Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Network Migration Workbook Added to Small Biz Thoughts Community Downloads

This is a biggie. Literally.

The 596-page Network Migration Workbook (2nd ed.) is now included in the downloadable content in the Small Biz Thoughts Community.

This book originally sold for $299.95 and currently sells for $149.95. It is a massive work that took thousands of hours of labor.

Download zip file includes checklists in Word Doc format and additional files. The first 250 pages are chapters on project design, management, and all the details of running a Zero Downtime Migration project. The final 220 pages are the super, monster, thorough checklist (which is really a series of nested checklists). Total zip file is just over 11 MB.

You can read lots of details on the book page here or even more at

Let's be honest, anyone can perform a network migration WITH downtime. You simply kick everyone off the system, put the client out of business for some period of time, and push through until you're done.

Without downtime is another story.

Without downtime . . .

You can do network migrations during the workweek
The client doesn't have to ever send people home because of you
You can work when 3rd party support is available
You don't have to pay overtime
and Neither does the client
You look like a hero!
Now includes the complete checklist for SBS 2011!

ZDTM: Zero Downtime Migrations Are Not Easy
-- But They Are Manageable

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword to the Second Edition
  • About the Authors
  • Dedication
  • The Plan of the Book
  • I. Introduction and Overview
  • Chapter 1 Migrating the Windows Environment
  • Chapter 2 Project Management
  • II. Defining the Migration Project – Start Here
  • Chapter 3 Migration Project Overview 
  • Chapter 4 Quoting the Migration Project
  • III. The Big Checklist
  • Chapter 5 The Network Migration Checklist Explained
  • IV. Bringing It All Together
  • Chapter 6 Strategies for a Successful Zero Downtime Migration
  • V. Case Studies 
  • Chapter 7 Case Study #1: SBS 2003 – A Complicated Migration
  • Chapter 8 Case Study #2: SBS 2008 – A Simple Migration
  • VI. Cloud and Other Non-SBS Migrations
  • Chapter 9 Cloud Strategies, Cloud Migrations, and Hybrid Solutions
  • Chapter 10 Example Checklist for Migrating to Cloud Services
  • Chapter 11 Migrating to Microsoft Foundation Server
  • VII. SBS 2011 Essentials
  • Chapter 12: SBS Essentials: New Installations and Migrations
  • Chapter 13: Checklists for SBS Essentials Environments
  • Appendices
  •  A. The Big Checklist
  •  B. Procedure-Based Index to the Big Checklist
  •  C. Online Materials / Registering Your Book

Check it out now.

Total value of downloads within the Small Biz Thoughts Community is now over $3,375!

Join today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

SMB Roadshows - Only Two Left - Minneapolis October 12th

SMB Roadshow Minneapolis

October 12th

Killer Combo: Managed Services and Cloud Services

love the content of this year's SMB Roadshow.

We've only got TWO shows left this year. So if you haven't signed up yet, now is a great time. Here's what we're up to:

First, I cover a massive - but extremely important - topic: 

The 25 Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Running a Service Business

These are literally the rules I created in my own company. They are phrases and beliefs that summarize how a successful business works.

And I'll bet there are some real surprises in there.

I have tried to keep this presentation under two hours and I can't do it. Too many questions - and great audience participation. Plus - there are several slides that will pay for the cost of the seminar if you just follow that one piece of advice.

Our overall theme is about moving to the future and living in the new world that's emerging so fast. If your marketing used to work and hasn't performed so well lately, you might want to look at some of the new tips and techniques available today.

Finally, I close with a presentation on merging Cloud Services and Managed Services to create the Killer Combo. Again, I am sold on the exponential nature of change in our world today. This topic has been super fun because huge changes are happening all the time. I update my slide deck after every show!

How do you adopt exponential change into your business today?

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FAQs . . .

We get questions. Here are a few answers.

Q. Are there downloads?
A. Yes! Including slides, there are about 75 pages of downloads, including exercises and checklists.

Q. Is the seminar recorded?
A. Yes! We have audio recordings of the seminars - not video. In fact, some people like to listen to different cities. My material is a little different each time. And the Q and A is always different. So we'll post up several cities' recordings.

Q. If I signed up for one city, can I switch to another?
A. Yes! In fact, if you paid for one city, you can attend any other city at no additional charge. Not sure everyone needs that, but it's a "feature" we offer.

Q. If I sign up for a future city, can I access the downloads now?
A. Yes! When you sign up for any city, you'll receive information on accessing the attendee downloads page for the 2018 Roadshow. You will have access to all handouts, slides, and MP3 recordings.

