Friday, March 27, 2020

SMB Books moving to a new site: Get your downloads now!

After eight years on our current platform, SMB Books is moving to a totally new web site.

But if you're one of the 11,000 people who has purchased from us in the past, you need to make sure you have your downloads !!!

If you have ever ordered from our book store - SMBBooks.com - please read this email.

We will be moving to a new platform soon. PLEASE make sure you have downloaded the handouts, PDFs, and audio programs from the old site before we shut it down.

Here’s how to get your downloads.


  1. Go to www.smbbooks.com. Scroll down and select the “Sign In” option. Log into your account. If you didn’t set a password, you can simply request a reset.
  2. Under “My Account” click on “Review orders / track packages”
  3. Click the Download Files link
  4. Click the file name to begin the download


Screen shots below.

Let me know if you have troubles.





-- -- --

Our old site served us well
. . . for 11,000 purchases!

But it is now old technology and more expensive than it needs to be.

As we have moved many people to our Small Biz Thought Technology Community, we have dramatically decreased the traffic on the old site (because members get access to pretty much everything inside the Community).

Thank you for all your support over the years! Please take care of this.

:-)


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Manuel's Economic Storm Survival Guide

My brother Manuel is putting on a webinar to help IT consultants caught in the "economic storm" that's forming in response to the Covid-19 virus.


March 31st
2 PM Eastern / 11 AM Pacific

Register at: https://manuelpalachuk.com/survival-guide

Everyone already has a myriad of Coronavirus checklists and How-To-Work-Remotely best practices, but who’s helping you understand the economic implications of what’s happening and how to survive it?

Manuel is!

Sign up here: https://manuelpalachuk.com/survival-guide

#GettingToTheNextLevel

:-)


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Is Your Family Ready for You to be Self-Employed?

A note for absolutely new entrepreneurs.


If you have a family, you need to consider whether they are ready for you to make the launch into self-employment. It’s great that you are excited and have faith in your future. But a new business can be very difficult on a family.

Many new business owners un-balance their lives terribly. They believe they need to take every customer who walks in the door. They tend to work very long hours, leaving almost no time for their family.

This behavior compounds until something blows up. And that something is often the most important relationship in your life.

Take this very seriously. It’s important to talk about the long hours, and the struggles ahead, and all the things you’re not sure about.  When a partner knows what they’re getting into, it is much easier for them to support you when the going gets tough.

It’s also a good idea to set some limits on your work time. You need to have balance in your life if you’re going to make this business work in the long run. You need to spend time relaxing and recharging your batteries.

And remember: The more you talk about all these things with your partner, the smoother everything will go – the first year and every year after.

:-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How to Help Your Clients Thrive During the Economic Downturn

Now's the Time for Client Roadmap Meetings!

I went "live" today on Facebook, talking How to Help Your Clients Thrive During the Economic Downturn.



That's here: https://youtu.be/LRcmUXs7pQw

Now is the Time: Help Your Clients Make Good Decisions!

I have a few resources to make your life easier. First, if you need a place to start creating a Client Roadmap meeting, my 3rd edition of the 68-Point Checklist will help (It's free). You'll want to add some business and strategy questions to create your Roadmap Questionnaire.

For more information on that, here are some previous blog post links:

- https://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2006/10/technology-roadmaps-for-clients.html
and followup https://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2007/06/roadmap-update.html

Plus an SOP Friday post:
SOP Friday: Quarterly Roadmap Meetings

And a Client Roadmap video: https://youtu.be/b7ejd35XzcQ

As your clients tighten their belts in the months ahead, you need to jump in and help them save money and increase productivity through the appropriate use of technology. That includes helping them create a secure remote working environment.

When this downturn is over, you want to be remembered as a partner who helped them make the most of the situation.

-- -- --

If you're a member of the Small Biz Thought Technology Community, you have free access to the three-part mini-course. This includes my brand new 14-page Technology Roadmap Questionnaire. It also includes a four-page white paper on how to get the most out of the Client Roadmap Process.

Mini Class – Client Roadmap Deep Dive

Part One is an overview of the process and a deep dive into the questionnaire itself. Why do we ask these questions, where do they fit, and why do it in this order? We also talk about why you shouldn't worry about finishing all the questions. You probably won't, and that's great.

Part Two, we talk about using the Roadmap Questionnaire to close new clients. It's a very smooth transition from the 68-Point Checklist and a network assessment to a discussion about the client's business more broadly. We'll also touch on the first Roadmap meeting after you sign the client.

Part Three covers the ongoing, never-ending conversation you'll have with your clients about their technology. You'll see how we use this to get the client to engage in the overall health of their network, to make good decisions, and completely sidestep the sales process going forward.

Get sticky. Make clients love you. Improve their technology. And eliminate ongoing "sales" while selling lots of great stuff. It's not quite magic. But it's pretty close.


If you're NOT a member of the Small Biz Thought Technology Community, you should be. We have massive resources like this -- Everything's included.

Visit https://www.smallbizthoughts.org.

:-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

New Class: Core Standard Operating Procedures for Small IT Providers

Core Standard Operating Procedures for Small IT Providers – W501

Taught By: Karl W. Palachuk

- Five Tuesdays

- March 24 - April 21

- Register Now!

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

- All classes are recorded

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

This course will cover the most important procedures you need to have in place to run an efficient and highly profitable Managed Services Business.

Whether you're a new Computer Consultant or an experienced Managed Service Provider, you need to create successful processes that will propel your company forward. Nothing is more critical to making profit than having the right processes and procedures in place!

When I take on new coaching clients, they have many of the same issues over and over again. And almost all of them boil down to SOPs - Standard Operating Procedures. Or the lack thereof.

Everyone knows you need SOPs. In fact you probably know which ones you need. But where do you start?

You will learn:

  • A practical introduction to SOPs
  • The relationship matrix of SOPs
  • Clients
  • Employees
  • Vendors
  • Internal Organization
  • The Ten Most Important SOPs for your IT Consulting
  • Business
  • SOPs management, organization, and updates
  • Implementation strategies internally
  • Implementation strategies for clients
  • Service Department SOPs
  • Building
  • Training
  • Deployment
  • Upkeep
  • Avoiding the biggest pitfalls with SOP development and deployment
  • Building an Action Plan that works


This class is filled with great advice and tips on running your I.T. company and moving into the world of recurring revenue with cloud services.

