Monday, December 05, 2016

What to Do After The Conference

Not too long ago, I posted a quick note and a video about attending conferences to bring some balance into your life. (See http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2016/10/attend-events-to-balance-your-life.html)

Robert asked a couple of questions: "Karl, do you have an SOP on what you do after attending a conference? Often times ideas and inspiration get lost in the shuffle when returning to the office. Also, do you use a process to disseminate key take aways to your team?"

We'll look at those questions, but first we need to back up a bit. You've heard the advice, "Start with the end in mind." That certainly applies with conferences. You need to decide before you get to the conference what your goals are. A few possibilities are:

- Technical education
- Business education
- Meet people or network
- Find new technologies I might want to integrate into my business
- Learn how other people are addressing my current challenges
- Personal growth
- Try to find an answer to a very specific problem
- Get free swag for the kids

Once you know why you're going to the conference, you can create a plan of action AT the conference, and you can evaluate whether it was worthwhile. One thing I always do at events of any kind is to keep track of where it paid for itself. For example, if I paid $150, where did the value of conversations, education, and new product offerings exceed that $150 investment.

I have attended hundreds of events over the years. An average of 30-50 per year, including local, national, and international events. In all of those I have only attended a handful that did not provide enough value to pay for the price of admission.

So, first, you need to define why you're attending the event. Second, you need to execute your attendance based on that. If, for example, you are looking to meet people and network, then go do that. If you're looking for a new RMM tool, then you'll want to hit the vendor booths and talk to attendees about their experience.

In other words, do NOT hang out with your friends the whole time. Mingle, meet people, collect business cards, and take notes. For all the info on business cards and what to do with them, see my SOP post: http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2012/11/sop-friday-business-cards-all-details.html

The two key things I just mentioned are: Collect business cards and take lots of notes. One tip Jason posted in response to Robert's question: "Create a service board that you can email to and send your ideas from your phone. When you get back to the office you can assign the tasks to someone or do them yourself." That's a great, modern approach.

I tend to write notes on the backs of business cards. I also keep 3x5 cards and post-it notes with me. I travel with an envelope and stuff all those things into the envelope, along with receipts from the trip. That way, when I get home, that envelope contains everything I need to "do" or take care of after the conference.


After the Conference . . .


Okay, so you've planned for the conference and you've executed your plan. Now you're going to head home with three things that need further action:

1. People (connections)

2. Products and Services

3. Ideas and Action Steps


People will fall into two general categories: Business cards and non-business cards. For the business cards, I highly recommend getting a card scanner. That way you can hand the cards to someone and have them scanned into files you can import into Outlook, your CRM, Constant Contact, or whatever you use to organize contacts.

I've written several blog posts about business cards. You can find them with this search: http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/search?q=business+cards.

When you receive a card, you have to immediately write on it:

- A mark that you know means to throw it away when you get back to your hotel room because you have no reason to keep it
or
- A note about the conversation
- A note if you promised to follow up with an email, web link, introduction, etc.
and
- The "category" this person fits in. For example, is it a vendor, another IT Pro, a potential strategic partner, etc.

Personally, I divide the cards into these categories before I get home. Then I hand them to Jessica and she scans them into spreadsheets for vendors, IT Pros, etc. These are then integrated into our contact systems. Then the cards are recycled so they don't grow in piles that take over the universe.

Jessica gives back to me any card with a note on it. That way I can fulfill promises I've made such as sending a document or introducing them to someone. Once completed, these cards are recycled.


Products and Services fall into a few categories. They make their way home by means of a flyer I collected, a business card, an email I sent to myself, or a note I wrote on a post-it or 3x5 card. For each product or service I found interesting, I determine WitNS - What is the Next Step (with a grateful nod to David Allen for his book Getting Things Done).

After all, if I decided to follow up, that follow-up has to have an action. So what is the next step? These are all action items, such as join the reseller program, do some research, ask friends what their experience has been, watch a webinar, or place a phone call. Whatever it is, these action steps need to make their way into my PSA. I literally create a ticket and assign it to myself. You might use tasks in Outlook or your CRM system.

The point is, all product or service oriented ideas you bring home must result in a next action step. If not, you have lost the momentum. Note: You do not need to execute the action step immediately (although that might be a good idea). If you are busy or overwhelmed after being out of the office for awhile, at least create the next steps in your PSA or CRM so that they are not lost.