Q. So do I have to show up?
A. No! You can treat this like a virtual seminar and I promise you'll still get your money's worth!

Q. I only see two more cities. Will you be adding cities?
A. No. 
At this point, we have added all the cities we can for 2018.

Bottom line for you: Sign Up NOW - that way, you won't miss this great show no matter what happens. Scheduled Cities:

  • Minneapolis - October 12th
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Registration is only $259 per person!  Register Today!


Monday, September 17, 2018

IT CEO Summit - Registration is Open!





Join us December 7th - Baltimore, MD

There Isn't an IT Business Building Event Like This Anywhere - Don't Miss It!

9:00am - 7:00pm December 7th, 2018 Baltimore, MD

Join us at the Westin Baltimore Washington Airport - BWI
1110 Old Elkridge Landing Road, Linthicum Heights, MD, 21090

This amazing one-day live event offers you a chance to learn the tips and techniques that result in stratospheric IT business growth from a team of the best and brightest subject matter experts in the industry.

Learn More!

Summit Goals
During this incredible event we’ll roll up our sleeves and work directly with you to identify new MSP, Security and Cloud MRR sales and service opportunities in your existing client base! You’ll gain a complete understanding of new, emerging technologies, products and solutions that comprise “low-hanging fruit” sales and service opportunities with your existing clients and new prospects.

We’ll train you on marketing, prospecting, qualifying and closing high-margin MRR IT services, then teach you to On-Board your clients and deliver these services effectively and efficiently! You’ll walk away with a brand new revenue forecast for existing customers, a step-by-step process to go after it, and the sales and service training to close and deliver it!

Summit Objectives

  • Develop a customized Client Solution Roadmap for your existing clients and identify additional Managed IT, Cloud, Security and other MRR services and drive 40% higher revenues
  • Learn best practices in Project Management to eliminate Scope Creep and Scope Seep to achieve the highest project margins
  • Supercharge your Sales Department and learn every step of the 7 step consultative sales process
  • Learn the secrets to pricing and proposal development that dramatically increase sales closes and profits
  • Get the blueprint for an amazingly profitable cloud practice
  • Discover how to make your work really flow through Agile Service Delivery
  • Walk away with The CEO Playbook for Stratospheric Success

Target Audience
This Strategic CEO Summit is the most exciting and effective new training event in the industry for IT CEOs and their Business Unit Leaders that are on a trajectory for profitable, sustainable growth. Our team of presenters are the most highly recognized and regarded subject-matter IT business improvement and transformation experts, consultants and coaches in the industry.

This Dream Team of professionals has come together to share with you their most effective and exclusive leadership, operations, marketing, sales and service delivery growth and improvement strategies normally reserved for their select consulting clients. Attendees will receive a truly unique and different learning and event experience delivered by the best and brightest industry thought leaders and innovators in the industry.

Our Featured Speakers and Subject-Matter Experts

Our Dream Team of presenters are the most highly recognized and regarded subject-matter IT business improvement and transformation experts, consultants and coaches in the industry.

James Kernan
Kernan Consulting
James' Speaker Bio

Karl W. Palachuk
Small Biz Thoughts
Karl's Speaker Bio

Manuel Palachuk
Manuel Palachuk International
Manuel's Speaker Bio

Dave Seibert
SMB TechFest
Dave's Speaker Bio

Erick Simpson
SPC International
Erick's Speaker Bio

IT CEO Success Summit


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Internet Domain Documentation Kit

Just added a totally new SOP-related product to the Small Biz Thoughts Community: The Internet Domain Documentation Kit.

One of the most important things you need to track for your clients is the information related to their Inter domain names. This is one of the most neglected - and most important - tasks you should undertake.

This kit includes:

- A PowerPoint slide you can customize. It's a brief description for clients.

- A PDF of the PPT above.

- A Word document to list the Internet domains managed for a specific client.

- A Word document to report detailed information per Internet domain.

Information collected/reported includes registrar, administrative contacts, domain name servers, DNS records, web hosting info, email hosting info, and hosted spam filter info.

Short Description: Workbook/Kit. Contains client-facing materials. All forms are customizable.

- - - - -

This item is only available inside the Small Biz Thoughts Community.

Everything on the "inside" of the Small Biz Thoughts Community is available to members in good standing at no additional charge.

