Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sex Education vs. Sex Training

I'm at the last day of the big Robin Robins Boot camp. One of the great motivational speakers today was Nido Qubein. He asked a key question: What's the difference between Education and Training?

Well, think about your teenage children. Would you like to enroll them in Sex Education or Sex Training?

Only one of these is about learning the big picture, making good decisions, understanding where you can choose go, and knowing how to move toward some things and away from others.

Education is much more important, and more powerful, than training.

Most of the conferences you will attend in the I.T. space are 80% Training and 20% Education. Robin Robins' big boot camp is 99.9% education. It is completely focused on building your business and taking your life to the next level.

The world of Information Technology has to have a training component. But training without a higher-level vision of where training fits in the big picture cannot lead to extreme success. Extreme Success comes from having a vision and working on the vision as much as working on the business.

No matter how good you are at your business, lots of other people are just as good. Some are better. Being extremely successful requires that you take time to work on building your success. Sometimes that's "sappy" motivational stuff. And sometimes it's just as simple as taking time to allow yourself to be inspired.

This conference has been one of the most motivating and inspiring events I've ever seen. Anyone in any industry would be able to get a lot out of this event. The fact that Robin focuses on the I.T. industry and wraps all of the education around our industry simply makes it that much easier for us to take this motivation home and work on execution for the next year.

Thanks, Robin. See you next year.

:-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Superstar Sales are Real

I had the honor of being one of the judges for Robin Robins' Better Your Best contest yesterday. It was quite amazing to see the commitment of these I.T. professionals. Commitment to their businesses. Commitment to the the craft or running a business. Commitment to their success. And, to be honest, commitment to winning this competition.

What is the competition?

Quite simply, Robin holds a competition every year to choose one of her partners as her spokesperson for the next calendar year. The winner also receives a car. Not a Yugo! This year's winner will receive a Mercedes Benz - A very nice car!

All of the finalists posted up their "stats" with regard to sales and profits for 2009 and 2010. And the numbers were almost shocking. Several people here at the site (who are very successful) are amazed at the results. How did these finals average more than 500% increase in net profit?

Here are a few of the notes from the contest presentations.

Habits - Michael Mandato from System Care was the first person to mention that successful marketing is a habit. You need to do it all the time, have a system, and work the system. All of the finalists ran lots of marketing campaigns. They marketed constantly, not just when times were slow.

Get Out of Your Business - Most of the contestants mentioned that they had to pull themselves away from the daily operation of their business in order work ON the business and make it successful. Diana Spurgus from Business System Solutions pointed out that she had booked 3000 hours in a year. That's 1.5x a full time employee!

It can be very scary and difficult to get out of the business. At a minimum, it requires you to hire someone else to do all that work. But you'll either work yourself to death or choose to do things differently. If you are 100% (or 150%) involved in your business, then there is a limit to how much your business can grow. If you extricate yourself, then your growth potential is unlimited.

Market All the Time! - This is so important and so simple that people end up dismissing it. "Okay. What else can I do?"

Marketing all the time means ALL the time. Newsletters, post cards, direct mail campaigns, outbound calls, etc. Tom Malesic from EZ Solutions ran (and kept track of) 126 marketing campaigns in 2010. WHAT? That's more than ten activities per month. You want your sales funnel to be full? Then you have to fill it.

Keep Working Through Economic Downturns - Some of the contestants had addressed serious financial challenges over the last few years. Stephen Swavley from Navigatum in Australia addressed the challenges of avoiding bankruptcy in Australia. In the U.S. we have guidelines that allow you to go through bankruptcy in an orderly fashion, reorganize your debt in move on.

In Australia you can go to jail! You will be prevented from running a business for seven years.

That's a motivator. Stephen cut everything that could be cut, and focused like a laser beam on bringing in new business. The result is triple digit increases in sales, profits, client count, and recurring revenue.

