SMB Nation 2008 fall conference to hold SBS 2008\EBS 2008 Launch Party

Damn a cool Party I’m going to miss but never mind try and enjoy yourselves without me, I know it will be hard :-) I hope everyone has a good time and I’m going to want photos and all the gossip at the very least!



SMB Nation 2008 Fall Conference to Hold Launch Party: Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008.

MarketPlace Expo SOLD OUT!

Seattle, WA – August 22, 2008 – Boasting a completely sold out tradeshow hall and host hotel, SMB Nation 2008 will hold a Small Business Server 2008 (SBS) and Essential Business Server (EBS) LAUNCH PARTY on the Saturday night of its October 4-6, 2008 annual conference in Seattle. A 58’ Hatteras yacht will be christened the M.V. SBS 2008 on the pier at the party.

“With the SBS 2008 release-to-manufacturing (RTM) yesterday, we are thrilled to be timed perfectly for the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 products debut and look forward to toasting its great success,” said Harry Brelsford, founder and CEO of the 20,000 member SMB Nation. “Our conference is uniquely positioned to motivate and educate the small and medium business (SMB) technology consultant, channel partner and computer guy and gal!”

SMB Nation 2008 appears to be outperforming similar technology events with the complete sellout of the MarketPlace Expo tradeshow hall and with attendance figures ahead of last year. “We believe the 600+ attendees will be treated to a unique educational experience and BE THERE for the start for the next generation of SBS and the first release of EBS!” Brelsford added. Over three busy days and nights, attendees will select from three (3) academic tracks including BusinessSpeak, GeekSpeak and “How To” that provide bona fide content without “being sold to.” SMB Nation 2008 has even added a “Speakers Behaving Badly” hotline where attendees can report any speaker from the 40+ content sessions that make commercial statements to insure the most pure attendee experience possible. “We want to avoid the wolf in sheep clothing phenomena,” emphasized Brelsford.

Sponsors and attendees will meet in the spacious Bell Harbor Conference Center. “At a time when similar technology shows are behind plan, we are ahead of plan” said Brelsford. “We believe this underscores the strength of the SMB segment and the optimism our sponsors have about the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 opportunity.” Intel and Trend Micro are the platinum sponsors leading the event followed by HP and Microsoft. Gold sponsors include Autotask, CMIT  Solutions, Aastra, SonicWall and Labtech. Silver sponsors include D&H, The Planet, Connectwise, Citrix, N-able, Reflexion, Tigerpaw Software, Nero, 19Marketplace, Symantec, StorageCraft, Acronis, Calyptix, MaxSP, Doyenz, EMC Retrospect, Quanta\Syspine, Zenith Infotech, Linked In, Backup Assist,  CRU DataPort and WatchGuard. Bronze sponsors include Netgear, Untangle, CTL Computers, Level Platforms (LPI), MSP Partners, Linksys by Cisco, Comcast, Diskeeper, Expetec, New Global Telecom (NGT), Pronto Marketing, eFolder, CoreConnex, Highly Reliable Systems, SMB Books & Results Software, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Napera Networks, Independent Computer Consultants Association (ICCA) and Integrated 

Attendees can expect a high-quality conference with content that has been rigorously scrutinized by esteemed industry conference chairs (Dana Epp, Mikael Nystrom, Curt Hicks and Joe Moore). That has resulted in outstanding speaker selections such as Jeff Middleton, Susan Bradley, Ramon Ray and Amy Babinchak and popular topics such as How to Sell Your SBS\SMB Consulting Practice and Security in SBS 2008.

“So the last question is this. Where will you be October 4-6, 2008?” concluded Brelsford. Attendees can learn more and register at

About SMB Nation

Founded ten years ago by Small Business Server author Harry Brelsford, Bainbridge Island, Washington-based SMB Nation supports small and medium business technology consultants to improve their business and technical skills with publications (books, SMB PC magazine) and events (SMB Nation conferences and workshops). SMB Nation boasts worldwide tribal membership in 30+ countries exceeding 20,000 consultants, resellers, VARs\VAPs and channel partners. Harry Brelsford is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist (SBSC) and holds an MBA from the University of Denver in addition to MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE and CNP certifications.


