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 SMB Natio

n 2007 Fall Conference Sept 29-Oc t 1 , 2 007 Microsoft C onference Center Redmond, WA DETAILS IN SIDE!


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SMB Partner Community

EDITORIAL By Beatrice Mulzer, Executive Editor

Love, Yoga and other IT-related topics! This month we bring to you a first-hand article on how to share the LOVE! No, this is not a flashback to the ‘60s, but a refreshing new look brought to you by a New Zealand evangelist. Love and evangelism? Guess you will have to read the article on page 8 yourself to find out what it is all about. The past two months, Harry Brelsford and I have done some extensive traveling throughout major cities on the European, African and Australian continents, to be told in every country “We are dissimilar; we do business differently than any other country.” And we have found that to be true to a certain extent. In some countries, if you offer something up for free, a customer will say, “If it is free, it cannot have value and therefore I am not interested.” In others, a customer will say, “ Free? I don’t see why it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.” In some countries you will discuss business over a three-hour lunch and in other countries you meet for a 15-minute cup of coffee and get straight to the point, not spending time on social pleasantries. The one common link that we found, despite the diversity, is that people will do business with people they like, and consulting thrives on building a solid relationship with your customer – and that rule spans all borders. Find out more on consulting rules from Harry Brelsford on page 4, and see if his advice will work in your country. Dean Calvert, an Australian Small Business Specialist who has been growing his business in the last few years (and was finally able to take his first real vacation), shares his hard-gained knowledge on how to hire new staff the right way, and gives his personal advice and experiences. This month’s Centerpiece features Karl Palachuk’s new book “Relax Focus Succeed,” (for which we got an independent review from a Specialist in another field), exposes Karl’s alter ego, and offers up authentic “How to balance your personal and professional life,” advice that you may not have considered yet.

Receive an SMB Nation Press Book of Your Choice! We love to hear from you, our dear reader, and decided to give away one SMB Nation Press book a month (your choice) to one reader who will be selected from among those who give all the feedback we receive. You can send us your comments at editor@smbnation.com – and you may just be the lucky owner of a new SMB Nation book you have had your eyeballs on!

CEO Harry Brelsford Jailed! Many readers have long suspected that Harry’s wonton lifestyle would catch up to him. In fact it has. He is shown here jailed at the Poulsbo MDA “Lock ‘em Up!” fundraiser. Fortunately, fellow staff members and good citizens donated generously to “spring him” from custody. Please participate in similar charity events in your neighborhood. Page 2

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MAY 2007

| Vol. 1 I Issue 10

PUBLISHED BY

SMB Nation, Inc. Bainbridge Island, Washington Harry Brelsford, Publisher Editorial Staff EXECUTIVE EDITOR Beatrice Mulzer EDITOR Barbara Wallace & Gib Curry CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Robin Robins, USA Jeff Wuorio, USA LAYOUT Al Alarakhia COVER ART DIRECTOR Michael Young CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Mark Mulvany, Ireland Diego Salato, Italy Nick Pieters, Belgium Leen Kleijwegt, Netherlands Andy Wendel, Germany Dean Calvert, Australia Steven Teiger, Israel Suresh Ramani, India Andrew Watson, UK Stuart Raj, Indonesia Mikael Nystroem, Sweden Shelagh Harrop, South Africa Dana Epp, Canada Ken Thoreson, USA Anne Stanton, USA BUSINESS STAFF Harry Brelsford, CEO Kevin Pearson, President Beatrice Mulzer, Vice President Kristal Sagdahl, Office Manager Lindsay Serbous, Database Analyst Jennifer Hall, Event Coordinator Jackie Oreiro, Distribution SMB Nation, Inc. PO Box 10179 Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 USA Telephone: 360-779-1140 Fax: 360-779-1140 E-mail: sbs@smbnation.com © Copyright 2007 SMB Nation Inc. All Rights Reserved Please contact us for reprints and reproduction of content. ISSN 1933-8899


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Your Space Hello, I've just successfully passed the Microsoft certification 70-282! Your book has been a GREAT help during my study time (3 days). I enjoyed reading every single chapter! So it's true your book is really the FAST PATH in getting the 70-282. I am the living proof of that! Many Many Many thanks! Regards, Joaquim (from Paris, France)

Hello Beatrice, Thank you for your presentation at the SMB workshop today. I already own the Red Book which helped qualifying for the SBS exam. Also "Service Agreements for SMB Consultants" looks interesting, even if I have to translate the whole lot (contracts) into Dutch. Any chance of a "how-to-use CRM 3.0" to be published? I look at the SMB Nation web-site regularly and I enjoy the PDF version of the magazine. It all feels like a user community, something our profession can certainly use and enjoy.

EMR is called Amazing Charts, built with Virtual Basic in ACCESS). The data is stored on the “mothership” server with RAID 1. When I am writing a patient’s notes in a treatment room, am I actively interacting with the mothership, or is it only when I "write" the chart that I am interacting. I am the only doctor and the only one in the office who "writes" and "signs off" on the chart. I guess the bigger question I am asking is the limit of 10 stations. If I add stations, does the limit of 10 only apply to those interacting with the mothership? Thanks for your time Sam M. Horowitz, DPM, FACFAS, C.Ped

Hello Sam, First we would recommend that you check with the developer of the EMR software in regards to when data is actually written to the mothership. To answer your question about the 10 workstation limit in a P2P environment, a workstation on a P2P is limited to 10 concurrent connections, which means that you can add additional workstations to the network; and yes, the limit only applies to the workstations with the mothership. On the other hand, it sounds like you are ready to move into a Small Business Server solution. You can find a Microsoft Small Business Specialist who can consult with you on this at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/ hub.mspx by entering your zip code in the “Connect with Us” box.

Ivo Van Hoovels ICT Small Business Specialist (from Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Hello Ivo, Sshh, there may just be a book on CRM 4.0 in the works ☺

Harry; I hope this is a simple question with a simple answer. I have implemented a P2P XP Pro environment in my office with ten workstations. I am a doctor. I have an electronic medical records software located on each workstation (the SMB Partner Community - May 2007

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COVER STORY

Rules!

CONSULTING

Introduction

If a tree falls in the woods, does it make any sound if no one is around? If an IT professional is unemployed, does that make her a consultant? Hopefully not. Hopefully SMB consultants and Small Business Specialists see consulting as a bona fide career opportunity. While our industry is plagued with card carrying consultants who are nothing more than job hunters, there are the true journeymen who are in the consulting profession by choice. They know that consulting is a “right on” bona fide occupation; that it RULES!

by Harry Brelsford

this article, it would be that you need to redefine grinding to be BOTH the business-speak and the bit-twiddling.

Finder, Minder, Grinder I’m not good at sales. That is the most common utterance of workshop attendees at our global workshop series. Never mind that these individuals are masters of network infrastructure and have enough smarts to manage the engagements. These same individuals are often seeking a bigger book of business. They want to become “finders” in addition to minders (management) and grinders (do the technical work). In the minder discussion, some of you can relate to the following terminology from the trades: drop the toolbox and start managing your business. It’s so easy to be focused on the bits that you forget to manage the business. Truth is, you’re most likely to lose an engagement over customer management then the technology in play in your engagement. With few exceptions. Grinding is the least of our problems. Take our friends in the system builder community. These ladies and gentlemen get their buzz from the bits and they scurry around at amazing speeds. It’s really amazing to witness the manual dexterity of a modern day system builder. But there is one problem. There are fewer system builders today. Not because they have somehow fallen down on the job. Rather, they haven’t responded to the new IT consulting reality that you must be the advisor who talks business in addition to bits. So if there is one takeaway from Page 4

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The “grinder” sandwich – it’s all good and represents your huge work effort.

Brelsford’s Rules In the military, it’s common to joke at the old Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post that you did your “20” years in the military. In that vein, I can honestly say I did my “20” in the small business technology area, with my inscription date being the VisiCalc era (heck – that almost makes it 30 years – ouch!). From my time in service as an SMB consultant, I developed some rules that worked for me. In my original SMB Consulting Best Practices book the rules were titled Brelsford’s Dozen (I am madly updating this book for a late summer release date). Here are a few (of many) Brelsford’s Dozens. Give away 12 business cards per quarter. Any stock broker knows it’s a numbers game. The more prospects you meet and greet, the more work you’ll ultimately obtain. While I’m not suggesting you power call a hard core call list, I do think committing yourself to giving away 12 cards per quarter (one card per week) is a reasonable goal. It gets your name out. SMB Partner Community - May 2007


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Receive 12 business cards per quarter. People often ask how SMB Nation built up its CRM system with over 66,000 customer names worldwide. The short answer is, “the old fashioned way.” I never threw a business card in the rubbish. Rather, this information was captured in what is now our database in Microsoft CRM 3.0. I don’t expect you to have so many customer names (O.K. – maybe after 20 years). Rather, I do believe you can collect a business card each week and enter it into some simplified CRM format such as Business Contact Manager 3.0 (BCM). The power of the business cards will grow exponentially – especially as you keep in touch with these folks. Bill 1,200 hours per year. Granted, most Small Business Specialists reading this article are working something like 2,400 hours per year. That’s great when you’re young or new but it’s not sustainable. Why do you think sailors work in shifts? They must be available to handle a vessel around the clock to ensure that fresh hands are on duty at any time. You need ample time to procure new customers, take care of the customers you have, and attend educational events like multi-day conferences. HINT: Raise your bill rates so you can work fewer hours and make the same money. Give a dozen roses to your loved one. Don’t forget your support system. No one makes it to the peak of his career without the love and support of someone or something (a tip of the hat for cat and dog lovers). After reading this, express your appreciation to someone special with a dozen roses.

Arlin Sorensen Arlin Sorensen is a well-respected SMB player who has used solid business behavior to grow his practice from one to over 50 employees in six states. He is the business track content director at SMB Nation 2007, and you can learn more about him at www.smbnation.com. We caught up for an interview with Arlin recently. SMBPC: What is the one Golden Rule in consulting that you always follow? Arlin: Actually my one rule is to follow the Golden Rule from the Bible.“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is a great standard to have for life and how to treat everyone around you. If we learn to think of the other person first and put ourselves in their shoes, we do the right things. Customer service is not about what I want to do, it is about exceeding the expectations of the customer, and the Bible gives us the key to doing that. It is all about taking care of people.

