Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Ultimate Technology Consulting Starter Kit

Hey there! Are you new to technology consulting? Do you know someone who is? We are pleased to release ...

The Ultimate Technology Consulting Starter Bundle

The Bundle Includes these Books:

  • Service Agreements for SMB Consultants (a Quick-Start Guide to Managed Services) ebook by Karl W. Palachuk 
  • Managed Services In A Month 2nd ed. ebook and audio editions by Karl W. Palachuk 
  • The Managed Services Operations Manual - 4 volume set - ebooks and audio books by Karl W. Palachuk
  • Relax Focus Succeed ebook and audio edition by Karl W. Palachuk 
  • The Network Documentation Workbook ebook by Karl W. Palachuk
  • Project Management in Small Business ebook and audio book by Dana Goulston and Karl W. Palachuk

Plus these additional audio programs with slides:

  • Build Your Brand Through Service (four hours)
  • Network Documentation for Fun and Profit (1 hour)
  • Service Agreements Improve Managed Services (1 hour)
  • SOPs that Will Instantly Increase Your Profits (2.5 hours)
  • Intro Zero Downtime Migrations (2 hours)
  • How to Get Rich in Small Business (45 minutes)

This is a great start for your business library! You'll get nine ebooks, seven audio books, and six more audio programs. ALL have a strong focus on the SMB (small and medium business) consulting business. Together these products have a $1,250 Value. But the bundle costs you only $799 !

Order your Ultimate Technology Consulting Starter Kit today for just $799.

You can check out most of these items on Amazon. Just search for "managed services" on Several of these books dominate the first page of results. More importantly, no one has produced more content for technology consultants than we have!

Check it out and Order Today.


Monday, December 26, 2016

The Unbreakable Rules of PSA - Class Starts Next Week!

The Unbreakable Rules of PSA

- IT Service Delivery in the 21st Century

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

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

Everyone needs a PSA - Professional Services Automation tool. But in addition to simply having a PSA, you need to set it up correctly and use it wisely.
Manuel PalachukIn this course, you will learn how to double your value to clients and increase your profit with these powerful golden rules of PSA Service Ticket Systems.

Coach Manuel focuses on the direct connection between your service delivery system, the value you give your clients, and your profit, and how to maximize each. He also gives an overview of Agile Service Delivery, an emerging method you must learn to stay competitive.

Whether you’re a one-person shop or have fifty employees, to be consistently profitable, you must have guidelines for how to break down the work in an organized fashion and how you will communicate with the client along the way.

You don’t have to be an MSP or even use a PSA to work efficiently and be profitable, but you do need a system and a method. These "golden" rules can be the seed for your own system if you have none, or you can adopt them in whole to enrich your existing methods. Either way, this is your opportunity to take your service delivery and your profits to the next level.

The course includes a thorough discussion of the unbreakable rules of service tickets as well as covering quality communication with every client. It will be time well spent!
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!

Delivered by Manuel Palachuk, author and business coach.

Includes five weeks of webinar classes with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor.

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

Register Now

A Few Details . . .

  • Each course will be five one-hour webinar / teleseminar phone calls
  • There will be handouts and "homework" assignments
  • If you wish to receive feedback on your assignments, there will be instructor office hours
  • Class calls will be recorded and made available to paid attendees only.
  • All calls start at 9:00 AM Pacific Time

Friday, December 16, 2016

Top Tip: Replace 1/3 of Your Machines Every Year

We have always had a double-whammy policy that we push on our clients: Replace One Third of Your Computers Every Year.

Why is that a double whammy? Because we only sell equipment with a three year warranty. As a result, machine are always under the original equipment manufacturer warranty.

There's actually lots going on here. First, equipment built for a three year warranty is going to be better equipment. Parts are cheap and labor is expensive, so if one small thing fails, the profit is probably gone for the manufacturer.

With clients we refer to this as "business class" equipment. Business class means it is built to last. We all know those machines are good for four or five years. And if they're alive after five, they could be alive after ten. But who wants to run old, slow machines?

Second, No matter what you do, old machines are slow by "today's" standards. Networks go faster. Peripherals go faster. Huge hard drives mean more work for processors. SSDs actually give the fastest processors a run for their money. New software has higher requirements. It's a never-ending leap frog of updates. Old machines just don't perform as well as new machines.

Third, we basically never upgrade machines once they're installed. Because we know we'll replace the machine in three years, we buy a little extra RAM on day one. Then we know it will work well for three years. We also use the latest operating system available when the machine is new. That's even true with Windows 10. The latest O.S. combined with the latest hardware and software has a multiplying effect on productivity!

Fourth, when machines are under warranty, our cost to support them goes down. Things basically never break. If a hard drive goes bad or a power supply goes out, we call the manufacturer and tell them to come fix it. The client has less downtime overall, and when something goes wrong our cost to get it back in service is close to zero.

The challenge for some IT consultants is that YOU don't believe the client will go along with this plan so YOU don't push the policy. As a result, you end up supporting old, slow, upgraded Franken-machines that take a lot more work and have a lot more problems. The client suffers because you didn't push them to invest in their own business.

Yes there are super-cheap clients who won't go along with this. I would encourage you to develop strategies to deal with those clients. You could charge a higher rate for machines that are not under manufacturer warranty. You could sell extended warranties. You could exclude older machines from managed service. You could offer Hardware as a Service and include the computers in you managed service contract.

But most importantly, you need to create a never-ending patter about business class machines and three year warranties. You need to talk about this all the time. You need to mention it whenever possible. You need to use the royal We: We like to see clients buy business class equipment. We like to have all machines under warranty. We like to have you on the latest operating system. etc.

After years of hearing you talk about this as if every business on earth just replaces their machines every three years, clients begin to parrot it back to you. And then you set them up on a schedule to replace 1/3 of their machines each year. It may start out as 1/4 of the machines each year and work up to 1/3. But you have to start somewhere!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Texas Roadshow - Register Now and Save

Texas Roadshow - 100% Cloud Focused

Design, built, and implement cloud services for small business.
More details at

Hey all you Texas partners - Join me LIVE in January.

