Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Note to Our Friends in the UK and EU about Brexit and Our Supply Chain

I feel absurdly "corporate" having to write this notice. I will repeat it in my newsletter.

This note applies to all our our friends in the European Union and, to a lesser extent, the UK.

If the British Parliament does nothing, Britain will "crash out" of the EU on March 31st. As a result, our printers and shippers will be governed (to the best of our knowledge) by the trade rules of the World Trade Organisation.

Of course, any agreements or individual rules or laws by any affected nation will supersede the WTO rules. Right now, we are proceeding as if there will be no change and that Britain will Brexit with a crash.

To the best of our knowledge, here's how Brexit will affect book purchases from Small Biz Thoughts and SMB Books (www.smbbooks.com):

If you are in the UK:

- If you order directly from us, we will print books in England and ship them within England. We do not know how shipping prices will be affected, but book delivery will continue as normal. Expect delays at least through the end of April.

- If you order from Amazon or other online stores: You should see no changes, although there may be delays as Amazon and others determine their supply chain changes. Our best guess is that book delivery will continue as normal.  Expect delays at least through the end of April.

If you are in the rest of the EU:

- If you order directly from us, we will print books in Germany and ship them within the EU. We do not know how shipping prices will be affected, but book delivery will continue as normal. Expect delays at least through the end of April.

- If you order from Amazon or other online stores: You should see no changes, although there may be delays as Amazon and others determine their supply chain changes. Our best guess is that book delivery will continue as normal. Expect delays at least through the end of April.

Supply Chain Note

Wherever books are printed, our attempt will always be to minimize taxes and import fees. Having said that, paper, ink, glue, and other materials related to book production may cross international boundaries more than once in the production of books.

As a result, the cost of production will be affected. Supply chains may move, affecting costs again. In the best case scenario, we expect the changes to come in waves as various pieces of the supply chain figure out the best processes for supplying quality merchandise at a reasonable price.

We are in the odd position of having no control over any piece of the production except the final cost. So . . .

We Are Freezing Prices

We will probably lose money on certain purchases during the transition to a more stable business environment, but we simply cannot change prices every week in response to whatever is going on in the market. 

Therefore, we are freezing prices on all books in the EU and UK until everything settles down. I expect this will be at least four or five months. 

Once we believe things have settled down and we know what our new cost of production and shipping will be, we will adjust prices. In a perfect world, they will stay the same. But I certainly can't promise that.

Note also that we have no control over Amazon's pricing or shipping policies. Freezing our pricing at the print level affects one piece of their pricing model. Everything else is in just as much flux as the rest of the supply chain.

Consider an E-Book

Whether it's Kindle, Audible, or a PDF from our web site, please consider an electronic version of the book. While some taxes for online purchase might change, the product will remain exactly the same, and delivery will continue to be instantaneous.

As always, I thank you for your support over the years. This is just another little bump along the way.

If I can ever be of assistance, please let me know.

Cheers to all!
- Karl W. Palachuk
- President, Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc. 
   dba Small Biz Thoughts


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Never Lose Money on a Project Again - Class Starts March 19th

Highly Successful Project Management

Taught by Karl W. Palachuk, Author and Coach

- Five Tuesdays - March 19 - April 16, 2019 -- Register Now!

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

This course will cover the most important aspects of project management for small business. It is intended for computer consultants, VARs, and managed service providers. Whether you sell projects on a Time-and-Materials basis or flat fee, it is critical to manage them successfully. Successful projects are more than simply profitable. Successful projects make you look good. They make the client more productive and potentially more profitable. They help you build a positive relationship.

Tuition includes the book in PDF format along with all associated downloads.

This course is intended for consultants who are new to project management as well as those who have been running projects for years and would like to take a serious step up to a the next level of professionalism and profitability.

This is an intensive webinar course over a five week period. All assignments are voluntary, of course. But if you want feedback on assignments, please complete assignments during this course and email them to the instructor.

