Saturday, October 31, 2009

VOIP - Vocalocity is the Focus of SMB Conference Call

Response Point might be on a shelf next to Bob, ME, SMB Accounting, and Clippy . . .

But VOIP is still hot. And as pipes get faster and cloud services get hotter, VOIP in the SMB space is set to really take off.

One alternative (used by my companies) is Hosted VOIP from Vocalocity. We use and resell it.

Join me Wednesday November 4th at 9:00 AM Pacific as David Politis from Vocalocity joins us on the SMB Conference Call.

Register Now!

We'll talk about hosted Voice Over IP and the great opportunities in for VOIP in the SMB Space.

Executive VP and General Manager David Politis is the founding employee of ZivVa (now Vocalocity) and was instrumental in transitioning the business from international VoIP calling to Hosted PBX services.

David pioneered the company's lead acquisition programs and managed product development of the hosted applications at Vocalocity. David is also responsible for leading Vocalocity's channel growth initiative.

He has worked closely with many of Vocalocity's certified resellers to grow their business by selling and supporting Vocalocity's hosted voip offering.

Read Whitepapers, case studies, or register for a webinar at

Please join us for a great conversation!

Register Now!

9:00 AM Pacific / 12:00 Eastern
Wed. November 4th

- - - - -

Mark Your Calendar Today!


Web Address =

Blog =

You Tube Channel =

In- house Video site =

Testimonial videos =



Friday, October 30, 2009

Zero Downtime Migrations Seminar - Seattle

Will you please join me in Seattle on November 3rd for a 2.5 hour seminar on Zero Downtime Migrations?

The seminar is called An Introduction to Zero Downtime Migration Strategies.

It's perfect for anyone moving to SBS or any other Windows-based server. And, yes, that's either SBS 2008 or SBS 2003.

Only $49 per person

$10 discount available instantly. Just use discount code SEA200911 at checkout.

Info and registration are on the SMB Books Zero Downtime Migration Seminar page.

We'll cover . . .

- Project Management in a Managed Service Business
We all work projects. But do we all work them profitably and efficiently? Whether you're 100% managed service or just getting started, come and learn the most important elements of keeping project labor on the "billable" side of the ledger.

- Zero Downtime Migration Strategies
Join one of the authors of The Network Migration Workbook for an introduction to SBS Migration that will make your business more profitable and your clients a lot happier. Is ZDTM really possible and practical in your business? Attend and find out.

For more info, see

Register Now

Thanks to MS MVP Steve Banks for coordinating this with the local user groups!

- - - - -

Tuesday November 3rd, 2009
6:30 - 9:00 PM

Registration and gathering at 6:00 PM.

See you there!

- - - - -

Some Feedback from the Portland Seminar in June:

- "Great presentation! Well thought out and presented. Very persuasive."

- "Good slides and info!"

- "No hotel bar." (There's one in every crowd.)

- "Very relevant. Thanks."

- "Not enough time to cover all the info!"

- "Great points regarding project management from a high level."

- "Too brief."

- "If I can 'get' this, it will revolutionize and revitalize my business, giving me my life back!"


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Channel Insider Bull's Eye Awards

Larry Walsh from Channel Insider magazine reports . . .

    I'm excited to announce that we're now accepting nominations for the Channel Insider 2009 Bull's Eye Awards. These awards will recognize the contributions, innovations and solid work of solution providers, managed service providers, vendors, distributors and industry groups.

    You can find out about the 22 categories and nomination process here:

    We encourage you to nominate your favorite vendor, distributor, trade association, channel account manager and, of course, yourself.

Check it out!


Friday, October 23, 2009

In Cincinnati - Ready for the All-Day Managed Service Extravaganza

Okay. Had a so-so travel day.

Here are a buncha random notes.

It turned into a high-tech handheld day and a low-tech writing day. I filled an entire tablet of lined paper and started another before the plane landed.

Ironically, I then hear Dave Ramsey on the radio and he said something that I've found to be very true in my life: Great ideas can make you go broke. If you don't filter very strongly, you can find yourself investing a lot into every good idea you have. Without the focus, you can end up paying for great ideas forever. You need to execute.

Change channels. Too close to home.

Then I find 97.3 fm and it's playing Little Feat. How often do you hear Little Feat on the radio? I may have to move here.

Got to the Residence Inn and the room was amazing. If you've never stayed at a Residence Inn by Marriott, make the effort to do so the next time you travel.

So now I'm relaxing and typing up a few notes for tomorrow.