I'm bringing my all-day cloud services training to

San Antonio - January 23rd
Houston - January 25th
Dallas - January 27th

Look for my post card. If you didn't get one, send me your info and I'll get on in the mail.

This is an all-day, very practical workshop. Learn the secrets to deploying a hugely profitable offering for your small business clients.


You get access to all the recordings, my 150+ page Cloud Services Toolkit, AND a members-only discussion group. Only people who signed up and attended this workshop will be admitted to the discussion group.

As the year progresses, we'll update slides, handouts, and even the recordings. So as more audiences bring up questions and strategies, you can continue to fine-tune your offerings.

Cloud Service + Managed Service = Massive Profit!

Don't miss this. Visit today!

Prices go up in a couple of weeks. Register now and save.

- - - - -

And if you're not in Texas, you can still join us there . . . or in one of the other 25 cities we're visiting in 2017. 


Friday, December 09, 2016

Prioritize Everything!!!

Just posted a super quick video today on Prioritizing Everything in Your Life.

There are very few "secrets" of success. The reason I say that is that we all already KNOW 99% of what we need to know. We just don't do it.

Here's a great example: Prioritize Everything. In your personal life and your business, working from highest to lowest priority will have a dramatic impact on your success. If everyone in your company is always working on the highest priority item they have in front of them, it's amazing how fast things get done.

Just be aware: MOST people don't prioritize things - or they don't prioritize well. So they might get angry with you when you DO prioritize. I can't tell you how many times people get mad at me because they think I'm ignoring them. But from my perspective, I'm not ignoring them: I'm working on something more important.

Yes I understand that can bruise an ego. But each of you could do the same thing. And I need to realize that, most of the time, I won't be your highest priority. So there's nothing personal here. It's just focusing on the important things first.

How to Prioritize

One reason many people don't prioritize is that they don't know how. Too many of us allow everyone else to set our priorities. So we have no experience setting our own. We grow up letting parents and teachers determine our priorities. When we go out on our own, we tend to set the wrong priorities. Partying and spending money may be more important than work or college.

Over time, we have to learn to "be responsible" as adults. So we work on the important things more and more.

Still, most people don't take the simplest steps to prioritize what they need to do in their lives. As a result they fall into one of three huge traps:

Trap One: Jump from one urgent project to another. Urgent is NOT necessarily important. The phone doesn't have to be answered. People should not be allowed to interrupt you all day. Everything is NOT an emergency.

Trap Two: Make everything high priority. When I take on a new coaching client, one of the exercises we go through is basic goal setting. I have roughly 165 tasks that every managed service provider should go through to set up their business properly. Most have completed 30-40% of these. Of the remainder, I ask the business owner to prioritize what they need to do in their business.

Most people say everything is "high" priority. That just can't be. If everything is high priority, then nothing is high priority. You have to set some really big groups - like high, medium, and low priority. Then you have to put things into the groups.

This is exactly where people have very little experience. They CAN do it, but they haven't prioritized for thirty years, so they have no experience with it. They're paralyzed by the inability to admit that one thing is more important than the others. This is a huge problem for many people. Like everything else, you won't get good at setting priorities unless you practice it.

Trap Three: Just work harder. This is the classic pitfall we call workaholism. You can NEVER solve your problems by working harder. You can get more work done for awhile. Then you collapse after a period of working ineffectively. Then you make yourself sick. Then you start over because you're completely overwhelmed - because you didn't prioritize.

Working harder all the time is a trap that makes us feel good. We are working SO hard, it must be getting us somewhere. Except it isn't.

The only way for work to be effective is to prioritize and work on the important stuff first. That way, you can make actual progress. You can move forward. You can check some big things off your list and move to the next big thing.

And make rest and relaxation a priority is also important. You need to recharge your batteries from time to time. No one can run on empty.

Comments welcome.


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Join Me on the 2017 SMB Roadshow!

Please Join Me on the 2017 SMB Roadshow!

This all-day seminar will be 100% education. No vendors on site. No booths or up-selling. Just education on my very successful "Cloud Five Pack" and how we make 73% profit on our small clients. Details at

The show is $999 at the door - but there's no excuse to pay that.

For one month before each show, you can get in for only $799. 

And if you register before that, it's only $599! So right now, all cities are on sale at $599 - which is CHEAP since:

  1. You probably don't have to travel far to find a city near you.
  2. You only need to sell ONE client on this package to make your money back
  3. This really is a business model you can execute right away. One guy from the "dry run" we did of this seminar was able to create an offering and sign two clients within TWO business days of the event! 

Sessions Include:
Read More . . .
 - Cloud Services in Small Business - 2017

 - The Cloud Five-Pack

 - Cloud Migration

 - Implementation

 - and MORE!

Seminar Objectives

This is a workshop - which means you will leave with some real-world goals, and the tools to implement them.

We will cover the strategies for creating a powerful and profitable cloud service offering for the small business market. My managed services businesses have been selling these bundled cloud services since 2008. In fact, it’s one of the things that helped us thrive during the recession!

This is NOT a 30 thousand foot overview. We will discuss:
  • Specific products and services
  • How to bundle them
  • How to maximize profit
  • How to combine cloud-based and onsite options
  • The best way to integrate your onsite server
  • Managing multiple accounts
  • Specific scripts for implementing your “Cloud 5-Pack” (or whatever you end up selling)
  • How to change/upgrade the bundle
  • Tiered pricing options
  • Click-by-click setup and integration
  • Selling the cloud bundle
  • Bandwith realities - and why you do NOT need massive bandwidth for a successful cloud integration
  • ... and more!

The handouts include VERY detailed instructions for configuring your bundles, implementing services, and migrating clients to the cloud. About 150 pages - spiral bound and available for download.

Target Audience

This all-day seminar is intended for any IT service provider who wants to sell very profitable cloud-based services to small businesses. The ideal end-user client is anyone with 1 to 20 users.

You can certainly sell these services to larger companies - and this seminar will give you all the tools and strategies to do that - but larger companies tend to have slightly different requirements.

