Friday, January 20, 2017

My State of the Nation Address is Posted Now

Two hundred people registered for the "State of the Nation" address for SMB IT this week. Not everyone could make it. The webinar was recorded and you can get it for free on my book site: www.SMBBooks.com.

Just head over the to the Free Stuff (Really) section to download it.


Note: Free orders (zero dollars) have to be processed manually in our system. So please be patient. Laura and I will both be processing orders today.

This is a one hour webinar and covers several topics, including:

- Look back at 2016
- Look ahead to 2017
- Annoying Technologies in 2016
- 2017: The Year of Cloud Migration and the Year of Data Breaches
- The Economy and SMB
- Stay Focused on Your Business!

Note: There is an error in this webinar. One viewer pointed out to me that I mixed up Foundation and Essentials Server. Foundation has been discontinued and Essentials is you option for very small businesses.

I know this because I run Essentials Server internally. I just flipped them. Sorry.

Recorded January 2017

:-)

Monday, January 16, 2017

New from Manuel Palachuk: Standards and Procedures Seed Document

I am happy to announce a great new product from my brother Manuel. He's put together a great "Seed" document to get you started on organizing your SOPs (which he calls SAPs just to confuse you).

More information and details at SMB Books. This is a zip file with a four-page white paper and a  60+ page seed document you can use to start updating and organizing your standards and procedures.

Here's part of the official description:


Standards and Procedures Seed Document

Special: Buy this product in combination with Manuel's latest book for only $89.95.

Company Standards and Procedures document is simply the collecting point for the majority of the content you create for your company related to standards and procedures. How do you keep your recipes (for success) in order? You organize them and put them in a recipe book with a table of contents. That’s how! The standards and procedures you collect up, or write up, or find laying around should also be nicely organized and put into one concise location specifically designed to hold them. That’s a Company Standards and Procedures document at its simplest.


Small companies start out with pretty much nothing specific for standards and procedures. Then, as they grow they have a collection of really cool and important things they call their company standards and procedures. They get them from outside sources, they build them, they buy them, they bolt them on, but they don’t learn to collect them in one location (where possible) and keep them organized and easily accessible. Then one day they have many employees and everyone needs access to the core standards and procedures so they can do their job “the company way”. But everything is scattered, unorganized, and sometimes only available to certain people, even though the information really is (and should be) accessible to everyone in the company.


The Standards and Procedures Document contains the core framework that binds all of your company’s key and critical documentation together. As your business grows you need more and more structure in how you collect, manage, and disseminate this information we refer to as our business related documents. There are tools to help with this that bigger companies use that are not commonly known to smaller companies. They are called the Information Management (IM) and Knowledge Management (KM) systems




What’s in the Standards and Procedures (SaP) Seed Document?


This seed document has 45+ sections that can be broken into two categories: Core Content and General content. Most of the sections are General Content and are not populated. That is to say there is no actual text or content in those sections. They are simply placeholders in the document and Table of Contents where you should put your specific process for things. The most important content, the Core Content sections that are populated include:

• This Document – The first section explaining what this document is and why
• Modus Operandi – What we do here at this company, Vision, mission, etc.
• Company Branding – How we brand things and how we use our logo, etc.
• How To Document A process
• Approved Technician and Engineer Tools
• Time Stamp, Date Stamp, and Version – A complete detailed section on how we use Time and
• Date Stamps and Versions on our content.
• And more

Then there are sections that are placeholders for your specific content or processes (General Content). Sections that you must either build the content for or buy it and bolt it on. Sections examples are:


• Firmware
• Hardware
• Third Party Tech Support
• Server Down During Off Hours Procedure
• Service Request and Activity Prioritization Guidelines
• Creating and Updating Service Requests and Activities
• Service Coordinator Duties and Tasks
• And many more

It should be noted that there are several sections of this particular seed document that are populated with content written by me, specifically for the Service Delivery industry. You could consider it my intent to give you more than just the bare seed document. These sections include:


• Email and Their Etiquette
• Phones, Voice Mail and Their Etiquette
• Technician Time Management Guidelines – Including many of my Working in Real-time tips
• And others

And finally it should be noted that there are many sections that have been broken out into subsections, again, still unpopulated. These sections have the subsections broken out so that you have an idea of what processes you need to write up or detail (or buy and bolt on). For example, the section titled Service Coordinator Duties and Tasks has these pre-populated subsections.