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SMBPC: Give an example of how you implement the Golden Rule. Arlin: One of the biggest ways I try to live this is in how I respond to people. I try every day, hour by hour, to treat communication from others with the same attention as I would like them to do with my calls or e-mails. People don’t make contact with each other just to get an answer sometime. When they call or e-mail, they typically have a question that needs attention. I strive to treat my e-mail correspondence just like a phone call – quick response that gives the other person the information they request. That has probably been one of the greatest reasons for our growth with other partners and our vendors. When they send me an e-mail, I respond. My personal rule is never more than 24 hours but normally within 4 hours. That is not how most people respond. I hear over and over, thank you for responding so quickly,”and,“I wish everyone would treat me the way you do,” in regards to e-mail response. I have those expectations of those I communicate with. It is a policy at HTS to respond within 24 hours. Treating others the way I want to be treated in the area of communication is critical to living out the Golden Rule for me. SMBPC: At what trigger point do you call in another consultant or completely pass on a project or client? Arlin: Our company policy is to engage another consultant or company when we are beyond our skill set. We do not pass on projects unless we absolutely cannot find a quality partner to meet the needs. We certainly cannot possibly fill all the needs that clients come to us with today. The breadth of the technology field is far too wide and even too deep for us to even think about having all that talent internally. We have built our company [by] depending on other partners to allow us to be the total solution provider for our clients. That is our strategy and design. We find those partners by being actively involved in the industry – peer groups, affinity groups, educational and channel seminars, vendor conferences, etc. You have to be where partners are to build relationships and find companies you can truly trust and partner with. We have gone to partners for almost every area that our clients may ask us to provide, and we are continually looking for others we can offer in our solution matrix. There is no reason to walk away from business – partnering makes us “stickier”with our clients and keeps us totally in control. It is a critical success factor for us. SMBPC: Please share other wisdom. Arlin: While we are in the technology consulting field, in reality we are in the people business. What we do is all about building relationships. We have to learn to connect

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with and communicate clearly to those we serve. Too often we focus on the technology or problems clients have, but miss the opportunity to impact those people personally in areas that really matter. At the end of the day, technology comes and goes. But the people we serve, the life issues they face, will be there forever. We need to make sure we are focused on the right things. You don’t get paid hourly to help people work through their personal issues as a billable event, but if you love people and serve their needs first, you will have a client for life. That happens whether you are a technical genius or not. People first want you to care for them and then fix their business problems. Too often we rush to the technology and miss the people. We have a chance to make [an] impact in people’s lives that matter if we only take the time to listen. Love is the killer app – as the title of a great book says. Life is all about relationships – don’t miss that when you serve your clients. Take time to listen and it will be the foundation for a lifelong relationship. Business happens when you learn to really connect.

Michael Cocanower Executive Editor Beatrice Mulzer recently had a free flowing conversation with long-time SBSer Michael Cocanower from IT Synergy in Phoenix, AZ. Michael truly serves both the “s” and the “m” in SMB and offered his philosophy: “My rule is ‘If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten’.” People sometimes get into a ‘rut’ and forget this rule. It is amazing to me to see people repeating behavior over and over, or becoming complacent with the ‘status quo,’ and then complaining that things never get any better. You have to constantly change and improve in order to make things better and improve your business (or any other part of your life). There are numerous great examples of this when it comes to SMBs, and how we apply it. One of the most common ones is related to marketing. Many SMBs don’t do it, and then complain they aren’t growing or getting enough new business. If they would just do something different (execute an organized and well-thought-out marketing plan), then they’ll get different results – more business!

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In terms of when we call in another consultant – that’s easy. We are very focused, and know what we do well and what we don’t. Our practice is all about Microsoft infrastructure technologies in SMBs. When we come across non-Microsoft areas (maybe a client that needs some advanced Cisco configuration) or non-infrastructure areas (such as Microsoft Dynamics), it is an easy decision for us to bring in a partner. If the project is ONLY about those technologies we don’t work with, then we pass on the project. We’d MUCH rather have a customer come to us for EVERYTHING technology-related (regardless of whether we do it or not), and then refer things out to our partners as needed.

Contra-Consulting When writing this article, I spoke with a technology industry leader in Atlanta who would prefer not to be named. He noticed an interesting SMB consulting “contra” trend. We are LOSING SMB CONSULTANTS! What? How can this be when IDC, Gartner, Yankee Group and the rest espouse the booming small-business sector? Try this on for size. The strong macro economy has resulted in a recovering IT sector at the enterprise-level. Many of the people who became SMB consultants in the last five years (that’s most of us, as you’ll recall from our survey data in the October, 2006 and February, 2007 issues of this magazine) came from the enterprise space (and the big $$$) because they were unemployed or found redundant. Once their old jobs reappeared at ExxonMobil and the like, they are outta here! Most of us who are here for the long run are bona fide professionals and understand there is a certain amount of “brethren volatility” in this space. But for us old timers – consulting rules!

Next steps Consider attending the Independent Computer Consultants Association 30th Annual National Conference in Chicago, IL (June 8-10, 2007). More information at www.icca.org. I will be expanding on the topics in the article and reciting excerpts from my revised SMB Consulting Best Practices book. See ya there!

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Love my business. Love my people. ove me.

L

L

ove is universal! You might say what’s love got to do with this IT stuff, let alone tools such as Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007. Let me explain. I’m a Microsoft evangelist and you’d expect me to wax lyrical about the new tools we have released to the market. When we started planning the launch of these technologies we came up with the acronym L.O.V.E., for Live, Office, Vista and Exchange. As I’ve travelled, doing seminars, events and presentations to customers, the feeling I‘ve had is that people loved the tool they were seeing, and they loved the thought of improving their bottom line. So the theme of LOVE was born.

by Carlos Miguel Martinez Microsoft Evangelist

offerings). • Motivated and talented people. • Effective planning and operations processes. Underpinning all of this is information and communication tools that drive the systems that enable people to be productive, and organizations to be effective. This latest wave of technology from Microsoft is about more than Vista and Office 2007. It’s about the business transformation that all Microsoft technologies working together can enable. I believe that all of us in the IT industry are here to help our customers create a smarter business – through creating smarter people and smarter processes.

Angel-winged Carlos sharing the LOVE at the Vista Launch. Here are some ideas that I use to frame my conversations with customers. First let’s look beyond technology to the context of how customers look at their businesses. What are some of the ingredients for success? • Sound strategy (provides the direction). • Adequate capital and cashflow. • Customers and the ongoing ability to provide them with superior value proposition (relative to competitive Page 8

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Microsoft provides an integrated set of technologies that allow each of us to deliver business outcomes that our customers are seeking in order to improve their businesses. When I talk to business owners and executives, I find that what they are really interested in is not the technology per se but the business outcomes we can enable.

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How can we help businesses: • Streamline processes. • Connect their supply chain. • Execute and manage projects. • Get people working together effectively in teams within the business and with external groups, be they suppliers, customers, or other third parties, to achieve results. • Enable people to work on the road, at home or in the office. • Improve how they can talk, video conference, and connect with people – inside and outside the business from integrated telephony to multi-group presentations over the Internet. • Improve the personal productivity of their people. • Improve how they manage customers and other important relationships – communicating, servicing, and selling with their customers for more profitable results. • Manage the financial and other related performance measures of the business. • Deliver and provide actionable information for people to make timely and informed decisions.

This is what I call the business outcome stake. I use it to have a discussion with business owners about what is important for them and what they want IT to enable in their businesses.

This is the stack view of the integrated set of Microsoft technologies that deliver the business outcomes for a smarter business. Not to forget the hygiene factors. All of these outcomes must be delivered in an IT environment that gives security, protection and peace-of-mind to businesses. SMB Partner Community - May 2007

And last but not least, businesses want the reassurance that the investments they make in IT systems will allow them to add and expand as they grow. So the way I describe it to customers is that all of these business outcomes are relevant to all businesses. (Of course, not all elements are of the same importance to each customer.) They are all enabled by the integrated platform of Microsoft technololgies. From the front-end information tools used by your end users to the back-end systems, you can successfully build your business on Microsoft technologies.

So what’s this got to do with Vista and Microsoft Office 2007? A business can’t get the optimal value from IT unless it has a clear picture of what it wants to do as a business. Secondly, management must map a clear roadmap for what it will do with its IT, tools, processes and people to deliver the outcomes. Many times, I see people spending time trying to optimise their IT purchasing when they haven’t yet worked out their business plan and the IT plan. (See Innovations & Value figure, page 10.) Compile a list of the enabling technologies that will deliver the business outcomes you want (see Innovations & Value figure below). Include such ingredients as: • Windows Server 2003 (or Small Business Server) • SQL Server 2005 • Exchage Server 2007 • Windows SharePoint Services V3 • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 • InfoPath 2007 • OneNote 2007 • Groove 2007 • Microsoft Dynamics CRM • Project Server • Microsoft LiveMeeting • Live Communications Server 2005 • Microsoft Dynamics GP • SQl 2005 Reporting services • Windows Vista • Windows Mobile • ForeFront security technologies • Rights Management • Office 2007 • ISA 2006 • System Center Operations Manager • Systems Center Configuration Manager You may or may not need all of these components. The point is you’ve got to have a plan for IT that aligns to what the business wants to achieve so that every step not only delivers business value today but takes the business forward in the desired direction. The sequence of steps to take is depends on the needs of each customer. However, a common mistake is that businesses (small and large) don’t maintain a consistent and fresh infrastructure. Not only does this raise the cost of ownership but it acts as a barrier to company incorporating new advances and innovations in technology. A business whose PC network has a variety of flavours of Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office Suites may look to implement Windows Rights Management and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. However, they hit a stumbling block because they have to make a significant set of changes to their infrastructure. So it the changes are perceived as being too hard and the business doesn’t move forward.

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So – what’s this got to do with Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007? The desktop platform is a critical part of any business. It contains the tools end users use to perform their work, and it works hand-in-glove with back-end systems such as SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With Vista and Office 2007 now on the market, businesses need a proactive strategy as to when, how and why they will adopt these technologies. They are now part of the landscape that customers need to think about. I look at Microsoft technologies in two dimensions: 1) helping improve personal productivity, and 2) increasing organizational effectiveness.

Innovations & Value: The innovations and value of Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 can be seen in both these dimensions.

Increasing Personal Productivity: What People Love. I couldn’t possibly list everything that Vista and Office 2007 do, but I’ll share some of the elements excite people about improving personal productivity.

Find It - Vista Find it Now: People love the search technologies in Vista. Whether it’s an e-mail I sent to Harry seven months ago (and who knows where it is?) or a document I drafted sometime early last year about customer management. Whatever it is, wherever it is in my PC, Vista will find it, quick. There’s an IDC study that shows that the average worker can spend an average of 60 minutes a day searching for information. Ask your customers to think about how long they spend looking for information. Can they always find what they are looking for? Ask them about the last time they went scouring their PC looking for a document and couldn’t remember where they put it. How long is the time between when they seek to get a piece of information and when they actually get it? Whether it’s 60 minutes a day (5 hours a week) or 1.5 hours per person per week spent looking for information, it will be clear that Vista can provide significant personal productivity improvements. How much would it be worth to your customers’ business and their people to be able to save that time? Vista Search – people love it.

Visualing Information - Vista With Windows XP, you navigate through file systems as if they are contained in a sealed envelope. You can’t see at a quick glance what the file is. People end up opening and closing files to inspect their contents and see whether it’s what they are looking for. This takes time. Vista not only lets you find files but lets you see the files. People can do a search, get a result list and then see INSIDE the files right there on the screen, without having to open and Page 10

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close the files. The same happens with running programs. You can see what is running so that you can easily switch to the right program. The search and visualization technologies in Vista let people be much more productive in getting work done – saving all that time people once wasted looking for information.

E-mail Controlling Your Life. No More – Outlook 2007. In the last 10 years, IDC studies have shown, the volume of e-mail for the average worker has increased ten-fold and it shows no signs of stopping. E-mail overload is a significant cause of stress for many people. Those messages just keep coming and coming!! Outlook in Microsoft Office 2007 gives people whole new ways to better manage their time, tasks, commitments and e-mail. It starts with the ability to quickly find any e-mail (and I mean any e-mail) on my PC. Because I have complete confidence that I can find e-mails, I no longer spend time filing e-mails into folders. I now just organize my e-mails into what I call “big buckets.” I have folders for each month and I just put all my e-mails into these folders. The other key area is around managing e-mails as tasks. When I get an e-mail, I decide whether it’s for information only, interesting reading, a reference notification or something that I have to take some action with. If an e-mail and requires my action, I right-click on it and flag it as a task for a given date. Then I move all e-mails into the folder for that month. Outside the office, I run a Mobile phone powered by Windows Mobile, which synchronises all my contacts, calendar, e-mails and tasks. If I need to add a task whilst out on the road, I enter it into my Windows Mobile and it synchronises back to my Outlook.

Notes to Actions - OneNote 2007. I say to business owners with a bit of tongue and cheek that before you can love anyone else you’ve got to love yourself. So if you spend a lot of time in meetings, love yourself and get yourself a Tablet PC. Customers can handwrite notes in OneNote, e-mail the notes to people, right-click on a note and turn it into a task which appears in the other person’s Outlook tasks to do. Simply magic. People love this.

Streamline Processes - InfoPath Many businesses all over the world still rely on paper forms. InfoPath is an electronic forms technology that allows businesses to really streamline processes. This is a hidden treasure that has huge benefits for how organizations can work smarter, cheaper, more accurately, and faster. People get InfoPath when they see it.

I’m only getting started. Vista and Office 2007 deliver immediate benefits for a business and its people. Deploying these technologies also allows businesses to leverage additional technologies such as SharePoint and Dynamics CRM and become even more successful. This is truly an exciting era where we can bring technologies and solutions to help our customers transform their businesses. Be energised to talk to your customers about their business SMB Partner Community - May 2007


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and where they want to go. Be confident to show them the relevance of these new technologies in creating a smarter business. In my travels meeting customers I’ve enjoyed listening to them and demonstrating technologies that they love, their people will love, and will love their bottom line. It’s time to spread the love. I

Carlos performing at the Vista Launch in his alter-ego.

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Carlos’ role is to help customers understand how Microsoft technologies can empower people to be more productive and organizations to be more effective. Carlos has worked in accounting, operations, manufacturing, IT, marketing and business development in industries including aviation, financial services, consumer goods, telecommunications and IT. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance, and a Master of Commerce in Marketing. You can reach Carlos at carmart@microsoft.com

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Position Your

Sales Organization for the Next 18 Months

by Ken Thoresen

D

uring the best and worst of times, the companies that typically stand out are those that appreciate the importance of execution and measurement. Core competencies or Best Practices seem to be the best description for these focus points. During the past 20 years, we have seen the successful companies have the highest regard for the basics and this ensures the entire company is focused on the following points of excellence. • Management Decisions • People and Culture • Activity Levels • Customer Results • Company Results In the world of business, management has analyzed financial statements, analyzed manufacturing processes, re-engineered systems and reviewed marketing effectiveness. CEOs have strengthened balance sheets with better asset management, reduced inventory and cost levels with Just-In-Time methodology, and increased direct mail and advertising effectiveness with testing and reporting methods. In today’s economic environment, the focus has shifted to the last bastion of corporate analysis—the sales organization. Now the boardroom is scrutinizing strategic sales management, sales productivity, the analysis of pipeline or forecasting accuracy, dollar values, cost of sales (COS), market share, sales process, life time values, and salesperson effectiveness. All organizations – whether revenues are stalled or growing – are now under pressure to create a sales distribution organization that generates consistent, profitable results. In response to this emphasis on strategic sales management, we have developed The Acumen Philosophy, a list of traits and values that characterize successful companies: • Business development effectiveness is essential • Business strategies come first • The best practices are consistent from industry to industry • Sales is a corporate priority Page 12

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• • • • • •

Structured process is key to success Teamwork prevails Training and recruitment are critically important Compensation is linked to corporate objectives Corporate image and branding is important Corporate culture is deep and consistent

If companies adopt these values but are not functioning or executing effectively, they usually lack a strategic and tactical sales plan. The plan must include: 1) an amalgamation of the organization’s goals; 2) the salesperson’s goals, 3) a coordination of marketing and sales tactics and 4) a common set of measurement factors that ensures that all parties are focused on the right activities for generating success. We believe that if a company focuses on aligning the soul of the individual with the corporation’s goals, success will follow. This psychological balance with the corporate focus brings together the essential elements for a sales team to execute at high levels. This type of management structure aids everyone and, therefore, is accepted readily by the sales team. Creating the Right Management Structure First, focus on creating individual salesperson business plans that define and bring together the goals of the salesperson with the goals of the corporation, and coordinates activity with planned marketing programs. These plans should integrate territory plans and/or specific named account plans for a specific time period. An effective planning tool asks the salesperson to identify: • Personal Objectives or Goals • Personal and Professional Developmental Goals • Income Goals • Activity Goals (from above) • Territory Analysis • Forecasted Revenues by Account • Total Forecasted Revenues for the Period • Quota Attainment Goals • Monthly Marketing Plans for 6 Months • Specific Account Strategies and Planned Tactics The use of a sales management-planning tool dramatically brings the Sales Manager’s focus from the past to the future. While most SFA (Sales Force Automation) /CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or manual sales-management systems can enhance the effectiveness of a sales organization, they generally measure SMB Partner Community - May 2007


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past activities and current sales funnel values. While this information is a must for all sales teams, these systems fall short by providing a rear view mirror methodology to managing. The Sales Manager is simply reacting to what has happened.

To learn more about Microsoft's Customer Relationship Management software go to http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/products/ dynamics-customer-relationship management/default.aspx

A new trend in SFA/CRM is sales management software, it has become more critical than SFA. SFA has experienced a 66% implementation failure rate. One factor is the Sales Manager and their salespeople generally have no forward looking plan or focus as to why or what they should be achieving in their territory or accounts. With effective Sales Management software planning tools, salespeople can build predictable revenues and generate strategic and tactical goals to increase their professionalism. A properly designed sales-management planning tool changes all of this. With a sales-planning tool, the sales manager can now monitor expected performance, coach, mentor, and provide a viewpoint of past performance and measure results against the salesperson’s desired objectives. In addition, a forward-looking individual salesperson marketing plan helps the salesperson and sales manager look at planned activities far enough ahead to ensure that consistent activities are in place to build pipeline values that will provide enough prospect opportunity to exceed individual quotas or personal goals. Like any new organizational change, the rollout must be carefully planned: 1) Each business planning tool must be carefully explained to all the salespeople. 2) Each salesperson must submit a draft to his or her manager for review and edit prior to the group meeting. 3) Each salesperson attends a group meeting with all members of the team (if physically possible) along with key members of the management team (CFO, VPs of Marketing and Production). 4) Each salesperson presents his or her business plan and account plans to his or her peer group and management team. We recommend that these meetings be serious events, including company management. Plus the meeting must incorporate some aspect of fun. The power of these personalized salesperson business and account plans is actually realized in phase two, when plan is measured against actual performance. This is when salespeople get it! They recognize what it takes to SMB Partner Community - May 2007

achieve their personal and professional goals, and they see how creating better planning impacts performance. These tools are excellent for new salespeople taking over existing territories and aid the sales manager in providing better forecasting to corporate management. The next requirement for effective sales management planning is continued measurement. The company must determine the common successful factors for your sales team. Determine at least four key indicators to measure ongoing sales success for all salespeople who have common responsibilities. These may include, by salesperson: 1) monthly forecasted revenue ratio to actual monthly revenue achieved; 2) number of proposals/quotes per month; 3) number of new accounts added to the pipeline each month; and 4) number of company visits per month. For new people, one indicator could be the time it takes to become productive. Is it 90 days, 60 days or 30 days? If it takes the salesperson longer to achieve productive revenue than you expect, you may need to consider retraining or releasing that person. Increasing the level of activity or increasing the quantity of prospects does not necessarily mean increasing sales, so ratios serve as important measurements. The sales leader must develop closing ratios for each salesperson, that is, how many prospects it takes to attain the monthly quota or your company’s revenue expectations. Analyze these ratios, by salesperson. Then roll them into a combined sales team ratio. Each sales manager must know the specific ratio of the revenue forecast to the percentage of actual revenue achieved. Graph this forecast-to-actual performance ratio monthly for each salesperson and for the entire team. Find your four indicators, set the standards and track them. Graphing them and letting the team see everyone’s trends will show what it takes to be successful. These graphs are great coaching tools.

An important lesson for a sales leader to learn is that declines in indicators foretell potential revenue downturns. If these trends are caught early, the sales manager can take actions to reverse the potential downturn.

Utilizing proper sales management planning tools, measuring actual performance against goals, and bringing the salesperson intimately into the review and planning process will create the culture, commitment, and focus that world-class sales teams have. I Ken Thoreson is the Managing Partner of the Acumen Management Group, Ltd, the leading North American-based Sales Management consulting organization focused on improving the sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations. For more information about creating a balanced sales management process, call (423)-884-6328, e-mail ken@acumenmgmt.com or visit www.acumenmgmt.com. www.smbnation.com

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Customer Focus

by Jeff Wuorio

What Makes a Good Boss?

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rom our earliest working days to the day we retire, all of us inevitably run into the boss from H-E double hockey sticks—ones that are intrusive, insecure and occasionally downright mean. If we're lucky, though, we spend much--if not most--of our working careers with bosses from the other end of the spectrum. These are the folks who, in varied ways, make work a pleasure, foster creativity and dedication, and ultimately build the sort of workplace where everyone belongs. But let's take that a step further. We all know wonderful bosses, but what precisely makes a good employer? Moreover, can those skills and attributes be learned or are they something magically intrinsic to a select few? The answers to those questions are admittedly varied, as one person's view of a top-notch employer will differ from somebody else's. However, there are a number of traits, attitudes and abilities that are common to all good bosses. Here are seven ways you can make yourself into the sort of boss that employees are likely to rave about rather than rant. 1. Yes, you can learn to be a better boss. Granted, some wonderful bosses seem to have floated down directly from heaven, but the fact remains that much of what goes into being an effective leader is learned behavior. Of course, there always have been and will be bosses who seem to have a flawless touch in leading and motivating. But for every natural, there are just as many top-flight bosses who got that way by attending management classes and seminars, reading books on effective leadership and, just as important, understanding that a good employer naturally attracts first-rate employees. 2. Define what your business' mission is. Of course, you run your business to turn a profit. But businesses that really thrive take that goal even further and establish a genuine mission. How that takes shape depends both on the business and on the overriding focus the boss wants to set. For instance, you may wish to stay open a bit later on certain days to service business owners who otherwise wouldn't have time to contact you. Making customer education a central element of your business mission can also move you beyond the simple goal of making a buck. Not only can a clear mission serve to motivate employees, it can also infuse a sense of importance into their jobs. 3. Take in the entire team, not just a few. No matter the size of your business or the makeup of the individual members, it's essential that everyone feel like an equal and involved part of the team. A good employer is certain to treat each employee fairly, not only in terms of salary and other forms of compensation, but Page 14

