Monday, July 16, 2018

Small Biz Thoughts Community News - July 16th

Happily . . . We are making great progress over at the Small Biz Thoughts Community - www.smallbizthoughts.org.

I've added a super-quick video update here:



As of today, we're making great progress filling out the content, adding users who have signed up, and testing everything. We have almost 50 users signed up, and about 30 have their credentials now.

I know a few are poking around because I've seen their password reset requests.

This week I hope to get everyone else who's signed up into the system so we can start to stress test it. Kara will be adding more and more info. With luck, we'll double the content between now and August 1st. I will also be adding content.

Next up, we'll be scheduling community events . . . to take place after August 1st.

Current Pricing: $899 for Annual Membership - plus three bonus months.

August 1st Price: $999 for Annual Membership
or
$99 per Month



:-)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Small Biz Thoughts Community - Intro Webinar July 19th

It's Almost Live!

The Small Biz Thoughts Community will go live on August 1st - But you can Save Now on your annual membership.

Join me Thursday, July 19th for a look inside - and a chance to answer all your questions.

Register now for this webinar.

We have a few dozen people signed up already, and some of the Community Leaders are busy starting conversations on the forums.

In the meantime, Kara and I are working against the clock to get as much content as we can posted to the site. We don't want you to be overwhelmed, but we do want you to see great value on day one.

I'm writing content and putting together drafts of welcome documents and videos. I've also created a new Zoom.us account just for use inside the community.

This site has two primary goals:

1) Community

2) Content

I just had a phone call today with another community member who is super excited to see what we do with the Small Biz Thoughts Community. Please take a look at the resources listed below and register for the webinar next Thursday.

If you have questions, we'll answer then on that webinar - or you can email me now if you just can't wait.

Links and Info:

Annual Membership will be $999 starting August 1st.

You can save $100 today - so the price is only $899. AND we'll throw in three extra months. So you get 15 months for only $899. That's 39% off the regular price.


:-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

5-Week Class - Managed Services in a Month - Applying the Book

Managed Services in a Month - Applying the Book - Newly Revised


- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific AND 4:00 PM Pacific

You're guaranteed to learn something that will make or save you the price of admission!



This course will cover the process outlined in the book - to build your managed service practice in a month. In this case, five weeks. :-)

Managed Services in a Month is the best-selling guide to turning your "computer consulting" business into a recurring revenue machine!

This course is designed to walk you through the process outlined in the book. AND your registration includes a free copy of the book in the format of your choice.

Updated Information on Tools, Cloud Services, Per-User Pricing, Creating Bundles, and MORE!

It's not too late! YOU can get into Managed Services -- in a month.

Even if you decide not to become an MSP (managed service provider), this course will help you establish some great best practices when it comes to running your I.T. business.

Whether you're a new "Computer Consultant" or an experienced Managed Service Provider, you need to create successful processes that will propel your company forward. Nothing is more critical to making profit than having the right processes and procedures in place!


You will learn
  • Computer Consulting in the 21st Century
  • What’s Different About Technology Consulting Today?
  • Cloud Computing in the Small Business Space
  • The Managed Service Model
  • New Consulting Business vs. Existing Business
  • Managed Services in a Month
  • Integrating Cloud Services
  • Making A Plan
  • Starting Fresh with No Clients to Convert
  • Create A Three-Tiered Pricing Structure
  • Bundling Services
  • Per-User vs. Per-Device Pricing Models
  • Putting Your (New) Business Together
  • Weed Your Client Garden and Finish The Plan
  • Write a Service Agreement; Have It Reviewed
  • Overcoming Objections
  • Desktops and Managed Service
  • Executing the Plan
  • Client Sit-Downs
  • After The Sale
  • Key Points to Remember for Profit
  • Running Your New MSP Business
  • The Right Tools for the Job
  • Your Standard Offerings (Your Catalog of Services)
  • Building an Action Plan that works
  • and MORE!

Includes five weeks of webinar classes with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor.

This course is intended for business owners and managers. It is particularly useful for the Service Manager or Operations Manager.


A Few Details . . .

  • Each course will be five one-hour webinars
  • There will be handouts and "homework" assignments
  • If you wish to receive feedback on your assignments, there will be instructor office hours
  • Class webinars will be recorded and made available to paid attendees only.
  • All calls start at 9:00 AM Pacific Time

Monday, July 09, 2018

Join Me at ChannelCon - Free - July 31-August 2


Join me live at CompTIA's ChannelCon - Booth #408.