• Service Board Overview
• Service Board Backlog
• Time Sheet Approval Process (This is done every Friday)
• Ticket Time Aging
• Updating Budget
• Steps to Dispatching / Scheduling
• Credit Hold
• Advance ticket priority based on age
• Reoccurring Tickets
• Follow up’s

All you need to do is write up the process (or buy them) and put it in the right place.



What’s not in the SaP Seed Document?


What’s not in the SaP seed are the majority of the General Content that constitutes your company’s processes and procedures relative to your specific hardware, software, and business operating systems. By business operating systems I mean your people process, policies, tools, etc. As mentioned before, many of the sections are just placeholders for your specific processes and procedures. Many sections have subsections called out and ready for you to start populating. As you look through the document you will quickly see that the first several sections (Core Content) are fully populated and pretty much ready to go. Later sections, the General content are just a skeletal structure waiting for you to type up or paste in the content.


However, I have populated several General Content sections with my own processes for various reasons. I include my version of the Technician Time Management Guidelines because I consider it to be of the utmost importance for any company to have this handed to them. Most companies that are new, struggling, or just have not built this process out, should not be left to their own devices. I include the content for the section Service Call Guidelines because it provides a great example of what the content you build up should look like. Further, I include the Time Sheets Submission and Approval section as it is an excellent example of how to detail a process and how the Section Revision process for the SaP works.


Here’s what you get!

The 4 page intro White Paper and the 60+ page Standards and Procedures Seed Document.

Check it out at SMB Books. 

:-)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Now Shipping: Getting to the Next Level by Manuel Palachuk

Last Fall we announced that my brother Manuel would be releasing his new book in 2017.

Well, it's here!

We are now shipping Getting to the Next Level: A Blueprint for Taking You and Your Business to the Top!

Available in Hardbound on Amazon or

in Hardbound or PDF at SMBBooks.

Getting to the next level is a never ending journey for you and your business and now you have the definitive guide book. From the design of the business to the execution on strategy and all the tools you need in between this book covers it. It shows you how to gauge your business maturity and your progress along your roadmap to stratospheric success. Complete with a well defined case study and Example by the author that are built from years of experience in business management and guidance.

Learn to design your business from the top down using the Pyramid of Purpose and Value and then build it from the ground up by leveraging Business Agile Strategy Execution (BASE).

Your Shared Vision is the heart of your business even more so than your product and service value proposition. Your shared vision must be embedded in your organizations culture so it can permeate all the way down to the ground level. The Pyramid of Purpose and Value allows you to design your business from the top down and to share it in a meaningful way. It paints a clear and enticing picture and tells a very compelling story of how you intend to create stratospheric success. It attracts the right people to back your endeavor and the right people to get on board.

You ability to define a clear business roadmap & Strategy and then execute on it is one of the biggest determinants of your success. Imagine taking the most advanced methods of Agile development and applying them to your business roadmap & strategy execution. That's Business Agile Strategy Execution. BASE is the most innovative advancement for small and medium size business roadmap development and strategy execution and you can harness and leverage its power for your self. The entire process is clearly defined and broken down in step-by-step fashion using real life examples.

Today more than ever there is a demand for value in everything we create or do. Tap into the authors insights on creating a value proposition for your customers that endears them to your business because they see you are a value drive organization. Learn about the elements of success that determine your organizations overall Business Maturity Index and how to drive them in the direction you want. With this book you will have the most important component of a true significant competitive advantage for your business, the blueprint for success.


