Category Archives: Book

Dell misses and HP backlogged. Which would you rather be?

There was a famous advertisement a few years ago about Dewar’s scotch and a broken bottle of the same on the ground. The tag line was “want to see an old man cry?” and implied the gentleman dropped the bottle and lost its contents.

There are only a few things that make me cry as the CEO of a bubbling, thriving small business. I report directly to the shareholders and if I miss on earnings, I can assure you I’ll have a private tear-filled moment in my Bainbridge Island office. Needless to say, with 6-weeks left in the 4thQ of 2009, I’m working overtime (like today, Saturday).

So it must have been raining tears the week in Austin when Dell reported a “miss” on its earnings. You can read about it here. Meanwhile, down the road in Houston and Palo Alto, HP is reporting success. And I have anecdotal evidence supporting HP’s strength.

I recently ordered a HP 301 “Netbook” to support my “guy on the go” pace. I wanted a small form-factor laptop with long battery life so I can work anytime, anywhere flat-out. I ordered this netbook over Halloween weekend. I was told it would ship “no later than” November 16th. That still seemed like a long time to wait but I’m an adult now and must learn patience. Imagine my surprise when I received a “backlog” notice that HP was delaying my shipment another two weeks. That signals a production backlog symptomatic of high demand. It’s a nice problem to have (in general) but the MBA in me knows you typically like to avoid “stock outs” and possible lost sales.

Here is the notification from HP:  Dear Harry Brelsford,

Due to production delays we will be unable to ship your order on the original estimated ship date. The revised estimated ship date for your order is 11/30/2009 or no later than 7 business days from the original estimated ship date. If you prefer not to wait you may cancel your order and receive a prompt refund by either replying to this email message with your order number or calling our toll-free customer service number at 866-288-1610 between 7:00 A.M. – 2:00 A.M. (ET) Monday through Friday or on Saturday between 10:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. (ET).

If we do not hear from you before we ship your order, we will assume you have agreed to this shipment delay and still want your custom PC order. We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may have caused and thank you for your patience. Following this email you will receive a HP Home & Home Office Store $50 coupon due to the delay of your order.

Did you catch the last point about the $50 coupon. My research shows PCs and laptops have a less than 1% profit margin (Wall Street journal, November 20th) and that $50 coupon on my $999 USD order just wiped out HP’s profit on my order. That is another unfortunate sign of a stock-out: concessions (just ask Boeing on its oft-delayed 787).

I end with a question for you. Would you rather be Dell and miss on earnings or HP with a backlog?

Lemme know….harrybbbbb



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NetSuite updates for it’s SMB flagship ERP product: iPhone and Outlook connector

I’m a huge fan of NetSuite and its ERP software solution. Granted – this solution is more oriented towards the mid-market (like many ERP systems) but we use it hear at SMB Nation to drive everything we do. That includes accounting, sales force management/automation/CRM, and operations.

This past couple of weeks, two disecrete activities occured of interest to me.

First – the NetSuite iPhone application has been updated and is in production release. Anytime, anywhere, I can see my company’s financial health, sales opportunities and other critical information.

Second – the NetSuite Connector for Microsoft Outlook was released. This allows myself to “tag” important e-mails and calendar appointments to the customer record in NetSuite. Now tracking all conversations is a breeze and we retain tribal knowledge.

So that’s my netsuite update for you today. 🙂


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OK – Carl and Jennifer and Steve and Win7 in NYC

Lately I’ve been profiling eMazzanti a lot. There is a good reason for that. Jennifer and Carl have been in the NEWZ! This firm and it founders are big on PR outreach and there is a lesson learned for us all. And here the story is indeed big as Jennifer and Carl participated in the official Win7 launch in Manhattan!