Delivered by Karl W. Palachuk, blogger and author of the very popular "SOP Friday" posts at http://sopfriday.com.

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.


per person

-- -- --

Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community Members: Register for only $99. See the Deals and Freebies forum for the code you need.

Members with annual subscription attend for FREE. Email the Community Concierge to get started.

Details at https://www.smallbizthoughts.org.

:-)

Monday, March 16, 2020

You Don’t Have To Get It Perfect the First Time

A note for entrepreneurs.


Many people are stymied by the mistaken belief that they have to “get it right” before they implement decisions. This includes small decisions as well as large ones.

I encourage you to take a different approach: Accept that this is an iterative process. That means you will tackle the same decisions again and again. Eventually, you will get good at making decisions. The sooner you give up believing in perfection, the sooner you can learn to make decisions quickly, without fear of being wrong.

Consider your business five or ten years from now. You will have run many marketing campaigns. With each one, you will learn something about what works and what doesn’t. And, ideally, each campaign will be better than the previous.

The same is true with your price lists, your offerings, your strategies, and everything else in your business. Everything changes, all the time. It is simply impossible for you to keep doing exactly the same thing all the time.

So, you see, every decision you make in your business will be revisited at some point.

So just remember that  you need to go through this process, but execution is far more important than getting it right the first time.

The Japanese have a management process called Kaizen. It means constant, incremental improvement. Embrace that philosophy and relax: you have forever to get it right!

I promise you'll make mistakes. And you'll get over. With luck, you'll learn and move on.

:-)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Not Cancelled: Robin Robins' Big Boot Camp

Update March 16th: This event has gone virtual. Same link.

----- -----

Robin Robins has announced that she is holding her "Big Show" as scheduled:


The theme for this year is The IT Sales and Marketing Fight Club.

Special guest this year: George Foreman!

Nashville, TN
April 8-11, 2020

Details at https://www.robinsbigseminar.com/

DEALS:

1) Given the circumstances, Early Bird pricing has been extended to April 8th! Visit that web site for details.

2) If you are a member of the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community, please contact me. Robin has given us a handful of free tickets to the first few Community members who contact us.

Let me know if you're interested. We’ll contact Robin’s team and make sure you work out the details. 

If you haven’t been to this event before, it is always an amazing event! Details and information at https://www.robinsbigseminar.com/

:-)

Friday, March 13, 2020

YOU Are Probably the Actual “Product.”

A note for entrepreneurs.


Among the big decisions you have to make are the name of your company and your overall brand.

Over the years, I have owned several companies, including KPEnterprises Business Consulting, Inc., Relax Focus Succeed, and Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc.

Within those companies I have had many products, services, and web sites. But I learned a very important lesson with three very different audiences: In the end, *I* was the brand. You may have the same experience.

In my service business, my clients always felt that they had a direct relationship with me – even when I had twelve employees. And when I developed online services and communities, I discovered once again that no one paid attention to the various brands I used.  Again, I was the brand.

If you do a good job of creating your brand by being an interesting and engaging marketer, then people will know you – and they may not know your various brands separate from you.

One way to know whether you are the brand is to look at your web statistics from time to time. Among the juicy details you’ll find there are the search terms people entered in order to find your site.

If people are searching for “Your Company” or “Your Brand,” then that’s a great indicator that your company is your brand. But if people are searching for “Your Name Company” or “Your Name Brand,” then people are really searching for your name. And that makes you the brand.

Why does that matter?

Once you determine whether your brand is you or your product, you can use that information in your future marketing and branding.  If your brand turns out to be you, they you need to start using that.
That’s all good when it comes to marketing right now, today.

You also need to look way down the road to your exit strategy. That is, how will you get out of this business? Will you sell it? Take on investors? Sell controlling interest and stay involved for a year? Or maybe pass the business to your children.

If you intend to sell your business someday, or even pass it along to your children, you will need to separate your company branding from yourself as an individual. You may not need to make any changes now. Just be aware of it when you start working on your exit strategy.

:-)

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Not Cancelled: McKinley Training Institute's Dispatch & Service Management Leadership Certification Courses on April 29 - May 1 in Chicago

Not Cancelled!

I received this missive from my friend and mentor Josh Peterson:

- - - - -

McKinley Training Institute's Dispatch & Service Management Leadership Certification Courses
April 29 - May 1 in Chicago

More Info: https://info.beringmckinley.com/dispatch-service-certification-course

Registration: https://info.beringmckinley.com/dispatch-service-course-registration-sp20


You are invited to register and attend the Bering McKinley Training Institute: Dispatch & Service Management Leadership Certification Courses on April 29 - May 1 in Chicago.

At the Dispatch & Service Management Leadership Course you will:

  1. Learn from expert instructors who have worked and mastered both the Dispatch & Service Management roles. 
  2. Connect with fellow Dispatch & Service Management leaders in your industry.  
  3. Take part in hands-on courses that provide templates, metrics, models & industry KPIs 
  4. Walk away with a detailed blueprint for doing your job or managing others who fulfill the role of Dispatch & Service Manager, much better.
  5. Receive industry certification demonstrating proven competency in the areas of Dispatching & Service Management Leadership.


View Course Details 

Survey Results from the Dispatch & Service Course Dec. 2019
92% of participants rated this course as 'very satisfied' with the content presented
82% of participants gave this course an 'excellent rating" for quality of mentorship & guidance
100% would recommend this class to their colleagues


Speakers

Josh Peterson
Service & Financial Expert, BMK

Stephanie Kritnz
ConnectWise Manage Consultants, BMK

Rose Avila
ConnectWise Manage Consultants, BMK

Click to See Agenda, Details & Price

- - - - -

:-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Cutting Expenses in 2020 (from Live broadcast)

I "went live" today on Facebook, YouTube, etc.