This will be a super 8-hour tour of what you need to know about success in the modern world of managed services. See the details at

Only $49 at the door.

Hope to see you there.


It's Coming . . .
The Best NOC and Service Desk Operations Book Ever!

by Erick Simpson

Ship Date: October 31st

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Get Your Resume Seen Today

As the economy picks up, you may find yourself looking for a job - or looking to move up by moving to another job. Let me give you a bit of the employer's perspective to help you out.

Disclaimer: I'm not an asshole. Really. I'm just a guy trying to run a business. And when I try to grow my business I have to find good people who have the skills I'm looking for right now. I'm going to put out an advertisement and be overwhelmed with resumes.

Please do all the things you need to do to get a job.

Please avoid the things that will just annoy possible employers.

I know it's hard to blast the universe with a million resumes and get little or no response. I know it's very difficult to be out there looking for a job in a down economy. But it's also difficult to be looking to hire and to dig through mountains of "spam" applications.

Hiring is difficult. Keeping that in mind will help you get past the first few hurdles. When I go through the hiring process, I have to cull through hundreds of horrible, unqualified resumes. Then I ask for appointments and 60% of the applicants don't respond. I make interview appointments and 25% don't show up. I make second interview appointments and another 25% don't show up. It's difficult and depressing.

So when you drop your resume into the "inbox" of that process, you need to work hard to make sure you make the cut.

The first time I look at a resume, I plan to spend less than ten seconds per applicant. In fact, the first time someone looks at a resume, it's not me. There are a few requirements I have that cull out most applicants. One is Microsoft Certification. So I have someone look through the inbox and eliminate everyone whose resume does not say Microsoft Certified Professional.

In a perfect world you, the perfect candidate, will apply to us, the perfect company, and we'll be together forever. In the real world, your perfect application comes in with 200 others, most of which are garbage, spam, unrelated, or unqualified. In a batch of 200 resumes, I'm lucky to find ten people who are qualified and don't turn me off immediately.

Don't fool yourself into thinking you have an equal chance. Your first goal is make sure I don't throw away your resume. After that, if you're one of the ten, then you'll have an equal chance.

Here are some tips. Please take them seriously.

Do These Things

- Make Your Resume Readable
In the 21st century a technical resume should be provided as a PDF. You can get a free plug-in from Microsoft to create PDFs right out of Word. Or buy PDF Complete or some other tool. You don't know what my settings are in Word, so your Word doc might show up on my screen with lines and markup and all kinds of stuff you didn't intend.

Invest $20 in a book on resumes and follow their advice with a grain of salt. DO use one inch margins all around. DO use a readable font. Don't worry about going to two or three pages. If you're the right candidate, eight pages is okay.

- Offer Up Your Microsoft Transcript
Beginning this Fall, KPEnterprises is requiring that you give us a link to the Microsoft transcript tool. This is a pretty cool way to show off your technical expertise. Go to to register and share your MCP transcript. If you put that link with the access code in your resume or cover letter you will stand out from the crowd.

- Name Your Resume Well
If I get 150 resumes, 125 of them will be named something like "resume.doc" or "currentresume.doc." But if your resume is "Anderson Resume.doc" it will make my life easier. If I were to search my archives for "resume.doc," I'd probably get 10,000 hits. But even with the name Anderson, I'd get very few hits.

And don't name your resume something cute like "The best technician at any price.doc." Cute works after you've made the first cut. Before that it's just annoying.

- Explain Large Time Gaps
If your most recent job ended a year ago, that's a major flag. I actually go looking for an explanation of this. Took time off for a kid? No problem. Worked in an unrelated field for a year? Probably okay if the rest of the resume is fine. But you have to understand that every employer will want to know about that big blank. Rather than giving an excuse to reject you, just put some explanation in your resume.

- Be Positive
As I mentioned, it's difficult to look for a job and it's difficult to be hiring right now. Everyone's a little stressed. Everyone's a little unsure about the future. You want to eat. I want to avoid hiring the wrong person.

Perhaps the best way to stand out is to be very up-beat. Help me see a brighter, more wonderful future with you on my team.

- Have a Good Cover Letter
I don't need a long letter. Just 2-3 paragraphs to show me that you are articulate. Please proof read. I know you're not the sales person. But I need people who can communicate with clients. This is more important with all the remote work we do than it used to be. If 80% of your communication is by email, you need to know how to say what you want.

