Friday, February 26, 2016

LOGICnow Acquires iScan - Automated Risk Assessments

I got a special announcement from my friends over at LOGICnow, makers of MAXfocus. They've made another acquisition. This one dramatically improves the kind of security assessments you'll be able to do via the MAX platform.

Here's the press release:

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LOGICnow Acquires iScan

Automated Risk Assessments Help IT Professionals Calculate Security Risk in Dollars

MAX Risk Intelligence Solution enhances LOGICnow’s robust layered security offerings; empowering users to better assess data breach risks and centrally manage threat mitigation

UNITED KINGDOM – 26 February, 2016LOGICnow, the global market leader in integrated cloud-based IT Service Management solutions, announced today that it has acquired iScan Online, Inc. iScan’s technology will power the development of the LOGICnow MAX Risk Intelligence solution, enabling organizations to understand their total risk exposure by quantifying that risk in actual dollar terms.

The integration of MAX Risk Intelligence into the LOGICnow MAX Remote Management product suite will enable LOGICnow to deliver unique new security capabilities that will help its growing global community of IT professionals, representing over two million endpoints, meet the challenges of today’s complex threat landscape. Further building upon LOGICnow’s commitment to providing a comprehensive layered security solution to its customers, this acquisition will, for the first time, provide enterprises with access to automated vulnerability scanning to help prioritize threat mitigation strategies based directly on business costs.

“The iScan acquisition gives our customers a significant competitive advantage by equipping them with the ability to assess the risk to sensitive data, an organization’s most valuable asset,” said Walter Scott, CEO of LOGICnow. “As a full service IT Service Management company, with MAX Risk Intelligence, we now give businesses the broadest and most capable collection of detection, mitigation and management tools available to the market today.”

In particular, data-at-rest on systems can include highly-sensitive personally identifiable information (PII), such as social security and driver’s license numbers, date-of-birth records and credit card information. It is impractical to search for and catalog such information manually with the result that the risk cannot be identified or quantified, and while that data is exposed it is at risk of being breached. MAX Risk Intelligence enables IT Pros to quickly and easily conduct regular automated risk assessments within their IT environment to calculate the real-time risk of a data breach and assign a dollar value to it. The solution also helps to satisfy a host of regulatory compliance requirements including HIPAA, PCI DSS and FINRA.

Carl Banzhof, former iScan CEO and the newly appointed Vice President of Engineering for LOGICnow, states, “Our mission is to help customers understand their risk to a data breach. We delivered a world-class solution that some of the leading companies in the world depend on for visibility into their overall security risk. We’re excited to join the LOGICnow team and thank our customers and partners for their tremendous support and devotion.”

“It’s a fact that 87 percent of desktops and servers store unprotected personally identifiable information, and each day a compromised system goes undetected the cost of the breach increases,” added Billy Austin, former iScan President and newly appointed Vice President of Security, LOGICnow. “As an iScan Co-founder, I am thrilled to be joining LOGICnow to help drive this technology even further with the development of the strongest layered security stack in the market.”


About LogicNow

LOGICnow is the global market leader in the delivery of integrated cloud-based IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions to Managed Service Providers and end user businesses. LOGICnow’s MAX platform which includes Remote Management, Back-up & Disaster Recovery, Mail and Service Desk is the world's most widely-trusted ITSM offering. It has the backing of a global community with more than two million endpoints and the industry vision to define and deliver the future of the market. Our passion is to help IT professionals win through intelligent technology. For more information, visit

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Y$10K - Prepare for Bonus Money

Whether you have a job or work for yourself, there are times when you get a little extra "spending" money. It might be a payday bonus, a big sales commission, a tax return, or just a really great month in your business.

What have you done with that money?

Most people spend it. They either pay down bills or buy some toy they've been wanting. As you can imagine, I'm going to recommend a different strategy.

Remember, you are always balancing multiple paths to financial success. That means you can't use it all to pay off credit card debt or make extra car payments. You also can't spend it all on clothes or toys.

Remember, habits rule your life. Too many people have no money because they chronically over-spend and then use the occasional "bonus money" to dig themselves out. That is a very clear pattern with many people. If it's you, Stop It! You can plan right now for what you're going to do with the next lump of cash that shows up in your life.

I recommend that you spend no more than 10% of it. That might be a small number. After all, if your tax return gets you only $100, then you get to spend only $10. Yup. Sorry. It's a new day. Today's the day you look to your future and spending that money (plus growth) when you retire.

Next, I encourage you to only use about 30% of the bonus cash to pay down debts. Some financial advisers will tell you that it's wiser to pay of debt costing you 25% per year than to invest and hope to gain 8% on your money. That's logical. And if you were rigorous and disciplined with your money, I'd be tempted to go along. BUT if you were disciplined with your money, you wouldn't have that debt - you'd be living within your means already.

Remember: You are pushing several goals forward at the same time.

- Spend within your income.

- "Need" less and save more.

- Put money into investments.

- Pay down debts.

- Don't take money out of investments once it's in.

If you throw all this money into paying down debts, you will not build the habits of spending less and paying down debts. Those "muscles of success" need to be exercised. In addition to tackling your habits from different streams at the same time, you're also making progress on three different goals: Enjoy your money (spend some), pay off some debt, and save your money.

