Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Special event for May - Members-Only "Cloud Hangout"

We have scheduled a special event for the month of May!!!
. . . Along with the release of Cloud Services in a Month . . .

Small Biz Thoughts Community Members Only - Cloud Hangout

Here's what we're up to: I'm going to turn on the camera and microphone and just hang out on Zoom. I'll answer any questions you have. Or if you just want to chat about cloud services or your offering, I'm happy to talk about that as well.

This will be the last four Fridays in May: 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st.

Any SBT member who shows up between 11 AM and Noon (Pacific) is welcome to join us.

Member Go Here

You can come with an agenda or without. I just want to make myself available to all members. Of course I hope some of you will be working your way through Cloud Services in a Month. So I'm happy to talk about the book, the philosophy, the handout, etc. Other than the general topic of "Cloud," I'm not setting any limits on what we discuss.

Here how to join us: Go to the Webinars/Meeting section and look for the Members Only Cloud Hang.

You'll need to register on Zoom. The password is on that page.

Strictly limited to Members Only. To find out more about the SBT Community, go to https://bit.ly/sbtinfo

Note: These meetings are NOT going to be recorded. If you want to be part of the Hang, you need to show up live. If this works, we'll do more stuff like this.

(If it doesn't work, we're just pretend it never happened, and we'll never mention it again.)

:-)

Monday, April 29, 2019

Cloud Readiness Checklist V3 - Free Update

I've had a Cloud Readiness Checklist available - for free - since 2010. I updated it about five years ago. And again this month.

Of course you can buy the new book - Cloud Services in a Month - and get the checklist there. But you can also download the newest version for FREE at SMB Books.

Here: http://www.smbbooks.com/Karl-s-Cloud-Readiness-Checklist-p/cloudchecklist.htm


Karl's Cloud Readiness Checklist was designed for technology consultants to use when evaluating whether their clients are ready for cloud services. It's also a great starting place for designing cloud service offerings that are just right for your clients.

This checklist is FREE for the taking. No credit card required. (Yes, you get on our mailing list. But you might just like that. If not, nuke it. We're not easily offended.)

The checklist has two parts. First: What products and services are you ready to offer in the cloud?

and Second: Evaluate whether a specific client is ready for cloud services.

And, yes, there's a whole lot more than bandwidth to consider. In fact, with most hosted services, bandwidth is almost an irrelevant consideration.

Anyway, download the checklist today. You can always fine-tune it for use in your business.

:-)


Still the best Quick-Start Guide to Managed Services: 


by Karl W. Palachuk 

Now only $39.95 at SMB Books!

Ebook or Paperback

Learn More!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

ID Agent Roadshow

I got a note from ID Agent about their May events. Check out one near you.

I do have to say, every time I see these guys present, it makes me want to get back in the MSP business. I love the concept of using this tool to educate clients.

From ID Agent:

We're headed your way! All our events in May

Learn how to leverage data found on the Dark Web to close deals and upsell to existing customers in a city near you!

We'll be attending all of the below events next month and we would love to speak with you face-to-face! Check out the list of events and promo codes to see where you can learn about expanding your cybersecurity offerings and increasing your recurring revenue.

All Our May Events: https://kaseyaconnect.com/


Kaseya Connect Global
May 6 - 9 | Las Vegas, NV
Join us in Sin City to discover new ideas and tools that you can use to build, sell, and influence the adoption of cyber technology to protect your customers.

IoTSSA Roadshow
May 14 | Columbus, OH 

IoT Security Services Association (IoTSSA) is a community of IT Channel Partners at the forefront of security knowledge, education and service delivery. Our Vice President of Business Development will be on-site to demonstrate how your clients' passwords are on the Dark Web -- and how to use that actionable knowledge to sell your security stack.

Register with promo code ID AGENT to get your free pass, a lifetime membership to Topgolf and free breakfast, lunch and happy hour reception.

CharTec UnHerd
May 14 - 15 | Austin, TX

This 2-day event gives MSPs like you the ability to get all the information you need in one place, personally connect with the top experts in the industry, form lifetime relationships that will help you year-round, and gain the confidence you need to succeed in your business.

ASCII Success Summit
May 15 - 16 | Charlotte, NC

This event is geared to help MSPs grow their business, offer additional services, help their customers transition to the cloud and increase monthly recurring revenue opportunities. Register now to find out why ID Agent is consistently awarded by ASCII attendees for Best Educational Presentation, Best Revenue Generator and Best Partner Involvement.

To take advantage of a free VIP package, use promo code IDAGENT when registering.

Datto Roadshow
May 16 | Dallas, TX

Join us for this showcase designed exclusively with MSPs in mind to learn how to take advantage of enterprise-grade technology and exchange with your peers about the best tools and resources to accelerate your business.

