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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

New Small Business Resources - Check em' out!

New Small Business Resources - Check em' out!

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Let me start with an apology.  Susanne reminded me that I haven't posted anything in a while, but I do have my excuses, namely holidays and conferences!  Anyway, I'm back, and I've got some great stuff to tell you about - I just need to find the time to get it all out of my head and onto this thing!!

OK, so the first thing that's new is the Small Business Centre, which is an evolution of bCentral, which, as I'm sure many of you know, was our portal aimed at the small business.  However, After 3 years it was felt that it was time for a fresh, new site that would provide a more tailored engagement experience for the small business community.

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Capture2On the site, straight away you'll find 2 main sections: Starting Up in Business, and Growing your Business.  If you choose to venture down the 'Starting Up in Business route', (which, let's face it, isn't easy,) you'll gain access to relevant articles, products, features and advice tailored for you.  There's even stuff for those who may have started a business, but still be in the early stages.  This selection also offers strategic advice on how to leverage IT to get up and running quickly, efficiently and importantly at minimal cost.  Sound useful?  Thought so.  Check it out here.

The second route is aimed at 'Growing your Business', and more specifically, those businesses who have been trading longer at least 2+ years and may have established some IT set-up and procedures.  These businesses, typically, are now at a stage where they are looking to perhaps consider a more significant investment in IT in order to help improve productivity, gain efficiency and further develop customer relationships. The challenge for us here at Microsoft is to encourage these companies to buy a server, or hosted server-type capabilities by showing how this can enable mobile working, increased efficiency in business processes and so on.  You can check this one out here.

But what else is on the site?

  • Customer Campaign Support: Of value both to Microsoft and our customers, the site will start to have integrated customer campaigns around the Unmanaged and Breath space therefore providing customers with an assortment of advisory content tailored to help them better select the technology solutions they need, based on local campaigns Microsoft is running.
  • How to Buy: “How to Buy” and the relevant options available are an often misunderstood area of our business as customers struggle to find the information they need within 2/3 clicks upon reaching our sites let alone understand the options available when they get there. To improve this we have raised the profile of the How to Buy message on 3 fronts:
    1. How to Buy now has its own button on the homepage for high visibility and easy access whilst we have also tried to strip out the jargon in an easy to understand content tone.
    2. From the left hand navigation users can now get directly to the Buy sections of any product page in a single click as a result of our new 'flyout' navigation.
    3. Users can link through to buy FPP copies of Office and Vista direct from the site via retail referral ‘buy now’ buttons on the Product ‘Buy’ pages.
  • Product Centre Content: The new site now has the latest corporate product content fully integrated across the major product portfolio. Each customer now has a choice of examining product content more deeply across 4 options - Overview/Evaluate/Use/Buy
  • Small Business +: This member area of the site enables visitors to enjoy a much deeper engagement with Microsoft where they are able to gain access to value add premium content such as training, demos, webcasts, partner tools and special offers all behind registration of a very important Live ID profile that helps us to market to them more effectively in the future.
  • Small Business Partner Support: When it comes to connecting customers to our SBSC partners we have tried to ensure that the “Find an IT Expert” tool is positioned as far across the site as possible to maximise our chances of creating a partner referral. If the new site does its job in not only educating and advising but more importantly priming the customer who is then ready to buy, then we are passing over to our partners a far more tangible and desirable lead opportunity.
  • Smart Business Newsletter: From August we will be launching a brand new monthly email newsletter which will dynamically deliver tailored content dependant on each subscriber’s profile.

So, what about the other new resource?

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Well, there is now a dedicated Small Business Blog!  That has got to be a good thing!  It's a technology blog dedicated solely to the Small Businesses out there and the feedback is already flowing thick and fast - Nice work guys!

In terms of content, they'll be covering all sorts from Microsoft software, to online marketing, networking, and hardware.  I'd check it out if I were you!  There's also information on how you can win a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate...


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