Thursday, August 17, 2017

SMB Roadshow . . . Only 11 Cities Left . . . Only 5 in the U.S.

The Countdown Continues!




Upcoming Shows:

  • London
  • Manchester
  • Edinburgh
  • Dublin

  • Nashville
  • Atlanta
  • San Jose
  • Oakland
  • Las Vegas

  • Adelaide
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Brisbane


My big SMB Roadshow is heading to Scotland and Ireland next. Please join me!

You can find out all the details at www.SMBRoadshow.com.

This six-hour seminar is jam packed with great information about bundling, selling, implementing, and maintaining cloud services. We've hit about half the cities we're going to visit this year.

This will be my only visit to these cities this year:

- Edinburgh - 22 August

- Dublin - 24 August

I put together an 8-minute video that spells out all details of what you get with this Roadshow seminar. It also explains in some detail what we're doing and how this seminar will prepare you to make a lot of money selling Cloud Services:



Check out the video -- which includes a discount code -- and plan to join me in August.

Questions welcome.

:-)

Help ChannelPro Identify the All-Star Vendors

I got a note from my friend Rich over at ChannelPro. They are looking for your participation to find the vendor who have had the biggest impact on the SMB channel over the last year. It looks like there's a nomination process, to be followed by voting.

Here's there announcement:

- - - - -

ChannelPro’s annual All-Star awards recognize vendors that our editorial team feel have had a significant impact on the SMB channel in the preceding year by:

--Introducing a new product or service that has market-changing potential
--Creating a significant new channel program
--Dramatically changing an existing partner program in a way that benefits SMB partners
--Redefining the company’s vision and strategy in a noteworthy way
--Making a serious move from the enterprise into the SMB market
--Significantly enhancing their channel education and training offers
--Doing more or less anything else that legitimately qualifies as having a “significant impact on the SMB channel”.

We’re currently soliciting nominations for our 2017 All-Stars. If you would like to suggest one or more vendors, please complete the online form at:



Nominations close soon, so if you know of any vendors that deserve a little love from ChannelPro, be sure to submit your suggestions soon. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have too, and thanks (in advance) for sharing your thoughts!

- - - - -

:-)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hiring a Good Administrative Assistant via Craigslist

Over on The Facebook, there's a discussion about who your first hire should be. I have long advocated hiring an administrative assistant as your first hire. Two questions arose from that. First, how do we find qualified people at a low price? And, second, how do I find them on Craigslist?

[Follow me on The Facebook at www.facebook.com/karlpalachuk.]

Here's the reality of the marketplace: There are LOTS of very qualified people who are willing to work 15-20 hours per week at just-above minimum wage. When minimum wage was $8/hr I paid $10 for Administrative Assistants just starting out. Now that the minimum wage is $10, I pay $12.

Many of these folks are "stay at home" parents with kids in school. They drop the kids off in the morning and are available to work until mid-afternoon most days. Then they need to go pick up the kids. Another big group is college students with very flexible schedules. The remainder are mostly people who would love to work full time but are happy to start half-time.

Of course I have only hired in Sacramento, CA over the last 22 years. But in that time, I've seen the economy go up, down, and sideways. And through it all, I've always found a huge pool of very talented people who are willing to work part-time for a couple of dollars above minimum wage. I have frequently had three or four administrative assistants at once. The amount of work they can make disappear is phenomenal.

The next question is, how do you get the quality applicants without slogging through 150 resumes? That's a matter of screening people before you collect resumes. Below is the ad I've crafted for this. Here's how it works:

1) Place the ad on Craigslist or a similar site.

2) If someone responds with a resume, move the message to an email folder labeled \Admin\No
 - and reply to their message by simply saying "Please re-read the ad."

3) If someone responds with an actual written paragraph, as requested,
 a) Read the paragraph
 b) If you like the paragraph, ask them to send a resume
 c) Move the message to an email folder labeled \Admin\Maybe

This should get you about 5-10 candidates who can follow instructions, write a coherent paragraph, and have shown some flexibility.

Notice also that this ad is not intended to attract middle management secretaries earning $50-$60K per year who just want to type correspondence. This ad says you might be asked to run errands, manage mailing projects, and even fill my car with gas.

Truth be told, I think I might have asked my office manager to put gas in my car once somewhere along the line, but that's not really what I expect AA's to do. I only put it in there because I want this ad to reflect the fact that you have to be prepared to work. As you know, in small business everyone needs to pitch in as needed. So you don't need a prima donna who says that's not her job.

The Ad:

- - - - -

"Person Friday" 
Part Time Administrative Assistant and Personal Assistant
Start out 15 to 20 hours per week - with luck will grow to more.

