Thursday, June 28, 2018

Small Biz Thoughts Community Update - Price goes up July 1st

I want to give you a quick update before the week comes to an end - and the price goes up $100.

We currently have almost 40 members signed up (not including me or my staff). Ruben, the web programmer, is focusing on functionality over look and feel, so the inside doesn't look quite ready for public consumption. We still need to sweep the floors and paint a few things. ;-)

This week I have added some Community Leaders to the site and sent them credentials. They're going to poke around and let me know if they find problems.

In the meantime, Kara is queuing up a massive number of items to be added to the content sections. I've got a backlog to catch up with.

I'm writing content and putting together drafts of welcome documents and videos. I've also created a new Zoom.us account just for use inside the community. So if we have meetings, broadcasts, classes, etc. we won't have to worry about the Zoom account I'm using for classes or webinars run outside the community.

If you're looking for more info, here are some sources:

Original Announcement: 
Small Biz Thoughts Membership Site - Coming August 1st (blog)

6-Minute Tour of the SBT Community (Video)

50-Minute Intro Webinar and Q and A (Video)

40-Minute Walk Through and Introduction of SBT Community Leaders (Video)


Membership Available Through June 30th:
$799 for fifteen month membership - save 46%



Or just sign up right now and SAVE!


July price will be $899 for fifteen months. That's still a 39% savings.

In August, we'll still offer the bonus three months to annual subscribers. AND the $99 monthly memberships will be available.

Questions? Email me!

:-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Make GDPR Compliance a Little Less of a Pain in the ...

If you do business on Earth, you've probably heard of GDPR - The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.

Like me, you may have received a fat contract you will never read with a series of places where you might fill in some information, but it's completely unclear what you actually need to do. So you ignore it until you don't have any choice but to actually fill it out.

Not sure where to start? Well, lucky for you, I was forced to deal with this. So, naturally, I figured out a process. You will absolutely have to tweak this for your own purposes, but I'll walk you through what *I* do.

[Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer or a GDPR consultant. I'm just a guy trying to make your life easier. You are responsible for your own actions.]

Before I dig into what I do, let me give you a resource that's very helpful: The GDPR Toolkit from the Isle of Man Information Commissioner. This 17 page PDF lays out a great strategy. for managing "personal data" as defined in GDPR. And it's not as confusing as this chart looks at first. I know that sounds like a totally random resource. Thanks Google.

I won't go into all the details of GDPR compliance. I have a one inch thick book of that. But it's important to note one important thing: "Personal Data" simply means any data that might allow someone to identify a specific individual. Obviously this includes first name, last name, and email address. But it also includes IP address, mailing address, and a lot more.


My Handy-Dandy GDPR Mapping Process


Below I am going to present my entire GDPR "mapping" process. I call it that because it's very much like mapping fields in Excel or a database. Collect information here and put it there.

Basically, you need to identify the following pieces of information so that you can fill out forms and questionnaires. I find it very handy to identify this information once and then have it available for anyone who needs it.

1. Project Components. This is my brief description of the project that requires all this compliance work. I start here because I can break down each piece and determine where compliance is required. From there, I can use these pieces to document compliance throughout the rest of the document.

2. Why Personal Data is Collected
3. Whose Personal Data is Collected
4. What Personal Data is Collected
5. Legal Basis for Collecting Data
6. When Data is Obtained
7. When Data is Disclosed to Others
8. Data Retention
9. Where Data is Processed

The rest of the document (Items 2-9) are simply sections to make sure you have answers to any GDPR questions you might be asked. Note: You may have an opportunity to simply copy and paste this information, but it's more likely that the form you fill out will have specific questions and you'll need to copy and paste selected pieces as needed.

I create a Word document whose contents are below. Other than hiding the name of the client, this exactly what I have in my internal-use document.

Just so you know what's going on here, I'm collecting two types of "personal" data. One is for myself and the client representative who will be on a webinar. The other is webinar registrants. All the details of what is collected, why it's collected, when it's collected, how it's used, etc. are right here.

- - - - -

Personal Data Map for GDPR Compliance

Project: (Client Name) Books/Webinar Campaign

This document prepared by Karl W. Palachuk, President, Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc., d.b.a. Small Biz Thoughts.