Here's the recording:



Notes:

We are in a very odd time. The stock market is "correcting." We don't know how long that will last or how bad it will be. We know it will end, but there's no way to know if it will end this week, this, month, or next year.

Then there's the Covid-19 virus. Lots of unknowns there. We know that will end, and probably in a few months simply because that's what happens with these viruses. But, again, we don't know.


Here's what we do know: This is a great time to look at cutting some costs. 

That's always a good idea, but it's particularly good if we have a longer-term financial downturn.

Best of all - here are ten tips that could permanently reduce your operating expenses without affecting your long-term operations. These tips fall into three categories: 1) Stop wasting money; 2) Take advantage of savings that are available; 3) Permanently reduce expenses going forward.

Here's the link re: Cancelled events: https://www.zdnet.com/article/gartner-cancels-events-dell-world-goes-virtual-due-to-coronavirus-2020-tech-conference-cancellations-and-travel-bans/

Community link: www.smallbizthoughts.org

Online Conference: www.smbonlineconference.com


Please like and share, if you like.

Leave comments on YouTube, Facebook, or here.

Thank you!

:-)

Join us Live Online: The CompTIA Communities & Councils Forum - March 17th

One of the biggest community events, professional events, and information events of the year is CompTIA's CCF - Communities and Councils Forum.

This year it has gone virtual. And YOU are welcome to join us.

CompTIA Communities & Councils Forum
17 March, 2020

11 AM-3 PM Central
9 AM - 1 PM Pacific
Noon - 3 PM Eastern

More info: https://www.comptia.org/events/view/comptia-communities-councils-forum-(ccf)-2020

Registration: https://www.comptia.org/events/registration?eventid=CCFON2020

Official info from CompTIA:

- - - - -

Where Tech Innovation Meets Collaboration…Virtually

CCF Update

Every year, we look forward to connecting with our most engaged Community and Advisory Council members at the CompTIA Communities & Councils Forum (CCF).

This year, after careful consideration of the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to take precautionary measures and cancel the in-person meeting that was scheduled for March 16-18 in Chicago. Our top priority is the health and well-being of our members, staff, and the community at large.

Virtual Meeting

In place of the in-person meeting, we are excited to host a half-day virtual event from our headquarters on Tuesday, March 17 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Central time, where we can share much of the educational content and industry insight we had planned for CCF.

Check out the agenda (all times are CST):

11:00 a.m. – CCF Welcome & Special Announcement
11:30 a.m. – How Emerging Technologies are Delivering Business Outcomes
12:15 p.m. – Advancing Tech Talent & Diversity Community Launch Celebration
12:40 p.m. – Coffee Break with Q&A
12:45 p.m. – When Your Plan Meets Reality: MSP Security
1:15 p.m. – Social Media Best Practices, Tips & Tricks
1:30 p.m. – Making the Decision to Build a Technology Channel
2:00 p.m. – The Ultimate AI Power Panel
2:45 p.m. – CCF Wrap-up


These sessions are open to everyone at no cost! Current attendees will be automatically registered for the virtual sessions and will receive log-in instructions via email. If you’re not currently registered, it’s not too late!

REGISTER FOR THE VIRTUAL EVENT

Virtual meetings are also being planned for our appointed Advisory Councils on Wednesday, March 18. Please check your email for details.

We also invite you to collaborate and connect virtually in our CompTIA mobile app. The community and council forums in the app are a great place to share best practices and discuss common challenges with your peers. Download it now from your Apple or Google Play Store.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience the cancellation of the in-person event has caused. But with every challenge comes opportunity, and we believe the virtual activities outlined above will allow us to engage with an even wider audience.

Thank you for your commitment to CompTIA’s communities and councils. We look forward to connecting with you virtually on Tuesday, March 17!

- - - - -

:-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

AVANT Analytics Provides Original Research on IT Security With Release of Latest “6-12 Report”

Got a note from my friends over at AVANT Analytics, a new market research initiative from AVANT.

They just released their second 6-12 Report, which analyzes the state of cyber security preparedness in a  variety of industries. AVANT Analytics uses these reports to provide business tech leaders with an overview of the next-gen solutions that are expected to disrupt the IT market over the next 6 to 12 months.

AVANT compiled data from their Trusted Advisors, thousands of real-world customer assessments, and their actual purchasing decisions to highlight the state of digital transformation around security. This is unique in the industry - most research you’ll find on digital transformation comes from surveys or anecdotal analysis.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The biggest security threats facing enterprises with an under-developed security posture,  and the stalemates keeping them from developing a robust security plan 
  • How compliance plays a role in developing a security posture for industries like healthcare, financial services and enterprises with international operations
  • An in-depth look at the cyber attack landscape, with tangible advice for enterprises under-prepared for the new face of cyber terror -- plus, recommendations for where a Trusted Advisor can help protect 


Press Release:

AVANT Analytics Provides Original Research on IT Security With Release of Latest “6-12 Report”
Report is designed to help enterprise decision-makers evaluate their company’s IT security framework for the next six to 12 months

March 10, 2020 -- CHICAGO -- AVANT Analytics, the market research division of AVANT Communications (“AVANT”), a platform for IT decision-making and the nation’s premier distributor for next generation technology, today released its 6-12 Report for IT Security. The report leverages data collected by AVANT’s Trusted Advisors through the course of real world engagements in solving business customer technology needs. Insights are also based on customer surveys, external data, and extensive interviews with subject matter experts to provide an enterprise decision-maker’s guide to maximizing IT security.

This AVANT 6-12 Report is designed to help business leaders assess their attack surfaces, the most malevolent threats, and whether their current defenses are truly adequate for the task. Working in conjunction with their Trusted Advisors, readers can look to the 6-12 Report to help them maintain the security of their company’s data, enhance the confidence of their customers, and develop appropriate response plans in the event that a breach does occur.

To learn more and download the 6-12 Report, visit: https://goavant.net/itsecurity-report.