The community already contains dozens of audio programs, books, SOPs, recorded classes, word documents, and more. The current value of downloads now exceeds $3,050 - and more content is being added all the time.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Happy Employees - Part Two

Last time (see Part One) I mentioned that you should create job descriptions that encourage the habits that allow people to excel and enjoy their jobs. People seek challenges. And they excel when the challenges have clear goals and good feedback mechanisms.

This SOP on employee reviews gives a good example of creating clear goals and feedback.

The piece of the puzzle you need to put together is to make sure that the people you hire are a good fit for the kind of work they're doing. After all, we all do very similar jobs. But you always excel at those things you enjoy the most.

I love the DiSC model for personality profiles. But there are plenty of others as well. While none of them is perfectly accurate, they can give you some insights into what prospective employees do well at. Let's look at three examples.

Employee One loves detail work. She loves to dig into numbers and lists and complex puzzles. She gets lost in her work when she's trying to piece together a big, messy project. She is happy when the bank accounts balance to the penny and everyone files their paperwork on time. Someone who begrudgingly pays attention to details would go insane with activities that make her happy.

Employee Two loves to follow rules. He never skips through the morning routine. You can rely on him to actually test every backup and look at every orange light in a monitoring board. He never lets it pass when a client casually mentions that a printer jammed two weeks ago. He might never get his time card in on time, but the clients love him because he's happiest when everything is done the "right" way.

Employee Three loves conquering monsters. He volunteers to take on impossible jobs. He learns the latest technology first. He will be the one to volunteer to drive four hours in an emergency. When the whole team is working on a project, he'll complete more tasks than anyone - every time. Most technicians are exhausted just thinking about keeping up with him. But he's bored to tears when he has to sit in a cubicle and check boxes.

You've probably met these three in some form. And you recognize both the upside and downside of each. Employee One will follow a process perfectly but resists changes in her environment. Employee Two execute checklists perfectly, but hates taking on new tasks. Employee Three never turns down a challenge - except doing the "boring" parts of his job.

In the excellent book Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the experience of getting so lost in your work that you lose track of time. People absorbed in their work stop hearing and seeing the world around them. They are hyper-focused and productive.

Some people refer to this as being "in the zone." When you can focus like a laser beam on the things you love doing, you do better work. You also get more accomplished, and you feel like a total winner when you're done. THAT is a great combination.

So, once you've created great jobs with challenges, goals, and feedback, the next challenge is to find the right people for each of those jobs. Don't gloss over the statements above where I point out that each of the three personality types would hate each others' job!

Another great book is Jim Collins' masterpiece, Good to Great. A great read, and a great audio book.

In Good to Great, Collins argues that you need to get the right people on the bus. In other words, hire good people. And then you need to make sure they're in the right seats. That is, make sure each of them is in the right role based on their personality and talents.

Warning: This includes YOU. If you hate dealing with finances, don't be the finance person. If you hate customer relations, don't be the CR manager. You need to excel at your job, just as your employees excel at theirs.

Getting the right people on the bus is easier (but still not easy) if you use personality profiles. But you can't be lazy. You also need to work on your interview skills or hire a human resources (HR) consultant to help you.

In my experience, the most powerful questions begin with the words, "Tell me about a time . . .." Such questions are open-ended, so they can't say yes or no. And if you're digging into a specific personality trait, this is their chance to tell you a story that illustrates that.

It's not fair to say that people lie in job interviews. But they want to come across as strong as possible. So if you want to know if they're detail oriented, they'll say "yes" and try to please you.

As a rule, people looking for a job want to appear competent and a good fit. So they may be blinded to the fact that getting a job you hate is 1% good (you got a job) and 99% bad (you hate it).

  • So . . . Tell me about a time when you had a bad client experience. How did you handle that?
  • Tell me about a time when you were handed a huge, overwhelming job that was over your head.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with another technician you didn't like.
  • Tell me what your perfect work week looks like.

One of my favorite employees over the years is Lana. She was an administrative assistant who worked in two of my companies at the same time (20 hours each). Whenever I gave her a task, she added it to her daily list and executed is perfectly. When she left, I literally found her drawer full of daily task lists. She printed one out every day and checked through them methodically.

What made her such a great fit is that she honestly loved her job. She was in the "Flow" every day. She lost herself in detailed work I could never do - and certainly would not do well. She was the perfect fit for that job. Doing it right, doing it well, and doing it one second faster than yesterday made her happy.

- - - - -

Hiring is an inexact science. You can use profiles and other tools to try to find the best fit. But sometimes you hire people who don't work out. And sometimes you put the right people in the wrong seats.

