Friday, June 30, 2023

Major TCP/IP Training July 5th - Members Register

Bring Your Team Up To Speed on TCP/IP and DNS!

I won't repeat the previous blog post here.

This note is for members of the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. ALL of the resources mentioned here are members-only. Please start by logging into your account at

The big push to make sure everyone on your team has a basic, fundamental understanding of DNS, TCP/IP, Troubleshooting, and Documentation of these things begins Wednesday, July 5th.

Already in the Community:

DNS Training: What You Need to Know - A Primer for IT Service Providers

Next Up:

Understanding TCP/IP - A Very Practical Introduction

Live July 5th
9:00 AM Pacific

Of course it will be recorded for all members.

Members can find out more and register here:

Note: If you're going to attend, PLEASE register now, go to the Member Resources page, and click the link to download the slides. You will want to print them out and have them in front of you as we go through the class. I think you'll take lots of notes.

Note, also, that true newbies will want to watch the recording at .75x speed - and maybe more than once. 

We are scheduled for 60 minutes, but we'll go as long as we need to for Q&A.

-- -- -- 

Also mark your calendar and make sure you're registered for these workshops:

TCP/IP Troubleshooting - A Very Practical Workshop

July 26th
9:00 AM Pacific

Members register at:

Building the Basic Small Business Network - A Very Practical Workshop

August 16th
9:00 Pacific

Members register at:

-- -- --

If you miss some or all of this, don't worry. We're building a Roadmap post that will include all of these pieces, plus all the handouts, documentation forms, checklists, etc. Stay tuned to the Community news at

-- -- --

Some folks have asked how to get access to these great sessions without being a member of the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. I have to say, there is no way. You need to be a member. Our membership is guaranteed to have a real value in excess of $10,000 just for the training available to members. PLUS all of my books, all of the community resources.

Consider joining today. There is a one-year commitment of $1,299 - but I promise you will get much more value than that if you simply take some classes and apply yourself.

Details here:


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Big Fun at ChannelCon - FREE with this code

Join me at ChannelCon!

Of course you've heard of ChannelCon. It's that big event every year where it seems that everyone you've ever heard of is posting pictures on social media. Well, you don't have to miss it.

Join me - and get your picture taken with our robot friend here. 

AND have a chance to win a real, working, vintage Robbie the Robot - at booth 101. 

FREE registration on me:

Or use the code SBSmallBizThoughts23 if asked.

I am giving away ONE vintage Robbie the Robot to one lucky winner. See a video of the working robot here:


SO . . . What is ChannelCon anyway?

I'm glad you asked. 

ChannelCon is produced by CompTIA and is one of the best places to meet a lot of great people in the SMB IT Community. 

Three of things I like about the "vendor hall" at ChannelCon are:

1) All booths are the same size, so my booth is the same size as Microsoft, Kaseya, or ConnectWise.

2) Booths are first-come, first served. So I got there first and therefore have a better location than Google, Amazon, or any of the big vendors.

3) But most importantly, ChannelCon attracts a lot of executives and decision makers. So all of your regular booth-dwelling friends will be there, along with their bosses, directors, and some company executives. 

AND CompTIA has lots of sessions where you can hear firsthand about the important trends, best practices, and research from industry professionals, peers, and experts. Get the information you need to help your business grow!

Register today! 


Now . . . a bit about our booth.

We have put together a fun table you will definitely want to see. Kara, Jenn, MyTie, and I will all be there. We'll be handing out some great stickers and materials. PLUS, you can get your picture taken with your head stuck through our fun robot sign. And, of course, you can enter for a chance to win an authentic, vintage Robbie the Robot!

Sign up for ChannelCon today and I'll see you in Vegas, Baby!


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Special Webinar: Change Management for IT Professionals - from NSITSP

The National Society of IT Service Providers is proud to bring this very important training to our members.

Special Webinar: Change Management for IT Professionals

With Larry Mandelberg - Change Management Consultant and National Society Board Member

June 28th – 9:00 AM Pacific / Noon Eastern

Learn More Here:

An introduction to real-world change management that you can apply in your business today.

Our industry is not only defined by change, but the change we manage in IT also drives change in every other industry. Don’t just respond to change – Prepare to thrive through change.

  • Are you frustrated by the lack of security concerns among some of your most vulnerable clients?
  • Are you annoyed when they seem so reluctant to achieve and maintain compliance with data security & privacy laws?
  • Does trying to educate customers about the need for enhanced security products result in accusations of trying to sell more services?

If you have any of these issues, you need to attend our upcoming webinar titled “Change Management for IT Service Providers” where Larry Mandelberg, certified Prosci Change Practitioner will help you understand how to approach these problems in a way that gets results. Results that lead to change!

Mr. Mandelberg is a student of organizational lifecycles and has developed a system to help business owners create sustainable growth. He has been a guest on television and radio programs talking about business and entrepreneurship. Through his consulting practice he provides leadership development, executive coaching, ethics training and strategic planning to mid-sized organizations and their Boards.

