Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

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Is the Microsoft Small Business Specialist (SBSC) designation a Company or individual designation?

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Is the Microsoft Small Business Specialist (SBSC) designation a Company or individual designation?

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There seems to be a new resurgence in the question of whether the SBSC designation is designed for and applies to individuals or companies, similar to the discussions that took place shortly after the initial launch of the SBSC program.  The answer is the same now as it was then…


The Small Business Specialist designation is a COMPANY designation, not an individual designation.  Just like a person is not a Microsoft Certified Partner or Gold Certified Partner, the same holds true for Small Business Specialists.  Can single person firms become Small Business Specialists?  Sure; however, it is still the company that receives the Microsoft Small Business Specialist designation, not the individual.


Is the Microsoft Small Business Specialist designation reserved to a certain size Partner?  If you look at the description on the Small Business Specialist page:


What is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist?


Microsoft Small Business Specialists are partners who recognize that small business customers have needs for information technology and who are able to provide high-quality solutions built with Microsoft technologies. These solutions are configured according to the customers’ needs and supported to ensure customer satisfaction.


If your company specializes in the design, deployment, and customization of small business solutions using Microsoft technology, you can gain special recognition and additional benefits by enrolling in the Small Business Specialist Community.


The answer is, “No.”  Small Business Specialists can be Registered Member Partners, Certified Partners, or Gold Certified Partners.  In fact, when I was still back in the Midwest District, one of the larger Gold Partners had a portion of their company focused solely around SBS and the Small Business segment.  So from the large to the small, if you focus on serving the needs of Small Businesses, the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community may be for you.


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

  • Since no one individual holds this certification, why then do individuals flaunt "SBSer" stickers, lapel pins, and other "Small Business Specialist" apparel? I knew that the designation did not apply to individuals, but they still include it in email signatures, business cards, etc.. The designation itself, "Small Business Specialist" sounds misleading for a company. It sounds like an individual title.

  • I know that SBSC is a company based designation, as it was described in all of the SBSC materials I have seen, but I believe Microsoft is inadvertently helping to fuel the confusion.

    Why does the T&C for the Tech Makeover contest make SBSC sound like an individual designation instead of a company designation? This line: "....consultation services from a Comp USA Small Business Specialist to implement ...." makes it sound like a CompUSA employee is the SBSC instead of the company itself.

  • @ Andy

    Yes, just like with the Certified and Gold Certified Partner levels, if the people who hold the credentials needed to meet the requirements of the program leave the organization (thus the organization no longer has the required credentials on staff), then the organization would no longer be qualified as a part of the program.

    As far as the SBSC logo usage, there is an entire document on logo usage included in your SBSC Welcome Kit and on the SBSC website that I will suggest you go through since it is a very comprehensive document on how the logo can and cannot be used.  Just remember that an individual cannot be a Small Business Specialist, so if someone is displaying the logo in reference to themselves being one, no this would not be an accurate use of the logo.

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