Key topics discussed in the report include:

  • The common types of attacks with which you must be familiar
  • The key building blocks of IT Security
  • The “People” aspects of IT Security
  • The benefits of compliance – even when it’s not mandatory
  • Defense-in-Depth vs. Zero Trust: Which approach is best for you?
  • Coordinating Technology, Policy, Operations and Response
  • Leveraging the expertise of Trusted Advisors and MSSPs


“Security is a value proposition unlike any other in the Information Technology industry,” said Ken Presti, Research Vice President of AVANT Research and Analytics. “Any other technology can be installed and tested to prove that it works. But, security is such a rapidly moving space that it’s difficult to know what the criminal element will be able to penetrate. And, if they can’t gain access today, perhaps they will learn how to gain access tomorrow. Since no guarantees can be made, enterprise decision-makers need to work with their Trusted Advisors to maximize the odds while at the same time developing effective contingency plans in the event that something bad does occur.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Ransomware, DDoS attacks, intrusion, and email phishing attacks are the threats about which customers are most concerned (69%)
  • Customers’ primary issues with their current security posture focus primarily on their fears regarding emerging threats (45%) combined with staffing (38%) and resource limitations (36%)
  • Preparedness for attacks varies somewhat by vertical market, with the highest levels of risk perceived by respondents in the Business Services (80%) and Medical (68%) sectors 
  • We have shifted from a world in which the IT security budget is to be minimized, in favor of an environment in which the very survival of the business depends upon embedding security into every facet of the infrastructure 


“Almost every day, we read press reports about companies that have been breached or otherwise used as unwitting pawns by cybercriminals,” said Ian Kieninger, CEO and co-founder of AVANT Communications. “Companies of all types recognize and fear the vulnerabilities they face. We designed this AVANT 6-12 Report to facilitate an understanding of what’s adequately defended and where the gaps might lie. Readers of this document will be able to sustain a higher-level dialogue around how to protect the very existence of their companies.”

This is the second installment in a series of 6-12 Reports designed to help business leaders assess whether the featured technology is a viable option for their companies over the next six to 12 months.
In AVANT’s inaugural 6-12 Report, launched in September of 2019, AVANT used primary data gleaned from actual technology assessments and decisions to highlight the market dynamics and state of digital transformation around Software Defined-Wide Area Networking, (SD-WAN). As AVANT’s most heavily downloaded report in the company’s 10-year history, our premier 6-12 Report helped business leaders to better understand the capabilities of SD-WAN, plus key considerations r when deciding whether an SD-WAN solution would meet their needs.

As the latest proprietary resource for IT decision-making, AVANT’s Security 6-12 Report complements a wealth of other data-driven tools for forward-thinking IT leaders -- including AVANT’s  2019 State of Disruption Report. This pioneering study leveraged survey data from 300 U.S. enterprise decision-makers to gauge  the rate at which newer technologies are displacing and disrupting older ones. The State of the Disruption is currently being refreshed for 2020.

To review AVANT’s market research reports, please click on the following links:
https://goavant.net/itsecurity-report
https://goavant.net/sdwan-report
https://ta.goavant.net/report


About AVANT Communications

AVANT Communications is a platform for IT decision-making and the nation’s premier distributor for next-generation technologies. AVANT provides unique value to its extensive network of Trusted Advisors with original research, channel sales assistance, training, and tools to guide decision-making around IT services that promote business growth. From complex cloud designs to global wide-area network deployments to the latest in security services, AVANT sets the industry standard in enabling its partners and clients to make intelligent, data-driven decisions about services, technology and cost-effective communications. For more information, visit www.goavant.net, or connect on Twitter and LinkedIn.

###

Monday, March 09, 2020

Not Cancelled! James Kernan's Mastermind Event - March 26-27

My friend and fellow coach James Kernan is hosting a big Mastermind Event - March 26-27 2020.

From James' flyer:

Food, beverage and entertainment will be provided, along with valuable educational content that will help you GROW your business.   A handful of select strategic partners will also be there to share insight on industry trends and cutting edge technology. 

We will share best practices for Sales, Marketing, Leadership, Cyber Security and Business Growth!

You will learn more about Google ads, Social Media marketing, Security trends, Cloud, Professional Sales, M&A, Legal and "how-to" presentations from over a dozen successful business owners!

Great Speakers, Great Content, Unique Opportunity - You won't want to miss this! 

More info  at https://kernanconsulting.com/san-diego-business-summit/

Mastermind Event - San Diego
Kernan Consulting
Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 8:00 AM - Friday, March 27, 2020 at 5:00 PM (PDT)
San Diego, CA


EVENT REGISTRATION PAGE:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mastermind-event-san-diego-tickets-92351954181

James A Kernan
Kernan Consulting, Inc. Coaching, Advising and Mentoring
www.KernanConsulting.com

It is the people that market themselves better that win!


:-)

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Growing from One to Two, Three, and Ten

A note for entrepreneurs.


At some point you’re going to need help. That might mean outsourced contracts and services. Or it might eventually mean hiring employees.

Here are a few things to consider about employees.

It is best to start with a part-timer, for several reasons. Fulltime employees are very expensive. And I would recommend that you have enough profit or “spare” money in your business to cover an employee’s salary plus expenses before you hire.

A safe calculation is salary times 1.25. If you provide benefits, the cost will go up from there. You need to pay Social Security taxes of about six percent of salary. Plus worker’s comp, unemployment insurance, etc.

With a part-time employee, you can easily adjust hours when your cash flow changes. And don’t feel guilty about hiring people part-time. There are lots of people who only want to work 10-20 hours per week.

College students and stay-at-home parents are the best. They are educated and sincerely only want to work limited hours.

When it’s time to hire someone fulltime, please make sure that you have the cash flow to keep them. It is very sad and emotionally draining to have to lay off an employee because you didn’t have the money you thought you had!

Hiring your first employee is literally the greatest percentage growth your business will ever experience.

The very good news is that your new employee will double the number of hours available in your business. Maybe you will use those hours to sell services, or complete lots of administrative work. Whatever your new employee does, you will be able to expand your capacity.

I recommend that you hire an administrative assistant as your first employee. You will be tempted to hire someone to do your technical or primary work. That labor will probably be much more expensive than an administrative assistant. And an admin will free up your time to either perform the primary labor or make more sales.