Table of Contents

Introduction

1. What Does The Next Level Look Like?
Start With the End in Mind
Startup, Turnaround, Merger, Acquisition, Cruising
Your Business Identity
The Pyramid of Purpose and Value
Your Business Success and Maturity
The Way of the Turtle
The Reality of What Is Required
Success as a Habit

2. The Tenets of Business & Management
The Purpose of a Business
Business Basics Review
Management & Leading Functions
The Value Chain
Basic Functions of Any Business
Organizational Environments
Business Value Aspects
Organizational Environments
Developing Your Business Roadmap & Strategy

3. Tools & Methods for Defining Your Business
Critical Thinking
Process Control
GOST Strategy Planning
SMARTER Goal and Projects
Core Competency Matrix
DiSC Profiles
Feasibility Study
Business Plan

4. Tools & Methods for Analyzing Your Business
Product Life Cycle Analysis
Target Market Analysis
Ansoff Matrix
Porter’s Five Competitive Forces
Porter’s Generic Strategies
Bowman’s Strategy Clock
PESTEL Analysis
McKinsey 7S Framework
Gap Analysis
SWOT Analysis

5. Tools & Methods for Refining Your Business
Financial Statements
Leading Indicators
The Value Chain
LEAN
Six Sigma
Balanced Scorecard
The Strategy Map
Business Maturity Index
BASE (Business Agile Strategy Execution)

6. Pyramid of Purpose and Value - Culture
Vision
Mission
Values
Human Element
Culture Crosscheck

7. Pyramid of Purpose and Value – Compass
Products and Services
Target Markets
Operating Systems
Compass Crosscheck

8. Pyramid of Purpose and Value – Blueprint for Success
Resources
Performance Measures
Roadmap & Strategy
Blueprint Crosscheck
The BASE
Continuous Incremental Improvement
Discipline and Execution

9. Business Maturity Index - Gauging Your Success
The BMI Framework
The Index And Graph In Action
BMI Summary
The Ten Business Value Aspects
The Five Success Elements

10. Agile Execution
Agile Defined
Agile In Action
Agile Versus Waterfall
Why Agile?

11. Business Strategy Meets Agile Execution
The Business Analysis Breakdown
The Roadmap and Strategy Buildup
Agile Applied (Iteration Planning)
Continuous Incremental Improvement (The Sprint)
Using An Agile Project Board

12. Case Study & Example

13. The Next Level
Refining Your Business Identity
Growing Your Operation
Financing and Private Equity
The End Game
Business Valuation
Mergers and Acquisitions
Protecting Your Business Legacy
Engaging a Business Coach or Mentor
Mastermind, Peer, and Business Groups
Getting Everyone On Board
Putting It All Together

Acknowledgements

Bibliography

Glossary

Index

- - - - -

About the author: Manuel Palachuk is the coach who will take you to the gym not just send you there. He believes that small business is the backbone of the world and the service industry in particular is the heart! He has nearly 30 years of business, management and training experience in the computer and electronics industries including owning and managing successful IT and MSP companies.

He holds an Associate degree in Electrical Engineering Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in Automated Manufacturing Technology. He is an expert of process, systems, and their efficiency who is driven toward continuous improvement in all aspects of business.

Manuel is an experienced speaker and trainer at industry conferences and other events. He is also the co-author of the Network Migration Workbook, an expansive 600 page document covering the complete processes and checklists required to migrate your network with zero downtime.

:-)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Join Me Live at SMB TechFest - Free

SMB Techfest is held four times a year in Anaheim. It is well worth the effort to attend.

I try to go at least three times per year because the content is always changing. Great presentations, great vendors, and all kinds of nice people to hang out with for a day.

Register for free with you follow this link: www.smbtechfest.com/karl

I will be on a special panel Dave Seibert is putting together for this show only. Join us next week - January 19th - all day.

(I'm heading to Anaheim on Wednesday, so if you want to buy me a beer Wednesday night, ping me.)





Start 2017 Off Right

1 Day
16 Speakers
Vendor Expo Hall
IT Mixer
Meals – Beer - Wine
$200K Ferrari Raffle
Security - Coaches - IoT - Sales


SMB TechFest

Quarterly Technology Conference

Onsite or U.S. Wide Live Video Broadcast

Register Free: http://www.smbtechfest.com/karl

:-)

Acumen Announces Sales Manager Boot Camp for IT

Got a note from my friend Ken Thoreson over at Acumen Management Group. They are putting on a boot camp training specifically for Sales Managers.