You can register for free at this URL:
https://www.comptia.org/channelcon/register-and-plan/register?pc=CC18SmallBiz

or just use the code CC18SmallBiz at www.comptia.org/channelcon

It's July 31 - August 2
in Washington, DC

Please drop by my booth. I'll have a special give-away. I've got a number of entertaining flags you can attach to your conference name tag. See the picture below.

Notice I'll have special tags for Small Biz Thoughts Community Members.

Everyone who joins before August 31st will earn the badge of "Founding Member" in the community - and when you visit my booth at CompTIA.

If you're not a member of CompTIA, that's okay. Come join us, learn a bunch of good stuff, and see what the community is like. Maybe you'll be a member next year. (wink)

If nothing else, drop by my booth and say hello!

:-)

Monday, July 02, 2018

Attend TechFest July 19th - Free on Me


My friend Dave Seibert is hosting SMB TechFest July 19th.  You can attend FREE on me. 

Deets:


  
Be my VIP and attend SMB TechFest Q3 on July 19th.  This includes the full event with speakers, IT Mixer, Expo Hall, meals, and win prizes included in this exclusive no-cost VIP pass for you. 
You can attend onsite in Anaheim, CA or online from anywhere worldwide via the live video broadcast.  In-person allows you to network better so join me live.  I have a limited number of complimentary VIP passes and they’re first come first serve.


SMB TechFest Highlights Watch the 2 minute video

Accelerate at SMB TechFest
Accelerate your business and experience a high-speed exotic car
Car onsite.  Don’t miss this raffle.

 Multiple Speaker Topics

·         Marketing your solutions & services
·         Partner panels with leading colleagues
·         Gaining real business by leveraging Facebook
·         Microsoft Inspire conference partner briefing
·         Making your sales process more effective
·         CyberSecurity and the Law; leverage legal requirements
·         More Power Talk series
·         More topics and sessions 
  

Rated a Top 50 Channel Conference


One Day
Thursday July 19, 2018
8:00am - 6:00pm
Sessions, Expo Hall & Large Technologyl Mixer

Onsite in Sunny California
EXPO CENTER
1960 S. Anaheim Way Anaheim, CA

U.S. Wide & International
Remote Live Video Stream
All Sessions






:-)

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Small Biz Thoughts Community Update - Price goes up July 1st

I want to give you a quick update before the week comes to an end - and the price goes up $100.

We currently have almost 40 members signed up (not including me or my staff). Ruben, the web programmer, is focusing on functionality over look and feel, so the inside doesn't look quite ready for public consumption. We still need to sweep the floors and paint a few things. ;-)

This week I have added some Community Leaders to the site and sent them credentials. They're going to poke around and let me know if they find problems.

In the meantime, Kara is queuing up a massive number of items to be added to the content sections. I've got a backlog to catch up with.

I'm writing content and putting together drafts of welcome documents and videos. I've also created a new Zoom.us account just for use inside the community. So if we have meetings, broadcasts, classes, etc. we won't have to worry about the Zoom account I'm using for classes or webinars run outside the community.

If you're looking for more info, here are some sources:

Original Announcement: 
Small Biz Thoughts Membership Site - Coming August 1st (blog)

6-Minute Tour of the SBT Community (Video)

50-Minute Intro Webinar and Q and A (Video)

40-Minute Walk Through and Introduction of SBT Community Leaders (Video)


Membership Available Through June 30th:
$799 for fifteen month membership - save 46%



Or just sign up right now and SAVE!


July price will be $899 for fifteen months. That's still a 39% savings.

In August, we'll still offer the bonus three months to annual subscribers. AND the $99 monthly memberships will be available.

Questions? Email me!

:-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Make GDPR Compliance a Little Less of a Pain in the ...

If you do business on Earth, you've probably heard of GDPR - The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.

Like me, you may have received a fat contract you will never read with a series of places where you might fill in some information, but it's completely unclear what you actually need to do. So you ignore it until you don't have any choice but to actually fill it out.

Not sure where to start? Well, lucky for you, I was forced to deal with this. So, naturally, I figured out a process. You will absolutely have to tweak this for your own purposes, but I'll walk you through what *I* do.

[Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer or a GDPR consultant. I'm just a guy trying to make your life easier. You are responsible for your own actions.]

Before I dig into what I do, let me give you a resource that's very helpful: The GDPR Toolkit from the Isle of Man Information Commissioner. This 17 page PDF lays out a great strategy. for managing "personal data" as defined in GDPR. And it's not as confusing as this chart looks at first. I know that sounds like a totally random resource. Thanks Google.

I won't go into all the details of GDPR compliance. I have a one inch thick book of that. But it's important to note one important thing: "Personal Data" simply means any data that might allow someone to identify a specific individual. Obviously this includes first name, last name, and email address. But it also includes IP address, mailing address, and a lot more.


