Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Class - Highly Successful Project Management for Small Business - Starts May 31st

Class - Highly Successful Project Management for Small Business 

- Based on the book Project Management in Small Business

Taught By: Karl Palachuk, author and coach

- Five Tuesdays 

- May 31st - June 28th

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register Now - Only $299*

Not project should EVER:

- Be late

- Be over budget

- Lose money

- Drag on forever

Join us and we'll show you how! Really.

This course will cover the most important aspects of project management for small business. It is intended for computer consultants, VARs, and managed service providers. Whether you sell projects on a Time-and-Materials basis or flat fee, it is critical to manage them successfully.

Successful projects are more than simply profitable. Successful projects make you look good. They make the client more productive and potentially more profitable. They help you build a positive relationship.

Tuition includes the book in PDF format along with all associated downloads.

This course is intended for consultants who are new to project management as well as those who have been running projects for years and would like to take a serious step up to the next level of professionalism and profitability.

This is an intensive webinar course over a five-week period. All assignments are voluntary, of course. But if you want feedback on assignments, please complete assignments during this course and email them to the instructor.

Topics to be presented include:

  • Different kinds of project management; What’s best for this job?
  • Tools to Use for managing your projects
  • Documentation at all stages
  • Pre-Discovery Process
  • The Discovery Process
  • Documentation and Communication
  • After the Project
  • Checklists of all kinds
  • Project Planning, Quoting, and Selling
  • Why Projects Go Wrong
  • The Scope is Everything
  • Closed Loop Project Management
  • How an Ant Eats an Elephant
  • Managing Projects in Your PSA
  • Microsoft Project
  • Client Training
  • The Evaluation Process
  • Managing Time / Managing Employees
  • Outsourcing Options
  • Creating Repeatable, Successful Projects
  • Building an Action Plan that works

Specialist Certification Pathways

Meets Certification Requirements for:

  • Management
  • Technician
  • Service Manager

This class will be recorded. Each unit is generally posted within 24 hours of the live class. These recorded units will become the On-Demand class and you’ll have lifetime access to it.

Course Outline

Unit 1 Setting the Stage – What is a Successful Project?

Unit 2 Project Planning, Quoting, Selling

Unit 3 Closed Loop Execution

Unit 4 Staffing and Repeatable Success

Unit 5 Implementing Your PM Process

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

ChannelPro Network Announces 2022 ChannelPro SMB Forum Event in Dallas June 6-7

My friends over at ChannelPro dropped this in my inbox . . .

Calling all Texas MSPS: The ChannelPro Network Announces 2022 ChannelPro SMB Forum Event in Dallas June 6-7

ChannelPro’s in-person event in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex offers IT integrators, managed service providers, consultants, and VARs two days of educational content designed to help drive business growth. 

The all-new 2022 ChannelPro SBM Forum tour taking place in-person in six cities throughout the U.S. is stopping in Grapevine, TX on June 6-7 at the Courtyard by Marriott DFW Airport. The ChannelPro Network’s two-day event series features workshops and educational sessions presented by industry-leading experts and channel professionals designed to provide actionable, business-building advice for integrators and managed IT service providers.

New this year are hands-on workshops for attendees. On the pre-day on June 6, Titanium sponsor Dell Expert Network will be conducting a sales and marketing workshop that will include a Dell Solutions showcase of the latest technology and a $1,000 cash giveaway, and Gold sponsor Trend Micro will be offering a security workshop designed to help solution providers transform their business while increasing value to customers.

Managed IT service providers and IT integrators are welcome to register and attend for free. Please use promo code KPVIP when you register at this link: https://cvent.me/8r0AXR?RefId=kp

The main day on June 6 will feature a social media workshop led by experts from channel legend Janet Schijns’ JS Group. Attendees will learn proven, practical techniques used by social selling masters, and get free access to an extensive series of online follow-up lessons.