I bought recordings of some of Ken's trainings several years ago and I've been a fan ever since.

This program starts February 24th and go for eight live sessions. Details and links are below.

Here the official announcement:

- - - - -




Slammed! The New Sales Manager Boot Camp
We hear these comments all the time:
·         Revenues are flat
·         We have too much to do, we don’t have time to build a sales organization
·         I am frustrated with my sales team, do I have the right team?
·         I have a problem growing sales profitably
·         My pipeline is full, but nothing is closing
·         I don’t think my compensation plan is working
·         I am unsure what metrics to use to measure sales effectiveness
·         We seem to react to every opportunity
If you relate to any of these comments then SLAMMED! Sales Management Boot Camp maybe for you.  We start 2-24-17
To Learn More    http://ow.ly/VRmV307IMB5
Sales management is one of the most rewarding jobs in business when you know what to do and how to do it. This is what New Sales Manager Bootcamp is all about. Taught by sales management guru Ken Thoreson (one of the world's foremost sales leadership coaches),  you will get everything you need to crush it in your new role. 
You will attend eight live, virtual sessions with Ken in a small group setting (all sessions are recorded), in addition, you'll have access to:
·         More than thirty self-directed video learning modules
·         Discussion forums where you can share best practices with Ken and other participants
·         Live chat room where you can interact with Ken
·         Ken will also be available for limited one to one coaching
·         Plus you'll get all four books in Ken's Sales Management Guru series including Slammed! For the New Sales Manager
In the course you'll learn:
·         Important time management strategies for sales leaders
·         How to recruit, interview, and hire top talent
·         How to motivate your sales team
·         How to build and lead a high-performance sales culture
·         Compensation and incentive strategies
·         Coaching and training strategies for improving performance
·         How to effectively onboard new sales reps
·         How to evaluate your team and plan for the future
·         Pipeline strategies
·         Business planning strategies
·         How to build and create accountability
·         How to monitor leading indicators
·         How to manage and leverage sales dashboards
·         How to use Salesperson Business Plans to lead a self-managed team
·         And continued access to all training material in the program for twelve full months
If you are new to sales leadership  or never attended a sales management course this is a opportunity you must not miss. It is a rare opportunity to learn from one to the greatest sales management minds of all time. To ensure that participants get full attention class size is limited to 12 participants.
Enroll now to get instant access to pre-work and initial training videos. For questions please give us a call at 1-844-447-3737
To Learn More    http://ow.ly/VRmV307IMB5
- - - - -
Enjoy!

:-)

Friday, January 06, 2017

Register Now: My 8th Annual "State of the Nation" Address for Small Business IT

Karl's 8th Annual Annual "State of the Nation" Address 


Wednesday, January 18th
9:00 AM Pacific / 12 Noon Eastern

Register Here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7499368969802133505

Mark your calendar now and don't miss this once-a-year podcast. This will be my 8th Annual "State of the Nation" for small technology providers.

Don't miss this year's webinar.

No cost. Just register and tune in.

Paste that into your calendar so you don't forget!


Topics Include:


  • Highlights (lowlights?) from 2016
  • Windows 10, Server 2016, Azure, . . . and what's next
  • Cloud Services
  • The Economy
  • Building Your Business for the Long Term
  • Speculations about 2017


- - - - -

As I look forward to an amazingly productive year, I am turning my focus to helping IT providers lift their heads above the problems of the moment and build successful businesses that remain profitble for a LONG time. Taking the long view adds a great deal of perspective - and profitability.

The business environment seems nerve-racking to many people. We certainly live in an era of political uncertainty. But I believe the economic picture is bright. This is particularly true is small business. Remember: You're an economy of one.

Today is the day to tune up your business, add some new offerings, and lock in a very successful 2017!

Tune in to learn more.