Execution Matters - Everyone's got plans. Successful business owners execute their plans. Sitima Fowler from Capstone Information Technologies made the point that she had to change every single thing in her business in order to climb into the double-digit growth category. She revisited everything in order to decide whether it moved things forward or simply existed out of habit.

Get Help - You can't do all this yourself. No one person can work 100% as a technician, 100% running the business, and 100% in marketing. Whether you hire someone or outsource the tasks, you need to build a system for success. Brendan Howe from TDCNet hired a marketing assistant who "beats the drum" every single day whether he is working on tech, business, or sales. She just pushes every opportunity forward every day.

Consistency Matters - This ties into Habits and Execution. You can't run one marketing campaign and then whine that you didn't make any sales. Consistency means that you are doing the things you need to do all the time. Drip marketing (for example a newsletter) is great for keeping your name in front of your prospects.

Wendy Gauntt from CIO Services keeps at least five different types of marketing working at all times. Online marketing, newsletters, list-based marketing, tele-sales, postcards, direct mail, and so forth. There are SO MANY ways to market! Pick five or six and do them consistently. Make it just part of how your business works.

- - - - -

Let me be very clear: These are all amazing people and amazing marketers.

But none of them is so different from you that you can't re-create what they've done. Each of these people dedicated themselves to focusing heavily on marketing for more than a year.

Focus on technology and you'll get better on technology.

Focus on integration and you'll get better on integrations.

Focus on sales and marketing and you'll get better at sales and marketing.

YOU can be a winner with triple digit growth. It's NOT easy. But you can do it if you try.

Because . . . if you don't try, it won't happen on it's own.

:-)





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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Robin Robins' System Does Not Work

I'm in Nashville this week for Robin Robins' "Big Seminar" on Marketing for I.T. consultants. (See www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com). Jeff Johnson introduced Robin and baby Jamie. Jamie is officially referred to as the "Chief Executive Offspring." When you see the people from Technology Marketing Toolkit, you see up close that these folks are just normal people.

The first questions I get (over and over again, believe me) about Robin are:

1. Does her system really work?

2. Isn't her system outdated?

3. Isn't her stuff hokey?

Again and again and again I've addressed these topics. It's quite amazing to me that people still ask these questions. Does it mean they really haven't heard of her? Do they not see hundreds of successful people in our business who attribute their amazing success to Robin Robins and her programs?

I think I've been a subscriber to Robins' programs for seven years. I pay a flat monthly fee (I don't honestly know what it is). In return I get a great monthly mailing with educational programs and motivational materials. All of that, along with two major "tool kits" filled with sample marketing campaigns.

When you look at my shelf full of Robin Robins materials, you see more than three feet of shelf space dedicated to marketing materials. Sample letters, descriptions of how to price products, recorded seminars, and more. The key words are educational and motivational.

So let's look at the objections to Robin's system. Here are my answers to the questions.

First, Robin Robins' system does not work. YOU have to do the work. What she gives you is a series of sales letters that will grab peoples' attention and get them to call you so you can make a pitch. Neither Robin nor anyone else can make sales for you. Her templates "work" if you are willing to build a good mailing list, print up the letters, mail off a series of three letters, and follow up by calling every single person on that list.

If you work the system, the system works. If you take a "Robin" letter, re-write it so it's now your letter, send it out once to a list you bought, and never call any of those people, . . . then it won't work! In other words, if you turn her system into your system, and then don't execute and follow through, it won't work.

Again, just look at hundreds of successful I.T. companies who are paying her money every month because they make lots of money in return.

Second, Robin Robin's system is not outdated. It might be a "classic" sales style, but that doesn't make it outdated. Robin uses the classic long-form sales letter that is the most consistently successful direct mail tool ever created. In every industry, year after year, decade after decade, the long-form sales letter is the king of marketing.

