Monday, March 02, 2015

Get Your Website Mobile-Friendly or Pay the Price

Google normally doesn't talk about the secret recipe for a good ranking on your web page. That's why SEO snake oil salesman can convince business owners to buy their wares.

But last week they telescoped exactly what they're up regarding mobile-friendly site. Starting April 21st, your web site will have a higher Google ranking if it's considered mobile friendly.


You can test your sites here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Just type in your domain name and click the "Analyze" button. Note that you may need to put in the full address of www.domain.com rather than just the domain such as domain.com.
Test your web site for mobile friendliness
Test Your Site for Mobile Friendliness


If you fail, Google will give you some tips, such as:
- Text too small to read
- Links too close together
- Mobile viewport not set

The analyzer will also point you to details on how to fix your site.

One of the best resources, of course, is the Google Webmaster Blog. Here's their recent post on Finding More Moble-Friendly Search Results.


One of the elements of a good mobile friendly site is App Indexing, and the Webmaster Toolkit also points you to a step-by-step guide for this on the developer site.


The bottom line:

You will take a hit soon if your site is not mobile friendly. You might need to use a different template, install some different options, or simply change a little formatting.

Obviouly, if you're not the web developer, you need to find someone who is . . . and avoid the scammers. Unfortunately, those people now have even more fodder to scare people into buying their services. But at least now there's something useful they can actually do to improve a site's ranking.

- - - - -

Thanks to this blog post for getting me started on this topic: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/02/26/google-will-rank-your-site-higher-if-its-mobile-friendly-starting-april-21/.

- - - - -

:-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Next Globalization of SMB Webinar: Building a Business with Overseas Resources

Next Show:

February 24, 2014

Ken Edwards, Maverick Mesa
Join us February 24th at 10 AM Pacific as we talk to Ken Edwards from Maverick Mesa Computers.
Ken is well known in the I.T. community as a managed service provider. But he's been working on a different kind of business for many years. Five years ago I interviewed Ken about working with companies overseas to develop products and bring them to market.
Ken now has a healthy "second" business working with companies to create specialty products that he sells online. He has a store on Amazon and his products come up very high on searches.
We'll talk to Ken about traveling to China to work with manufacturers to create products that stand out from the crowd. And we'll find out what he's learned as a small I.T. consultant about working in the global market.
- - - - -
Enjoy recordings from past Globalization of SMB shows at http://www.smallbizthoughts.com/events/global/
See what's next on Globalization of SMB at http://www.smallbizthoughts.com/events/global/

Monday, February 23, 2015

ChannelPro Announces Job Board for IT Professionals

Received this memo today . . . from ChannelPro Network:

 - - - - -

jobs.channelpronetwork.com
More Results. Better Jobs.

Created For You 

A NEW Job Board for IT Professionals


The ChannelPro Network is introducing a new service, created specifically with you in mind.

ChannelPro Jobs connects skilled IT professionals with the SMB employers who value their experience - helping job seekers find their dream job and employers find their perfect hire!

Sign up here and get started today - make the connections!

Employers
- A simplified recruiting process
- Fast and easy - post a job online in minutes
- Find the candidates you're looking for
- ChannelPro Jobs is built specifically for this industry

Collaborative online tool lets you manage your recruitment process from start to finish

Job Seekers
- Find your dream job
- Post your resume and cover letter ... FREE
- Create a job agent and receive email notifications when new jobs meet your criteria
- Search jobs by location, company, salary, category and more!

Make the connections with the right people.Click here to get started with your NEW recruitment tool.

- - - - -

Note: I would love to hear your stories. So if anyone uses this new service, drop me a line! Good luck.

- karlp

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lessons from the Electrician

I had a very interesting experience yesterday that demonstrated many lessons for those of us in any service business - including managed I.T. services.

We recently moved into an older house and I wanted to do some upgrades to the electrical wiring. Most of the outlets in the house have two wires and no ground. My assumption is that those with three pronged outlets were simply not grounded. I wanted to add some guaranteed grounded outlets to the main office area and my study - plus add a drop for a hot tub later down the road.