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also in how that employee is involved in the daily function of the business. Be proactive in this area--encourage feedback, innovation and creativity so employees feel genuinely engaged. If someone seems to be holding back, try to draw them out so they feel more connected with the group. 4. The whippings will continue until morale improves. Many of us have had bosses whose "motivational skills" may have rivaled Stalin's. Put another way, many bosses somehow decide that fear and intimidation are the most powerful motivators around. Don't be one of them. Rather than fostering a sense of fear should a mistake occur, let your people know that occasional snafus are a part of learning how to do their jobs better. Building up employees rather than beating them down can only foster enthusiasm and loyalty. 5. Don't just lead -- instruct. Great sports coaches are inevitably framed as great teachers—people who not merely motivate but are gifted at instruction. Take a lesson for your business. Rather than merely offering directives, take the time to work with your employees so they genuinely learn skills and habits that make them better at their jobs. If you think it appropriate, invest in special training and other programs that further solidify you as a teacher—not merely an authority figure. 6. Don't forget that employees have careers, not merely jobs. The people who work for you are looking to you to help them navigate and advance their careers. One way to do that is through training and other activities that build job skills and other marketable traits. In addition, get to know what sort of career your employees hope to have. From there, do anything you can to help them along that path, from carefully thought-out promotions to special project work that can bolster an employee's resume. 7. Acknowledge snafus. This may be a tough nut for some, but it's important to be able to admit to mistakes—even if you're the boss. In fact, it may be particularly important for you to fess up when necessary. For one thing, it establishes credibility and responsibility—rather than cooking up an excuse, you're ready to admit culpability. On top of that, it also encourages that very same trait among your employees. And that can only foster a workplace characterized by trust and honesty. I Jeff Wuorio is a business author and columnist. He can be reached at jwuorio@adelphia.net

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101 Series

by Dean Calvert

Hiring 101

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ou’ve decided you need to employ someone. This employee may be your first or simply your next; but regardless of the size of your business there are certain steps you need to follow to ensure the process has a good chance of success. This article will run you through a process I have found to be successful over the last few years. I hope it will help you too. So where do you start? First, ask yourself why you need an additional body. What has prompted this need? Are you simply going through a busy period or has business grown such that you have a sustained requirement for additional labor moving forward? Are you changing business direction or tackling a new opportunity? Consult your organizational chart and identify precisely what position(s) you need to fill. What? You don’t have an organization chart? Even if you’re currently a sole operator you should have one – a chart that shows the different functional areas of the business (the “hats” you wear) and the key responsibilities and results for which these positions are accountable. You may be filling a technical consultant position, a sales position or an administrative position. Whatever it is, make sure it fits in with your overall business growth strategy. Once you know what position is going to be filled (or even multiple positions – remember that a person can occupy more than one job role), think through specifically what the successful candidate will be responsible for. What is the end result this position needs to produce? This forms a results statement for the position - the “this is why you exist here” statement by which the employee can be guided and measured. For example, a sales position results statement might be, “To acquire and retain long–term, quality clients for the company by converting leads and cold contacts into profitgenerating clients as per company sales processes.” A technical consultant results statement might be, “To maintain long-term quality clients by providing professional technical services to clients as per company client management and support processes.” Combining the organizational chart and the results statement is the beginning of the position agreement document. This document describes the place this position occupies in the business (to whom the position reports to and who reports to the position), the results to be produced, position-specific responsibilities, positionPage 16

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specific standards, and general company standards. This is NOT a job description – it’s a document that outlines what is expected of the person filling the position and the results he or she needs to produce, together with general company standards (including working hours, dress code, smoking rules, etc. – things that can often be listed in one or two lines each). It is this document that the person will be signing as part of the employment accptance process. Now you need to give some consideration to the type of person best suited to fill the position. You know your business better than anyone, so use this knowledge, as well as your knowledge of the position you wish to fill, to define the personality, work ethic, skills, experience and overall presentation of the ideal candidate. You need to know what you’re looking for before you start to look, otherwise you won’t know when you’ve found it! Much like the following section from the book, Alice in Wonderland: Alice asked “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don't much care where--” said Alice. “Then it doesn't matter which way you go,” said the Cat. You need to know where you are going so you’ll know you’re where you want to be when you get there! This is now the time to write the job description. This identifies the responsibilities of the position itself and tends to be a bit more technical in nature. This document lists the “what” for the position – what it does and the products and technologies to be used.

For pointers on how to write an effective job description, visit the US Small Business Administration site at http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/manage/ manageemployees/SERV_JOBDESC.html

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depends on the business, your background and experience and the influence of those around you as to how you set these up. I tend to keep them separate as the job description itself tends to change more often than the position agreement as technologies change and business grows. The key expectations of a position, however, will tend to stay rather static. Now begins the actual process of seeking candidates. There are a variety of ways to find potential candidates including advertizing online, in your local newspaper, asking around or consulting a recruitment agency. (Personally, I prefer to both ask around and advertise online). You’re going to be selling the company to potential candidates, so take some time to write a good position advertisement that mentions the company, the work to be performed (refer to the job description) and the results the position will produce (refer to the position agreement). This tells people who they might be working for, what they will be doing and what will be expected of them. Be as specific as you can in the space you have available to get your message across. You should have some minimum standards for the position being filled and these should be incorporated into your ad so you’re ideally only going to be looking through applications of people qualified to fill the position (in their eyes anyway!). For example, if you want someone who can hit the ground running building servers, then you’ll probably want to write, “A minimum two years’ experience working with Windows Server operating systems is essential.” Or for an accounts person you may write, “A minimum 12 months’ demonstrable experience with QuickBooks accounting software is required.” One key trick I use when writing job ads is to list in bullet-point form the requirements of the position. Then when the applications come in, I check to see if they have specifically addressed those requirements. Not addressing them may indicate a possible lack of attention to detail. The same applies to spelling and grammatical mistakes. If someone can’t take the time to ensure his or her application is spell-checked and grammatically correct, this may not be the sort of person you wish to represent your company. When a job ad is placed, you’re likely to receive a rush of applications for the position, especially for online ads. You need to be a bit ruthless at this point, quickly reading through the applications and sorting them into three piles – yes, no and maybe. Those in the “yes” pile should look as closely aligned with your idea of the right candidate as possible. It’s a good idea to start booking interviews with those in the “yes” pile as soon as you can so that you keep your momentum with filling the position. Also, if these applicants look good to you, they may look good to another potential new employer too. Don’t miss the boat! Only SMB Partner Community - May 2007

move to the “maybe” pile if the “yes” pickings are slim – but be even more ruthless with this list as it can be potentially very bad for your business to have the wrong people on board. At interview time I have the candidates complete a single page form that asks them some basic questions such as qualifications, why they’re looking for a change in job, what they liked about the position advertised, where they see themselves in the future, etc. Whilst most of these questions are also asked during the interview, this form does give them ample opportunity to demonstrate their handwriting to me and also their ability to answer simple questions in written form. Whilst this may sound a little pedantic, I’ve learned that these can be very important indicators of what a person is like. Messy handwriting can mean they have a “don’t care” attitude, are not concerned about trying their best, have difficulty concentrating on a task or any number of other things. Remember – this person may be writing notes to your clients too. Do you want your clients to struggle to read these notes? The interview process is your chance to ask the questions that will tell you if this person deserves to work for you and your company. I try to ask questions that are open-ended and get them to do the talking while you do the listening. Don’t just limit your questions to “work related” issues. I like to ask about the movies and TV shows they watch, books they read, music they listen to, and a good one is to ask for them to describe their ideal holiday.

For pointers on the interview process, visit http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/manage/ manageemployees/SERV_INTPROCESS.html

Why a holiday? It can tell you a lot about the sort of person they are. For example someone who answers that they’d like to lie on a beach somewhere and soak up the sun may not be as driven as someone who would like to go trekking through mountains or travel the world. This means they could be less likely to push themselves through an all-night server rebuild if it came up but may remain calm in the event of a server meltdown. (Obviously answers to other questions need to be taken into account, so I'm being a bit general here for the sake of brevity.) Your questions should be geared to provide you with enough information to tell you whether or not you would want to have this person working for your company, representing your company to your clients, working alongside you and others in your business. When you have completed the interview(s) you should perform telephone reference checks for the candidates in www.smbnation.com

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whom you are still interested. The reference checks are to find out how the candidates performed in their previous jobs. Depending on where you are located and the applicable privacy laws, there may be limits to the questions you can ask and the answers you can be given. With experience, you will learn what questions you can ask and how to ask those questions you’re not supposed to in order to get the information you really want and need. Check with your local chamber of commerce to find out more about the relevant privacy laws. Depending on how the first interviews and telephone reference checks went, you may wish to conduct second interviews. I’ve used a second interview technique for some years that has proven to be quite effective for my business. (However, when I’ve mentioned it to others they have tended to exclaim “you can’t do that!!”) I call it the “interview in the round,” where the potential candidates from the final short list are invited to come in and meet the rest of the team they may be working with. Then there’s a non-scripted interview conducted with all present. It’s called “interview in the round” because more often than not, the candidate sits in a chair with the existing staff members in a semi-circle around him or her (OK so it’s not quite round). Questions can be asked by either “side.” Basically this is an opportunity for all present to see, in

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what limited time we have for this, whether they could work together. It’s been a great way to keep existing staff members included in the process and has helped me when it came to making final decisions between candidates. After the interview, we all discuss the interview and whether we feel the candidate would be a good match for the company. (It also means that when the successful candidate starts, everyone has already met.) Once the successful candidate has been selected I make a phone call to offer the position and send a letter of offer. This includes a copy of the position agreement and job description. Not only does this set the expectations right from the beginning but also shows the person that you take this position, and your business, seriously. With the job offer accepted you’ve completed the hiring process and are ready for induction and staff management (but these are topics for another time). I Dean Calvert is Managing Director and Principal Consultant for Calvert Technologies (www.calvert.net.au), a Microsoft Certified Partner and the first Small Business Specialist in Adelaide, Australia (the wine capital of the world). Dean also facilitates the Adelaide SBS user/partner group and has spoken at various events throughout Australia & the US (including SMB Nation!). Dean can be reached at dean@calvert.net.au

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Centerpiece

by Harry Brelsford

ALTER EGO = Relax, Focus and Succeed

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t’s 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Do you know where your namaste is? Do you constantly think about your SMB consultancy in off hours, often in a jumbled-up attention deficit disorder fashion? You are not alone. Based on his personal experiences and how he overcame chronic health conditions, Sacramento-based Small Business Specialist Karl Palachuk has written a book that allows you to ascend to a higher level of thinking beyond your business and start taking better care of yourself. “I went through a period of having severe health problems and I was forced to learn to get more done in less time. It was essential that I run my business between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. during that era to allow sufficient off-hours

approach, I’ve found the ideas just flow in. I need to spend more time with my wife, kids and finally write that book!” Meanwhile, back at the office. “So much work is busy work and doesn’t contribute to any of your goals. The key is to have energy for other things,” Palachuk said. So, does this mean a new career direction for Karl and new professional paths? Already known for his Small Business Specialist- based consultancy and his strongly-selling network documentations book, Karl has led several Relax Focus Succeed workshops in the Sacramento area. “Plus I’ve been writing a newsletter on this topic for three years. I’d like to test the waters in this workshop area. This is my alter ego and I want to develop this side of [my] personality. I’d like to help others develop more

recovery time. This situation led me to develop techniques to focus myself and get more done in less time,” Palachuk shared for this interview. “The result is an ability today to relax, get focused on one thing at a time and be more successful.” So how does he do it and what can Karl’s new book, Relax Focus Succeed (Great Little Book Publishing) do for you? Boiled down to the most basic elixir, it would be two steps. First, take the time to think about the day ahead via meditation, prayer and quiet time. Second, write down two or three things that you need to accomplish that day. But it’s really much more than that. “It’s not that there is a specific set of exercises. It’s slowing down and putting everything in perspective.” Palachuk added. “With my

holistically as well,” Palachuk shared. “But fear not, I have a few more technology books in me!” So what’s the net-net on this namaste networker? “Since I started living the Relax Focus Succeed lifestyle a few years ago, my health has returned, my business is running great, I have a great marriage and a happy teenage daughter!” Enough said. I

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On a personal note: Publisher Harry Brelsford balances his life practicing a form of yoga known as Hatha Yoga, while editor Beatrice Mulzer is a Bikram yoga addict. 'Nuff said!