The basic cloud bundle is intended to provide all the technology a small company needs, including email, storage, backup, anti-virus, spam filtering, patch management, and remote support. You will learn how to up-sell this to include telephones, security monitoring, and other services.

The overall goal is to help you create a combination that is reasonably price for the client and hugely profitable for you.

Bonus Membership

We have created an exclusive Facebook page, open only to people who attend this seminar. It is a place to discuss the strategies presented in the seminar, share their experiences, exchange documents, and so forth.

Once you register for any city, and pay your tuition, you will have access to the Facebook group.

Another great reason to register early! 

Cities Include:
San Antonio, TX - January 23rd

Houston, TX - January 25th

Dallas, TX - January 27th

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago - February 21st

Miami, FL - February 23rd

New Orleans, LA - March 21st

Tampa, FL - March 23rd

Los Angeles, CA - April 25th

San Diego, CA - April 27th

New York, NY - May 16th

Philadelphia, PA - May 18th

Seattle, WA - June 20th

Portland, OR - June 22nd

Chicago, IL - July 25th 
Detroit, MI - July 27th

London, UK - August 15th

Manchester, UK - August 17th

Edinburgh, Scotland - August 22nd

Dublin, Ireland - August 24th

Nashville, TN - September 19th

Atlanta, GA - September 21st

Adelaide, Australia - October 10th

Melbourne, Australia - October 12th

Sydney, Australia - October 17th

Brisbane, Australia - October 19th

San Jose, CA - November 14th

Oakland, CA - November 16th

Las Vegas, NV - December 8th  
Sign up early and save. 

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Special Invitation to join me at the Trinidad show:


Monday, December 05, 2016

What to Do After The Conference

Not too long ago, I posted a quick note and a video about attending conferences to bring some balance into your life. (See

Robert asked a couple of questions: "Karl, do you have an SOP on what you do after attending a conference? Often times ideas and inspiration get lost in the shuffle when returning to the office. Also, do you use a process to disseminate key take aways to your team?"

We'll look at those questions, but first we need to back up a bit. You've heard the advice, "Start with the end in mind." That certainly applies with conferences. You need to decide before you get to the conference what your goals are. A few possibilities are:

- Technical education
- Business education
- Meet people or network
- Find new technologies I might want to integrate into my business
- Learn how other people are addressing my current challenges
- Personal growth
- Try to find an answer to a very specific problem
- Get free swag for the kids

Once you know why you're going to the conference, you can create a plan of action AT the conference, and you can evaluate whether it was worthwhile. One thing I always do at events of any kind is to keep track of where it paid for itself. For example, if I paid $150, where did the value of conversations, education, and new product offerings exceed that $150 investment.

I have attended hundreds of events over the years. An average of 30-50 per year, including local, national, and international events. In all of those I have only attended a handful that did not provide enough value to pay for the price of admission.

So, first, you need to define why you're attending the event. Second, you need to execute your attendance based on that. If, for example, you are looking to meet people and network, then go do that. If you're looking for a new RMM tool, then you'll want to hit the vendor booths and talk to attendees about their experience.

In other words, do NOT hang out with your friends the whole time. Mingle, meet people, collect business cards, and take notes. For all the info on business cards and what to do with them, see my SOP post:

The two key things I just mentioned are: Collect business cards and take lots of notes. One tip Jason posted in response to Robert's question: "Create a service board that you can email to and send your ideas from your phone. When you get back to the office you can assign the tasks to someone or do them yourself." That's a great, modern approach.

I tend to write notes on the backs of business cards. I also keep 3x5 cards and post-it notes with me. I travel with an envelope and stuff all those things into the envelope, along with receipts from the trip. That way, when I get home, that envelope contains everything I need to "do" or take care of after the conference.

After the Conference . . .

Okay, so you've planned for the conference and you've executed your plan. Now you're going to head home with three things that need further action:

1. People (connections)

2. Products and Services

3. Ideas and Action Steps

People will fall into two general categories: Business cards and non-business cards. For the business cards, I highly recommend getting a card scanner. That way you can hand the cards to someone and have them scanned into files you can import into Outlook, your CRM, Constant Contact, or whatever you use to organize contacts.

I've written several blog posts about business cards. You can find them with this search:

When you receive a card, you have to immediately write on it:

- A mark that you know means to throw it away when you get back to your hotel room because you have no reason to keep it
- A note about the conversation
- A note if you promised to follow up with an email, web link, introduction, etc.
- The "category" this person fits in. For example, is it a vendor, another IT Pro, a potential strategic partner, etc.

Personally, I divide the cards into these categories before I get home. Then I hand them to Jessica and she scans them into spreadsheets for vendors, IT Pros, etc. These are then integrated into our contact systems. Then the cards are recycled so they don't grow in piles that take over the universe.

Jessica gives back to me any card with a note on it. That way I can fulfill promises I've made such as sending a document or introducing them to someone. Once completed, these cards are recycled.

Products and Services fall into a few categories. They make their way home by means of a flyer I collected, a business card, an email I sent to myself, or a note I wrote on a post-it or 3x5 card. For each product or service I found interesting, I determine WitNS - What is the Next Step (with a grateful nod to David Allen for his book Getting Things Done).

After all, if I decided to follow up, that follow-up has to have an action. So what is the next step? These are all action items, such as join the reseller program, do some research, ask friends what their experience has been, watch a webinar, or place a phone call. Whatever it is, these action steps need to make their way into my PSA. I literally create a ticket and assign it to myself. You might use tasks in Outlook or your CRM system.

The point is, all product or service oriented ideas you bring home must result in a next action step. If not, you have lost the momentum. Note: You do not need to execute the action step immediately (although that might be a good idea). If you are busy or overwhelmed after being out of the office for awhile, at least create the next steps in your PSA or CRM so that they are not lost.

Ideas and Action Steps are essentially identical to products and services. You will need to flesh out the ideas a bit. Maybe write a full paragraph in your PSA/CRM to make sure your thoughts aren't lost over time. There's nothing worse than finding a note that says something like "Pos solution for JSB" - and you have NO IDEA what you meant.