So it might be a short while before I report newz from eMazzanti but rest assured that they are working hard and more newz is coming!


eMazzanti Technologies and Customers Take Center-Stage at NYC Microsoft Windows 7 Launch Event

eMazzanti Technologies and three of its premier small business customers enjoy an exclusive Windows 7 launch engagement in NYC with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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Hoboken, NJ (PRWEB) October 27, 2009 — When Microsoft launches a new operating system, the world watches and takes note. eMazzanti Technologies and three of its premier small business customers – GameWear, Flowers & O’Brien, Dewey Pegno and Kramarsky – had the spotlight on them as well. They were honored with an exclusive invitation to participate in the international launch event for Windows 7 held in New York City, October 22. The event was hosted by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

News Image

“Because of our long-standing, vibrant relationship with Microsoft and our early adoption of the new Windows 7 operating system, we got the nod to be showcased in the launch event, ” noted Carl Mazzanti, chief operating officer, eMazzanti Technologies. “We and a select group of our customers were able to relate reality-based experiences about Windows 7 for the press and attendees. This was quite an honor.”

The New York City Windows 7 event began with a private, pre-launch dinner with Rich Reynolds, general manager, Microsoft Windows Commercial Marketing on October 21st.

On October 22, launch day, eMazzanti and its customers met with a number of national and international media and industry analyst influentials that included outlets such as ZDNet, Endpoint Technologies, Laptop Magazine, IDG, The Wall Street Journal, and two Russian-based publications–Echo of Moscow and Mobile Computers–which had been specifically invited to the event by Microsoft. eMazzanti and customers were able to add their first-hand experiences with the new operating system to the information Microsoft shared with the media contacts, a vital perspective that adds credibility to Microsoft launch efforts. eMazzanti and its customers were also invited to the Ballmer keynote and were featured in the VIP section.

“You can’t help but be impressed with Microsoft when they create such an incredible product like Windows 7 and you get to be a major participant in the initial launch event,” said Frank Cerullo, GameWear, Inc., chief executive officer. “Windows 7 literally sped up our business computing by 30 percent and for us the new operating system is a home run.”

In addition to participating in the national launch of the Windows 7 operating system, eMazzanti and its featured customers–GameWear, Flowers & O’Brien, Dewey Pegno and Kramarsky–were also featured in written case studies produced by Microsoft and one of its case study developers, Morse & Associates. The Windows 7 case studies are being used in a number of other Microsoft PR and marketing materials as well.

About GameWear, Inc.:
GameWear, Inc., located in Hoboken, New Jersey, markets unique, team-branded sports apparel to sports stadiums, team club stores and various retailers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

About Flowers & O’Brien:
Flowers and O’Brien Law is boutique law firm located in Hoboken, N.J., with a thriving international real estate and general corporate practice.

About Dewey Pegno and Kramarsky:
Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky LLP is a leading litigation firm in New York City, representing clients in complex civil litigation and arbitration, including trials, appeals and governmental investigations.

About eMazzanti Technologies:
eMazzanti Technologies works with businesses to provide strategies for growth through the use of intelligent technology tools. From business process analysis to network design, security planning to preventative maintenance, the firm’s services all aim to reduce costs, mitigate risk and drive revenue for its clients. eMazzanti also offers an extensive portfolio of network products from the leading technology manufacturers. The best advocates for eMazzanti Technologies are its clients. The firm services businesses throughout the New York Metropolitan area and in three countries worldwide ranging from home office environments to multinational corporations with mission-critical needs. These organizations rely on eMazzanti as their technology management partner. As clients grow and needs change, eMazzanti’s flexible, scalable customer engagement model adapts to meet the aspirations of each business. eMazzanti forms long-term relationships with clients that value stability and reliability in their IT partners. An innovative and comprehensive approach to technology services has earned eMazzanti the trust of a rapidly growing client base and recognition by many of the industry’s foremost publications. For more information or to download a free copy of the complete case study, please visit


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New LinkedIn book – catch the wave on connecting up!

As many of you know by now – I am a huge fan of LinkedIn and have a unique relationship with said Mountain View-based firm. My current stump speech concerns LinkedIn as a business development tool and I’ve had the pleasure recently of teaming with Todd Colbeck on a LinkedIn webinar.
So I was thrilled when , crossing the wires today, a new LinkedIn book was released. The details are here

Social Media Strategist and Speaker Releases Innovative LinkedIn Book

With more than 50 million members worldwide, LinkedIn has become a necessity for professionals of all ages and backgrounds to display their profiles to both prospective employers in order to find quality new jobs as well as to potential business partners and customers. Social networking and consulting expert Neal Schaffer has written a captivating, informative book on the best ways to utilize this unique social media tool in “Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging and Maximizing LinkedIn.”

