Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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

I am registered. You should check it out!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you there.

:-)

Saturday, February 09, 2019

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

Live in-person meeting of the Small Biz Thoughts Community

Unique content, not available anywhere else.

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

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

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

Topic:
Making Money in 2019

Details on the SMB Roadshow web site.

Don’t be left behind.

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

Community Members: Grab your discount code here.

Everyone: Atlanta – March 5th – Register here

Watch the Invitation Video!




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

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


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


We plan to finish around 5 PM.

NOTE: There’s a ChannelPro cocktail reception afterward.


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

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

:-)

Friday, February 08, 2019

MSP Makeover: Win A Day with Harry Brelsford

Super opportunity from SMB Super-Consultant Harry B!

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

- This is a contest. No cost to enter.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

- - - - -

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

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

:-)

Thursday, February 07, 2019

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

Join me at
IT Owner's Compass

Chicago
April 26-28

More info at https://itocompass.com/

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

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

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

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



Special Offer:

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

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

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

:-)

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Massive Coaching Mastermind – Sacramento – March 29th

Join me for a great all-day event!

I am hosting an all-day Massive Coaching Mastermind event at the end of March in Sacramento, CA.

Here’s the basic timing:


  • Fly / Travel on Thursday, March 28th
  • We’ll gather for drinks and networking Thursday evening



  • Mastermind Breakfast on Friday, March 29th
  • Meet / Mastermind 9AM to 9PM (includes all meals)


Price includes two hotel nights – March 28th and 29th – and all meals Friday. So plan to travel Thursday and then you’re on your own when you wake up Saturday. Weather is normally around 70+ degrees Fahrenheit in Sacramento at that time.

If you want to bring your family and wander off to Napa wine country, Yosemite, or other Northern California adventures, the weather should be perfect.

This event is strictly limited to TEN participants.

Non-members will pay $1999* each. This price includes one year membership in the Small Biz Thoughts Community.

Members pay only $999* each.

Go Here to get the member discount code.

then

Click here to register.

Your satisfaction is guaranteed! If you don’t get enough value from this event to improve your business significantly, I’ll refund your money.

I’ve lined up some amazing speakers/trainers to help you spend the whole day grabbing a hold of your business and moving it up a notch. Then we’re going to focus on YOUR business and help you brainstorm ways to solve your biggest challenges.

This is an all-day working day for your business.

Part of the reason I included nights is so everyone can get to know each other the evening before, and start fresh in the morning. Also, it’s nice if everyone stays until the end. My goal is to create a whole experience.

* Price includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and “breaks” on Friday. Includes hotel room Thursday night and Friday night.

* Price does not include airfare, additional hotel nights, hotel upgrades, guests, spouses, family accommodations, bail, or other expenses.

Questions? Email me or leave in the comments section below!

:-)

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

The ASCII Group Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Congratulations to my good friends over at The ASCII Group!

I received this press release announcing their 35th Anniversary. Amazing.

If you're in the area, Join me at the ASCII Success Summit Feb. 20-21 in Garden Grove, CA!


Bethesda, Maryland – February 5, 2019 --  The ASCII Group is proud to announce it has reached an exciting milestone as the company celebrates 35 years of providing a membership-based community to North American MSPs, VARs and solution providers. Through ASCII membership, IT business owners have access to preferred pricing, networking opportunities with fellow professionals, exposure to the latest technology and more, as well as significant operating cost reductions.

The ASCII Group began operations in 1984 when Alan D. Weinberger, the company’s Chairman and CEO, founded the company in a Washington D.C. suburb along with 40 ex-franchisees of a software chain.  “I took a step back in the early 1980s at the start of the IT revolution and was able to reflect on the specialized, educated individuals who were driving the revolution by implementing the final solutions of new software and services, rather than just the computer retail giants or a few large vendors.” 

Recognizing a need to provide business tools for growth to like-minded IT professionals was the company’s founding principle three decades ago, and remains the same today. Led by its original founding executive, Weinberger, The ASCII Group continues to be committed to providing MSPs with a united, trusted community alongside programs, services and opportunities. With a consistent focus on meeting the needs of its members, the company’s programs and offerings have greatly expanded as the Channel has evolved, and all new technologies require learning and expertise.