Note: If you're thinking of hiring in 2020 (first time or tenth time), we have a special interest group in the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. It's filled with IT service providers who are looking to hire and want to help each other do it right, and avoid some mistakes. Join us - www.smallbizthoughts.org.

:-)


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Be Supremely Honest with Yourself

A note for new entrepreneurs.


Starting a business, or a new adventure? Be honest as you assess yourself and your commitment.

Human beings have an optimism bias. If we didn’t, we’d never have children. But most of us are predisposed to believe that good things will happen to us and bad things won’t.

You can’t fool yourself in business. You have to be honest with yourself about your level of commitment, your self-discipline, your skills, your abilities, and your knowledge.

If you’re not committed, you need to accept that. If you are unsure about whether this is right for you, be honest. If you are paralyzed by fear, accept that.

All of those things can change. But if you are not committed, not sure, and feeling more fear than excitement, you need to go work on those things. All of them are reversible. You can address your fears and short-comings.

When you work on a project long enough, all that hesitation will disappear. At some point, you’ll be so excited about opening your business that nothing will stand in your way.

Starting your business is a lot like getting married. If there’s a doubt, it’s best to stop and go address that before you proceed.

When you believe that you have all the skills, ability, and ambition, then it’s time to start working fulltime on your new business.

:-)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Make Good Habits and Become Their Slave

A note for entrepreneurs.


Much of life, as well as your business, depends on your developing good habits. And really, not just good. Good habits will make you good at your business. Great habits will make you great.

One of my favorite lines is from Og Mandino’s book The Greatest Salesman in the World: “I will form good habits and become their slave.” The reason this is true is that we are all ruled by our habits. But we get to choose the habits we form.

As you begin operating your business, you should constantly evaluate the habits you have and the habits you need. For example, I hate calling people and making sales. Hate. Hate-hate-hate. I hate it so much that I refuse to do it.

So, I’ve built an entire business process that does not require me to ever call someone on the phone and ask them for money. I’m so dedicated to this process that I’ve built a half-million dollar business that requires zero outbound sales.

To achieve that, I’ve had to be rigorous about the habits of marketing, blogging, social media, and newsletter writing that create a massive in-bound marketing machine.

Business is like that a lot. If you don’t like a specific activity, or you refuse to do it, then you need to figure out alternatives that help you achieve the same result as those activities.

And when it comes to all the basic tasks of running a business, there’s a long list of things you need to be good at. Most of them are not difficult at all – like invoicing on time, writing press releases, and paying the rent. They just need to be done.

Those are perfect examples of habits you need to learn to execute consistently and flawlessly. This is not a matter of skill or ability – it is purely a matter of habit.

As a coach, I help many companies figure out why they’re stuck and how they can get to the next level. In every single case, over more than ten years, the client knows exactly what their problem is and what they need to do to fix it.

It always boils down to this: They have bad habits; They need good habits. And the reason everyone knows that we’re talking about habits is that it’s 100% about behavior. The problem is rarely about strategy. It’s always about execution.

Make the formation of habits your work and your success is guaranteed.

:-)


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Cloud Services in a Month – New Class Starts Feb. 18th

Cloud Services in a Month – Applying the Book – 5W17

Taught By: Karl W. Palachuk

February 18, 2020 - March 17, 2020

Tuesdays, 9:00 AM PST

Based on the best-selling book Cloud Services in a Month, this course will give you the information, forms, processes, and motivation to move full force into providing Cloud Services.

Much of the focus is on designing and developing a package of services you can sell to every single client.

As Karl describes it: The core technologies that every client needs.

Tuition for this course includes the ebook version of the Cloud Services in a Month! That includes all the downloads from the book as well.

Register Now!


You will learn:


  • Everyone's a Cloud Service Provider
  • Tip Toe Into the Clouds?
  • The Latest Tools and Options
  • Cloud Computing in the Small Business Space
  • Right Sizing Your Offering
  • What is the Cloud?
  • Assessing Client Networks
  • Money-Making Homework - Network Assessments
  • Create a Cloud Service Offering
  • Sneak Peek: The Cloud Service Five-Pack
  • The Absolute Basics
  • Plan Changes and Updates
  • Transactions, Customers, and Clients
  • Price Strategies
  • Managed Services and Cloud Services
  • Building a Bundle that Works
  • Break/Fix and Hybrid Models
  • Create A Three-Tiered Pricing Structure
  • Migrating to the Cloud
  • One Service at a Time
  • Managed Service Tools and the Cloud
  • Storage Migration
  • Email Migration
  • Microsoft Office
  • Money-Making Homework - Migration Plans
  • Backups, DR, and Continuity
  • Basic Backups
  • BDRs
  • Business Continuity
  • Running Your New CSP Business
  • The Right Tools for the Job
  • Your Standard Offerings (Your Catalog of Services)
  • Staff Requirements for Cloud Services
  • Client Onboarding
  • 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 cloud services.

Delivered by Karl W. Palachuk, blogger and author of the very popular "SOP Friday" posts at https://sopfriday.com.

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.

A Few Details . . .


  • Each course will be five one-hour webinars
  • 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




-- -- --

Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community Members: Register for only $99. See the Deals and Freebies forum for the code you need.

Members with annual subscription attend for FREE. Email the Community Concierge to get started.

Details at https://www.smallbizthoughts.org.

:-)

Monday, February 10, 2020

Launching Your Business: Full Time, Part Time, or What?

A note for absolutely new entrepreneurs:


Full Time, Part Time, or What? (Professional, Semi-Pro, or Amateur?)

Many people make the mistake of believing you can start a business part time in your basement. One in a hundred thousand business owners make that work. (I just made that up, but I’m pretty sure it’s true.)

If you keep your job and start your business on the side, you will literally break your own heart. You will work hard all day for “the man” you hate, then work six or eight additional hours trying to build your business.

But you’ll be giving your tired, worn-out self to your new company. And you’ll be trying to do it after hours when you can’t return phone calls, prospect for new business, and even begin to understand how good your new business could be.

Alternatively, you could work on your business during weekends. You’ll have more energy and do a better job, but you’re basically in the same situation.