I knew the project would be expensive but I don't know enough to know how expensive.

Enter Electrician One. I explained what I wanted to do. He looked at the electrical box and told me that it was "old and full" but he could make it work. He started talking about a $1,200 price tag. But as we talked more, he talked himself down to a $900 price. And eventually he said he could do it all for $800.

I had already checked out his contractor's license online so I knew he was licensed and bonded. In absence of any other information, I took his quote at face value.

Enter Electrician Two. Well, Electricians Two. Two guys showed up. They put on booty covers to cover their feet as they entered the house. I told them what I wanted. They immediately demonstrated that they were miles ahead of the competition.

First, they took off some receptacle cover plates and looked inside to check out my assumptions about the grounding. They used a ground fault tester to verify that the outlets were not ground properly. I had done this with a basic tester that simply said "ground fault." But they found some grounding, which means that incomplete grounding is taking place due to the wiring practices of the 1960's. The outlets had three-wire romex, could be grounded easily, but were not grounded.

Second, they looked at the electrical box and said that it needed to be replaced. They recommended a 125 amp box, which could be got at a reasonable price. BUT it meant that they had to patch the wall where the old one comes out. AND they would need to upgrade the connection to the electrical utility.

Third, we had a lengthy discussion about the wiring options for the hot tub. They recommended setting it up so that any hot tub we bought could be connected legally and safely.

Fourth, they said that we didn't have to add all the circuits I originally asked for. They recommended setting up three sets of outlets (as I wanted) but putting them all on one 20-amp circuit.

Fifth, they want to set up a ground system that brings the water heater and HVAC into alignment with modern code and safety standards.

Total estimate: $8,300. Yes. Ten times more than the Electrician One.


What I Learned

Which quote am I most likely to go with? Sadly for me, it's the more expensive one. (In reality, we're discussing a 10% discount from that. But $7,500 is still a lot of money.)

Electrician One is very much like the consultant who starts with some false assumptions.

False Assumption One: It's all about the money. I don't want the house to burn down. I don't want a half-baked job. I don't know all the troubles that could come my way. And if the second quote was a few hundred dollars different, I might go with the $800 quote. But the difference so dramatic that I have to take the higher quote seriously.

False Assumption Two: The buyer wants to make the old equipment last longer. If the old box had five open slots and was in great shape, things might be different. But it was already full and I don't know what he had in mind to make it expand to fit my needs.

False Assumption Three: The buyer knows what's going on and what needs to be done. I know enough to know what I think I want. But on one hand I was asking for more than I needed. And on the other hand, I had no idea what I already had. The grounding issue turned out to be minor. But Electrician One didn't do the simplest test to verify that I know what I think I know.

Electrician One made this all about money. And left potentially $7,500 on the table.

Electricians Two were far more professional in every way. They worked from assumptions of success.

Successful Assumption One: We're going to do the job right. There is a right way to do this. It's in the client's best interest to do it the right way. Avoid the discussion of "can we do it cheaper?" until the client brings it up.

Successful Assumption Two: Know what you know. Unless your client is in your business, verify that what they tell you is accurate. It's not that the client's lying, but they simply don't know. (And even if they're in your business, it's still good to verify.)

Successful Assumption Three: Deliver your pricing very matter-of-factly and without apologies. This company actually had a very good technique: They pre-printed several common tasks and listed a high/low range for each. Then they quoted the low end of that range.

Electricians Two also added an overall air of professionalism in how they presented themselves and their work. There was no talk about cutting corners. They didn't say so, but I found myself comparing their professionalism to their competition.


A Few Final Thoughts

Well now I'm better educated but still confused. Now I have to get a third quote and hope it's close to the higher quote but gives me some leverage to negotiate the price.

But think about the successful approach of Electricians Two. They are the front runners for this job even though they are ten times as expensive. And even if they get rejected in favor of the other guys, it's okay. They can get rejected for nine jobs at $800 each and still come out ahead with one job at $8,300.