Ideas and Action Steps are essentially identical to products and services. You will need to flesh out the ideas a bit. Maybe write a full paragraph in your PSA/CRM to make sure your thoughts aren't lost over time. There's nothing worse than finding a note that says something like "Pos solution for JSB" - and you have NO IDEA what you meant.

"Ideas and action steps" might actually lead to some major changes in your business. It's important to talk to someone on your team as soon as possible so the idea is out there and you can have discussions about whether it's something you really want to do. If nothing else, educating your service team about an idea will help you to keep the juices flowing.

Your team may have questions about how it would work, why you need to change, etc. That's all good. The more you engage them, the more you think about the ideas in detail. You can avoid some pretty big mistakes by responding to the questions of you team. Be aware that there will probably be some natural resistance to change in general. But separate that from the actual objections.


In the end, Robert identifies the biggest frustration that comes from some events: You get all excited and jazzed up at the event. Then you come home, the excitement is hard to explain, the ideas fade, and very little gets done. Oddly enough, that's the very reason you need to attend more events - You need to keep getting excited about new ideas until you figure out a way to take action and finally make those changes to your business that you know you want.

Hope that helps!

Feedback and additional ideas always welcome.

:-)

Friday, December 02, 2016

Better Sales Through Better Education - New Audio Program

Just posted a great audio program from Chip Reaves over at SMB Books.

It's called Better Sales Through Better Education

Chip is the President of Bigger-Brains.com and founder of the Computer Troubleshooters franchise. In this 50 minute program he explains the role of education in the Managed Service Provider sales process. A typical MSP has fantastic productivity solutions for sale – things like Mobile Device Management and Managed Print Solutions. The problem is a typical customer has no idea what all that means, or why they would want it.

Reaves guides MSPs through “the right (and wrong) ways to use newsletters, case studies, white papers, and eLearning to achieve sales.”

He shares insights on how to educate customers and prospects on the benefits of advanced IT solutions so they will actually ask the provider for those services and products. It takes pushy and ineffective sales pitches out of the equation.

Alternate title for this presentation: Better Sales Through Better Education, Standard Operating Procedures & Best Practices!


Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks



About Chip Reaves

President of Bigger-Brains.com

Chip Reaves is the President of Bigger-Brains.com and founder of the Computer Troubleshooters franchise. He is also a consultant for IT firms where he helps them improve their product offerings to both the SMB market and SMB IT channel. More information can be found at biggermsp.com and computercollege.biz.


- - - - -

Also Recently Released: 


Stop Hiring Your First Sales Person Over and Over Again! with Josh Peterson


Josh Peterson
In this 45 program, Josh presents some great tips for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) looking to build their sales staff. As always, he is focused on successful habits and keeping an eye on profitability. There are so many ways to mis-handle the sales department. Josh focuses on proven tips to do it the right way.

Managing starts with hiring.

This program is fifty minutes in length, delivered as a zip file with MP3, slides, and handouts.


Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks


- - - - -

Build a Robust Email Marketing Program with Barbara Dove

We are happy to announce that we've released a great new audio program with Barbara Dove - a true pioneer of IT Help Desk support.

This presentation was originally made at SMB Online Conference, hosted by Small Biz Thoughts. Dove talks about robust email marketing systems that are helping small IT companies thrive.

Whether the economy is moving up or down, you can Thrive – with Good Marketing!


Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks




:-)

Sink or Swim is Not a Training Program

What's your process for bringing on a new employee? So many companies - including some rather large ones - don't actually plan the employee's first day. They throw them into a job and hope they survive.

My friend Josh Peterson tells the story of a company that did that - and the employee quit before noon. No one wants to feel that their job is unimportant or that the company doesn't have a plan of some kind. That's just one reason for having an actual PLAN for an employee's first day.

Of course you need to do some paperwork. But you need to do a lot of work before the employee shows up. You need a job description. In writing. You need to create logons for the PSA, RMM, the domain, email, BDR vendors, etc. Whatever they will need should be set up and ready to go. This should all be handed to the employee along with their hiring paperwork.

This keeps your day productive and gives the employee lots to do: Log into everything. Look around. See what's what. Learn some client names. And verify that their credentials are correct.