Note: Please read through this ad and do not send a resume unless requested to do so. We will not look at unsolicited resumes.

General Job Duties: 
-------------------
- Run Errands
- Help in coordinating mail campaigns (monthly & special projects)
- Inventory office supplies
- Set-up appointments with clients following set guidelines
- Update forms
- Copying
- Make bank deposits
- Prepare payroll
- Get the mail
- Sort the mail
- Prepare sales materials 
- Typing
- Mailing packages 
- Monitor chargeable and non-chargeable hours
- Filing / sorting
- Misc. Research projects
- Make coffee
- Whatever else is needed. 

Personal duties include getting coffee, filling car with gas, get lunch for in-house meetings, shop for supplies, etc. 

Qualifications:
--------------- 
- Must have experience with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel 
- Must be good with details
- Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills 
- Good verbal and written skills 
- Must have reliable car to run errands as needed
- Must have clean DMV record

Send your paragraphs to jobs@company.com 

Compensation: $12/hr 

Special Notes:
-------------
We place a strong emphasis on Top Quality, Experience, and Customer Service. 

Do not send a resume until requested to do so. We will not look at unsolicited resumes.

To apply for this position, send the following in response to this ad:
 - 1-2 paragraph description of why you would be an Amazing Administrative Assistant for us.
 - Some of those who respond will be asked to submit resumes.

We are looking for a long-term employee who will grow with the company.

This position is in Sacramento, CA. Please only apply if you are in the Sacramento area or plan to move to the area.

- - - - -

What About Virtual Assistants?

I currently have one "permanent" part-time Virtual Assistant or VA (my sister in-law). I also hire three different VAs to do specific tasks such as book layouts or tedious work in QuickBooks.

But I also have a part part AA who comes to my office. I think I will always have a real AA because there is some work that just can't be done remotely. If you go look up my original blog about the $200 Miracle, you'll see that the comments are filled with angry VA trolls beating me up because I insist that I have a real AA who actually shows up at my office.

I left those comments up because they illustrate many of the things that can be done remotely.

But I know from running multiple businesses for 22 years that some stuff just can't be done by a VA in another state or country. Period. Plus, as the testiness of some of those comments suggest, you need to make sure you hire someone whose temperament represents your company well.


The Bottom Line: Hire An Assistant!

This process has worked for me time and time again. You'll get 5-10 legitimate resumes from people who are sincere and eager and ready to work. You'll also get 15-25 resumes from people who do not read the ad and simply carpet bomb the internet with a generic resume. Add them to the "No" folder and don't waste your time.

But whatever you do, please hire an administrative assistant or virtual assistant. They really will take away massive amounts of work and make your life better.

Comments welcome - even from trolls.

:-)

Friday, August 04, 2017

SOP Friday Index Updated - Now Includes 100+ Videos



For many years now, I've been posting SOP (standard operating procedures) articles on my blog and putting SOP videos up on YouTube. All of that is "indexed" over at www.SOPFriday.com.

I got a note from someone who thought it would be handy to add videos to the index. I've just completed that. For videos related to a blog article, I just added a link that says "See Related Video." There are also more than fifty videos that are not "related" to blog posts. They're listed at the bottom of the SOP Friday page.

Please check it out. I want this to be a usable resource. The blog articles are organized a bit like the SOP books. The videos are roughly in the order they were posted. If you just use CTRL-F to search the page for a keyword, that's probably the easiest way to find all blog posts and videos on a topic.

. . .  (Don't worry, I'm working on a better way to index and keyword all this stuff.) . . .

And if you just want to browse my YouTube channel, it's at www.youtube.com/smallbizthoughts.

And the SOP play list is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cOXlfuT0_k&list=PLC8KYKhZTqAO1vBlVVIL2rQ8t31DD-5IN

Final note: Please subscribe to this blog and to my YouTube channel so you don't miss any new SOPs!

Thanks.

:-)


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Manuel's Audio and Video Products on Sale Now

My brother Manuel - the coach who takes you to the gym and doesn't just send you there - has a number of very popular products for sale over at SMB Books. You can find them all on the "Manuel Palachuk's Stuff" page.

Now we've got three of his most popular downloads on sale. Here they are:

Process Control for the I.T. Industry

If you think process control has no place in our industry, nothing could be further from the truth. From the ROI of Process Control to getting everyone on board, this presentation lays out the path to success for building a culture of quality refinement in any size company. If you want to have any hope at making order out of chaos in your company you must start here.

This presentation could easily be expanded and broken into five or more individual presentations based on the importance of the subjects covered. As with many of Manuel’s presentations you will find he is high energy and passionate about the subject but in this particular presentation, you may find you need to listen to it on half speed to take it all in!