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I was inspired when Harry Brelsford told me the premise of Karl Palachuk's latest book, Relax Focus Succeed. In the fitness industry I often deal with clients suffering from healthy bank accounts, but bankrupt minds, bodies and spirits. Karl's book addresses all three aspects of a person and beautifully sets forth a practical plan that inspires readers to change their lives by first changing themselves -- to work from the inside out. As Palachuk states in his Introduction and Overview, workaholism is a sign of the times, and not necessarily a positive one. As a yoga instructor, I’ve worked with workaholics from the business sector, as well as stay-athome moms, community volunteers and church leaders. Relax Focus Succeed doesn’t devalue hard work. In fact, Palachuk reinforces throughout the text that it is essential to personal and professional fulfillment. He teaches that our efforts must be redirected toward self-knowledge first, so that we can direct our energy into productive channels that relate directly to our goals. In fitness classes, we teach that it isn’t the number of repetitions we perform with a set of hand weights, it’s the quality with which we perform them. Sometimes more is more, but oftentimes less is more. Slowing down in order to become more productive isn’t an easy sell, but Palachuk doesn’t intend it to be. He acknowledges that those who put in more hours often receive more glory, yet he convincingly illustrates for us that recognition has its price. The book is filled with concise examples that illustrate how our misdirected energy can damage our personal relationships as well as our physical and emotional health. Perhaps the most convincing is Palachuk’s own story. While his testimony begins with a health crisis (rheumatoid arthritis), and ends with a life reconfigured around family, introspection and selfunderstanding, we witness that despite chronic pain, these techniques are necessary and life-changing when practiced with discipline and authenticity. Why is authenticity important? Palachuk credits selfknowledge as the primary key to his current personal and professional success. He writes, “Knowing your true self will help you work more effectively to reach your true goals. It SMB Partner Community - May 2007

will lead you down the road to success. It will bring a calmness that will improve your attitude and your relationships with others.” In yoga we teach self-understanding as the say to respond to life rather than react. Most yoga schools offer meditation, breathwork and physical movement through postures to help achieve exactly this. Palachuk, too, offers many similar disciplines. However he does so in a way that makes them accessible to all audiences. “True Relaxation,” as the author defines it, is simply “taking time to let your body and mind slow down and stop ‘working’.” Suggestions include a long, quiet walk, prayer, or reading a book that “doesn’t require you to think.” In his chapter “Meditation and Quiet Time,” he explains that meditation in particular is actually “very Christian,” based on the tradition of contemplation and the practice of Jesus himself. Ultimately, it’s not about even talking to God as it is about listening, and its benefits include the ultimate realization that, as individuals, we are not the center of the universe. Relax Focus Succeed, then, is not just about each of us achieving a more fulfilling life for ourselves, it’s about serving others as well. He clarifies that we have to do the work at home first before we can offer our best to the world. Palachuk offers a formula for “success” and goals for how to achieve it, but his plan also differs from others in that the path of personal growth he lays before us is its own reward. Just as one workout can make a difference to your health and wellbeing, one day of slowing down and looking within can increase your productivity and quality of life. I look forward to sharing this book with my clients and introducing them to a role model who knows first hand the challenges inherent in balancing career and family, without losing ourselves in the process. Nothing is more critical to the health of our society. Katie Pearson Master Trainer,YogaFit Training Systems Worldwide, Inc. ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Group-Exercise Instructor E-RYT Yoga Alliance Published author (MA English) www.smbnation.com

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Microsoft Insider by Beatrice Mulzer

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h, the home of Santa Claus! Finland, also known as the land of the thousand lakes (in fact there are 187,888 lakes), boasts of highly educated people. The Finnish literacy rates are among the highest - if not the highest - in the world. No wonder that Riika, who joined Microsoft just six month ago, put on an excellent SMB Nation workshop at the Helsinki University of Technology. As the Small Business Marketing Manager, Riika is involved in all the marketing activities that surround Small Business customers and Microsoft Partners, especially Small Business Specialists. “The economy is much different in other countries; we have many businesses with only a few employees, and many are just one or two persons. Even though these are small companies, they usually work as contractors to larger companies,” says Riika. “A very large percentage of the companies are located in the southern part of Finland.” Riika’s office is in Espoo, (a city close to Helsinki) which is located on the southern tip of Finland. The country itself spans a length of 1,157 km (719 miles) from north to south and a width of 542 km (336 miles) east to west. One of the things that occupies Riika’s time at the moment is playing Lara Croft, Tomb Raider on the Xbox 360 she bought a few weeks ago, and she really loves it. “If I can choose to watch a movie or play a game, I will choose

Meet Riika Finni Title: Small Business Marketing Manager Location: Espoo, Finland Responsibilities: Marketing activities and campaigns in the Small Business segment

Riika got acquainted with being on two wheels at a young age to play the game.” She also used to play Red Alert many years ago through internet networks with people from other countries. Now with her two boys, she really enjoys playing games with them, so there is family play time, and then there is Mom’s private play time too. Biggest challenge: “I think the biggest thing was coming to work for Microsoft. I used to work in the textile industry for about ten years prior to this. I had a very good position in marketing and PR there, but I decided I needed a change of wallpaper. Still, when I meet people I used to work with,

Education: Art teacher Age: 38 Currently reading: The Devil Wears Prada What Do You Do In Your Free Time? I spend a lot of time with my children (age of 11 and 13). I also like to read, take photographs and play videogames. What Motivates You? I love problem-solving and all kinds of challenges motivate me. If I don’t see any around, I create one. ☺ Life Philosopy? Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Sons Henry and Waltteri Page 22

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Next Steps: Putting her creativity and artistic stroke to work, Riika will be developing campaigns for Small Business Specialists that will launch in the next fiscal year. “Naturally we are trying to have more people receive the Small Business Specialist designation. We want to start having more meetings for partners where they can get together and network with each other, and basically create a program where Partners enjoy getting involved. In the IT business there seems to be a tendency to go behind the computer, e-mails and text messages, and people forget … the face-to-face contact,” says Riika. Then she describes what Microsoft is doing to generate demand on the customer side, “We are also marketing to the end customers in Finland to let them know about the Small Business Specialists.” Mom is taking her boys to compete in a bicycle race

people ask me how I could have done this change.” (Note: Once you have finished an apprenticeship in a specific profession in Europe you are most likely to remain in that industry for your entire career.) “When I first started at Microsoft, somehow I felt like I came to another country where they speak a language that I don’t understand. That was a huge challenge including having to learn all about the products, and it was a huge learning curve.” Nevertheless, Riika jumped in with both feet and managed to get up to speed in no time at all. “I think the next big challenge I am looking for before too long is learning to ride a motorcycle; I really look forward to that. I have already picked a bike, a Triumph Bonneville.” Lessons learned: “One big lesson I have learned was try not to handle everything. Because if you try to handle everything, you will not be able to handle anything well,” says Riika, and then she adds, “And I also learned that you have to really focus on the things that are most important, in your family and personal life, but also at work.”

The Triumph that Riika is about to get! Conclusion: Getting Microsoft Partners involved in the program while simultaneously going out and generating demand with small business customers makes sense to me. All this aligns with Riika’s creativity and her positive attitude. The motto is: “If I can’t find a positive way to work out a task, I will find the second positive way!” Well, with this attitude there can only be a win-win on the horizon! I

SPA-Incentive The Microsoft Partners who participated at the Helsinki workshop were offered a chance to receive a one-day spa treatment with their spouse if they passed the 70-282 exam by the middle of June. That included your typical spa-spoils, including pool and massage treatments. What an incentive! A shot from a raindeer race in Lapland SMB Partner Community - May 2007

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Perceptions

by Harry Brelsford

Unconferencing!

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t’s a well-known business axiom that companies that stop listening to their customers go out of business. Both you and I are subject to this law. In the magazine business, we hear from readers constantly in the form of article suggestions and letters to the editors. In the $122 USD billion events market, there has traditionally been a “build it” and they will come business model where we hear from our customers in a post-event survey. Too late to do much for the past but a good feedback loop for the future. But we can do better. I recently received an e-mail from long-time reader Harlan Lax. He introduced me to the “unconference” concept (which you can read more about at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference). Essentially, participants create the content agenda. What the hell – let’s go for it! Over the past month or two, we have asked in-person attendees at our WW MS\HP workshop tour to suggest topics for the fall SMB Nation 2007 conference in Redmond (Microsoft Conference Center, September 29-October 1, 2007). We also ran an online survey to collect suggestions from our cyberfans. It’s all good and let me share the results right here, right now!

Photo Essay “I’m interested in industry best practices and how to leverage these best practices in my business.” David Yarachus, President, Chesapeake NETCRAFTSMEN, Annandale, VA Attendee at Cisco Partner Conference SMB Day, April 3, 2007 (Las Vegas) “Business topics are interesting to me.” Scott Richman, Nerds Support Computer Services, Miami, FL Attendee at Kaseya User Conference, April 2-3, 2007 (Las Vegas)

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“Find out more about customers. What are the customer’s hot spots?” Mike Mudford, Technical Consultant, CodeBlue, Penrose, Auckland, NZ Attendee at SMB Nation, Auckland workshop, April 11, 2007

“Licensing - learn more about Open Value. I’m talking to a law firm client right now that needs to move up to Open Value.” Clive Start, CVS Computing Limited, Lower Hutt, NZ Attendee at SMB Nation Wellington, NZ workshop, April 12, 2007 “Some of the online content like you read at IT Web and TechRepublic” Scott Davison (right), Terence McPhail (center), Colin McCarthy (left) Morolo Dynamics (Pty) LTD Attendees at SMB Nation Johannesburg, South Africa workshop, March 14, 2007

“Software as service stuff” Chad Mileham, Domain Solutions Attendee at SMB Nation Johannesburg, South Africa workshop, March 14, 2007

“Red Ocean, Blue Ocean! It’s an intriguing business paradigm everyone should learn about.” SBS-MVP Henry Craven, Solutions Architect, CI Information Technology Pty. Ltd. Attendee at SMB Nation Melbourne Australia workshop, April 18, 2007

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“SharePoint 2007” Christian Cipolat, Technical Director, ComputerTroubleshooters Attendee at SMB Nation Sydney Australia workshop, April 17, 2007

“One of the things I like to get out of conferences is to get the opportunity to network with other professionals and also gain insight from experts in the field.” Raymond Hunter, Systems Administrator, Georgia Environment Facilities Authority, Atlanta, GA, attendee at Exchange Connections conference in Orlando, FL, April 04, 2007

CyberSpeak So what say ye online? Here is a sampling of comments from our online survey. • A majority of respondents (31%) spread over four response categories felt that having the boot camp

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as PART of the SMB Nation 2007 conference was a good idea. But there is a strong contingent that feels an important need for bona fide business and technical content to boost their businesses. We hear ya’s and we’ve built in that balance. • An overwhelming majority like the idea of a session on how to use OneNote (over 75% approved this). • Content comments included: o As a newbie (and having never been to a conference), I'd like to see topics related to starting/building a new business. o Anything SharePoint related. o I would like to see E-Myth presentations. o CRM and SMB - How to make it outshine what it was intended for. I.e., how to use CRM to properly track assets for customers, how to make it be a database worthy of the SMB consultant. o A session on the relevance of Groove to SMB

Poll of the month: Mobility madness Tell us your view of the world with respect to mobility. Have you completed the mobility assessment toolkit? Click over to www.smbnation.com and kindly complete our survey. We appreciate it. I

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Technology Watch Mobile Solutions a lá Microsoft For real Geeks only: Watch this webcast to see how Microsoft deployed, manages, and uses its own Windows Mobile platform within the company. You'll learn about Microsoft IT's operational disciplines of device standardization, Windows Mobile and Microsoft Exchange Server application service extensions, and market procurement strategies and future service expansion objectives. http://tinyurl.com/2kbawy

Denver, Colorado. The Microsoft Small Business Symposium will give you key insights about how to balance customer needs with your own growth objectives. Free to Small Business Specialists, nonSBSC can attend for a USD $99 fee. Register at http://partner.microsoft.com/sbsymposium using code THDOY29X.