After that, the new employee can go to lunch with someone on the team and talk about you behind your back. Hey, it's going to happen eventually, so you might as well get it started. Your team as a team needs to develop a personality that works. Later the newbie can shadow one or more other employees . . . learning YOUR way of doing things.

Like everything else - Consistency doesn't happen by itself. Teamwork doesn't happen by itself. Your branding (defined as everything you do) won't come together by itself. You need to put a structure and processes in place that make these things happen.

Here's a quick video with more tips.



Comments welcome.

- - - - -

Note: Please subscribe to my YouTube channel - www.youtube.com/smallbizthoughts - and you'll be notified when new videos go live.

Also: If you love the SOPs, please check out my 4-volume set of SOPs at www.SOP4SMB.com.

Thanks!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Stop Hiring Your First Sales Person Over and Over Again! - Audio Program

Just posted another audio program from Coach Josh Peterson over at SMB Books.

It's called Stop Hiring Your First Sales Person Over and Over Again!

Josh Peterson
In this 45 program, Josh presents some great tips for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) looking to build their sales staff. As always, he is focused on successful habits and keeping an eye on profitability. There are so many ways to mis-handle the sales department. Josh focuses on proven tips to do it the right way.

Managing starts with hiring.

This program is fifty minutes in length, delivered as a zip file with MP3, slides, and handouts.


Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks



About Josh Peterson

CEO, Bering McKinley

As a Senior Consultant with the Taylor Business Group, Josh has helped IT Solution Providers become more profitable for over eight years and loves the challenge of helping companies of all sizes. In addition to his direct consulting, Josh has performed workshops for 100's of Managed Service Providers and IT Solution Providers around the United States, Australia and Canada on topics related to Service Management, Financial Analysis, and Sales Management and Strategy. Josh is a passionate student and proponent of client loyalty and satisfaction measurements, specifically Net Promoter Score.

Josh holds an MBA from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York and an undergraduate degree in Biology and Education. Josh lives in Chicago, IL.


- - - - -

Also Recently Released: 


Build a Robust Email Marketing Program with Barbara Dove

We are happy to announce that we've released a great new audio program with Barbara Dove - a true pioneer of IT Help Desk support.

This presentation was originally made at SMB Online Conference, hosted by Small Biz Thoughts. Dove talks about robust email marketing systems that are helping small IT companies thrive.

Whether the economy is moving up or down, you can Thrive – with Good Marketing!


Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks


- - - - -

Modern Marketing Best Practices with Patrick Schwerdtfeger

Patrick takes a unique approach to Social Media. He starts out by stating that most of the 100 million people on Twitter are wasting their time!

But a few people and a few companies are having extreme success with social media. What separates these two groups? And more importantly, what is the legitimate role of social media in positioning yourself as an expert?

What do prospects do today when they consider hiring you? The do an Internet search! How do you show up? What is your online image, you Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, and your Twitter profile?

This presentation covers some great, simple techniques you can use to take your social media presence to the next level. And most importantly, he shows that almost no one is doing this effectively.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

:-)

Register Now for Retail IT VAR of the Future conference

Got a note from the good folks over at Business Solutions Magazine.

The third annual Retail IT VAR of the Future conference is open for registration.

If you support (or want to support) retail shops and point of sale, this is a great conference for you. I have attended several Business Solutions events and have spoken at this conference.

The 2017 conference is FREE if you register by December 16th - so go check it out now!

The conference will be held April 4-5 in Orlando, FL.

Here's the official memo:

- - - - -

Business Solutions will host our third annual Retail IT VAR Of The Future conference on April 4-5 in Orlando, and I hope you'll be one of the VAR, MSP, and ISV executives who take advantage of our complimentary registration offer.

This year's agenda will feature the four hottest topics in retail IT: payment/data security, POS-as-a-Service, customer experience, and mobile POS. We'll spend a half day on each topic, and instead of vendor sales pitches on stage you'll hear real-world examples from panels of innovative solutions providers.

This two-day conference will be held April 4-5 at the DoubleTree Orlando at SeaWorld. We are anticipating 200+ channel executives in the retail, hospitality, and grocery verticals will attend to learn about the future of retail IT. We are planning to have 5+ hours of networking time and a show floor of 20+ exhibitors who can help you expand your line card.

We're extending the early registration deadline to December 16 so VARs, MSPs, and can take advantage of a *complimentary registration offer. To register use the promo code EARLYBIRD1 at www.retailitvarofthefuture.com/registration.

