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.

G.E. Starts Over as Software Company

Many SMB Nation members have seen the recent G.E. television advertisement where a younger geek tells parents and friends he is joining old school G.E. as a developer. Needless to say, the geek’s career aspirations are met with disdain in this deadpan spot. But gethere is truth to humor. Recently the New York Times article “G.E., the 124-Year-Old Software Start-up” states the obvious that G.E. has to reinvent itself to survive and thrive.

The net-net of the article, which you should read, is about G.E. capitalizing on the Internet of Things (IoT) with software controls.

I applaud G.E. for hitting it head-on. For the past year, I’ve preached that the old school server-side SMB Nation ‘puter guys have got to reinvent or retire. And I’m starting to run out of words LOL. I’ve sliced and diced this conversation and enjoyed the interchanges with SMB Nation readers and event attendees along the way. In fact, join our dialog on our Facebook page here.

 

Tips for pulling a “G.E.” reskilling maneuver?
Consider teaming with our training partner, SQLSoft3, to re-up your hard core skill sets. Right now it’s offering exam vouchers below cost and it has an upcoming Azure course you can attend online.

Finally, to bring this conversation full circle, be sure to check-out the G.E. job board for giggles.  Here you can see what skills are in demand. And point your kids to the same site for a stir to see their reaction.

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Back to School - Karl's Books!

With Fall arriving quickly, it’s time to sharpen the saw as a life learner. In the spirit of “back to school,” Karl Palachuk has just released a four (4) volume “Managed Services Operations Manual” audio book set.

This is important to know for several reasons, the least of which is many of you are trying to “start over” in the new-new world of cloud.

Firstly, many SMB Nation fans have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) whether you want to admit it or not. How do I know this?

Because you are a high tech entrepreneur running your own MSP consulting reseller practice. And having ADHD is actually a success factor (even your secret weapon) despite what the Catholic nuns told you in grammar school. What I’ve personally found and studies now confirm is audio books are a way for ADHD afflicted people to “read books” and absorb the content. (Success secret: You can also have other documents read aloud in Windows 10 with the [Windows] [Enter] keystroke sequence to launch Narrator).

 

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Buy Karl's Books! Keep your eyes open for a future webcast featuring Karl (Superman) and me (Batman) as we debate learning methods between ADHD and non-ADHD entrepreneurs. For example, I’m huge on using Slack and OneNote as a way to put everything back together again in my mind. Karl promotes the single screen experience and avoiding email pop-ups. We intend to host debate this before the end of 2016.

Second, I can honestly say, if I were starting-over, I’d start with Karl’s operations books. Why? Because for many years I resisted bing operationally oriented and then I finally hired Jenny Hallmark to run things. The point is that I learned to honor the importance of operations the hard way. And while I’m streetwise today about this matter, I’d be a better entrepreneur if I had the likes of Karl’s knowledge nuggets earlier in my career. This is something you can attend to right here, right now.

Third, Karl is a long-time friend of the SMB Nation family and has offered a 10 percent savings coupon for you. Here is how you enjoy the savings. Read the blog about what the Managed Services Operations Manual offering is and decide if this is right for you. Then when you purchase, enter the code smbnation2016 for the additional 15 percent savings.

Think of it this way. The entire Karl bundle is cheaper than one (1) undergraduate textbook in Aerospace Engineering. Trust me.

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Dan the Man: What Cloud Partner Program is Best?!

Long-time SMB Nation member Daniel Williams (Xpedeus) from Tampa, FL asked a very relevant question this past week. I wanted to crowd source the answer.

Dan asked: What MS “certs” or MS programs can our Xpedeus consultants gain for becoming “MS Cloud” consultants and transitioning Xpedeus to become an MS Cloud consultancy? In the old SBS days it was easy, just become Small Business Specialist. What is the equivalent in the cloud? It seems MS has so many programs for becoming a “cloud guy” I am not sure which applies best to Xpedeus customer base of 5-250 knowledge-worker companies.

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Harry here. I’d offer the short answer is that Dan jump into the Microsoft Cloud Services Provider (CSP) program with both feet. There are a few resources for Dan to learn more. One is Microsoft itself. https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-solution-provider The other concerns third-party Office 365 ecosystem partners such as AppRiver, long-time supporter of SMB Nation. https://www.appriver.com/partners/resell-office-365

But most importantly, I want to hear from YOU the reader in answering Dan’s important question. Please leave a comment on this blog which I’ll approve and also use in a follow-up contribution next week. Thanks in advance.

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MSP Strategy Suggestion!


We are delighted by the strong reception we’ve enjoyed introducing the merger and acquisition conversation into the SMB Nation audience this past couple of months. Seems like the stars are aligned with key demographics represented in our recent 2016 Salary Survey. You are a mature audience and very quickly life is happening before your very eyes. So your needs are changing from Geek to Grandparent (okay – that’s a bit of a stretch but there is truth to humor). You proudly are approaching 20-years in the IT profession.


And you are consciously re-evaluating your life and business strategy. 

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At our 16th annual SMB Nation picnic this past week, M&A was a conversation amongst the MSPs!

This past week, our MSP M&A "Sell-side" (Part 2) webinar offered the following nuggets:

• Discover how to value your business
• Preparing for due diligence
• Creating the big notebook
• Approaching potential buyers
• Retaining experts (and avoiding business brokers)
• Managing expectation about the negotiating phase
• Separating heart from mind
• And much more…


Note you can watch the webinar replay here and scroll down to the Replay Webinar link for MSP M&A "Sell-side" (Part 2). More importantly, you can sign-up for this week’s “Free Consulting Hour: MSP M&A” where we will answer your specific questions here. No slide deck. No presentation. You’ll love it.

So exactly who are “we” and what are we doing? Tim Carlsen has hopped on board at SMB Nation to assist with us helping you in the M&A area. Tim’s investment and VC background is detailed here.

Tim Carlsent

Between our respective skills, we now offer an M&A advisory service to MSPs in the SMB community. We’re already assisting four clients and can only accommodate five more in 2016. Reach out to Tim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

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Harrybbb featured in New Book

It’s become fashionable for authors to crowdsource their books and I’m proud to have contributed to the newly released “Tips to Protect Your Business from Cybercrime” effort by Anita Campbell, the CEO of Small Business Trends.

First – you can download the eBook complimentary from this site andyou’ll find my dark-side contribution on page 31 where I speak about the lurking dangers of social engineering, which is both a security and technical topic. Catch my references to the central figure, Frank Abagnale, Jr. best known for his life story in the movie “Catch Me If You Can!” I saw Frank speak in the early 1990s in Seattle before he became famous and he’s not without controversy. Here is a former con artist profiting off his prior misdeeds. But it is a very important topic nonetheless.

Second – I consider this book a -Start Over- topic at SMB Nation. As we continue our 2016 editorial themes of either start-up or starting over, I see this book as your -cookbook- to reinvent yourself as a technology security sleuth. Its ben said a good consultant doesn’t know everything about an area, she just knows where to get the information. This book fills that void many of us have in security as we pivot to profitability as partners.

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Third – crowdsourced books such as this are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is a cheap trick for authors to outsource the heavy lifting and for contributors to get a low friction love tap. I have even seen such books where they print a unique cover for each contributor implying that each contributor wrote the entire book. This is really peeved Vlad Masek at Own Web Now in his Vladville blog where he really goes after self-published MSPs. However, crowdsourced books have an upside. In the case of Campbell’s effort herein, it provides diversity and richer content. More importantly, she has engaged many people I’ve never heard of so I feel like she has broken way beyond the “same old, same old” SMB partner crowd.

Download here.

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