Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Great Marketing Info: Tune Up Your YouTube Channel!

Starts Thursday. FREE to Small Biz Thoughts Community members.
Only $99 for others.

Introducing the all new
Tune Up Your YouTube Channel – 3-Week Mini Class.

Following up on the very popular mini-course on maximizing your Client Roadmap Process, this class is focused entirely on using YouTube effectively.

If you don’t have a YouTube channel, we’ll show you how to set it up right. We’ll talk about the graphic sizes you need for background images, how to set up playlists, and much more.

Most people don’t take advantage of all the features of YouTube, and therefore don’t get the great results they should. We’ll walk you through the process of posting your videos so you maximize visual appeal, keywords, and links back to your web site or other social media. With a checklist, of course!

If you don’t post a lot of videos, that’s okay. I'll give you a checklist for posting so you don’t forget to take advantage of all the options.

We will also walk you through the process of telling Google (YouTube’s owner) which Internet properties are yours so that you can link to them from your YouTube channel.

Finally, we’ll walk you through the process of using a video in your Google advertising. This boosts your video performance dramatically at almost no cost. And of course we’ll answer all your questions.

Three Days. All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific
  • December 6
  • December 13
  • December 20

This class is FREE for Small Biz Thoughts Community members. Members: Go to the Classes section and check out the Tune Up Your YouTube mini-class. Follow instructions to register for the webinar portion of the class.




:-)

Free Webinar: Five Greatest Challenges of Larger MSPs and Growing MSPs

Please check out my next FREE Webinar:

The Five Greatest Challenges of Larger MSPs and Growing MSPs

Wednesday, December 19th
9:00 AM Pacific / Noon Eastern



Most small business start out with one or two people and often stay at the one-two-three level for many years. But we've seen a great deal of growth among IT providers in the last few years.

As more and more MSPs grow their revenues to $1 million, $2 million, $5 million, and more, they also face some major challenges.

Join me for a look at the Five Greatest Challenges faced by growing MSPs. December 19th.

I've worked directly with dozens of IT companies, and indirectly with hundreds more. I've managed teams with millions in payroll. And I've seen the problems, challenges, and mistakes that keep them from achieving their best results. Plus, I've collected data on the challenges of thousands of MSPs worldwide.

I grew my first MSP business to just about one million ($960,000 revenue to be exact) with twelve employees before I sold it.

The largest team I've worked with was at HP's Roseville, CA plant. I managed the internal software support team there. I had 25 technicians on my team. We supported 5,000 desktops with a total of about 7,000 machines.

And as a coach I've worked with companies ranging from very small to just over fifty employees. I've helped companies grow significantly. And I've refused to work with a lot of companies that don't have what it takes to grow their businesses they way they say they want to.

The point is: I have experience working with IT consulting businesses of all sizes. And I can tell you, there are some challenges common to businesses that start to grow. You are familiar with your own challenges, but might be wondering whether everyone else goes through the same thing - And how to get through to the other side.

Join me for a look at the challenges of growing your IT company beyond the invisible (psychological) barriers at $1 million, $2 million, $5 million, $10 million, and beyond.

Most companies above $1 million/year in revenue are a lot less profitable than they should be. But that's not one of the five big challenges! It's just a result.

Join me to learn the five biggest challenges of growing your business - and the five changes that will get you un-stuck.

Sign up today and join me live on December 19th.

Note: Let me fast-forward to the last slide. I'm not trying to sell you coaching. I probably don't want to be your coach. I only take 1-2 coaching clients per year. I can refer you to a coach. But it's not me.

I just want to help you to become even more successful so you'll tell everyone else to buy all my books, take all my classes, and join my community.

-- -- --
Wednesday, December 19th
9:00 AM Pacific / Noon Eastern



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

:-)

Sunday, December 02, 2018

ALL Managed Services Operations Manual Books Now Available in the Community

Ta-Daaa!

It's finally done. I just posted Volume Four of the Managed Services Operations Manual in the Small Biz Thoughts Community. This is the audio book version.

That means you can download the entire 4-volume set in the SOP series as audio books.

. . . And that takes us to more than a dozen books you can download as audio programs or PDFs.

The audio programs each include the related checklists, SOPs, and other downloads that you would get if you purchased the books separately.

- - - - -

Please Note: I really want people to join the Community so they can interact, ask questions, attend classes, etc. But I know that some people just want to make sure they will get their money's worth.

Well . . . downloads in the Community now exceed $4,500 . . . and will soon top $5,000.

And we're not stopping. The web site is growing and growing. Traffic is skyrocketing. And Ruben and I are monitoring to make sure it all keeps working. So far, things are smooth.

If you're still unsure about the SBT Community, click this button to watch the intro videos:


I also have a bunch of Community videos on my YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/smallbizthoughts.