I hope you can join us in Orlando next April.

Mike

Mike Monocello | Editor in Chief | Business Solutions Magazine

- - - - -

:-)


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Audio Program: Barbara Dove - Build a Robust Email Marketing Program

We are happy to announce that we've released a great new audio program with Barbara Dove - a true pioneer of IT Help Desk support.

This presentation was originally made at SMB Online Conference, hosted by Small Biz Thoughts. Dove talks about robust email marketing systems that are helping small IT companies thrive.

Whether the economy is moving up or down, you can Thrive – with Good Marketing!


This program is fifty minutes in length, delivered as a zip file with MP3, slides, and handouts.


Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

- - - - -

About Barbara Dove
• President and CEO, Dove Help Desk
• Topic: Build a Robust Email Marketing Program

• With over 15 years’ experience in senior management positions in service operations, Barbara has worked in executive and strategic service management positions at various computer and test equipment companies.

• Barbara founded Dove Help Desk in 2003 to provide the resources necessary to manage the routine requests from users to relieve the pressure on IT providers and their staffs. After 9 years, Dove Help Desk continues as a division of Global Mentoring Solutions, Inc. Barbara has an MBA and ME in Operations Research from Boston University and a BA in Mathematics from Wilson College. She has a black belt in six sigma and is a practiced Total Quality Management professional.

Check it out on the Audio/Video page at SMBBooks.com.


- - - - -

Also New This Month: 

Modern Marketing Best Practices with Patrick Schwerdtfeger

Patrick takes a unique approach to Social Media. He starts out by stating that most of the 100 million people on Twitter are wasting their time!

But a few people and a few companies are having extreme success with social media. What separates these two groups? And more importantly, what is the legitimate role of social media in positioning yourself as an expert?

What do prospects do today when they consider hiring you? The do an Internet search! How do you show up? What is your online image, you Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, and your Twitter profile?

This presentation covers some great, simple techniques you can use to take your social media presence to the next level. And most importantly, he shows that almost no one is doing this effectively.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

:-)

Monday, November 28, 2016

When Does Marketing Start?

Business consultant and author Peter Drucker once wrote:

"Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation. All the rest
are costs."


Many people have a mistaken belief that marketing is something you do when it's time to sell your product or service. Nothing could be further from the truth! Marketing starts before the product or service even exists!

My favorite marketing coach is Robin Robins. If you attend one of her workshops, you may get to see her build a marketing campaign. She starts by talking about the client. Who's going to buy this? What do they look like? What do they want? What's their pain point? What problem can you solve.

(If you haven't seen her stuff, I recommend you check out the Technology Marketing Toolkit.)

The stages in product development look something like this:




But notice that "marketing" is not listed here. Why? Because it's ALL marketing. Marketing is the process of defining and communicating the VALUE of your product or offering. You cannot start the marketing discussion at the "Promote/Sell" stage. That's too late in the process.

There are many kinds of value in your offering. Assuming you're in the IT business, your offering will have at least two or three of these value types:

- Functional Value. How well does this product/service achieve its goal? For example, reliable backup of data.

- Emotional Value. How well does this product/service fulfill and emotional need, such as feeling confident that the company can survive a disaster?

- Monetary Value. Obviously, how will this product or service help the client make money, save money, or do something they haven't done before; and how does that compare to the price of the offering?

- Social Value. How does this product/service fulfill the client's need to achieve or maintain status among their peers?

If you start "marketing" at the Promote/Sell stage, you're really just telling a story about how you can provide value to clients. It's like you have to wedge value into the conversation.

It's much better to start with defining the client and then discussing value at every stage of the product evolution. That way, the product or service is literally inseparable from the value it brings to the client. Instead of value being an after-thought, it's baked in!


We All Know This Is True

How many times have seen a great product fail? You hear people complain about how hard they worked to develop something - and there were no buyers!

You can have an awesome product that fails fast if you develop the product first and do the marketing as an after-thought. Think about grand failures from the Ford Edsel to the Apple Newton. They are often priced wrong, have the wrong feature set, or are great for a microscopic audience.

ALL of those factors can be addressed by considering the client perspective from the beginning. Notice that my graphic above actually implies a series of feedback look. Test. Refine. Continue refining.

When you just make the argument that your product is better and people should just buy it, then you fail - even if your product is better. OS/2 was a collaboration of competitors that should have resulted in market dominance. But it was built based on technology considerations and not value.