Audio recording with some background noise
Content Format: MP3 Audio, PDF Slide Deck
Content Duration: 1 Hour


Save $20!



The Ten Golden Rules of PSA


Learn how to double your value to clients and your profit with these powerful golden rules of PSA Service Ticket Systems

In this webinar, 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 over view of Agile Service Delivery, an emerging method you must learn to stay competitive.

Whether you’re a one-person shop or 50, 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 ten 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.

Recorded Webinar Session – Video with Mono audio
Content Format: MP4 Video and MP3 Audio, PDF Slide Deck and Q&A Follow-up
Run Time: 1 Hour

Now only $39.95

Save $20!



Working and Tracking Time in Real-Time

Tackle the single toughest obstacle to super high profits in your service delivery system with this information packed training webinar specifically presented for the IT Services industry in mind. Every CRM, PSA, and ticketing system out here wants to supply you with great reports on your bill-ability and your efficiency but not one of them can do it unless everyone is working and tracing time in real-time.

Tap into the wisdom of the author who has turned service delivery systems around for many companies and who can help you do the same for yourself. Even if you are the only one who creates billable time in your company you likely need some coaching on how to make the transition and here it is.

This training presentation starts by identifying the Profit and Value potential at stake then begins to clarify the interruptions that cost money and how to stop them. Manuel lays out the evolution of time tracking and clarifies the Working and Tracking Time in Real-time Maturity Levels. The path to success is outlined and you can easily see how to go from Level One: time stamps and notes taken on a tablet throughout the day, to Level Five: entering time in real-time directly into your PSA. Along the way, the great myths that a technician who multitasks is more efficient, is exposed and dispelled.

Some of the subjects covered include:
• Why Track Time?
• History and Evolution of Time Tracking
• Identifying and resetting the interrupt
• Working and Tracking Time in Real-time Maturity Level
• Time Increments for the Service Industry
• Profit and Value Potential
• The Multi-tasking Myth
• The Most Important Rules of Working and Tracking Time in Real-time
• Time Tracking Log Examples
• General Rules of 5 and 15 Minute Time Entry
• Steps to Success
• Getting everyone on board
• Measuring your progress

Recorded Webinar Session – Video with Mono audio and no background noise
Content Format: MP4 Video, MP3 Audio, PDF Slide Deck
Run Time: 1 Hour

Now only $39.95

Save $20!





Check out all these products and more at SMB Books today!

:-)

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

NEW: Video Training - Outlook Troubleshooting for Technicians

I am very pleased to announce that SMB Books is now distributing Lisa Hendrickson's Outlook Troubleshooting videos. This is a set of seven videos that go into a great deal of detail for technical troubleshooting.

The set is 25% off through the end of August. Check it out today.

MSRP: Only $199

Sale Price Through August 31st:

Only $149


Learn from an Expert how to troubleshoot, repair, and resolve Outlook technical issues.

Outlook is a program that contains a lot of data, lots of moving parts and offers 100’s of features which are all guaranteed to break at some point. As well, it’s the program most used with the Office 365 Business Plans. These videos will train you how to properly prepare, repair and learn Outlook in a 360 view.


Technicians should buy these videos to:

  • Advance their technical knowledge with Outlook, Exchange and supporting Office 365
  • Stop losing unbillable time trying to resolve issues you are not familiar with
  • Raise your rates and offer Outlook as a premium service
  • Have a marketing advantage over your competitors because you can promote Outlook as a service your company offers


You will learn

  • More knowledge about Outlook that allows you to fix and repair issues more quickly
  • How to create a spot check and backup Outlook data safely before performing work
  • How to troubleshoot without Outlook being open/won’t launch
  • How to create more sales with your clients by offering Outlook repairs and troubleshooting
  • How to repair and recover OST and PST files in Outlook


This series will easily save you enough labor to pay for itself in no time!



Sale Price Through August 31st:

Only $149



About the Teacher

Lisa Hendrickson, aka Call That Girl has been supporting all email platforms since 1996. In 2000, she focused on being a top helpdesk technician for Outlook at many corporate jobs. In 2007 she started Call That Girl and since 2013 has chosen to only support Outlook and Office 365. She is the author of six eBooks and has created 100’s of videos, blogs and articles, all about Outlook!

Lisa's also very active with posting videos, podcasting, and contributing to technology discussions online - including Facebook.