“We joined ASCII in 1988 in order to join the group buy discounts with distributors and have been members ever since!  ASCII continues to save us money on our purchases but also adds so many more benefits with business support, technology education, knowledge sharing and peer networking.  It’s wonderful to be part of an organization that puts the interest of its members first and continues to promote our importance in the industry,” said Chip Evans, President, Computerware, Inc., and member of The ASCII Group since 1988.

Jerry Koutavas, President, The ASCII Group, added, “For 35 years our mission has always been to help independent IT companies collaborate, learn, and become more efficient.  We are very proud to have made a difference in the success of so many businesses, and we look forward to continuing to provide new services to help MSPs.”

Over the last five years, ASCII has experienced significant growth within North America, driven by strong member retention and remaining vendor neutral. The ASCII team has also been recognized for a number of industry accolades including CRN’s Women of the Channel, ChannelPro’s Silver Readers’ Choice Award for Best IT Community, and CompTIA’s Channel Changer 2018.

The ASCII Group will commemorate the occasion throughout the next twelve months and an anniversary celebration will be held at its IT Success Summit in Washington, D.C.  For more details on all of ASCII’s IT Success Summits, visit www.asciievents.com 
About The ASCII Group, Inc:

The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, VARs and solution providers. The Group has over 1,300 members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national and international reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more.  ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com.

-30-

Class Starts Feb. 12th: Service Agreements for SMB Consultant - Applying the Book

All About Service Agreements for I.T. Consultants

(Service Agreements for SMB Consultants - Applying the Book)

Next Offering:

- Five Tuesdays - February 12 - March 12, 2019 -- Register Now

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Based on the best-selling book Service Agreements for SMB Consultants, this course covers everything you need to know about developing your service agreements. And the book subtitle is important, too: A Quick Start Guide to Managed Services.

Most I.T. Professionals sign - or don't sign - contracts for the wrong reasons. Most think contracts are intended to draw battle lines for when you have a disagreement with your clients. In fact, that piece of the relationship is almost always outside the contract! We'll explore why you really need contracts or service agreements.

We'll also look at various options, including a 2-page "terms of service" as well as managed services, programming agreements, and more.

Tuition for this course include the ebook version of the newly revised and expanded Service Agreements for SMB Consutants! That includes all the downloads from the book as well.

You will learn


  • Defining Yourself and Your Relationships
  • Define Yourself
  • Define Client Relationships
  • The Language of Service Agreements
  • The Service Agreement Construction Kit
  • A Sample Credit Agreement
  • Boilerplate: A Sample Service Agreement
  • Flat Fee or Managed Services Parts
  • The Managed Service Agreement
  • Getting Help and Managing Agreements
  • Getting Help - Lawyers, Accountants, etc.
  • Managing Your Service Agreements
  • PLUS lots more. This class is filled with great advice and tips on running your I.T. company and moving into the world of recurring revenue with managed services.




Delivered by Karl W. Palachuk, blogger and author of the very popular "SOP Friday" posts.

Includes five weeks of webinars with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor. All classes are recorded for download.

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

Only $259





Note: Small Biz Thoughts Community Members may attend for only $99 per student. Find out more:


:-)

Monday, February 04, 2019

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

#1 Question: Is it too late to become a Managed Service Provider?

Short Answer: No!

In fact, what we call "managed service" is really just the way technology support will be delivered from now on. We're going to use great tools, sell network-managed solutions, and focus on preventive maintenance and recurring revenue.

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

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

Register Now


Making the move from “break/fix” customer support to a service contract model is a way to increase profit and improve customer relationships. In this webinar, I show you how to make the move from Break/Fix to Managed Services.

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

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

We did a similar webinar before and it was very well received.

Please join us for a great event!


:-)

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Great New Class on Supercharge Your Hiring, Team Building, and Sales with DiSC - Starts Feb. 5th

Great New Mini Class: Supercharge Hiring, Team Building, and Sales with DiSC

Long time author, trainer, coach, and community builder Erick Simpson is teaching a great new 3-part mini course in the Small Biz Thoughts Community on DiSC personality profiles. Many of us use DiSC profiles at some point in our hiring process. Personally, I used them when I think I’ve got the right candidate, but before I make the actual job offer.