1. Project Components
 - Print/ship books for Client to distribute at conference
o No personal data required
 - Promote webinars with advertising in my newsletter
o No personal data required
 - Speak at conference
o No personal data required
 - Webinar with client representative
o Will collect personal data for webinar attendees

2. Why Personal Data is Collected
 - Webinar with client representative
o Personal Data is collected in order to provide webinar access
o Personal Data is collected for marketing purposes

3. Whose Personal Data is Collected
 - Webinar with client representative
o Personal Data is collected from the webinar hosts (employees of client and GLB)
o Personal Data is collected from those who register for the webinar

4. What Personal Data is Collected
 - For the webinar, the following Personal Data is collected:
o From webinar hosts
-- First Name
-- Last Name
-- Email Address
o From webinar registrants
-- First Name
-- Last Name
-- Email Address

5. Legal Basis for Collecting Data
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- Data is collected by consent
-- Consent is evidenced by the webinar registration service
o From webinar registrants
-- Data is collected by consent
-- Consent is evidenced by the webinar registration service

6. When Data is Obtained
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- Data is collected upon setting up the video webinar service to create the webinar
o From webinar registrants
-- Data is collected upon registration for the webinar

7. When Data is Disclosed to Others
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- This data is not disclosed beyond this service
o From webinar registrants
-- This data is shared with client

8. Data Retention
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- This data is retained for two years
o From webinar registrants
-- This data is retained for two years by GLB

9. Where Data is Processed
 - For the webinar:
o From webinar hosts
-- This data is collected by Zoom.us, a cloud-based service located inside the United States
o From webinar registrants
-- This data is collected by Zoom.us, a cloud-based service located inside the United States
-- Registration data is downloaded to an in-house computer at GLB
-- Registration data is transmitted through email to Client. The email ser-vice is a hosted Exchange service housed at Intermedia and located inside the United States.
-- Once transmitted to Client, the registration data is deleted from the in-house computer at GLB.

Note Regarding the webinar Service Used:
 - We use Zoom.us has our webinaring platform. This service is GDPR compliant and re-quires an explicit opt-in for IP addresses detected as originating in the EU.
 - For details on Zoom’s GDPR compliance, please see
https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360000126326-Official-Statement-EU-GDPR-Compliance

- - - - -

Three final notes. First, this is a great example of something that's not as bad as you feared. Second, there's enough work here that you should make sure you account for it in the cost of a project. And Third, this is also a great example of how a little time documenting your process will save you lots of labor down the road. File | Save As ...

Feedback welcome.

:-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Making the Most of QuickBooks in an I.T. Service Business - Next 5-Week Course

Making the Most of QuickBooks in an I.T. Service Business


- Five Tuesdays - July 3 - July 31, 2018 -- Register Now

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific



QuickBooks is QuickBooks, right?

Well . . .

QuickBooks has to be set up right. Then it has to be used right. Then you need to have specific processes for the kinds of things you do in YOUR business. QuickBooks has some great interview-based setup parameters that differentiate between a "service" business and a storefront.

But QuickBooks does NOT have a configuration setting tailored specifically for a technology consulting business! There is no "MSP" option when you install QuickBooks.

In this class, Rayanne walks you through several processes that are geared toward the kind of business you run.

This class provides unique content from 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

Topics for this class include:
  • How to track and claim a credit for sales tax paid to vendors on products for resale
  • Maintaining HAAS equipment and recording income and expense properly
  • Tracking direct labor and overhead payroll expenses
  • Creating and maintaining a purchase order system
  • Managing customer deposits, retainer payments, and unearned revenue
  • 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 Service Manager or Operations Manager.



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 webinars will be recorded and made available to paid attendees only.
  • All calls start at 9:00 AM Pacific Time
:-)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Take Control of Your Communication (It's Really Okay)

I just finished writing an article for the Relax Focus Succeed newsletter that will be coming out next week. (Sign Up Here)

In that article, I mention author Neal Stephenson and his policies for communication. As part of my research, I wandered over to the web site page where he explains why he never responds to email or speaking requests. And I found an interesting slide-out window:


Do you see it?

There's a place to put your email and subscribe to updates from Stephenson's press people. At first it seems odd that you should let them email you, but there is literally no way for you to email him.

But this reveals an interesting truth: You can limit your communication intake and still produce as much output as you want. Why is that? Very simple: Most people are very poor at managing their time and attention. As a result, it's easy for you to interrupt their flow and break into their communication channel.

I have found this to be true in my personal and professional lives. With very few exceptions, I never answer my phone. But when I call others, I know they'll answer because most people don't have rules like this.

I check email on a schedule and keep it closed the rest of the time. I check Facebook on a schedule and keep it closed the rest of the time.

I have weaned myself off the dopamine pump that comes with social media alerts. And most people never notice. Every once in awhile, someone will accuse me of ignoring them. That is, until they realize I'm ignoring everyone else as well.

