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September 26, 2016

Microsoft Stores Release "SMB Zones" For Small Business Help

By Steve Anderson
Contributing Writer

Running a small business sometimes can seem like a task in which the metaphorical deck is constantly stacked against the operator at any given time. Double taxation, minimal leverage, and even Dilbert comics won't stop mocking them by suggesting they believe that parking garages need to take acorns as payment. Microsoft (News - Alert), however, looks to turn this tide by offering a little extra support for the small business with its new SMB Zones at Microsoft Store locations.

With over 100 such stores located throughout Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States, there are more than a few possibilities to connect with Microsoft directly at the retail level, along with the website for Microsoft Stores in general. The SMB Zones, meanwhile, offer a means for new customers to try out all the latest in technology specifically geared toward the enterprise user. Microsoft can also take the opportunity to show just what it can provide for that small business user beyond the hardware and into extra services.

Plus, Microsoft is bringing a new feature to the SMB Zones, the Accelerate Your Business program. With this program—essentially a leasing program for devices—new Microsoft customers get access to the best in devices with pricing schemes perhaps better suited to the immediately cash-poor, alongside warranty options, online training and support, and in-store options for training as well.

Tools ranging from access to specifically-trained specialists who focus on business sales to a kind of free helpdesk service known as the Answer Desk are also on hand. Microsoft even offers Surface Membership, a kind of subscription-based support program that offers a variety of extra tools for small business users for a simple monthly fee schedule. Personal training sessions and access to events—whether in-store or hosted by the small business user—round out the program.

Here, Microsoft exemplifies one key point about the overall business climate: small businesses are an important part of the United States economy, and in paying attention to their specific needs, wants and interests, a whole new and potentially substantial market can come along with it. Small businesses have long relied on Microsoft products—most people who own a desktop PC have some breed of Windows on it—and as Microsoft is starting to move into areas beyond the PC, it's getting into areas that might not be familiar to, but may be useful for, the small business. Such events and programs help keep the small business abreast of these changes in a fashion they can understand, and that may help Microsoft keep customers in the long term.

In the end, Microsoft is offering substantial value for its users, regardless of the size of the business involved. Perhaps Microsoft should have been doing this sort of thing for months, even years, now, but any push toward the small business is likely to be rewarded on at least some level.




Edited by Alicia Young

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