Third Tier (www.thirdtier.net) provides services for technology consultants. They provide education and assistance on a wide variety of topics.
I caught up with Amy Babinchak a few days ago to find out what new and cool. It turns out there’s LOTS of great news from Third Tier. Their SMB Kitchen project is going strong – with a new program coming soon.
One of their cool new programs is call Look, a Whale. The program is designed to help you with major problems, major projects, and taking on new Whale-Size clients. My brother Manuel is the new whale tamer at Third Tier. (I wish I had that on my resume.)
Another cool program features our long-time friend Rayanne Buchianico, helping people get their finances set up properly for running an efficient technology consulting business. That program is called Tech Your Books. I’ve worked with Rayanne personally for a long time and think she provides an amazing service. Check it out.
The original reason I asked Amy for an interview was her new Micro-Staffing program. Third Tier is ramping up to provide top-level technicians for your “team” on an ongoing basis with very little commitment. Think about that: A genius-level technician at your disposal. You get their cell phone and can have them do a variety of tasks as members of your company’s tech support department. Very cool.
Check out the podcast to hear all the details.
Note: After we recorded this podcast, but before I could post it, I had an urgent need for assistance. I called on Third Tier and Mr. Philip Elder came to the rescue. It was a great experience, and I posted some details about it on my Small Biz Thoughts blog.
Here’s the recorded webinar Amy refers to in the podcast: http://www.thirdtier.net/2014/12/third-tier-2015-sneak-preview/
SMB Kitchen: http://www.thirdtier.net/smbkitchen-asp/
Look, A Whale: http://www.thirdtier.net/look-a-whale/
Tech Your Books: http://www.thirdtier.net/tech-your-books/
Catch our Dec 16th Odd Tuesdays episode!
Rayanne Buchianico also joins the show in our Oddballs segment. Rayanne talks about her MSP course – the Financial Processes That Make All the Difference. The course is geared for MSPs and covers such topics as: separation of accounting and financial duties, entities and tax considerations, cash flow forecasting, and more over a five-week online teaching structure.
You can find the Dec 16th’s Odd Tuesdays episode here.
And don’t forget to listen for the show coupon that will give you discounts on the 2015 MSP Courses Lineup over at Great Little Seminar!
Check out Nov 4th’s Odd Tuesdays episode where Karl talks with Results Software‘s Mike Honig about their expanded CRM system.
And our Oddballs segment in this episode features Small Business MVP Amy Babinchak discussing the importance of MSPs building and developing vendor relationships.
You can find the Nov 4th’s episode here.
I just got back from the big ChannelPro SMB Forum in Philadelphia. For more information on next year’s events, visit http://events.channelpronetwork.com/.
Most importantly, I had a chance to hang out with Dave Seibert and sit on a cloud panel with him.
Dave is the mastermind behind the big SMB TechFest that happens about four times a year in Anaheim, CA. Here I talk to Dave about the next event – November 21-22, 2014.
For more info, visit www.smbtechfest.com.
In the October 21st Odd Tuesdays episode Datto’s Rob Rae, joins the show to discuss continuity as a viable solution for small business. Karl and Rob also discuss the future of hybrid cloud solutions and data storage issues, particularly in relation to storage across country lines.
This episode also features an interview with ASCII’s Jerry Koutavas who has tremendous things to report on how well their ASCII forums are doing. He says they regularly have around 2,500 messages a month between MSPs of varying sizes and says the community has become invaluable to many MSPs.
The Oddballs segment welcomes back Oddball Manuel Palachuk who offers tips on avoiding communication gaps within our MSP businesses and in external communications with clients.
You can find the Oct 21st Odd Tuesdays episode here.
Listen through to the end of this episode for a special show coupon to access a discount to Karl’s down under tour!
The SMBRoadshow 2014 is heading to Australia and New Zealand in November!!
Oct 7th’s episode of Odd Tuesdays sees Datatel Solutions‘ Jeff Ponts join the show. Jeff talks about software integration vs. systems integration. Jeff also talks about the other hats he wears, to include President of the Technology Channel Association (TCA) and Co-Chair to CompTIA’s Telecom Advisory Council.