Don't Do These Things

- Don't Ignore the Salary Range
When the job says $X/hour firm, don't ask for the moon. If you're really worth $60,000, that's great. Don't apply for the $14/hour bench tech job. No one's going to say "I was looking for someone to install hard drives but you have ten years of project management skills so I'll pay you three times the salary." It's not going to happen. If I need an entry level tech, I'm not going to move from $20/hr to $30/hr because you have lots of experience.

- Don't Have Typos
Seriously. Read your resume. If you send me a resume in a Word doc and it's got red squiggly underlines all over the place, I'm not even going to look at them long enough to make fun of you. I'm going to close it, delete it, and move on. This takes me one second.

And have someone else read your resume and cover letter -- aloud if possible. "Your excellent add caught my intention." Delete.

Note, please, that the employer can make all the typos he wants. The world is not fair. The one offering the money gets to decide who to hire.

- Don't Ignore Basic Qualifications
If the job announcement says "Microsoft Certification Required" and you don't have it, do not apply. Period. You will never get a chance to tell me that certifications are meaningless and you know brilliant, talented people without certs, blah, blah, blah. Your opinion on this subject does not matter. If the certification is easy, stupid, and meaningless, then go get it before you apply. If I say you have to have a license or certification, then you have to have it. Period.

Along these lines, don't bother starting your cover letter with an explanation of why you're not qualified. Nothing personal, but I've got a stack of resumes and most of them aren't qualified. Go get qualified. If you need a clean DMV, stop driving like an idiot and come back in three years. If you need a professional license, go get it.

- Don't Provide Fake Certifications
Your tech school is not doing you a favor if they tell you that passing their class on MCSE training allows you to use the title "Associate degree in MCSE A.A.S.S.X.Y.Z." There is no such thing and whatever it is, it's not an MCSE. If you have an MCSE, say "MCSE, acquired June 2006." Similarly, if the only place I see MCSE is a bullet point under XYZ Technical Institute, I'm going to assume you took the prep class but not the exam. If you have a certification, say so.

- Don't Apply for Every Remotely-Technical Job
If I'm advertising for a desktop or help desk technician and your cover letter begins with "I'm seeking a position as a programmer" I stop reading and delete. Maybe you just forgot to update the cover letter. I don't know. But I know I don't want to hire a tech who really wants to be a programmer.

And your resume will be buried deep in a cavern next to the Ark of the Covenant on the day I need a programmer, so you'll have to send it again when that day comes.

- Don't Be Cute and Colorful.
Please make your resume and cover letter readable to someone in a hurry. Flashing borders and bouncing graphics don't substitute for certifications and experience.

- Don't Ignore the Location Requirement
I have nothing against people who live in other cities or countries. But please read the job description. If you live in Iowa and want to work for me, driving to client offices in Sacramento, then you have to move to Sacramento. If you live in Bangalore and the job description includes stuffing envelopes in Sacramento, you can't telecommute.

- Don't Send Links Rather Than The Resume
Thankfully, this trend has faded. Our policy is that we will not click on (or some other service). I don't know what's there. And I'll never find out. We educate our clients to never click on unknown links that show up in email from strangers. We follow the same advice. And remember: Everyone else is making it easy on me by providing a resume. You're making me take an extra step.

- Don't Attach Irrelevant Files
When I open your email and you've accidentally included listings for all the jobs you're applying for, or letters to other employers, I'm never going to write back and tell you that you made a mistake. Be careful. Go slow.

- Don't List Your Requirements
Don't state a bunch of your requirements in the cover letter. At this point, your goal is to shine like the sun and get through the first cut. If you have time restrictions or need special days off, save it for after you've been offered a job, or if you get asked about it in an interview.

Make me want you. Once I want you, I'll be a lot more flexible.

Note: Several people disagree with me on this. But today I'm doing the hiring.

- Don't Ask for Benefits
Don't ask about benefits in your cover letter. Even if we offer everything you need, this is not the place to bring it up. My reaction will be "This doesn't taste right." If benefits are a deal-breaker, send a separate email and ask whether/which benefits are included. That separates the benefits discussion from the resume sorting discussion.

- Don't Over-State Your Awesomeness
I've had more than one cover letter that said something like "Don't be intimidated by my skill level . . . I can bring extensive knowledge to this low level position." I'm not impressed. Similarly, don't promise that you can bring a new level of organization to my company unless you actually know something about how we're organized. Remember, if the phrase "Forget You" floats through my mind, I press the delete button and you are forgotten.


The Fastest Cuts

Most of the resumes are rejected for just a handful of issues. Here are the top three:

1) No Microsoft Certification
Sorry. Arbitrary, perhaps. But it's just a requirement.

