Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

So, what have we become and who do you think we are?

For several years now, you have seen the logo above associated with the various components of what has become the Small Business Channel Community.  Now, I am looking to you for your thoughts and suggestions about the future. 


When I first set out to create the community, it started with a Windows SharePoint Services site (with a URL far to long to remember) and an online User Group for people to share thoughts, ideas, tips, and more with their peers from around the world who also work with the Small Business segment.  Since that time, the Small Business Channel Community has continued to grow in membership and reach (now several thousand members from all around the globe) and the resources behind it have also continued to increase.  Now, the Small Business Channel Community is comprised of three components:


1) The new Windows SharePoint Services site (with a much better URL than the original)

2) The online User Group

3) The online Blog (the newest of the three components)


Here is where I am looking to you for some help.  When developing the name for what I was creating, I wanted to make sure it conveyed the scope, purpose, target, and overall “feeling” of what it was meant to be.  As such, I chose the name based on those criteria:


          Small Business – The main focus of what segment this resource is meant to address

          Channel – For years, the collection of resellers, dealers, VARs, etc. that supply technology solutions to customers has been referred to as the “channel.”  This is included to denote who the main target of this resource is, the Partners who supply solutions to the Small Business Segment

          Community – To convey my goal with this resource.  To create a “place” where all could come to not only access information or read a post, but also to feel a sense of togetherness and synergy with your fellow channel members who also serve this segment from around the world.


Today, the market has continued to grow and more resources have continued to emerge to help with this.  For instance, with the launch of the new Small Business Specialist Community, we now have a specific designation in the Microsoft Partner Program for Partners who’s goal is to serve the needs of Small Business.  Also, the Small Business Specialist Community has recently launched an exclusive site just for these Partners.  With this expansion has come some confusion, and here is where I need your help.


Some Partners have confused the “Small Business Channel Community” that I created with the “Small Business Specialist Community” that is a specific designation within the Microsoft Partner Program.  As we continue to grow the Small Business Specialist Community within the Microsoft Partner Program, the chances of this confusion growing is a concern, so I am looking to proactively take steps to alleviate this.  As such, we are looking to rename the Small Business Channel Community by replacing the word “Community” while keeping the same focus.  To this end, I would be very appreciative of your thoughts and suggestions of what you feel a fitting name to take the place of “Community” would be?  Some suggestions I have received so far are:


          Small Business Fellowship – A Lord or the Rings fan?  “Welcome to the Fellowship of Small Business”

          Small Business Channel – A place you “tune in to” to get information, ideas, resources, etc. while remaining true to the focus being around those who supply the technology solutions to Small Businesses

          Small Business Collective – A Star Trek fan?  Join the Collective today.  “Resistance is futile.”

          Small Business Society – An upscale place?

–     Small Business Kinship


Since one of the goals of this project when I first set out to create it was to bring people together to share ideas, I am now asking all of you to share with me how you think of this resource today and what you think would be a good description for it.  It will retain “Small Business,” in the name, so be sure to include that.  You can post a comment on this Blog below to express your idea.  If you like one of the ones above or one submitted by others on this Blog, be sure to let me know that too.  So share your voice and let me know, what have we become and who are we today?


Thank you and have a wonderful day,


Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights