Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Nurturing the "Owner's Mentality" in Employees

When you're hiring, one of the most important things you can look for is an "owner's mentality." That means someone who will embrace your business as if it's their own. And that means they won't leave clients hanging in an emergency. They'll do what's in the best interest of the company. And they really love doing these things.

We all seek great, loyal employees. And you can build a lot of loyalty by being the kind of boss that engenders loyalty.

But no matter what you do, you have to realize that 90% of all people do not have an owner's mentality. There's nothing wrong with them. They're not lazy or evil. They just know that 1) The company's not their's; 2) They'll still have a job if they let someone else be the hero; and 3) If things don't work out, they will go work somewhere else.

In other words, most people only have one foot on the boat and one on the pier. 

I see three primary kinds of mistakes employers make regarding this.

First, most owners only come to understand the concept of an owner's mentality after they have taken someone for granted, piled too much work on them, and then had to replace an "irreplaceable" employee. 

And sometimes, it's not abuse at all. Sometimes, life simply happens. One day, with no advance notice, an employee announces that they're moving to another state so their spouse can pursue a dream. Poof. Employee gone.

The second mistake I see is owners who don't recognize the diamond in the rough they have in front of them. When you find someone with an owner's mentality, you need to nurture them. Take them under your care. Nurture the skills they lack. Give them lots of leeway and let them excel. 

If you treat one of these "super" employees well, they will take your business to the next level. But you need to give them authority as well as title. Once you see that they really will act as you would - putting the company first - you need to support them and nurture them.

If you don't let people with an owner's mentality take "ownership" of their job, with the freedom they need to be successful, they will quit and go start their own business. That doesn't mean they'll compete with you. But they'll go create a world where their owner nature can flourish.

Finally, the third mistake I see owners make is to try to micro-manage everyone. I think that's a bad strategy in general. But it's the worst thing you can do to an employee with an owner's mentality. You are handcuffing someone who do amazing things for your company. But when they have to ask for approval on something where they already master the knowledge, then you are crushing their spirit.

No one will make every decision exactly as you would. That's not possible. Nor is it the point of delegating authority.

Someone with an owner's mentality will take on more jobs, more pressure, and more responsibility than anyone else on the team. And they will do their best to help promote you and your business. When you find someone list this, you need to let them run, and support them as much as you can.

. . . But make sure you document what they're doing and how they're doing it. Because they won't stay forever. (Unless, of course, they end up buying you out.)


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Webinar July 29th: Build Strategic Bundles to Maximize Profit

Great new webinar - 

The Value of Strategic Bundling

July 29th, 2020 

Want to grow your business? Let’s talk building service bundles!

-- -- -- 

This webinar was recorded!

The recording for that webinar is here:

and the slides in PDF format are here:

I am happy to present this webinar along with Justin Gilbert, Sr. Director Channel Marketing, Zix | AppRiver.

In this session you'll learn how to build a cloud service bundle that flies off the shelf, and how to use pricing to maximize sales and profit.

You may find this hard to believe, but a good bundle will help you make a lot more sales. Really!

And, truth be told, good bundles will help you organize your service delivery to achieve the goals of security and reliability that your clients are looking for.

In this webinar, we'll talk about options for building bundles, how to put them together, and how to maximize profit.

. . .

Most people aren’t sure where to start building great cloud bundles. I recommend you take a step back and define what you mean by great. Are you looking to cover as many bases as possible (that is, include as many products as you can)? Are you looking to maximize security? Are you looking to maximize profit? Any of these is a great place to start. 

Ultimately, I think you want to include as much preventive maintenance as possible, along with the core services that your clients need to run their business. Remember, you can always add on whatever technology they need. The point of the bundle is to make sure all the “necessary” stuff is taken care of. As it turns out, this approach will also put you well on the way to covering all your bases, maximizing client security, and maximizing your own profit.

If the problem is how to get started building bundles, the answer is simply to start making lists of things you might include. Once you have a list or two, you can start fine-tuning. Remember: You can’t edit a blank page. So any approach that gets you started is the right approach!

We hope you can join us for a discussion on bundling your services!

We'll see you on the 29th.


Thursday, July 09, 2020

The Culture of Success

As you recall from the last few posts, I define culture as the values and habits of a group.

I spent a few years as a manager, taking over teams and making them successful. As I look back on the last thirty years, I can honestly say I enjoyed that era a lot – although it was very difficult. It was fulfilling to turn around a culture, once you started to see success. Before that, it was horrible and emotionally draining. 