Karl's 8th Annual State of the Nation Address for SMB IT
January 18th
9:00 AM Pacific
Webinar Registration: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7499368969802133505

- - - - -

Note: I have 100 seats and we have 115 registered so far. But don't worry!

One of the things I've learned is that there's about a 50% drop-off rate when things are free. If registration reaches 200, I'll buy the extra seats.

Plan to log in early, though, to guarantee your seat.

See you then.

This session will be recorded.

:-)

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Azure May Not Be Right for Your Small Business Clients

What's the best cloud solution for small businesses? My friend Randolph sent me a request/challenge. It turns out to be a very typical question in the SMB space right now. "What's the right cloud solution for this client?"

Here's is request:

Looking to make a major dive into increasing my Azure knowledge.
My scenario is
- 10 Person shop
- 5 Users in one location
- 5 users in five scattered locations
- Currently running SBS 2011
- Utilizing Office 365
- Cloud based line of business app
- Server used for AD and file storage.
- Utilize VPN to get into office and server

Want to move everything to cloud – Get rid of the server in the closet.

Want to see if Azure can be used as a replacement.

- - - - -

And here's my response:

First of all, I don’t see a role for Azure here at all. You don’t need a virtual server. And there are better storage options, including OneDrive.

Second, your request is a perfect candidate for my cloud five-pack (see www.smbroadshow.com).

Sell them two cloud five-packs. That gives them ten mailboxes (Rackspace, Intermedia, or Appriver).

Location doesn’t matter. Everyone uses Outlook to connect to the hosted Exchange mailboxes. 100% normal Outlook operations whether in location one, location two, home, vacation, etc.

Storage: I prefer Jungle Disk. I understand they’re re-introducing a reseller program. The storage can be on Rackspace or Amazon Web Services. Rackspace is a bit cheaper because they don’t charge for moving data, only data at rest.

Office 365 licenses can be re-licensed through whoever is providing Exchange mailboxes. That way they’re all together and easily managed.

Personally, I would turn the local server into the backup. In other words, bring a copy of data back down from the cloud to an un-shared storage area on the server. (never seen by clients)
I charge $100/month to manage this. All it does is authenticate logons and back up the live data in the cloud.

If you add management of the desktops, that’s ($599 x 2) + $100 for the server. Total income $1,298. Depending on how much data they have, this will cost you about $175/month for Office, storage, AV, RMM, etc.

Since all the services are in the cloud, there’s almost nothing to go wrong onsite except billable incidents because people changed something on their machines. So let’s say it takes an average of .25 hours per person per month, that’s 2.5 hours of labor. If that costs you $125 to deliver, then your total cost to deliver is $300/month. It shouldn’t be this high, but most people tend to give away more free labor than me.

Anyway, your profit is $998/month or 77%.

THAT’s why you need to attend my SMB Roadshow.

- Karl W. Palachuk
Small Biz Thoughts
www.smallbizthoughts.com

- - - - -

The key take-aways here are:

1) Azure is not the cloud. If you a hosted server or an SQL instance, then it's your baby. But there are better overall solutions to cloud services. With Azure, you replace a server in the closet with a server in the cloud. You need jut as much maintenance, backup, AV, RMM, etc. as you would with a physical server. Sometimes that the right solution. But for many small businesses, it is not.

2) If you want to learn how to build butt-kicking, massively profitable cloud solutions for small business, you should attend my 2017 SMB Roadshow - coming to 28 cities this year. See www.smbroadshow.com.

:-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Newest Videos: Track Your Time and Know What You Know

I've been posting up some "top tips" for IT service providers on my YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/smallbizthoughts).

My top tips are truisms I have used to manage my businesses (and my life) over the last two decades.

The most recent videos are "Track Your Time" and "Know What You Know." These are two of the most important rules you can live by  in a service business.

If you track all of your time (40 hours per person per week), then you can generate a wide array of calculations that tell you more about the health of your business. These include the profitability of each technician, each client, each project, and each contract.

Tracking your time and billability allows you to project your backlog and your burn rate. It allows you to make accurate project estimates and determine whether you need to hire more help or lay people off.



