SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

1h2016 Roadshow Wrap-up; 2h2016 Coming Soon!

1h2016 Roadshow Wrap-up; 2h2016 Coming Soon!

Whew! That was a long haul. We’ve just completed nine (9) cities in the first six months of 2016 for our Office 365/Windows 10 roadshow across the US. Jenny and Grant did the heavy lifting (THANK YOU!) and the technical content was universally adored. We’d offer that, in the immediate SMB partner community, we are the MOST TECHNICAL workshops in market!

We hosted more one-day workshops in 1h2016 than our two nearest friendly SMB communities combined (ASCII = 4, ChannelPro = 2). Add competitor SMB TechFest (2) and we still win the workshop delegate math LOL! A look back at where we’ve been this first part of the year is: Redmond, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC, Charlotte, LA, SF, Phoenix). Our approval rating consistently exceeds 90% (“awesome” shout out to Grant who is rarely stumped; “Jenny is the best”). Our content morphed over the six months to add Office 365 Security and Azure while diminishing Windows 10 (yes – we listen to your feedback). And our sponsors consistently commented that we are attracting a new crowd, not just the same old tired old guys. I’d also offer its not the same old “High School clique” where all too familiar friends can finish each other’s sentences. We cultivate new faces from new walks of life where new friendship bonds are being forged. Everyone loves a first date!

Your Input Needed
So onward and upward for another nine (9) cities in 2h2016. We want your input on where to go and what content to deliver. Please complete the survey here.

Finally - attending our workshops is a fantastic wayt to start over and reinvent yourself! 

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SkyKick lands $3M in financing

SkyKick 300x300Like the Cloud technologies fueling the market, cloud migration is creating major opportunities for IT services companies and their investors. Thus it is unsurprising that SkyKick, a Seattle-based start-up that specializes in Office 365 migrations, has secured $3 million in funding – bringing total investment in the company to $7.2 million.

“This round will help us reach thousands more partners around the globe,” said SkyKick co-Founder and co-CEO Todd Schwartz in a statement.

The company plans to use the money to double its staff from 40 to 80 people and to seize the global opportunity for automating Office 365 migrations, including the sales, planning, migration and management.

To date, SkyKick has helped thousands of IT solution providers and distributors like Ingram Micro and SYNNEX Corporation move thousands of businesses to Office 365. Its founding team consists of co-CEOs Evan Richman and Todd Schwartz, who held various leadership positions on Microsoft's Office and Bing teams, and CTO Brad Younge, a member of the founding team at

This rounds also adds several strategic private equity investors as well as some notable angel investors such as investor/advisor to Facebook, Twitter and Urber, Tim Ferris, former Qwikki COO, Navin Thukkaram, and Ironfire Capital.

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GoDaddy expands SMB services footprint with Dwolla alliance

GDLogo-1BGoDaddy is continuing to expand its service footprint for SMBs. Over the past several months the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company has been rebranding itself and aggressively branching out from its foundation in domains and online presence to add more and more services for SMBs. Today the company unveiled a partnership with Dwolla – a low-cost online payments network – that will help SMBs simplify the invoicing process, replacing the entire invoice/cheque/deposit process with an electronic transaction.

The new service, which is available today, offers GoDaddy’s 12 million small business customers an alternative to paper checks or more costly options like PayPal, says Steven Aldrich, GoDaddy Senior VP of Applications.

Paper cheques are still the most prevalent form of payment for SMBs, says Aldrich, adding that cheques introduce a variety of inefficiencies and issues to the process of getting paid that are “less than ideal.” To start with they take time, introducing long cash flow lags. Then they cost money in a number of ways – from the cost of the cheques themselves to processing fees that can run to more than $7.00 per transaction to the money you have to pay your accountant/billing department to manually deal with each transaction.

aldrichsteven-304Credit cards or alternative online options like PayPal aren’t much better. Credit companies usually take a three percent cut of the invoice, which will be about $33 on the average invoice of $1100. By Comparison, Dwolla charges a flat 25 cents on all transactions over $10.

In the past SMBs could use Dwolla, but it was often necessary for the payee to register for a Dwolla account, making the service cumbersome for thousands of small services businesses like plumbers and IT consultants. Dwolla overcame this last year with e-cheque technology that enabled guests to make one-time or multiple payments to Dwolla users from an existing bank account – the technology underlying the GoDaddy offering. The problem was that the Dwolla user needed to do some coding up front to make it work. GoDaddy has simplified the process and done that coding for them.

“This is not just about traditional ecommerce providers,” said Aldrich. “It’s about anyone that gets paid by check today. We’ve found that SMB owners are doing more with the Web and more with their phones. It’s all types of transactions, whether it’s over the web, or I came to your house to fix your roof. Now all you need is an email address and you can send them your invoice.

“With the Dwolla option, you save the SMB hundreds of dollars. It’s also easy, fast and safer for people to move to electronic invoicing and electronic payments.”

This is part of a massive strategic evolution for GoDaddy. In January the company unveiled a new brand identity with a new Super Bowl ad featuring Danica Patrick focussed more on customer identity than titillation and announced a relationship with Microsoft to make Office 365 available to its SMB customers. The company is also moving beyond its traditional strength in the digital business world.

Out of an estimated 28 million SMBs in the US, 23 million of them have five or fewer employees. “That is the customer we are targeting,” says Aldrich. “Those types of firms want that very easy to use service. They are not accountants or web developers so they need an affordable service and they want it to just work.”

To this end GoDaddy no offers a suite of services that deliver four key areas. In addition to its traditional strength in domains and online presence services, the company has been building out its marketing services and business support offerings – including the Dwolla e-cheque services, Office 365 and online bookkeeping.

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Microsoft and GoDaddy announce strategic partnership to help small businesses

Microsoft LogoMicrosoft and GoDaddy today announced that they have entered into a long-term strategic alliance that would allow GoDaddy to offer Microsoft’s Office365 solution as its core business-class e-mail solution for its customers. In particular, this would allow GoDaddy’s SMB clients to have a professional, specially designed e-mail offering with their unique domain.

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Microsoft SkyDrive Pro Updates

office365We recently received news from our contact at Microsoft concerning changes to the SkyDrive Pro cloud storage for business system.  There are three main updates that are designed to simplify use and adoption of the SkyDrive system.

First, Microsoft announced that they are upgrading all user accounts from 7GB to 25GB of storage. Office 365 developers, Mark Kashman and Tejas Mehta explained in a blog this week that the overall storage per user would be 25GB of SkyDrive data, plus 25GB of e-mail data, plus 5GB per mailbox you create, plus total available tenant storage. 

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Microsoft Blog Series Highlights New Office365 Clients

Microsoft LogoToday, Microsoft published a blog post from CEO and Pilot at Air Zermatt, Gerold Biner. In this post, which is part of a new series from Microsoft highlighting new clients, Mr. Biner explained how his organization has been using Office365, particularly, a dedicated SharePoint site.

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