My Handy-Dandy GDPR Mapping Process


Below I am going to present my entire GDPR "mapping" process. I call it that because it's very much like mapping fields in Excel or a database. Collect information here and put it there.

Basically, you need to identify the following pieces of information so that you can fill out forms and questionnaires. I find it very handy to identify this information once and then have it available for anyone who needs it.

1. Project Components. This is my brief description of the project that requires all this compliance work. I start here because I can break down each piece and determine where compliance is required. From there, I can use these pieces to document compliance throughout the rest of the document.

2. Why Personal Data is Collected
3. Whose Personal Data is Collected
4. What Personal Data is Collected
5. Legal Basis for Collecting Data
6. When Data is Obtained
7. When Data is Disclosed to Others
8. Data Retention
9. Where Data is Processed

The rest of the document (Items 2-9) are simply sections to make sure you have answers to any GDPR questions you might be asked. Note: You may have an opportunity to simply copy and paste this information, but it's more likely that the form you fill out will have specific questions and you'll need to copy and paste selected pieces as needed.

I create a Word document whose contents are below. Other than hiding the name of the client, this exactly what I have in my internal-use document.

Just so you know what's going on here, I'm collecting two types of "personal" data. One is for myself and the client representative who will be on a webinar. The other is webinar registrants. All the details of what is collected, why it's collected, when it's collected, how it's used, etc. are right here.

- - - - -

Personal Data Map for GDPR Compliance

Project: (Client Name) Books/Webinar Campaign

This document prepared by Karl W. Palachuk, President, Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc., d.b.a. Small Biz Thoughts.


1. Project Components
 - Print/ship books for Client to distribute at conference
o No personal data required
 - Promote webinars with advertising in my newsletter
o No personal data required
 - Speak at conference
o No personal data required
 - Webinar with client representative
o Will collect personal data for webinar attendees

2. Why Personal Data is Collected
 - Webinar with client representative
o Personal Data is collected in order to provide webinar access
o Personal Data is collected for marketing purposes

3. Whose Personal Data is Collected
 - Webinar with client representative
o Personal Data is collected from the webinar hosts (employees of client and GLB)
o Personal Data is collected from those who register for the webinar

4. What Personal Data is Collected
 - For the webinar, the following Personal Data is collected:
o From webinar hosts
-- First Name
-- Last Name
-- Email Address
o From webinar registrants
-- First Name
-- Last Name
-- Email Address

5. Legal Basis for Collecting Data
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- Data is collected by consent
-- Consent is evidenced by the webinar registration service
o From webinar registrants
-- Data is collected by consent
-- Consent is evidenced by the webinar registration service

6. When Data is Obtained
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- Data is collected upon setting up the video webinar service to create the webinar
o From webinar registrants
-- Data is collected upon registration for the webinar

7. When Data is Disclosed to Others
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- This data is not disclosed beyond this service
o From webinar registrants
-- This data is shared with client

8. Data Retention
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- This data is retained for two years
o From webinar registrants
-- This data is retained for two years by GLB

9. Where Data is Processed
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- This data is collected by Zoom.us, a cloud-based service located inside the United States
o From webinar registrants
-- This data is collected by Zoom.us, a cloud-based service located inside the United States
-- Registration data is downloaded to an in-house computer at GLB
-- Registration data is transmitted through email to Client. The email ser-vice is a hosted Exchange service housed at Intermedia and located inside the United States.
-- Once transmitted to Client, the registration data is deleted from the in-house computer at GLB.

Note Regarding the webinar Service Used:
 - We use Zoom.us has our webinaring platform. This service is GDPR compliant and re-quires an explicit opt-in for IP addresses detected as originating in the EU.
 - For details on Zoom’s GDPR compliance, please see
https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360000126326-Official-Statement-EU-GDPR-Compliance

- - - - -

Three final notes. First, this is a great example of something that's not as bad as you feared. Second, there's enough work here that you should make sure you account for it in the cost of a project. And Third, this is also a great example of how a little time documenting your process will save you lots of labor down the road. File | Save As ...

Feedback welcome.

:-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Making the Most of QuickBooks in an I.T. Service Business - Next 5-Week Course

Making the Most of QuickBooks in an I.T. Service Business


- Five Tuesdays - July 3 - July 31, 2018 -- Register Now

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific



QuickBooks is QuickBooks, right?

Well . . .

QuickBooks has to be set up right. Then it has to be used right. Then you need to have specific processes for the kinds of things you do in YOUR business. QuickBooks has some great interview-based setup parameters that differentiate between a "service" business and a storefront.