National Society members: Sign Up Today!

Note: Larry is also a member of the NSITSP Board of Directors.

Join Us!


Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Major New Community Project: Bring Your Team Up To Speed on TCP/IP and DNS

Back to Basics: Give Your Team the Core Knowledge They Need for Small Business Networks

This note is for members of the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. See For all the resources linked in this article, members should first log into the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. 

You - and everyone on your team - can take a real step up in network troubleshooting if you have a core level of understanding in two technologies: TCP/IP and DNS. There's an old truth in our industry that goes back to the adoption of the Internet Protocol (IP) as the fundamental building block of modern networking:

It's Always DNS

And even though that's not 100% true, it's probably 90% true. Maybe 95%.

One of the very bad trends of the last ten years has been to hire "technical" people who are really just technically-interested but have few skills beyond using Google. Even today, with cloud services, everyone needs a fundamental level of training in TCP/IP and DNS.

The irony is that security is the hottest growth sector within our industry - and security always involves digging deep into the details of IP packets and examining the smallest pieces of the network traffic. So if you're going to do security, you'll eventually need to dig into the details.

I'm not saying everyone needs that level of understanding. But I believe everyone needs to know enough to understand what's going on below the software layer. And a whole lot of troubleshooting begins to make sense when you have that entry-level knowledge.

Even when the problem's not DNS, it's often a typo! Either a typo in DNS, or a typo in network addressing. 

Three New Free Classes - TCP/IP and Networking

We have three important related resources in the community already:

Now we're adding three more important entry-level classes:

Understanding TCP/IP - A Very Practical Introduction

Live July 5th at 9:00 AM Pacific. Of course it will be recorded for all members.

Members can find out more and register here:

This class will provide your entire staff with a basic, foundation-level understanding of the most important protocol of all time. There's a little math, but the goal is to understand how the math works, so technicians will understand how the Internet works. More importantly, this course will give everyone a solid understanding of what packets are, how they're constructed, and how them get moved from place to place. All with an eye to understanding the basics of how networks work.

The second course is 

TCP/IP Troubleshooting - A Very Practical Workshop.

It will be live July 26th at 9:00 AM Pacific. Of course it will be recorded for all members.

Members can register now. See

This is literally a hands-on workshop to help attendees learn the basic tools of troubleshooting. It includes a workbook of basic problems. These are intended to reflect the real problems technicians can expect to see in the wild.

My experience with networking began in 1983 - well before TCP/IP was universally accepted as the one true protocol for the future. And one universal truth has always held true: You are FAR more likely to have trouble with networks you did not build than networks you did build.

That makes sense, of course. But maybe not for the reasons you think. "Other" peoples' networks are either old, or they are built on other peoples' bad habits. The networks you build are based on your bad habits. As your team grows, it needs to work hard to build networks based on industry standards, not your internally-consistent bad habits.

Both of these classes are great for making sure that everyone on your staff has a level-set on the basics of TCP/IP and networking. It will obviously be helpful for them to have a good understanding of DNS. So the earlier class should also be shared.

Finally, we'll cap it all off with a brand new 90-minute class built on the building blocks above:

Building the Basic Small Business Network

Live on August 16th at 9:00 Pacific. Of course it will be recorded for all members.

Registration information will be posted soon inside the Community.

This workshop will cover the basic components of building a network, designing a network, and actually building one. We'll lay out a process for stepping through a new network design and installation from the ground up.

This special 90-minute class will have some important handouts and will leave lots of time for questions. We start with the cloud and work our way down to the desktop - with lots of tips and tricks along the way. 

Attendees are not required to have consumed the earlier training - but it's not a bad idea.

-- -- --

And finally - if all goes as planned, we'll put together a new member Roadmap on network basics that includes all these classes and all the related handouts.

Every training mentioned in this post is FREE inside the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community. It is not available anywhere, at any price, to non-members. If you want to become a member, now is a great time to start.

The cost of community membership goes up July 1st. If you join now, you avoid the price increase AND lock in the lower price for life. More information is available at


Friday, June 02, 2023

How Teams Can Get the Best Value and Education at Small Biz Thoughts

Preface: The annual cost for new members at Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community goes up July 1st. If you join before then, you lock in the lower price for life.

I've been getting inquiries about folks who want their teams to have access - especially to all the great training we offer. Here are the best ways to maximize you investment, based on the size of your team.

Note: This video covers these options over on my YouTube channel:

One Person Shop

This is super easy. The annual membership is the best deal. You save over the monthly option. And your membership includes all access to all of my books in all formats, plus all of our checklists, SOPs, spreadsheets, examples, and specialty Roadmaps.

AND you get access to every class over at IT Service Provider University (ITSPU). There are currently 26 five-week courses, which sell for $399 each. To the value of your member is worth more than $10,000 in training alone.