Robin has spent ten years focusing those sales letters to the I.T. Consulting industry. She keeps fine-tuning for new products and services like managed services, BDRs, off site backups, cloud services, and so forth. And yet her most successful letter of all time is the classic "Bad Date Letter" that speaks only to the pain points of small businesses buying I.T. services.

And then she does the kind of thing I'm enjoying this week at her big boot camp: She works to educate her partners so they can fine-tune these programs on their own. This is great stuff when you're in the mood to work "on" your business. But marketing is not the business we're in. We're professionals at supplying I.T. Services. We're never going to be great at marketing if we make up the programs on our own. That's why we need to rely on Robin to give us a step-up on the marketing front.

Third, Robin Robin's marketing materials are hokey. But hokey works. Your prospects are not businesses. They are people. People buy services. And those people can see your marketing a mile away. So your sales letter needs to speak to real, normal people. They need to be conversational and real. They need to NOT sound like the marketing department of a major corporation. And they need to address the points of pain that these real people have on the minute they are willing to get rid of their old I.T. company and listen to your sales pitch.

What is hokey? Hokey is in the eye of the beholder.

If you made up your own marketing materials, and didn't use templates from Robin, then those materials are probably filled with all of the things you do.

Who cares?

Client aren't going to buy from you because you provide 24x7 monitoring, patch management, and managed services. They're going to buy because their current I.T. guy is slow to respond, has to fix everything twice, never calls them back, and surprises them with unexpected bills. Your sales letters need to address those pain points, not your super-cool monitoring system.

The mistake people make most often is to "fix" Robin's letters so they are less hokey. In other words, they take something that works and turn it into something that makes them feel better about themselves. Do you want to look cool and slick and professional, or do you want new clients who pay you thousands of dollars a month?

So . . .

I'm always amazed when people haven't heard of Robin, haven't tried her materials, or haven't had an open mind about actually trying her materials. That's a little bit like wondering whether Donald Trump has anything to teach you about real estate.

That's why I'm at the Big Seminar. I know Robin has things to teach me about marketing.

:-)

Please also see the earlier discussion: Robin Robins Bugs Me.




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Monday, March 21, 2011

Who Cares About T-Mobile? Amazon, Google, and Microsoft

So AT&T is gobbling T-Mobile. That's fine. Maybe the reconsolidation of the phone industry begins again.

But M&A (mergers and acquisitions) in the telcomm space are going to look a little different this time. The reason is simple: controlling access to The Cloud.

The smaller wireless companies provide AT&T with something they are not willing to do themselves, which is to build a greater coverage area. AT&T's strategy is to patch together dissimilar systems and make them all work together. It's not like a car held together with bailing wire. It's more like a long distance train held together with bailing wire.

But offering more and more people the promise of connecting to "apps" on their phones is the ultimate goal. So you'll drop the signal on a regular basis. Who cares? You've got fighting birds downloaded, so you're good to go. And $10/month subscription to GPS services are an absolute goldmine for wireless providers.

Very soon, mobile Internet access will overtake wired Internet access. And while the ground war for Internet connectivity is about to take off, the air war may have just begun.

Obviously, the traditional wireless carriers have dominated wireless device access to the Internet, and wired telcos have dominated wired access. But now both of them are going to become the targets of the Cloud Providers themselves - Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. This is unfamiliar territory, although they all have their fingers in some kind of telephone technology.

I suspect the T-Mobile purchase will speed up the timetable and you'll see the big cloud providers poking around to see which last-mile-through-the-air services they can acquire. The juiciest choices will be regional providers that offer both wired and mobile services.


Same Story on the Land

Amazon, Google, and Microsoft can build all the cloud technology they want (literally). But they don't control the largest variable for adoption: The last mile. Internet connect, bandwidth, "the pipeline." It's the most critical piece of connecting to The Cloud.

If a business has slow internet access, like the fractional T-1 they bought along with their phone system five years ago, then they can only take advantage of a handful of specific cloud-based technologies.