But QuickBooks does NOT have a configuration setting tailored specifically for a technology consulting business! There is no "MSP" option when you install QuickBooks.

In this class, Rayanne walks you through several processes that are geared toward the kind of business you run.

This class provides unique content from unique teacher! Rayanne is a managed service provider from Tampa, FL. She is also an accountant and an Intuit certified ProAdvisor. In addition to her MSP business, Rayanne helps I.T. consultants to take control of their finances and understand their own business at a deeper level

Topics for this class include:
  • How to track and claim a credit for sales tax paid to vendors on products for resale
  • Maintaining HAAS equipment and recording income and expense properly
  • Tracking direct labor and overhead payroll expenses
  • Creating and maintaining a purchase order system
  • Managing customer deposits, retainer payments, and unearned revenue
  • Action plans for success
. . . and More!

Delivered by Raynne Buchianico, Financial Coach and QuickBooks Advisor. Rayanne has been an MSP - managed service provider - for many years and advises MSPs on how to get the most out of their QuickBooks and PSA integrations.

Includes five weeks of webinar classes with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor.

This course is intended for business owners and managers. It is particularly useful for the Service Manager or Operations Manager.



A Few Details . . .

  • Each course will be five webinar calls (50-60 minutes each)
  • There will be handouts and "homework" assignments
  • If you wish to receive feedback on your assignments, there will be instructor office hours
  • Class webinars will be recorded and made available to paid attendees only.
  • All calls start at 9:00 AM Pacific Time
:-)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Take Control of Your Communication (It's Really Okay)

I just finished writing an article for the Relax Focus Succeed newsletter that will be coming out next week. (Sign Up Here)

In that article, I mention author Neal Stephenson and his policies for communication. As part of my research, I wandered over to the web site page where he explains why he never responds to email or speaking requests. And I found an interesting slide-out window:


Do you see it?

There's a place to put your email and subscribe to updates from Stephenson's press people. At first it seems odd that you should let them email you, but there is literally no way for you to email him.

But this reveals an interesting truth: You can limit your communication intake and still produce as much output as you want. Why is that? Very simple: Most people are very poor at managing their time and attention. As a result, it's easy for you to interrupt their flow and break into their communication channel.

I have found this to be true in my personal and professional lives. With very few exceptions, I never answer my phone. But when I call others, I know they'll answer because most people don't have rules like this.

I check email on a schedule and keep it closed the rest of the time. I check Facebook on a schedule and keep it closed the rest of the time.

I have weaned myself off the dopamine pump that comes with social media alerts. And most people never notice. Every once in awhile, someone will accuse me of ignoring them. That is, until they realize I'm ignoring everyone else as well.

Interruption - especially electronic interruption - has a tendency to make us feel more productive while it actually destroys our productivity. We confuse busy-ness with effectiveness. At the same time, we don't "feel" the effects of lost start-up time required to get back on track after an interruption.

If you have no rules around in-bound communication, you can assume that people are wasting your time. Consider making a chart. What are all the ways you can be interrupted? For example, telephone, text message, instant message apps, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, door knock, shoulder tap, fire alarm, etc.

Consider what would happen if you pick five of these and allocate three minutes to each of them every hour. That's 25% of your time! Does that seem reasonable? It shouldn't!

So when you meet someone who says, "I don't waste my time with social media," consider that they might have it exactly right. If you can point to where social media (or any other communication medium) improves your life or business measurably, then allocate a limited about of time to it. If it's just fun, then consider cutting it out of the business day and only using it evenings or weekends.

Put this on your list of personal SOPs: Develop an in-bound communication policy.

Feedback welcome.

:-)


Sunday, June 17, 2018

6-Minute Tour of the SBT Community

On Saturday I put together a quick video tour of the Small Biz Thoughts Community.

Click to Watch Now
You can find that here on YouTube

This walk-through gives you a sense of the look and feel of the site as well as some of the contents, which currently include . . .

  • Events Calendar
  • Forums
  • Audio Programs
  • Books
  • Checklists
  • Classes
  • Excel Files
  • PowerPoint Slides
  • Webinars
  • SOPs
  • Videos
  • White Papers
  • Word Docs
  • Workbooks
  • . . . and more!

Remember: Early Birds save the most. Right now, a 15-month subscription is only $799.

That price goes up July 1st. Sign up today and you'll be Founding Member - and save 46%.

Unsure? Want to ask some questions? Great!

Join me for a live webinar Tuesday, June 19th at 4 PM Pacific
- - I'm pretty sure that's 9:00 AM June 20th in Sydney

Register for the Webinar

Note: In this webinar, I'm going to reveal the Community Leaders we have so far and the forums they're going to be running. Please join us.

:-)