’re like, “Oh, well, you’re going to have to stop by me. Why don’t you pass by and pick me up?”

Then the van turned into an RV, an RV turned into a tour bus. And then all of a sudden, we said, “Hey, we can do this outside. We can successfully and safely do this here.”

We started MSP Initiative, which is a community-based approach to the IT and MSP services industry and effectively said, “Hey, while the pandemic is raging on and we’re all stuck with all these rules and inside, we can go outside. We can travel the country here in the US, and we can successfully let MSPs, basically in their parking lot, let us borrow their space outside and effectively bring the community together in order to learn from each other and figure out what’s working and make sure that we’re getting out of the caves.” So that’s where the MSP Initiative came out of the woodwork.

I think the first time we went out was August of 2020. And we’ve been on the road ever since between that and between large events and parties around conferences and bringing vendors together to take some of the commercial trade show version of the channel and flip it into more of a, “Hey, let’s just talk shop.”

The best part of events are the bar and the hallways and me being able to learn from other people that are in the trench. I’m not saying the breakouts and the keynotes and all the other stuff you see at events aren’t good.

I want to hear from somebody who’s doing what I’m doing and figure out what’s real rather than, “Here’s some things to think about. Consider doing this program and setting this step and maybe adjusting this thing in your business. You have to start here.”

No, no, no. I want to talk to somebody who’s done it because that’s how I learned. So that’s the three businesses, and that’s how they progressed through the timeline.

Russell Benaroya: What have you learned about yourself through this MSP Initiative effort?

George Bardissi: As much as we, in the technology space, love the lights and love the automation, I grew up on Knight Rider and A-Team and all that stuff. So I love that. I self-taught a lot of what I know because I was just really interested in it, and I just couldn’t stop myself.

All things considered, it’s really more people than it is technology. Technology assists people. Once you learn that is the case, it changes your view on how the whole world spins a little bit.

I used to be the opposite way around. I used to say, “People, they’re everywhere. Let’s talk about technology. Let’s build cool stuff.” There’s nothing wrong with that. But you have to realize that technology is a tool and people are what those tools are supposed to help.

When you flip it around, I think that you’ll find that there’s some really resilient people out there and there’s really clever, smart people out there. When you start to collaborate with other people, you are so much stronger than everybody living on their own island with the king of the moat and the castle around them.

MSP Initiative is just built on what I’ve experienced through my journey, which is, “Hey, come out and talk to people and collaborate and figure out what’s good and what isn’t and what works and what doesn’t.” Then you start to see people partner together and create cool stories and build new things. It all starts with individuals. It all starts with people.

Russell Benaroya: Do you give people props at the MSP Initiative or you just let the alchemy work its magic? Let’s say, you get people in a room and they’re just going to start to talk. Or do you facilitate a little push?

George Bardissi: Most of the time we let things happen granularly. How many times have you gone into an event and it’s very structured? Sometimes structure is good, and everybody has their secret sauce.

As much as tech people aren’t maybe the most personable people out there, maybe they need to warm up a little bit. Maybe they’re a little bit better behind the keyboard than they are in person. No offense to all the online communities out there and the keyboard warriors.

It just seems like you’re a little bit more aggressive behind the keyboard than you’re in front of people. That’s why I want to get people in front of people because that’s when real conversation happens rather than just the rants.

Russell Benaroya: Yeah. What are you looking forward to? I know we have a conference next week, but this episode won’t be published before that. But you’re out in the market. You’re out in the community. You’re hearing a pulse. What’s going on in the industry? How are people feeling?

Any other predictions of what 2023 might look like? Any guidance or advice to business owners that are trying to figure out how to get positioned?

George Bardissi: Yeah, there’s a lot of thoughts out there. I have traveled quite a bit. I haven’t made it down to Australia and New Zealand this year like we have in past years pre-pandemic. But I have been over to the other side. I have been over in Europe and all over the US.