If you don't have the client-focused value discussion all throughout product (or service) development, it is hard to convince people that they should buy it just because you say it's "better."


. . . To be continued . . .



Saturday, November 26, 2016

New Audio Program: Patrick Schwerdtfeger on Modern Marketing Best Practices

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a member of my Northern California mastermind group.

A few years ago, Patrick presented at my SMB Online Conference on the subject of Modern Marketing Best Practices.

Check it out on the Audio/Video page at SMBBooks.com.

- - - - -

Modern Marketing Best Practices

Originally delivered at the 2012 SMB Online Conference.

This program is fifty minutes in length, delivered as a zip file with MP3, slides, and handouts.

Patrick takes a unique approach to Social Media. He starts out by stating that most of the 100 million people on Twitter are wasting their time!

But a few people and a few companies are having extreme success with social media. What separates these two groups? And more importantly, what is the legitimate role of social media in positioning yourself as an expert?

What do prospects do today when they consider hiring you? The do an Internet search! How do you show up? What is your online image, you Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, and your Twitter profile?

This presentation covers some great, simple techniques you can use to take your social media presence to the next level. And most importantly, he shows that almost no one is doing this effectively.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

- - - - -

About Patrick Schwerdtfeger

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a professional speaker. He is also an author and Social Media Expert.

He is the author of three books:

Webify Your Business

Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed

Keynote Mastery

See more about him on his site - www.patrickschwerdtfeger.com.

Patrick is a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV. He has spoken about business trends, modern entrepreneurship, and the social media revolution at conferences and business events around the world.

He has been featured in The New York Times, CNN Money, Fortune, Bloomberg, Businessweek, the Associated Press, MONEY Magazine and Forbes, among others.

:-)


NOTE: We have released a whole series of new audio programs this year. Check them all out at www.smbbooks.com:

Released 2016 


Own Your Niche: Simple Strategies to Increase Website Traffic and Build Buzz Online 

- Audio program with Stephanie Chandler
- Only $19.95
- at SMB Books
More Information


How to Have a Never-Ending Conversation with Your Clients
- Audio program with Bob Nitrio
- only $19.95
- at SMB Books
More Information


Your CEO Transition Plan
- Audio program with Arlin Sorensen
- only $19.95
- at SMB Books
More Information


Relax Focus Succeed® 
Now available via MP3 and Audible formats
- only $19.95 or less
- at SMB Books, Amazon, Audible
More Information


Released March 2016 


Organizing for Success
 - Audio program from Karl Palachuk
- Free
- at SMB Books
More Information


Consistency and Success
- Audio program from Karl Palachuk
- Free
- at SMB Books
More Information


Only the Excellent Survive
 - Audio program from Karl Palachuk
- Free
- at SMB Books
More Information

:-)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Mentoring and Master-Minding

One of the most important - and overlooked - roles of a manager is being a mentor to others. Many people have a 1940's "command and control" approach to business. But as I pointed out a little while back, telling people to Just Do It is often very bad advice.

People need to be instructed, guided, and helped to improve. You're not in a competition with your employees: When they do well, your company does well. So constantly helping them to improve is good for every one.

New Video:


You should also be open to being mentored. That means having the humility to seek advice from others. I love the master mind groups I belong to. They allow me to talk about challenges I face and get feedback from people I trust.

As a general rule, master mind meetings start with a quick discussion of what's changed since last time. Then members take turns talking about a challenge they face and getting ideas from the other members.

I have used my master mind groups to get feedback on client relationships, naming products, pricing, employee issues, productivity tips, and so much more. The best part of a meeting is often hearing advice given to someone else. After all, just because we didn't bring up an issue doesn't mean we don't have that issue.

And, in general, having business-focused discussions will improve your business in the long run. You get in the habit of working "on" your business. You also get a boatload of good tips and advice.

Overall, you should be in a never-ending stream of mentoring and being mentored. All of us can learn from others. And the world keeps changing so things that worked last year don't work as well this year. So we have to keep evolving.

It's another example where education in all its forms should be part of your continuing personal and professional growth.

:-)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Benefits Make Sense Even Without a Group

When I had a number of employees, I used to always offer them benefits. There are two major reasons for this. First, it saves me some money (personally) because I get my insurance paid for through the company. It’s a very well accepted business expense and I get insurance out of the deal. Second, it makes your business a nicer place to work. It makes employees a bit “stickier” compared to places that don’t offer benefits.