Topics to be presented include:

  • Different kinds of project management; What’s best for this job?
  • Tools to Use for managing your projects
  • Documentation at all stages
  •  - Pre-Discovery Process
  •  - The Discovery Process
  •  - Documentation and Communication
  • After the Project
  • Checklists of all kinds
  • Project Planning, Quoting, and Selling
  • Why Projects Go Wrong
  • The Scope is Everything
  • Closed Loop Project Management
  • How an Ant Eats an Elephant
  • Managing Projects in Your PSA
  • Microsoft Project
  • Client Training
  • The Evaluation Process
  • Managing Time / Managing Employees
  • Outsourcing Options
  • Creating Repeatable, Successful Projects
  • Building an Action Plan that works

Overview of the Course

  • Week One:     Introduction / Setting the Stage
  • Week Two:     Project Planning, Quoting, Selling
  • Week Three:   Closed Loop Execution
  • Week Four:     Repeatable Success
  • Week Five:      Implementing Your PM Process

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

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

Only $259

A Few Details . . .

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

Questions? Email sales@smallbizthoughts.com 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Six-Part Video Series - Tune Up Your Service Board

Just finished posting part six of a six-part series on tuning up your service board.

Here's a quick summary:

Part 1 = How Tickets Get Into the System

Part 2 = Creating the Most Useful View of Your Board

Part 3 = The Flow of Tickets Based on Statuses

Part 4 = How to Make Sure Tickets Don't Get Lost

Part 5 = Make Sure Ticket Are Closed - Properly

Part 6 = Once Your Board is Set up Properly, You Need 
Processes to Keep it Working

Theoretically, YouTube will play each of these in order if you start with the first one. But I can't guarantee what they do, so here's the whole series you can click on individually.

Many people buy a service board and then don't get the amazing value they could - and often for some very simple reasons. They might have too many statuses to choose from, the flow of tickets through their system is poorly defined, or they don't have good practices to make sure it all works properly.

No software will make your company run more smoothly unless you configure it, fine-tune it, and keep an eye on your processes. So don't just invest in the software: Invest in your process as well.

Video #1:

As always, feedback is welcome.


Friday, March 01, 2019

Move Yourself and Your Clients to Managed Service – 3 Week Mini Class

This post is for everyone who is having trouble getting your break/fix clients over to managed service.

I did a webinar yesterday with Zyxel and LOTS of people had questions, including several on this exact question. How do I get my break/fix client to sign a managed service contract??? 

I also just completed a "Community Meeting" in my membership community last week in which we spent time on this very topic.

So I've decided to create a 3-part mini class on moving YOU and your clients to managed services. This class is 100% focused on getting you and your clients into the managed service model.

Please note: You have to change. You can't ask your client to change but keep giving them old stuff. If they're happy now, why would they change?

There are several reasons that B/F clients don't want to sign your managed service deal.

First of all, there are many myths about managed services. What it is. What it means. What's included. etc.

Second, many IT consultants aren’t really offering managed services. They are trying to shift the invoicing model without shifting the business model.

And third, it’s almost impossible to move clients directly from break/fix to managed services.

There are lots of smaller reasons. But those are the main ones.

In this class, we will:
  • Debunk the myths of break/fix and managed services
  • Show you (and help you calculate for yourself) why break fix will keep you struggling
  • Define very clearly what we mean by managed services
  • Lay out a maintenance program that makes sense to B/F clients
  • Show you the “Managed Services Two-Step” that moves YOU from B/F to to managed services
  • Show you the “Managed Services Two-Step” that moves your clients from B/F to managed services
And of course, we’ll have homework that will help you move in the right direction AND lots of time for questions.

– – –

B/F to MS Mini Class – Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
– Three Days: March 11, 18, and 25

– All classes are recorded

– Classes are generally 30-60 minutes

This class is FREE for Small Biz Thoughts Community members.
Only $99 for non-members - still a great deal!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mini-Microsoft Inspire Inspired Event: IAMCP Party - SoCal

My friends in the SoCal IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Certified Professionals [or something like that]) are holding a big party - and you're invited.

The SoCal chapter is the largest and probably the most active IAMCP chapter. Among their regulars is Justin Slagle from Microsoft. And they've decided to put on a major Microsoft event.