Interruption - especially electronic interruption - has a tendency to make us feel more productive while it actually destroys our productivity. We confuse busy-ness with effectiveness. At the same time, we don't "feel" the effects of lost start-up time required to get back on track after an interruption.

If you have no rules around in-bound communication, you can assume that people are wasting your time. Consider making a chart. What are all the ways you can be interrupted? For example, telephone, text message, instant message apps, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, door knock, shoulder tap, fire alarm, etc.

Consider what would happen if you pick five of these and allocate three minutes to each of them every hour. That's 25% of your time! Does that seem reasonable? It shouldn't!

So when you meet someone who says, "I don't waste my time with social media," consider that they might have it exactly right. If you can point to where social media (or any other communication medium) improves your life or business measurably, then allocate a limited about of time to it. If it's just fun, then consider cutting it out of the business day and only using it evenings or weekends.

Put this on your list of personal SOPs: Develop an in-bound communication policy.

Feedback welcome.

:-)


Sunday, June 17, 2018

6-Minute Tour of the SBT Community

On Saturday I put together a quick video tour of the Small Biz Thoughts Community.

Click to Watch Now
You can find that here on YouTube

This walk-through gives you a sense of the look and feel of the site as well as some of the contents, which currently include . . .

  • Events Calendar
  • Forums
  • Audio Programs
  • Books
  • Checklists
  • Classes
  • Excel Files
  • PowerPoint Slides
  • Webinars
  • SOPs
  • Videos
  • White Papers
  • Word Docs
  • Workbooks
  • . . . and more!

Remember: Early Birds save the most. Right now, a 15-month subscription is only $799.

That price goes up July 1st. Sign up today and you'll be Founding Member - and save 46%.

Unsure? Want to ask some questions? Great!

Join me for a live webinar Tuesday, June 19th at 4 PM Pacific
- - I'm pretty sure that's 9:00 AM June 20th in Sydney

Register for the Webinar

Note: In this webinar, I'm going to reveal the Community Leaders we have so far and the forums they're going to be running. Please join us.

:-)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Build a Business Relationship - Not Just a Technical One

Debbie Takes to the Cloud

I'm always telling people to build a business relationship with clients - not just a technology relationship. This is extremely important in times of change. (And constant change will be the name of the game for the rest of your life.)

Even though I refer to my first IT company as KPEnterprises, the full name was KPEnterprises Business Consulting, Inc. It was not technology consulting. It as business consulting. And clients took that seriously.

Here's the story of one client who made massive changes in her business simply because she trusted us to take care of her and her technology. Her name is Debbie and her company did marketing for new home developments. They went through some tough times when the housing market collapsed in 2008-2010.

One day, Debbie called us. She said that they were bleeding money and had to make major cuts. She had already laid off a few people. And, she said, “You need to help us save money.”

Her idea was that she could somehow reduce the amount of technology they had and therefore reduce the cost of maintaining it. My brother Manuel was President of my company at the time. He started a business-focused discussion with her.

Debbie revealed that their lease was almost up on their office and their big phone system. So she was planning to move to a smaller office and get a smaller phone system.

Manuel then pitched an idea for a virtual office. Because we had space in a data center, he told Debbie that she could save a lot of money by not paying rent on an expensive office the Bay Area. He told her we’d take care of her server and we'll put it in our colo. Then someday it’ll become virtualized; and some day it will simply cease to exist.

And he told her, “You won't care and you won't know the difference. You won’t have downtime, and we're going to take care of your data.” He told her to send her employees home and we’ll make sure they’re taken care of.

Note: At no point did we promise to cut the amount she paid us. After all, we were saving her lots of money on rent. Plus, we set them up with a hosted phone system, and unplugged their old one.

As Manuel will tell you, Debbie said yes to this idea right away, largely due to her long relationship with our company and the fact that we had been taking care of her technology for twelve years.

Eventually, Debbie actually moved to Connecticut and all her employees stayed in California. And everything just kept working. As promised, her machine was eventually retired and all her data and email moved to hosted cloud services.

Imagine the trust it takes to make that kind of a major change in your business. That's not something you do because the "computer guy" said so. But it is something you would do if a business consultant recommended.

:-)


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

It's Not Too Late - Move to Managed Services NOW

Please join me for this free webinar - with LOTS of give-aways . . .

In association with Zyxel Nebula

June 21, 2018
11:00 AM Pacific

Register Now


Zyxel is sponsoring this webinar. It's intended for folks who still haven't figured out how to be massively successful with managed services.

Making the move from “break/fix” customer support to a service contract model is a way to increase profit and improve customer relationships.  In this webinar, reveal how to make the move to managed services.

All attendees will receive a copy of my book: Managed Services in a Month as well a new 10 page guide on making the move to recurring revenue.