Most popular performance add-on sold! Congratulations! One of our very own, Mark Crall, an instrumental member of the Charlotte SBS User Group www.sbscharlotte.com was nominated to become a SBSC Partner Area Lead (PAL). If this is the first you hear about this new SBSC program, listen up – because its purpose is to grow community engagement providing partners with networking opportunities and helping partners to grow their business. As a community leader Mark will be involved in shaping SBSC community strategy and foster community participation by meeting several criteria set by Microsoft, which includes providing feedback to Microsoft to help improve program initiatives. We look forward to see and hear more from Mark as he continues to participate in UG activities, online newsgroups and forums. Way to Go Mark!

Don’t Miss It! You work hard to make sure your small-business clients are successful, helping them adopt technology to further their continued growth and prosperity. But what about your own success? Come to the second annual Microsoft Small Business Symposium, July 9, 2007, in

Diskeeper Corporation announced that unit sales of Diskeeper have reached an 89.8% market share in System Utilities/General Disk Utilities sold (March 2006 - February 2007) according to data from The NPD Group's Distributor Track. Diskeeper software provides unparalleled performance and reliability to laptops, desktops and servers. Receive full versions of Diskeeper software including the latest Vista-compatible 2007 edition by requesting your free Channel Solutions Kit from http://www.diskeeper.com/smbn

ASCII Event, Austin, TX The next ASCII event will be held Thursday, June 28, 2007 at the Omni Austin Downtown, 700 San Jacinto at 8th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Speakers will cover topics from sales and marketing to wecurity, managed services and business continuity trends to Spam, VoIP and IP cameras! Find out more at http://www.asciievents.com

Continued on page 29 (see Tech Watch) Page 26

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Community

by Beatrice Mulzer

Small Business Specialist Investment Advisory: Microsoft Small Business Symposium 2007

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wonder what Microsoft will think of next. At last year’s Microsoft WW Partner conference (WPC) you were able to spot pods of yellow shirts amongst the crowd, and you knew right away there was a group of Small Business Specialists. The day before the WPC kicked off in Boston, Microsoft held its first ever Small Business Symposium next-door to the conference center, drawing about 400 Microsoft partners, many Small Business Specialists (which received the yellow t-shirt. See SMBPC August 2006 issue: Code Yellow!) and others about to become Small Business Specialists. Fast forward – this year on July 09, 2007, the community affair will happen again at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center. I look forward to the Small Business Symposium this year because the theme is “Growing Business to Its Potential” and that is a topic that I enjoy – because it is as great a challenge as it is a passion. Simply by becoming a Small Business Specialist (SBSC) and being able to sport the logo, I feel that Partners who choose to go through the certification process aim higher than to be just the neighborhood network technician. They aspire to be true “trusted advisors” to their clients. The advantages of SBSC certification don’t stop with the offers and incentives for Small Business Specialists by Microsoft which include great tools like the Technology Assessment Toolkit (that really helps leverage the relationship with your client by moving you more into a “strategic consulting” role). Certification also provides you with opportunities to participate at the Symposium, where you can gather in a group of like-minded peers for one day of super-brainstorming and knowledge exchange and mingle with the very Microsoft representatives who have made this program happen. This is an advantage not to be missed. Constantly I hear people moan and groan about Microsoft this and Microsoft that. Yet I do not know of any other worldwide company that puts out so much effort into supporting its partners and fostering its community. A day of free business advice for Small Business Specialists, a chance to exchange with Microsoft directly and meet consultants I may be able to partner with, and being part of an extraordinary group of entrepreneurs who take their business seriously – and at no cost other then the flight and Page 28

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a hotel room for one night – makes this almost too effortless. One could easily miss the value presented here. It is obvious that I am excited about the Symposium this year. Part of it is due to the excellent agenda that has been put together. The three main goals this year are: 1) Helping small business Partners build business success; 2) Provide new insights into the small business marketplace; 3) Build the community of Small Business Partners

Symposium Highlights • Microsoft Keynote – Microsoft’s Vision and Roadmap in the Small Business Marketplace o Michael Risse, VP Small and Medium Business. • Business Growth & Success Keynote o Motivational and entertaining. Robin Crow will relate his experience as an entrepreneur and small business owner to the audience. The purpose is to energize the audience and give them real-world advice as business leaders about how to overcome growth barriers and build their own businesses successfully. • Small Business Marketplace Keynote o Insight into trends in the small business marketplace based on late-breaking research conducted by Warrilow & Co. These trends will relate to the business growth barriers identified by Partners. The goal will be to give partners a “look into the minds of their customers.” • Microsoft Executive Panel – Executives from Microsoft Business Groups representing Small Business technologies (Small Business Server, Vista, Office, CRM, Office Live) will take audience questions relating to the future of the MS small business technology stack. • Networking Lunch

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• Business Opportunity Breakout Sessions (Two hours – Partners pick two of six sessions to attend.) o Microsoft-led breakout sessions with topics centered on current and upcoming small business technology solutions and how to implement the business opportunity of each within the Partners’ businesses. Each session will include Partner best practices and testimonials. • Business Growth Breakout Sessions (Two hours – Partners pick two of six sessions to attend.) o Partner-led breakout sessions related to overcoming business barriers to growth. Presented by partner peers. Topics include: Hiring, Financial Management, Customer Relationships, Conducting Business Assessments, Business Model Best Practices (Managed Services, Software as a Service).

Another reason to attend is the line-up of excellent speakers and topics which are very relevant to our success in the SMB space. Take a look at the outline of the agenda on page 21. If you feel like you have been an island of your own, this may be the time to reach out and participate in this event to re-energize, get ideas, get motivated and meet other positivethinking people who understand the value of good business. You can get more detail and sign up for the event at https://partner.microsoft.com/40028827?msp_id= sbsymposium – and consider this an investment into your Small Business Specialist future! I

If you register for the Small Business Symposium,

• Cocktail Reception

be sure to enter

The admission is free for Microsoft Small Business Specialists and $99 for non-Small Business Specialist partners.

code: THDOY29X

Tech Watch (Continued from page 26)

Workplace Surveillance from Down Under Been looking for a reporting tool to use with Small Business Server Premium Edition? WebSpy Insight is the ultimate reporting tool for users of Microsoft Small Business Server Premium. It provides accurate and detailed information on user web browsing and email activity, as well as important security information such as external attacks and blocked outgoing requests. Find out more about Insight and download a 30 day trial at http://www.webspy.com.au/products/insight/index.aspx

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Tech Corner

by Mikael Nystroem

Virtual Server 2005 and Small Business Server 2003

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irtualization is a hot topic today. You could use your hardware more effectively and work in different ways. How would you like to “undo” a service pack installation? Or take a “copy” of a web server and do some testing in an isolated environment? Let’s look at some innovations you could implement in an SBS environment. Microsoft has two products that could be used - Virtual Server and Virtual PC. The versions that I use today are Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 (BETA 2) and Virtual PC 2007 (RC).

The difference between “Virtual PC” and “Virtual Server.” Virtual PC is meant to be a desktop application for testing and trying out applications and configurations and sometimes also to run legacy applications on an upgraded desktop. Virtual Server on the other hand is designed as a server service and for running machines virtually for “real.” Below are the major differences between the two apps. Despite the difference in the applications, the format for the virtual hard disks is the same. If you create a machine image in Virtual PC you can use it in Virtual PC or in Virtual Server.

Virtual PC • Uses single-host CPU o Single thread for all VMs • Emulates Sound Blaster 16 (enabled by default) • Shared folders (with Virtual Machine Additions) • Drag & drop • 1 x CD-ROM drive per VM, ISO image <= 2.2 GB • No SCSI support • Shared networking (NAT) • PXE support (Virtual PC 2007) • Description of host network adapters stored in %APPDATA%\Microsoft\ Virtual PC\Options.xml

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I’m often asked whether you can run Virtual Server 2005 R2 on a desktop with Windows XP installed. Yes, you can. However, scripting is not supported and neither is running it in a production environment.

Different scenarios in a Small Business Server 2003 environment. You can use virtualization and Virtual Server in a couple of ways in an SBS environment. First, you could install Virtual Server on the SBS 2003 server. It’s fully supported and works well for some types of virtual machines. Another scenario is to get an extra physical machine and install Virtual Server on it. That would be good scenario if you need multiple virtual machines. Maybe you would like to have a terminal server, an SQL server, a SharePoint Services server 3.0 and a new file server. If you don’t want these running in the server (and you shouldn’t) you could get a good 64-bit machine, install the Windows Server 2003 x64 version and then install Virtual Server 2005 R2.

Virtual Server • Uses multiple-host CPU o Multithreaded • Hardware speaker only (classic beep) • No shared folders (uses virtual network) • No drag & drop (uses virtual network) • Multiple CD-ROM drives per VM, ISO image >= 2.2GB • Built-in SCSI support (Adaptec AIC-7870) • No NAT built-in (uses MS Loopback adapter and RRAS/ISA) • COM API • VMRC Remote management • Runs as a service • Stores network settings in separate XML configuration files in %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Documents\ Shared Virtual Networks\*.vnc • Infinite number of virtual networks supported, each with a fully customizable DHCP server • Unlimited number of virtual machines can connect to each virtual network

Licensing and Virtual Server 2005. Virtual Server and Virtual PC do not cost anything but you have to pay for the license for “guests” as if the products were normallyinstalled in a physical machine. But there are some special rules. Because all the virtual “guest” machines can only “see” one CPU, you will only have to pay for one CPU. Another interesting thing is that if you buy the x64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 R2, you have the right to run four virtual instances of Windows Server 2003 R2 on top of the physical box. That way it does not cost so much to get a virtual server platform to run.

Before installation. There are a few things to think of before starting the installation. First there is the choice between 32- and 64-bit. When you install Virtual Server on the SBS server you don’t have a choice - you have to install the 32-bit version. But if you by a new piece of 64-bit hardware and install a 64-bit version of Windows Server, you can run the 64-bit SMB Partner Community - May 2007


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version of Virtual Server. There are great benefits to running the 64-bit server OS and the 64-bit version of Virtual Server 2005 R2 - both performance and memory handling. Another thing to know is that you should have an extra NIC in the host machine so that all the virtual machines have their “own” NIC in the host machine. NICs in the host machine act as network switches to the virtual machines. If you add an extra NIC to the machine you should remove all bindings on the NIC except “Virtual Machine Network Services.” Then you will avoid the problem with the host machine actually having two IP addresses in your local network.