If you are just you and you will never grow a team, then you are responsible for your own attitude and behavior every day. If you’re angry or joking, it’s up to you to decide how those things affect your company and your reputation.

But if you manage a team of any size, you need to consciously create the culture you want. Just as with your company goals, you need to create a vision of the culture you want. What would your company look like if you had the “right” culture? 

Once you have that vision, you can create your culture mission statement. Your mission is the path you need to follow to reach your vision. 

You can do a great deal to mold culture through processes and procedures. But the strongest pieces of culture are not found in tangible rules. They’re found in human emotions and attitudes. You can’t force people to come to work happy, or to be pleased with the decisions you’ve made.

As a result, culture cannot be something you tackle on a Thursday afternoon and then check the box: Culture – Done! No, you build culture with every human interaction, with every hiring decision, with the way you run meetings, with the way you make assignments, and with everything you do every day.

You can never “control” culture, but you can affect it. If you’re a parent, you’ve learned that you cannot control your children. But, if you’re consistent and persistent, you can influence them. Eventually (after the teen years are over), your children are very likely to reflect your values and work ethic, because you have modeled it their entire lives.

Molding the culture in your company is very similar. If you come in angry and irritated, barking orders and treating people like garbage, then you can expect that that’s how they will treat others. Your clients will see this.

From time to time I tell the story about the prospect who cussed out his employee while Mike and I sat there. We decided instantly, without exchanging a single word, that we would not take them as a client.

Part of our culture is that we only work with people we like. This works its way into our hiring process. A huge part of our team-building takes place at the interview stage. We have several employees interview a candidate and evaluate whether they think they would enjoy working with that person. We actually have an evaluation item about whether they’re a good fit for the team.

You cannot force emotions and attitudes on people – but you can publicly talk about what you expect. You can put goals and expectations in writing. Remember: One of the great hobbies of all employees is watching the boss!

That sounds a bit ominous, but it’s actually good. It makes your job of modeling behavior that much easier. But it also means that you have to “walk the talk” every day.

From time to time, I’ve worked with companies that have a difficult culture. The boss tolerates abusive managers. Employees see this (they see everything), so they know it does them no good to complain because the bad behavior is already known and accepted.

I can tell you – as a business coach – that this behavior cannot be fixed by a coach. It can only be fixed from the inside, and from the top down. The owner or manager has to be the person they want to be seen as. You cannot fake it. And you cannot tolerate bad behavior simply because someone is good at their job.

There is no shortage of talented people on Earth! You don’t have to tolerate jerks in your organization. 

-- -- 

Check out my new book - The Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery . . . 

How can you guarantee that your company delivers great service, has a great culture, and still manages to stay profitable? You need to follow certain “Unbreakable Rules” for success. Best-selling business author and coach Karl W. Palachuk draws on more than twenty thirty years of owning and running service-based businesses to present the rules his companies live by.

Lots of details at . . . 


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

New 3-Week Class: Key Performance Indicators for IT Service Managers

Key Performance Indicators for IT Service Managers

Key Performance Indicators
A great new members-only class. Best for: Operations Managers, Owners, and the Service Manager!

Taught By: Karl W. Palachuk

Three Wednesdays

July 15 - 29

9:00 - 10:00 AM PST

3-Week Mini Course
(Yes, the classes will be recorded. Yes, there will be handouts.)

More class info and registration:

Register Now: Key Performance Indicators for IT Service Managers

KPIs - Key Performance Indicators - can help you focus your business in the right direction.

You hear a lot about KPIs. But most people don't know where to start. The most common problem with KPIs is the "K" - KEY. Too many people measure too many things. Their search for KPIs leads to bureaucratic overload, loss of focus, and measurement for measurement's sake.

In this super-focused three week course, Karl W. Palachuk guides you through the definition of some specific goals - and measurements - for you IT service delivery.

Yes, we'll cover Sales KPIs and Front Office KPIs. But the primary focus is on fine-tuning the Service Department.

Course Outline

  • What are KPIs / What is not a KPI?
  • The part no one wants to hear . . .
  • Measuring success in your business
  • Leading and Lagging Indicators
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Make it visible!
  • Exploring Sales and Front Office KPIs
  • Service Department KPIs
  • Integrating KPIs

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

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

Note on Pricing:

This class is FREE to members of the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. If you're a member at any level, get the registration code there, or email Kara, our Community Manager.