"Ideas and action steps" might actually lead to some major changes in your business. It's important to talk to someone on your team as soon as possible so the idea is out there and you can have discussions about whether it's something you really want to do. If nothing else, educating your service team about an idea will help you to keep the juices flowing.

Your team may have questions about how it would work, why you need to change, etc. That's all good. The more you engage them, the more you think about the ideas in detail. You can avoid some pretty big mistakes by responding to the questions of you team. Be aware that there will probably be some natural resistance to change in general. But separate that from the actual objections.

In the end, Robert identifies the biggest frustration that comes from some events: You get all excited and jazzed up at the event. Then you come home, the excitement is hard to explain, the ideas fade, and very little gets done. Oddly enough, that's the very reason you need to attend more events - You need to keep getting excited about new ideas until you figure out a way to take action and finally make those changes to your business that you know you want.

Hope that helps!

Feedback and additional ideas always welcome.


Friday, December 02, 2016

Better Sales Through Better Education - New Audio Program

Just posted a great audio program from Chip Reaves over at SMB Books.

It's called Better Sales Through Better Education

Chip is the President of and founder of the Computer Troubleshooters franchise. In this 50 minute program he explains the role of education in the Managed Service Provider sales process. A typical MSP has fantastic productivity solutions for sale – things like Mobile Device Management and Managed Print Solutions. The problem is a typical customer has no idea what all that means, or why they would want it.

Reaves guides MSPs through “the right (and wrong) ways to use newsletters, case studies, white papers, and eLearning to achieve sales.”

He shares insights on how to educate customers and prospects on the benefits of advanced IT solutions so they will actually ask the provider for those services and products. It takes pushy and ineffective sales pitches out of the equation.

Alternate title for this presentation: Better Sales Through Better Education, Standard Operating Procedures & Best Practices!

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

About Chip Reaves

President of

Chip Reaves is the President of and founder of the Computer Troubleshooters franchise. He is also a consultant for IT firms where he helps them improve their product offerings to both the SMB market and SMB IT channel. More information can be found at and

- - - - -

Also Recently Released: 

Stop Hiring Your First Sales Person Over and Over Again! with Josh Peterson

Josh Peterson
In this 45 program, Josh presents some great tips for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) looking to build their sales staff. As always, he is focused on successful habits and keeping an eye on profitability. There are so many ways to mis-handle the sales department. Josh focuses on proven tips to do it the right way.

Managing starts with hiring.

This program is fifty minutes in length, delivered as a zip file with MP3, slides, and handouts.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

- - - - -

Build a Robust Email Marketing Program with Barbara Dove

We are happy to announce that we've released a great new audio program with Barbara Dove - a true pioneer of IT Help Desk support.

This presentation was originally made at SMB Online Conference, hosted by Small Biz Thoughts. Dove talks about robust email marketing systems that are helping small IT companies thrive.

Whether the economy is moving up or down, you can Thrive – with Good Marketing!

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks


Sink or Swim is Not a Training Program

What's your process for bringing on a new employee? So many companies - including some rather large ones - don't actually plan the employee's first day. They throw them into a job and hope they survive.

My friend Josh Peterson tells the story of a company that did that - and the employee quit before noon. No one wants to feel that their job is unimportant or that the company doesn't have a plan of some kind. That's just one reason for having an actual PLAN for an employee's first day.

Of course you need to do some paperwork. But you need to do a lot of work before the employee shows up. You need a job description. In writing. You need to create logons for the PSA, RMM, the domain, email, BDR vendors, etc. Whatever they will need should be set up and ready to go. This should all be handed to the employee along with their hiring paperwork.

This keeps your day productive and gives the employee lots to do: Log into everything. Look around. See what's what. Learn some client names. And verify that their credentials are correct.

After that, the new employee can go to lunch with someone on the team and talk about you behind your back. Hey, it's going to happen eventually, so you might as well get it started. Your team as a team needs to develop a personality that works. Later the newbie can shadow one or more other employees . . . learning YOUR way of doing things.

Like everything else - Consistency doesn't happen by itself. Teamwork doesn't happen by itself. Your branding (defined as everything you do) won't come together by itself. You need to put a structure and processes in place that make these things happen.

Here's a quick video with more tips.

Comments welcome.

- - - - -

Note: Please subscribe to my YouTube channel - - and you'll be notified when new videos go live.

Also: If you love the SOPs, please check out my 4-volume set of SOPs at


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Stop Hiring Your First Sales Person Over and Over Again! - Audio Program

Just posted another audio program from Coach Josh Peterson over at SMB Books.

It's called Stop Hiring Your First Sales Person Over and Over Again!

Josh Peterson
In this 45 program, Josh presents some great tips for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) looking to build their sales staff. As always, he is focused on successful habits and keeping an eye on profitability. There are so many ways to mis-handle the sales department. Josh focuses on proven tips to do it the right way.

Managing starts with hiring.

This program is fifty minutes in length, delivered as a zip file with MP3, slides, and handouts.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

About Josh Peterson

CEO, Bering McKinley

As a Senior Consultant with the Taylor Business Group, Josh has helped IT Solution Providers become more profitable for over eight years and loves the challenge of helping companies of all sizes. In addition to his direct consulting, Josh has performed workshops for 100's of Managed Service Providers and IT Solution Providers around the United States, Australia and Canada on topics related to Service Management, Financial Analysis, and Sales Management and Strategy. Josh is a passionate student and proponent of client loyalty and satisfaction measurements, specifically Net Promoter Score.

Josh holds an MBA from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York and an undergraduate degree in Biology and Education. Josh lives in Chicago, IL.

- - - - -

Also Recently Released: 

Build a Robust Email Marketing Program with Barbara Dove

We are happy to announce that we've released a great new audio program with Barbara Dove - a true pioneer of IT Help Desk support.

This presentation was originally made at SMB Online Conference, hosted by Small Biz Thoughts. Dove talks about robust email marketing systems that are helping small IT companies thrive.

Whether the economy is moving up or down, you can Thrive – with Good Marketing!