Harry Brelsford

CEO, SMB Nation


Harry Brelsford | CEO | SMB Nation, Inc. |

Please attend our SMB Nation 2008 fall conference, October 4-6, 2008


Read Harry’s SMB Dude Blog here

Download your copy of SMB PC magazine here

SBS Manchester Group Meeting

Yesterday evening I went up to the SBS Manchester Group meeting to talk about some of the discussions that were had at WPC as part of the PALs Meeting. It was a very interesting discussion around a number of topics. For me it was interesting to hear what value people see in the SBSC Programme. It got me thinking and I realised that there are two separate things at play here which are :-

  1. SBSC Certification/Programme Benefits
  2. Community Membership and Peer-to-Peer Networking

I guess you can have the second without having the first and the question is which is the more valuable?

I have no doubt that business growth and personal development comes from the second and for people to see real value in SBSC then the two have to be more closely tied in together. By this I mean if you obtain SBSC then you should be getting into an exclusive for SBSC only Peer-to-Peer Networking Group.

There was a discussion around the SBS/EBS Launch Plans by Gareth Hall, the Microsoft Windows Server Product Manager, and what this might look like. I’m not going to give you the details because you need to get to your local SBS Group and listen to Gareth yourselves on one of his visits to the Groups. Suffice to say I really like his thinking and we certainly need to think out of the box and ultimately it must mean more SBSC Partners go out and talk to more Customers and to sell more (for Microsoft that means more licenses and for us as Partners it means getting more service revenue).

Emily Lambert, the Microsoft SBSC Programme Lead, was there to talk about some of things happening around SBSC and how she is taking feedback onboard and then eventually planning to try and start to address some of the issues.

There is a great bunch of people there at Manchester SBS Group and great that the North West is one the areas that Microsoft is implementing a Regional Approach. There is a new North West Microsoft Small Business website which I think is a fantastic idea and if you can get some Case Studies from local Partner then it will be a great resource.

Upcoming AMITPRO Meetings

Here are details of the upcoming meetings for AMITPRO that Steve Wright has been busy organising as the new Group Leader, so put these in your diary and come along to the Arden Hotel next to Birmingham Airport and we meet at 17.00 for a 17.30 start in the Bar Area before going to the meeting room.

Next meeting is 12th August


· Emily Lambert, Microsoft SBSC Programme Lead

· Microsoft Windows Mobile Team and Distributor Brightpoint (formerly Hugh Symmons) to discuss a potential mobile offering with Orange.

Emily will be the new point of contact for everything SBSC and is very keen to understand what we want/need/like/dislike about the SBSC programme, so you wont want to miss this meeting. Have your questions/suggestions/wish list to hand and let’s make sure MS understand we are the go to group for providing feedback on SBSC!

Sept 9th Meeting

Provisional speakers:

· N-Able Technologies. IT Automation & Managed Services Solutions. Only 1 speaker this month as this is likely to be a longish presentation.

Oct 14th Meeting

Provisional speakers:

· VSLnet: : Managed Internet Solutions – start offering hosted solutions to your customers now or add to your existing portfolio.

Premier Finance and Leasing: Specialists in IT finance & lease. Gain a competitive edge over the competition by offering finance & lease to your customers and easily overcome their objections to cost.

Meet Andrea Russell

I can’t believe I don’t have a photo with Andrea from WPC, that is a major oversight but she is probably one of the most important people in our lives as SBSC Partners. She is the Worldwide Programme Manager for SBSC and lives and breaths the "blue badge". I’ve now worked with Andrea for just over a year and realised that underneath that outwardly cool, calm and collected exterior lies a very determined person. I know that often the feedback is that Microsoft does not listen and act but you can be sure that Andrea is pushing hard for SBSC Partners. She’s been known to corner people in the corridors of the Redmond Campus to demand stuff for us. She might not always get it but I know she won’t give up easily. She was the one who got Michael Risse over to a lunch with the SBSC PALs in Houston so we could ask him some questions including why the recent Small Business Vista Adverts were highlighting free support direct from Microsoft and didn’t mention SBSC Partners or any Partners!