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Newport Beach, CA (PRWEB) October 27, 2009 — Social networking expert and popular social media blogger Neal Schaffer has introduced a highly anticipated book about how to benefit from the LinkedIn phenomenon titled “Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging and Maximizing LinkedIn.”


Windmill Networking:  Maximizing LinkedIn
Windmill Networking: Maximizing LinkedIn

LinkedIn, with its 50 million members, is arguably the most popular and unique professional social networking site worldwide. With the ability to create profiles, post resumes, develop relationships and network with new connections, find jobs, solve business problems through a Q&A forum, and join communities of like-minded professionals through LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn is now a must for any working professional or business.

That said, while a plethora of written materials exist on career management and how to best write a resume or cover letter, the information available on how to best utilize the popular LinkedIn social profile site is startling insufficient. Schaffer has filled this void with an insightful, yet easy-to-use book for maximizing the effectiveness of this online tool to increase a person’s chance of landing a desired job as well as to better understanding the benefits of social networking online for both professional and business uses.

“The benefits of LinkedIn for professionals and businesses are just tremendous,” Schaffer said: “I wanted to provide not only a comprehensive and up-to-date book on the plethora of LinkedIn features, but I also wanted to get people to understand it within the context of the Social Web, as only by doing so can you truly maximize your presence on the site. I created the concept of Windmill Networking and teach it in this book in order to achieve this objective.”

The idea of Windmill Networking stemmed from his successful blog Windmill Networking and shows how to best use all aspects of LinkedIn. The concept is applicable to both professionals and their career management, as well as to sales and business development executives and small business owners looking to optimize their social media marketing.

Schaffer said: “Understanding the mechanics of LinkedIn without understanding social media and social networking only enables you to gain a fraction of the potential value that LinkedIn has to offer.”

After reading the LinkedIn book, professionals will learn about:

  • Fundamental social networking concepts and how to apply them to LinkedIn
  • How to create and confirm your objective for using LinkedIn as well as how to develop and implement your personal “LinkedIn Brand”
  • Windmill Networking and how it can enrich your social media presence for long-term success
  • Engaging with others on LinkedIn through Windmill Networking and expanding your network globally
  • Leveraging & maximizing your LinkedIn presence through thoroughly utilizing Applications, Groups & Answers
  • Finding the best company and most fulfilling job on LinkedIn

What gives Schaffer his unique perspective is his combination of learning all of these from his personal experience while he was unemployed searching for his next career as well as his almost two decades of successful high technology sales experience overseas in Asia. “To me being unemployed and selling is the same thing: Same sale, different product. LinkedIn allows those in transition as well as businesses to advertise on a global scale and be found for free. Isn’t that an extremely powerful thing for any professional or company to embrace?” Schaffer asks.He clearly found his calling, as now he is one of the nation’s preeminent bloggers, consultants and speakers on the topic of modern networking strategies.

“After building my career in Asia, I returned to my native Southern California with almost a zero local network. I embraced LinkedIn and social networking when I was unemployed to supplement my lack of local network and quickly understood first hand the power of building up virtual networks that would become my present Trusted Network of Advisors,” Schaffer said. “I really wanted to pass this advice along to other people, because in a networking society, the bigger, better, and more connected our networks are, the more value our networks have to offer for everyone. Writing a book allows me to network with more people in a more detailed way than I could have ever imagined. I hope the readers of this book feel like they are having a conversation with me when they read this book, as that was my intention for writing it.”

The social media strategist concluded: “LinkedIn is the default yellow pages for businesses and business professionals. LinkedIn is also free career insurance you can never have enough of. Buy into it.”