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

- - - - -

Modern Marketing Best Practices with Patrick Schwerdtfeger

Patrick takes a unique approach to Social Media. He starts out by stating that most of the 100 million people on Twitter are wasting their time!

But a few people and a few companies are having extreme success with social media. What separates these two groups? And more importantly, what is the legitimate role of social media in positioning yourself as an expert?

What do prospects do today when they consider hiring you? The do an Internet search! How do you show up? What is your online image, you Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, and your Twitter profile?

This presentation covers some great, simple techniques you can use to take your social media presence to the next level. And most importantly, he shows that almost no one is doing this effectively.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks


Register Now for Retail IT VAR of the Future conference

Got a note from the good folks over at Business Solutions Magazine.

The third annual Retail IT VAR of the Future conference is open for registration.

If you support (or want to support) retail shops and point of sale, this is a great conference for you. I have attended several Business Solutions events and have spoken at this conference.

The 2017 conference is FREE if you register by December 16th - so go check it out now!

The conference will be held April 4-5 in Orlando, FL.

Here's the official memo:

- - - - -

Business Solutions will host our third annual Retail IT VAR Of The Future conference on April 4-5 in Orlando, and I hope you'll be one of the VAR, MSP, and ISV executives who take advantage of our complimentary registration offer.

This year's agenda will feature the four hottest topics in retail IT: payment/data security, POS-as-a-Service, customer experience, and mobile POS. We'll spend a half day on each topic, and instead of vendor sales pitches on stage you'll hear real-world examples from panels of innovative solutions providers.

This two-day conference will be held April 4-5 at the DoubleTree Orlando at SeaWorld. We are anticipating 200+ channel executives in the retail, hospitality, and grocery verticals will attend to learn about the future of retail IT. We are planning to have 5+ hours of networking time and a show floor of 20+ exhibitors who can help you expand your line card.

We're extending the early registration deadline to December 16 so VARs, MSPs, and can take advantage of a *complimentary registration offer. To register use the promo code EARLYBIRD1 at

I hope you can join us in Orlando next April.


Mike Monocello | Editor in Chief | Business Solutions Magazine

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Audio Program: Barbara Dove - Build a Robust Email Marketing Program

We are happy to announce that we've released a great new audio program with Barbara Dove - a true pioneer of IT Help Desk support.

This presentation was originally made at SMB Online Conference, hosted by Small Biz Thoughts. Dove talks about robust email marketing systems that are helping small IT companies thrive.

Whether the economy is moving up or down, you can Thrive – with Good Marketing!

This program is fifty minutes in length, delivered as a zip file with MP3, slides, and handouts.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

- - - - -

About Barbara Dove
• President and CEO, Dove Help Desk
• Topic: Build a Robust Email Marketing Program

• With over 15 years’ experience in senior management positions in service operations, Barbara has worked in executive and strategic service management positions at various computer and test equipment companies.

• Barbara founded Dove Help Desk in 2003 to provide the resources necessary to manage the routine requests from users to relieve the pressure on IT providers and their staffs. After 9 years, Dove Help Desk continues as a division of Global Mentoring Solutions, Inc. Barbara has an MBA and ME in Operations Research from Boston University and a BA in Mathematics from Wilson College. She has a black belt in six sigma and is a practiced Total Quality Management professional.

Check it out on the Audio/Video page at

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Also New This Month: 

Modern Marketing Best Practices with Patrick Schwerdtfeger

Patrick takes a unique approach to Social Media. He starts out by stating that most of the 100 million people on Twitter are wasting their time!

But a few people and a few companies are having extreme success with social media. What separates these two groups? And more importantly, what is the legitimate role of social media in positioning yourself as an expert?

What do prospects do today when they consider hiring you? The do an Internet search! How do you show up? What is your online image, you Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, and your Twitter profile?

This presentation covers some great, simple techniques you can use to take your social media presence to the next level. And most importantly, he shows that almost no one is doing this effectively.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks


Monday, November 28, 2016

When Does Marketing Start?

Business consultant and author Peter Drucker once wrote:

"Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation. All the rest
are costs."

Many people have a mistaken belief that marketing is something you do when it's time to sell your product or service. Nothing could be further from the truth! Marketing starts before the product or service even exists!

My favorite marketing coach is Robin Robins. If you attend one of her workshops, you may get to see her build a marketing campaign. She starts by talking about the client. Who's going to buy this? What do they look like? What do they want? What's their pain point? What problem can you solve.

(If you haven't seen her stuff, I recommend you check out the Technology Marketing Toolkit.)

The stages in product development look something like this:

But notice that "marketing" is not listed here. Why? Because it's ALL marketing. Marketing is the process of defining and communicating the VALUE of your product or offering. You cannot start the marketing discussion at the "Promote/Sell" stage. That's too late in the process.

There are many kinds of value in your offering. Assuming you're in the IT business, your offering will have at least two or three of these value types:

- Functional Value. How well does this product/service achieve its goal? For example, reliable backup of data.

- Emotional Value. How well does this product/service fulfill and emotional need, such as feeling confident that the company can survive a disaster?

- Monetary Value. Obviously, how will this product or service help the client make money, save money, or do something they haven't done before; and how does that compare to the price of the offering?

- Social Value. How does this product/service fulfill the client's need to achieve or maintain status among their peers?

If you start "marketing" at the Promote/Sell stage, you're really just telling a story about how you can provide value to clients. It's like you have to wedge value into the conversation.

It's much better to start with defining the client and then discussing value at every stage of the product evolution. That way, the product or service is literally inseparable from the value it brings to the client. Instead of value being an after-thought, it's baked in!

We All Know This Is True

How many times have seen a great product fail? You hear people complain about how hard they worked to develop something - and there were no buyers!

You can have an awesome product that fails fast if you develop the product first and do the marketing as an after-thought. Think about grand failures from the Ford Edsel to the Apple Newton. They are often priced wrong, have the wrong feature set, or are great for a microscopic audience.

ALL of those factors can be addressed by considering the client perspective from the beginning. Notice that my graphic above actually implies a series of feedback look. Test. Refine. Continue refining.