Setup and Configuration of Virtual Server 2005 R2. It’s a pretty straightforward process - kind of next-next“finish.” But before you start the installation, you need to install IIS 6.0 on the server. (Of course, if it’s an SBS server you won’t need to, because IIS 6.0 is installed by default).

Select “Virtual Machine Remote Control (VMRC) Server” and select “Enable.” If the SBS server has multiple network adapters, change the TCP/IP address from “(All unassigned)” to the internal IP address of the server.

Next step is to configure the “paths” so that new virtual machine ends up in the right place and you can easily select ISO and other images. First, create a couple of folders in the file system. Create the following folder structure: E:\Machine E:\ISO Go back to the web page, click on “Search paths,” and type in the correct paths to the folders like this:

After installation, start your browser and type http://servername:1024/virtualserver/vswebapp.exe? view=1 and you should see the Virtual Server page:

Creating a Virtual Server. To do this you will need a CD media or an ISO image of a Windows Server 2003, a license, and a PID key.

To configure the server properties, click on “Server Properties” and you will get this screen:

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1. Select “Virtual Machines,” – “Create.” 2. Give the server a name. 3. Select the amount of memory the server will have (the overhead is 32 MB). 4. Select size on the hard disk. a. Note that the hard disk created by the wizard is a “dynamically expanding virtual disk.” This kind of disk could be bigger than what you actually have as free space on the server. For performance reasons you should convert the disk to a fixed size disk afterwards. 5. Connect the machine to the network by choosing the correct network adapter. a. Note that the network adapter works as Ethernet switches and that more than one virtual machine www.smbnation.com

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can use the same virtual “switch.” You should select the same network adapter that is connected to your internal network. 6. Click “OK” and there is your new “server,” without OS, of course.

The first time you start the new machine you will have to fill in the security questions. At this time you have the virtual machine running and booting from the CD. If you want, you can change settings in the virtual BIOS if you like.

Choosing the correct SCSI driver.

Server configuration properties The server configuration properties screen shows you all the attributes of the virtual machine. In the example shown, I have 128 MB of RAM dedicated to this virtual machine and the network is not connected. So this machine will not be able to communicate with the rest of the network before I connect it, not even with the host. Before installing the OS, add an SCSI adapter for speed. 1. Select “SCSI Adapters,” add one, and then return to this menu. 2. Select “Hard disks,” and change the connection to SCSI ID 0:0 instead of IDE Primary. 3. Insert the OS CD into the host CD.

Boot up the system with the installation CD in the CD drive and then: 1. Press F6 when prompted. 2. Switch over to the web interface for Virtual Server. 3. Select to “Edit” the configuration. 4. Search for “Floppy,” and select the “Known floppy disks,” radio button. 5. Select the image called “SCSI Shunt Driver” (see Floppy drive selection screen). 6. Press “S” to select the correct driver.

Floppy drive selection screen.

Note: It’s very important that when you use the SCSI adapter, you use the correct driver. Otherwise the installation will be very, very slow.

Installing the operating system. In a Virtual Server you do not have a real screen or a real keybord/mouse, but there is an application that comes with the system called “Virtual Machine Remote Control” client. Prior to this we configured the VMRC Server on port 5900. Now go to “Start - All Programs – Microsoft Virtual Server - Virtual Machine Remote Control Client” and type in the servername starting with vmrc://servername:5900. Page 32

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After that it’s a vanilla installation! Go ahead with “Next” – “Next” and then you are done. Once you have rebooted the virtual machine you need to install VMadditions. This is important. It’s also very important to keep the VMadditions updated, because they improve the virtual machine’s performance. When you install a service pack on the virtual machine, you will most likely experience performance degradation. Installing the latest VMadditions will fix the performance problem.

Ready Built Machines from Microsoft. Microsoft now has “ready-made” virtual machines that can be tried out. Download them from http://www.microsoft.com/vhd. At this time there are Windows Server 2003 R2, ISA 2006, Exchange 2007 and SQL 2005 ready for download. All of them are “trial” and cannot be upgraded to “real” machines, but they are great for trial and demo purposes.

Summary. Join the machine to the domain. This is done the same way you join a regular physical machine to the domain, and you can treat it as such on the network. If you have access to an ISO image, you can do all this remotely. And that could be a cool thing to do. You could put up a Terminal Server on the network while watching a DVD at home.

Storage. The VHD files are virtual hard disks and can either be fixed size (performance) or dynamic (only consume the actual space, but more slowly). But there is also ISCSI. Microsoft has an ISCSI initiator (free download) and the only other thing you need is an ISCSI target (ISCSI Server). Small SAN solutions will have proper ISCSI target support. If you want to try it out, or if you have a large number of disks, you could get a piece of software and install it on the machine that has all the other software. I have found one company that makes an ISCSI target that works. The URL is http://www.rocketdivision.com. Download the StarWind ISCSI Target and install it for a 15-day trial. It’s one of the easiest setup/configurations I have ever done. Just install it on the machine that has disk space, start StarWind, create a “disk” and give it a name. Start up the machine that “needs” the disk, install MS ISCSI initiator, select the server, select the disk, check mark “Permanent,” and you have a new disk. StarWind ISCSI target also supports VSS so storage is already virtualized.

Consider the option of a virtual server as either a test terminal server or a terminal server for just a couple of people in the SBS environment. There is great potential when you start using Virtual Server. If you get just one Windows Server 2003 R2 x64, you could have a separate file/print, AV Server, LOB and a terminal server in just one box except for SBS. You may wonder if it is possible to run SBS in a virtual server. It is, but it’s not supported. You can download Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/ virtualserver/default.mspx My tip to you is to start using Virtual Server 2005 R2, learn how it works, and explore all the possibilities that virtualizations can bring to you and your customers. In the future, Longhorn Server will have something called “viridian” or “hypervisor” as a free add-on, which will have even greater capabilities than Virtual Server 2005 R2. Would you like to have “hot-add CPU” support? ☺ The SP1 for Virtual Server 2005 R2 is going to be released soon. It will add great features like: • Support for Intel Vpro and AMD-V • VSS backup • Support for more Linux machines • Faster performance • Offline VHD Mount • Active Directory Integration • + more

Converting physical to virtual? Yes, it can be done. Microsoft has a tool called VSMT, Virtual Server Migration Toolkit that works OK. The only “but” is that it requires you to have a Windows Server 2003 Enterprise license to install ADS, and that’s a part of VMST. You could, however, install VSMT and all the infrastructure on a virtual machine and use a trial license of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise just to do the conversion (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/ virtualserver/evaluation/vsmt.mspx). Another tool that you could use is PlateSpin (http://www.platespin.com/).

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I think that I have covered the most, but not all. If you have any questions, please drop me an e-mail and I will try to help out. I Mikael Nyström is a Microsoft MVP in Windows Server – Setup/Deployment. He is active in the Swedish SBS community and newsgroups. Mikael is a trainer and seminar speaker. He works on large network solutions involving Virtual Server, MOM, SMS, BDD, Exchange, and collaboration solutions. But in his heart there is a Small Business Server.You can reach Mikael at mikael.nystrom@truesec.se

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Money Shaker

by Robin Robins

14 Fast Ways to Dramatically Improve The Response and Financial Return of Your Direct Mail Campaigns

B

ased on actual testing and client feedback, I can confidently report that direct mail is one of the BEST ways for any computer consulting firm – big or small - to attract new clients, cross-promote services, and stay in touch with existing clients and prospects. On average, my clients report a $5.00 to $6.00 return for every $1.00 they spend on direct mail marketing. But you cannot just stuff any old flyer into an envelope, mail it out, and expect a landslide response. You may already know that based on your own expensive failures using this marketing medium. While this is a vast topic that requires a considerable amount of study, I thought that I would give you a quick checklist to use when creating a direct mail campaign. Make sure your package contains all of the following before licking your first stamp. 1. Is the list or target audience tightly matched to the offer you are making? Your list is the single most important element to any direct mail campaign; take extreme care in choosing and verifying the source and accuracy of your list. Most people do not spend nearly enough time on this activity, and simply rent a list based on geography and company size. This is a surefire way to LOSE money on your direct mail campaign. 2.

Does your letter have a headline that: o Promises to deliver a big, juicy benefit? o Arouses curiosity? o Contains news that passes the “so what” test? o Is written to appeal to a business owner, and not a techie? Quick check; are you using acronyms, industry terms like “IT infrastructure,” and calling yourself an IT service provider instead of a “computer guy?”

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3. Did you include an offer? Is it truly irresistible? Will your target market immediately see value in it? Did you SELL your free offer as though it cost money? Just offering something for free will NOT guarantee a response. You have to sell it as though they were paying money for it. 4. Did you build urgency to respond immediately with a deadline or a limited supply? 5. Did you use technical terms, acronyms, vendor names, or other “tech talk,” or did you focus 100% of the copy on defining the problems you will solve and the results you will deliver? 6. Is the layout clean, neat and inviting to read? o Did you AVOID using hard-to-read fonts, graphics or patterns behind text, and multiple fonts? o Did you use short paragraphs and subheadlines? 7.

Are the testimonials impressive and convincing or do they just say you “did a good job”? Can SMB Partner Community - May 2007


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you supercharge your testimonials by adding your client’s picture or including an audio interview of your client outlining the results you were able to produce for them? 8.

Did you write the copy as though you were having a casual, one-on-one conversation with your prospect, or did you use “brochure speak” that is NOT used in everyday conversations?

9.

Is it clear to readers what they should do to respond? Did you give them more than one way to respond? (Phone, fax, e-mail, web.)

10. Will they know your letter is junk mail by looking at the envelope? 11. Have you made your letter hard to ignore (for example, lumpy mail, sent via FedEx or priority mail, unusual container or envelope size)? 12. Are you ready with at least three more letters, e-mails, or phone calls to follow up on the first one? 13. Do you have a plan in place for how you will quickly follow up on responses once they come in? 14. Did you focus on one product or service, or did you send a catalogue? When selling professional, high-ticket services, you will increase response by focusing your promotion on your most in-demand service. Never try to promote more than one product or service in a mailing. Focus on a single, “hot” product or service and use every inch of space to sell the merits of it. You can sell them other products and services once your prospect becomes a client. I Robin Robins has over 14 years’ experience in direct sales and marketing. Robin is an independent marketing consultant, sales trainer, and author who specializes in low risk, low-cost marketing strategies for small computer resellers, solution providers, and IT consulting firms. To learn more about Robin, visit her online at www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com.