They work from a mentality of abundance and not a mentality of scarcity.

I hope my neighbors use the expensive electricians and not the cheap ones. I don't want fire from their house to jump over to mine!

:-)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Great Webinar: Process Control for the I.T. Industry

I've mentioned this before, but let me repeat it here: My brother Manuel is one of the best Process Control experts you'll ever come across. I have seen him do wonders for my MSP business (when he was Service Manager and later President), and other MSPs he has worked with.

Now he's putting on a webinar with Autotask entitled


Process Control for the IT Industry –Turbocharging Your Work-flow

February 24, 201511:00 AM Eastern

If you have not thought of process control as a key initiative for your IT Service business, please join Manuel for this insightful webinar where he will clarify exactly where process control fits in your business, and your role and how to get started utilizing some powerful habits.

From the ROI of process control to getting everyone on board, this presentation lays out the path to success for building a culture of continuous improvement in everything from your work-flows to your projects. Regardless of the size of your company, if you want to have any hope at making order out of chaos in your companies most important processes, you must start here.

Manuel will be joined by Autotask’s Sr. VP of Community and Business Development, Len DiCostanzo, to share:
  • The ROI of process control for your company
  • Why document your process
  • Exactly where to start
  • Training your team and getting everyone on board
  • Components of a quality project process
  • Tuning your daily work-flows
  • How to automate and scale your process
Check it out and sign up today.

You can find out more about Manuel at www.ManuelPalachuk.com.

:-)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day - I Hope Your Business Misses You

Your business misses you.

After all, you're not IN IT every day, right?

You're working ON your business rather than working IN your business. Right?

Of course there's always a balance in small business. If you're 75-90% in the business, then you need to change something. If you spend 75-90% of your time working on your business, then you're doing great.


NOW is a great time to start working ON your business.

As a Valentine's Day gift to you and your business, save 20% all weekend with the checkout code VDAY4myMSP. Just go to www.smbbooks.com and start improving your business today!

That's good for . . .


  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • 5-Week Classes
  • Books on Managed Services
  • Books on Sales and Marketing
  • White Papers
  • Audio and Video trainings
  • ... and more!
Happy Valentine's Day!

:-)



Thursday, February 05, 2015

Course Syllabus: Managed Services in a Month - Applying the Book

Just finished the syllabus for my new course: Managed Services in a Month - Applying the Book.

I am very excited about this. It will be an extremely hands-on class. That is, your hands on your business. You will go through exercises to define your new offerings, new pricing, new contracts, and even define your new clients.

I will also present several pricing model options. Everyone does this differently, so you'll walk through exercises to see what makes the most sense for you.

And this is the first time I will be formally presenting our Cloud Five-Pack offering with all the details. Our most popular - and profitable - cloud offering is our Cloud Five-Pack. We'll walk through all the details on creating your own offering.

Whether you are NEW to Managed Services and want to avoid all the mistakes you need to be successful, or you have a business that still relies too much on Break/Fix work, this class will give you a huge push to becoming a true Managed Service Provider.

This is  a five-week class. It meets 9:00-9:50 AM Pacific time on Tuesdays.

The class starts February 17th.

More details at GreatLittleSeminar.com.

The Price is Only $199. 


Satisfaction is Guaranteed.


Register Now

Managed Services relies on recurring revenue and virtually guarantee profitability. Join us!

Here's the syllabus:


Course Number: 5W09 - Managed Services in a Month - Applying the Book
Instructor/Coach: Karl W. Palachuk
Office: Online
Office Phone: 916-217-9432
Office Hours: By Appointment
E-Mail Address: karlp@smallbizthoughts.com


DESCRIPTION: 

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.

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.

The Big Goal

This class is literally designed to step you through the process of converting your existing business to a 100% Managed Service business.

If you are brand new and have no business, you will still learn a great deal about running a modern Managed Service business - and avoid a LOT of errors by not having to make all the mistakes yourself before you head in the right direction.