Oh, and did you have a family somewhere along the way? Do they get any of your time?

Obviously, I am very biased. I believe that you should make a clean cut when the time comes. Do the Planning work! Go through the Launch work. Embrace it. Love it. Bring 100% of your energy to your new job – and be a professional!

If you haven’t read Steven Pressfield’s books Turning Pro or The War of Art, take time to read them. In the end, you are either a professional or an amateur. Decide.

:-)

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Webinar: Build a Successful IT Service Business in 30 - Really!

Build a Successful IT Service Business in 30 days


I am VERY pleased to be working with Zyxel for this educational webinar!

Discover how to become a successful managed service provider. Really.

Providing managed services can help you to scale your business, thanks to repeatable revenue, reduced maintenance costs, increased “stickiness” into your customers, and much more!

(This one's timed for our friends in the UK, but everyone is welcome to join us.)

Thursday February 13th
14:00 GMT

That's 6:00 AM Pacific / 9:00 AM Eastern


Join me for a presentation based on my book Managed Services in a Month.

We will explore how you can successfully implement managed services into your reseller portfolio quickly and effectively. We’ll also show you how you can use Zyxel Nebula to start offering managed networking services to your customers without high investment or major changes to your infrastructure.


Topics Include:


  • Best pratices to build a successful managed service
  • How to transforme your business step by step ?
  • How to include the Cloud technology in the managed service ?
  • How to run the service department ?




For those new to me . . .
I am an Author, Blogger, Entrepreneur, and MSP Consultant

I have been an IT Consultant since 1995, and I'm one of the pioneers of the managed services business model. I've written twenty books, including several of the best-selling books on Amazon for the topic "managed services".



:-)

Thursday, February 06, 2020

So you want to be self employed . . .

A note for absolutely new entrepreneurs.

Congratulations on taking the plunge! As scary as it seems right now, quitting your job to start your own business will be one of the highlights of your life. 

A few notes of caution are in order. First, please be very sure that you are willing to take the plunge. I know it’s a good decision, and I’ve never met you. But you need to know it’s a good decision. You need to be completely committed so you will move forward and not look backward.
I’ve always said that bad managers have created more entrepreneurs than any other force in nature. Everyone wants to quit their job sometime. But when you want to quit your job all the time, then you don’t have any choice.
Second, is your family ready for you to take the plunge? You will probably have to work longer hours in the beginning. And you may take a cut in take-home pay for quite some time.
But most importantly, you will fall in love with your new job. Your family will enjoy many benefits from your new freedom, but they need to be prepared for you to spend a certain amount of emotional energy in a relationship with your work.
Third, you need to make sure you are the kind of person who will be successful as an entrepreneur. That means you are self-motivating, you can work effectively alone, and you are good at organizing your work.
If you’re unsure, that’s okay. The Internet is full of resources to help you learn about what it takes to start and run your new business. Just be care of the advice you stumble upon. One of the oldest jokes on the Internet is: On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. In other words, be careful not to take advice just because you found advice that seems to make sense.
One of the advantages of belonging to a larger community is that you can meet people who have actually built businesses and found some success over the years. Their advice is probably worth taking.
Congratulations and good luck!
:-)

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

CompTIA Posts Diversity & Inclusion Plan for Technology SMBs

I am proud to serve on the Executive Committee for CompTIA's NEW Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community.

In December 2019, the Advancing Diversity in IT committee completed the Diversity & Inclusion Plan for Technology SMBs document.

This initiative is now part of the mission of the Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community.

Please download this document and share with your networks, colleagues, local chambers, etc.

As a small business owner, could your diversity and inclusion efforts use some help? Download CompTIA’s Diversity & Inclusion Plan for Technology SMBs for tips, checklists, resources and more. Download Here.

Study after study shows that diverse workplaces are highly impactful, driving productivity and profitability—don’t let your small business miss out on those benefits. Download CompTIA’s Diversity & Inclusion Plan for Technology SMBs and get started on your D&I initiatives today. Download Here.

Diverse and inclusive companies are innovative and empower employees to bring their best and authentic selves to work. Learn how your small or medium business can implement best practices for diversity and inclusion. Download Here.

CompTIA’s Diversity & Inclusion Plan for Technology SMBs offers tips, checklists, resources and more for recruiting, retaining and engaging a diverse workforce. Download your copy for free. Download Here.

More information is on the CompTIA site at: https://www.comptia.org/content/guides/diversity-and-inclusion-(d-i)-plan-for-technology-smbs

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The State of Diversity in Tech
  • Planning for Diversity
  • The Importance of Inclusive Cultures
  • Resources

:-)


Tuesday, February 04, 2020

How To Build A Valuable Local LinkedIn Network - by Amy Babinchak

Yay! Amy is on FIRE!

I am VERY pleased to announce that Amy Babinchak has released a new white paper called

How To Build A Valuable Local LinkedIn Network
- Plus Amy's four hottest tips on improving your LinkedIn Profile!

Only $19.95 at SMB Books.


How To Build A Valuable Local LinkedIn Network - by Amy Babinchak, Microsoft MVP and owner of three technology-related businesses.

Long-time community member Amy Babinchak shows you her strategy for building a local LinkedIn network that you can use to build your client base - and fill your local events. Amy's strategy will help you make great contacts without making people feel like you're a spammer. And, as a side benefit, you'll improve you LinkedIn Sales sore.

Includes Amy hottest four tips for setting up a LinkedIn profile that works!

11 pages, delivered as a PDF document.

Contents Include:

  • Make sure that you're connected with your current customers
  • How to search
  • Customize Your Invitations
  • Connect with your customers network
  • Make cold connections
  • Clearing your unaccepted invitations
  • Build a relationship with your network
  • Establishing your expertise
  • Hashtag it
  • Four tips for brushing up your LinkedIn profile
Available now at www.smbbooks.com.

- - - - -


About Amy Babinchak

Amy is the owner of three IT related businesses: Harbor Computer Services, Third Tier and Sell My MSP. She has been working in the small and medium business IT field for more than 20 years. She is a technical person with advanced skills in networking design, management, and implementation. She values technology for what it does for people and the success it brings to business.