Three Tuesdays:

Feb. 5th - 9:00 AM Pacific
Feb. 19th
Feb. 26th

FREE to Small Biz Thoughts Community Members

Only $99 for Non-Members

Erick learned about DiSC profile while running his own managed service business. He saw so much value for his team that he became a certified DiSC trainer and started offering DiSC training to other.

In this three-part mini course, Erick gives you a great introduction to the value of personality profiles and lots of hands-on knowledge so you can learn to apply these profiles within your own company.

NOTE: Your class registration includes ONE DiSC profile, which will give you a big fat report you can read through to see the value of the instrument. Additional profiles are available at a greatly reduced price.

Format: Our Community presents a new 3-part mini class every month. Each class is about 30-60 minutes with 100% usable information. Our goal is to give you truly valuable tools and education that will improve your business during the class.

You will certainly benefit from Erick’s training on DiSC profiles!

– – –

DiSC Mini Class by Erick Simpson – Instructor: Erick Simpson
– Three Days: February 5, 19, 26 (2019)
– Note: No class February 12th

– All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific
– All classes are recorded
– Classes are generally 30-60 minutes

This class is FREE for Small Biz Thoughts Community. Community members. $99 for non-members.


:-)



Saturday, February 02, 2019

Four Lessons from the Google+ Shutdown

You may have missed it with the end-of-year hub-bub, but Google has announced the demise of Google+, the social media "start up" that never flourished. Now, I know it's easy to make fun of Google+ because they have never really been successful when measured against Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.

Google to Shut Down Google+
But let me be honest here: When I fail, no one notices. And I fail a lot. More precisely, I try lots of new things. When I close down the projects that aren't working, they generally fall into one of two categories. The real failures - the ones absolutely no one cared about - I simply stop doing. I don't make an announcement. No fanfare. I just put my energy somewhere else.

For projects that had some level of success, I redirect to my "failure page." It's here: Know When to Quit. As you can guess from the page title, it's an essay entitled Know When to Quit.

As a Google (Alphabet) stock holder, I am happy to see Google try new things. And as a blogger, vlogger, podcaster, and general media whore, I have taken great advantage of many Google products and services to promote my business and my personal philosophies about life.

As a business enthusiast, I'm always eager to figure out what went wrong and learn some lessons. Here's my take on what we can learn from the Google+ shutdown.


1. Never follow someone else's business model.

We've seen this over and over. If you follow someone else, the best you can ever hope for is to be number two in the market. Google woke up one day and realized they didn't have a Facebook-like social media platform. So they decided to create one, assuming that their massive popularity (Google search) would catapult their success. People started making fun of them from the start.

This is particularly odd when you realize how many social media platforms Google already owns - and the markets they dominate. For example, Google owns Blogger, Zagat, and YouTube. Plus, they own a plethora of other-branded search engines. See this list.

Microsoft loves to copy Apple (stores, tablets, phones), and they always come in second. Or they end up dropping out.

Lesson: The road to success is more often paved by doing something that very few (or no one) is already doing.


2. Don't building your business on rented land.

Many, many companies today are relying on Facebook and, to a lesser degree, LinkedIn as the platform for their marketing. You've seen it. A group pops up on Facebook and suddenly has 4,000 or 40,000 members. After all, with a base of more than a billion members, you only need a small percentage to reach those numbers.

But beware. Big companies don't make money giving you stuff for free. They make money getting you to engage with dollars, whether directly or indirectly. And any business you don't control can disappear overnight. Many companies have been "bit" by simple rules changes at Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

When you're in the middle of a frenzy, it's hard to see that it will end. But there are thousands of examples. Yahoo was once the largest search engine. MySpace once dominated social media.

What comes after Facebook? What comes after LinkedIn? You don't honestly think that kids born in 2019 will be using these platforms as much as their parents, do you? Instagram and SnapChat are the top social media sites for teenagers today. Both are owned by Facebook.

Lesson: Use others' platforms, but don't bet your business on them.


3. Control where you spread your data.

Social media companies have had a wild ride over the last fifteen years of so. For at least ten of those years, people freely put the most private information (and company data) online. We were told that "Privacy is a thing of the past." Then the consequences of that free-for-all became clearer.