She’s overseen an amazing period with SBSC Partners globally reaching about 15,000 over many different countries in a relatively short time. As she told us in Houston, it is the largest coherent Partner Group in Microsoft, bigger than any of the competencies so a "force to be reckoned with"!

It’s all about the people, it’s people who drive Change.

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Free eBook by Stuart Crawford for SBSC and SMB Community

Stuart Crawford has just released a new eBook for SBSC Partners and the SMB Community at large. Below is a description of it and a link to go get it :-

The Small Business IT market is evolving, the need for IT Professionals and SBSC to deliver more business focus solutions to our clients is now making SBSC’s and IT Professionals look hard at the services that they are delivering in the second half of 2008 and going into 2009.  With more emphasis being put on business process, workflow management, data retention, business continuity, managing relationships and doing all this as the small business tightens it’s belt just a bit.

What is out there to help the average SMB IT Professionals or SBSC member?

Connecting the Dots is a look at this changing IT landscape.  What we need to do now is prepare for what is around the corner.  This free eBook is available to all IT Professionals.  Why is it free?  Isn’t this what community is all about?  Stuart Crawford shares his insight on this changing landscape in this short eBook, get it today at

Meet Beatrice Mulzer, A pragmatic pisces

DSCF0034 What am I saying? As if you don’t know Beatrice Mulzer … who doesn’t know her! Author of the 70-282 Exam Preparation Guide and the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Primer and she’s also a worldwide trainer on SBS, so what she doesn’t know about SBS isn’t worth knowing.

The great thing about about WPC is you get to meet a lot of great people but you get to see who the really nice people are, those who are humble and not caught up in their own status. Beatrice is one of those people, with a great sense of humour and a genuinely interesting person to talk to on a number of different levels.

She writes a very "Pink" blog which I can’t believe I wasn’t following! What was I thinking of? … but I sure am now :-)

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Welcome, Steve Wright new Group Leader of AMITPRO

After a smooth transition, Steve Wright of BMS Digital Solutions in Leicestershire, is taking over as the Group Leader of AMITPRO from myself. It’s great to see that the Group has matured enough to be able to do this and have the members work so closely together.

Steve has been a part of the Group from the early days and I only have respect for those people who are willing to take on these roles. Steve has been in business a long time and runs a very successful IT Managed Services business which is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist and Certified Partner. I know he’s someone that within the Group that we look up to in business terms and value his advice.

Steve has also been a major contributor to the SBS Community and regularly provides feedback to Microsoft on all things SBSC, as well as writing a blog.

I’m still going to be a regular attendee of the Group and supporting in any way that I can.

Congratulation Steve and thanks for volunteering.

Microsoft, work with your most proactive SBSC Partners

That’s my message! It’s simple, it’s succinct and everything follows from that. Forget the "scale" thing because it just doesn’t work. Run X number of free marketing campaigns and not enough Partners will take it up, run Y number of events and not enough Partners will turn up. Do "in person" customer facing events with those proactive SBSC Partners who engage with you.

Why should I work my butt off so that an SBSC Partner down the road who does nothing can earn the benefits? The return on your investment Microsoft will be so much more if you do this.

Work with the most engaged SBSC Partners, you know who they are, and forget the rest!

Sonal Gathani, Microsoft UK SBS Product Manager is Blogging

Good on you Sonal, she’s started a blog at

I’ve given Microsoft a rough ride recently but only because I care about the relationship between SBSC Partners and Microsoft.

Thank you for listening and acting on it!

So please, please give her the feedback, comments, thoughts, whatever…

Nick's SMB Blog

Another UK SBSer has joined the realms of blogdom. Nick Lloyd of Sirona Solutions has got some good stuff on his blog already even though he didn’t put me as one of the blogs that inspired him to start (oh! the bruised ego!), but luckily he did put Tubbsy.

I know Nick is trying to find his "focus" but I would say go with the flow and that it’s very difficult to have a strategic plan around blogging.

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