The line-up of educational sessions during the day addresses the top issues MSPs care about—recruiting and hiring, security, growth strategies, and making money with Microsoft Azure. The sessions will be delivered in interactive, informative, and fun-filled formats attendees will not find at any other industry event.

The ChannelPro SMB Forum speakers include a powerhouse of MSP business owners and channel advisers sharing insights and best practices. Speakers for the Chicago event include:

Seana Fippin, CEO of Red Box Business Solutions; Charles Henson, managing partner of Nashville Computer; and Joanna Mirov, CEO of MXOtech will take the stage in a “Dating Game” format. In ChannelPro’s version, The Employee Recruitment Dating Game, the three panelists will see if they have what it takes to find, woo, and win the best tech talent out there. 

Azure experts Stephen Monk, CEO of Noverus Innovations, and Luis M. Alvarez, president and CEO of Alvarez Technology Group (ATG), will share their tips in a peer-to-peer session on how to build and grow a services business based on Microsoft’s public cloud platform.

Security pros James Carroll, principal at Hacket Cyber; Lawrence Cruciana, president of Corporate Information Technologies; and Heath Adams, CEO and founder of TCM Security, will thrill and chill attendees with their true-life stories of incredible hacks, unforgiveable customer errors, and high-stakes incident responses. In this “security slam” session, consultant Jayson Ferron will determine which panelist tells the most instructive tale that will help attendees protect their clients more effectively.

Finally, in a “Survivor” style format, top managed services consultants Rayanne Buchianico, owner of ABC Solutions; Allen Edwards, president of Eureka Process; and Shawn Walsh, CEO of Encore Strategic Consulting, will field tough questions from attendees about the M&A strategy, product strategy, and growth strategy today’s MSPs need to survive in a changing market. They will then pick the sole survivor among the participants! 

In the Dallas area and at every event throughout the year, attendees will be able to browse the vendor expo and network with peers. All events kick off with an evening reception after the pre-day workshops.

“As always, we’ve built this year’s events around the biggest, most important issues in the SMB channel, and assembled an outstanding lineup of MSPs, solution providers, and industry experts to speak about them,” says Jeff O’Heir, event content director and community manager for The ChannelPro Network. “Our Chicago area audience is sure to have plenty of great new business-building ideas at their disposal when they return to the office.”

If you are an IT integrator, managed services provider, consultant, or VAR, this event is for you! 

Complete June 6-7 ChannelPro SMB Forum event information and a registration page can be found here: https://events.channelpronetwork.com/channelpro-smb-forum-2022-southwest-dallas 

Managed IT service providers and IT integrators are welcome to register and attend for free. Please use promo code KPVIP when you register at this link: https://cvent.me/8r0AXR?RefId=kp



Tuesday, May 17, 2022

GreenLink Networks Announces New Faxing Solutions Designed for Remote Workforce

From my friends at GreenLink . . .


Addison, Texas – May 17, 2022 - GreenLink Networks, a channel-only provider of Business VoIP services, is pleased to announce the release of two highly anticipated enhancements to their existing fax offerings. Designed for the remote workforce, Outbound Paperless Fax and Hybrid Fax Solutions are easy to deploy, flexible options to accommodate the modern labour force.

As office work environments continue to change, many businesses have embraced electronic faxing while others are continuing to keep analog lines at the office; however, analog lines are not only expensive, but they will be phased out in the future. 

With GreenLink Outbound Paperless Fax service, customers can send electronic faxes and include a cover page from the GreenLink Customer Portal without the need for an analog line. An ideal solution for staff working from home or from different locations, this service includes additional features such as access controls and a fax log to track status. Furthermore, GreenLink provides a brand-new number or can transfer a fax number from a previous service. 

The Hybrid Fax Solution includes the outbound paperless fax capabilities and adds the ability to use a physical fax machine. In addition to sending a fax from the GreenLink Customer Portal, users can also send, receive, and print faxes on a fax machine. 