2) Not local to Sacramento
We are very proud of what we can do remotely. But when the position is in the Central Valley, you just have to live here.

3) Over Qualified
This is easier to spot than under qualified. Got a Ph.D. in Information Systems, spent 20 years at IBM, and made $80,000 on your last job? Somehow I think you won't stay with us at $20/hour hoping to get a bump to $21.

The Biggest Boost

Let's look at the other side: Who stands out the most?

1) A Good Cover Letter
In some sense, it doesn't matter what you say. Just say something and present yourself well. I personally don't hire people to sit in Dilbert Cubes, head down, avoiding human contact. So a paragraph or two goes a long ways.

2) Organize Your Resume
Get help if you need it. Always ask for advice and tell them to be brutal. This document is worth tens of thousands of dollars to you. Sculpt it with care!

Think about what you would look for. Is it easy to find certifications/education, Job dates, titles, and companies? All the details about "Improved capacity 27% in six months" is useful AFTER I figure out where you were and what you were doing.

3) Show You Can Do The Job
Give examples that show skills you think will be relevant. "I'm great with organizing small projects" or "I helped write the procedure for setting up a new client." Be someone who can add to the team.

As I said before - Make me want you!


The bottom line: This isn't fun for you and it isn't fun for me.

Look good and professional. Don't waste my time. Don't do things that will get you rejected right off the bat.

And I wish you luck in your search. Getting the right job can make your life truly enjoyable. And that's the way it should be.


Join Karl for a Zero Downtime Migration Seminar

Cincinnati October 24th

Seattle November 3rd

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hank Cranmore on SMB Conference Call

Our Next SMB Conference Call
Wed., October 21st, 2009
9:00 AM Pacific / 12 Noon Easter

Hank Cranmore
Co-moderator of

Register Now!

Many people in our community have never heard of Hank, but I stumbled upon his postings at and Hank has two major things going for him. First, he's really interesting. He doesn't just do what everyone else does: He cuts his own path -- and then shares the results with the rest of us. Second, he has figuered several cools ways to maximize his assets and profits as a very small small business specialist.

Some people are merely in business. Others are entrepreneurs. Hank is an entrepreneur!

Hank provides great advice, leadership, and a solid understanding of what it takes to be successful in a very small SMB practice. Let's face it, you don't HAVE to be a seven person consulting business with a focus on managed services.

He is a sole proprietor operating in Jacksonville, FL and surrounding areas for the past five years. He supports both residential and small business clients and has several client on monthly service contracts.

Take a break from the Big Biz perspective on small biz consulting. Join us as we talk about making it big with a very small shop. We'll also cover the goals of the Yahoo group and how Hank manages it to help other consultants improve their businesses.

As co-moderator of, Hank is constantly giving a wise and unique perspective to the members. The group tends to focus on very small VARs who server very small clients.

There is a 99.999999999999999999% probability that this group, these VARs, and their clients are the focus of Microsoft's next big push.

Whether it's educating himself on workspace optimization or writing federal grants for self-improvement, Hank is a great representation of a sole entrepreneur who constantly paves his own pathway.

Please join us for a great conversation on Wednesday.

Register Now!

9:00 AM Pacific / 12:00 Eastern
Wed. October 21st


Now Shipping:
The Network Migration Workbook:
Zero Downtime Migration Strategies for Microsoft Networks

Monday, October 19, 2009

Can Do vs. Will Do

My friend and Taylor Business Group Coach Josh Peterson presented an idea at SMB Nation that I can't get out of my head.

The basic idea is this: Consider an employee's ability to get something done by considering a triangle whose sides represent
- The Process or Job
- Can Do ability
- Will Do attitude

The size of the triangle is limited by the length of any one side.

So where does your triangle fall short?

Once we get over the self-limiting belief that no one can do a job as well as we can, we discover that "Can Do" people are pretty easy to find. You should have a hiring process to verify that candidates meet specific requirements. This may even include tests of some kind.

It is very rare, but if you find yourself with someone who you thought "could do" but it turns out they can't do, your triangle will look like this:

Even bosses who are nice people and people-people will recognize that sometimes you have to get rid of employees or subcontractors because they just can't do the job. It's hard until it hurts enough in the wallet. Then we manage to fire people -- even if they are our friends.

The next piece over which you have some control is the Process. As you know, I love working on processes. Our company probably has more process than we need for seven people. If you are shy on processes, your triangle looks like this:

Caution: Just because you have a great process doesn't mean you're using it properly. You can say "All time has to be entered when you work the ticket." But if the technician doesn't follow the process, or becomes overwhelmed, then things begin to fall apart.