Membership has really started to grow. Stay tuned for announcements about some major changes coming soon. I'll be launching a quick monthly newsletter in the next week. There you can learn about the special Community Members Only deals for 2019.

Most of the "deals" really consist of "Available to members at no additional charge." As membership grows, we can afford to shift the business model to be more and more focused on providing additional benefits.

Note to Members:

Within the Karl's Korner forum, there are codes to get 20% off anything you need at SMB Books. And a code to get a massive discount on the 5-week classes.

But remember that 100% of everything you find in the Community can be downloaded at no additional charge.

Dig in and grow your business today!


:-)

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Make Someone's Life Healthier - Join Small Biz Thoughts

For just over a year now, we have been making regular contributions to provide clean drinking water to families in Cambodia. It's amazing what you can do for a few pennies here and there. We provide these contributions through a program called B1G1 - Buy One Give One.



As of December, we are adding another "giving" option. Whenever someone joins the Small Biz Thoughts Community, we are donating money to feed orphaned children in Thailand. Specifically, we'll donate enough for 50 meals.

We also commit to a minimum of 60 meals per month. You can see our giving stories at B1G1 by clicking in on the image. We also display them to the right on our blog site. As you can see, we have over 100,000 giving "impacts" in the last 15 months or so.

In the big picture, we are all one world. And I think we need to make it better in the ways we can.

If you want to contribute more to these causes, or see how you can get involved with B1G1, please follow that link.

. . . And if you want to join the Small Biz Thoughts Community - we'd love to have you!


Thursday, November 29, 2018

New Podcast: Successfully Implement Your Cloud Service Bundle

This morning I posted a new SMB Community Podcast with Dave Sobel, Senior Director of MSP Evangelism at SolarWinds MSP. It's the third installment in a six-part series entitled Remote Control Deep Dive: Build and Grow Your Business.

In the series, we're talking about how to get the most out of your remote control tools - and make more money.

Here, Dave talks about the role SolarWinds MSP's Take Control tool can play in implementing your cloud service offering - AND your policies around privacy and access to client machines.

Available as either a video or audio download.

Check it out today at www.smbcommunitypodcast.com or on iTunes. Just look for SMB Community Podcast.

The topics in this podcast series include:

- What to Look for In a Remote Support Tool
- Making Money - Break Fix vs. Managed Services
- Implementing Your Cloud Services Bundle
- Remote Control – A New Hope for Security
- Manage the Customer Experience/Manage the Customer Relationship
- Remote Control as the Ultimate Sales Tool

Tune in next Thursday for Episode Four . . . A New Hope for Security!

:-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Join Me at The Last Big Event of the Year - NexGen 2018 (free)

I just got off a prep call for the big NexGen Conference and Expo.

I am pleased to be speaking at NexGen twice in a few weeks.
December 10-11 in Anaheim, CA

Join Me!



The link up above has my discount code embedded. So when you follow that, you'll be able to register for FREE. Public disclosure: I don't get anything if you register with my code - except the everlasting love and appreciation of the organizers. :-)

This is a great event, and you should attend. You'll find lots of great information on new opportunities as well as today's best practices in managed services and cloud services.

There's lots of good, juicy information here: https://events.thechannelco.com/events/nexgen-conference-and-expo/about

If you use this link to register, my code is built in: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/331635?discountcode=SmallBiz

If you look around the site and then register, enter code SmallBiz to get in for FREE!

In addition to being the last big even of the year, this event really stands out with their focus on making money with emerging technologies. Last year at this event I saw the first presentation in our space about the click-by-click practical aspects of making money with IoT opportunities.

Check out the agenda.

Also, I'm speaking! Please come see me:

December 10 at 12:05 PM: Designing and Selling Recurring Revenue Programs That Work

December 11 at 2:45 PM: Cloud Is No Longer Optional--So You Might As Well Make Money

I promise you'll love this event. Please register, and use my code to get in free.

Chances are pretty good that this is your last event of the year. Join me live!

:-)

Friday, November 23, 2018

New Amazing 3-week Mini Class: Tune Up Your YouTube Channel

I just posted an announcement in the What's New section in the Small Biz Thoughts Community:

Introducing the all new Tune Up Your YouTube Channel – 3-Week Mini Class.

Following up on the very popular mini-course on maximizing your Client Roadmap Process, this class is focused entirely on using YouTube effectively.

If you don’t have a YouTube channel, we’ll show you how to set it up right. We’ll talk about the graphic sizes you need for background images, how to set up playlists, and much more.

Most people don’t take advantage of all the features of YouTube, and therefore don’t get the great results they should. We’ll walk you through the process of posting your videos so you maximize visual appeal, keywords, and links back to your web site or other social media. With a checklist, of course!