Note that the decision to only use a small portion of your bonus money to pay off debt also highlights the need to have a whole program dedicated to tackling that debt. We'll address that in a future blog post.

That will leave you with about 60% of your bonus money going straight to investments. Wouldn't it be great if you had two or three of these this year? How much did you waste last year on bonus money that just got spent? $1,000? $2,500? More? Well now you can plan to have that much extra in savings!

Remember: Every dollar you don't spend today is potentially three dollars you get to spend in retirement.

Also remember: If you spend 100% of your bonus money on a new toy, that's just one old memory of an old toy you don't use any more in retirement. :-)

Summary use of bonus money:

10% splurge spending
30% pay down credit cards and other debt
60% saving and investing

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Quote of the Day:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
-- Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

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Checkup time: Have you set up an investment account? How about an Automatic Investment Transfer to your investment account? If you haven't done that, do it now. No one will do this for you.

Everyone reading this can put something extra into savings right now. $5, $10, $100. Something.

Every dollar counts.

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For earlier posts in this series, just search for the label "Y$10K" in the cloud tag on the right.
Or click here:

Good luck!

Let me know how you're doing!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Y$10K - Tips on Buying within Your Investment Account

I am VERY happy that several people have emailed me, saying they have started putting money in an investment account. Now they're eager to actually buy an ETF (exchange traded fund, as described here:

Here's the basic project today:

1) You've put money into an investment account per that article above

2) Now you need to actually BUY the stock/ETF

Here are some tips. As always, this is just my practical advice. I'm not a financial adviser. I have been an amateur investor since 1993.

Tip One: Buy in "large" chunks. I normally wait til I have about $1,000 and then invest. The main reason is that you pay about $10 for the trade, which is 1% of $1k and 2% of $500. So you get an extra 1% immediately if you buy a larger chunk.

There’s no real reason for the $1k except it’s a big number. If you put in more than that per month, you might consider doing a “buy” once per month.

As a rule, you want to make as few trades as possible because they cost money. One of the reasons I like the ETFs is that you just buy one big lump of the fund and it's their job to make sure it performs the same as the stock market. If you tried to do that yourself, you'd make all kinds of trades, buying and selling all day.

Lots of trades can add up and significantly affect your overall investment performance.

Tip Two: If you buy something that pays dividends, choose to have them distributed and not reinvested. The reason for this is simply to make your life easier. When you go to sell stocks, you have to declare which stocks you're selling so that the government knows the "buy" price and they can tax you accordingly.

If you buy and tell in lots of 10 or 20 or 100 shares, it's reasonably easy to keep track. But dividend distributions might be in tiny increments of .125 shares or .25 shares. Keeping track of that tiny stuff is not worth your time.

Two notes: You can also use an average buy price when selling, but you also have to track this for the feds. AND your investment firm may also track all of this in great detail and always assume that you are selling the oldest or most recently purchased stock.

As with everything in investing and taxation, this gets complicated fast. That why I just take the "cash" distributions and have them dump into your available cash for investment. Then, when you buy you can buy in larger lots.

Tip Three: Don't track your stocks TOO closely. Part of the fun of investing is watching your investments go up. But that's never a straight line. Remember, this investment is for the VERY long term. Let's assume you retire somewhere in the age range of 65-70 years old, you will be investing for a long time. If it makes your stomach nervous, check it once a month. If it excites you and you don't get nervous when it goes down, check it once a week.

Tip Four: Do not start "playing" the market. Do not start buying and selling, getting in and out and trying to time the market. That can wait until you've been watching this beast for a few years. When it's time to consider an "active" portfolio, you should seek the advice of a financial adviser.

In the meantime, start reading books, reading blogs and listening to financial radio shows. But don't think you can out-think the market.

Here's the deal on playing the market: When you have a massive education and twenty years experience, you might do better than flipping a coin. As a rule, the people who work on this 40 hours a week for twenty years can do better than the average investor. But you can't. You just can't.

Here's a great bit of information from

"... new research is out showing that you would be better off flipping a coin to make a market prediction than listen to a talking head. CXO Advisory Group collected more than 6,500 forecasts for the US stock market offered publicly by 68 experts, bulls and bears, employing technical, fundamental and sentiment indicators. They did this over a seven-year period starting in 2005. What they found was astonishing: 'Terminal accuracy is 46.9%, an aggregate value very steady since the end of 2006.' This means that only 47% of market predictions were accurate. Out of the 68 experts, only about 25 were successful at least 50% of the time. The top five were right in about two-thirds of their forecasts."

Advisers can help you avoid stupid mistakes. They can help you find some good, solid investments. But jumping in and out of the market all day trying to out-guess the market is rarely a good strategy. (And I'm being nice there because someone will tell story of how they made a fortune. The other seven billion people on earth will not have success with this approach.)

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Post questions here or email me. My preference is to answer questions here so everyone can see them.

Note: I've got a post scheduled for tomorrow on what to do with Bonus Money that shows up in your life. Subscribe now and don't miss it.

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Quote of the day:  “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Legalisms, Customer Service, and "It's Not My Job"

Walter recently posted a bad experience on Facebook regarding a contract employee at British Airways. This customer "service" rep uttered one of the worst phrases you can ever speak in a customer-facing position: "It's not my job." There are a thousand other things you can say in these situations, including:

- I'll have to talk to my supervisor.