Providing Managed Services Webinar

Making the move from “break/fix” customer support to a service contract model is a way to increase profit and improve customer relationships.  In this webinar, I reveal how to make the move to managed services today.

All attendees will receive a FREE copy of Managed Services in a Month as well as my all-new 10-page guide to managed service.

All attendees will also receive a $10 Amazon gift card. Plus one lucky attendee will win a $1,000 gift card!

Please sign up today. I'll see you on the 21st!

:-)

Friday, June 08, 2018

Small Biz Thoughts Community - Q&A

This morning I held a quick webinar to talk about "what's inside" the Small Biz Thoughts Community. Just posted a recording of that on YouTube:





Here are the links that appear on the 5th slide:

Blog announcement:
http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2018/06/small-biz-thoughts-membership-site.html

Launch web site with intro videos:
https://smbbooks.net/sbt-community-launch


Or just go to the order page, read the terms of service, and sign up now:
https://www.smallbizthoughts.org/launch-order/


Please post questions here or email me directly.

:-)

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

My Favorite Marketing - 1.5 hr Training Video

I had a great turnout for the webinar this morning.

I rarely have such a quick turn-around to a live webinar, but it just worked out today. The recording is posted now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/smallbizthoughts.

This might have been stretched out a bit to two one-hour presentations, but I wanted to try to squish it all into one. So at an hour and a half, it's somewhere in the middle.

My three favorite kinds of marketing are: A regular newsletter; Direct mail; and Speaking or training. I talk about how I use all of these and throw in some best practices from my experience over the last 23 years.

Here's the replay (1.5 hours):




Along the way, I mention that I have a sample security training you can give to your clients and prospects. Here are the links I list in the video:

YouTube video of training - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSRkV4XylRg

Downloads at http://www.smallbizthoughts.com/events/Palachuk-SafeComputing.zip

Feedback welcome.



Next Webinar: Friday at 9 AM Pacific

Join me for a free webinar Friday

Introducing the Small Biz Thoughts Community Q and A !!!


-- All your questions answered
June 8th 10:00 AM Pacific
Register Now: Zoom Webinar

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hK4bUvYTQeappYZUxm-kAg

:-)

Monday, June 04, 2018

Four June Webinars - Join Me!



June has become the month for Webinars!

I have four scheduled this month. Please sign up for at least three (one's kind of a repeat).

All are free.

1. My Favorite Marketing!

Free Webinar - My Favorite Marketing Techniques
June 6th 9:00 AM Pacific
Register Now: Zoom Webinar

I'm going to present my three favorite marketing techniques. These techniques brought me almost every client I've signed to managed services for the last twenty-three years. This webinar will be about 45 minutes. But I'm going to stick around and answer all your questions.

See more details in this blog post.

- - - - -

2. Introducing the Small Biz Thoughts Community

Introducing the Small Biz Thoughts Community Q and A !!!
-- All your questions answered
June 8th 10:00 AM Pacific
Register Now: Zoom Webinar

Introducing the Small Biz Thoughts Community Q and A !!!
-- All your questions answered
June 19th 4:00 PM Pacific
Register Now: Zoom Webinar

Last Friday I announced my new membership community. See the blog post. See the video introduction.

These webinars are intended to give you some idea about what's on the inside and what we plan to do with the community going forward. And then I'm going to answer all your questions.

Note: The 4 PM Pacific time slot is for my friends in Australia and New Zealand.

- - - - -

3. It's Not Too Late - Move to Managed Services NOW  

In association with Zyxel Nebula
June 21, 2018 11:00 AM Pacific

Register Now

Zyxel is sponsoring this webinar. It's not about their product. It's intended for folks who still haven't figured out how to be massively successful with managed services.

If you're not sure whether break/fix or managed services is best for you, this webinar is for you. If you think managed services is for you, but you haven't figured out how to make it work profitably, then it's also for you.

If you run a super successful managed service business, then this is probably not for you. But Zyxel has a pretty cool offer you might be interested in.



:-)

Friday, June 01, 2018

Small Biz Thoughts Membership Site - Coming August 1st

As many of you know from discussions earlier this year,

I am launching a membership site!


(If you prefer a video-centric version of this blog post, please hop over to https://smbbooks.net/sbt-community-launch.)

What is the Small Biz Thoughts Community? 

Well, it has two primary components. First, it's a community. With luck, the community will have people interacting, meeting new people, sharing experiences, and helping each other learn new techniques to be successful going forward.

Our industry is in an era of massive change. Keeping up will not be easy. We will have educational components, training, live events, forums, contests, and more. When you say, "How do I make sure I didn't miss anything?" the answer will be: Check the Community!