Assuming you have a process in place, the most common failure comes from people who Can Do but Don't Do. Like this:

The most common examples of this are sales people who just don't make calls and technicians who don't track their time. These people are taking your money and not doing what you pay them to do.

Now before you fire them all and go back to doing it all yourself, go re-read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. When you've got a winning process and a qualified employee, there's a reason the job isn't getting done. And sometimes that's your fault as the manager / boss / employer / coordinator.

If someone just refuses to do their job, yes you should fire that person.

But it is much more likely that the person needs assistance understanding the process. Or perhaps they're overwhelmed. Perhaps the process is not scalable. Perhaps you removed support systems one at a time and went a little too far.

Tools like Autotask can help you develop great processes. But someone still has to learn them and get good at them.

We're in a position where we cut back some staff and then got busy. That left our primary technician with more work flowing in that he could process. The result is that he's falling down on the "will do" side. But it's not his fault. He wants to do, but there's more than he can humanly do.

The quick answer is to bring in a trained technician to take up the slack. The new tech Can Do and has the process. And while we patch that hole in the service department, I'm out looking for a permanent replacement. But I also have to make sure I have enough work to keep someone busy.

So the bottom line is that you can have a good solid process and a pretty stable "Can Do" component. But the triangle keeps changing in size. At least in a very small business, you're not likely to have three solid sides that don't grow or shrink over time.

And that gets us back to Michael Gerber. Delegation is not abdication. You need to stay tuned in and figure out how to keep things together as they evolve. Because in one way or another you're responsible for all three sides of the triangle. It's your process, they're you're people, and you control most of the variables that will allow them to be successful.


Join Karl for a Zero Downtime Migration Seminar

Cincinnati October 24th

Seattle November 3rd

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All Day Event in Cincinnati - Oct 24

Please join me in Cincinnati on October 24th for an amazing all-day event.

We're going to start at 9:00 AM (registration is 8:30) and cover

- Network Documentation for Fun and Profit

- Using Service Agreements to Fine Tune and Improve Your Managed Service Offerings

- Managed Service Free for All

- Introduction to Project Management and Zero Downtime Migration Strategies

All that for only $49 !!!

But wait there's more.

You can get a $10 discount instantly. Just use discount code CINCI0910 at checkout.

See Details on the Cincinnati Managed Service Extravaganza


Just Register Now

Thanks to MS MVP Kevin Royalty for hooking us up with a great location and a 104' screen! Gulp. Talk about a demo.

Kevin has invited everyone from Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Lexington, and Louisville. But everyone who can walk, drive, or crawl to Cincinnati should be there!

- - - - -

This is a one day only event. I'm zipping in and out just for this show.

8 hours of solid information!

Mark your calendars and plan to be in Cincinnati on October 24.

Agenda Notes:

•9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Network Documentation for Fun and Profit
How to make money documenting networks! We all know we "should" document everything. How do you do it profitably and repeatedly so you can squeeze the highest margins from the rest of your business?

•10:30 AM – 12:00 Noon
Using Service Agreements to Fine Tune and Improve Your Managed Service Offerings
Let's assume you're already using an agreement of some kind. Learn how to fine-tune that agreement and take it to the next level. As you fine-tune your managed service offering, your service agreement needs to keep step.

•1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Managed Services Free for All
Open Forum on Managed Services, service agreements, NOC operations, outsourcing, the future of technology, etc. Whatever the group is up for.

•2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Introduction to Project Management and Zero Downtime Migration Strategies

-- Intro to Project Management for Zero Downtime Migrations
We all work projects. But do we all work them profitably and efficiently? Whether you're 100% managed service or just getting started, come and learn the most important elements of keeping project labor on the "billable" side of the ledger.

-- Zero Downtime Migration Strategies
Join one of the authors of The Network Migration Workbook forn introduction to SBS Migration that will make your business more profitable and your clients a lot happier. Is ZDTM really possible and practical in your business? Attend and find out.

Please Note:

This is NOT the same as the 8-hour Deep Dive seminar that took place October 1st in Vegas.

This is an introduction to the processes and procedure that help you create and run successful Zero Downtime Migration projects.

On the last presentation you'll get three hours of solid information. But in only three hours, you won't get the technical deep dive.


Now Available:
Introduction to Zero Downtime Migrations
Seminar on MP3 Download

Monday, October 12, 2009

MSPSN Joins with Comptia for Great Business Simulation

Check out Amy Luby!