“GreenLink is committed to providing its partners and customers with services that fit today’s evolving work environment. With the inclusion of these new fax solutions, this will allow them to configure their systems the best way possible to meet their varying business needs,” said Jhovanny Rodriguez, Vice-President, and Co-founder, GreenLink Networks.

“I was eager to be one of the first to try out GreenLink’s new fax offering and was thrilled with the easy plug-in set-up. To have the option of email faxing come out on both the physical fax machine and the portal is invaluable,” said Walter Huff of Huff Technologies. “I didn’t have to make one phone call to Support because something didn’t work correctly.”

The fax solutions from GreenLink are monthly service plans and the inbound and outbound fax setup is fully customizable for your business needs. 

For more information, please visit www.greenlinknetworks.com

About GreenLink Networks

Founded by Managed IT Service industry veterans Mayron Herrera and Jhovanny Rodriguez, GreenLink Networks is a channel-only provider of Business VoIP Services with a generous partner program. The portfolio of VoIP services includes Cloud Business Phone Service (Hosted PBX) and SIP trunking. GreenLink Networks is compatible with multiple handset brands, offers flexible procurement options including purchase, rentals or use of existing IP enabled phones. For more information visit www.GreenLinknetworks.com



Thursday, May 12, 2022

NSITSP Update: Elections, Vendor Partners, Logo Contest, and more . . . A report on the big meeting

 I'll repeat this and more on the NSITSP blog (https://www.nsitsp.org/news/), but this blog has more readers, so reporting here makes sense.

The National Society of IT Service Providers had their big quarterly meeting this week. You can view the meeting, read the transcript, and catch all the shared chat links at https://www.nsitsp.org/meetings/.

The place to start for "all things NSITSP" is the web site at www.nsitsp.org. Resources you'll find there include:

  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Meetings (recorded)
  • Committee reports - minutes from various committee meetings
  • Founding documents and history
  • Forums
  • Mission, vision, values

I point out the obvious landing page simply because we are constantly changing it to keep up-to-date with changes in the organization. A few current things to keep track of include:

Logo Contest

We have a logo. It is literally something I came up with as a "placeholder" last year. Some people like it. Some don't. The Marketing Committee has therefore come up with a contest! All the details are on the contest page: https://www.nsitsp.org/logo-contest/.

We want to gather as many design ideas as we can. The Committee will selection three options and those "winners" will each win some prize money. As for the vote, we'll have a two-part vote. First, we'll ask the question of whether to keep or replace the current logo. If "replace" wins, we'll then count the votes for the contenders.

All of these decisions must ultimately be accepted by the Board. For details, see the contest page.


One of the big announcements from the meeting is that we have agreed on an election process and timing. Elections will be held in September, and campaigning will take place in August. Details will be published on the NSITSP site and blog as the pieces of the process fall into place.

Here are a few notes about the election, as defined by the Governance Committee (formerly the Formation Committee):

  • To the extent possible, the process for Board and Committee elections will be as similar as possible to each other
  • The fall elections will be officially announced on July 1st - with all the details
  • Candidates will file for office during August 
  • Each candidate may run for only one office
  • Voting will take place in September
  • Some members will be elected for two years, some for one year
    (Note: After this initial election, all elections will be for two-year terms.)

Again, the pages are being built out and we'll keep you informed.

Vendor Partner Program

We are about to post a page for the Vendor Partner Program. In order for our broader community and this organization to thrive, we need vendors to be involved. The Board has been very clear on this point and we have worked hard to get vendor members onto various committees.

But we also need larger contributions in order to grow faster and reach our longer-term goals.

Vendors need strong partners. And, at the same time, vendors have legitimate concerns about how their operating environment is affected by state and federal legislation and regulation. We would love to have vendors come to us and work together so that all members of our community can work together to build a strong ecosystem. This includes manufacturers, programmers, distributors, MSPs, tool companies, and all the many combinations out there.

It's no exaggeration: We are in this together!

Stay tuned for an announcement. We'll put together a Vendor Partner Program "launch" webinar with a short presentation and lots of time for Q&A. In the meantime, you can always email me at karlp@nsitsp.org if you wish to schedule a call. I'm happy to talk to anyone about this program.