Endorsement:

“This is one of the best training sessions I have attended over my IT career and you will be amazed how little you really knew previously about the nuances of Outlook and Exchange. Along with the basic Outlook training series the troubleshooting series will give your technicians the one-two punch to create new business relationships because they will know they can fix the Outlook problems the right way the first time! Thanks to Lisa for sharing her knowledge with the IT community!”
-- Charles Perry/Owner PC Tech to Go

Summer Sale - Save $20 Right Now

I got together with a few other folks who sell into the SMB IT consulting community and put out a Sales email last week.
www.smbbooks.com

It went over very well. So I've decided to extend my coupon through the end of Summer (September 22nd).

The guidelines are very simple:


  • Minimum purchase $59.95
  • Enter code SummerSale2017
  • and you'll get $20 off any order.


That's it.

Order a class - save $20.

Order a book - save $20.

Register for the SMB Roadshow - save $20.

Buy an audio program - save $20.

No products are excluded from this sale.

www.smbbooks.com



(Sorry: Cannot be combined with other discount codes.)

:-)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Next Course - The Most Important Checklists for Any I.T. Service Provider - Starts August 8th

Small Biz Thoughts

W5-08

The Most Important Checklists for Any I.T. Service Provider

Taught by Karl Palachuk and Manuel Palachuk, Authors and Coaches


- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific



Checklists are critically important to creating SOPs - Standard Operating Procedures - for your company.
This course is intended for managers and owners of a managed service business. It covers many facets of the "checklist mentality" that the instructors have used at a variety of successful I.T. consulting businesses.

In addition to building hundreds of checklists and standard processes for KPEnterprises in Sacramento, CA, the authors have both written books, trained individuals, and coached teams on successful processes and habits for running a modern, successful managed service business.

This course will cover daily the use of checklists in daily operations as well as the "larger picture" of running the entire company. It will address both internal checklists for running your own company and external checklists for managing client relationships and client technology.

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. 

Delivered by Karl Palachuk and Manuel Palachuk, authors of the Network Migration Workbook and many other books for MSPs - managed service providers.

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 teleseminar phone calls (50-60 minutes each)
  • 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

Monday, July 31, 2017

SMB Roadshow - Only 13 Cities Left (Only 5 in the U.S.)

The Countdown Continues!




Upcoming Shows:

  • London
  • Manchester
  • Edinburgh
  • Dublin

  • Nashville
  • Atlanta
  • San Jose
  • Oakland
  • Las Vegas

  • Adelaide
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Brisbane


My big SMB Roadshow is heading to England, Scotland, and Ireland next month. Please join me!

You can find out all the details at www.SMBRoadshow.com.

This six-hour seminar is jam packed with great information about bundling, selling, implementing, and maintaining cloud services. We've hit about half the cities we're going to visit this year.

This will be my only visit to these cities this year:

- London - 15 August

- Manchester - 17 August

- Edinburgh - 22 August

- Dublin - 24 August

I put together an 8-minute video that spells out all details of what you get with this Roadshow seminar. It also explains in some detail what we're doing and how this seminar will prepare you to make a lot of money selling Cloud Services:



Check out the video -- which includes a discount code -- and plan to join me in August.

Questions welcome.

:-)

SMB Nation Announces Fall MSP Tech Talk Agenda - Join Me!

MSP Tech Talk

Fall 2017 

Tickets are Complimentary........

All you have to invest is your time.

This multi-faceted event gives technology providers the opportunity to learn from industry experts with no travel, hotel cost, or extensive time away from your business.

The Fall Agenda includes presentations by Harry Brelsford, Jamison West, Amie Seisay, Mark Scott, and me.



THE AGENDA

Sept. 13th
12:00 pm
5 Steps to Implementing Analytics in an MSP Practice

Harry Brelsford 
In this session, Harry Brelsford, the CEO of SMB Nation, will walk you  through the five steps of implementing digital marketing and analytics  as a way to convert leads to closed sales.

From using webinar  analytics as a form of predictive/behavioral lead scoring to A/B testing  via email campaigns to using HootSuite analytics for social media  measurements, he'll explore how best to use specific tools that you  likely already own or subscribe to and the most cost-effective methods  you can implement immediately. As a bonus, you'll also discover the  dirty little secret about the effectiveness of social media in B2B.

Register Now




Sept.  20th
12:00 pm
The true paradigm shift to becoming a “Cloud Service Provider”

Jamison West
Have you fully embraced the cloud? Do you use the cloud fully in your own environment? Do you sell and deploy the cloud first, or better yet cloud only? If not, have you fully examined the blocking issues? In order to truly make the leap to becoming a Cloud Service Provider you must understand the root of the paradigm shift. Join Jamison West as he shares his vision of what must be embraced and learned to transition your business.