As a result, you have to keep working at it and fine-tuning it.

In Part Three of this series, I'll look at creating the culture that makes good employ relations a regular part of your workplace.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Happy Employees - Part One

Let me just start by stating that you can't make other people happy. Trust me on this. I've spent far too much of my life learning that lesson.

Having said that, there's a lot you can do as an owner or manager to create a workplace that supports your employees and lays the groundwork for what we know improves personal enjoyment and fulfillment. When your employees like their jobs, find them fulfilling, and enjoy coming to work every day, your business runs better.

There's a strange human dichotomy around work. People describe work as necessary, unpleasant, and yet somehow important. For some people, it's stressful, difficult, or even boring. And yet, work is far better suited to helping people feel personally fulfilled than their non-work lives.

People love to complain about work. Just look at Facebook posts on Friday. You would think these people are chained to a blast furnace. In fact, most of them are sitting in boring cubicles doing boring work that adds nothing to their personal fulfillment.

What Makes Work Enjoyable?

If you haven't read Drive by Daniel Pink, add that to your list right now. Then read it or listen to it. Or, if you are in a hurry, watch this great video on what motivates people:

Money motivates people . . . to a point. When people have "enough" money, then more money doesn't make them happier or their job more enjoyable. In fact, if a job requires significant thinking, higher rewards actually reduce productivity. Huh? Sorry. Just interesting science. It has been replicated many times across several disciplines.

So what makes work enjoyable? According to Pink, people are looking for autonomy (self direction), mastery, and purpose.

But it goes beyond that. Think about what gives you satisfaction in your work and life? Chances are pretty good that you enjoy a challenge. It should have clear goals. It should give you feedback, or involve other people who give you feedback.

When you look at your life (again, work and personal), you see that sitting on the couch, watching TV is really not very fulfilling. It might be a little numbing, but it doesn't really make your life better.

Now consider other activities you might have: learning to play an instrument; wood carving; painting; running a marathon or triathlon; gardening; fixing up cars; playing poker; sailing; etc. Even playing video games. All these activities are challenging. They have goals built in. They have feedback - either from the activity itself or from other people in the activity.

Many, many people participate in amazing activities for free in their spare time. They volunteer at home or in other countries. They climb mountains. They build houses for people. They bike a hundred - or a thousand - miles. They join competitions for chess, skiing, racing, knitting, welding, and tattooing. And they do this not to make money (in fact, most of these things cost money), but to be involved in a challenging activity with clear goals.

So the first step at creating a great work environment, where employees can be happy, is to create jobs that allow people to set goals, challenge themselves, and get feedback. This is more important for "information workers" than ever before. And we have the resources to make it happen.

Consider how you manage employees. Do you set goals for them, or just tell them what the job is? Goal setting is a critical part of creating motivated employees who enjoy their work. And while some metrics are pretty standardized (increase billable time, decrease costs, produce more), the best goals are personalized. Like, pass another certification. Or master a new technology.

Those goals are challenging and bring purpose to employees' work and life. But you also need to complete the loop and do the evaluation.

DON'T just say, "I need technicians who can troubleshoot technology" and leave it at that. Create jobs designed around the kinds of things that motivate people to do well and to love the work they do. Help them fine-tune the challenges. And give them regular feedback.

- - - - -

Everyone is fulfilled by something different. In part two of this series, I'll look at how to get the right people in the right seats.

Feedback welcome.


The ASCII Group Appoints 8 Members to New Executive Strategic Committee

I received this press release from my friends over at The ASCII Group. Congratulations to all members of the Executive Strategic Committee - several of whom are good friends of mine.

(My apologies. I received this last week while traveling and mostly ignoring email.)

- - - - -

The ASCII Group Appoints 8 Members to New Executive Strategic Committee

Bethesda, Maryland – September 5, 2018 -- The ASCII Group, a membership-based community of independent North American MSPs, VARs and Solution Providers, has announced the selection of 8 ASCII members to the newly created Executive Strategic Committee based on their knowledge and industry expertise. The Committee includes a select group of IT professionals from various sectors of technology, who will work in concert with Alan Weinberger, CEO of The ASCII Group, to provide insight and feedback on timely topics.

