The True Value of the Small Business Consulting Community

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The Small Business IT consulting community is a dynamic and exciting community to be active in at this time. Many different opportunities are gaining some serious momentum in this underserved marketplace in Canada. The Small Business marketplace will be the fastest-growing segment in the information technology market. Currently, approximately 97% of the businesses in Canada have five hundred employees or less, which equates to a fantastic market to specialize in.

Microsoft launched their Small Business Specialist program in the summer of 2005 at their annual partner conference. Since that time, a number of information technology consulting firms have taken advantage of this program to commence their consulting practice. The Small Business Specialist program is designed to promote Microsoft’s offerings to small business. It establishes SBSC members as leaders in the small business IT consulting marketplace that has been thrust into the spotlight for growth potential.

The Small Business Specialist program serves as a best resource for IT professionals to access information, promotions, partnership opportunities and assistance to service a small business oriented client base. Groups have emerged on international, national and regional levels that assist the small business specialist in obtaining not only technical but also important business assistance. In addition, each year SMB Nation brings together the small business consulting community to network, learn, share and play.

The small business consulting community has grown out of the leadership of corporations like Microsoft, SonicWALL, and Symantec. It has also grown because of people like Harry Brelsford of SMB Nation and several other leaders in the community. Their leadership has provided Small Business Specialists with additional resources to sharpen their craft long before the official launch of programs from corporations like Microsoft.

The SMB community is open to sharing experiences, ideas, concepts and best practices so that emerging IT companies can seek knowledge to develop and grow. “I like focusing on a market segment where I can really get to know my clients and have a direct, tangible impact on their businesses,” claims Jeff Anderson, General Manager of Red Deer’s Bulletproof Networks, the city’s leading Small Business Specialist. Business development, however, is often overlooked by those text book technicians who have decided to start their own businesses. Learning from others in the SBSC community allows the small business consultants like Jeff to learn two or three markets and become the expert specialist in that field in order to have the potential to gain new business clients.

New service offerings are demanding small business consultants start planning now on how to bring them to their client base. Clients today are in search of options that are evolving and they must be presented in a manner and language that they understand. Managed services, remote monitoring, software and hardware as services are starting to gain some traction in the market and as a new offering they need to be available from their SMB consultant. Small businesses want a company that they can trust. “When you and your peers are representative of 97% of the Canadian marketplace, it makes sense to be working with the very businesses that share the same concerns and deal with the same issues you do. Who better to give them the right tools to succeed?” states Elisabeth Vandervelt of Conamex International, an award winning Microsoft Small Business Specialist in Montreal.

Today’s small businesses need innovative solutions to keep them competitive in the fast paced, on-demand, we-needed-it-yesterday and downtime-is-not-an-option environment we call today’s business world. SBSC members have the luxury and the ability to have direct interaction with decision makers therefore sales cycles are generally shorter while the demand for services has never been higher.

Another luxury in the small business community is the ability to share work with each other across regional, national and international boundaries. Many firms are partnering locally to provide a one stop shop for their clients who need a specialized service or coverage in other locations where their clients may have a remote user or branch office. Partnering in the SBSC community is critical to the success of the small business consultant’s business since it gives small firms the reach and abilities of a much larger IT company and can be the their advantage over their competition in today’s marketplace.

The Small Business Specialist can rest assured that they have the pride and recognition of a job well done combined with a community to back them up. All of these positive aspects provide an overwhelming sense of accomplishment for participants in the SBSC program.

I reflect back to when my youngest son was in Beavers and their leaders consistently reminded them of the Beaver motto, the same motto that is the cornerstone of the SBSC community and all other small business consulting groups: Sharing, Sharing, Sharing! Share your successes with others; help others who are struggling; and share of yourself to make our community strong.

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Source by Stuart Crawford

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