But times have changed. When I got rid of my I.T. consulting business and moved to book publishing full time, I was down to a “group” of one. It was difficult to find a good set of benefits for just me. With the Affordable Care Act, I couldn’t be turned down. So, I finally have the coverage I want.

“Benefits” are things like retirement plans, medical insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, and so forth. Many people hold on to their corporate jobs and run a consulting business “on the side” because they need the benefits.

You don’t have to do that anymore – especially since a lot of companies are not actually providing these things. They’re making them available for you to buy through payroll. They’re negotiating a price but the employee is paying for it.

To be honest, that’s a great reason to take the plunge, find your own benefits, and jump ship.


Where Do You Get Benefits? 

That’s a tough question to answer because the answer is almost anywhere. If you use a payroll service, they may offer certain benefits, including health insurance and miscellaneous retirement savings plans. Your financial advisor (including accountants and enrolled agents) may also offer some benefits such as life insurance and retirement plans.

Of course you can also go direct to a broker who has lots of options available. Or a certified financial planner may also offer some or all of these things. In the modern economy, many people are choosing to buy each of these benefits separately. Additionally, some insurance companies (like VSP Vision Care) are offering individual plans that you can purchase directly from them.

My medical insurance plan comes bundled with almost-useless add-ons for optical and dental coverage. The vision coverage has a $100 co-pay for exams and $500 deductible for glasses. That’s about equivalent to no coverage at all! The bundled dental is a little better, but the out-of-pocket is still pretty high. In both cases, I went with separate plans for these things.

The main benefit you have as a sole proprietor (or small corporation, LLC, etc.) is that you can claim exemption from Workers Comp in many cases. If you are already paying for medical coverage for something else, you can exempt yourself from WC insurance as an owner of the business. Note: If you’re not doing this, you should talk to your tax advisor and Workers Comp insurer to see whether you are eligible to save this money.


Expandable Programs

You have to make sure that any benefit programs you offer are equitable inside your company. In other words, if you have employees, you have to offer the same thing to everyone who meets certain criteria. You can set the criteria, but you still need to be aware of the laws.

For example, you might say that employees are eligible if they have been employed at least 90 days and work at least 30 hours per week. What you can’t do is to have different programs for owners and employees.

If you are sure you’ll never have employees, then don’t worry about what you choose. But if you might have employees, then make you work with a company that can grow along with you. As strange as it sounds, I’ve see companies that had plans for one person or three-or-more, but not for two. Huh?

Again, you need to work with good advisors who will make sure you get a combination that works – and keeps you inside the law.

I’ve been self-employed for 21 years. I’ve grown companies to a dozen employees. So I’m not willing to bet that I’ll always be a one- or two-person operation. And with luck, my choices for benefits will last me for years to come.


VSP – Vision Service Plan

I recently found out about a great resource guide from VSP – Vision Service Plan. VSP provides vision insurance for the smallest shops out there, including one-person businesses. Their resource guide is at this link. I asked them if I could promote this. (I was compensated for this blog post.)

The resource guide provides lots of valuable information, including a thorough understanding of the "gig" economy - made up of individuals working independent jobs. If you’re a sole proprietor, this is you. In fact, our industry has been doing exactly this for twenty years – way before Upwork (formerly Elance and Odesk) hit the scene.

It also includes information on VSP Individual Vision plans, which start as low as $17/month. VSP individual plans are perfect for sole proprietors, since they can be purchased directly from VSP at www.VSPDirect.com. I bet 90% of the people reading this wear glasses. If you're in need of vision insurance, I encourage you to check out VSP individual plans.

For more information on VSP, click this link.


About VSP

VSP is the national leader in eye care benefits, and offers affordable individual vision insurance to people who don’t have employer-provided vision care. VSP serves 72 million Americans through individual and group plans. (That’s one in five people in the U.S.!) Individual vision plans can cost as low as $17 a month and members give the company a 95% overall satisfaction rating.
A VSP individual vision plan includes annual benefits that cover:
A comprehensive eye exam
Prescription lenses with covered lens enhancements
A generous allowance for frames and/or contacts
A wide selection of brand name frames
Access to a network of more than 36,000 doctors

:-)