A couple of key themes seem to be pretty strong. One, 2023 might not be the best financial year. I think everybody’s really waking up to the fact that there’s an energy issue especially in Europe. The markets are definitely in a recession. I don’t think there’s any other definition. I’m sorry everyone out there who says otherwise.

MSPs start to think back. I know the pandemic was a once in a hundred year thing. I think they think back to 2008. I think they think back to previous bad financial times and what needed to be done to make it through those situations. But what are the opportunities from that?

I think the check signers and the business owners and the decision makers are keen to the fact that one, you need to make sure your house is in order and that you’re not frivolously burning money in places that you shouldn’t.

Two, it’s okay to go back and talk to your staff and your team about options rather than just assuming there’s only one black or white. There’s gray, and you’ve got to be willing to approach it differently if you want to come out with different outcomes or else you’re staring at the same doors that you did before.

Then the other thing is not to be opportunist but an IT services space, especially managed services providers, who largely have worked with companies who are maybe a little bit smaller and maybe augment things from larger companies, where the internal IT team is just not capable of doing everything.

That is probably the case in a lot of areas. When you go into what seems to be the period that we’re about to go into and things are starting to point down, companies are starting to shrink and companies are starting to get a little bit more frugal, the staff gets cut down a little bit.

IT is one of those cut down areas. Marketing is one of those cut down areas. Sales is one of those cut down areas. But because IT gets cut down, it doesn’t mean that technology still isn’t being used and is not needed. It is quite the opposite.

It’s actually an opportunity for MSPs to benefit based on the larger companies having to make moves because of the times that we’re in. So there is being and continuing to be positioned.

You said earlier in the call nimble, being nimble. You need to be able to pivot and position and put your nets out and be ready to capture what the business is that’s going to come out of this that before you thought, “Hey, unattainable. They’re never going to do business with us. They have everything they need.”

That’s going to change. It’s going to change, and technology doesn’t stop during down periods. It actually continues. In some cases, it speeds up because there’s less chatter and more are people in the lab baking things.

One of the problems in technology land, and we’ve seen it countless times, I’m sure you have too, is that whoever’s in the chair doing the technology work and into the technology either buying, hack, or implementation or whatever it is, they’re too stuck in the day-to-day to actually stay up on the changes.

It seems like year over year, those changes happen faster. It seems year over year, the technology gets a little bit smarter but on a more aggressive timetable. And so staying current is part of the benefit of being small and nimble. You can go to the events, you can do the training courses, you can get certifications, you can do the lab testing.

These guys just don’t have time. There’s just not enough time in the day. So there’s good and bad coming up. I think keeping positive is important. Being aware and intelligent about what you need to do, as a business owner, as a decision maker is important.

Understanding the market adjustments, because you’re going to happen quickly, as time goes over the next 16 months, 24 months, very important. Staying up with the technology during that time, very important. Talking with other people in the industry is where you’re going to have your best view of what’s happening.

I talk to people overseas. I talk to people all throughout the country here down under. Constantly understanding the little nuances happening gives you the ability to stay ahead of the curve. And so I talk to people.

The best part you can do at any event, at any trade show, user group, training event, whatever, network with people and just communicate with them. It’s so easy now to do that. The more information you can learn from other people, the better off you’re going to be.

If you’re ahead of the curve, man, there’s a lot of options. If you’re behind the curve, there’s not that many options.

Russell Benaroya: What are you most excited about for bvoip? What are some initiatives you’re pursuing that can in fact help many of these MSP owners find opportunity and relief and possibility in 2023?

George Bardissi: Here’s the cool part about bvoip, we’ve developed to where the MSP starts. We sit in a chair and say, “Where are they having problems? And where can we actually start to fill in gaps?”

The reality is that making the phone ring is pretty easy. A lot of people can do that. And quite frankly, it helps remote working and hybrid working. We know that. That’s been the case way before the pandemic.