Non-Members pay Only $999
Course registration includes one year of membership in the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community.

A Few Details . . .

  • This course will be three 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 classes start at 9:00 AM Pacific Time

I hope to see YOU in class!


Monday, July 06, 2020

SMB TechFest Goes 100% Virtual

The quarterly SMB TechFest show has always had a virtual component. Now they've gone 100% virtual for the July event. The event is all day July 16th.

You can attend this event FREE with this link: 

SMB TechFest - Virtual
Q3 Show is July 16th

Now made available to all Solution Providers


Learn how successful technology companies accelerate and succeed. This one day power packed event is designed to help you with today's challenges.

Topics Include:
Panel: Real Client Cyberattack Recoveries
Gain clients as an Authority on Compliance
Technical dive into Microsoft Teams
Cloud Simplified
DNS Traffic Filtering Solutions
Securing Active Directory; Common misconfigurations
Panel: Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL
Remote Support to dive your Business
VOIP Solutions for Today's Market
Panel: The Core Threat to MSP's
Profit & Protect Client’s Aging Equipment
Leverage Cloud for Greater Revenue & Services
Deliver Business Value; SBA - Small Business Administration
And more!

Not your normal Virtual Event.  Join our excitement:

1. Join our unique Video Social Mixer
2. Network with our Video “Introduce Yourself”
3. Don’t miss our Virtual Bar with our bartender/sommelier
4. Over $1,000 in cash being given away
5. Dozens of vendor solutions & discounts
6. Really talk with sponsors
7. Really talk with our speakers & panelists

Highlighted Speakers

Don’t delay.  Don’t miss it.  A must attend event.


Sunday, July 05, 2020

Introducing the SBT Roundtable - First Topic: Agile Methodology in IT Service Delivery

Beginning in July, we are introducing a new and unique forum for IT consultants - the SBT Roundtable.

Our goal is to create an opportunity to engage in high-level discussions about successful business methods. We will NOT have vendors or sponsors. We will not talk about which RMM to use, or a hundred other topics that are being discussed everywhere else.

Here's our unique format:

First, this is a members-only event for the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. Members at any level are welcome to join us. Non-members are welcome to become members.

Second, we will have no slides, no canned presentations. Basically, the content will be unique to this forum.

Third, the format is a conversation between two or three industry thought leaders. Our goal is to discuss things at a very high level. Our first session is a great example of that. Panelists are paid to provide unique content to our members. Yes, we welcome questions and participation from the audience.

The inaugural SBT Roundtable features Ryan Morris of the Morris Management Partners and Manuel Palachuk of Manuel Palachuk International. The topic is:

Agile Methodology in IT Service Delivery

July 22nd
10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern

Members: Click Here for Registration Info inside the Community

"Agile" is a methodology often associated with project management or software development. But Ryan and Manuel actively push consultants to apply agile methodologies to their service delivery. So we thought we'd get these two together to talk about practical ways to improve service (and profit) with this approach.

Agile promises faster (and more appropriate) response to problems without increasing paperwork and bureaucracy. And, at least in software development, it de-emphasizes process in favor of progress. We'll explore what that means for running your service delivery department.

This Roundtable is probably most beneficial for owners and service managers. But, of course, all members are welcome.

-- -- --

Ryan Morris has more than 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, and management in the B2B technology solutions industry – specifically focused on building successful multi-tier channel solutions and profitable solution provider businesses. Ryan has been a pioneering voice for the development of business models and real growth strategies in the IT channel that advance the solution provider, managed services, and cloud solutions markets.

Ryan is a host on The Killing IT Podcast and has been a featured speaker at more than 250 conferences over the years.

Visit his web site at

Manuel Palachuk is the author of Getting To The Next Level: A Blueprint For Taking You And Your Business To The Top, and the upcoming book Agile Service Delivery: The Ultimate Secret To Making Work Flow. He has over 30 years of business, management, and training experience in the computer and electronics industries. He has owned several successful businesses, managed several successful IT and MSP service companies, and coached or mentored many more around the world.

Manuel is a thought leader on Agile as applied to Business Strategy and is a featured speaker on this topic.

Visit his web site at

-- -- -- 

Members: Click Here for Registration Info inside the Community

Non-members: You'll need to join in order to follow that link.


Friday, July 03, 2020

The Elements of Culture

We started this discussion a couple of weeks ago (WOW - June disappeared on me).