- You'll have to talk to my supervisor.

- I don't know, but I'll find out.

- Let me see if I can find someone who can help you with that . . .

- and so forth.

What the client hears in these situations is, "I'm not paid to care."

The other worst phrase is some variation of "That's our policy." That just leads the client to think your policy is stupid. Unless it serves them, clients don't care what your policies are. These kinds of legalisms just frustrate people.

What can you do?

I love Simon Sinek's book Start with Why. One of the points he makes there is that employees can do their jobs better if they understand why things are the way they are. Why do we do this? Why does my job include X? Why does his job include Y? Why do we get paid in advance? Why do technicians need to track their time? Why do we sign contracts?

When employees understand why their job exists and why your company policies exist, it goes a long way to giving better customer service.

It IS Your Job!

My pet peeve in customer service is that I am always willing to pay a little extra - and I somehow think that means I should get service included in the deal. When I have a bad customer service experience, a key component is usually the fact that I'm working with a company I've given a great deal of money to.

Ask your friends who work in retail customer service what they think when a customer says, "I've spent a lot of money with you."

You'll here answers like this:

- I don't know how much money you've given us.

- I'm not the boss.

- I'm not the owner.

- To me you're just another customer.

In other words, they don't care. It's literally not their job to care how much money you've given the company.

But they SHOULD care for a very simple reason: If a customer has a great experience, they'll come back. If they think they're treated poorly, they won't come back. So if it matters to the customer that they've spent a lot of money, it should matter to the customer service rep.

In big corporations, people at the top worry about customer loyalty, repeat business, and client retention. The lower you go, the less people care. At some point, you pass a threshold where employees no longer care about those things. You can tell because of the language they use. When employees start using rules and regulations to argue against making the customer happy, they don't care whether the customer's happy!

It is every employee's job to care about every customer.

Yes, customers can be abusive and unreasonable. But 95-99% of the time customers are very reasonable. They just want to pay their money and get good service.

From the client's perspective, the more times they've done business with a company, the more they expect to have a positive interaction. They have literally entered a "relationship" in which every interaction reinforces their belief that this is a good relationship.

The client might express that as "I've spent a lot of money," or "I've been coming here for years," or something similar. Those are phrases that suggest the client believes they've invested in a relationship. In return, your employee should show appreciation and work to continue that relationship.

In small companies, there is no excuse for a disconnect on this. Owners and managers should care about client retention. But so should every employee at every level. In fact, small businesses have it easier, because employees should always be able to escalate directly to the service manager or owner. Clients love that. It's why small businesses love small businesses!

How do your employees react when they can't give the client something? Is it what you'd like it to be?


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Y$10K - Self Discipline: Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

I love reading motivational books and listening to motivational audio programs. But motivation is only one element required for action or change to take place. And most motivational materials don't spend much time on the one thing you have to have to make this move: Discipline!

We all have discipline in some parts of our lives. Some things "come naturally" to us, so it's easier to have discipline there. I love the morning time, for example. So getting up early is easy for me. I don't like going to bed at 9:30, however, so it takes more discipline to do that. I have good habits around reading and writing every day, but not-so-good habits around eating what I should.

When it comes to saving money, there are certain disciplines you have to develop. If you've never built these habits before, it can be hard to build good habits around money. Here are some of the primary habits you need to develop so that you can save more money:

- Build good work habits so that you can earn more - that certainly helps!

- Spend less than you earn. That way you have leftover money.

- Save regularly. Some say, "pay yourself first." I would say, squirrel away as much money as you can.

- Put your money into an account that you never touch. In other words, the money goes in but doesn't come out.

- Get by with less.

- Stop wasting money. If you take one of your "indulgences" and cut it out completely, how much could you save?

For example, cut your coffee budget by $100/month. Or cut your entertainment budget by $100/month. That will save you $1,200 every year. If that amount grows by 5% per year, you'll have almost exactly $80,000 saved up in 30 years.

Yes - that's a long time. One of the most important habits you need to develop is delayed gratification.

Most of us don't save money because we'd rather have "toys" now than to have money later. Tasty coffee now vs. $80,000 in retirement: We choose the coffee!

Obviously, these are related activities. They all involve commitment and an awareness of where you spend your money. They all involve some kind of sacrifice or discomfort. Every goal worth reaching requires sacrifice and discomfort. But if you want to lose weight, run a 10K race, or just learn how to golf better, you're going to have to work at it.

Hunger is a great example. There is definitely discomfort in being hungry. But you learn to get used to it. You learn that it's okay to wait to eat. You learn that you're not going to die. In fact, nothing bad will happen if you don't snack at 3:00 PM. You'll be uncomfortable. That's it.

With money, you can learn to get by with fewer TV channels, fewer magazines, fewer lattes, and fewer new shirts in your closet.

We all know people who somehow survive on incredibly small incomes. They don't drop $75 on a meal when they go out. They don't go to the movies every weekend. They get by without buying every toy they want.

At the end of the day, you will save more money as soon as you put your attention on it, create a place to save it, and then start becoming comfortable with the discomfort.