Last year, MSPSN produced the an event that was clearly the newest, freshest, and most interesting content of any event that year.

The core super-cool fresh content was a business simulation game in which teams compete for strategic use of resources, hiring, and service delivery in order to gain business and make money. Last year in Chicago this was an all-day event. There were two rooms "playing" and each room held six teams of six.

If asked to play all day the next day, I believe 60 of the 72 people would have said yes with no questions asked.

In addition to being play-filled, the game is designed to teach participants about the practical side of cash flow and balance sheets. At last you'll understand how you can appear to make money every month but constantly be running out of cash.

Anyway, it was a GREAT educational and fun event.

Well, luckily for us . . . It's back.

CompTIA has teamed up with Amy to bring the MSP Business Simulation Experience to four cities between now and the end of the year.

Here's Comptia's Description:

"This hands-on workshop, presented by Amy Luby of MSPSN, is set up in a game format where teams make all the decisions about marketing, sales, operations, R&D and finance for a managed services provider -- and own the results. By going through the exercise, participants will gain valuable business knowledge, as well as learn techniques and strategies to improve their profits."

The Dates are:

Chicago, Oct. 14

New York, Nov. 11

Los Angeles, Nov. 18

Washington D.C., Dec. 9

These are all-day events. Registration and coffee starts at 8:30 AM and the concluding ceremonies go til 5 PM.

The cost for the whole day is super-cheap, especially if you're a Comptia member.

For more info, visit

If you can make one of these events, please do yourself a favor and attend! You won't regret it.

- - - - -

Here's Comptia's official announcement:

CompTIA is pleased to bring the CompTIA MSP Business Simulation Experience to four cities in 2009. This hands-on workshop, presented by Amy Luby of MSPSN, is set up in a game format where teams make all the decisions about marketing, sales, operations, R&D and finance for a managed services provider -- and own the results. By going through the exercise, participants will gain valuable business knowledge, as well as learn techniques and strategies to improve their profits.

Chicago, Oct. 14
New York, Nov. 11
Los Angeles, Nov. 18
Washington D.C., Dec. 9

Teams of six will experience entrepreneurial business in a competitive market, using a game board to track their progress. Participants learn how business capacity challenges, hiring decisions, pricing strategies and other business decisions are connected and ultimately affect the bottom line. Most importantly, the exercise will immediately benefit your business, giving you actionable ideas on how to grow revenues.

This nearby, low-cost and convenient training is most helpful for resellers who make budgetary decisions for their companies. Because of the intensive nature of the simulation, space is limited to the first 36 registrants. Don't miss out, register today!

You will walk away with:

•A big-picture understanding of your business and how the different areas of the business are interconnected
•A solid understanding of financial statements, the importance of cash flow, the difference between cash flow and profit, fixed and variable costs, and the opportunities and threats of a changing marketplace
•Marketing and sales tools to help you transition away from the single-sale model to the recurring-revenue model
•A complimentary guidebook on finance, designed especially for solution providers

Amy Luby is the Principal and founder of MSP Services Network (MSPSN). After growing a successful MSP practice for over 7 years in Omaha, Nebraska, and having been one of the first profitable and nationally recognized MSPs, Amy and her business partners launched MSP Services Network in 2007 to help other VARs make the transition to delivering profitable Managed Services. MSPSN has provided the leadership and guidance – along with a proven profitable road map – to help thousands of VARs make the transition into a profitable Managed Services business model.

In June of 2007, Luby was featured in the cover story of Redmond Channel Partner Magazine as being an innovator and leader in the evolution of developing profitable Managed Services solutions and developing a successful managed services business model. In 2008 MSPSN won the CompTIA 2008 Industry Leadership Award, and most recently MSPSN was ranked 31st in the world on MSP Mentor’s Top 100 MSP list for 2009.


It's Coming . . .
The Best NOC and Service Desk Operations Book Ever!

by Erick Simpson

Ship Date: October 31st

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I Have The Greatest Team in The World

This year has been a marathon for me. And September has been another six marathons all at once.

The Network Migration Workbook has been the center of a great deal of activity for us this year.

It took resources away from KPEnterprises - Sacramento's Premier I.T. Consulting Business - in the form of hours and attention. Manuel and I literally did double duty balancing writing and running the business.

As strange as it sounds, we're a little bit lucky that things slowed down a bit. Granted, KPE could have used one more client at all times. But we did okay.

The book and the book launch required an amazing amount of coordination between graphics, finances, proof-reading, layout, printing, advertising, promotions, and the occasional blog post.