Register Now




Sept. 27th
12:00 PM
Pricing Strategies: Break/Fix, Managed Service, and Cloud

Karl Palachuk
One of the most common topics for service providers is pricing. How should you price your services? By user or device? In bundles? Should you include hardware? What's covered and what's not? And how do you set an hourly rate?

While the questions never cease, managed service author Karl Palachuk provides some great guidelines to consider as you structure your pricing.

Join us for an entertaining and educational webinar - September 27th.

Register Now




Oct. 4th 
12:00 PM
Embracing Change as an Organization with SharePoint

Amie Seisay
Technology changes at a rapid pace. Business processes should align with the changes that are happening in the world. This of course, impacts how people perform their job functions. The days of waiting for IT to build web applications have shifted, empowering business users to develop their own websites and dashboards to showcase information. IT can shift their focus to developing high powered solutions that will provide even greater business value. This session will cover business solutions in SharePoint involving approaches to Change Management. We will also discuss pointers for allowing SharePoint to deliver true business value.

Register Now




Oct. 11th 
12:00 PM
It’s not getting to the Cloud it’s about a safe journey

Mark Scott
Cloud this, cloud that, “take your business to the cloud”. The age of cloud computing is upon us and with it a dizzying array of tools, templates, platforms, services, subscriptions, API’s, and applications. We can now build applications and easily share data with virtually everyone on the planet -- intended or not. In this session, we’ll cover

Business Drivers
Architectural Concepts
Design Requirements
Data Classification
Cloud Security
Cloud Application Security
Operating in the Cloud
Legal Considerations

Register Now




Oct.  18th 
12:00 PM
How to Align Your People

Jamison West
Are your teams performing at their full potential? Are people on each team aligned with each other – values, personalities, and interests? Are they aligned with their roles and objectives to fully maximize the potential of their talents? Join Jamison West as he shares why his new business was created to improve company and team culture and performance.

Register Now



:-)

Monday, July 17, 2017

What is Project Labor?

We get email. Craig asks, "What is project labor?" But then he gives an example (cleaning up a rat's next of wiring) that may not be a project at all. Here are some thoughts.

First: Please review two recent videos on dividing and bundling labor. Part One is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDGYct8AE48

and Part Two is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8SRx3OyaU4

Second, create clear definitions within your company for three different types of labor.

Maintenance Labor consists of all those things you do to maintain systems and prevent problems. You might call this preventive maintenance labor. This includes patches, fixes, updates, testing backups, installing service packs, reviewing event logs, defragging databases, etc. Anything that improves daily operations and staves off problems is considered "maintenance."

The goal of managed services is to sell all "maintenance" labor for a flat monthly. Ideally, you will include everything you can in maintenance labor so that the client is very clear when something is not maintenance. "Not maintenance" is either add/move/change or a project.

Your mileage may vary, but here's what we came up with: We estimate about 1.5 hours per month to maintain a server to our standards. And it takes about .25 hours per month to maintain a workstation. So if a client has one server and 20 desktops, we would estimate about 6.5 hours per month to maintain their systems. Assuming a reasonably trouble-free network, you might round this up to seven hours per month (84 hours/year) on average to maintain their entire environment.

Note that you CAN calculate how much labor it takes to perform maintenance labor over a year's time. Assuming you provide the same level of maintenance across all your clients, you'll find that the amount of labor needed to maintain a server or workstation is within a very predictable range.


Break/fix or miscellaneous hourly labor is labeled "Add/Move/Change" in our system. This title helps clients and employees draw a nice line between what's covered under maintenance and what is not. An addition of a user or workstation is not maintenance.* Changing out a switch for a newer switch is not maintenance.* Moving equipment around the office is not maintenance.**

For me, A/M/C or B/F labor is just normal stuff that comes up from time to time in any office. In other words, it's not a project. If Outlook opens in safe mode, fixing that is maintenance. If a machine does not have Outlook installed, then installing Outlook is an Addition and therefore billable.

We used to estimate that A/M/C labor was equal to about 25% of managed service labor. But, with newer equipment, business-class equipment, and cloud services, this number has gone way down. For the average cloud service client, A/M/C labor is between 0% and 10% of the monthly managed service labor.


Project Labor refers specifically to a job that is a little larger and takes more than one step. For example, installing a new server involves setting up the hardware, installing the O.S. and software, joining the domain, migrating data, and configuring everything so it's accessible to clients who need it. Because it's many steps, the project is large enough that it should be handled separately from basic A/M/C service tickets.

I highly encourage you to quote projects for a flat fee. This requires that you have some pretty good estimates of how long it has taken you to do these things in the past and what it will cost you to deliver this project. For the client, a flat fee guarantees a known price and gives them the comfort that there won't be cost overruns. For you, it forces you to quote the job profitably and motivates you to be as efficient as possible to maximize your profit.