If you don’t post a lot of videos, that’s okay. I'll give you a checklist for posting so you don’t forget to take advantage of all the options.

We will also walk you through the process of telling Google (YouTube’s owner) which Internet properties are yours so that you can link to them from your YouTube channel.

Finally, we’ll walk you through the process of using a video in your Google advertising. This boosts your video performance dramatically at almost no cost. And of course we’ll answer all your questions.

Three Days. All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific


  • December 6
  • December 13
  • December 20

This class is FREE for Small Biz Thoughts Community members. Members: Go to the Classes section and check out the Tune Up Your YouTube mini-class. Follow instructions to register for the webinar portion of the class.



:-)

Advert: If you're going to pay $99/month for all these great classe, why not just pay $99/month and get all the content inside the SBT Community? Seriously.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Capterra Survey Reveals Risky Technology Decision-Making Among Small Businesses

Capterra sent over this press release and graphic. All this emerging technology is our future. What do you think?

-- -- --

Capterra Survey Reveals Risky Technology Decision-Making Among Small Businesses

Skepticism for AI, Chatbots, Digital Marketing and IoT Highest Among Trending Technologies

ARLINGTON, Va. November 20, 2018 - Capterra, the leading online resource for business software buyers, today released findings from its latest survey of more than 700 small and mid-size business leaders across vertical markets to understand how they manage technology investments, and the technologies they consider necessary for business now and in the future. The survey results highlight the strong appetite among SMB leaders to use the latest technology but with equal concern about making the right investment decision.

“Small businesses are in a precarious position: They must find and deploy technology that will keep them competitive against their peers and large enterprises,” said Lauren Maffeo,
Senior Content Analyst at Capterra. “Companies that wait five to seven years to adopt a new technology may never catch up to competitors that started sooner. Yet, small businesses have minimal margin for error when choosing the best technologies for their business needs.”

Technology is widely regarded among SMB leaders as a competitive advantage as well as a business challenge. Almost half of survey respondents (47%) factor technology trends and advancements into their strategic planning. For the second year in a row, choosing the right technology for their business is deemed a top business challenge among SMB leaders, with 19 percent saying it is their No. 1 challenge . In addition, one third of survey respondents said they are “solely responsible” for making technology purchasing decisions at their organizations.

“One of the biggest threats in the small business leader’s buying journey is making a technology investment decision in isolation,” adds Maffeo. “Shopping in a silo can prevent leadership from understanding what it takes for teams to get new technology up and running. They may not have the time, resources, or patience to adequately research and compare options. Small business leaders who make decisions alone may also lack expertise in the technologies they’re buying and have organizational ‘blind spots.’ All of these factors make communication with colleagues and industry peers essential during the buying process.”

Understanding the factors that contribute to these risks and opportunities is an important part of determining the right business strategy. These, along with insights into small business leaders’ sentiment towards today’s trending technologies, are revealed in Capterra’s latest survey:

Despite Consumer Demand, Small Businesses Hesitate to Invest in Chatbots
Chatbots, or conversational user interfaces, are becoming increasingly popular thanks to the personalized experiences they offer consumers. In fact, nearly 65 percent of U.S. millennials say they want to use chatbots when engaging with brands. However, less than 30 percent of small businesses in vertical segments such as Retail, Services, Construction, and Manufacturing are incorporating chatbots. Banking and Financial Services leads in chatbot adoption with 35 percent of SMB leaders indicating they are deploying chatbots. This presents a
significant gap – and potential lost business opportunity – for SMBs that don’t invest in chatbots technology.

Small Businesses are Overlooking Benefits of AI to Support Business Functions
AI continues to be the definition of hype for small businesses. Capterra’s survey found that fewer than one in five small business leaders use AI, yet many more acknowledge that it’s critical for their businesses. This mindset puts small businesses at risk of not investing in cloud software that incorporates AI. Small businesses should prioritize AI-enabled software when choosing among options for functions such as accounting, communication, CRM, and file storage and collaboration.

Small Business Leaders Are Investing in Digital Marketing and the IoT, But Don’t Yet Recognize Their Full Value
More than half of SMBs surveyed use digital marketing today. However, their perception of how essential it is to their business is much lower in every segment, minus Retail. This is because digital marketing is a term so broad that it can mean everything and nothing. Digital marketing is an evolving segment thanks to advancements in AI and analytics. Software features like sentiment analysis can help small business leaders tailor their marketing strategies based on audience segmentation.

Similarly, 47 percent of leaders surveyed say they’re currently using the IoT, yet only one in three (34 percent) say the IoT is critical for them to do business. In addition, more than one in five respondents (21 percent) have business staff handle their IT matters, which likely includes managing or supporting IoT solutions. This scenario introduces risk to small businesses since the IoT leverages business and customer data. It thus must be handled carefully from a breach and privacy perspective. Before making any IoT investments, business leaders must establish plans for IoT governance, data ownership and ethics, security, and architecture. Investments in the IoT will fail without a foundation to build on.