Lana normally handles shipping, mailings, list management, and affiliate sales. She stepped up and did an amazing job of reading every page in that book more than once. She may know more about network migrations than some consultants out there! She also managed to get 200+ copies where they belonged in a timely manner.

During the middle of the project we added a Comcast internet connection at her house so she could have fast vpn access to work. She normally works part time and this allowed her to put in some extra hours. Plus she now has faster internet.

Jennifer is the office manager and does minor miracles every day. During this project she was coordinating all the KPE stuff, all the GLB stuff, the finances of keeping all this paid for, plus managing checklists of checklists. Jennifer's been with us almost five years and she really proved herself in the last couple of months. In addition to having two high school boys and all their activities, she manages me and everyone in the office like it's second nature.

Connie jumped into the graphics work for this with glee. Then we added more graphics, more projects, and more "stuff" to her plate. Banners, cover design, inside graphics, web graphics, advertisements. Oh, and we designed and printed an entire new catalog at the same time. Then prize wheel graphics, new business cards. Sometimes I think she might break, but she never does.

Connie and John work different shifts but together they coordinated the graphics side of some web development.

John built up the entire web site/portal for the book in two months. It needs some fine tuning, but it's essentially done. John did this with almost zero management on my part. He took concepts for the back end and just made them happen. Once we really start digging into that site we'll develop it more.

Dan is our primary tech and left on his own a lot more than he's used to. But he didn't skip a beat. Clients love him and he really stepped up, sometimes taking on tasks he hasn't done before. Other times he just closed tickets . . . one, two three.

Josh just took a job at Apple (Apparently they're an MP3 maker trying to break into the computer business). Anyway, Josh also did a great job for us. He was constantly moving up in skills and taking on new challenges.

Altogether, these techs did an amazing amount of work helping us define the actual process behind the Zero Downtime Migration process. I think one of the most important elements in developing documentation is to hand it off to someone else and see if they can do it. Not "THUMP! There you go. Good luck with that." But managing the project.

Our techs (these and all before them) have been great at helping us create good processes by giving instant feedback.

And of course Manuel my brother has been running a company and writing a book at the same time. For several months he had cable TV piped into the office so he could keep an eye on baseball, etc. while working weekends and evenings going through processes and re-migrating the same system again and again.

When KPE cut back, Manuel felt some of that directly on his bottom line. But he put his head down and focused on creating a great product. He managed the techs and occasional other out sourced I.T. to make sure all the work got done while his attention was divided between KPE and the book.

- - - - -

Sometimes you look back and realize that what you've had is more amazing than you understood at the time. I am blessed to have a team that can keep two companies working so well as I abandon ship and wander the earth doing whatever I do.

Jim Collins writes in Good to Great that you need to get the right people on the bus. Well, I think we did that over the last two years. If I could keep this team forever I would. To keep them happy and help them advance, we might change seats from time to time.

But the world keeps spinning. Changes are coming.

Since I left corporate America, this book launch is the first project I've taken on that I honestly could not have done myself. It required a team and I thank the Lord that he gave me a team capable of producing such an amazing product.

We don't do everything right. But we kick butt when we need to!


Now Shipping:
The Network Migration Workbook:
Zero Downtime Migration Strategies for Microsoft Networks

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tigerpaw Featured on SMB Conference Call Today

Wed. 9:00 AM Pacific / 12 Noon Eastern

I will be interviewing James Foxall from Tigerpaw Software.

Register Now!

Join me October 7th for a great interview with James Foxall, Senior Vice President of Tigerpaw Software.

Tigerpaw Software is 25 year old company that provides an all-in-one business automation software package built to streamline all aspects of an IT company, from contact management and marketing to proposal generation, order fulfillment, project management, service ticketing, technician management, purchase order processing, billing, and inventory control - all from one on-premise system and one SQL database.

Tigerpaw's customer asset management processes tie in with several RMM software solutions, and web and mobile portals are available. Tigerpaw is the premier solution for taking your Computer / IT business to the next level through automating your business processes across all departments.

James Foxall has been involved in commercial software development for over 20 years and was instrumental in the development and creation of Tigerpaw's award winning product: Tigerpaw CRM+, serving over 25,000 users in 28 countries.
In the 20+ years since joining his family's company full time, James has helped transform Tigerpaw Software from a small "garage" business to one that employs more than 44 people and produces business automation software servicing the IT/Networking, Telecommunications, and Systems Integrator industries.