Datto Roadshow
May 30 | Washington D.C.

The Datto team is headed out on the road again to showcase their enterprise-grade technology developed for YOU, the MSP, and your SMB clients. At this half-day event, speak directly to your peers, learn about exciting product updates, and all of the new tools and resources available to you.

-----

:-)


Still the best Quick-Start Guide to Managed Services: 


by Karl W. Palachuk 

Now only $39.95 at SMB Books!

Ebook or Paperback

Learn More!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Rayanne Delivers Again - Amazing Course on Positioning Your IT Firm for Growth or Sale

Rayanne Buchianico is consistently one of our most popular instructors. I just uploaded the handouts for Week One of her new course . . . and it looks amazing!

The course is

Position Your IT Firm for Growth or Sale 

It starts tomorrow (April 23rd). Here's a look at the handouts so far:


Our classes always excel with the number of handouts we have. But we rarely have 20+ pages of handouts on one day.

As you can imagine, the class hits the ground running! No wasting time here.

Rayanne Buchianico is an Accounting Professional and QuickBooks Advisor. Rayanne has been an MSP - managed service provider - for many years and advises MSPs on how to get the most out of their QuickBooks and PSA integrations.

This course includes five weeks of webinar classes with related handouts, assignments, and "office hours" with the instructor. It is intended for business owners and managers. It is particularly useful for the Owner or Operations Manager.

Course Info:

As your business matures, you want to take control of profits and your financial house. You invested the time to set up your chart of accounts, align income with COGS for easy measuring, and organize your reports and service desk. You have the information you need; this course teaches you how to use it.

Topics for this class include:


  • Create KPIs specific to your company
  • Benchmark against your peers
  • Detailed cash flow management and measure debt against income
  • Measure service-level profits and improve profitability
  • Identify red flags in your business, make changes before they become problems
  • Prepare your company for growth, sale or merger
  • Use margins to price your services for profit
  • Income Tax Planning and Projections
  • Action plans for success
  • ... And More!

Only $259




:-)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Position Your IT Firm for Growth or Sale - New Class Starts April 23rd

Position Your IT Firm for Growth or Sale

Taught by Rayanne Buchianico, Author and Coach

- Five Tuesdays - April 23 - May 21, 2019 -- Register Now

- All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific

As your business matures, you want to take control of profits and your financial house. You invested the time to set up your chart of accounts, align income with COGS for easy measuring, and organize your reports and service desk. You have the information you need; this course teaches you how to use it.

This class provides unique content from a unique teacher! Rayanne is a managed service provider from Tampa, FL. She is also an accountant and an Intuit Certified ProAdvisor. In addition to her MSP business, Rayanne helps I.T. consultants to take control of their finances and understand their own business at a deeper level.

Topics for this class include:


  • Create KPIs specific to your company
  • Benchmark against your peers
  • Detailed cash flow management and measure debt against income
  • Measure service-level profits and improve profitability
  • Identify red flags in your business, make changes before they become problems
  • Prepare your company for growth, sale or merger
  • Use margins to price your services for profit
  • Income Tax Planning and Projections
  • Action plans for success

... And More!

Delivered by Rayanne Buchianico, Accounting Professional and QuickBooks Advisor. Rayanne has been an MSP - managed service provider - for many years and advises MSPs on how to get the most out of their QuickBooks and PSA integrations.

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 Owner or Operations Manager.






A Few Details . . .

  • Each course will be five one-hour webinars
  • There will be handouts and "homework" assignments
  • If you wish to receive feedback on your assignments, there will be instructor office hours
  • Class webinars will be recorded and made available to paid attendees only.
  • All calls start at 9:00 AM Pacific Time and again 4:00 PM Pacific Time

Questions? Email concierge@smallbizthoughts.com

Monday, April 15, 2019

Cloud Services in a Month - Presales Open!!!

Cloud Services in a Month - Status Update

Writing - Done ✅

Beta Reader feedback - Done ✅

Assigned to Professional proofreader - Done ✅

Assigned to Layout (interior) - Done ✅

Final cover - Due this week. Maybe today.

Indexing - Waiting on final layout

Kindle Edition - Waiting on all of the above

Printed Edition - Waiting on all of the above

Audio Edition - Waiting on all of the above

Belarusian language edition - Not anticipated for this work.


Pre-Order Now at SMB Books
Only $44.95
(Price goes to $49.95 on May 1st)


Notes

1. If you are a member of the Small Biz Thoughts Community, you will receive this book at no additional charge inside the Community.

2. You are a member of the Small Biz Thoughts Community if you've gone to SmallBizThoughts.org and paid to be a member. More details at bit.ly/sbtinfo.

