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.

:-)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Build a Business Relationship - Not Just a Technical One

Debbie Takes to the Cloud

I'm always telling people to build a business relationship with clients - not just a technology relationship. This is extremely important in times of change. (And constant change will be the name of the game for the rest of your life.)

Even though I refer to my first IT company as KPEnterprises, the full name was KPEnterprises Business Consulting, Inc. It was not technology consulting. It as business consulting. And clients took that seriously.

Here's the story of one client who made massive changes in her business simply because she trusted us to take care of her and her technology. Her name is Debbie and her company did marketing for new home developments. They went through some tough times when the housing market collapsed in 2008-2010.

One day, Debbie called us. She said that they were bleeding money and had to make major cuts. She had already laid off a few people. And, she said, “You need to help us save money.”

Her idea was that she could somehow reduce the amount of technology they had and therefore reduce the cost of maintaining it. My brother Manuel was President of my company at the time. He started a business-focused discussion with her.

Debbie revealed that their lease was almost up on their office and their big phone system. So she was planning to move to a smaller office and get a smaller phone system.

Manuel then pitched an idea for a virtual office. Because we had space in a data center, he told Debbie that she could save a lot of money by not paying rent on an expensive office the Bay Area. He told her we’d take care of her server and we'll put it in our colo. Then someday it’ll become virtualized; and some day it will simply cease to exist.

And he told her, “You won't care and you won't know the difference. You won’t have downtime, and we're going to take care of your data.” He told her to send her employees home and we’ll make sure they’re taken care of.

Note: At no point did we promise to cut the amount she paid us. After all, we were saving her lots of money on rent. Plus, we set them up with a hosted phone system, and unplugged their old one.

As Manuel will tell you, Debbie said yes to this idea right away, largely due to her long relationship with our company and the fact that we had been taking care of her technology for twelve years.

Eventually, Debbie actually moved to Connecticut and all her employees stayed in California. And everything just kept working. As promised, her machine was eventually retired and all her data and email moved to hosted cloud services.

Imagine the trust it takes to make that kind of a major change in your business. That's not something you do because the "computer guy" said so. But it is something you would do if a business consultant recommended.

:-)


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

It's Not Too Late - Move to Managed Services NOW

Please join me for this free webinar - with LOTS of give-aways . . .

In association with Zyxel Nebula

June 21, 2018
11:00 AM Pacific

Register Now


Zyxel is sponsoring this webinar. It's intended for folks who still haven't figured out how to be massively successful with managed services.

Making the move from “break/fix” customer support to a service contract model is a way to increase profit and improve customer relationships.  In this webinar, reveal how to make the move to managed services.

All attendees will receive a copy of my book: Managed Services in a Month as well a new 10 page guide on making the move to recurring revenue.


Providing Managed Services Webinar

Making the move from “break/fix” customer support to a service contract model is a way to increase profit and improve customer relationships.  In this webinar, I reveal how to make the move to managed services today.

All attendees will receive a FREE copy of Managed Services in a Month as well as my all-new 10-page guide to managed service.

All attendees will also receive a $10 Amazon gift card. Plus one lucky attendee will win a $1,000 gift card!

Please sign up today. I'll see you on the 21st!

:-)

Friday, June 08, 2018

Small Biz Thoughts Community - Q&A

This morning I held a quick webinar to talk about "what's inside" the Small Biz Thoughts Community. Just posted a recording of that on YouTube:





Here are the links that appear on the 5th slide:

Blog announcement:
http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2018/06/small-biz-thoughts-membership-site.html

Launch web site with intro videos:
https://smbbooks.net/sbt-community-launch


Or just go to the order page, read the terms of service, and sign up now:
https://www.smallbizthoughts.org/launch-order/


Please post questions here or email me directly.

:-)

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

My Favorite Marketing - 1.5 hr Training Video

I had a great turnout for the webinar this morning.

I rarely have such a quick turn-around to a live webinar, but it just worked out today. The recording is posted now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/smallbizthoughts.

This might have been stretched out a bit to two one-hour presentations, but I wanted to try to squish it all into one. So at an hour and a half, it's somewhere in the middle.

My three favorite kinds of marketing are: A regular newsletter; Direct mail; and Speaking or training. I talk about how I use all of these and throw in some best practices from my experience over the last 23 years.

Here's the replay (1.5 hours):




Along the way, I mention that I have a sample security training you can give to your clients and prospects. Here are the links I list in the video:

YouTube video of training - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSRkV4XylRg

Downloads at http://www.smallbizthoughts.com/events/Palachuk-SafeComputing.zip

Feedback welcome.



Next Webinar: Friday at 9 AM Pacific

Join me for a free webinar Friday

Introducing the Small Biz Thoughts Community Q and A !!!


-- All your questions answered
June 8th 10:00 AM Pacific
Register Now: Zoom Webinar

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hK4bUvYTQeappYZUxm-kAg

:-)

Monday, June 04, 2018

Four June Webinars - Join Me!