Where we get super excited, where we get up in the morning and say, “Man, this is really cool.” is the integration and the workflow and the automation we build not just for the MSP but also for their end customer.

It almost makes picking up and making the phone ring the last thing you think about. Let me give you an example. How often have you heard MSPs complain about on-call? Since I started in the business, we’ve been hearing about on-call.

So many different ways that people have tried to slice this, answering services and things like PagerDuty and all this other stuff. And we’re just like, “How about we make it really simple?”

Let’s say somebody calls into your company and they leave a message, we can give you a tool that will monitor those voicemails and do two things. One, when the voicemail comes in, put it into your ticketing system in the right place.

People have been trying to solve that problem for years, but I don’t know why it took us to get to that point. So voicemail comes in, I’m going to know the phone number, because obviously, we have a caller ID. We’re going to say, “Well, this phone number belongs to this company and maybe even this contact.”

I’m going to be able to say, “Well, now put it in the right place under the right company under the right contact.” Now you’re not coming into a bunch of catch-all messages which we see everyday.

Two, what if, like an answering service, we can text you, call you, and email you in priority of the people who are supposed to be handling those messages? If you don’t respond and the next person gets it and then the next person, the next person, we’ll just keep on burning cell phone batteries, no problem, until somebody responds.

It seems simple. But why is it so hard to do? Number one, number two, and then number three, we call it the human being condition. What if people just really don’t pay attention to when they start their shift and don’t log in? If you don’t log into your system and start receiving calls, well, then you’re just sitting there and people are not getting answered.

It’s such a simple thing. But it happens all the time. What if I can pre schedule the system logging you in or out based on your shifts? Let me go a step further. What if you’re logged in and you’ve missed too many calls? What if I can log you out once you’ve hit a threshold of too many missed calls and then notify a supervisor or manager?

These are the types of things that we’re doing. These are some of the more recent things. But I’m taking human conditions that are the pitfalls, and I’m saying, “Let’s fix this one. Let’s fix this one. And let’s fix this one.”

Now I’m fixing workflow. I’m fixing the human being element as I’m supposed to be communicating with people. But then on the back end, business intelligence dashboarding and reporting.

We work with MSPs really small, we work with MSPs really large. What seems to be the trend as you get into the more mature larger MSPs is the amount of data that your customer requires from you, even just to prove that you’re meeting the terms of your agreement, grow.

Let’s say I’m an MSP and you have an SLA set in your agreement that’s financially-backed, maybe you have to start paying money back if calls aren’t answered in a timely fashion, if you didn’t get back to people in a timely fashion.

First of all, you need to be able to justify, well, did you call the right place? And did you go down the right road for me to be able to tell you, “Yes, I’m now on the clock.” Because if you didn’t, hold on a second, something’s wrong. We need to fix the communication. We all know organizations are their own living beings. That information may not get all the way through the org.

That’s just one example of where it’s like, “Hey, listen, I’m selling based on an outcome. But I need to be able to measure stuff to make sure that I’m doing the job so that both sides keep themselves accountable.”

This is the type of stuff that matters. I can’t tell you how many times we talk to an MSP that is on a very basic solution. Let’s call it the Microsoft Teams voice, for example. Okay, it’s cool. It’s in the app. It’s fairly inexpensive. The phone rings. But if I can’t measure anything, I’m already behind.

These are the types of things that we ultimately work in day in and day out. We get super cool requests. I have a feature request list about 230 features long. MSPs are smart people, and they’re super clever. I mentioned this earlier.

I’ve met clever people from all parts of the globe that just came up with stuff that I never thought of simply because maybe I never got to that point in my business to even consider the issue that they were solving or two, they were just really smart people that came up with answers that nobody really got to. And that’s the cool part.

That’s where we spend a lot of our R&D and development time. I can certify every phone, device, app, headset underneath the planet. That part’s the easy stuff. I want to solve actual problems.

Russell Benaroya: Human problems. I love it. How do you manage your time and prioritize across your businesses? And how does that speak to or challenge your genius zone?