October 24th
Irvine, CA

Info and registration at: iamcpparty.com

My friend Reza described this event as a "mini-Microsoft Inspire type of event."

Speakers include big time Microsoft  execs such as

  • Gavriella Schuster -Worldwide Corporate Vice President, Microsoft
  • Brent Combest - US General Manager, Microsoft
  • Beth Cavanaugh - National Partner Sales Director, Microsoft

. . . plus many other great speakers.

Oh yeah. They're also giving away a Car (Robin Robin’s style)!

If you register in the next few days (by the end of February) using code IAMCP49, you will save $200 from the listed attendee price.

The base price is only $249. But you'll bring that down to $49 if you register NOW.

More info at https://iamcpparty.com.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

It's Not Too Late to Move from Break/Fix to MSP - Webinar Feb. 28th

Join me.

If you've been on the fence for years, I'll bet that hurts a lot. Let us help.

Free Webinar: Move from Break/Fix to MSP - Feb 28th

It is absolutely NOT too late to become a Managed Service Provider!

Join me February 28th at 11 AM Pacific for a free webinar on making the move to managed service.

Join me and Zyxel for a free webinar on making the move to managed service.

Register Now

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 show you how to make the move from Break/Fix to Managed Services.

All attendees will receive a copy of my book Managed Services in a Month as well as my new condensed 10 page guide. And, every attendee will receive a $10 Amazon gift card. Plus one lucky attendee will win a $1,000 gift card!

Zyxel has some pretty cool new products, and we'll also learn about Zyxel's Nebula Cloud Management Solution from Shawn Rogers, Market Development Manager for Zyxel Communications, Inc.

Please join us for a great event!


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

CompTIA Webinar - The Gap: Women in Cybersecurity - Feb 19th

I am registered. You should check it out!

Got a note from Kathleen over at Comptia:
"The apprenticeship programs from the Dept of Labor are a great resource for our community and the IT security community to leverage. If you are looking to hire tech talent, especially in cybersecurity, then you need to hear this information." 

The Gap: Women in Cybersecurity
February 19, 2019 1:00 PM
1pm Ct / 2pm ET

Participants can register herehttps://www.comptia.org/events/view/the-gap-women-in-cybersecurity

Opportunities abound in the cybersecurity arena yet only 14 percent of the current U.S. workforce in cybersecurity is female. We will review the current state of the gender gap in cybersecurity and hear from Jennifer Carlson with the US Department of Labor to discuss how to get more women into this field through apprenticeship programs.

During this webinar we will review how to begin an apprenticeship program, how to increase the visibility of your current program, and how to engage with programs that are available today. Don’t miss out on this informative and educational session that is designed to shine the light on the gender gap in IT security and how you can be part of the solution.

Participants can register here: https://www.comptia.org/events/view/the-gap-women-in-cybersecurity

Side note: This will be a topic of discussion at the joint AWIT/IT Security meeting at the Comptia Community Forums in March. (AWIT = Advancing Women in IT.)

See you there.


Saturday, February 09, 2019

Live in Atlanta - Making Money in 2019! - March 5th

Live in-person meeting of the Small Biz Thoughts Community

Unique content, not available anywhere else.

Only $99  for non-members! (Free to members)

We are not holding “Roadshows” in 2019. Instead, we are holding a handful of Community Meetings. These are meetings filled with content and 100% focused on improving your IT Consulting business.

Each meeting starts with a keynote presentation by me. After that, we will enjoy content from several special guests, including Amy Babinchak, Harry Brelsford, Jennifer Fields, Joshua Liberman, Amy Luby, Manuel Palachuk, Erick Simpson, and others.

Making Money in 2019

Details on the SMB Roadshow web site.

Don’t be left behind.

Members – Please register so we have an accurate count. You’ll find a code in the SBT Community Forums (Karl’s Korner / Freebies, Deals, etc.) that takes the price from $99 to Free.

Community Members: Grab your discount code here.

