As one of the Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Leads (PAL’s), when I’m asked by Microsoft SBSC partners on how to grow their business – one of the first pieces of advice I give them is to attend their local SBSC User Group meeting.
The Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community has a number of independent user groups across the UK, where Microsoft Partners ranging from “one man bands” up to Microsoft Gold Partners get together on a regular basis to build relationships, share experiences and ideas, and to help one another.
But why attend such meetings? What benefits do they bring to you and how can they help you grow your own business?
The benefits are numerous, but I’d suggest the three top reasons you should attend are:_
1. Solving business challenges through shared experience. It’s my experience that every challenge you face as a business owner or technician has already been experienced by your peers, who can help you with advice and guidance. Why re-invent the wheel? Instead, doesn’t it make sense to learn from others rather than try to learn everything the hard way?
2. You’re busy. Everyone within your business is busy. But you still need to keep up to date on the latest research, the latest products and the latest trends within the IT industry. Each month at User Group meetings across the country, you could hear directly from your peers and vendor partners on what is new to your space.
3. Sometimes, you come across a piece of business that you don’t have the necessary skills to tackle, or don’t have the resources to undertake. If you’re a “one man band” and can’t remember the last time you took a day off, then you’ll know this feeling more than most. Wouldn’t it be nice to build relationships with your peers that would help you tackle this situation – working together with partners on projects that require specialist expertise or simply another pair of hands?
My own local user group, AMITPRO, which covers the Midlands area and beyond, meets each month of the Arden Hotel, Solihull.
The full list of User Groups around the UK are:-
· Aberdeen SBSC User Group
· AMITPRO (West Midlands)
· East Anglia IT Pro Group
· Edinburgh Microsoft Partner Group
· Kent SBSC Group
· Manchester SBSC Group
· South Wales SBSC Group
· Thames Valley SBSC Group
· West of England IT Pro Group
· York IT Pro Group
Give it a go - get along to your local User Group meeting and grow your business!
Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL). You can e-mail him at email@example.com or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.