This episode also features a conversation Karl has with GFI Max’s Caroline McClelland at the recent GFI Max Conferences. And Computer Wallah Bob Nitrio joins the show in the Oddballs segment to discuss how mobility is shaping and changing the way MSPs and their clients are doing business.
You can find the Oct 7th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
The Sept 16th episode of Odd Tuesday highlights a Kickstarter campaign Chip Reaves from Bigger Brains launched to raise awareness for a series of courses Bigger Brains is currently developing. The Brain Bites mini-courses are basic productivity courses MSPs can resell to their clients that cover productivity skills in Time Management, Organizing Files, and Managing Email.
And in the show’s Oddballs segment, resident Oddball Rayanne Buchianico, shares sales tax tips for MSPs.
You can find the Sept 16th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
I had a good visit with Rob T. Rae from Datto at the GFI Max 2014 conference this week. Later in the day, Datto was awarded both Best in Show and Best Exhibitor Interaction awards.
Datto is a backup and disaster recovery company with about 400 employees worldwide. They’re big in Canada, Europe, as well as the U.S.
One big point for Rob was that they’re focusing on a lot more than continuity. How does the MSP make money without talking disasters? Most restores are from people – not natural disasters. So they talk about robust and speedy recovery from human mistakes.
Datto is strictly a hybrid solution – both onsite and in the cloud. The local device is as important as the cloud. The local is a quick, easy way to restore. The cloud provides additional continuity security when there is a local disaster.
How is cloud storage affected by the U.S. Patriot Act, as well as laws in other countries? More importantly, can you get documentation of the chain of custody for your data?
For more info, visit Dattobackup.com.
Register and get access to all the tools and products.
Resident Oddball Amy Babinchak also joins the show to talk about Microsoft’s Multipoint.
You can find the Sept 2nd Odd Tuesdays episode here.
ALSO! Karl’s latest 4-Book Series, the Managed Services Operation Manual, is out now! – Listen to the Sept 2nd episode for a coupon code!!
Richard joined Karl earlier in the year in Karl’s annual SMB Online Conference and the two frequently collaborate in the MSP consulting space.
Also in this episode, listeners are updated with upcoming Tech news & events and Manuel Palachuk joins the show as a new addition to the show’s Oddballs team.
You can find the August 19th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
August 5th’s episode of Odd Tuesdays featured Cisco’s Michelle Ragusa-McBain who talked about CompTIA’s Advancing Women in IT Group (AWIT). Michelle is the Vice Chair of the group, which offers aspiring female IT professionals resources, such as Dream IT and The Career Resource Center.
The episode also features Computer Wallah Bob Nitrio talking about Sonos, a HiFi wireless speaker & audio system and Tech News & events.
You can find the August 5th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
The Systematic Success 2014 Conference was a tremendous success. The online event grows by the year and always features well rounded and timely business advice covering all aspects of running a managed services business. (Previous years’ recordings can be found here.)
The Odd Tuesdays episode also features the latest in Tech News and events updates, as well as some handy QuickBook tips for MSPs from Rayanne Buchianico (ABC Solutions).
The show also features the announcement of Karl’s latest publication (his 11th book!): Project Management in Small Business.
This book was co-authored with Dana J Goulston, who was involved with the 3rd edition of the PMBOK® Guide, and is a true How-To on managing scope creep!
You can find the July 15th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
June 17th’s episode of Odd Tuesdays features Zynstra CEO Nick East and Fully Expressed Potential’s Jenifer Landers, both of whom are keynote speakers in this month’s Systematic Success 2014 online conference.
In this episode, Nick outlines a solution Zynstra is gearing up to launch in North America this fall, a solution for those requiring something on premise for their clients in light of the impending end of support for Windows 2003 and the end of life of SBS.
Jenifer shares tips on how to best sell services that are abstract or foreign to clients, an issue all too familiar to technology consultants selling to clients and customers with little to no tech background.