No two small businesses are alike, but understanding the latest technologies disrupting businesses big and small, and how to evaluate them for your own organization, is essential to helping small businesses grow. The full survey results can be viewed in today’s accompanying blog post, “Which Disruptive Technologies of the Future Should Your Small Business Adopt?”

Capterra conducted this survey among more than 715 U.S.-based business leaders in the U.S. between July-September 2018 with between two and 249 employees, and less than $100 million USD in enterprise-wide annual revenue. Respondents were required to be involved in purchasing technologies for their organizations and hold the role of Manager or above within their companies.

About Capterra

Capterra is the leading online resource for business software buyers. Founded in 1999, Capterra features validated user reviews and independent research across hundreds of software categories. From Accounting to Yoga Studio Management, Capterra covers it all. Each
month, Capterra helps more than three million buyers find the right software. Capterra is a Gartner company. For more information, visit Capterra.com.

:-)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Community Update - Fifteen Hours of Audio Plus Live Classes Added

I just posted a six minute Community News update video. Check it out:




Visit the Small Biz Thoughts Community at https://www.smallbizthoughts.org.

Here's the quick summary of content we've added this month:


  • Stay Focused on Your Business (audio program, 2017)
  • Managed Services Operations Manual, vol. 3 (audio book) 
  • Service Agreements Improved Managed Services (audio training)

Plus we are in the middle of the very popular Mini-Class Client Roadmap Deep Dive. Week One is recorded and ready to download in the Community. Week Two will be Wednesday, November 21st. 

I've gotten a number of questions about the Mini-Classes. So let me clarify. First, the mini-classes are for sale to non-members at $99 each. They are 100% free to Community members. 

Second, all mini-classes are recorded. They are available for immediate download. So, if you want to review the older classes, you can download them immediately as a member. If you are not a member, you cannot buy them anywhere at any price. Membership has its privileges.

The next mini-class (in December) is on Tuning Up Your YouTube. As always, guaranteed to be great content. If you're a member, you may also want to download the last mini-class: Local Advertising for ITpreneurs. This is a truly amazing class by Mark Smith from ChannelPro. I promise you'll learn something really cool in the first hour.

Tuesday, Nov. 20th we will post the audio program Perfect Profitable Projects – Audio program with Karl W. Palachuk and Matt Makowicz. This lengthy program originally sold for $400. Now it is exclusively available to members in the Small Biz Thoughts Community - for free.

If you get bored over the long Thanksgiving holiday, download a dozen hours of audio programming and enjoy!

I highly encourage you to bookmark and follow the "What's New" Blog for the SBT Community.

And if you're not a member, start with the video above. But you can a lot more information here.


:-)

Still Ignoring HIPAA? How about a $200,000 fine and being banned for life?

My friend Mike Semel is the premier authority on compliance issues in the U.S. He just posted this alarming article on the EMR (electronic medical records) and HIPAA web site.

https://www.emrandhipaa.com/mike/2018/11/15/a-hipaa-life-sentence-and-so-many-lessons/

I'll let you read the original article rather than reprint the whole thing here. But please heed the lessons.

Doctors who think they are exempt from HIPAA are fooling themselves.

Medical data companies who think they are exempt from HIPAA are fooling themselves. And criminally liable.

Technology consultants who ignore HIPAA are fighting with fire. Signing Business Associate Agreements are just the start. You need a real plan for compliance, and you need to document both remediation and ongoing compliance.

In this incident Mike discusses here, a medical transcription company breached the medical records of over 1,650. Their customer, Virtua Health, paid a $ 418,000 settlement for violations of both HIPAA and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

. . . and Tushar Mathur, owner of the medical transcription company, was fined $200,000 for HIPAA violations and consumer fraud - and agreed to a permanent ban on managing or owning a business in New Jersey.

I'm sure that's not something they expected!

Remember that local, state, and federal agencies can all enforce HIPAA compliance. They're taking this seriously whether you are or not.

While Mike's article is focused on buyers of consulting, the lessons are important for you as well. In many ways, it amounts to the ultimate "best practice" list for technology consultants. Check it out.

- - - - -

Mike Semel is the President and Chief Security Officer of Semel Consulting, focused on HIPAA and other compliance requirements; cyber security; and Business Continuity planning. He is a Certified Business Continuity Professional through the Disaster Recovery Institute, a Certified HIPAA Professional, Certified Security Compliance Specialist, and Certified Health IT Specialist.

Mike is also a forum leader inside the Small Biz Thoughts Community.

:-)