Direct and Indirect Costs to becoming a Small Business Specialist (Microsoft Small Business Specialist Primer book excerpt)

Howdy there – I am Harry Brelsford – publisher of the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Primer title and I have not blogged seriously in a few days. I was extremely busy – in a good way – with my fall conference.

If you don’t already know – I like to hold daily virtual book readings where I post up a few passages. So get a soda pop and read on!


Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host a spring conference in the New York city area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!

Direct and Indirect Costs

In the mid-1990s, I wrote a popular MCP Magazine article (http://www.mcp on the true costs of obtaining the MCSE title. This article, which was widely distributed to budding MCSE candidates, provided an MBA overview of both the hard and soft costs associated with the tremendous commitment necessary to obtain the MCSE title. The MCSE title resulted in a positive return on investment (ROI), and readers felt reassured about committing the resources necessary to get their MCSEs. I encapsulate that same thinking in this section as the direct and indirect costs associated with becoming a member of the Small Business Specialist Community.

IMPORTANT: There is no specific entry fee, cover charge, or other required membership fee to join the Small Business Specialist Com­munity. Contrast that with a membership fee for Microsoft Certified Partners and Microsoft Certified Gold Partners. This is good news for us! But please read the next section for two financial outlays (I like to call “investments”) you will be required to make.

Direct Costs

Here are the direct costs associated with becoming a member of the Small Business Specialist Community:

·          Action Pack subscription: $299 USD (subject to change)

·          Certification examination fees: $125 (see Figure 2-3). Microsoft periodically has certification exam promotions to encourage people to take exams. One current promotion involves discounted fees for

initial testing and retakes. Read about it at: news/article.asp?EditorialsID=804 and monitor Certification Magazine ( and MCP Magazine (http://www.mcpmag. com) for current promotions.

Figure 2-3

A popular test provider’s site shows the fees associated with test taking. If you must take the test multiple times to achieve a passing score, your certification examination fee component will necessarily increase.

Note that as of mid-2007, Thomson Prometric is the only vendor allowed to administer the Microsoft certification exams. PearsonVue has been terminated by Microsoft.

Indirect Costs

It’s easy to overlook the hours spent on any endeavor that don’t show up on an
accounting report. These are the “lost hours” we should somehow recognize

Chapter 2Small Business Specialist Community

if we’re true to ourselves about the time and effort expended to reach an achievement. Gaining membership in the Small Business Specialist Community is no different. You’ll put in some off-the-clock hours en route to earning this designation performing the following types of activities:

·          Installing the Action Pack applications . I know that when my Action Pack arrived, I was mesmerized by all the cool stuff inside. I spent many hours installing the software and perusing the Partner Guides. No doubt you’ll engage in this same obsessive-compulsive behavior and need to recognize those hours spent along the way, albeit wisely, playing with the bits.

·          Preparing for the Certification examination. I honestly believe you need to schedule 20+ hours preparation time regardless of your expertise and background. Some readers might burn over 100 hours preparing for a single exam. .

·          Completing the online Small Business Sales and Marketing Skills Assessment . While this online assessment doesn’t impose a test-taking fee, you are committing time to prepare for and complete this excellent assessment. Budget a few hours here.

·          Reading this book . Both authors are delighted you’ve elected to pur­chase, read, and review this book on your road to becoming a Small Business Specialist Community member. Allocate more than a few hours here.

·          Opportunity costs . This financial concept concerns the cost of lost opportunities. Hey—if you spent all this time getting your membership into the Small Business Specialist Community, that took time away from becoming a realtor or other type of professional in another sector. Did you forgo another lucrative opportunity with the time commitment you made to this Microsoft Partner path? Perhaps, but both authors would hold up the Small Business Specialist Community as having high ROI and being something you’ll enjoy. The opportunity-cost concept doesn’t measure pleasure, so take this reasoning with a pinch of salt, as readers in the UK would say!


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