You can find the June 17th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
Catch June 3rd’s episode of Odd Tuesdays where MSP Coach Manuel Palachuk talks about the importance of everyone from management to admin working in real time in your managed service business. Manuel just completed a 5-week course covering the specifics of how to implement working in real time. The Critical Habit for Success: Working in Real Time is a course offered in the MSP academic program over at greatlittleseminar.com.
Rayanne Buchianico also joins the show in the Oddballs segment, offering more QuickBooks tips specific for managed service providers.
Listeners are also reminded that they still qualify for the Odd Tuesdays’ discount code for The Ultimate 2014 Conference Bundle! Be sure to listen for the discount code!
Odd Tuesdays listeners are also being offered a Chance to Win a Free membership to Third Tier’s SMBKitchen’s ASP project. The ASP project includes a series of webinars and MSP educational tutorials from Microsoft MVP.
You can find the June 3rd Odd Tuesdays episode here.
Check out the latest Podcast episode of Odd Tuesdays where Karl investigates WiFi as a Service offering.
Our heresegment also features perspectives on and best practice tips in delegating in your MSP business.
The May 6th episode of Odd Tuesdays featured Gil Cargill, a rockstar sales consultant with nearly 40 years experience in sales, including an outstanding career at IBM.
Gil discusses tips on automated prospecting tools and how MSPs and VARs can make the best use of a sales person in their business.
The show also features our famous Oddballs segment, tech news & industry event updates, and a special discount code for listeners for The Ultimate 2014 Conference Bundle – a package of documentation resources that includes eBooks, whitepapers, and 3-day access to the online Systematic Success 2014 Conference.
You can find the May 6 Odd Tuesdays episode here.
April 15th’s episode of Odd Tuesdays, Ted Hulsy, VP of Marketing at eFolder joins Karl to talk about sync and security for MSPs and VARs.
Rayanne Buchianico, from ABC Solutions also features in the episode in our Oddballs segment. Rayanne continues her QuickBooks tips series with today’s tips surrounding the variety of preferences you can take advantage of in making QuickBooks much more user friendly with daily entries, particularly for managed service providers.
You can find the April 1 Odd Tuesdays episode here.
On our April 1 episode, Josh Peterson, Co-founder of Bering McKinley and a keynote at this year’s annual SMB Online Conference, joins Karl to discuss tech hiring tips. Josh advises MSP business owners to learn how to “right size” your personnel – a concept involving not targeting MCSCs or the top-level techs for your business, but rather aiming for entry-level techs that you craft into great engineers.
Josh concludes his interview with Karl by extending a special offer for Odd Tuesdays listeners.
Amy Babinchack, owner of Harbor Computer Services, returns in our Oddballs segment. Amy talks about how to create job satisfaction with your techs in some creative & non-traditional ways.
You can find the April 1 Odd Tuesdays episode here.
On March 18th’s episode of Odd Tuesdays, Karl talks to Chip Reaves, from Bigger-Brains, about their Bigger MSP Program.
The program is a high quality video series featuring online training for business professionals covering Windows 8, QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, Gmail, sales & marketing, and more.
There is some mention that MSPs often neglect to consider the budgets SMBs designate annually for training, which goes beyond the IT budgets MSPs normally target. In fact, it is noted that this can be a good angle in targeting more business, with MSPs first earning new clients based on business professional training offerings and then moving into a managed services soft sell. Karl mentions that another angle to consider is that as the economy begins to recover, there are untapped government grants that pay for people to get training. MSPs could educate themselves about such grants and include that in pitches to potential clients.
Also featured in this Odd Tuesdays episode is our returning Oddball Computer Wallah Bob Nitrio discussing Software Defined Networks (SDN).
You can find the March 4th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
On March 4th’s episode of Odd Tuesdays, Karl speaks with April Sage, from Online Tech, to discuss HIPAA compliance – a topic our Odd Tuesdays audience has been asking more and more about (Follow Karl’s HIPAA Pinterest Board).
April encourages MSPs to embrace the notion of HIPAA compliance because trying to work against or get around the regulations can cause a lot of headaches. She says it is a good idea to become familiar with the Business Associates Agreement – a contract that outlines the accountabilities in the chain of trust and what the flow of responsibilities are. She notes that the Department of Human Services has a good example of what that agreement should look like (See link here).