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Checkup time: Have you set up an investment account? How about an Automatic Investment Transfer to your investment account? If you haven't done that, do it now. No one will do this for you.

Everyone reading this can put something extra into savings right now. $5, $10, $100. Something.

Every dollar counts.

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For earlier posts in this series, just search for the label "Y$10K" in the cloud tag on the right.
Or click here:

Good luck!

Let me know how you're doing!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Urgent vs. Important

New SOP video: Urgent vs. Important

One of my favorite book is First Things First by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, Rebecca R. Merrill.

I always tell people that my companies work on the basis of priorities. It's one of the reasons that I love keeping things in a professional services automation program. When every person in the office is working on the highest priority tasks, everything just runs better.

Covey, et al. divide task along two simple variables: Important vs. Not Important and Urgent vs. Not Urgent.

Interestingly, the things that show up "urgently" in our lives has increased dramatically since this book was written. We now have phones and beep and tweet all day long. Outlook and instant messaging pops up all day long. We leave Facebook open and check it every time there's new activity. And on it goes.

We confuse urgency with importance all the time. This is a result of not working from a set of valid priorities. Just because the doorbell rings doesn't mean you have to answer it. Same with the phone. And Outlook. And everything else.

When you have good, solid priorities, then it's possible to work on the most important things. If you have bad, weak priorities, then you don't really know what's important in your own business (or life).

What are bad priorities and weak priorities? They're the things you haven't thought through very well. If you find yourself saying "everything's HI priority," that's a sign that you haven't really thought about what's important.

Every single thing you have on your "to do" list can be prioritized. You can line them up from highest to lowest - and you should do this. Because only then will you know that you're working on the highest priority item.

When you have weak priorities (you're not truly committed to them), then clients can interrupt you with "urgent" requests and you allow yourself to be interrupted. The same is true with your employees, strangers on the phone, and many others.

When you're working on the highest priority items at all times, it's much easier to see that most urgent interruptions aren't important at all.

The quadrant where you should spend most of your time is the Important/Non-Urgent quadrant. The place where you should spend zero time is the Unimportant/Non-Urgent quadrant.

Check out the video. Comments welcome as always.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Join Me at ChannelPro SMB Forums in 2016

Newsletter readers already saw this announcement. Here's the info for everyone else.

I am honored to once again be part of the ChannelPro SMB Forum events in 2016. For several years now, I've enjoyed attending and learning from these events.

One of the important pieces of growing your business is to get out of your business for a day and find out the newest products, the newest ideas, and the newest thinking in your industry. That's what you get at the ChannelPro SMB Forums.

Special this year: I will be joined on stage by my brother Manuel. We're going to do a "Coaching Shootout" with quick answers to the biggest questions from the moderator - and the audience.

Here's the press release:
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YOU'RE INVITED TO THE CHANNELPRO SMB FORUM LIVE EVENTS! Give us one day and we'll send you home with all the expert sales, marketing, product, and operations advice you need to grow your revenue and boost your bottom line. The perfect event for integrators and managed service professionals looking to grow their business.

Who should attend:
I.T. Resellers, MSPs, solution providers, and consultants looking for concrete, practical advice on building a healthier bottom line.

Event Locations:

What you'll get of it:
The ChannelPro 2016 'Channel Fitness Tour' features an all-star cast of top industry experts, a unique interactive format that puts you in direct conversation with them, and a fast-paced, information-packed agenda covering topics you care about:

  • Pump Up Your Managed Service Revenues: Learn about revenue-boosting services you should be offering but probably aren't from a panel of your peers.
  • Bottom-Line Finance Strengthening Exercises: Discover the critical metrics experienced managers use to keep their business strong and growing.
  • Cloud Sales and Marketing Fitness Secrets: Let our panel of sales and marketing specialists show you how to build a high-volume, high-velocity cloud sales pipeline.
  • Business Process Optimization Lightning Round!: Get proven, actionable suggestions for hiring employees, tracking time, setting prices, and more.
  • GEAR AND CASH GIVEAWAYS: Lots of chances to win big with gear and cash giveaways throughout the day!

There's More!
Attendees also receive numerous session-related resources, including white papers, analysis tools, and worksheets that add value to their experience. We'll even take care of parking, meals, and more so you can focus on what really matters: Building a stronger, more profitable business.

Find more info here:

Pre-register for free as a VIP:


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Uber Lessons for The Rest of Us

You've probably heard the phrase "disruptive technology" applied to Uber and a few other companies that are trying to change the way we do things.

If you haven't used Uber, I highly recommend you give it a try. Basically, they compete with taxi services by offering lower rates (most of the time), with nicer cars are friendlier drivers. You click the logo on your smart phone and see all the drivers in your area. You can ask for a fare estimate. You see who your driver is, their picture, and a description of their car. Then you can watch a map showing them arriving at your location.

(I have no idea why they recently changed their logo, but here's what it looks like.)
Best of all, you don't need any cash. You can register one credit card for business and one for personal and the driver gets paid automatically.

Sounds wonderful, right?

To test drive Uber and get a free $15 credit, you can use this link. Yes, obviously I get a credit too.

Yes - unless you're a taxi driver.

