Are you making excuses for not attending your local User Group?

Time Management

Time ManagementI attended the Microsoft Partner Roadshow in Nottingham yesterday. It was a really useful day, with some great presentations and just as importantly – providing the opportunity to network and chat with your peers and the folk at Microsoft and other vendors.

It was really good to have a couple of nice people who I’d never met before come up to me and ask me for my experiences in building a business as a “one-man-band”. Stay in touch guys, and let me know how you are getting on.

Andy Parkes has already posted really good write-ups of the event in his own blog, so I’ll spare you my report, but to say that two things really struck me at the event.

Networking

The first was that when standing back and people watching as to who was doing the networking – meeting new people, making the effort to greet others warmly, who was asking the questions of the presenters during their presentations, who’s hand went up with presenters asked “Who’s using this technology/methodology/facility”, and yes, I’ll admit – who was being a bit noisy and having some fun… it was the Microsoft Small Business Specialist partners and in particular, members of the AMITPRO Midlands User Group.

Just my opinion, but actively involved members of the SBSC wanted to get a lot out of the day – so they put a lot in.

I haven’t got enough time…

The second thing, and I’ll admit this really made me bristle at the time, was during the SBSC-only sessions. Vijay Riyait gave a great presentation on the benefits of being a part of the Community and then asked the question “Of those SBSC members here who are not part of a regional user group – what’s stopping you from getting involved”. One answer made me tense up – “I haven’t got enough time”.

Grrr.

We’re all busy. Small Business owners more-so than most. But let me share something I’ve learnt with you. Whatever problems you experience, day-to-day, be they technology related or business related – odds are somebody else experienced those problems before you did.

What’s more, odds are that the very same person who can help you out with your problem is a member of your local user group.

The benefits

That’s just one benefit of getting involved. I won’t expand too much upon the many other benefits, such as the fact you’ll get to hear directly from your peers as to which vendors and good, and which are bad – saving you time finding out for yourself. Or which products and technologies are exciting and need your attention now, saving you time wading through that mountain of magazines and articles you keep meaning to read. Or the soft benefit that regularly associating with successful motivated people in the same field as you brings, helping you raise your game and making you more productive.

So the next time your local user group meeting is due, and it’s the end of a long day and you’ve got the choice between breaking your usual routine and actually attending, or sticking with the tried and tested method of putting something else (the invoicing, the user issues you’re currently dealing with, dinner and television?) first – just question yourself. Are you not attending because you’ve really not got the time, as you keep telling yourself, or are you not attending because it’s difficult for you to do something different.

You can contact meĀ to find out the details of your closest Small Business Specialist user group and when they are next meeting.

In closing, I highly recommend that if you’re SBSC qualified and not actively participating within the Community because you’re too busy that you make the time to read this book (or if you’re too busy, buy the Audio version and listen to it!).

Trust me when I say you’ll find it useful! šŸ™‚

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