Rayanne Buchianico joins us in her debut Oddballs segment. She discusses how to record Hardware as a Service (HaaS) in QuickBooks. She outlines four key points:
1) What to record right after you buy the equipment
2) How to set up the rental income accounts
3) How to track associated costs
4) How to retire the item at the end of the lease term
You can find the March 4th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
Sacramento has a great organization called Hacker Lab – part hacker space, part maker space, and part co-working space. I joined last year and plan to cover a number of subjects related to the things they do there. This includes programming, Arduino, robotics, 3D printing, and more.
This is an interview with Alan M. Ware, B.S.M.E.
Alan is a 3D design and manufacturing engineer. He teaches the 3D Printing class at Hacker Lab. I took the class and then asked him for a quick interview.
Recorded February 2014
I also recorded some videos.
One is already posted. The other one needs some production. The first video is here:
Hacker Lab is open to everyone. It’s a great place to learn and to prototype your ideas. Find out more at http://www.hackerlab.org. Hacker Lab is located at 1715 I Street, Sacramento, CA.
Alan also mentioned “The Design Spot” at the Arcade public library – 2443 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, CA. They have computers with PhotoShop, AutoCAD, and other software as well as 3D printers that anyone can use.
Alan’s web site – http://www.AMWDesign.net – has a number of great links for anyone interested in finding out more about 3D printing, the software used, and some of the hardware options. (He promised he’d tune it up after the video comes out.)
On Feb. 18th’s episode of Odd Tuesdays, Karl speaks with GFI Max’s Dave Sobel and GFI client Neil Holme, from Impact Business Technology. There is discussion on how one defines their MSP role to their clients.
Dave says it important MSPs become bolder in the way they define their role to their clients. He maintains that you need to be seen and heard as more than just the guy who works on the computers. He says if you set the tone right, a very different kind of relationship can evolve – a big difference in the way you are perceived by clients and in the services you can deliver to them.
Neil talks about the primary conflict MSPs encounter. He says they have to often decide between acting on the behalf of the customer vs. making service/product suggestions as a business person trying to make money. Neil and Karl agree that you will ensure long-term relationships with clients, that will result in more referrals, if you always put the client needs first. Karl notes that he is a huge fan of Road Map meetings with clients where it takes the relationship to that consulting level and the MSP is not just pushing a Purchase Order.
Bob Nitrio makes his debut in our Oddballssegment.
Bob outlines a new tool known as Touchcast, which is currently in beta testing for PC. He says the tool gives you the power of a TV studio on your desktop, with tools ranging from editing to teleprompter. More information about Touchcast can be found at Touchcast.com.
You can find the Feb 4th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
On the latest Odd Tuesdays Podcast, Karl talks with Result Software’s Sam Saab, about their Results Customer Relations Management (CRM) offering, which can incorporate data from QuickBooks, Outlook, and Constant Contact.
Amy Babinchak also joins Odd Tuesdays in the first (of soon to be many) Oddballs segment. Amy is a Small Business MVP and discusses banking fraud issues and how MSPs can best put their clients into a position that limits their liability. She notes that neither clients, nor MSPs, are 100% assured protection from the FDIC.
You can find the Feb 4th Odd Tuesdays episode here.
Odd Tuesdays was launched this week by Host Karl Palachuk and Producer Monica Caraway. The Podcast is geared for I.T. Consultants and features what’s new in tech management and best practices for running an I.T. business. The Podcast airs on the first and third Tuesdays of each month and features a variety of Vendor & MSP consultant interviews and advice segments.
In the first episode, SMB Nation’s Harry Brelsford joins the show to discuss all that 2014 has in store for the SMB Nation community. He also mentions their Emerging Technology Tour, of which Karl is participating in. Lars Andersson, from Cloud Nine, joins the show as well to talk about how instrumental SMB Nation has been to his business.
Karl also updates the audience on the many live presentations he will be giving around the country this year. More information can be found at whereintheworldiskarl.com.