George Bardissi: Well, I’ll be honest with you.

Russell Benaroya: Wait, that’s what we do here.

George Bardissi: Yeah, I work way more than a nine to five. I promise you that. And quite frankly, it gets to the point where you can’t even keep up with your own schedule.

To this point in my business, I actually have people that are basically putting things in and out of my schedule. They’re actually doing all the blocking and tackling across the three organizations just because I literally do not have time to keep up with it all.

For the first time, I’m giving people access to my mailbox where before I would never do that simply because I value getting back to people timely. If you take a long time to even respond, it just shows that you’re breaking and the stress fracturing is occurring because you don’t have the bandwidth.

It does require, as you get to certain points, shedding some of the day-to-day blocking and tackling of items so that you can spend time on the stuff that maybe you’re only good at.

I can tell you, I love negotiating things. I’m a great negotiator. I could be wrong, talk to some of the people on the other side of negotiations. But I love that.

If I were, for example, to hand somebody off, one of my colleagues, “Hey, go find the price on this. Or go see if you can get an agreement on this particular service or product.” They come back, and they’re like, “Here it is.” I’m like, “Let me take a shot at it.”

Then I come back, and I’m like, “Here you go.” They’re like, “Where did that come from? And how did you get that?” It’s just how I’m wired. That’s some of the stuff that I love doing that I’m really good at and that I find hard to find people who can at least even come up to 80% of what I usually deliver when I’m in that chair.

My benefit now is to be able to say, “Hey, you’re really good at accounting and accounts payable/receivable and that stuff. Go left. You’re really good at scheduling, booking, and making sure that people are where they need to be from a timeline perspective, good. Hey, you’re really good at calling people to follow up on things. So I need you to go do that.”

I break these tasks apart across different people through the three organizations so that when I come back and say, “Where do we stand?” I can quickly just get up-to-date and continue moving on. And that’s the best way to say it.

Russell Benaroya: Have you implemented a business model framework like Scaling Up or EOS in your business?

George Bardissi: I haven’t, and I know I’m behind because everybody’s in it.

Russell Benaroya: No, it’s not a judgment. I’m not criticizing. I’m just asking.

George Bardissi: No, I would say I’m running up here at 150 miles per hour. I just need the people that step into my organization that are nine-to-five people to do nine-to-five work.

The people that step into my organizations that are aggressive and are hungry, they quickly get promoted because I can see all of a sudden, I can rely on them to do decision making in a category that I just don’t have time to do.

Not to borrow, but if you were at DattoCon earlier in DC here in 2022, Gary Vee was there. He was the keynote speaker. I love Gary Vee. If you haven’t heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, go Google him, please.

One line that came out of that, I think the whole thing is online, so go watch it if you want, hire fast, promote faster, fire fastest. I try to live by that, to be honest.

Russell Benaroya: What is a question or something that people don’t usually ask you but you wish they would?

George Bardissi: What is a question people would not ask me that I wish they normally would?

Russell Benaroya: Yeah, they don’t usually ask you. Maybe you’re running so fast. They just don’t ask you, but you’d love to share it at the moment.

George Bardissi: Simple, why? Going back to Georgia as a really young kid to present, I’m still a pretty young guy, I would always ask why a decision was made the way that it was.

I would always ask why a system is in place the way that it is. I would always ask why they did things a certain way. A lot of the times the answers I get back are, “Because that’s just how it’s been done for a while. Nobody’s changed it.”

I don’t like that. I think that’s just lazy almost. No, I don’t get asked why a lot. I make decisions quickly. I do. You nailed it on the head coming into this call. I don’t like to just drag things out. I like to finish it and move on. But a lot of times people don’t ask why.

I’m happy to expand. Actually, I would rather expand so that you know and so that the next time you already know where my mind is at, rather than constantly asking yourself, “I just don’t know what he said.” Then all of a sudden, decisions were made.