We are in great shape to deliver this book in PDF format by the end of April.

-- -- --

Once again - Thank You to everyone who has supported me over the years. I trust you will find this book to be another tool in your tool set for the 2020's and beyond.


Pre-Order Now at SMB Books
Only $44.95
(Price goes to $49.95 on May 1st)

TOC:


Pre-Order Now at SMB Books


Reminder: Mother's Day is just around the corner!

:-)

SMB Books, Audio Programs, and More 

100% Small Business I.T. Focused 
- Technical - Business - Marketing - 
- Managed Services - Cloud Computing - 
- Network Migrations - Sales - 

All these resources and more. 

SMB Books is THE resources for the small business IT consultant who wants to move up to the next level. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

"Driverless" Lyft Report

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen that I signed up to try Lyft's Driverless Car experience in Las Vegas last week. Here's the report on that.

When I took my Lyft to the hotel in Vegas, I was offered the opportunity to use their "Driverless" option. That's in quotes because there are TWO technicians in the front seat. One is the driver and the other appears to be there to explain everything to the riders.

After a few regular Lyft rides, I was informed that the driverless option is only available from and to certain areas. Rides to and from airport are not eligible. I think I finally got the driverless option on day five - from the Fremont Street Experience to our hotel.

First thing I noticed: This is the ugliest BMW you will ever see.

Second: This is definitely a test environment. Massive display of digital information on the screen (you're not supposed to take pictures). As you can see, Aptiv is running the driverless test and data collection.

Third: No drinks allowed. As dude explained, the rear passengers are sitting on top of two super computers. I think we have different definitions of what that phrase means.

The Ride started with the driver (Jordan) actually driving the car. He wound around until we were well out of the Fremont Street craziness. Once we hit Las Vegas Blvd, he switched the car to driverless mode.

The car kept pace with traffic and smoothly stopped all by itself. NOTE: All the higher end BMWs do this. So nothing new there.

This car also started by itself when the lights turned green or traffic in front started to move. On the display, you could see indicators for whether there were cars on the left, right, and in human blind spots. Theoretically, it can change lanes by itself. We did not see that.

At one point, we were behind one of those mobile sign trucks. These are basically moving billboards. They go slower than normal traffic in order to maximize their visibility. Jordan didn't want to stay there, so he took control and changed lanes. That was the only "abrupt" move in the experience.

After a few minutes, the driverless control took over again.

When we got to our hotel, Jordan took over again and drove us to the hotel front door.

Observations: 

1) This is not much of a proof of concept. I know for a fact that I can buy a car off the lot that's more "driverless" than this experience.

2) Apparently, they have sensors embedded in street light controls all up and down LV Blvd. My assumption is that they are testing two way communication more than the actual driverless technology.

3) More than once, the explainer guy (who's name I did not catch) used the term Lidar, and explained that their cars will soon be able to communicate with one another as well as the traffic controls. So, once again, I suspect they are working on a bigger picture than simple driverless technology. Las Vegas is one of the most cutting edge "smart cities" and this could take them to a new level.

According to my Lyft app, this ride was 5.72 miles and took 31 minutes. If it had been a regular Lyft ride, I suspect we would have taken a different route. But their test is on LV Blvd.

My guess is that we were driverless about 2/3 of the time. It was perfectly safe. And not particularly cutting edge.

For those who think that driverless cars won't happen in your lifetime, please note how much money is being pumped into this stuff. There are many layers beyond the simple robotic control of the automobile. And companies are working on next-generation technologies that are complementary with driverless cars.

"The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed." - William Gibson

:-)

Check Out the Managed Services Operations Manual

Four Volume Set
The Managed Services Operations Manual

by Karl W. Palachuk

Over 1,100 pages - plus lots of juicy downloads


Paperbacks - Ebooks - Audio Books

Standard operating procedures, policies, and practical advice for IT consulting companies of all sizes.

From the author of Managed Services in a Month.

Learn More!

Monday, April 08, 2019

Done - Cloud Services in a Month

Well, it's done!

Or at least the first 99%. The writing is done. Now on to the technical details.

Producing a book is about 50% creativity and 50% technical details and "all the little crap." As of this moment, the details and technical stuff has begun.

NOTE: If you are a member of the Small Biz Thoughts Community, you will receive this book at no additional charge inside the Community.

Here's the schedule at this point:

  •  My goal is to have the book available in PDF format by the end of April.
  • With luck, it will be available in Kindle format (on Kindle) by the end of May.
  • If we're really, really luck, the book will be available in print by the end of May.
  • An audio book version will be out by the end of the year. That's all I'm going to promise.
Order before April 30th and we'll send you both the PDF and the paperback when they are available!
Order Now - only $39.95

Note: The price will go up to $44.95 on Tax Day (April 15th).
And the final price of $49.95 will be effective May 1st.

