Something that surprised me when we started Sirona was the open nature of other businesses. This first started with my good friend Jason Stephanides of Onsite Solutions. Jason was a massive help in getting Sirona going, giving us loads of great support and advice.
Soon after starting Sirona I discovered this open nature extended well beyond personal friends. I've discovered various small business communities focused on the delivery of IT services, specifically in the Microsoft arena. The first of these was the Yahoo Group UKSBSG, there's a great bunch of people there who are always very quick to respond to technical or business related questions. There are a number of other groups offering similar communities, but not focused on the UK market:
Another slightly different group is SMBManagedServices, this has been a fantastic resource for developing our business in the Managed Services sector.
Offline, another great group has been the Manchester SBS Group. SBS Groups are found worldwide and are generally focused around Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS). The Manchester group had gone quiet for a while and in March 2008 a couple of Microsoft employees started to rally the troops to get it going again. Chris Parkes, Partner Technology Specialist and Danny Ovens, Northwest Regional Development Manager were both fundamental in getting the group going again. Chris and Danny were originally running the group, but felt it would be better to have one of the community running it. Last week Simon Belt of Simply Better IT took the reins and quickly put up a website dedicated to the group. I'm sure Simon will do a great job going forward.
Our SBS group meets once a month, generally on the third Thursday. Last week our usual host wasn't available and I'm happy to say Sirona was able to stand in and provide a room at Sirona House. We also had guests, Gareth Hall, Microsoft Windows Server Product Manager, Emily Lambert, Microsoft SBSC Programme Lead and Vijay Singh Riyait from iQubed.
I look forward to our SBS meeting every month and always find it a very rewarding evening. I should be bringing two guests to next months meeting - details in a future post - and in October we're having a launch event for SBS 2008.