The other component will be content. We will gradually add materials from my vast library of resources. This includes books, white papers, audio programs, recorded webinars, handouts, checklists, standard operating procedures, and more.

Plus, we're going to have something no one else has done in our community, ever: A Break Room. Details to be announced.

My personal mission is to inspire success through a combination of serving myself and serving others. Not sure about that? Read Relax Focus Succeed. That's been my mission for more than a dozen years.

I honestly and sincerely want YOU to be successful. I have dozens of emails from people telling me that they figured out cloud services because of my webinars, or they sold their first managed service offering because they were inspired by Managed Services in a Month. That's dozens of emails from this year, 2018. I have over a thousand emails like that from the last ten years.

When people ask me what I do, I say,

"I help technology consultants to be better at the business part of their business."



And after all these years, that adds up to this project: Community and Content. The benefits are obvious: Make more money while we engage in building and maintaining a community of technology consultants that is ever-changing and ever-learning.

This is critically important in an era of Exponential Change. If you want some information about the tip of the iceberg regarding this era of exponential growth, please check out my January presentation on the State of the Nation Address for 2018.

The bottom line for YOU is that you need to figure out how to guarantee your success going forward. You need to maintain your skills. You need to grow the skills within you company. You need to figure out how to survive and thrive in an ever-shifting environment. The SBT Community is dedicated to your success.

In a perfect world, every single member of this group will have the skills, processes, and habits that will allow them to retire wealthy. I can't promise that, of course. You have to do your part. This is absolutely not a get-rich-quick scheme.

My entire approach to success is this: Go to work. Work really hard. Go home. Have a life. Enjoy your life. Then go to work the next day, work your ass off, and do it all again. Rinse and repeat for twenty years.

Simple, right? The point is, you have to work really hard.

But I'm here to help. And my vision is that the SBT Community will be here to help.

How are we different? Well . . . we're going to have . . .

  • Massive amounts of content
  • Fresh Content
  • Great forums (special interest groups)
  • No vendor advertisements*
  • Thousands of pages of checklists, worksheets, documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, etc.
  • New, fresh, interactive events every month
  • (Eventually) ALL of my works. All of my books. All of my presentations. All of my checklists. All of my recorded content. All of my audio programs. All of my webinars. etc.
* Vendors are absolutely welcome! But we're not selling advertising inside the community. I want a community built by and for the members. Vendors are extremely important to your business, so we'll welcome them to participate. We just won't have a site that looks like Times Square, filled with so many ads that you can't find the content.


Our Challenge is to help you to be successful in the ever-changing Exponential Century.

If you're one of the 75,000 I.T. professionals I'm connected with by email or social media, then you know that I've been educating and building this community for almost fifteen years. No one provides more education than we do. No one provides more free content than we do. No one has sold more books focused on Managed Services than I have. This is literally all I do!

As a result, you can count on me to work full time to make this community work, to make YOUR business successful, and to help you keep up with the new, emerging technologies that will make your successful in the years ahead.

Our goal is very simple:

The Small Biz Thoughts Community keeps you profitable 
on the cutting edge of technology consulting.

- - - - -

Enough build-up. Here's what we're doing.

I'm launching the site August 1st. But I'm pre-launching the site today. Here's what it's going to look like. "Standard" pricing will begin September 1st. Standard pricing will be:

•       Monthly Price: Only $99 (one year commitment)
•       Annual Price: Only $999 (Save 16% with annual membership)

But of course I have a "Launch" bonus.

If you sign up in the month of August, and buy the annual membership, I'm going to give you three additional months for free. So August pricing looks like this:


August Price - Save Big

  • Monthly Price: Only $99 (one year commitment)
  • Annual Price: Only $999
  • Bonus: 3 additional months FREE
    (15 months for the price of 12)
  • Save 33% with annual membership!
  • Founding Member Status

You can save even more if you buy before the site is actually launched! You can save $100 more by purchasing in July:


July Price - Save Bigger

  • Annual Price: Only $899
  • Bonus: 3 additional months FREE
    (15 months for the price of 12)
  • Save 39%!
  • Founding Member Status


And, finally, you can save even more if you buy right now! You can save $200 more by purchasing in June:


June Price - Save Biggest

  • Annual Price: Only $799
  • Bonus: 3 additional months FREE
    (15 months for the price of 12)
  • Save 46%!
  • Founding Member Status



The bottom line is simple: The sooner you sign up, the better for you!




Go to the sales page here: Sign Up Today

Note that prices go UP July 1st. Check it out today.

:-)