. . . That's the Tip of the Iceberg!

Our committees include Legislative, Governance, Finance, Marketing, and Membership. Most of them are seeking new members and all of them are building volunteer lists. See the web site.

PLEASE join as a professional member! It's only $100 for the year. If you're in this industry, you can afford that. And we honestly need every member. We need dollars to stay alive, and we need numbers so that we can honestly claim to represent IT Service Providers. See the web site.

. . . If you missed that meeting, please make time to view it . . .

And join today!


Thursday, May 05, 2022

The ASCII Group Announces New Initiative to Membership Community with Sandler Partners

My friends at ASCII slipped this under the door . . .

-- -- -- 

Bethesda, Maryland – May 5, 2022 – The ASCII Group, a large membership-based community of independent North American MSPs, MSSPs and Solution Providers, is pleased to announce a new initiative with Sandler Partners, a leading distributor of Connectivity and Cloud services.

By collaborating with Sandler Partners, ASCII members will have access to their unique, and competitive portfolio of telecom, technology, and Cloud solutions. This engagement will allow ASCII members to broaden their technology portfolios with over two hundred telecom and Cloud Provider solutions, while further increasing their ability to serve their clients. 

“We are pleased to be working with Sandler Partners and recognize the emerging synergies between the telecom and IT industries,” said Alan Weinberger, Chairman & CEO, The ASCII Group. “We are delighted to present another benefit to members of the ASCII community that will yield additional revenue opportunities for their businesses.”

“Being independent and private, we can work a little differently than most technology distributors,” states Alan Sandler, Founding Partner. “We’re free to concentrate on the relationships we build with our community –educating and empowering technology professionals with impartial solutions, not driven by quota’s or agendas, providing ironclad contracts, and support that allows customer service, everyone’s holy grail, to always be the first and last consideration. We are grateful to welcome The ASCII Group to our community, the Sandler Partners team is ready to help you succeed.” 

The ASCII Group is committed to helping its members meet the increasing demand for telecom solutions for their SMB clients. This new initiative with Sandler Partners will provide members an additional opportunity to expand their service offerings.

To learn more about becoming a member of The ASCII Group, please visit www.ascii.com

About The ASCII Group, Inc:

The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs and Solution Providers. The Group has 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 leading and major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com

About Sandler Partners

Sandler Partners is America’s fastest-growing technology solutions brokerage and distributor of connectivity and cloud services. In 2021, Sandler Partners was included on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies for the 12th straight year. Over the years, they’ve expanded beyond their telecom roots to deliver best-in-class cloud, colocation, mobility, continuity, and security solutions from 200+ suppliers through a network of 9,000+ expert technology sales partners — agents, VARs, and MSPs — to thousands of small, medium, and enterprise organizations nationwide.



Wednesday, April 27, 2022

NSITSP Announces May 11th All-Member Meeting

Mark your calendar . . . Everyone Welcome!

The NSITSP has set May 11th for the the next all-member meeting.

9AM Pacific / Noon Eastern

I know a lot of activity has been going on quietly, but our committees have been very busy building the “bones” of the association.

Please register now:


Please register and begin sharing, inviting, etc.

Agenda items include:

  • Updates on the Code of Ethics taskforce
  • Committee charters and news/reports
  • September Elections and calendar/schedule
  • Budget report
  • Vendor Partner Program news
  • Member Program for 2023
  • Open Forum


Please mark your calendar. Register today. And spread the word!

See you May 11th.

Help Spread the Word!

Grab these graphics and share on your social media!

Sample Social Media Post:

Registration is open - NSITSP Member Meeting - Everyone Welcome. Lots of news. Open forum. Register now. 


#NSITSP #ITConsulting #managedservices 


Friday, April 22, 2022

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

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

UPDATED: Version 3 - April 2022

Long-time community member Amy Babinchak has updated her excellent white paper that 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 score.

