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.

:-)

Friday, January 10, 2020

Quick Hit: "I need leads!"

I get emails and requests. When I give advice, no matter how small, I like to share it more broadly in case someone else is having the same problem.

Here's a recent response to the plea for more leads.


(I've said many times, the most common request I ever get is how to get more leads and more prospects.)

Marketing is one of those things you have to do all the time and never stop.

My favorite ways to get new leads are direct mail and speaking at local events.

I particularly like local speaking gigs because there are hundreds of opportunities. In addition to business Meetups, there are clubs, associations, and professional groups. They are all filled with business people. And many of them (e.g., Rotary and Kiwanis) share an approved speakers list.

Here are some notes about speaking at public events.

Step One: Log into www.meetup.com (or whatever the equivalent is in your country).

Enter a search for "business" within 25 or 50 miles from your location. Whatever you're willing to drive. You will probably get at least twenty hits.

In addition, there are all kinds of Kiwanis and Rotary and other clubs. They all need a presenter every week or every month.

Step Two: Put together a 15 minute presentation on how to protect yourself from viruses or ransomware, or a related topic. Make it very practical and business focused. Zero techno-babble.

Ideally, such a presentation will be welcome everywhere.

Step Three: Prepare a handout that you can distribute to the group. It should have “Ten Top Tips” or something like that – and your contact information in the footer. Make it look good so people might photocopy it and put it on their bulletin board.

And your only ask at the end of your presentation is: If you know someone else who needs this presentation, please give them my name.

Take questions. Take business cards. And stick around afterward in case anyone wants to talk.

You might even have a sign-up sheet for people who want you to follow up, visit their offices, etc.

Step Four: Follow up with every single contact you make. Call them and email them (minimum one call and one email each).

- - -

As with all marketing, there's no guarantee that you'll get invited to someone's office. But this was one of my favorite methods of getting new clients. Associations and professional groups are the best.

Remember: Most of the time, most of the people you meet do not need what you're selling. So you need to talk to a lot of people. And you need to be top of mind on the day they DO need someone.

Also remember: This is a never-ending process. Don't put off marketing until you need new clients. Start and never stop.

:-)



Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Chris Wiser Announces a New 7 Figure MSP Live Event Series

This press release flew in through the transom . . .
 

For Immediate Release

- - - - -

- 7 Figure MSP Live Event Series is the world’s first MSP event in the industry with an exclusive focus on a sales-first mindset.

- These live event series take place quarterly, alternating between different locations. The first event in the series will take place in Phoenix, Arizona.

Austin, TX – 7 Figure MSP announced their quarterly Live Event series by kicking off the first quarter for “Spring Break” in Phoenix, Arizona at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. The 7 Figure MSP Live Event series are designed to teach entrepreneurs how to add seven figures to their revenue by focusing on a sales-first mindset through this sales and marketing focused event.

The event is the world’s first Managed Service Provider (MSP) event in the industry with an exclusive focus on a sales-first mindset. Over the course of two days, attendees can meet with 7 Figure MSP Founder and CEO, Chris Wiser, along with some of the top MSPs, vendors, and experts in the world.

While the MSP industry tends to focus on a tech-first/engineer-first mentality with low to zero budget and thought process around sales and marketing, the two-day packed live event series equips entrepreneurs with the proper resources to discover and understand relevant and proven sales strategy, sales execution, marketing systems, in addition to networking opportunities.

For more information, visit live.chriswiser.com.


###

:-)

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Managing Your Service Board - Class Starts January 14th

Managing Your Service Board - Setup, Core SOPs, and Daily Procedures

5-Week class starts January 14th

- Five Tuesdays -January 14 - February 11 , 2020 - Register Now

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

This course covers the most important pieces of making your PSA (Professional Services Administration) service board work effectively. Your PSA is the brain center of your entire operation.

Most Managed Service Providers don't use their PSA systems efficiently. In fact, most of them only use 10-20% of the capabilities of their PSA. This costs you money because you have the tool to run everything in your business more effectively. But if you don't put the right information into the tool, then you can't get the reports you need to improve your business.

This course covers the daily operation of a managed service business - or any IT shop with a service board and a one or more technicians who execute the service. It assumes you have a service board or PSA (Professional Services Administration) and a service manager.

Whether you sell “break fix” or flat fee services, a service board will take your company to the next level – if you use it right. In addition to covering setup and core standard operating procedures, we'll get into the "nitty gritty" of running a service board and managing the service department.


Which PSA?

I used ConnectWise for four years in my business. Then I switched to Autotask and used that for five years. Eventually, I moved to LogicNow (SolarWinds MSP) and used that for four years.

On top of all that, I've worked closely with coaching client who have used all of these products. This course is intended to apply to all PSAs. I will point out areas where differences are most obvious.