June has become the month for Webinars!

I have four scheduled this month. Please sign up for at least three (one's kind of a repeat).

All are free.

1. My Favorite Marketing!

Free Webinar - My Favorite Marketing Techniques
June 6th 9:00 AM Pacific
Register Now: Zoom Webinar

I'm going to present my three favorite marketing techniques. These techniques brought me almost every client I've signed to managed services for the last twenty-three years. This webinar will be about 45 minutes. But I'm going to stick around and answer all your questions.

See more details in this blog post.

- - - - -

2. Introducing the Small Biz Thoughts Community

Introducing the Small Biz Thoughts Community Q and A !!!
-- All your questions answered
June 8th 10:00 AM Pacific
Register Now: Zoom Webinar

Introducing the Small Biz Thoughts Community Q and A !!!
-- All your questions answered
June 19th 4:00 PM Pacific
Register Now: Zoom Webinar

Last Friday I announced my new membership community. See the blog post. See the video introduction.

These webinars are intended to give you some idea about what's on the inside and what we plan to do with the community going forward. And then I'm going to answer all your questions.

Note: The 4 PM Pacific time slot is for my friends in Australia and New Zealand.

- - - - -

3. It's Not Too Late - Move to Managed Services NOW  

In association with Zyxel Nebula
June 21, 2018 11:00 AM Pacific

Register Now

Zyxel is sponsoring this webinar. It's not about their product. It's intended for folks who still haven't figured out how to be massively successful with managed services.

If you're not sure whether break/fix or managed services is best for you, this webinar is for you. If you think managed services is for you, but you haven't figured out how to make it work profitably, then it's also for you.

If you run a super successful managed service business, then this is probably not for you. But Zyxel has a pretty cool offer you might be interested in.



:-)

Friday, June 01, 2018

Small Biz Thoughts Membership Site - Coming August 1st

As many of you know from discussions earlier this year,

I am launching a membership site!


(If you prefer a video-centric version of this blog post, please hop over to https://smbbooks.net/sbt-community-launch.)

What is the Small Biz Thoughts Community? 

Well, it has two primary components. First, it's a community. With luck, the community will have people interacting, meeting new people, sharing experiences, and helping each other learn new techniques to be successful going forward.

Our industry is in an era of massive change. Keeping up will not be easy. We will have educational components, training, live events, forums, contests, and more. When you say, "How do I make sure I didn't miss anything?" the answer will be: Check the Community!

The other component will be content. We will gradually add materials from my vast library of resources. This includes books, white papers, audio programs, recorded webinars, handouts, checklists, standard operating procedures, and more.

Plus, we're going to have something no one else has done in our community, ever: A Break Room. Details to be announced.

My personal mission is to inspire success through a combination of serving myself and serving others. Not sure about that? Read Relax Focus Succeed. That's been my mission for more than a dozen years.

I honestly and sincerely want YOU to be successful. I have dozens of emails from people telling me that they figured out cloud services because of my webinars, or they sold their first managed service offering because they were inspired by Managed Services in a Month. That's dozens of emails from this year, 2018. I have over a thousand emails like that from the last ten years.

When people ask me what I do, I say,

"I help technology consultants to be better at the business part of their business."



And after all these years, that adds up to this project: Community and Content. The benefits are obvious: Make more money while we engage in building and maintaining a community of technology consultants that is ever-changing and ever-learning.

This is critically important in an era of Exponential Change. If you want some information about the tip of the iceberg regarding this era of exponential growth, please check out my January presentation on the State of the Nation Address for 2018.

The bottom line for YOU is that you need to figure out how to guarantee your success going forward. You need to maintain your skills. You need to grow the skills within you company. You need to figure out how to survive and thrive in an ever-shifting environment. The SBT Community is dedicated to your success.

In a perfect world, every single member of this group will have the skills, processes, and habits that will allow them to retire wealthy. I can't promise that, of course. You have to do your part. This is absolutely not a get-rich-quick scheme.

My entire approach to success is this: Go to work. Work really hard. Go home. Have a life. Enjoy your life. Then go to work the next day, work your ass off, and do it all again. Rinse and repeat for twenty years.

Simple, right? The point is, you have to work really hard.

But I'm here to help. And my vision is that the SBT Community will be here to help.

How are we different? Well . . . we're going to have . . .

  • Massive amounts of content
  • Fresh Content
  • Great forums (special interest groups)
  • No vendor advertisements*
  • Thousands of pages of checklists, worksheets, documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, etc.
  • New, fresh, interactive events every month
  • (Eventually) ALL of my works. All of my books. All of my presentations. All of my checklists. All of my recorded content. All of my audio programs. All of my webinars. etc.
* Vendors are absolutely welcome! But we're not selling advertising inside the community. I want a community built by and for the members. Vendors are extremely important to your business, so we'll welcome them to participate. We just won't have a site that looks like Times Square, filled with so many ads that you can't find the content.