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Global Perspective An interview with

Mr. Carlos Fernando Paleo da Rocha CPA (BR), MBA, MSc, MCP, MCTS, BCP

C

help other people. During the nights we teach to share our arlos was recently in the Puget Sound area for the knowledge. My wife teaches about human resources and MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Partner) Summit. I I teach about computers, management and accounting as met Carlos at the Rock Bottom brewery after he it’s my academic background. This is something that’s in finished his first ever game of pool, where he wove an [the] family already as [both our] mothers were teachers interesting tale of his life as a consultant in Brazil. While too. We also volunteer through our churches.” some of it is very familiar, some of it radically different. Founder and president of the “MVP designations is a synonym for Microsoft Users a dream carried out.” Group - Rio Grande do Sul – Being an MVP gives Carlos recognition of the work Brazil, Carlos already carried out, which is a very necessary advantage also contributes in his marketplace. The designation is also a stimulus. He to the Microsoft says, “Because I am not from the United States … this T e c h N e t MVP designation is a synonym [for] a dream carried out. Carlos enjoys an after work soak. newsgroups It is a big honor to possess this title. This title gives (http://www.technetbrasil.com.br) and VBA Express recognition and credibility to the widespread works by Forum (http://www.vbaexpress.com). Though Carlos my company.” enjoys contributing technical articles, his passion appears Despite some apparently wild bureaucracy and some to be answering questions and soothing doubts. of the stickiest red tape imaginable, Brazil is still a very Carlos said, “I run a consulting firm called Consulting entrepreneurial culture with new businesses opening Business Solutions (http://www.consulting.etc.br) and and flourishing. develop websites for my clients. I am “I believe Brazil [still has] a graduate in Accountancy Sciences, plenty of opportunities for with specializations in Accounting consulting as there are lots of new and Finances and Master in businesses opening every day and Accounting and Finances.” they need some kind of support. Carlos has been in the Of course we have to face the consultancy since 1996 with a focus competition with open source, but on solutions for small and medium if there wasn’t any competition it companies through the use of wouldn’t be fair … so I believe it’s Microsoft technologies. Carlos is an a good thing. Competition always active member of the VBA Express forces us to surpass our forum and the TechNet and MSDN boundaries and become better communities in Brazil. each and every day. This year we As with so many SBSCs, life reinstated a saying at my firm outside the business is nearly as which states: ’Difficult we do right full-time as inside the business. away, impossible takes a little “My wife is a psychologist, so longer!’ I am definitely a cup-halfshe has good flexibility in her full full guy instead of a half-empty schedule like me. Even having this one. Most of all, I love what I do, Carlos is a sought after public speaker hectic life we always find time to so I do it all with passion.” and teacher. SMB Partner Community - May 2007

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currently paying Microsoft fees of around 1200 Brazilian reais ($500; £270). If you switch to open source Budget: Revenues: $244 billion software, you pay less in royalties to Expenditures: $219.9 billion, including capital foreign companies,” explains expenditures of $NA (FY 07 est.) Amadeu. “And that can count for a lot in a country like Brazil, which still Public debt: 50% of GDP (2006 est.) has a long way to develop in the IT sector.” Agriculture - products: Coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, Overall, the government cocoa, citrus, beef estimates it could save around $120 million (USD) a year by switching Industries: Textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, from Windows to open-source iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, alternatives. other machinery and equipment Carlos has his own view. “Microsoft is still marketing its Telephones 86.21 million (2005) products very well down here mobile cellular: almost all of them. But unfortunately Internet country code: .br SBS seems to be the forgotten one. The majority of people have never Internet hosts: 6.508 million (2006) even heard about it and Microsoft doesn’t do marketing over it like we Internet users: 25.9 million (2005) would like them to.” “People in some states, https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/br.html especially mine, love Linux in all its flavors and they take it to the With 180 million people, Brazil is the largest country passion level, not the technical one. We face very in Latin America. It has the ninth largest economy in the aggressive people at some seminars, but they are getting world. Brazil is the United States’ largest trading partner cooler as they don’t have enough features to compete with a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1,536 [in] the real corporate world. We can’t say there isn’t a trillion (USD). Policies adopted by the Brazilian trend to open source down here, because in fact there is; government in recent years to stabilize and open the but at the same time many businesses that went that way economy have made Brazil one of the most dynamic are coming back already, so maybe the tide is going the emerging markets in the world. other way around now.” The political decision to adopt and stimulate the use “I see SBS as the best competitor to Linux as there is of open platforms and free software programs in Brazil nothing in the open source world that could be called has been reinforced via several government-led feature-compatible with SBS. It is robust and complete, so initiatives. The government ministers advocate free open it’s the better weapon to fight this war!” source software as a strategy for development. This model provides incentives for government technological Microsoft Fights Back development policies and cuts government costs on Because more than 90% of the world's personal proprietary software. computers still use the Windows operating system, in a

Money Saving “The number one reason for this change is economic,” says Sergio Amadeu, who runs the government’s National Institute for Information Technology. He explains that, for every workstation, the government is Page 38

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global sense Microsoft has little over which to worry. A written statement indicated that governments and computer users should be free to choose whichever software and other technology best meets their needs. But when all the costs and benefits are taken together, Carlos thinks Microsoft offers the best value. SMB Partner Community - May 2007


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Microsoft’s site dedicated to helping IT professionals compare Windows and Linux on key platform considerations. Get in-depth comparative analysis on these topics and more: • Total Cost of Ownership • Reliability • Security • Intellectual Property Indemnification • Interoperability • Performance • Partner Success • Small and Medium Sized Businesses http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver/facts/ default.mspx?R=cf and http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/ Articles/MicrosoftandOpenSource.mspx

“Well, [the] core of the Linux question [is] the hidden costs. People usually look only at the acquiring cost, but they miss the customization, training and support costs, where Linux loses badly. SBS is sold around US $850 for Standard and US $2,500 for Premium,” he notes. “Actually I see very few SBSC consultants around here and tons of Linux/Unix consultants, so it’s very hard to compare them. In general a Linux consultant charges one-and-a-half to two times what a Microsoft consultant does, so this is a major cost problem for those who choose to go for the penguin.” Carlos goes on to say, “It is important to remember, you don’t even need to talk a word against Linux, because

people will be thinking of it all the way, anyway. After they realize how good SBS is and that there is no competitor offering all that’s in the package for a competitive price, they agree to pay. Our best products which make people go for the pockets and buy it are: Exchange 2003, SharePoint and ISA Server.”

Opportunity for Small Business Server Though Microsoft has rolled out its own initiatives through a slimmed-down starter edition of Windows XP and Pay-As-You-Go computing, Carlos is hoping for some direct assistance in customer awareness of Small Business server. The local Microsoft office and especially TechNet have given him solid assistance. “I just wonder which one is the larger market for Microsoft: SBS or Enterprise? [In] my state are created around 40,000 new businesses a year and as no one starts big, all out of them are small businesses. 40,000 SBS prospects! I truly believe that SBS can be the boom sales product if treated more aggressively.” As many of us, Carlos endures all this to support his goals, dreams and, especially, family. Carlos told us, “I am married since last year, so am just starting a new family. Our family is pretty small. We like a lot to get the mothers together and [go] to the mountains or the beach to spend some quality time.” Keep up the great work and the good fight, Carlos. Your dedication to ongoing education of yourself and your peers and clients are excellent examples of the hard work required to be successful in any business climate. Especially yours. I

• FlexGo is a technology that makes it easier for people with modest incomes in emerging markets to buy a full-featured PC for their families. http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/flexgo/ default.mspx • Windows Vista Starter was designed specifically for developing technology markets http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/ windowsvista/editions/starter/default.mspx

Carlos sails through life and work. SMB Partner Community - May 2007

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TS2Nami

by Fred Pullen

M

icrosoft recently announced Windows Mobile 6. Devices are expected by the second half of the year, perhaps even sooner. What’s new in Windows Mobile 6, and what are the opportunities for Microsoft Partners? First, Microsoft has simplified naming conventions for Windows Mobile devices. Since most cell phones with PDA-like functionality are marketed as “smartphones,” we took this opportunity to move to a more traditional naming convention. The device formerly known as Pocket PC Phone Edition will use Windows Mobile 6 Professional, whereas Windows Mobile Smartphones will be Windows Mobile 6 Standard devices. Standalone Pocket PCs will use Windows Mobile 6 Classic. Windows Mobile 5

Windows Mobile 6

Smartphone

Windows Mobile 6 Standard

Pocket PC Phone Edition

Windows Mobile 6 Professional

Pocket PC (standalone PDA) Windows Mobile 6 Classic Microsoft significantly improved advanced mobile communications in Windows Mobile 6, creating an even more seamless Outlook Mobile experience. HTML e-mail, message flagging, mailbox and device-wide search, Information Rights Management support, additional hotkeys, and improved meeting scheduling are a few new key features that will appeal to a wide variety of customers. Windows Mobile 6 also increases mobile productivity, providing added efficiency by helping users access previouslyunavailable information when mobile. Integration with the

Windows Live experience helps customers stay better connected with services like IM, presence, Spaces, and search. In addition, SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition and .NET Compact Framework 2 are now included in the ROM of every Windows Mobile 6 device! This represents a huge opportunity for Microsoft Partners to develop and deploy mobile applications faster and easier than ever before.

Try the Windows Mobile 6 device emulator, available today in the Windows Mobile 6 SDK! Of course Windows Mobile 6 also improves security, manageability, and ease of deployment. Storage card encryption, new security policies, better certificate enrollment tools, and wildcard SSL certificates are a few of these new features. Customers will love the ability to deploy secure mobile solutions, increasing productivity while mitigating the risk of losing valuable data. What are the Partner opportunities? Extend your existing services by offering mobility solutions to your customers. Businesses using SBS 2003 are ideal candidates, since Exchange Server 2003 SP2 already includes support for “direct push” e-mail and mobile security policies. Your customers may already own the necessary infrastructure to support Windows Mobile devices, but need your help to deploy, maintain, and perhaps even develop these solutions. The Windows Mobile 6 platform should have wide appeal to consumers and businesses alike. Check out an interactive demo and more information at www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile. Winning the mobile business market is a priority, but Microsoft also continues to offer innovations that appeal to a broad base of customers. It’s a great time to go Mobile! I

Upcoming TS2 seminars for May and June. Alabama 06/21/2007

Birmingham

Delaware 06/12/2007

Wilmington

Massachusetts 06/07/2007 Boston

Nevada 06/28/2007

Las Vegas

Arkansas 06/28/2007

Little Rock

Florida 06/07/2007

Tampa

Maine 06/26/2007

New York 06/21/2007

New York

Georgia 06/19/2007

Atlanta

Missouri 06/14/2007

Iowa 06/26/2007

Dayton Cincinnati

Des Moines

Mississippi 06/26/2007 Jackson

Ohio 06/05/2007 06/07/2007

Kansas 06/12/2007

Overland Park

Nebraska 06/28/2007

Oklahoma 06/05/2007 06/07/2007

Tulsa Oklahoma City

California 06/05/2007 06/07/2007 06/12/2007 06/14/2007 Colorado 06/19/2007 06/21/2007

Modesto San Jose Ontario Los Angeles Boulder Denver

Washington, D.C. 06/14/2007 Washington

Kentucky 06/19/2007 06/21/2007

Lexington Louisville

Bangor St. Louis

Omaha

New Hampshire 06/05/2007 Nashua New Jersey 06/19/2007 Princeton

Rhode Island 06/28/2007 Providence Wisconsin 06/12/2007 Milwaukee 06/14/2007 Madison

The TS2 team’s goal is to provide partners like you the education, training, and skills to sell and deploy the latest Microsoft® technologies. These May-June events will cover the following: • Leveraging data with Microsoft Windows® SharePoint® Services 3.0. • Upcoming Microsoft technologies. Get a sneak peek at Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007, Windows Mobile 6, and the Microsoft Business Technology Toolkit.

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May 2007  

Mark Mulvany, Ireland Diego Salato, Italy Nick Pieters, Belgium Leen Kleijwegt, Netherlands Andy Wendel, Germany Dean Calvert, Australia Ste...

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