You will learn

  • How tickets should flow into, through, and off of the service board
  • How to set up the core components of a service board
    • Priorities
    • Statuses
    • Workflows
    • Time Estimates
  • The most important processes and procedures for making the board work effectively once it's set up
  • Introducing new processes to you employees
  • Getting clients to understand the new processes
  • Time tracking the right way
  • The most important reports you need to run
    • Every Day
    • Every Week
    • Every Month
    • When it's time for client renewals
  • Avoiding the biggest pitfalls with service board management
  • Building an Action Plan that works


Additional Topics include:


  • Welcome to the Service Department
  • After Hours Work
  • On Call and Night Staff
  • Managing Internal Administrative Tasks
  • Assign Techs or Rotate Them?
  • Approved Tools
  • Employees in The Tech Department
  • Technician Daily Time Management -- includes daily work flow
  • Time Tracking for Employees
  • The Tech on Call for The Day - Managing Daily Workflow
  • How to Maximize Billability of Technicians
  • Email Rules and Etiquette for the Consultant
  • Technician Supplies
  • Final Friday Training
  • Troubleshooting Guidelines
  • Troubleshooting and Repair Logs
  • Service Delivery Policies and Procedures
  • The First Client Visit
  • Guide to a Service Call
  • The Network Documentation Binder - NDB
  • Response Times - Guarantees and Delivery
  • Time Entry and Note Entry in Service Tickets
  • Information Sharing
  • Service Board Backlog Management
  • Daily Monitoring of Client Machines
  • Patch Management Philosophy and Procedures
  • Setting Up Alerts in Your PSA and RMM
  • New PC Checklists
  • Server Down Procedures
  • Third Party Tech Support - Documenting Calls
  • Third Party Tech Support - Rules of Engagement
  • Document Pouches
  • Service Focus: Monthly Maintenance
  • Why We Do Monthly Maintenance
  • Scheduling Monthly Maintenance and On Site Visits
  • Checklist for Major Scheduled Maintenance
  • The Monthly Maintenance Checklist
  • Monthly Single Checklist
  • Outsourcing (some) of Your Monthly Maintenance
  • Backup Monitoring, Testing, and Management
  • Disaster Recovery - An Overview

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

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

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

Only $299
Register Now
:-)

Check Out the #1 Best-Selling book on Managed Services ever!

Managed Services in A Month
by Karl W. Palachuk

3nd Edition - Newly Revised and Updated with TEN new chapters


Paperback - Ebook - Audio Book

Unlike some books with old copyrights that sell for $60 or more, this book is 100% up to date and is only $29.95.

Now includes information on making cloud services part of your managed service offering!

Learn More!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Register Now: My 11th Annual "State of the Nation" Address for Small Business IT

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.

:-)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

I Don't Like Justifying My Finances . . . But I Have To

I just got off a Zoom call with my outsourced bookkeeping company. I'm pretty good with my finances. But it is still never fun.

Financial people care about things like balance sheets. I look at my balance sheet when they force me to, or when I'm having my taxes done. And to be honest, I don't really look at it with the tax guy.

Financial pros want me to keep my books in a format understood by financial pros. I don't want to keep my books that way, but I get a little closer to their methods every year.

A lot of their questions are about things I don't want to answer. Why is no revenue from this source in February? Where did these payments go? Why doesn't this balance? How come this number is $10,000 higher in July?

As a long-time business owner, I don't want to justify my finances and my decisions (and my processes and habits) to anyone. And certainly not to someone who is educated and knows a lot about how money flow in, out, and around businesses.

Much of what they want to see is related to the overall valuation of a business. Here's an example: When I do payroll, I want to put entries in QuickBooks that look just like the "checkbook" entries created by the payroll service. That is, Net Pay, Employer Liabilities, etc. But the bookkeeper cares about gross officer compensation, staff compensation, deductions, and other details that need to be calculated and are not easily visible in the checkbook.

Their method takes a little more work, involves invisible journal entries, and is useful on the day I sell my business. My method is much better for running the daily operations.

I wouldn't say I argue with them a lot . . . but they might.

The old man in me wants to say, "I've been doing this for twenty-five years, with several successful companies, and making a good profit along the way." But I know this whole uncomfortable process is good for me - and my business.

As a very small business, I could isolate myself, do all the finances myself, and never discuss this stuff with anyone. I used to go over this with my wife for about fifteen years. And when I've had someone else running a company, I always included them in financial discussions. Why? Because justifying my decisions is good for me and the company.

Sometimes, people you pay to help you are brave enough to disagree with you. And that's usually a good thing, because it helps validate your thinking. This is particularly important with finances because they are a critical measure of the success of all your decision making. And "in the end" (as they say), good finances will drive the value of your enterprise.

Who do you justify your finances to?

-- -- --

Related Topic: Register for the free webinar on your End of Year Checklist.

:-)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Free Webinar: Your Year-End Checklist


Your Year End Checklist

Best tips to improve profit, build your culture, and finish the year with a bang.

Ready to push strong at year end? Join me on a live webinar:

Wed., Dec . 18th
9:00 AM Pacific / Noon Eastern

-- -- --

UPDATE: Recorded Webinar is Here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Are you ready for one last webinar?

You know I'm all about checklists. So why not have a checklist for the end-of-year?

We'll try to balance three core elements of your EOY strategy: Profit, Culture, and ending this year by launching next year.

My goal is to do about 45 minutes of presentation, followed by as much Q & A as the crowd wants.

(Realistically, I'll stop when the webinar hits the two-hour mark. So get your questions in early.)

I know it seems odd to cover three topics. But I assure you, I'll bring it all together to help you with a great year-end strategy:

Profit

Culture

End with a Bang



Free

:-)