One reason for slow bandwidth is that faster bandwidth has not been made available. I've been to a dozen different U.S. cities this year and I'm amazed at the differences in what's available, and the costs for big bandwidth.

I live in Sacramento, CA and have Comcast Internet. At the office I max out in the 10-20MB range per connection. At home my connection is normall 70 MB and can get up to 90 MB in the late evening. That's fast. A 1.5 MB T-1 is NOT fast. A 6 MB DSL line is not fast.

There are two primary components to the "last mile" speed of the internet: Infrastructure and willingness to provide it. Both of these are controlled by the phone company that controls that last mile.

Interestingly enough, it's the small telcos that are pushing the fastest connections. They're building up fiber to their customers because it's a managable job. When the big telcos (like AT&T) lay down fiber, it's a massive job with millions of variables. And it's tough to make that commitment when you know that you yourself are trying to build up the competing infrastructure in the sky.

But servers, line of business applications, and online backups are not going to fly over wireless technology (at least not for awhile). So businesses need higher speeds and more connections as soon as possible.


All Winners or All Losers?

It almost looks like there are no losers in this situation. As long as you're in the business of helping to build up wired or wireless internet access, you should be able to make money.

Having said that, we have a tendency in this age of super-fast technical evolution, to give away too many services for cheap or free. The stupid mentality that built the .com bubble of 2000 has never disappeared entirely. So if these companies give up current profits in the hopes of future market share, they may all end up being losers instead of winners.

Owning 51% of a market with no profit is not a worthwhile goal.

But at least there's great news for technical consultants: The world will keep evolving faster and faster. And the person who helps others figure out which services to use will always make money! The faster technology moves, the more important it is to provide up-to-date information and services.

:-)




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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Black Box Processes

Over the last month or so I've come to the realization that there are a lot of "black boxes" in the world of technical support. And, I submit, that's where you lose lots of money.

What's a black box? Basically, it's an analogy for a process or procedure that you don't understand, or that's not defined. For example:

1. I say "Install SBS 2011."

2. A block box appears.

3. You return to me with a machine that has SBS 2011 installed.

Sounds good, right? Wrong

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

How are the drives partitioned? Hardware RAID or software RAID? Is the data separated from the operating system? Is the Exchange Store on a separate drive? Is the swap file on a separate drives? Have the users already been created? Is DHCP on the server or the firewall? Did you create a self-signed security certificate, generate a third-part cert with the wizard, or purchase one?

etc., etc., etc.

You see, there are hundreds of details that experienced technicians take for granted. I have often said in my presentations: Every one of us can install a server. But every one of us would do it differently. That's fine for one server per person.

But in a business that makes money installing servers, you need a process that's documented and repeatable. Every technician must do things the same way, whether they like it or not.

I have been shocked to learn that most companies in our business -- even the large ones -- use a "black box" approach to tech support. In other words, they hand a job to a technician with no guidance regarding processes, procedures, tools, or even documentation. At best their process looks like this:

What the . . . ?

They have no idea how the job is done, the order in which tasks are completed, how success is determined, etc. They have absolutely no way to know how long this job will take or the quality of the work that will result. They can't repeat it if it's successful, and they can't avoid failure on the next job if this one fails.

They can't reliably make money because they don't have a process. Their process is to throw a technician and a problem into a room and see what comes out.

Why do I say "at best" this is what the process looks like? Because at least it has documentation. With some kind of after-the-fact documentation you can begin the process of building a successful, repeatable process.

And what does the world look like when you have No Black Box? Well, it looks like an organization with documented processes, procedures, approved tools, and repeatable success:

Much Better

That non-black box doesn't have to be perfect. But there should be something there. You can start small. Checklists are amazing tools for making your business more profitable. They are short (1-3 pages). And they make sure that everything is done in a uniform manner, no matter who the technician is.

For example, when you set up a new computer at a client's office, you should have a checklist. It should list everything you do from opening the box to training the user. All steps should be performed in the same order. Nothing should be skipped. All decisions should be recorded.