The new Executive Strategic Committee includes:

Joe Balsarotti, Software To Go – St. Peters, MO
Rene Barnes, Opus 1 Systems – Silver Spring, MD
Ryan Bowman, TCW Computer Systems – Mannheim, PA
Rayanne Buchianico, ABC Solutions LLC – Dunedin, FL
AJ Gyomber, Technology Visionaries – Woodbridge, NJ
Michael Kimmerly, Precision Computer Solutions – Port Huron, MI
Joshua Liberman, Net Sciences, Inc. – Albuquerque, NM
Joe Molick, Molick Enterprises – Ramona, CA

“The goal of the Executive Strategic Committee was to create a small sounding board, whereby appointed members could offer varying viewpoints and acumen,” said Weinberger. “With the Committee, The ASCII Group is reinforcing our focus on community.”   

About The ASCII Group, Inc:

The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, VARs and solution providers. The group has over 1,300 members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more.  ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Join Me on a Webinar with CompTIA: Welcome to the Exponential Century

Please join me for a very special webinar . . . and a peak into your future.

The CompTIA Managed Services committee and the Emerging Technology Committee have teamed up to bring you this special webinar: Welcome to the Exponential Century.

September 20, 2018
11 AM Pacific / 1 PM Central / 2 PM Eastern

Challenges and opportunities are expanding faster than ever for MSPs. Many technologies have reached exponential speeds of evolution: solar power, artificial intelligence, LED lighting, virtual reality, graphic processing, blockchain, robotics and more. Attend this webinar for a peek into our future.

In times of change, lots of people dig in to see how things settle down. Then they decide what direction they want to go. But that strategy may not work in the years to come. So much change, on so many fronts, will leave many people in the dust if they dig in and stay where they are.

As we've seen time and time again, companies have a tendency to hold on to today's money-making products and services rather than move to the emerging technologies that will be the money-makers of tomorrow. What's the right strategy? How do you know?

In periods of massive change, there's a lot of FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. I've got some tips on how to take advantage of the changes ahead. Your business will be very different five years from now. And that's true whether you choose your path with intention or respond to what others are doing.

Join us! If nothing else, you'll get some great insights about what your future will be.

Register here:


Wednesday: Seminar - How to Build a Profitable Online Store

I am honored to be a guest on Stephanie Chandler's Nonfiction Authors Association teleseminar to discuss the topic:

How to Build a Profitable Online Store

Stephanie is the founder of both the Nonfiction Authors Association and the Nonfiction Writers Conference.

She and I also just co-authored a new book - The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan: The Professional Guide to Profitable Self-Publishing.

That is due to be released September 26th. Presales are here now.

- - - - -

As many of you know, I have run an online book store for about thirteen years. I've made my share of mistakes. And it's not perfect. But it grosses over $175,000 per year. So, as they say, "It doesn't suck."

In this seminar, we'll talk about some of the most important things you need to consider when you launch and run an online store. Particularly with books, it's hard to make a living selling online. After all, every single person you know has heard of your competition: Amazon!

Anyway, I'll give some of my best advice on how you can make money with your online store. Check it out.

Info and Registration here.

Live access to Stephanie's weekly teleseminars is FREE. Event recordings are available to Authority, VIP, and Thought Leader members.


Sunday, September 09, 2018

New Low Price on the 4-Volume Set of SOPs!

The 4-volume set Managed Services Operations Manual has a new low price point!

This is basically the closest you're going to get to a business-in-a-box when it comes to managed services!

It really is the Operations Manual for running a modern, successful technology consulting business. Now only $199.95 for the four-volume set.

(Note: Prices haven't dropped yet at Amazon. But we don't sell directly to them, so we really don't control their pricing. I did send them a note about the lower prices.)

- - - - -

Every computer consultant, every managed service provider, every technical consulting company - every successful business - needs SOPs! One of the greatest books an entrepreneur can read is The Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber. The conclusion of that book is very powerful: Document your processes.

When you document your processes and procedures, you design a way for your company to have repeatable success. And as you fine-tune those processes and procedures, you become more successful, more efficient, and more profitable.

Topics in the 4-book set include:
  • Getting Started
  • Finances
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Client Management
  • Employees and H.R.
  • Company-wide Policies
  • Technical Support Policies and Procedures
  • Practical Examples
  • (Monthly Maintenance, Backup and Disaster Recovery, and more)
Almost every consultant I talk to or coach has the same issues: They need better procedures. They need better processes. They are too busy to create this stuff from scratch. Key pieces of knowledge are in one person's head (often the owner). That ties the owner to the company and limits growth. It also makes the owner the choke-point for everything in the organization.

This four-book set includes more than 1,300 pages and covers everything you need to set up, run, and fine-tune a great consulting business. PLUS there are dozens of downloads that include additional material, valuable checklists, Excel spreadsheets, and more.