The Uber Effect

I've used Uber in a dozen U.S. cities, plus several locations in Australia and the UK. My experience has been almost universally positive. Here's what I've gathered from talking to Uber drivers and taxi drives from all over the place:

1) Governments love Uber. The basic reason is taxes. Governments love taxes. Many Taxi drivers only take cash. Or they lie to you and tell you that their credit card machine's broken. At a minimum, they under-report their income and avoid paying taxes.

Uber transactions all go through the app, so 100% of the income is reported and 100% of the income is taxed. As a result, when cities, counties, states, and provinces are deciding whether to let Uber in, they are predisposed to say yes because taxing 100% of a smaller fare brings in more money than taxing 0% of a larger fare.

2) Taxi drivers hate Uber. Driving taxi can be a money-maker, but most taxi companies take a huge percentage of the fares (another reason for drivers to cheat). So to make more money, they tend to put off maintenance and cleaning. In some places, like New York, taxis have a reputation for being filthy and sometimes even dangerous.

Last year while I was in Australia a taxi driver stabbed an Uber driver in anger because he sees Uber taking away his job. Similar anger (with less stabbing) has shown up in the UK and France.

At the same time, the last time I took a taxi in New York City, I was offered a mint. The car was clean and fresh. I laughed out loud. "Boy, Uber has really changed your business." I said. The driver agreed. "I got no choice," he said.

It used to be that taxi drivers in NYC were guaranteed profit for life - and could sell their license (Medallion) for a fortune. Now they're suing the city for letting Uber in because the value of their Medallion has dropped by more than 50% in the last year. (See November article on NYC Taxi Drivers Sue Over Uber.)

3) Riders love Uber. From time to time, the fares are multiplied to crazy levels (1.5x or more). But most of the time, fares are in the neighborhood of 40-60% of what you'd pay for a taxi. That's huge. On top of that, the app makes using user extremely easy.

I've been to several airports where the local taxis have got together and produced an app so that it's just as easy to grab a ride from them. But with that approach, you have to download one app in Manchester and a completely different app in DC or Ft. Lauderdale. And, of course, the prices are not reduced.

One of the things I've notice with my daughter's crowd (age 23-ish) is that they plan to Uber home at night if they've been drinking. For $10 or whatever, they know they'll get home safe. The difference between $10 and $20 is very small, so it's got more to do with convenience and the "cool" factor than the cost, in my opinion.

4) Drivers love Uber - for now. Many Uber drivers are former cab drivers. They like the flexibility. They like the fact that they're the boss. Many of them are part time drivers, college students, or between jobs. Some are simply retired people who need to have something to do.

But Uber is already planning to disrupt them as well. Uber has invested in driverless car technology. And someday they'll be running cars without drivers. That will displaced Uber drivers. We'll see how much the drivers love Uber when that happens.

The Times They Are A-Changing

I feel sorry for the cab drivers, but there's really nothing you can do. The drivers in France have temporarily stopped Uber and Lyft (a similar service). But they can't win.

It is literally the same as trying to stop horseless carriages 100 years ago.

When you can clearly see the future - it's time to get on board. It's time to look at your industry and decide how you'll respond. Stopping the flow of progress is futile. You can't put the genie back in the bottle!

You can mold the future if you're in the right place at the right time. You can always mold your business to take advantage of the emerging reality. But you can't stop time and you can't go back.

If your business strategy is to "go back to . . ." anything, then you probably are on the wrong track.

How has technology changed or even disrupted your business? And what are you going to do about that?


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Y$10K - Income Must Exceed Outgo

(For earlier posts in this series, just search for the label "Y$10K" in the cloud tag on the right. Or click here:

Many year ago, when I first started my first business, I tried to figure out how to make money on hardware and software. This has always been a difficult market - if you do it wrong and think about it wrong. One year at tax time, my tax man Hank asked me if my numbers were right on hardware sales.

I admitted they were. I had paid a couple thousand dollars more for hardware than I received selling it. Some of this was inventory (a bad idea). Some of it was cutting the margin too close and then having to make a return. Some of it was simply not having a pricing and markup policy.

Hank was nice to me but also made fun of me a bit. He pointed to the paper and said, "We like to see the revenue number higher than the cost of goods sold." No kidding! Ever since then I have had a rock solid pricing structure that guarantees I make money on the things I sell.

I know this sounds simplistic, but it's not. Eighty percent of all small businesses will fail. And one of the biggest causes is CASH FLOW. Many small business owners work for years making little or no profit because their business model is fundamentally broken: It spends more than it brings in. Period.

Here is an absolute truth that we all know and most of us ignore:

You have to spend less than you make or you will never put money in the bank. Period. 

And even though it's true, it's worth spending time on. Most small businesses will fail because they spend more than they bring in. Many people will "retire" without much money because they spend more than they bring in. Most people will come to this realization too late and retire without enough money to sustain their lifestyle.

I started this blog series in January. If you've been following it, how much money have you put in the bank? How much have you stopped spending? You HAVE TO do these things if you want to save money.

The reason I use such strong language is that we fool ourselves. "Intellectually" we know we need to spend less and save more. But we haven't actually come to realize that it has to be done.

Now I'm going to say something that will cause 80% of you to stop reading this series, stop trying to save money, go back to spending more than you earn, and retire poor:

You have to have a budget - and you have to look at it every week and every month.