In his current role, James heads several projects including product development, technology selection, customer education and training, and customer support at Tigerpaw. James has a BS degree in Management of Information Systems from Bellevue University and is pursuing an MBA. James has written 14 books on technology which have been published in over a dozen languages around the world.

He is considered an authority on application interface and behavior standards of Windows applications and serves the business community as an international speaker on Microsoft technologies and best practices for automating business processes in the SMB environment. Viewed as a technology expert, James has been featured on several television news shows, as well as in various trade publications, and newspaper articles.

Tell all your friends and colleagues!

Mark Your Calendar Today!

- Email address: [email protected] (for marketing)
- Web address:
- Blog address:
- Video link:
- Other links (twitter name, etc.): FaceBook:, Name: Tigerpaw Software
- Twitter: James_Foxall

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(Side note: Other than Harry Brelsford, very few people have all those social media links fired up and ready to go.)

See ya at 9:00 AM Pacific.


Now Available:
Introduction to Zero Downtime Migrations
Seminar on MP3 Download

SMB Nation Podcasts Posted

Harry B. and his staff did a great job of coordinating some SMB Books podcasts live from SMB Nation. We did one each day.

Our First Podcast was with Jay Weiss, who is writing a new book on Voice Over IP / telephony. His focus is on the market currently being abandoned by Response Point. This is a 1/2 hour interview. Download here.

The Second Podcast was with Robert Crane, author of The SharePoint Operations Guide. We got a lot of people inquiring about this book after Robert's excellent 90 minute seminar. But it's not a printed book - it's a 1,500 page ebook. This is a 1/2 hour interview. Download here.

The Third Podcast was with Matt Makowicz (books include A Guide to Selling Managed Services) and George Sierchio (books include BYOB: Build Your Own Business Don't Be Your Own Boss). These are a couple of business coaches who focus on the SMB Consultant. Both were on panels throughout the show. This is a very short interview. Not sure what happened. Download here.

These podcasts have been posted on the Free Audio Content section at SMB Books.

If you enjoy these you might also like the SMB Conference Calls.

Thanks, Harry.


It's Coming . . .
The Best NOC and Service Desk Operations Book Ever!

by Erick Simpson

Ship Date: October 31st

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Prize Wheel Total: $23,116 Worth of Give-Aways!


You always get an amazing response from our community - vendors as well as community members. And to be very honest, that line is nicely blurred in many cases.

I have never asked this community for something and not gotten it!

Here's a little background on The Prize Wheel. When we decided to have a booth at this year's SMB Nation, the obvious theme was Gambling. So that led to The Prize Wheel. We ordered a 30" really nice quality prize wheel.

Then I wandered off to the Comptia Breakaway (in Vegas).

One day I was joking with some vendors that my plan for SMB Nation was to go around to all the other vendor booths, collect their squeezy toys and other swag, and then give it away as a "prize" in my booth.

Two vendors immediately said "I'll give you stuff." So I said OKay!

Then I asked just a few people to donate some things. I'm sorry to all the other people who weren't asked. But there are only so many visitors at one booth! I can't afford to haul back a bunch of stuff that didn't get given away.

We ended up with 229 prices for a total value of $23,116. I'm afraid to think of what we'd get if we pushed it! Yikes.

A huge thank you goes out to all of the great people and organizations that contributed to The Big Prize Wheel Give-Away:

Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc. (SMB Books), of course.

and . . .

Robert Crane

Exchange Defender


Matt Makowicz


Reflexion Software

Robin Robins

Scorpion Software

George Sierchio

SMB Nation


Dave Sobel

- - - - -

I sure hope people show up and win this stuff! I'm going to be really disappointed if I have to go home with an Intel computer, a netbook from Exchange Defender, a $1,000 Robin Robins seminar, and all these other great prizes.

Please come see us at SMB Nation in Vegas.



Now Shipping:
The Network Migration Workbook:
Zero Downtime Migration Strategies for Microsoft Networks

Reflexion Donates User Licenses to The Big Prize Wheel!

Thank you Scott Barlow and Reflexion for donating a ten-user pack of resellable Reflexion licneses for our Big Prize Wheel at SMB Nation!

These Reflexion hosted spam filtering licenses are very full featured. They include "address on the fly" and easy client configuration. The donated licenses are good for a full year!

Please drop by our booth at SMB Nation for your chance to win!

You may also win one of the other 200+ prizes we have at our booth.

- - - - -

Here's some contact info on Scott:

- Email: [email protected]

- Web:

- - - - -

The troops are gathering now in Vegas. I think we had about 15 for dinner last night.

See you in Vegas, Baby!