When we're honest with ourselves, we have to admit that any project can experience a labor increase or decrease of ten percent just due to circumstances outside our control. With a flat fee, you can take that potential increase into account and then focus on controlling things as much as possible, almost forcing yourself to greater profitability.

If you haven't read Project Management in Small Business by Dana Goulston and myself, please check it out. If you're rigorous, you can guarantee that no project is ever unprofitable again.


So let's get back to Craig's specific question: The Rat's Nest. He says, in part:

"They have a running network but the network cables look like a rats nest and they want me to straighten it up.  The thing is the network is fine, so I see this as a project because this is a request that although it’s needed, it’s not required for them to have a running network.  I came into this situation I didn’t create it."

The good news is: 1) The client wants you to fix this, and 2) They know you didn't create it. As you said, the network is working, so this is really just ugly, sloppy work that needs to be cleaned up. I also assume the place could benefit from a few labels here and there, and maybe even a bit of color-coding if the network wiring includes Internet wiring, data wiring, and telephone wiring. But even if it's just unplugging and re-plugging everything so it looks professional, it's definitely a billable job.

The good news is: If you haven't signed a managed service deal yet, you can include the cost of this in their "setup fee" and it will appear to the client that it's just included in your service. So you might have that option.

As for whether this is Add/Move/Change or a project, I would go with a project simply because a job like this is perfect for flat-fee service. You can do it over a series of days if that makes sense (e.g., one hour per day at 5-6 PM until complete), or do it all at once during a time when they can afford downtime. Make sure you include cables if needed, and Velcro ties (not zip ties) in your price estimate.

You could decide to simply create a ticket and charge by the hour. But remember that things like this are a great way to build rapport with a new client. So even with a ticket, I'd work very hard to stay within your time estimate so the client knows they can depend on your word.

Hope that helps. If nothing else, there's plenty to think about.

- - - -

* Unless it is. Of course you can create managed service agreements that include new desktop PCs at regular intervals or hardware-as-a-service contracts that include new equipment from time to time. You can create any deal that makes sense for you.

** There really is no exception here. But since the last two had asterisks, I thought you might be expecting one here.

:-)

Friday, July 07, 2017

Join me in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, or Dublin - August 2017

My big SMB Roadshow is heading to England, Scotland, and Ireland next month. Please join me!

You can find out all the details at www.SMBRoadshow.com.

This six-hour seminar is jam packed with great information about bundling, selling, implementing, and maintaining cloud services. We've hit about half the cities we're going to visit this year.

This will be my only visit to these cities this year:

- London - 15 August

- Manchester - 17 August

- Edinburgh - 22 August

- Dublin - 24 August

I put together an 8-minute video that spells out all details of what you get with this Roadshow seminar. It also explains in some detail what we're doing and how this seminar will prepare you to make a lot of money selling Cloud Services:



Check out the video -- which includes a discount code -- and plan to join me in August.

Questions welcome.

:-)


Thursday, July 06, 2017

SMB TechFest Innovates with "Power Talks"

I love it when conferences innovate to keep things fresh and invite more ideas into the conversation.

Dave over at SMB TechFest has come up with a great way to get lots of new ideas and discussions into the mix. This quarter, SMB TechFest will include a stage dedicated to ten-minute Power Talks.

I will be presenting the following topics - with handouts.

We might have some time to debate and discuss while on stage. If not, we can certainly do so at lunch and during the cocktail party.


Easy Cloud Service Documentation

As we move more services and data into the cloud, it becomes very important to keep track of all that. In this 10-minute Power Talk, author Karl Palachuk presents a simple method for documenting all your clients' cloud services.


Resolved: Break/Fix Support is Immoral

Karl Palachuk is a well-known advocate of the managed services business model. In this 10-minute Power Talk, Karl takes his belief a step further, arguing that it's wrong to offer tech support without managed services. See if you agree.


Attitudes Toward Money . . . Tips on nickels, dimes, dollars, and stray dogs

What separates those who "make money" from those who build wealth? In this 10-minute Power Talk, author Karl Palachuk argues that the different is attitude - an attitude toward money. He elaborates with entertaining and educational examples.

Join us July 20th
Register at SMBTechFest.com/Karl

:-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Join Harry B and Me July 18th - Q2 MSP Analyst Webinar - Free

Don’t miss SMB Nation's popular quarterly report for MSPs, consultants, resellers and IT Pros. The only thing constant is change and we’re right there with you.

This analyst briefing will look back at 2Q and make forward looking statements for 3Q.

July 18th
12:00 Noon Pacific / 3 PM Eastern
Register at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6094108451817984001

I will join Harry Brelsford for this live one-hour webinar.