When you just make the argument that your product is better and people should just buy it, then you fail - even if your product is better. OS/2 was a collaboration of competitors that should have resulted in market dominance. But it was built based on technology considerations and not value.

If you don't have the client-focused value discussion all throughout product (or service) development, it is hard to convince people that they should buy it just because you say it's "better."

. . . To be continued . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2016

New Audio Program: Patrick Schwerdtfeger on Modern Marketing Best Practices

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a member of my Northern California mastermind group.

A few years ago, Patrick presented at my SMB Online Conference on the subject of Modern Marketing Best Practices.

Check it out on the Audio/Video page at

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Modern Marketing Best Practices

Originally delivered at the 2012 SMB Online Conference.

This program is fifty minutes in length, delivered as a zip file with MP3, slides, and handouts.

Patrick takes a unique approach to Social Media. He starts out by stating that most of the 100 million people on Twitter are wasting their time!

But a few people and a few companies are having extreme success with social media. What separates these two groups? And more importantly, what is the legitimate role of social media in positioning yourself as an expert?

What do prospects do today when they consider hiring you? The do an Internet search! How do you show up? What is your online image, you Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, and your Twitter profile?

This presentation covers some great, simple techniques you can use to take your social media presence to the next level. And most importantly, he shows that almost no one is doing this effectively.

Check it out now - only $19.95
Buy Now at SMBBooks

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About Patrick Schwerdtfeger

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a professional speaker. He is also an author and Social Media Expert.

He is the author of three books:

Webify Your Business

Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed

Keynote Mastery

See more about him on his site -

Patrick is a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV. He has spoken about business trends, modern entrepreneurship, and the social media revolution at conferences and business events around the world.

He has been featured in The New York Times, CNN Money, Fortune, Bloomberg, Businessweek, the Associated Press, MONEY Magazine and Forbes, among others.


NOTE: We have released a whole series of new audio programs this year. Check them all out at

Released 2016 

Own Your Niche: Simple Strategies to Increase Website Traffic and Build Buzz Online 

- Audio program with Stephanie Chandler
- Only $19.95
- at SMB Books
More Information

How to Have a Never-Ending Conversation with Your Clients
- Audio program with Bob Nitrio
- only $19.95
- at SMB Books
More Information

Your CEO Transition Plan
- Audio program with Arlin Sorensen
- only $19.95
- at SMB Books
More Information

Relax Focus Succeed® 
Now available via MP3 and Audible formats
- only $19.95 or less
- at SMB Books, Amazon, Audible
More Information

Released March 2016 

Organizing for Success
 - Audio program from Karl Palachuk
- Free
- at SMB Books
More Information

Consistency and Success
- Audio program from Karl Palachuk
- Free
- at SMB Books
More Information

Only the Excellent Survive
 - Audio program from Karl Palachuk
- Free
- at SMB Books
More Information


Friday, November 25, 2016

Mentoring and Master-Minding

One of the most important - and overlooked - roles of a manager is being a mentor to others. Many people have a 1940's "command and control" approach to business. But as I pointed out a little while back, telling people to Just Do It is often very bad advice.

People need to be instructed, guided, and helped to improve. You're not in a competition with your employees: When they do well, your company does well. So constantly helping them to improve is good for every one.

New Video:

You should also be open to being mentored. That means having the humility to seek advice from others. I love the master mind groups I belong to. They allow me to talk about challenges I face and get feedback from people I trust.

As a general rule, master mind meetings start with a quick discussion of what's changed since last time. Then members take turns talking about a challenge they face and getting ideas from the other members.

I have used my master mind groups to get feedback on client relationships, naming products, pricing, employee issues, productivity tips, and so much more. The best part of a meeting is often hearing advice given to someone else. After all, just because we didn't bring up an issue doesn't mean we don't have that issue.

And, in general, having business-focused discussions will improve your business in the long run. You get in the habit of working "on" your business. You also get a boatload of good tips and advice.

Overall, you should be in a never-ending stream of mentoring and being mentored. All of us can learn from others. And the world keeps changing so things that worked last year don't work as well this year. So we have to keep evolving.

It's another example where education in all its forms should be part of your continuing personal and professional growth.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Benefits Make Sense Even Without a Group

When I had a number of employees, I used to always offer them benefits. There are two major reasons for this. First, it saves me some money (personally) because I get my insurance paid for through the company. It’s a very well accepted business expense and I get insurance out of the deal. Second, it makes your business a nicer place to work. It makes employees a bit “stickier” compared to places that don’t offer benefits.

But times have changed. When I got rid of my I.T. consulting business and moved to book publishing full time, I was down to a “group” of one. It was difficult to find a good set of benefits for just me. With the Affordable Care Act, I couldn’t be turned down. So, I finally have the coverage I want.

“Benefits” are things like retirement plans, medical insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, and so forth. Many people hold on to their corporate jobs and run a consulting business “on the side” because they need the benefits.

You don’t have to do that anymore – especially since a lot of companies are not actually providing these things. They’re making them available for you to buy through payroll. They’re negotiating a price but the employee is paying for it.

To be honest, that’s a great reason to take the plunge, find your own benefits, and jump ship.

Where Do You Get Benefits? 

That’s a tough question to answer because the answer is almost anywhere. If you use a payroll service, they may offer certain benefits, including health insurance and miscellaneous retirement savings plans. Your financial advisor (including accountants and enrolled agents) may also offer some benefits such as life insurance and retirement plans.

Of course you can also go direct to a broker who has lots of options available. Or a certified financial planner may also offer some or all of these things. In the modern economy, many people are choosing to buy each of these benefits separately. Additionally, some insurance companies (like VSP Vision Care) are offering individual plans that you can purchase directly from them.

My medical insurance plan comes bundled with almost-useless add-ons for optical and dental coverage. The vision coverage has a $100 co-pay for exams and $500 deductible for glasses. That’s about equivalent to no coverage at all! The bundled dental is a little better, but the out-of-pocket is still pretty high. In both cases, I went with separate plans for these things.