You don't need fancy software or QuickBooks or even Excel spreadsheets. But you need something. You need to know how much money you REALLY bring home. You need to know how much will disappear for taxes. You need to know what you spend on rent, cars, food, and the other "big" expenses in life.

You do not need microscopic detail. But you do need to put down on paper the "big chunks."

Now you need to add one more big chunk: Savings.

What will you commit to putting into savings/investing each month? And, yes, it needs to be a big chunk. It should be a major expense. I know that sounds painful, but remember two key factors. First, you're going to work 2/3 of your life and just spend money for 1/3 of your life. Second, the spending third is going to be after fifty years of inflation!

In other words, it costs a lot of money to retire and then sit around the house doing nothing! If you want to take vacations and enjoy hobbies, that costs money. You need money and No One has the job of saving for your retirement except you.

So how big is this big chunk? Well that depends on how old you are. If you're under thirty then you can probably get away with saving ten percent (10%) of your gross income. If you're over thirty-something and haven't started yet, you should make it at least twenty percent (20%). Yes that's a lot more. And if you're over fifty and haven't started, then savings needs to be almost a full time job. After all, you've played for fifty years and now you still have to squirrel away enough money for retirement.

Luckily, inflation and general economic growth will help your money grow. So you'll have more than you save. But you still have to do your part.

Boil it down: With EVERY paycheck, you need to transfer money (10%, 20%, 30%, or whatever) to you savings/investment account. Period. You need to treat this like taxes you'll never see again. Except you WILL get to see your money again after massive growth. So do it happily.

If your take-home (before taxes) is $1,000 per week, that means you need to set aside $100. That will actually force you to live within your means. And when you get a raise, increase your savings. I know this sounds hard - because it is! It's hard to live within your income, especially when you're young. But you simply have to do it or eat dog food when you get old.

- - - - -

Be kind to yourself.

This really is hard, especially if you've never done it before.

So if you spend less than you should, push the reset button and don't worry about it. Try again next week and next week and next week. Eventually, if you keep trying, you will make it happen.

Saving money needs to be just another habit. Like paying the rent, paying taxes, and paying the electrical bills. You don't have to like it. But you have to do it!


Friday, February 12, 2016

SOP Video: Create Your Basic Business Plan

There's something about small businesses that makes them believe they don't have to have a business plan. After all, almost none of them have even a one-page plan of action.

[For the record, 80% of those businesses will fail.]

We go to conferences and talk to other business owners. They don't have business plans. And they seem to be doing just fine.

[For the record, 80% of those businesses will fail.]

I know people who've been in business for fifteen years and never had a business plan.

[For the record, 80% of those businesses will fail.]

- - - - -

Get the point?

A business plan won't guarantee you success by any means. But I learned an important lesson when I started writing in college: You can't edit a blank page!

IF you have a business plan, you can tweak it. You can adjust it. You can do more of this and less of that. You can show it to your friend, your spouse, your employees, etc. You can talk about what your business is doing and where it's going.

You don't need a huge, complicated business plan that you'll never look at! But you DO need some kind of business plan. Success rarely happens by accident. So plan for it.

I've got some great tips here. And these are the links mentioned in the video:

Feedback Welcome!


Monday, February 08, 2016

Logitech Announces Video Conferencing that Works with Your Existing Investment

I received a press release today from Krista over at Logitech. If you've considered video conferencing, this might be a great time to jump in. This setup integrates with Microsoft Lync, Skype for Business, Cisco Jabber, WebEx, and more.

Here's their press release:

 - - - - -

Logitech Transforms the Way Teams Use Video Conferencing
Logitech GROUP Works with Video Conference Apps You Already Use