Topics include:

  • Microsoft updates: Report from Inspire (formerly WPC) 
  • Cloud Advisor to Cloud Services Provider 
  • Gap Fillers 
  • This Disappearing MDF Pot of Gold 
  • Is the MSP marketplace ripe for disruption? 
  • Shadow economy (hint – feet on the street at a UPS Store) 
  • Is the time right for an Azure vs. AWS debate? 
  • Vacation poll (what pool are you hanging out at?) 
  • Hey George – what should I do? 
  •  Harry’s Recommended Summer Reading 
  • Karl’s Success Secrets – Lessons Learned from the Road 
  • The Next Great Thing – Niche Security Opportunities including SharePoint 
  • And much more…
Mark your calendar and plan to join us live on the 18th.

:-)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Be My Guest at SMB TechFest July 20th

I try to hit every SMB TechFest. I generally manage to make three per year. This is always a great conference. Good content, good networking, good vendor hall.

Attend for free with this link: http://www.smbtechfest.com/Karl



  
Be my VIP guest and see me live at SMB TechFest.  SMB TechFest Q3 is coming up on July 20th.  See me present along with other industry experts in sessions to grow your business.  Also, engage in the IT Mixer, Expo Hall, and prizes included in this exclusive no-cost VIP pass for you. 
You can attend onsite in Anaheim, CA or online from anywhere worldwide via the live video broadcast.  In-person allows you to network better so join me live.  I have a limited number of complimentary VIP passes and they’re first come first serve. 

Limited free passes so register now

SMB TechFest Highlights Watch the 2 minute video


Accelerate at SMB TechFest
Accelerate your business and experience high-speed exotic cars
Car onsite.  Don’t miss this raffle
McLaren 570S



 Multiple Speaker Topics

·        Sandler Sales techniques
·        Panel: Profitable VOIP for Today's Business
·        Marketing Strategies That Work
·        Panel How to Thrive being a MSP
·        Security as a Service
·        Ransomware & Business Continuation
·        CompTIA Market Hot Trends & Solutions
·        More topics and sessions 




Rated a Top 50 Channel Conference


  • Expand your solutions at the Expo Hall
  • Network with 250+ partners and Technical Professionals
  • Win Prizes
  • Hosted Bar and appetizers
  • McLaren onsite.  Raffle.  130+ mph experience.
  • Mega Mixer.  Network with Industry Peers.
  • Parking Included
  • Includes breakfast, lunch and more
  • Great for Partners & IT Pros of all industry focus
  • Always a high-value packed agenda
  • Any doubts?  View our 200+ testimonials


One Day
Thursday July 20, 2017
8:00am - 6:00pm
Sessions, Expo Hall & Large Social Mixer

Onsite in Sunny California
EXPO CENTER
1960 S. Anaheim Way Anaheim, CA

U.S. Wide & International
Remote Live Video Stream
All Sessions


See you at the Event!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Welcome to the 21st Century: You're Fired

Ten years ago I wrote a blog post entitled Selling Technology vs. Selling Business Consulting.

In that blog post I presented one of my favorite examples of surviving in a changing business environment: Fisher Body Works. Fisher built bodies for horse drawn carriages. And rather than go out of business when the world changed, they decided to retool and build bodies for automobiles. They dominated that field, building auto bodies for several brands, including both Ford and General motors. They were eventually bought by GM - but survived 75 years after their competition because they were in the transportation business and not the horse drawn carriage business.

In my SMB Roadshow presentations, I talk about how fast the world is changing. I believe very strongly that the pace of change will only increase. And, as a result, large groups of people will lose their jobs to technology. Let me be very honest: I'm okay with that.

There are already too many jobs that simply shouldn't exist except for the fact that people refuse to let them go. The number of obsolete jobs is going to skyrocket in the next five years and explode in the five years after that.

Several people in my seminars have mentioned the web site Will Robots Take My Job? You might argue about the accuracy of specific numbers or industries, but the fact that this web site exists demonstrates a real shift in economics.

The most obvious industry that will disappear is related to automated vehicles. I argue that the entire trucking industry will disappear within ten years. That's not just truck drivers who will be replaced by driver-less cars. Truck stops won't be needed when truck drivers aren't human. No need for showers, truck stop hotel rooms, restaurants, or shops that sell cups, shirts, and truck-related chachkis. Gone. An entire industry and its infrastructure gone.

According to that site, there are 1.7 million "heavy tractor trailer" truck drivers. But there are many more millions who work in related industries.

Everyone deserves a job, but no one has a right to the job they have. Everyone needs employment, but no one is guaranteed that their industry will continue to exist.