Now we're in an era of trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle.

The demise of Google+ is a great example of trying to clean up your data. Do you have a Google+ Community? Has your company shared information with others in a place that you think is safe and secure? Do you have a record of what's up there? Do you care if it's deleted on the site (and the site is deleted)?

And what happens to the decade of backups? Will Google be deleting your personal and company data from those backups? [Wild guess: No.]

Going forward, you need to make sure you control your company information more tightly. You have no control over what ultimately happens to it once it's on a site you don't control. And while this is a very visible example of a site disappearing, it's certainly not the only example, or the last.

Lesson: Create a policy for your company, and do what you can to control the use of company data.


4. Google is a strong and powerful company: Look for them to do something else that's really cool.

Looping back to my introduction, I fully expect that Google management is relieved to have Google+ behind it. And now they can use those resources to take on some other adventure.

When you look at the broad holdings of Alphabet, you realize that they do not have blinders on when it comes to the future. They dabble in artificial intelligence, big data, driverless vehicles, and all kinds of new technologies.

I believe we can look forward to some very interesting new initiatives from Alphabet and Google going forward. At this stage, they have to spend a certain percentage of their energy protecting their dominance in search. But they are clearly dedicated to trying new things. And as they embrace new technologies, the "new things" have the potential to be truly spectacular.

Lesson: Try lots of new things, but know when to quit.


A Few Details on the Shutdown

For more information, see https://blog.google/technology/safety-security/expediting-changes-google-plus/
and their FAQ at https://support.google.com/plus/answer/9217723


  • Google+ will be shutting down for consumers April 2019.
  • You can download your photos and other content if you wish.
  • On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and content will be deleted.
  • Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.
  • The process of deleting content will take months. So your stuff might disappear on April 2nd, but could disappear any time.
  • "As early as February 4th" you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events.
  • If you use the Google+ Sign-in button for non-Google sites, those buttons will stop working soon. Google owns a LOT of properties, so you'll be able to user their non-plus Google Sign-in buttons instead.
  • If you are in the habit of logging on with Google+ and then making comments on other sites, such as Blogger, those comments will disappear by March 7th.
  • G Suite accounts should remain active. But look for changes to the look and feel.
  • Developers who use Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in will need to do some re-programming. See the FAQ and announcement pages above.


:-)

Friday, February 01, 2019

January Roundup - What a Way to Start the Year!

Some days I feel lazy. Then I sit down to look at what really got accomplished in the first month of the year. For me, it was quite a bit.

I'm grateful to have had such a productive kick-off for 2019.

Over at my YouTube Channel, I posted ten videos:



Subscribe today at www.youtube.com/smallbizthoughts.

And I managed to produce a dozen blog posts at Small Biz Thoughts:



Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post!

Over in the Small Biz Thoughts Community, we posted a lot of great content, including . . .




You can always see what's new on the "What's New" blog: www.smallbizthoughts.org/whats-new/

I also posted four 30-minutes interviews over at SMB Community Podcast, with


  • Len DiCostanzo
  • Arlin Sorensen
  • Manuel Palachuk
    and
  • Erick Simpson

(See video links above.)

Along the way, I produced two webinars, including my 10th Annual State of the Nation Address for Small Business IT. And I delivered a new presentation live at SMB TechFest.

On the education front, I delivered most of the 5-Week Class on Managing Your Service Board, with over forty people registered. In addition, I taught an all new three-part mini class on Tuning Up Your Employee Onboarding Process - inside the SBT Community.

. . . And somewhere along the way, finished three more chapters in my next book: Cloud Services in a Month. I'm on target to finish it this quarter.

- - - - -

I love to relax. And I love to be lazy.

But I have to admit the I feel best at the end of a day when I feel that I've actually accomplished a lot. January, for me, feels extremely satisfying because it feels very productive.

Unfortunately, I missed a few deadlines.

Oh well. I'll try to catch up in February.

If you want to keep up with all of my activities, the best way is to subscribe to my weekly Small Biz Thoughts Newsletter. I try to include unique content you won't find anywhere else. It's free.

Please sign up today.

And I would appreciate your feedback on any of my content.

:-)