That way you know exactly what it takes to do a job, you know the job is done right, and you don't have to worry that some technician decided to do their own thing.


Why You Can't Just "Do Your Thing"

I wasn't kidding when I said that we can all install SBS in our own way. You CAN do that. Absolutely. But don't. Even you yourself personally should have a documented process for the things you do.

Here's why: Money.

I started all of this by saying that businesses that make money installing servers need to have processes, etc. It's the "making money" part that requires a process. You might make money one some jobs and not others. But you should make money on every job. That will allow you to stay in business and serve your clients in the future!

Without a process, you are really stifling your own growth because you can't get better. You can't improve a process if you don't have one in the first place. You can't fine-tune a checklist that doesn't exist. And you can't even duplicate success if you don't know which tools were used!

No two jobs are alike. Nothing's perfect. And maybe there will always be some "unknown" elements. But the more processes you have, the less uncertainty you have.


:-)




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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Elancer and Freelancers Wanted

This is an appeal to all the authors and publishers out there. I would love to have your feedback in the comments section.

I want to compile some good sites for labor brokering on the Internet. In particular, I'd like to build a resource focused on the skills needed to publish a book:

- Copy editing
- Book Design (internal)
- Cover Design/Graphics
- Layout
- Graphics
- Creating final PDFs of production files
- Formatting for electronic publication
- Indexing

As with most projects, there is general assistance available with sites such as http://www.elance.com/, http://www.freelancer.com/, and http://www.99designs.com/.

I'm looking for all the other sites out there. In particular the ones you've had good experiences with and would recommend to others.

Feel free to list your own stuff as well.

As long as it's on topic and not some multi-level scheme for getting rich on Acai berries, I won't filter comments.

Thanks for the assist.

-- kp

:-)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What's In A (Domain) Name?

On several occasions I've mentioned to groups of consultants that I have several Internet domain names registered. Basically, whenever an idea pops into my head, I try to register several domain names for it. I have about 400 domains in total.
Sometimes the domain names I register are the name of a product, service, or company. Other times, they are additional "landing page" domains so I can use Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs to funnel traffic to my primary sites.

Most people think they "need" one domain name. And, strictly speaking, that may be all you need. But if you use the Internet for marketing and sales generation, then you'll need additional domains. Here are the primary uses I have for domains:

Basic Web site
Duh. But also, it's amazing how many people still don't have a web site. The "local search" functions of Google and Bing have made it painfully obvious how many people still don't have a web site.

Those people probably aren't reading this blog, so I'll address the hundreds of millions of businesses what ARE using the Internet.

Blog
I find it handy to have separate web site addresses for some of my blogs, especially if the blog has a different focus from my company name or primary company web site. See also the discussion of landing pages and marketing below.

In one instance, my blog title became a domain name (smallbizthoughts.com) because it gets a lot of traffic. Later, I decided to create an actual web site (a small one) around smallbizthoughts.com, so the blog is now http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/ and the web site is http://www.smallbizthoughts.com/.

That domain is among the top half-million domains for traffic in the U.S. I know, half a million doesn't seem like an achievement. But it is!

Landing Pages

What's a landing page? Well, when you do advertising, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, you need to send those clicks someplace. It is not very useful to send them to your homepage because you won't easily be able to tell the advertising traffic from other traffic.

In addition, you ads should take people to a specific page with a specific call to action (fill out the form, request a quote, sign up for a service, etc.). Whatever the call to action is, this landing page needs to focus VERY heavily on making the visitor follow through. That content is probably not what you want on your home page.

You could use a specific page on your domain, such as http://www.yourdomain.com/google, but that might not get you the best ad rates on Google. Google actually reads the domain name and includes it in their relevancy ranking for search ad pricing and for search results generally. So www.sacramentomobility.com will get better focused hits for "mobility" than KPEnterprises. KPEnterprises is a great name, but is completely meaningless to search engines unless you're searching for KPEnterprises.