"Know what you know" is similarly rich and useful. At the macro level it means to have a good grasp of your skills, your environment, and relationships within your company. At a more focused level, it means you need to have a good idea of the resources available to you. These include people, hardware, software, training, etc.

At the smallest level - "In the moment" - you need to be very aware of what you know and don't know in troubleshooting a problem. It also means you have to have an absolute honest understanding of the limits of your understanding. Being perfectly honest with yourself and third-party support technicians will help you get help faster - and get escalated more quickly.

Self knowledge sounds easy, but it takes a great deal of dedication and practice. If you're in the business long enough, you will become very clear about the boundaries of your knowledge. But if you're just getting started with a new technology you may be less sure about your limits.

It takes practice and constant awareness to know what you know. It's something you need to practice for the rest of your life. The sooner you get started, the better!



:-)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Ultimate Technology Consulting Starter Kit

Hey there! Are you new to technology consulting? Do you know someone who is? We are pleased to release ...

The Ultimate Technology Consulting Starter Bundle


The Bundle Includes these Books:


  • Service Agreements for SMB Consultants (a Quick-Start Guide to Managed Services) ebook by Karl W. Palachuk 
  • Managed Services In A Month 2nd ed. ebook and audio editions by Karl W. Palachuk 
  • The Managed Services Operations Manual - 4 volume set - ebooks and audio books by Karl W. Palachuk
  • Relax Focus Succeed ebook and audio edition by Karl W. Palachuk 
  • The Network Documentation Workbook ebook by Karl W. Palachuk
  • Project Management in Small Business ebook and audio book by Dana Goulston and Karl W. Palachuk


Plus these additional audio programs with slides:


  • Build Your Brand Through Service (four hours)
  • Network Documentation for Fun and Profit (1 hour)
  • Service Agreements Improve Managed Services (1 hour)
  • SOPs that Will Instantly Increase Your Profits (2.5 hours)
  • Intro Zero Downtime Migrations (2 hours)
  • How to Get Rich in Small Business (45 minutes)


This is a great start for your business library! You'll get nine ebooks, seven audio books, and six more audio programs. ALL have a strong focus on the SMB (small and medium business) consulting business. Together these products have a $1,250 Value. But the bundle costs you only $799 !

Order your Ultimate Technology Consulting Starter Kit today for just $799.

You can check out most of these items on Amazon. Just search for "managed services" on Amazon.com. Several of these books dominate the first page of results. More importantly, no one has produced more content for technology consultants than we have!

Check it out and Order Today.

:-)

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Unbreakable Rules of PSA - Class Starts Next Week!

The Unbreakable Rules of PSA

- IT Service Delivery in the 21st Century


- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

You're guaranteed to learn something that will make or save you the price of admission!



Everyone needs a PSA - Professional Services Automation tool. But in addition to simply having a PSA, you need to set it up correctly and use it wisely.
Manuel PalachukIn this course, you will learn how to double your value to clients and increase your profit with these powerful golden rules of PSA Service Ticket Systems.

Coach Manuel focuses on the direct connection between your service delivery system, the value you give your clients, and your profit, and how to maximize each. He also gives an overview of Agile Service Delivery, an emerging method you must learn to stay competitive.

Whether you’re a one-person shop or have fifty employees, to be consistently profitable, you must have guidelines for how to break down the work in an organized fashion and how you will communicate with the client along the way.

You don’t have to be an MSP or even use a PSA to work efficiently and be profitable, but you do need a system and a method. These "golden" rules can be the seed for your own system if you have none, or you can adopt them in whole to enrich your existing methods. Either way, this is your opportunity to take your service delivery and your profits to the next level.

The course includes a thorough discussion of the unbreakable rules of service tickets as well as covering quality communication with every client. It will be time well spent!
Whether you're a new "Computer Consultant" or an experienced Managed Service Provider, you need to create successful processes that will propel your company forward. Nothing is more critical to making profit than having the right processes and procedures in place!

Delivered by Manuel Palachuk, author and business coach.

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.

Register Now



A Few Details . . .

  • Each course will be five one-hour webinar / teleseminar phone calls
  • 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