Amy is also a Microsoft MVP for 14 years. She has received numerous leadership awards and is a valued member of various boards. She is on the executive council of the Managed Services community at CompTia.

- - - - -

NOTE: Also see Amy's white paper on How To Hold a Hugely Successful Event.

:-)

Monday, February 03, 2020

Cloud Services in a Month - Available on Audible

It has taken much longer than it should, but Audible ha finally listed Cloud Services in a Month.

If you're not an Audible subscriber, it's one of the absolute best investments you can make. Great for general education, keeping up on your chosen field, and just plain entertainment.

Check it out!

Audible subscriptions start at just $14.95 per month.

Personally, I love their educational program, which are sometimes 18-20 hours of programming for one credit!

Please Visit www.Audible.com and check out Cloud Services in a Month.

Details:
Cloud Services in a Month
Build a Successful Cloud Service Business in 30 Days
By: Karl W. Palachuk
Narrated by: Greg Zarcone
Length: 5 hrs and 54 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Language: English
Publisher: Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc.
Regular price: $19.95

Cloud Services in a Month is a step-by-step, no-nonsense guide to building an extremely profitable cloud service business for the SMB (small and medium business) market. Filled with practical advice based on the author's experience over more than a decade, this audio book will show you how to achieve success in the cloud.

Karl W. Palachuk is one of the most well-known and respected authors and pioneers in the managed services industry and has sold and delivered millions of dollars of cloud services to his clients. In this audio book, he shares exactly how he did it.

Palachuk spells out all the details you need to build a Cloud Five-Pack™ - the custom bundled offering of services you will market, sell, and deliver to your prospects and customers. Chock-full of additional assets such as spreadsheets, checklists, processes, and more, Cloud Services in a Month includes everything you need to hit the ground running, even if you’re not a cloud expert.

Whether you have time, materials, professional services, or managed services practice, Cloud Services in a Month reveals how to incorporate cloud services into your existing solution stack and up-sell and cross-sell the cloud with your existing services in 30 days.




Also check out these books on Audible.com:


Managed Services in a Month: Build a Successful, Modern Computer Consulting Business in 30days


Relax Focus Succeed - Revised Edition




:-)

Sunday, February 02, 2020

How to Hold a Hugely Successful Event - by Amy Babinchak

I am VERY pleased to announce that Amy Babinchak has released a white paper called

How to Hold a Hugely Successful Event that Results in New Clients for Your Business


Only $29.95 at SMB Books.

In this white paper, Amy spells out the strategy she used to double the size of her (already successful) managed service business in eighteen months.

This white paper covers all the detail of creating an event, marketing, training employees to make presentations, and more. Amy gives you all the details for every aspect of creating and executing live events as a way to nurture new clients.

On webinars and in live presentations, Amy has described the process of using events to grow her business. So I asked her to take the trouble to write up her process - and she did a great job!

In this white paper, she spells out the details of her process. And those details include several smaller goals that Amy builds into the whole "event production" process. For example, she invites both clients and prospects, so the clients end up endorsing her company in front of prospects. And she engages her entire team, forcing them to learn some presentation skills while demonstrating to both clients and prospects that everyone on the team is knowledgeable.


About Amy Babinchak

Amy is the owner of three IT related businesses: Harbor Computer Services, Third Tier and Sell My MSP. She has been working in the small and medium business IT field for more than 20 years. She is a technical person with advanced skills in networking design, management, and implementation. She values technology for what it does for people and the success it brings to business.

Amy is also a Microsoft MVP for 14 years. She has received numerous leadership awards and is a valued member of various boards. She is on the executive council of the Managed Services community at CompTia.


White Paper Contents:


  • Set Some Goals
  • Who Should You Invite?
  • Marketing Your Event
  • Getting People to Attend
  • How to Build Your Local LinkedIn Network
  • Creating and Posting a Great Event Flyer
  • Creating and Mailing a Great Postcard
  • Obtain a Venue
  • Organization of the Day
  • Create a Website
  • Developing the Content
  • Summary

Available now at www.smbbooks.com.

:-)

Sunday, January 26, 2020

SMB Online Conference - Early Registration is Open Now!


Mark your calendar - and plan to join us for a unique online event - May 19 and 20, 2020.

Lots of great information and details at: https://www.smbonlineconference.com/.

This is a two-day live online conference. It's better than most conferences you might attend for several reasons:

Jay McBain - Principal analyst for
global channels, partnerships,
and alliances at Forrester
Great Speakers - including some of the biggest movers, shakers, and thinkers in the IT consulting industry today!

Unique Content - Not just the same presentations you see again and again, city after city. You might travel as much as me, but you'll never see all these amazing presentations in one place - except here.

It's NOT a vendor-focused pitch-fest. We figure you're paying to get a seat, so speakers will not be selling from the "stage."

PLUS
  • No travel
  • No hotel bills
  • No hotel food
  • Everything is recorded  - And you have perpetual access! So you can re-watch a presentation any time you want

11 Hours of great information!


  • Half-hour introduction and warm-up each day.
  • A new presentation every hour, each day.
  • Lots of time for Q&A!


You can't get this great content anywhere else.


Register Now

and Save

Registration: Only $399

Early Registration: Only $299



Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community Members: 
You pay only $99 per seat.

Annual Subscribers attend for free! 
Contact Kara in the Community.





Great Speakers!


Jay McBain - Forrester

Dave Sobel – MSP Radio / The Business of Tech

Ryan Morris – The Morris Agency

Nigel Moore – The Tech Tribe

Amy Babinchak – Third Tier

Richard Tubb – Tubblog

Rayanne Buchianico – ABC Solutions

Manuel Palachuk – Manuel Palachuk International

Karl W. Palachuk from Small Biz Thoughts


Join us - I promise you'll love it!


:-)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

CX - Your Magic Pill or Poison Pill?

CX - Customer Experience - is becoming more important every year. Why? Primarily because of two factors: 1) The Cloud and 2) Clients have more choices than ever.