Everyone: Atlanta – March 5th – Register here

Watch the Invitation Video!

Register now – in Association with ChannelPro.
Your registration includes FREE access to the ChannelPro SMB Forum March 6th!

8:30 AM Gather and Networking
9:00 AM – The day begins!

  • Karl’s Keynote – Welcome to the Exponential Century
  • Amy Babinchak – Technical Skillsets You Need for the 2020’s
  • Manuel Palachuk – Agile – The New Method and Metrics For Service Delivery
  • Jennifer Fields – Power Marketing – List Building, Telemarketing, and Implementation
  • Harry Brelsford – Five Steps to Implementing Analytics in an MSP Practice
  • Erick Simpson – Get a Grip on Your Business
  • Community Leaders Panel / Community Meeting

We plan to finish around 5 PM.

NOTE: There’s a ChannelPro cocktail reception afterward.

Meeting Space Info:
Atlanta Marriott Century Center/Emory Area
2000 Century Boulevard NE
Atlanta, GA 30345

Gather at 8:30 AM for registration and networking. Seminar starts at 9:00 AM sharp!


Friday, February 08, 2019

MSP Makeover: Win A Day with Harry Brelsford

Super opportunity from SMB Super-Consultant Harry B!

Harry Brelsford - Always combining fun and business!
I was delighted to get an email from Harry announcing a very cool opportunity. Harry is offering an MSP Makeover for one lucky company. Here's the info.

- This is a contest. No cost to enter.

- Harry will travel at his expense to the winner's office.

- Harry will give you feedback and advice to improve your business. Plus, you know, you get to spend a day with Harry at your office.

I asked Harry how he came up with this. He said, "Our studies showed that a contest needs to consider a prize with a real impact. While cruises are always welcome by nearly anyone, the feedback was, can Harry deliver his SMB Best Practices workshop on-site to move the revenue needle? MSPs are serious about growing their businesses and when possible, want a serious prize. The fun will follow the riches at a later date."

Harry is refreshing his Brelsford Rules of 12 methodology for this event. Some of you know that he wrote a truly great book on SMB Consulting Best Practices awhile back. Harry is also leaving plenty of unstructured time built into the day to provide customized advisory services. One example he mentioned was perhaps taking a look at mergers and acquisitions, if appropriate.

Speaking for myself – it’s the one prize I can easily give – my time. But you have to complete the steps and have allow us to help you by helping us by completing the research survey and post a biz selfie to the SMB Nation page on FB. Who said we can’t have just a wee bit of fun too?!?!

Note: Harry is teaming up with community sponsor SherWeb to deliver real value for the MSP community.

The contest is simple. Just submit the MSP Survey HERE.

Then submit a "business selfie" to the SMB Nation Facebook Page HERE.
(You have to like the page to submit a pic.)

And that's it - you're entered. Contest drawing will be on Friday, March 1 at 12:00 pm Pacific.

- - - - -

I want to send a big thank you and shout-out to Harry for doing this. I am always grateful when someone comes up with a new way to support the SMB IT Community! Good job, Harry!

You can find SMB Nation at www.smbnation.com.


Thursday, February 07, 2019

Join Me at IT Owners Compass - Chicago April 26-28

Join me at
IT Owner's Compass

April 26-28

More info at https://itocompass.com/

This is going to be a great conference! There's a great collection of speakers on a wide variety of topics. See the speakers page: https://itocompass.com/speakers/.

This event starts with a cocktail reception, followed by three days of meetings, presentations, and panel discussions.

I'm giving the keynote speech, and planning to hang out for the whole event. Luckily, I know a lot of the people who are presenting. But there are plenty of others I haven't met yet.

I'm working to get organizer Lori Tisinai on the SMB Community Podcast. Stay tuned for that!

Special Offer:

I am offering a $100 scholarship to any woman who is a first-time attendee of this conference. Contact the organizers to claim your registration discount.

I was very impressed that about 25% of last year's attendees were women. We absolutely need more women in IT. And attending professional events is a great way to get started.

Overall, the pricing for this three-day event is VERY reasonable. Please join us.