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

Now expanded to 14 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

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 more than fifteen years. She has received numerous leadership awards and is a valued member of various boards. She has served on the executive council of the Managed Services community at CompTIA, and is currently President of the Board of the National Society of IT Service Providers.


Thursday, April 21, 2022

Widgetization, Homogenation, and Commoditization in SMBIT - A Primer on Private Equity

The SMB IT community may not have chosen the path we're on, but we have built it one brick at a time.

When I ask, "How large is your company?" how do you answer that question? Some people immediately think in dollars. Some think about the number of employees. Some count endpoints.

And while endpoints is not the first thing that pops into our minds, for most of us, it is no longer an unusual request. Fifteen years ago, we asked questions like how many clients you have, or how many clients you have under contract.

Now, the measure is endpoints. Why? Because it's a great surrogate measure for how large your company is. With a little calculation, I can guess a lot about your company based on whether you service 250 endpoints, 500, 1,000, or 10,000.

The number of endpoints also gives me an excellent idea of how many RMM agents you have deployed, how many Microsoft licenses you have deployed, and how many anti-malware agents you have deployed.

This I call the widgetization of our industry. How many widgets do you support?

But this is also the language being used to homogenize and commoditize our industry. Unfortunately for me, I have to accept some of the responsibility for this. So many people have adopted the basic model laid out in Managed Services in a Month that it has become a blueprint for the modern MSP.

Standardization has the advantage of creating an industry. It allows us to compare companies. It allows us to know where we stand. It also allows others (perhaps buyers) to know where we fit in the big puzzle. Good or bad, the widgetization becomes a shorthand for measuring the worth of a company.

So now, we can use endpoints as a rough measure of worth. It's not exact, and almost no one treats it as if it is. But in a very relative sense, it tells us quite a bit about a company. Now potential buyers can look at companies and determine whether to make offers on companies that are 1,000 endpoints or more. Or 5,000. Or 10,000.

Licensed from Sketchplanations

I love to remind people of Goodhart's Law: When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

In this case, the surrogate measure will always be a basic, imprecise measure. Again, "everyone" knows that. But a key piece of commoditization is to strip away the details and focus on one or two things you CAN measure. Then pretend that the measure has meaning.

This is how Private Equity sees our industry.

Companies are bought when a deal can be swung for enough endpoints. Valuation has to be agreed upon, but the conversation begins with the number of endpoints. Until money becomes the commodity of choice, endpoints are the commodity of choice.

PE - Private Equity - is different from VC - Venture Capitol. VCs fund a number of projects, often taking a chance on wild ideas, hoping that one in ten becomes a massive success. This causes some odd behavior we're not here to talk about today.

PE is almost the opposite: They are not interested in gambling with their money. They want a return of "X%" where X is often twenty or thirty or forty percent. This leads to a different kind of odd behavior.

PE funding works well if you can gather up a bunch of companies and merge them all under one  holding. The holding might be invisible to outsiders, or it might be a new company brand. You've probably seen this behavior. It goes something like this: 

- I'll buy your company as cheaply as possible, and tie you into it for a period of time. You might do well if the company thrives. I will limit my risk if it doesn't.

- I'm most interested in companies that fit the operating model I like (e.g., managed services), and use the toolsets I prefer. RMM. PSA. Widget, widget, widget.

- Your uniqueness and individuality are irrelevant.

- Once I gobble up enough companies to reach my target number for endpoints, then I can engage in other activities.

- The new entity can now be "managed" to reach revenue/margin targets. 

 - - The easiest place to cut is personnel since they are the most expensive. Duplicate roles across companies are first. This includes customer service and administration, primarily. In some cases, it includes the bookkeeping and invoicing staff.

 - - If there is a subset of clients who represent a specialty, they might be bundled together and sold off as a unit. Similarly, other bundles of specialty clients might be bought as a unit. I'm buying and selling based on widgets.