In addition, it is very handy to Split Test your traffic. Do the people connecting from Google respond differently to the same content than people from Facebook? So you can set up different pages for each.

Split Testing Ads

If you run ads on any search service (Google, Facebook, MSN), you should have at least three ads for each set of keywords. All these services will automatically track which ad is most effective. This allows you to tweak the wording on your worst-performing ad in order to increase return on your investment.

Now that little bit takes place at Google (Facebook, etc.) and it not related to domain names. But . . .

You should also be split-testing your landing pages. So you should send 1/3 of your clicks to each of three different landing pages. Again, these could be on one domain or across more than one domain.

Recycling Domain Usage

Once you are finished with an ad campaign, you should leave those pages up for awhile, or even replace the landing pages with other calls to actions. This is obviously true with time-specific marketing campaigns. But it is also useful generally to transition these landing pages to general marketing and use them to move traffic to your main web site or to your current campaign.

Do not let these pages die or be outdated because they refer to an old deadline.

This means that your next campaign will need a fresh set of pages. For me, the easiest way to do that is to set up a new domain or two just for the next campaign. So, domains from campaign one go into "cruise control" mode while a new domain (or two) are used for campaign two. You might then move on to campaign three in the saw manner.

Eventually, you may re-use the domain(s) from campaign one in a future campaign.

Radio and Other Advertising

I'm a real believer that telephone numbers in radio advertising is a waste of time. But so are many web sites! You need a good, easily understood domain name. When we do radio ads, we send people to I5PC.com and not KPEnterprises. You'll see some examples below that use the local freeway in a domain name. It's easy to remember!

Domains Are Cheap

If you're not reselling domains, start today. They are cheap and easy to manage. Hosting is similarly cheap. For some services, adding addition domains is actually free. And if you are serving these yourself from your own servers, then hosting is essentially free.

When I have an idea, I go try to register at least three domains for each project or service. Even if I'm not sure what I'll do with them, it's good to have them.


Domains for Sale

I have recently decided to auction off some of my domains. Even with a staff of eight people, I just can't use them as fast as I collect them. Soon we'll be putting these for sale on EBay. Stay tuned.


Category: Cloud Computing
  • cloudcityusa.com
  • cloudcomputerusa.com
  • cloudcomputingmentor.com
  • cloudfluffer.com
  • cloudserviceaggregator.com
  • cloudservicesaggregator.com
  • cloudserviceprofessional.com
  • cloudservicesprofessional.com
  • cloudservicesprovider.com
  • ohcloudohcloud.com
  • ohcloudohcloudohcloud.com
  • cloudcomputersacramento.com
  • cloudcomputingsacramento.com
  • cloudcomputersuperstore.com
  • cloudcomputingsuperstore.com
  • managedcloudstorage.com
  • mccloudcomputing.com
  • professionalcloudservice.com
  • professionalcloudservices.com

:-)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thank You for the Roadshow

We have finished the last scheduled city for the 2010-2011 Intel Hybrid Cloud Roadshow.

I just want to take a minute and thank Intel for the opportunity to educate the channel, and for the huge financial commitment they made to his eleven cities AND give away over $45,000 in prizes. With airfare, hotel rooms, food, etc. there are huge expenses in a roadshow like this.

And, as some of you know, we added some cities by popular demand. So Intel expanded their commitment to the community in the middle of the Roadshow.

A big thanks goes out to Autotask for co-sponsoring some of these events and providing even more prize give-aways.

I also thank all the local user group leaders who helped organize a LOT of amazing details for us. In more than one city we had multiple groups joining together to make a great event. And, of course, I thank the 600+ I.T. Professionals who attended these events and the 500+ who actually signed up to sell this new service offering.

For any of you who worked with my staff, you know I also have to thank Lana, Monica, and Jerry for being my constant "ground" support as I ran around from city to city.