At the end of this course you WILL have:

- An Offer - What you will sell from now on
- A Service Agreement for clients to sign
- A Clean Client list - with only profitable clients
- A Plan to implement your strategy
AND probably at least one or two signed Managed Service agreements

This course is VERY hands-on. We will go through very specific exercises to weed through your clients, define your offering, figure out pricing that works for you, create a service agreement, implement all of that, and make more money!


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

Course Content Outline:
Week 1: Introduction and Jumping Right In
- The Scene Today
- What we Have Sold and what we Will Sell
- The roll of cloud computing
- Preparing the "Managed Services" in the next month

See Handouts, Worksheets, and additional Recommended Reading at www.GreatLittleSeminar.com.

Week 2: Defining Your Business from Every Angle
- Who you are and who you will be
- What you sell
- Per User or Per Device?
- Who you sell it to
- Weeding Your Client Garden
- … The Plan Continues

Week 3: Defining Your Plan(s)
- Write Your Service Agreement
- First Draft: Pricing Plan
- Detailed Cloud Option: The Cloud Five Pack
- Objections - real and imagined
- One more time: What's covered? Can you make money with that?

Week 4: Executing the Plan!
- Scheduling Client Meetings
- Create a Plan; Execute It
- Signing deals
- After the sale
- Profitable transitions to Managed Services

Week 5: Running Profitably with Managed Service
- The Right Tools for the job
- Tweaking your offering(s)
- Building an Action Plan
- Your Business from Now ON

Only $199

Register Now


Monday, February 02, 2015

All New Content: SMB Online Conference 2015 - Time To Thrive

I am extremely proud to announce that we have an amazing line-up for the 2015 SMB Online Conference. Our theme this year is Time to Thrive.
This is the year.

Really.

There are very few moments in your life when you will look back and say "That was a great opportunity." 

2015 is one of those years. The economy is picking up. There's still a huge pent-up demand from the long recession. Windows Server 2003 will be end-of-life in July. Cloud opportunities abound.

In addition to some just plain amazing people you've met before, this year's conference will feature some new voices to the SMB community. 

You only have so many opportunities in your career to make significant leaps forward. This will be a watershed year for many businesses. Will it be that for you?

Registration is Open for the 2015 SMB Online Conference!

Register Now
Here's the deal:

1) The absolute best price is right now.

2) The price WILL go up.

3) The first 50 people who register will get an amazing deal of only $99 per person.

4) Register early and you won't be disappointed.

We're going to create videos and Google ads and have a huge audience this year. But the first fifty people will definitely get the best deal. As a subscriber to my newsletter, I hope you'll one of those fifty.

Register Now. I promise you'll get amazing value from this conference.

Here are the speakers we've lined up so far . . . More to come:


  • Karl W. Palachuk - Author, Managed Service Provider
  • John Armato - Senior Vice President & Senior Partner, Creative Strategist Fleishman-Hillard International Communications
  • Amy Babinchak - Small Business MVP. Owner of Harbor Computer Services and Third Tier
  • Rayanne Buchianico - Accountant and MSP Business Consultant
  • Gil Cargill - Sales coach and consultant
  • Robert Crane - SharePoint Expert, Office365 Expert, Microsoft MVP
  • Bryan Currier - CEO, Advantage Technologies. President, Dental Integrators Association.
  • Manuel Palachuk - Author, Business Coach for IT Consultants
  • Josh Peterson - Professional Coach and Business Consultant
  • Dave Seibert - Community leader, Microsoft MVP, Author, speaker
  • Vince Tinnirello - CEO of Anchor Network Solutions, Inc. Community Leader
  • And more!


:-)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Free Webinar: 5 Benefits Integrated CRM Brings to the IT Services Provider

Please mark your calendars for a free webinar with Results Software.

We use Result CRM in-house. We're just learning about the newest version. So I asked Sam to put together a webinar that is NOT a salesy tour of the menu options. 

This webinar will focus on the benefits of CRM and how you can make money selling CRM solutions to your clients. If you've only used Microsoft CRM, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the flexibility, power, and ease of use of Results.