Our Challenge is to help you to be successful in the ever-changing Exponential Century.

If you're one of the 75,000 I.T. professionals I'm connected with by email or social media, then you know that I've been educating and building this community for almost fifteen years. No one provides more education than we do. No one provides more free content than we do. No one has sold more books focused on Managed Services than I have. This is literally all I do!

As a result, you can count on me to work full time to make this community work, to make YOUR business successful, and to help you keep up with the new, emerging technologies that will make your successful in the years ahead.

Our goal is very simple:

The Small Biz Thoughts Community keeps you profitable 
on the cutting edge of technology consulting.

- - - - -

Enough build-up. Here's what we're doing.

I'm launching the site August 1st. But I'm pre-launching the site today. Here's what it's going to look like. "Standard" pricing will begin September 1st. Standard pricing will be:

•       Monthly Price: Only $99 (one year commitment)
•       Annual Price: Only $999 (Save 16% with annual membership)

But of course I have a "Launch" bonus.

If you sign up in the month of August, and buy the annual membership, I'm going to give you three additional months for free. So August pricing looks like this:


August Price - Save Big

  • Monthly Price: Only $99 (one year commitment)
  • Annual Price: Only $999
  • Bonus: 3 additional months FREE
    (15 months for the price of 12)
  • Save 33% with annual membership!
  • Founding Member Status

You can save even more if you buy before the site is actually launched! You can save $100 more by purchasing in July:


July Price - Save Bigger

  • Annual Price: Only $899
  • Bonus: 3 additional months FREE
    (15 months for the price of 12)
  • Save 39%!
  • Founding Member Status


And, finally, you can save even more if you buy right now! You can save $200 more by purchasing in June:


June Price - Save Biggest

  • Annual Price: Only $799
  • Bonus: 3 additional months FREE
    (15 months for the price of 12)
  • Save 46%!
  • Founding Member Status



The bottom line is simple: The sooner you sign up, the better for you!




Go to the sales page here: Sign Up Today

Note that prices go UP July 1st. Check it out today.

:-)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

I've Been Replaced by a Robot!

Oh no.

I've been replaced by a robot.

My latest SOP video has just been posted. Of course I welcome your feedback on the content (Is it worthwhile to do a lengthy monthly maintenance?).

But more importantly, I would like your feedback on my new robot. Right now he doesn't have a name. That seems to be a bone of contention.

Anyway . . .

I held a design contest and picked this guy because he has lots of joints. So, theoretically, we can make him walk, dance, climb stairs, or whatever we choose to do. I handed the Adobe Illustrator files over to my assistant Kara and said, "See what you can do with this."

I posted her first trial video on Facebook. It was very cool.

Then I started wondering what else we could do with him. I've calling him a him for no reason.

Here's the latest SOP Video:

(also see all my other videos on my YouTube channel)


I really want your feedback.

Does the robot "work" for videos like this?

Do you think it would be better for shorter content (60 seconds or less)?

Do you like it? Do you hate it? Is it just a distraction?

Does he need a name?

Creating a video like this takes a lot more time than just having me stand in front of my mural, of course. Kara hasn't told me the total time so far. But it's not zero, so it also costs money.

Please send me any thoughts you have.

- - - - -

How Kara Did This

This video was made with a program in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite called Character Animator CC.

It’s actually way cooler than it looks. When you bring it up, it uses the camera to identify your features. Then you associate actions (smile, frown, raise eyebrows, etc.) with graphic components. If you look left, it looks left. If you move your head, it moves it’s head.

The lip sync on this would be much better if I had recorded it with a camera in the program. But I just gave Kara an audio file and she did this.

The program comes with a sample character you can animate in order to learn the program. . . . Just playing around to see if it works for marketing. 

More info at https://www.adobe.com/products/character-animator.html

If you have the Adobe cloud suite, you already have the right to install this program.

. . . Just don't blame me if you waste a bunch of time on it.

:-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Free Webinar - My Favorite Marketing Techniques - June 6th

Heads UP! I'm doing a marketing webinar.

I get asked a lot about marketing and I don't have much to say. I did build one good-sized managed service business (my second was intended to be small but super-profitable). I grew KPEnterprises to twelve employees and about $960,000 in revenue.

So I have a few things I did with marketing that I would do again.

After mentioning this on a call some time ago, I said I'd put together a webinar on "Everything" I know about marketing. Enough people said they'd sign up . . . so I'm putting it together. Well here it is:

Topic: My Favorite Marketing Techniques
Jun 6, 2018
9:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)


Register in advance for this webinar:
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_P27BHfhBR_W7rD4BNAuLyA

I'm going to present my three favorite marketing techniques. These techniques brought me almost every client I've signed to managed services for the last twenty-three years.

This webinar will be about 45 minutes. But I'm going to stick around and answer all your questions.


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

This webinar is free.

Join me live!

:-)