-- -- --

All community members will be able to download the PDF version of Cloud Services in a Month as soon as it's finished. I hope that's by the time of our Final Friday meeting. But I promise it will be done by the end of the month.

-- -- --

As always, I am very grateful to have a community that supports my efforts. I have every reason to believe this book will be successful.

Thank you!

:-)

Check Out the All New Book:

Cloud Services in A Month
by Karl W. Palachuk

396 pages - plus lots of juicy downloads


Paperback - Ebook

A great resource for managed service providers or anyone who wants make money selling and bundling cloud services.

Featuring all the details you need to create and sell YOUR custom Cloud Five-Pack (TM)

Learn More!

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Update Your Org Chart with a Tech Admin

I'm working hard to finish my next book and just finished a chapter looking at staff requirements for IT consulting in the 2020s. It struck me that some of us have quietly slipped into relying on a type of employee that many people don't even know exists: The Tech Admin.

I think it's time for you to update your organizational chart to include this person. You'll need a job description. Eventually you'll use that to write a job ad. And that flows into your quarterly goals and quarterly evaluations.


I have long advocated that an administrative assistant be your first hire. Most people try to hire a technician first, thinking that they will pay for themselves the fastest. But an admin costs a lot less and frees up the owner a lot more.

An admin will be able to sort the mail, send out invoices, make deposits, prepare newsletters and marketing mailings, and a lot more. Basically, an admin will be able to take a bunch of $15/hour work away from the owner, allowing the owner to focus on $150/hour work!

So What's a Tech Admin? 

A Tech Admin is someone who does less of the office admin work and more of the technology-related work. For example, my tech admins update Wordpress sites, edit videos, clean audio recordings, tweak my ClickFunnel pages, manage my social media reposting, and even create some graphics.

The defining factor: They embrace technology and can do a wide variety of tech-related tasks. As a rule, they have training in all the standard "admin" skills such as Word, Excel, and QuickBooks. But they have also learned Photoshop, WordPress, and other basic technology.

A Tech Admin will probably never become a technician in your service department. But she will be able to edit video and post it to your YouTube channel, manage your ConstantContact database, managed your Social Media presence, set up all of your clients on Hosted Exchange Mailboxes, create all those VOIP auto attendants, manage all client accounts in [Sherweb, Intermedia, Rackspace, AppRiver, etc.].

A Tech Admin is an administrative assistant who is not afraid of technology and would rather manage your cloud-based services than type your letters. It's someone who will do amazing things for your company in the $15 - $25 per hour range, and will be more productive than a technician at these things.

As our businesses have morphed, we have turned over some very basic administrative jobs to technicians and service managers. These really need to be done by a Tech Admin - someone dedicated to this kind of work. You will save money and get a better job in the long run.

There is nothing technical about setting up Office 365, cloud storage, anti-virus, spam filtering, and many other cloud services. Let the technicians install Office, configure the storage, deploy the AV, and set up the filtering. But don't pay technicians to do administrative work.


Where Do You Find a Tech Admin?

This is surprisingly easy. Start with a VA - virtual assistant. As we've been training technicians to do administrative chores, the average virtual assistant has been learning that the best jobs for them are all those chores with a technical component. For about ten years, a type of VA called a Techie VA has emerged.

Virtually all VA's you find via Google search or on Upwork (www.upwork.com) are actually Tech Admins. So while you've been busy doing what you do for a living, a whole industry has popped up that is ready to take over a lot of your work - and do a better, faster job than your current staff.

You can also "grow your own" Tech Admin, but that's going to take more of your time. You'll need to find someone looking for an admin job who has a lot of technical aptitude. You will probably be able to find someone closer to that $15/hr range. But you'll need to train them on a lot of the technical stuff.

For many technology companies, it's probably better to find a VA who already does a lot of technical stuff and is willing to learn your specific routines. If you don't have good, documented processes, this is an employee who will help you move in that direction. Expect to pay closer to the $25/hr range. Also expect to commit to ten or twenty hours a week - or prepay for ten or twenty hours at a time.

If you really need someone in-house because they need to do other chores around the office, you will probably need to plan on more training. If you are ready to turn over tasks to remote assistants, there will be less technical training.

Either way, expect to add the Tech Admin slot to your org chart. Whether you do it sooner or later, I promise you this slot will be part of your org chart eventually. I recommend you jump in now.

:-)


SMB Books, Audio Programs, and More 

100% Small Business I.T. Focused 
- Technical - Business - Marketing - 
- Managed Services - Cloud Computing - 
- Network Migrations - Sales - 

All these resources and more. 

SMB Books is THE resources for the small business IT consultant who wants to move up to the next level.