NEWARK, Calif. — Feb. 8, 2016 — Today Logitech (SIX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) announced a transformation in team collaboration. LogitechGROUP provides crystal-clear audio and high-quality HD video conferencing for groups of up to 14 people, or up to 20 with the optional expansion microphones. Logitech GROUP is affordable and enables organizations to use the same room system configuration for whichever unified communications, web conferencing or video conferencing application you already use. The solution deploys in minutes and is simple to use, allowing any meeting space to be a flexible multi-use video collaboration space.
TweetNow: Logitech announces new video conference solution, Logitech GROUP, for mid to large
size conference rooms
“Until now, people looking to collaborate over video were faced with a choice between installing high priced purpose-built systems or crowding around a laptop that’s placed at the end of a table. This resulted in a poor experience with coworkers packed together like sardines or falling out of the frame,” said Scott Wharton, general manager of the Logitech video collaboration group. “Logitech GROUP provides the best of both worlds, an affordable solution optimized for large rooms with a wide field of view and crystal clear audio quality. Plus, it works with virtually any UC or video collaboration software and is so easy to use that you don’t need IT support to help get your meeting started.”
“Traditional video conferencing systems are no longer the only option for enterprises. We see an expanding variety of category-defying solutions using audio video peripherals in the meeting room to connect to a PC or mobile device,” said Andrew W. Davis, senior partner at Wainhouse Research. "This fast-growing class of easy-to-use and low-cost solutions is creating a new market that traditional solutions could never reach. With its ConferenceCam portfolio, Logitech has a strong leadership position in this emerging market."
Logitech GROUP, the successor to Logitech’s popular ConferenceCam CC3000e, has a full-duplex, sleek speakerphone delivering sound that is crisp, clear, and can be heard by everyone in the meeting. Its metal case helps improve acoustic performance, and by isolating the microphone and speaker it provides premium audio quality. The combination of four omnidirectional microphones, acoustic echo and noise-cancelling technology delivers conversational realism. Conference participants can converse within a 20-foot diameter around the base, or extend the range to 28-feet with optional expansion microphones. It can also be used with a Bluetooth® enabled mobile devices for audio calls.
The 1080p video quality brings full HD video to conference calls, enabling meeting participants to clearly read expressions, non-verbal cues and movements. A wide 90-degree field of view and smooth pan and tilt controls enhance collaboration by making it easy to see everyone in the room. On-board H.264 with scalable video coding frees up bandwidth by putting video processing within the camera, resulting in a smoother video stream. And the 10x lossless HD zoom allows participants to zero in on close-ups of objects and whiteboard content with outstanding detail and clarity.
GROUP helps businesses facilitate collaboration between distributed workforces with certified software applications (Optimized for Microsoft® Lync® 2013, Certified for Skype for Business, Cisco Jabber® and WebEx® compatible) and enhanced integration with Logitech Collaboration Program members, ensuring a seamless experience with virtually all video conferencing platforms. GROUP works with any computing device with a USB connection (PC, MAC® or Chromebook).
Logitech GROUP can be seen in public for the first time at ISE 2016, February 9-12, in booth #9-B125.
Pricing and Availability
Logitech GROUP is expected to be available worldwide in March 2016 at a suggested price of $999, €1199 or £999. The expansion microphones will be available for $299, €299 or £249. Purchased as a bundle, GROUP with two expansion microphones will be available in the U.S. for $1249. For more information, please visit or the Logitech blog.
About Logitech
Logitech designs products that have an everyday place in people's lives, connecting them to the digital experiences they care about. Over 30 years ago, Logitech started connecting people through computers, and now it’s designing products that bring people together through music, gaming, video and computing. Founded in 1981, Logitech International is a Swiss public company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (LOGN) and on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (LOGI). Find Logitech at, the company blog or @LogitechVC.
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Friday, February 05, 2016

Where Do You Server DHCP and DNS? (New Video)

There was a time when it made sense to serve both DHCP and DNS from the server. But that's not the best practice today.

In my latest SOP video I look at the two most common services that affect the speed and reliability of your network. Many people still hang onto the old habit of throwing everything on the server.

The best practice today - in a Windows environment - is to put the DNS service on the Windows Server and putting DHCP on the firewall or router. Here's why:

Feedback welcome, of course!


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

SMB Online Conference - First 50 Attendees Only $99

In my annual State of the Nation Address for SMB IT (which you can download for free), I mentioned that my theme for 2016 is

Success is a Habit

And that's the title we've given to the 2016 SMB Online Conference. This our fifth year for the SMB Online Conference and it's going strong.

We have most of our speakers lined up.

This year's conference is Two Full Days. That's 12 hours of great MSP education. And the prices can't be beat. Super Early Bird registration is only $99 per person for live attendance or $199 for live plus all the recordings.

That works out to less than $17/hour for great training in managed services from some of the best trainers and coaches in the business!

Speakers verified so far include

  • Karl W. Palachuk - (hey, it's my show, right?)
  • Amy Babinchak - Third Tier genius, Microsoft MVP, successful managed service provider 
  • Rayanne Buchianico - MSP Owner, QuickBooks specialist, coach 
  • Gil Cargill - Sales trainer, marketing genius, coach 
  • Manuel Palachuk - Author, Business Coach and Consultant 
  • Josh Peterson - Coach, Pier Group Organizer, Trainer 
  • Dave Seibert - MSP owner, Techfest founder, community leader, Microsoft MVP 
  • Erick Simpson - Author, Trainer, community leader

Note on Pricing:

If you're curious about "Sales" and discounts, here's the deal. Unlike many sites, I try to keep the price reasonable. Early bird buyers get great discounts. I always reward people who just trust that we'll put on a great show.

The price goes up as we get closer to June. So NOW is always the best time to buy. I promise you'll pay more later.

If you want to learn more about the speakers, visit the Speakers Page. You can read bios and click to check out what they're doing on Twitter, Facebook, their own web sites, and more.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Mark Your Calendar. Over the Top Amazing Leap Year Event

I was going to wait until after Valentine's Day to announce this. But I decided that you might need some extra time to prepare for it.

Leap year comes only once every four years. SO - I decided to create a massive sale so big that it is something you absolutely will not see for four more years - if EVER!

You think I'm kidding? Imagine getting a MASSIVE amount of educational materials and saving over $2,000.

There are two different packages. Both massive. Both more than 2/3 off the regular price.

This sale is good for exactly 48 hours - February 28th and February 29th, 2016.

I added the 28th so the good folks in Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines could get in on this Leap Year savings.

The price is substantial - so you might want to save up and move money into your bank account or PayPal so you can buy this. BUT your satisfaction is always guaranteed and I believe you will find great value in either package.