We used to talk about customer service. Trust me, it's still important. In fact it's critical. But the meaning of customer service changes as your interaction with clients changes. If you have a storefront, most of your customer service is face to face and in person. If you have an Internet-only business, then most of your customer service is reflected in the shopping experience, the email experience, and the overall experience when things go wrong.

Thus, the Customer Experience is something you need to think about - and create with intention. If you don't "create" an intentional CX, you will still have one. It just might not be the experience you were hoping for.

Let's start by making this 100% relevant to your company today. What is your clients' experience?

What do clients "hate" about modern tech support? Well, for starters, they don't like entering tickets in your system - especially if they've been your client a long time. They also don't like seeing a different face every time they have work done. They don't want to be shuffled around between technicians.

Clients have never liked being taken for granted. How much of your current CX makes them feel special?

A few major variables are play here. First, we have to acknowledge that the way we deliver service is changed by the fact that we are delivering more products and services over the Internet. O365 supported remotely is different from MS Office installed from a DVD and supported by a technician who sits in the client's chair while working.

Note that newer, younger clients probably prefer the remote support. They are not interrupted. They can sit at their computer and do other things while you work. They appreciate quick support over the personal touch.

Bus a second factor is your history with the client. History always matters! Clients have a right to say, "I've paid you tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars over the years. I deserve to be treated like I'm important." When clients don't feel important, it hurts a lot more when they know they've given you a lot of support and money over the years.

One of the absolutely unbreakable rules of business is:

Don't be more loyal to vendors than they are to you.

Think about it. When your cell phone company pisses you off (or your favorite distributor, airline, or supplier), you make a calculation in your head. You have have been loyal to them due to quality of products, quality of service, and a sense that the two of your are in this together.

Until you're not in it together. At some point you realize that you're in it long after they've stopped caring about your business.

I had this experience with Verizon. I had them for almost 18 years, starting when they bought my old cell phone provider. CX got worse and worse over time, but I didn't pay much attention. And then, one day, I had a truly horrible experience. No one would help. Top to bottom. In the store or online. Supervisors, managers, and up the chain.

That's when I realized that I had been loyal to them long after they had stopped being loyal to me. So I moved to another carrier - and wondered why it took me so long.

Well, in this case, you're the vendor.

What is your client's experience with your company? Do they brag about you? Do they love you? Are they grateful to be in a relationship with you?

What does it feel like to be your client during an urgent situation? Let's say a laptop fails at the moment that the sales manager has to make a live presentation in front of their biggest client, for a project that might increase next year's revenue by 20%.

How do they get a hold of you? How do they get service? What do they do? Does it feel good? How would you like to go through that experience?

I used this out-of-the-ordinary example because those are the kinds of events that make people question their whole relationship with you. Uninstalling and reinstalling a driver has (probably) never caused a client to question a relationship into which they have pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A great CX will strengthen a client relationship.

A bad CX will make a client question the relationship.

A horrible CX will make a client go looking for your replacement.

Stay tuned: There ARE ways to fix your CX with standard operating procedures.

:-)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Join Me at XChange San Antonio and Learn How To Get Out of Your Own Way

Join me at XChange – March 1-3 in San Antonio, TX!

My topic is How To Get Out of Your Own Way and Start Implementing Your Decisions. I'll also be at the MSP Breakfast Monday morning. Would love to see you there.


Many people can't make decisions for their business. This ends up costing them money in the long run. For example, the longer you don't have an RMM tool, the longer you give up the revenue you could be earning with that tool.

But more importantly, many people make a decision - and then never implement it. They know what they need to do. They want to do it. They intend to do it. They know they need to do it. They even know that not doing it is holding them back. But they just don't execute.

We've all done it for a number of reasons. I'll talk about how you get over the bump and move ahead quickly. Don't miss it!

Xchange 2020
March 1-3
San Antonio, TX
Find Out More and Register Today


For Solution Provider executives looking to grow your organization, build stronger relationships with vendor organizations, and network with peers, XChange is the ideal event. Taking place March 1st-3rd at the JW Marriott in San Antonio, TX. XChange 2020 will bring together 225 Solution Provider Executives with 75+ sponsoring vendors for 2 ½ days of peer networking, educational content on business strategy and market trends, and vendor interactions in a hosted experience (your travel and hotel are provided with no conference fee).

See the full agenda here: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/website/6834/agenda/

Register with this coded link for my readers: 


Your travel, hotel, meals and event access will be provided in exchange for your time and participation.

This is a great event. Please join us!

:-)

Saturday, January 11, 2020

My "State of the Nation" Address is Wednesday - Register Now

Karl's 11th Annual Annual "State of the Nation" Address 

Wednesday, January 15th
9:00 AM Pacific / 12 Noon Eastern

NOTE: This webinar is recorded and you can view at MSPWebinar.com.


Mark your calendar now and don't miss this once-a-year webinar. This will be my 11th Annual "State of the Nation" address for small business technology providers.

Don't worry - No Politics Here!

No cost. Just register and tune in.

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


Topics Include:


  • Highlights (low lights?) from 2019
  • Windows 10, Server 2019, Azure, Cloud Everything . . . and what's next
  • The Economy
  • The Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery
  • Podcast updates
  • Speculations about 2020



2019 was a great year for small business IT. And 2020 is looking good as well. As always, I'm going to spend the year committed to helping IT service providers build successful businesses that look to the future of technology and guarantee their success moving forward.

Tune in to learn more!

Technology is always a changing environment. And with IoT, drones, Cloud Services, and all the other emerging technologies, it's no exaggeration that there's more opportunity in our business than ever before..

Are you getting your share of all the new recurring revenue opportunities?

Tune in to learn more.

Karl's 11th Annual State of the Nation Address for SMB IT
January 15th
9:00 AM Pacific
NOTE: This webinar is recorded and you can view at MSPWebinar.com.

- - - - -

This is always a very popular webinar - but don't worry. I have 500 seats available and and will buy more if we need them.

One of the things I've learned is that there's about a 50% drop-off rate when things are free. If registration reaches 1,000, I'll buy the extra seats.

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

See you then.

This session will be recorded.

:-)