Whether we like it or not, training for the future has to be a regular, ongoing piece of what we do - from now until we die. Change won't stop. You can fight it and resist it as much as you want. But you can't stop it.

Even in the last 25 years there have been plenty of "jobs" that ceased to exist. Where did TV repair shops go? There are a few left. But there used to be thousands of them. Same with video stores. Same thing happened to elevator operators, telephone operators, and travel agents. Yes there are some left. But not many!

If you've been watching the news, you may have noticed that fighter pilots who actually climb into airplanes are being replaced by drone pilots half a world away from the target. And at the local level, big box stores and the local grocery are replacing cashiers with self-service.

People get on their high horse about this stuff and will lecture me about how horrible it is. But they shop at Home Depot and overwhelmingly don't stand in line for the one human cashier. We want convenience and value. That doesn't always mean a low price.

I buy my shoes and t-shirts online because I know exactly what I want and I don't have to stand in line, drive to the mall, or spend my time. There's no experiencial trade-off for me. I don't enjoy standing in line, driving to the mall, or spending my time buying shoes. I'd rather click a button online.

The answer to future employment cannot be to stop technology. That has never worked. John D. Rockefeller fought for years to prevent electricity from being widely available at a reasonable price. Why? He was a forward looking guy, right? Well, he had a huge stake (the largest stake) in oil and kerosene. If electricity won the day, kerosene sales would plummet. 

But electricity prevailed because it was inevitable.

The cloud is inevitable.

Robots are inevitable.

Automation is inevitable.

There was a time when intelligent people debated whether we should write down our thoughts in order to preserve them. Did the written word actually make people less wise? As Plato says, "You give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality."
(See http://www.units.miamioh.edu/technologyandhumanities/plato.htm)

There you have it. One of the most basic technologies - writing - opposed by Plato in 370 B.C.

People have opposed one technology after another. Rarely have they turned back the clock, or even slowed the advancement a little.

The path forward is knowledge. We all have to be life-long learners. And many of us will find that we need to create jobs that are unique to us. 

The super good news is that ALL technology will be re-created and refreshed in the next five years (and every five years after that). That's good because it means you can learn it. Someone will be the "the best" at every technology. And the never-ending parade of new technology means that anyone who chooses can learn a new thing and become one of the best within just a few years.

Interestingly enough, the biggest deterrent to massive change is corporate America. Large corporations are very comfortable being one or two generations behind. We make fun of the military for using old computers. But virtually all of the largest companies in America are using old technology because they've already invested in it.

So some jobs will be around awhile. But if you're not in one of those jobs, now is a great time to think about what you want to do in the next five years. And start training!

:-)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rayanne Launches Newly Revised Financial Processes Course for I.T. Services

MSP and Financial Super-Star Rayanne Buchianico has revised and updated her Financial Processes course over at Great Little Seminar. Classes start tomorrow!
This five-week course is one of our most popular every year. Rayanne owns an MSP, but she is also an accountant and has a good business helping I.T. service providers get their finances straight - so they can get their business straight. 

All classes are recorded and can be downloaded in Webinar or Audio formats.

Details:

- - - 

Financial Processes for the I.T. Services Firm

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

There are few things more important than the finances of your business. But most technology consultants didn't get into business to run balance sheets or figure out cash flow.

This class provides unique content from a unique teacher! Rayanne is a managed service provider from Tampa, FL. She is also an accountant and an Intuit certified ProAdvisor. In addition to her MSP business, Rayanne helps I.T. consultants to take control of their finances and understand their own business at a deeper level.

Rayanne BuchianicoTopics for this class include:
  • Learn to read and understand your Balance Sheet and P&L Statements
  • Create a chart of accounts that makes sense for your business
  • Separating out information on the P&L for management decisions
  • Entities and tax considerations - understanding how your entity is taxed. Handout is a tax projection worksheet for 2017 taxes
  • Cash flow forecasting - Handout is a cash flow projection spreadsheet to forecast revenues and expenses
  • Understanding margins and ratios - Deep dive into the P&L and Balance Sheet to understand how the numbers work together to make decisions. Handout is a worksheet on calculating and understanding the ratios & margins.
  • Use margins to price your services for profit
  • Calculate billing and burden rates
  • Action plans for success
. . . and More!

Delivered by Raynne Buchianico, Financial Coach and QuickBooks Advisor. Rayanne has been an MSP - managed service provider - for many years and advises MSPs on how to get the most out of their QuickBooks and PSA integrations.

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 Owner or Operations Manager.
Register Now


A Few Details . . .

  • Each course will be five webinar calls (50-60 minutes each)
  • 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