About the Author
Neal Schaffer is an internationally recognized social networking guru helping companies and individuals embrace social media for personal and business applications. His experience in creating the Windmill Networking blog – a social networking world that has become so vast in one year that it constitutes one of the widest read LinkedIn blogs world-wide – resulted in his first book, “Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn.” Schaffer is a highly sought-after speaker and consultant noted for his energetic and passionate presentations. His development of Windmill Networking and the LinkedIn potential parallels nearly two decades of success in sales and business development in the technology sector, concentrating on the Asia-Pacific region. He is the former Director of Sales, Asia Pacific East for Datapath, and Regional Vice President of Asia Pacific Sales for Espial. A graduate of Amherst College, Schaffer has a BA in Asian Studies and is fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. For more information, visit

Neal Schaffer
(949) 378-2360
nealschaffer (at) gmail (dot) com

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Good old fashioned community outreach – KarlP’s SMB conference call show

Folk -it’s not often that you see folks put the time and effort to advance us all as an SMB species. Hopefully you join me in applauding Karl Palachuk as someone who has put in the time and effort to make the SMB community a better place.

You can witness that first hand by attending his SMB conference call tomorrow – the “official” tweet is below:)

hey-hey! I’ll be a guest on KarlP’s SMB conference call show tomorrow (WED) at 9AM PDT (UTC-7)> Will discuss SMB stuff

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Small Business Server 2003 Group Policy and Software Update Services (book excerpt)

Hello everyone – I am Harry Brelsford, publisher of the Advanced Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book. Periodically I like to post of book passages as a virtual book reading – I blast from the past! Today’s topic is GP and SUS. And did you know – this is exactly the type of thing discussed in our annual fall conference, the 7th Annual SMB Nation event (October 2-4, 2009, Las Vegas).

So let’s rock!

Group Policy and Software Update Services While we are talking about Group Policy, let me mention that you should be using Software Update Services (SUS) to keep your client machines updated with security patches. I only mention it here because it is administered with— you guessed it—a Group Policy. You will need to download SUS or the yet-to­be released (as of this writing) Windows Update Services (WUS) at:

SUS Server-Side 

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. Run the setup executable and provide an installation path. Once SUS is installed, you perform administrative tasks using a Web page with the following URL: //servername/susadmin. You need to configure only a few settings to get the SUS server-side operational. Set these under the “Set options” link on the welcome page, as seen in Figure 4-5.

Figure 4-5 

Configure SUS on the Set options page. 





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  SUS setup will automatically set the proxy option and put in the SBS 2003 server name. Then you must decide where your server will synchronize SUS content. Some consultants prefer to run a SUS server in their consulting office and have their customer’s SUS servers synchronize from the consultant’s office instead of Microsoft itself. You can also choose to have SUS automatically approve new versions of Microsoft updates or to ask for approval (which is my personal preference). Another option allows you keep a copy of the updates locally or have each client machine pull them down from Microsoft. You can greatly reduce your bandwidth demands by keeping a local copy of the updates on your server. Another option allows you to select which languages you would like to support.If you look closely at Figure 4-5, you will see the Synchronize server link on the left. Here you have the option of a one-time immediate synchronization or configuring a schedule to automatically synchronize. The first synchronization is very time consuming (as of Fall 2004, 239 updates for the English language needed to be downloaded!). After you synchronize your server, you need to select the Approve updates page and select which updates you want to be applied to the clients. There is no “approve all” button, so you will need to select the desired updates one at a time. I found a rapid way to approve these individual updates: Select the first update you want to approach and then hit Tab, Tab, SpaceBar. Keep repeating and if you get to an update you don’t want to apply, hit Tab instead of SpaceBar. That is all there is to setting up the server side of SUS!


SUS Client-Side

And now for Group Policy! The SUS client-side configuration is handled through GPOs. If you are running Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Windows XP without Service Pack 1 (SP1), you will need to download the new SUS client at the Microsoft download URL ( default.mspx). If your desktops are more current, you already have the new SUS client. When the SUS server was installed, the Administrative Template was added to allow you to create or edit SUS settings.


pter CHAPTER1 ☛4 So You AdvanceWant o Setupan and SMB DeplymentConsultan 

To automatically update the client computers with approved updates, follow this procedure:

  1. Logon to SBS 2003 as the administrator.
  2. 2.     From the Start menu, launch Server Management. 
    1. 3.        Expand Advanced Management, Group Policy Management, For­est, Domain, yourdomain. 
    2. 4.     Right-click on Small Business Server Client Computer and select Edit. 

The Group Policy Object Editor will appear.

  1. 5.        Expand Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Win­dows Components and select Windows Update. 