The main benefit you have as a sole proprietor (or small corporation, LLC, etc.) is that you can claim exemption from Workers Comp in many cases. If you are already paying for medical coverage for something else, you can exempt yourself from WC insurance as an owner of the business. Note: If you’re not doing this, you should talk to your tax advisor and Workers Comp insurer to see whether you are eligible to save this money.

Expandable Programs

You have to make sure that any benefit programs you offer are equitable inside your company. In other words, if you have employees, you have to offer the same thing to everyone who meets certain criteria. You can set the criteria, but you still need to be aware of the laws.

For example, you might say that employees are eligible if they have been employed at least 90 days and work at least 30 hours per week. What you can’t do is to have different programs for owners and employees.

If you are sure you’ll never have employees, then don’t worry about what you choose. But if you might have employees, then make you work with a company that can grow along with you. As strange as it sounds, I’ve see companies that had plans for one person or three-or-more, but not for two. Huh?

Again, you need to work with good advisors who will make sure you get a combination that works – and keeps you inside the law.

I’ve been self-employed for 21 years. I’ve grown companies to a dozen employees. So I’m not willing to bet that I’ll always be a one- or two-person operation. And with luck, my choices for benefits will last me for years to come.

VSP – Vision Service Plan

I recently found out about a great resource guide from VSP – Vision Service Plan. VSP provides vision insurance for the smallest shops out there, including one-person businesses. Their resource guide is at this link. I asked them if I could promote this. (I was compensated for this blog post.)

The resource guide provides lots of valuable information, including a thorough understanding of the "gig" economy - made up of individuals working independent jobs. If you’re a sole proprietor, this is you. In fact, our industry has been doing exactly this for twenty years – way before Upwork (formerly Elance and Odesk) hit the scene.

It also includes information on VSP Individual Vision plans, which start as low as $17/month. VSP individual plans are perfect for sole proprietors, since they can be purchased directly from VSP at I bet 90% of the people reading this wear glasses. If you're in need of vision insurance, I encourage you to check out VSP individual plans.

For more information on VSP, click this link.

About VSP

VSP is the national leader in eye care benefits, and offers affordable individual vision insurance to people who don’t have employer-provided vision care. VSP serves 72 million Americans through individual and group plans. (That’s one in five people in the U.S.!) Individual vision plans can cost as low as $17 a month and members give the company a 95% overall satisfaction rating.
A VSP individual vision plan includes annual benefits that cover:
A comprehensive eye exam
Prescription lenses with covered lens enhancements
A generous allowance for frames and/or contacts
A wide selection of brand name frames
Access to a network of more than 36,000 doctors


Friday, November 18, 2016

Choosing the Right Backup Form Factor

Backup technology changes all the time. Because of that, you need to choose your backup form factor carefully. There are several things to consider.

Capacity - What is the total capacity of the client's data?

Speed - Based on capacity and speed, you should make sure that your backup is finished during the after-hours window.

Media Lifetime - How long will the backup last on the shelf? Cheap CDs, for example, have a surprisingly short shelf life.

Durability - How much abuse can your backup media take? We never expect to drop an SSD or DVD, but accidents happen.

Form Factor Lifetime - Can your restore from a 100MB Zip Disc? How about an IDE drive? How long will you be able to restore from your backup?

Many of these considerations are becoming less critical with cloud backup, but they're no necessarily irrelevant.

Another major consideration is cost. This is particularly important if you rotate media out of circulation. No matter where you backup (including the cloud), you still need to have a complete backup that goes offline and is never over-written. For a 2 TB drive that might be $150. For other media the price will be different.

No matter what you use for backups, you absolutely need to understand how to restore from the backup. That means you need to truly understand the backup technology so you don't screw things up while trying to recover data. And, of course, you need to document the backup process and procedures.

LOTS more tips in my latest video:

Comments Welcome.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

SMB Roadshow 2017 Dates Announced!

Ta - Daaaaaa!

Here's our press release announcing our 2017 SMB Roadshow.

It's all about Making Money with Cloud Services!

- - - - -

Sacramento, CA, November 16, 2016 – Karl W. Palachuk, internationally recognized technology author, blogger, and managed services business consultant is heading out on a twelve month tour of twenty-eight cities across six countries.
Palachuk will be bringing his SMB Roadshow to Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, England, Scotland, Ireland, and the United State. The key messages in the tour are targeted at technology providers who serve small to medium-size businesses. The curriculum will focus on Cloud services, designing modern offerings for small businesses, and improving inefficiencies with standard operating procedures.
Palachuk has been advising technology business professionals through his books, blogs, and touring events for nearly 20 years, helping thousands of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and I.T. consultants reach their customers with solid business models and offerings in cloud services, server migrations, remote management, and more.
Palachuk’s book Managed Services in a Month has been one of the top managed services books on Amazon for almost ten years. His brand new series, The Managed Services Operations Manual (four volumes) is also extremely popular and influential. In early 2017 Palachuk plans to release new versions of two of his most popular books for managed service providers.
“I am extremely excited to be able to connect with I.T. consultants personally in 2017. Visiting 28 cities will be a huge challenge, but also a lot of fun.” Palachuk said. “I have made many friends all over the globe in the last fifteen years. It will be great to see them all in real life!”
The SMB Roadshow will kick off the tour with three Texas cities back-to-back: San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas in January. A complete list of cities is at
About Karl Palachuk
Karl W. Palachuk has written 15 books, including Managed Services in a MonthService Agreements for SMB Consultants, and the Managed Services Operations Manual. Palachuk has advised I.T. and digital consultants for nearly 20 years as an international speaker, blogger, podcast host, and personal business consultant. He has worked with dozens of corporate advisory boards and beta programs. His larger clients include Intel, Microsoft, HP, QLogic, Cisco, Solar Winds MSP, and many more. For more information, visit

About Small Biz Thoughts
Small Biz Thoughts is the training and content division of Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc., owned and operated by Karl W. Palachuk. Their programs are geared specifically for the independent/entrepreneurial I.T. consultants. Their focus on future trends has helped them to build a reputation as a trusted advisor to fans and friends around the world. For more information, visit
Media Contact
Laura Napolitano
Phone: 001 916 217 9432

Monday, November 14, 2016

Free File - 2017 Pay Periods, Pay Dates, and Holidays

I just finished one of my annual chores: Creating a handout for my employees with the pay periods, pay dates, and holidays listed.