(No, I'm not being paid to say that.)

Details:

5 Benefits Integrated CRM Brings to the IT Services Provider

Free Educational Webinar

February 9th 

1:00 PM Eastern / 10 AM Pacific




Join us on Monday, February 9th and learn how companies use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to simplify their day to day operations and build successful and profitable business relationships. In this webinar we will take you above the hype to learn what CRM is and why it is relevant and important to you and your clients. 

We will also explore how to identify when a CRM solution is needed, using actual case studies and real life examples.  You’ll also learn how traditional CRM has evolved and the important differentiators of today’s Integrated CRM systems.

If your business goals include learning about the tools that can help your clients save time and money, increase growth and improve their operations, you won’t want to miss this dynamic webinar!

Join Sam Saab, President & Founder of Results Software, to explore:

  • What is CRM?
  • Why is CRM relevant and important?
  • Signs that a CRM Solution is Needed
  • The Case for Integrated CRM
  • Offering your Clients an Integrated CRM 
  • Interactive Q&A
Register Now

Your Hosts:

Sam Saab, President & Founder of Results Software

Sam Saab is passionate about helping businesses succeed! Sam is a recognized pioneer in the CRM industry and office automation technologies. In 2002, Sam developed and launched Results CRM as an integrated business solution that helps businesses centralize their data, streamline their operations and improve their business relationships. Sam is a national speaker and published author on CRM topics including business growth strategies, office automation, virtual offices, boosting sales and gaining a competitive advantage. 

For more information about Sam Saab, please visit www.SamSaab.com.


Karl W. Palachuk, Small Biz Thoughts

Karl W. Palachuk, is a technology consultant, author, speaker, trainer, and coach. He is the author of fifteen books. He has built several successful businesses, including two managed services companies. His books include Managed Services in a Month and The Network Documentation Workbook. Karl is a frequent trainer and speaker in the SMB Community. His popular blog can be found at SmallBizThoughts.com. He has more than twenty years experience as an I.T. professional and serves on advisory panels for several hardware and software companies.


:-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Final January Webinar - Migrating off Windows 2003 Servers - Zynstra, HP, Hybrid Clouds

PLEASE don't miss our final January Webinar with Zynstra on Thursday, January 29th at 9:00 AM Pacific!

Register for the Free Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/564255437079256322

All month long, we've doing webinars with the Zynstra Hybrid Cloud team to explore how you can generate massive new revenue in 2015 with Zynstra Hybrid Cloud solutions.

Each week we've gone deeper into the Zynstra appliances. We've done a test drive. We've looked a pricing configurators. And we've answered lots of questions.

Tomorrow we're going to do a little Windows Server 2003 themed workshop. Windows Server 2003 is at "End of Life" this year and yet 40% of the servers out there are still WS03. What's your solution?

The agenda is:

- Recap on Zynstra and their principle deployment partner MyCloudMSP

- SBS and WS2003 - Intro and "Is it a real opportunity?"

- Explore Options for those still on WS03 (Transaction or as a service; On premise or in cloud; How to decide?)

- Qualifying best approach for your customers

- Audience feedback on opportunity

- Generating a proposal

- Technical Q & A

This is particularly timely since HP just announced "Operation Crescendo" to capture $1 billion in sales for HP and their partners. Microsoft has vowed that the world is really coming to an end for WS03 on July 14, 2015. See the CRN article here:

http://www.crn.com/news/applications-os/300075492/hp-launches-1-billion-operation-crescendo-windows-server-2003-upgrade-offensive.htm


Previous Webinars

You can view two of our previous webinars on my YouTube channel, including the webinar from last week on the size/price configurator tool. The videos are here:

Webinar 1 - Hybrid Cloud Opportunities with Zynstra

Webinar 2 - Hybrid Cloud Opportunities


Join us and find out why Hybrid Cloud simply IS the way technology will be delivered from now on.

Thursday
January 29th
9:00 AM PST

Register for the Free Webinar:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/564255437079256322