Yesterday I was in Toronto talking to a room of IT managers about Windows Server 2008 and virtualization. After I finished, I had tea with a gentleman whose son runs a small local business providing computers hardware and IT services to the disabled and shut-in. They work solely with Microsoft software, but after a few minutes of speaking to them, it was obvious that they didn't know about many of the resources that Microsoft provides for businesses and they weren't sure how to find out about them.
Today I'm happy to introduce another new Guest Blogger to our list. Stuart R. Crawford is a prolific blogger in his own right, the author of several books and is very passionate about small business. In this blog post, he talks about the difficulty many small businesses have connecting with a large organization like Microsoft and he gives links to some great resources to help these businesses engage with the small and medium business (SMB) community.
Stuart R. Crawford (Calgary, AB: Business Development Manager of IT Matters)
I heard an awesome term at SMB Nation this weekend during our Open Space meeting on Sunday evening. We had 70 partners join HTG as we hosted a series of round table discussions. Almost like a speed dating type of event, where groups went around the room in packs of 5 or 6 and had 10 minutes to discuss topics that affect Small Business IT folks.
I was hosting a table that discussed PCMs and TPAMs. One term that came out of our meeting was LIMBO - Lost in Microsoft's Big Organization. I was shocked to find out how many SMB IT Professionals and business owners do not enjoy the same level or engagement with Microsoft as what I do. Many believe that they live in a world of entitlement, which as posting for another day. Many partners do not even know who their TPAM or PCM is. Granted the TPAM program is fairly new in the US, we have had TPAM's in Canada for a number of years. It was something new for me to hear partners state that they never heard from their TPAM or that they chose not to engagement with these valuable resources inside Microsoft.
Is your small business IT practice in LIMBO? How do you get out of being stuck there?
One great resource is the IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners). Our group is an international organization designed to assist partners navigate through the Microsoft Partner ecosystem and help you avoid falling into LIMBO. I am the chairman of the Worldwide Small Business team within the IAMCP and I here to ensure that every member and small business partner has a voice inside the Microsoft community. Reach out to me at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another great resource is the SBSC PAL. I, along side my counterpart Elisabeth Vanderveldt from Conamex represent Canada on the PAL team. This is another great conduit for you to get inside the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community and avoid you falling into LIMBO. For more information on the PAL program click here.
I challenge you to find out who your PCM and TPAM are, if you don't know, research it. We do not live in a world of entitlement, you only get what you put into something, you put nothing in then expect nothing in return. Remember this quote "You never get, what you don't ask for". If you honestly can state to yourself that you are sitting back just waiting for someone from Microsoft to call you, then you are in LIMBO. You need to get up and go after it, leverage the resources at IAMCP and in the PAL's program to assist you.
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