Let’s back up a minute and define what we mean by culture. I define culture as the values and habits of a group. Company culture is, therefore, the values and habits of a company’s employees. This sounds very simple, but there are many pieces to an intentional culture (as opposed to one that grows from the bottom up).

Values. The most important element is a set of agreed-upon values. In many ways, you see the values of my company culture reflected throughout my books and blogs. For example, I always say that we only work with people we like. Employees know what that means. They understand the implications it has on how we conduct business.

Your values could be written out. That’s never a bad idea. But don’t just jot down something that sounds good. If you’re going to write down your values, you need to spend time considering all the possible values you could have and narrowing down the list to the handful that are most important to you in your business.

Here’s the secret to understanding values: You can never hide your values because they show up in your behavior. For example, you can say you value open communication. But if everyone is afraid to disagree with the boss for fear they’ll be yelled at, that’s the actual value that’s being lived inside the company.

When I was the Site Manager for PC Software Support at HP’s Roseville, California plant, our section had a clear statement on the bottom of every form, every PowerPoint slide, and every memo: We place a high value on work-life balance. That is pretty unambiguous. 

So, when someone proposed bringing in a team on Sunday to tackle a job, every person in the section had the right to raise their hand and ask how that proposal was consistent with our stated focus on work-life balance. Note: That doesn’t mean we never worked on Sunday. But we did have the discussion in the context of the larger commitment.

Processes. Those who’ve read any of my books are now saying, “I was wondering how he was going to bring processes into this discussion.” The very simple truth is that you can never control people, but you can control your process. 

If you respect people, what is the process for them to have a public, open, safe disagreement about something? If you have a culture of friendliness, how do you work that into a tough schedule on tight deadlines?

We’ve all seen companies that do amazing work under difficult conditions. Understanding the culture that makes that possible always boils down to how they do it. How you do things is the definition of processes.

Processes allow you to standardize how people work together. They also bring consistency to all parts of your business. Whenever you answer a question that begins with “How do we,” you should write down the answer. That’s the beginning of your process.

Communications are also very important. To me, that is part of the process of culture building. You need to write down, agree on, and communicate these processes. And you should have a process for allowing feedback and discussions.

Team or Community. Your company can only start building an intentional culture once the members see themselves as part of the same team, community, or family. When people feel isolated, they cannot feel like part of the team.

Goals must include team goals. In my consulting companies, every single person had the following goal as the first goal on their quarterly goals and evaluation form:

Provide excellent technical support to our clients while contributing to
good relationships within [our company] and between us and our clients.

You can see the emphasis is on building relationships. Lots of stuff falls into the broad category of building relationships. It reflects our values and puts the relationship building at the top of what we expect from people.

You build your team in dozens – or hundreds – of ways. You need to keep culture in mind when hiring. You need to have meetings and get-togethers so the team members can get to know each other (individually and as a team).

In our hiring process, candidates are interviewed by the company president, their potential manger, and a few people they are working with. Everyone fills out the same evaluation form. One of the elements of that evaluation is “Good fit with our culture.” Whatever that means to the individual interviewers, it’s important that we all agree that someone will be a good fit. That’s part of maintaining and perpetuating our culture.

Once you begin to build the culture you want, you need to feed it and nurture it. You need to talk about it and everyone needs to hold everyone accountable for it.

Once you figure out exactly what you want your culture to look like (and this can take a long time), an interesting thing hap-pens: You just do it. You execute your values and your culture follows. Remember, you can’t hide your real values. So, once you’ve decided on a set of values and you begin living them, all the employees will see that.

If you value honesty, you’ll get honesty. If you value initiative, your employees will demonstrate initiative. If you value humor, you’ll find humor among your team members.

Whatever you decide to do with culture, you should talk openly about it. Eventually, you’ll see that your clients also see your culture. It will be reflected in how they are treated. They will see your honesty, integrity, and other values. Or whatever behavior reflects your real values.

Personally, I believe culture is the core of making a company truly reflect who you are and how you choose to show up in the world. 

I welcome any feedback you have.

-- -- 

Check out my new book - The Absolutely Unbreakable Rules of Service Delivery . . . 

How can you guarantee that your company delivers great service, has a great culture, and still manages to stay profitable? You need to follow certain “Unbreakable Rules” for success. Best-selling business author and coach Karl W. Palachuk draws on more than twenty thirty years of owning and running service-based businesses to present the rules his companies live by.

Lots of details at . . .