Four options need to be configured for SUS to automatically update the client computers.

  1. 6.        Select Configure Automatic Updates. Check the radio button for Enabled. 

Select the frequency you would like it to check with your server Select the install time

When satisfied click next 

  1. Click Enabled. Complete the URL for your SUS server in the form of http://S ervername.

Populate the Update and Statistics server fields with the same URL since the SBS 2003 server machine will perform all of these roles.

  1. Click Next Setting and configure the client update schedule. The default is five minutes. There is one caveat if your users are running with Local Administrator rights (which Susan Bradley will warn you about in her Security chapter): the updates will not be auto­matically applied. Instead, the updates will generate a system popup message indicating that updates are available. The user has to click OK to download and install the updates. Until these updates are installed, NO FURTHER UPDATES will install!
  2. Click Next Setting, where you will make a decision about client computer automatic reboots after updates are applied.

As much as I would like to tell you to leave this disabled, I have found
it causes a lot of turmoil with the users to have machines unexpectedly
rebooting in the middle of their projects. So it is probably better to



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  enable this option, which effectively disables the automatic reboot. Remember: if you are confused by any of the choices, just use the Explain tab on each policy settings page to get more information.GPO Exception or Override

As powerful as a GPO can be in the affirmative, an exception GPO can be just as powerful and useful by effectively denying some behavior. I’ll give you an example of an exception or override GPO. One of my clients had his users creating all sorts of local user accounts on the desktops when I arrived as the new SBS consultant. This local user malfeasance caused potential security holes in their SBS network. When I pointed this out to the guy in charge, he asked if I could lock down the system so we could control who logged onto which client computer. I created a neat little GPO that forced everyone to logon with a domain account, which prevented local logons. Note that work was performed in the SBS 2000 timeframe and can’t be exactly replicated in SBS 2003, so kindly accept the above discussion as explanatory in nature.

To create an exception GPO:

  1. Logon to the SBS 2003 server machine as the administrator.
  2. 2.   From the Start menu, launch Server Management.
  3. 3.   Expand Advanced Settings and Group Policy Management.
  4. 4.   Expand Forest, Domains, yourdomain, MyBusiness, Users, SBSUsers.
  5. 5.   Right-click on the new OU you created earlier in this chapter titled LimitThese.
  6. 6.   Select Create and Link a GPO Here and name the new GPO OverRideNoRegeditNoRun.
  7. Right-click on this new GPO and choose Edit from the dropdown list.
    1. 8.   Expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates and click Start Menu and Taskbar.
    2. 9.   Double-click Remove Run menu from the Start Menu. Select the Disabled radio button and click OK.
    3. 10.                    Under Administrative Templates, select System.

11. In the right pane, double-click Don’t run specified Windows appli­cations. Select the Disabled radio button.


Visit for additional SMB and SBS book, newsletter and conference resources.





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  12.  Click OK twice and close the Group Policy Editor.13.  Right-click this newly created GPO and select Enforced.

14. Under Advanced Management in Server Management, Group Policy Management, Forest, Domains, yourdomain, Group Policy Objects, click the OverRideNoRegeditNoRun GPO.

15.  Click the Scope tab in the right pane.

16.Under Security Filtering, click Remove to remove Authenti­cated Users.

This is shown in Figure 4-6.

Figure 4-6

Authenticated Users will be removed in the Security Filtering section.



17. In the Security Filtering section, click Add.

  1. 18.   In the Enter the Object name to select field, type Administrators, click Check Names, and then click OK.

You have now created an exception GPO.



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  BEST PRACTICE: If all you want to do is keep a specific GPO from being applied to a user or group, the easiest way is to remove the Apply Group Policy permission from the GPO itself. Do this on the Security tab of the GPO property sheet, as seen in Figure 4-7.

Figure 4-7

Select Deny for Apply Group Policy as a permission restriction. You will receive a warning message relating to a Deny selection (the warning is that Deny is very powerful).




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Brelsford’s Dozen Rules – Low-cost and free marketing opportunities

Hi there folks – I am Harry Brelsford, the author of the accliamed SMB Consulting Best Practices book. I am posting up a especially useful passage on free or low-cost ways to market yourself as an SMB technology channel partner and consultant.