The annual membership price will go up $100 on July 1st. So you can join now and lock in the lower price for life.

Very Small Shops

If you have one or two employees that should have access to the books, tools, and training, the best option may be to simply share a login. Yes, we allow that. Our intention is not to take all your money. Our goal is to help you to be successful.

Not that this requires that you have a pretty good relationship with your team, which is likely if it's only one or two people. One membership gets you one login. And if you share that one login, everybody shows up as you. So, if your employees make comments on forums, they will appear as you. This has not been an issue. Just keep it in mind.

More importantly, there's access to the classes over at IT Service Provider University. I own IT Service Provider University (, so I've just given all the members of the Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community full access to the classes over at ITSPU. So, if you have one log on, you have $10,000 worth of training available at ITSPU. That's a spectacular deal, no matter how you look at it. 

But if you share your log on, one of your employees logs on as you. And so they can take a class, but it goes on your transcript, not their transcript. It would be better if everyone used a unique login and tracked the classes they've taken. So, we've done is made it easy. You can buy an additional class for an employee for only $99. Your employee just needs to use the code that's available in the dashboard. They take it over to, log in, and they can sign up as themselves and build their own transcript.

Now, if one employee take three of four classes, you are still way ahead of the cost of a second membership. But if one employee is looking at ten, or fifteen, or twenty classes (or 26), you will be better off with a second membership for $1,199 (price goes up to $1,299 in July).

With classes at $399, the cost of three classes totally makes the annual membership worthwhile. 

Teams: Four or More

If you have four or more people who need logins and training, the Team Membership is the best option. It's currently $3,299, going up to $3,599 in July. 

A team membership allows you to have up to ten people with the same email domain log into the system, access all the resources at, participate in the community, be in our forums, etc., AND have full access to all the classes they need to over at IT Service Provider University.

The beauty of a team membership is that you manage it. For example, say you have eight people on your team. You put in their names and their email addresses. They get an invitation, they click through,  and they set themselves up. It's that easy. 

Now, let's just say that somebody gets married, moves to another country, and you need to replace them. You manage that login. Just remove one login for the person who left and you add a login for the person who joined. You manage all of it with a simple interface. 

But wait! There's more. :-)

I also make a special offer to Team members. If you want to meet with me and your entire team, I will arrange that. I'll work with you and help you figure out the best way for your employees to take advantage of all of the training and all of the resources over at

We are currently working with several Teams to help they determine the best training and certification pathways. Some are taking classes together at the same time and then meeting with me. Some are each going in different directions and I'm working with the service manager to maintain a tracking sheet.

This is a bit like a light version of coaching, and we don't charge anything extra for it. We know that a Team membership is a commitment from you, so we also step up on our end. 

Education and Certification

The real, major benefit of any of these options is education

I like to remind people that, ten years ago, you could not have hired anybody who had ten years experience in managed services. In 2013, there were zero people who had ten years experience as a service manager in the managed service business model.

There were zero people who had ten years experience as an office manager in the managed service business model. There were zero administrative assistants, zero technicians, and zero sales people. Nobody on your team had ten years experience because the business model hadn't existed that long!

Today, you can hire people with ten years experience. But you can't find them! In 2023, people with that kind of experience are hard to find and really expensive. As a result, this is a great time to "grow your own" managed service team.

IT Service Provider University is focused 100 % on the managed service business model and helping you to grow your employees so that they understand the business model. We have five different pathways for

  • Service technician
  • Service Manager
  • Owners and Managers
  • Sales and Marketing, and
  • Front Office

This is a great way to tune up your team - and make sure they all understand the bigger picture of why your business is run the way it is. They each get their own login at ITSPU. They each get their own transcript, and they can each earn individual certifications. Ultimately, if they pass five exams within a specific pathway, they can become a certified specialist within that area of managed services. 

ITSPU is a great way for you to spend a reasonably small amount of money and get a massive amount of training for your entire team. If you buy the team membership, I will work with you to help lay out which exams your people should take, and in which order.

Bottom Line: Whether you're an individual or a team, the killer combo is Small Biz Thoughts Technology Community and IT Service Provider University. 

Where to start? The home for everything is Scroll all the way down to the bottom. You'll see three nice options. You can do a monthly option. But really, what you want to do is do the annual program. That saves you the most amount of money. One membership gets you all of my books, etc., plus the entire $10,000 worth of training over at ITSPU. 

The Team Membership saves you even more, if you use it. And I'll be honest, if you're not going to use it or you're not sure, get one membership. Put your toes in the water. Take a few classes. We think you'll do what over a hundred others have done and say, "I just need all my people to do this."

If you're thinking about investing in training for your entire team, this really is a spectacular deal. 

If you have any questions at all, go to the web site, fill out the form, send me a note. I'm happy to talk to you. Or you can just email me and I will be happy to schedule a Zoom call.

We really, honestly, are 100% committed to your success!