What's this got to do with Small Business Server? Well, not a lot actually apart from the fact that it provides a nice segue into my favourite saying, that is:
"if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."
And this in turn allows me to reflect upon the fact that tomorrow, I will have been back with Microsoft Australia for 1 full year after spending a fun-filled couple of years in the UK office. Right from day one I've tried to think differently about the SBS business in Australia - not because we haven't been successful, but because I truly believe there is so much more opportunity out there - if only we can figure out how to crack the small business nut
So much of my energy this year - rather than rolling out the usual campaigns & advertising & promotions - has been focused around trying to connect with as many partners as possible and through them, learn more about what works and what doesn't. SBSCs, large multi-nationals, managed-service providers, ISVs, value-added resellers, hosters, retailers & more. I've lost count of the number of user groups, events, 1:1 meetings & blog comments that I've responded to however what I do know is that the Australian SBS channel is healthy, mostly bullish about their prospects & for the most part, actively engaged in building the future.
What else have I learned in the past 12 months?
- The old mass-media ways of marketing a product, particularly a technology solution, to small businesses is no longer going to cut the mustard. Where's the blog? The conversation? The authentic story that allows the business owner to really "get" what it is that they're buying?
- IT solution providers are more valuable than ever, particularly those that can translate computers into business. Talk cashflow, not technology.
- Sporting a very dubious moustache for Movember really doesn't hide my growing number of chins.
- The next 12 months of potential financial fun & games will really sort the wheat from the chaff & only those partners with a solid understanding of their, & customers' business, will come through unscathed. In fact, they will probably take share from those that just focus on technology.
- Microsoft is getting bigger, more complex, faster (and slower in some regards) & no one partner (or employee) can be expected to be across the whole box & dice. Find your niche. Exploit it.
- Hosting is going to be big.
- Those partners that are a member of their local SBS group seem to smile more than those that aren't. Join-up today: www.sbsgroups.com.au
- Microsoft can & should get out more to the interstate & regional partners & I'll be doing as much as I can to help drive this in 2009.
- And lastly - that the minute we get complacent or just "expect" a certain level of business via run-rate, pipeline or what have you, is the minute our competitors will win.
And so to the 14,947 people who have visited this blog since its inception back in February, thank you for reading & here's to another 12 months.
PS - below is the complete viewing history for the blog, showing (thankfully) a nice gradual upswing of visitors as I put more content onto the site. I'd love to get your feedback around what you'd like to see & hear from me. Ta much.