Here they are:

Leap Year Option One

Education Bundle - $3,138 value . . . Only $999! Includes:

Eight Live Courses - $1,992 Value
  • Making the Most of QuickBooks in an I.T. Service Business with Instructor Rayanne Buchianico
  • The Most Important Checklists for Any I.T. Service Provider with Instructors Karl W. Palachuk and Manuel Palachuk
  • Managed Services in a Month - Applying the Book with Instructor: Karl W. Palachuk
  • Introduction to Relax Focus Succeed® with Instructor Karl W. Palachuk
  • Highly Successful Project Management with Instructor Karl W. Palachuk
  • Financial Processes that Make All the Difference with Instructor Rayanne Buchianico
  • Critical Habit for Success: Working in Real Time with Instructor Manuel Palachuk
  • Core Standard Operating Procedures for Small IT Providers with Instructor Karl W. Palachuk
PLUS Two Recorded classes from January and February 2016 - $498 Value
  • Managing Your Service Board with Instructor Karl W. Palachuk
  • The Unbreakable Rules of PSA: IT Service Delivery in the 21st Century with Instructor Manuel Palachuk
PLUS two conferences
  • SMB Online Conference 2016 - June 28-29 (Twelves hours of education from the best resources in Small and Medium Business Technology - $399 Value
  • Karl's 12th Annual Fall Seminar (in person or virtual) - October 2016 - Four hours of education on the best stuff of the year - $249 Value

Total Value of this package: $3,138 !!! 

Buy on Leap Year only - One Day Sale - $999!

BUY LINK will go live February 28-29 ONLY.

That's more than 67% off.

Leap Year Option Two

Books and Audio Overload - $3,095 value . . . Only $999! Includes:

Ebooks Galore . . . $724.65 Value
  • Managed Services Operations Manual by Karl W. Palachuk - 4 vol. set - $379.95 value 
  • Service Agreements for SMB Consultants by Karl W. Palachuk - $39.95 value 
  • Project Management in Small Business by Dana Goulston and Karl W. Palachuk - $39.95 value 
  • Managed Services in a Month by Karl W. Palachuk - $24.95 value 
  • Fully Expressed Living by Jenifer Novak Landers - $19.95 value 
  • Relax Focus Succeed by Karl W. Palachuk - $19.95 value 
  • Network Documentation Workbook by Karl W. Palachuk - $69.95 value 
  • Network Migration Workbook by Karl W. Palachuk and Manuel Palachuk - $149.95 value 
PLUS Audio Books Galore . . . $464.80 Value
  • Managed Services Operations Manual (Due 2016) 4 vol. set - $379.95 value 
  • Project Management in Small Business (Due 2016) - $39.95 value 
  • Managed Services in a Month by Karl W. Palachuk - $24.95 value 
  • Relax Focus Succeed (due 2016) - $19.95 value 
PLUS All White Papers . . . $179.60 Value 
  • How to Plan a Successful Company Golf Event by Rich Freeman - $19.95 Value 
  • HaaS Starter Kit by Karl W. Palachuk - $19.95 value 
  • Core Competency Matrix by Manuel Palachuk - $29.95 Value 
  • White Paper: Cleaning Up Your Email by Manuel Palachuk - $9.95 Value 
  • How to Document Any Process by Manuel Palachuk - $29.95 Value 
  • The Most Important Documents Every Company Must Have By Manuel Palachuk - $29.95 Value 
  • Working and Tracking Time in Real-time by Manuel Palachuk - $29.95 Value 
  • Referrals Whitepaper by Dave Sobel - $9.95 Value 
PLUS All New Audio programs to be released in 2016
- at least 40 programs at $24.95 each - $998.00 Value

PLUS All the Juicy Audio Programs . . . $728.40 Value
  • How to Create a Hugely Profitable Cloud Solution for Small Clients by Karl W. Palachuk - $149.95 Value 
  • How to Get Rich in Small Business by Karl W. Palachuk - $19.95 Value 
  • Network Documentation for Profit by Karl W. Palachuk - $19.95 Value 
  • Intro to Zero Downtime Migrations by Karl W. Palachuk - $19.95 Value 
  • Making Money in Small Biz Cloud by Karl W. Palachuk - $99.95 Value 
  • Designing and Selling Cloud Services into the 1-20 Desktop Environment by Karl W. Palachuk - $29.95 Value 
  • Service Agreements Improve Managed Service by Karl W. Palachuk - $19.95 Value 
  • Perfect Profitable Projects by Karl W. Palachuk and Matt Makowicz - $79.95 Value 
  • Five Tools That Could Transform Your Company Overnight by Manuel Palachuk - $39.95 Value 
  • Process Control for the IT Industry by Manuel Palachuk - $39.95 Value 
  • Designing, Implementing and Making Money with Virtual Environments with Dave Sobel and Karl W. Palachuk - $49.95 Value 
  • Build Your Brand Through Service by Karl W. Palachuk - $99.00 Value 
  • Ten Golden Rules of PSA and Service Ticket Systems Training Webinar by Manuel Palachuk - $59.95 Value 

Total Value of this package: $3,095 !!! 

Buy on Leap Year only - One Day Sale - $999.99

BUY LINK will go live February 28-29 ONLY.

That's more than 67% off.

Note: If you have already purchased at least $1,000 from a bundle, we can talk about further discounts. But other than that, the bundle is the bundle.