BTW – I hold an amazing conference each fall. The 7th Annual SMB Nation conference is Oct 2-4 in Las Vegas!

Free Marketing Opportunities

“Ah, finally!” you say, your favorite part of the chapter: free marketing stuff. I agree. Many inexperienced business people, SMB consultants included, overpay for marketing functions. There is a time and a place for top dollar and top shelf, but it’s unlikely now is that time. Rather, for the SMB consultant on the way up, it’s critical to keep expenses low in order to keep ROI high (more on ROI mathematics in the Minder section of this book). In this section, I spell out a few freebies you can start using tomorrow.

Brelsford’s Dozen: Giveth business cards

Set a goal of giving out 12 of your business cards per quarter (every 90 days) from this point forward, which amounts to one business card per week, a modest and achievable goal. Over time, this becomes a very powerful tool, as you’re name will spread exponentially in your community.


BEST PRACTICE: The above point of “modest and achievable” shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s been said time and time again from the school of life to the hallowed halls of the Harvard MBA program that a successful business person doesn’t do one thing great but does lots of little things well. That is, you don’t need to have the wisdom of Solomon to invent new marketing models to be success­ful. Rather, just give away one of your business cards per week.

Consider some of the group listed in the last section (chamber of commerce, Rotary, etc.) as avenues for you to attend events, participate in meetings, AND give away that weekly business card.

BEST PRACTICE: You can also do what Dorothy did. (No, I don’t mean click your heels and say “There’s no place like home!”) I used to work with a seasoned professional named Dorothy a while back at a national contracting firm called 1-800-NETWORK. At the time, being full of pride, I probably didn’t learn as much from Dorothy as I could have. However, reflecting back and having made amends, I think Dorothy really had a great practice when it came to giving away business cards. Dorothy’s technique was to hand out two business cards at once with the phrase “…one for you and one to pass on to a friend.” Needless to say, it was easy for Dor­othy to meet and exceed her card giveaway quota.

To Dorothy -> you go girl!

Brelsford’s Dozen: Receiveth business cards

Not surprisingly, you now want to endeavor to obtain a dozen business cards per quarter (again, one per week). This is a fundamental SMB consulting marketing activity—and how you build your book of contacts. My premise here is simple enough. In Chapter 7, you’ll learn more about being a rainmaker as I expand on the “building the book” concept.

Brelsford’s Dozen: Attend a dozen marketing events per quarter

Now for one of my favorite activities: eating hotel donuts and drinking coffee at marketing functions. Seriously, your goal is to be an SMB consultant on the fast track. You need to be seen everywhere, much like a rising star in


Hollywood. You’re job here isn’t as difficult as the cast of NBC’s top-rated show Friends, who necessarily need to be seen at the trendiest LA restaurants. Rather, it’s to find some marketing venue to attend each week and “been seen.” A couple of ideas:

• Host a table at a Microsoft Big Day/Business Solutions Seminar in the USA. I followed the Big Day circuit for over a year in the Pacific Northwest and had my table with other technology professionals in the back of the presentation room. The idea here was that local technology professionals could register to host a table for the day and speak to attendees (primarily business people) during the breaks and lunch hour. The table sign-up process is shown in Figure 5-16 and is found from the main Microsoft Business Solutions Seminar Web site ( by clicking the Technology Providers link on the left side.

Figure 5-16:

Microsoft’s Big Day/Business Solutions Seminar is a great free marketing method for SMB consultants seeking exposure. You must register for a table to present your brochure and other marketing materials.



BEST PRACTICE: Expanding on the marketing versus sales discus­sion centering around Microsoft Big Day/Business Solutions Semi­nars, I can offer the following. When I hosted a table at these events, I found it to be true marketing. Introductions were made and it was incumbent on me to follow up on the lead I obtained. I never consummated a sales transaction at my table, thus I didn’t view it as strongly as a sales event. Go ahead, host your own table, and make your own judgment. One thing is for sure—the price was right: FREE!