And, finally, I thank the great people we worked with at Intel over the last five month. It truly is great to work with a dedicated team that does whatever it takes to create success. These folks include Josh, Chris, Jason, Monica, Jamyn, Micah, Susan, and Bridget.

All in all: a very good roadshow. I can't wait to see what's next.

Note: If you work with a local group of I.T. professionals and you would like to have your group considered for future stops on any events we produce, please contact me or MonicaC@greatlittlebook.com.


If you are interested in further developments with regard to cloud services in the SMB space, please visit Cloud Services Roundtable

:-)




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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fill Out The SMB Salary / Compensation Survey

My friend Harry Brelsford (SMB Nation) asked me to pass you a note: Please participate in the fifth annual Salary Survey for SMB Consultants!

Here's a note from Harry about the survey:


This year we have made significant upgrades to the survey. I believe you will appreciate our efforts, and I want to highlight a few improvements here.

SMB Technology Network (SMBTN) (http://www.smbtn.org/) has teamed with us to provide a better survey collection site and to promote the survey more broadly to its membership. This takes us to another level beyond the SMB PC magazine readership and the SMB Nation tribe.

Regina Ciardiello joined us a few months ago as managing editor for SMB PC. At prior jobs within the SMB channel media, she had insights into other salary survey stories and the behind-the-scenes efforts. We are thankful for her energy and passion for improving our humble "grass roots" survey and making it more professional.

Anurag Agrawal is the CEO and Founder of Techaisle, a global SMB IT market research and analyst organization headquartered in San Jose, CA. His career has been dedicated to IT-related research and his new firm focuses on many SMB and channel topics. We invited Anurag, and he quickly accepted the opportunity to participate in our 5th Annual Salary/Compensation Survey. His role is very important. For the first time, we have a bona fide research organization (think Gartner, IDC, and Forrester) overseeing, compiling and analyzing our survey results! We've gone PRO! Techaisle also has safeguard in place as a research organization to confidentially collect sensitive data. Anurag will be the lead author on the cover story analyzing the survey results.

SMB Nation itself remains deeply involved in the project. Say what you must, but if anything, we're persistent. We continue to invest in the SMB channel and honor our grassroots commitment as one of the early "SBSers" in our space. Along the way, we hope our consistent and predictable behavior has earned your trust and confidence. The 5th Annual Salary/Compensation Survey is a reflection of that apex of values, ethical standards and professionalism.

To complete the survey, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SMBSalary2011.

Thanks, all.

:-)




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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Great Designs and a Little Help for NZ Earthquake Victims

I have used 99 Designs (http://www.99designs.com/) on several occasions to have logos and graphics designed. In fact, I have used some artists I found there for additional work.
I have recommended 99 Designs in casual conversations as recently as this week.

As you look to adding services for Cloud Computing, virtual services, managed services, etc., think about refreshing your company logo!

And here's a way to help our friends in New Zealand after their recent earthquake. 99 Designs is donating 100% of the profit tomorrow to this cause.

From my friend Jason:



I'm sure that you've heard about the recent devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand which caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Thousands of people were injured and over 140 tragically lost their lives.

To help those affected by the deadly earthquake, we will be donating 100% of all profits from Thursday March 3, Pacific Time to the appeal.

You have the chance to make a real difference! All you need to do is launch a design contest any time during that day.

http://99designs.com/go/helpnz

Not only will you receive a top-quality design for your next project, but all profits will be donated to help the victims of NZ's deadliest natural disaster.

Thanks so much for your support.

See you on Thursday!

Jason, 99designs

P.S. Please share this email with all of your friends & colleagues. The more contests we launch, the more money we raise!

Of course you can get a lot more than logos. Artists at 99 Designs will help you with book covers, web designs, letterhead, envelopes, business cards, etc.

The more details you give about what you want, the better.

Review their site and look at both the contests and the artists that are up there. I think you'll be impressed.

Enjoy!

:-)