- Eventually, larger collections of companies will be merged into even larger collections of companies. More endpoints and more endpoints, and more endpoints. It's all about the widgets!

What's missing in this wonderland of widgetization? Uniqueness. Customer-centric support. Personalized anything. Best practices. Employee-centric culture.

What's missing is the people part of small business. The relationships. Employees you care about. Clients you care about. Like it or not, life is different when it's all about the widget.

And the good news is . . .

The endpoint-obsessed MSP of the (not so distant) future will be easy to sell against. They will not give good service. In fact, the larger they are, the less capable they are of providing good service. They will not spend energy or money maintaining culture. Customer loyalty will have disappeared after the first sale.

The sale of a company inevitably results in a period of confusion and chaos. With a tiny company, this can be short. In a small company it can be relatively short. But the period of confusion grows as the size of the companies grow.

Whose SOPs will be used? Generally, the larger company wins this one. But when the company grows to a certain point, no one is responsible for keeping the SOPs good and up to date. Customer service is no longer delivered by every employee: Now it's a department. Customer service is now just another expense to be managed - and cut when necessary.

This is one possible future for our industry. It's one you can certainly compete with. You need to maintain personalization, culture, and a focus on service. And, yes, there will always be clients who only care about the dollars and the pennies. And you might sign those clients. But you will still make a good living on clients who want the personal touch and want good service. 

As large "MSPs" begin to act with the personal touch of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, there will be plenty of room to be a very successful IT consultant with a strong focus on your clients and employees.


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

LIVE 5-Week Course: Managed Services in a Month - Starts April 26th

Managed Services in a Month - Applying the Book - Starts April 26th

One of our most popular courses. LIVE

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

Taught By: Karl Palachuk, author and coach

- Five Tuesdays - April 26th - May 24th

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

Register Now - Only $299*

Managed Services in a Month is the best-selling guide to turning your “computer consulting” business into a recurring revenue machine!

This course is designed to walk you through the process outlined in the book. AND your registration includes a free copy of the book in e-format.

Updated Information on Tools, Cloud Services, Per-User Pricing, Creating Bundles, and MORE!

For more information on the book, see www.managedservicesinamonth.com.

It’s not too late! YOU can get into Managed Services — in a month. Well, five weeks.

Even if you decide not to become an MSP (managed service provider), this course will help you establish some great best practices when it comes to running your I.T. 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!

You will learn:

  • Computer Consulting in the 21st Century
  • What’s Different About Technology Consulting Today?
  • Cloud Computing in the Small Business Space
  • The Managed Service Model
  • New Consulting Business vs. Existing Business
  • Managed Services in a Month
  • Integrating Cloud Services
  • Making A Plan
  • Starting Fresh with No Clients to Convert
  • Create A Three-Tiered Pricing Structure
  • Bundling Services
  • Per-User vs. Per-Device Pricing Models
  • Putting Your (New) Business Together
  • Weed Your Client Garden and Finish the Plan
  • Write a Service Agreement; Have It Reviewed
  • Overcoming Objections
  • Desktops and Managed Service
  • Executing the Plan
  • Client Sit-Downs
  • After The Sale
  • Key Points to Remember for Profit
  • Running Your New MSP Business
  • The Right Tools for the Job
  • Your Standard Offerings (Your Catalog of Services)
  • Building an Action Plan that works

and MORE!


ITSP University Certification: Meets elective requirement for:

  • Management
  • Front Office
  • Technician
  • Service Manager

This class will be recorded. Each unit is generally posted within 24 hours of the live class. These recorded units will become the On-Demand class and you’ll have lifetime access to it.

Class Content

Unit 1 The Managed Service Business Model

Unit 2 Defining Your Business from Every Angle

Unit 3 Define Your Plans

Unit 4 Executing the Plan

Unit 5 Running Profitably with Managed Service

Register Now - Only $299*

Note: * Members of the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community attend at no additional charge. See details in the Community


Monday, March 28, 2022

Your Business Model: Evolve of Die

One of my favorite phrases over the past few years is . . . You be you!