• Join a trade group. Earlier I spoke about the WSTPA trade group I belong to. I consider my monthly meeting to be one of my required marketing meetings. That’s because the WSTPA has a real social element to it where “networking” (the human interaction form, not the multi-layer OSI model approach) is strongly encouraged. Another example shown in Figure 5-17, is the monthly chamber of commerce mixer (typically called “After Hours”). Nearly every chamber hosts such an event and, once you’ve paid your membership, attendance is usually free (or costs little). When you think about it, it really doesn’t cost anything to stand around and talk to the membership, eh? Salute!

Figure 5-17:

As an example, here is the Bainbridge Island Chamber’s announcement for the after hours event and monthly luncheon.



• Make-ups. So what if you miss a weekly marketing venue? What to do? Like the Rotary club, you need to endeavor to do a “make-up” meeting. You’re not relieved of this responsibility. Like taking antibiotics for a health malady, you can double-up after missing.

Microsoft marketing machine

The Microsoft Partner’s Web site provides a wealth of marketing materials at and even some special marketing opportunities. In Figure 5-18, you’ll see a recent SBS promotion (the SBS 2000 channel services provider rebate program) where, after passing an SBS assessment examination, you could be listed in the worldwide partner locator tool. These deals come and go with great frequency, so please continue to monitor the Microsoft Partner Web site closely. A specific link to Microsoft marketing materials is default.aspx?nav=rn

Figure 5-18:

At no cost to you, by participating in the recent SBS 2000 service channel rebate program and passing the online assessment exam, you were listed for free in the partner locator tool for potential clients to find you.



Another wealth of Microsoft marketing support is the “Go To Market” (GTM) campaign I’ve mentioned several times in this book. A recent four-day GTM Hot Lab offered the following ISA Server resources to attendees, in the form of two discs, on the third day of the event, which was dedicated to security (Figure 5-19).

Figure 5-19:

ISA Server marketing materials (disc-based) given at the GTM campaign. You did not need to pay for these marketing materials, although there was a modest fee to attend the GTM ($50 per day US).




BEST PRACTICE: If you’d like to attend GTMs and benefit from Microsoft’s marketing resources, sign up via the Microsoft Partner site at One vendor that presents the GTM Hands-on Labs, Ascentus from Vancouver, BC, listed these GTM campaigns recently on its Web site at www.asentus. net (Figure 5-20).

Figure 5-20:

More and more GTMs can be expected worldwide over the next several years from Microsoft.




Finally, there is the “must read” Microsoft Partner’s newsletter that is shown in Figure 5-21. You can subscribe to this at the Microsoft site for partners explained earlier in this section. This newsletter is a mother lode of free or nearly free partner benefits. Get it! Read it! Use it!

Figure 5-21:

Microsoft Partner’s newsletter. Notice the first item is a free support offering.




Brelsford’s Mailbox


I am a consultant at a medium-sized IT firm. My company targets big projects from large corporations. I tried to sell them on the idea of a small business “practice” that would concentrate on building and supporting SBS networks. They showed no interest. Lately, I have been contemplating leaving my firm to develop an SBS consultant business. I am a good tech, but I am not a salesman. What specific steps do I take to get started?

Thanks in advance.



Dallas, Texas

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Hi, Ladd!

Thanks for the e-mail and great story. I’d like to emphasize simplicity. In my writings, I speak towards something as simple as giving out your business card this week to a business person. Period. Then next week repeat the same behavior. Likewise, try to receive a business card this week from a business person and then repeat that behavior next week.

The road to SMB consulting success isn’t so much knowing the nuts and bolts of SBS (which I assume you already know), but in marketing yourself. This road is paved with a thousand successfully completed simple marketing tasks, not one enormous breakthrough marketing idea. Far too many people focus on the one killer idea and don’t complete very basic tasks, such as giving and receiving business cards. You get the point.

The chapter in my SMB Consulting Best Practices book, in which your e-mail appears, is loaded with tons of marketing stuff using the old five Ps of marketing lecture. Combined with the other chapters in my book, you’re probably going to suffer from information overload on what your next steps are. But please! Just take one simple step at a time.

All the best to you mate… .harrybbbbb


Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation

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

PS – my Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is now here! J

PPS – my fall show, SMB Nation Fall 2009, is in Las Vegas on October 2-4, 2009.

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