Subsequently, and I mentioned it in the beginning of this call, which is, why do I see the world the way that I do? Why do I respond back to people the way that I do? Why do I talk to people the way that I do?

I’ll answer it every time. But sometimes people just absorb things and whatever filter that they see it in, and they just accept it as that is the concrete, never-changing fact.

People are super malleable. They change all the time. You always hear people don’t change, that’s nonsense. They actually change all the time. But if you don’t ask why, you’re already behind.

Russell Benaroya: The thread that I’ve heard both in how you’ve architected bvoip and the way you live your life is, I start with the facts or I start with the data.

We can dig into why I think about them the way that I do, but I want to get the information out there that is objective and as transparent as possible so then we can engage around it.

We might not always agree, but at least it’s there. I think you’ve done a nice job at bvoip, as I’m interpreting it, in helping to ground stories with facts around performance and measurement.

George Bardissi: 100%. Everything you just said is true. At the end of the day, a lot of people assume data is what it is. They take one version of the situation as fact or they just say, “It feels right. There’s no facts behind it. But I’m just going to run with it.”

That fudgeness of what people consume as data is dangerous. And if you start making decisions off of that, you’re already in the wrong spot. You don’t even know what you’re doing because you’re working off of a false floor.

I’m a data guy. I want to know the information. I want to know the facts. I want to know the timeline. People who know me well would say that I missed my calling and that I shouldn’t have gotten into technology. I should have been an attorney. And I play a really good one on TV.

Okay, that’s cool. It’s not because I just love arguing. You’re saying one thing, but the information is completely opposite. These two things do not coexist. It just can’t be.

Russell Benaroya: George, how do people catch up with you? They may not keep up with you. How do they catch up with you? Where are you? Where do they find you?

George Bardissi: Sure. Listen, I don’t even do the crazy handles. My handles on all the platforms are @gbardissi. So if you just follow me @gbardissi on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn and all the platforms. I post quite a bit as I’m traveling throughout the world.

If nothing else, you can see me getting into trouble as I’m going through airport security getting stopped for some reason for the 100th time. So I definitely post a lot through the platforms. And that’s cool. That’s how those platforms grow and exist, and I surely use them for that purpose.

My three companies again, bardissi.net is my IT services company that’s local here to Pennsylvania Philly region. bvoip.com is that MSP IT services communications platform, and then mspinitiative.com is that communities-based approach to the modern day circles in MSP IT land.

Those are the three sites that drive those three companies. I’m constantly out and about. I swear my wife tells me all the time. Even though I give her my schedule, once in advance, I do not spend a lot of time at home. So we’ll see how that goes into 2023. But  I am constantly out on the street, on the road, at events.

I know this is coming out afterwards, but I spent a good amount of time in Florida in November and December for multiple events. And I love people. I love being out in crowds and experiencing life behind, “Put your phone down. Put it down. Put your laptop screen down. And let’s look at each other.”

Russell Benaroya: George Bardissi, you have been a great guest. I’m so happy that we connected through MSP Initiative. I am grateful that you came on the show to share your journey and experience.

What I want people that are listening to recognize is that this is an individual that didn’t have to create MSP Initiative, didn’t have to start this other business, saw a moment, saw an opportunity to create better connection between people to solve a problem that people had and dove in and tried to do it.

Does it always guarantee a successful outcome? No. Does it always guarantee learning and progress on the journey? Absolutely. And George, you helped us anchor on that philosophy and purpose today, which is so much of what it is about understanding, how do I get in my genius zone? How do I do the thing that lights me up where I want to make a mark in this world? You are doing it, and I really appreciate you.

George Bardissi: I appreciate you.

Russell Benaroya: Awesome.

George Bardissi: We’ll see you soon.

Russell Benaroya: Yeah, we’ll see you next week. Thanks, everybody. Have a great week. We will see you on the next episode of the Stride 2 Freedom podcast. Have a great day. Bye.

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