I have always believed that you need to do business your way and then find people who want to do business your way. If you follow this advice, you will always be "differentiated" because you are different from everyone else out there.

At the same time, there is much to be learned from various business models you are exposed to. This is one reason why peer groups and mastermind groups are so powerful. You mix up the DNA of your business with the DNA of other businesses.

Every once in a while, a business model comes along that is powerful enough to change your business completely. For many people, managed services is such a business model. I lay out a formula that I know to be successful in Managed Services in a Month. I also lay out a different but related model in Cloud Services in a Month. And many other people have presented their versions of managed services.

But there's a downside to this as well.

You cannot adopt someone else's business model exactly. So, you takes the pieces that make sense and add them to your mix. You drop some because you just don't believe they're right for you. And so forth.

There is no pure business model. But the general business model works well enough that a lot of people with very different businesses call themselves the same thing - in this case, Managed Service Providers.

Evolve of Die

I remember two great turning points in the SMB IT community. The first was the introduction of Active Directory in Windows 2000. Many consultants decided to dig into Windows Server 4.x because they simply refused to learn the new technology.

The other turning point was the recession of 2009-2011 (more or less). It wasn't the recession alone that caused the change: It was the Cloud. The maturity of the cloud was accelerated by the recession. Again, many people simply refused to learn new technology. With their businesses in distress, they decided to sell out, quit, retire, or go to work for someone else.

In both cases, many technicians simply refused to continue their own education. The next generation of Microsoft programs, the next level of security, and the next round of technology upgrades was just too much for them. Those who stuck to it and committed to the new stuff became very successful.

Your uniqueness will always be part of your company. You simply have to let it shine. But you also need to continue working on building and rebuilding your business.

Many of you know that I love The Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber and recommend it a dozen times a month in various settings. But that's not my favorite Michael Gerber book. It's just the starting place. My favorite Michael Gerber book is Emyth Mastery.

Emyth Mastery picks up where Emyth Revisited leaves off.

I know you've heard it a million times: You have to work ON your business, not just IN your business. That's where the freedom is! But then you discover the dark side no one talks about from the stage: You become overwhelmed and exhausted by all the work required to work ON your business.

If you're not careful, working on your business is as overwhelmed and exhausting as working in your business. You still just have a job, but it's no longer the job of the technician; it's the job of the owner working on your business sixty hours a week!

Everything about your business must be sustainable in the long run

That includes tweaking the business model, adopting new technologies, and evolving with the times. Here are a few tips that might help. (As always, easy to say but sometimes difficult to put into action.)

1) Define your business model. Sit in a chair and spend an hour writing out what you do and don't do. Who are your clients? What are your services? Why are you doing things this way?

2) Define you uniqueness. This is very hard work for many people. But you are unique. You have to be. You can't be the same as anyone else. What is your uniqueness and where does it show up in your business?

3) Don't let vendors tell you how to change your business model. Microsoft and Google are probably the most  common examples here. Neither of them particularly cares whether your business lives or dies, but they are happy to help you learn how to sell their products. 

4) Always know the next technology you will be adopting. This might be a cloud service, a business service, hardware, software, or something that's just emerging in our field. You don't have to adopt it right away, but know what it is.

5) Commit to never-ending education. You need education on the business side of things as well as the emerging technologies. When something new appears, jump in! You can't stay where you are, so pick a path and start walking.

6) Be consciously aware of your uniqueness in the industry as well as your local market. If you think you are the same as everyone else, then you believe yourself to be a commodity. No one can turn you into a commodity except you.

Yes, you still have to spend time working on your business. But it should be a passion project. It should be fun and invigorating. When it becomes too much, too hard, and just a hassle every day, then quitting slowly becomes a legitimate option. Don't let that happen to you.

The big reason to work on your business, and your life, is so that you stay in charge. Nothing should happen to you. You should choose the path you will walk - and make that path your own.

Embrace your uniqueness!!!

Comments welcome.