No genius level stuff here.

But if you want a copy for free, CLICK HERE or click the graphic.

No registration, no nothing. Just click and download.

This file is in Excel format, so your browser might ask you to verify that you really want to grab it.

As simple as it is, a page like this is very handy for employees. Everyone knows on the the first day of employment which days are paydays and which are holidays.

I made a conscious decision about a dozen years ago to close on ten national holidays. If you include state holidays and religious holidays, you could easily close 20 days out of the year. But that's hard to manage when you are in a service business.

I picked dates that I'm pretty sure all my clients are closed.

Of course your holidays and pay dates will vary - especially if you're in another country. But this Excel spreadsheet is easy to edit. So if you don't have a template already, feel free to grab this one.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Disaster Recovery Basics - Video

A few tips about Disaster Recovery Plans.

First, I'm a big believer that you need a paper copy of your DR plan somewhere - for every single client. Yes - you will probably have access to an electronic version. But realistically, in a true disaster, you may not have electricity. Or a building. So you need to know that you can get to the DRP even if the server's under water.

Second, you should not plan to replace the network exactly as it is today. Today's data and databases are much more flexible than in years gone by. So plan to get the newest, best equipment and software you can. Having said that, if you have some old line of business application, you may need some older technology to make that work. Make sure that's in your plan!

Of course, the more you rely on the cloud, the fewer disasters you'll have and the easier it is to get back up.

The 800 pound gorilla for disaster recovery is the BDR - backup and disaster recovery system. This will allow you to move quickly into "business continuity" mode rather than disaster mode.

Here are a few specific things to keep in mind:

1. Go slow. Don't rush around and freak out. First, assess the actual damages, determine what the most recent successful backup is, and what resources you have available to you.

2. Make a plan! Yes you have the big DR Plan. But now you need to create a specific plan for this specific disaster. What will you do first? What will you do second? etc.

3. Use a TSR Log. I've covered this many times. Here's a specific post:

4. Update the plan! How could it have gone better? How can you improve the process? And is it possible to avoid this disaster altogether next time?

Hope that helps.

Add your best tips below.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

eFolder Begins Shipping Replibit BDR Appliances

Press release from eFolder:

- - - - -

eFolder Begins Shipping Replibit BDR Appliances

eFolder Celebrates the Product Launch by Raffling Off $10,000 of Free Equipment at IT Nation 2016
Orlando, FL – November 9, 2016

eFolder, a leading supplier of business continuity and file sync services, today announced at IT Nation 2016 that ReplibitTM BDR appliances are now shipping and generally available. To celebrate the product launch, eFolder is giving away $10,000 worth of free BDR appliances to randomly selected attendees at IT Nation. Every IT Nation participant will receive a Replibit BDR raffle code in their conference bag distributed by ConnectWise. Eight lucky winners can claim their free BDR appliance by visiting the eFolder hospitality lounge during IT Nation.

Replibit is a patented, end-to-end business continuity software platform designed for managed service providers (MSPs). With three models to choose from, the new Replibit Mini, Pro, and Rack appliances complete the overall Replibit solution with a purpose-built BDR appliance family available directly from eFolder. Replibit BDR Appliances are local BDR appliances, featuring FastFlashTM SSD storage technology and the patented Replibit Appliance software. Replibit is the industry’s first all-SSD BDR appliance product line. With a next-gen, FastFlash SSD architecture, Replibit appliances deliver fast and reliable on-site system recovery for SMB client environments. The FastFlash SSD architecture means industry leading IOPs and a 50x speed advantage during system recoveries. The Replibit Mini is the world’s fastest and most reliable BDR appliance, making it ideal for mass market deployment to small businesses.

“We are thrilled to begin shipping Replibit BDR appliances,” says Kevin Hoffman, chief executive officer at eFolder. “In just a few months after acquiring Replibit, we are delivering the last critical piece of the overall business continuity solution. We now supply MSPs with everything they need for end-to-end business continuity, including the Replibit chain-free, image-based backup software, the local BDR appliance, cloud replication, backup, and recovery services in the eFolder Cloud, and global management of the entire Replibit solution. The higher capacity Replibit appliances can also serve as economical building blocks for partners that want their own multi-tenant Replibit private cloud deployment.”

“The Replibit Mini is a home run,” says Phillip Long, president and chief executive at Business Information Solutions, Inc. “To date with Replibit, we’ve been building our own BDR appliances. During the Replibit appliance beta test, our techs were blown away by the speed and performance of the all-SSD appliance. Fast and reliable on-site recoveries are critical for us to keep our promises with our clients. We are now standardizing on Replibit BDR appliances.”

“I am excited to see the Replibit solution quickly evolve under eFolder ownership,” says Andrew Bensinger, Replibit founder and vice president of engineering at eFolder. “Most partners want an end-to-end solution from their vendor. Now, partners can turn to eFolder for all the key pieces of the solution, including software, BDR appliance, cloud and management.”

Replibit BDR appliances are shipping and generally available to MSP partners in the United States. Interested partners may call eFolder at +1-800-352-0248 or visit us

About eFolder

eFolder is a leading supplier of cloud business continuity, cloud file sync, and cloud to cloud backup solutions for MSPs, cloud service providers, system integrators, and VARs. Delivered as wholesale services to the channel, eFolder enables its partners to provide branded cloud services and to generate highly profitable, recurring revenue. eFolder services complement many of the managed service offerings already deployed by partners and integrate with common PSA systems, making adoption of eFolder services fast and easy. eFolder also empowers cost-effective partner and end-user private clouds, allowing partners to meet the needs of any client, regardless of size or readiness to engage in public cloud services. eFolder is a privately held company and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA.

For more information, please visit: and follow us on Twitter: @eFolder

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