Westcoast Small Business Forum – Or “give the SBS Community Alcohol and Sausage Sandwiches and you’ll make a friend”

I’m back in the office today, tired but brimming with renewed enthusiasm and ideas after spending two days in Reading as part of the Westcoast Small Business Forum.

My fellow SBSC colleague Andy Parkes has covered the event in detail over at his blog, but just to add my thanks to Susanne, AJ and the rest of the guys at Westcoast for putting on such a thoroughly useful couple of days and for being such great hosts!

As a "one man band", spending two days out of the office at any event needs to be strongly justifiable, and the fact I was laden down with a cold didn’t help one bit, but there’s no doubt in my mind that this was 2 days well spent in the company of both my peers within the SMB Community and the vendors who supply us in that channel.

Wednesday saw a "Round Table Discussion" hosted at Westcoast HQ in Reading, featuring representatives from Microsoft, Symantec, Westcoast and Microsoft Small Business partners ranging from one-man-bands like myself up to very successful high turnover businesses, which as a relative "newbie" and "small fry" to the Community I appreciated even being invited to sit in on. The opportunity to both listen to such a wide range of candid opinions, and to be able to add my own $0.02 and receive feedback from other more experienced members of the Community was valuable.

Despite getting woefully lost on the way back to the hotel (thanks Co-Pilot 6 Sat-Nav) and ending up in nearby Wokingham whilst dragging a bemused James Cash along with me for the ride (I hate Reading’s ring-road…) we finally reached Reading and after a quick spruce up headed out onto the town.

Wednesday night was spent "networking" in the Pitcher & Piano in Reading Central with a swathe of people from the Small Business Community. There were all manner of personalities involved which made for an entertaining evening, and I’m thinking the vast amounts of alcohol consumed may have helped things go well too. I’ve a newfound respect for certain employees of certain vendors, who managed to party hard all night, then present themselves in a polished manner the following day. Seasoned veterans, obviously…

Thursday saw a trip to Thames Valley Park at Microsoft HQ for the actual forum. Thank heavens for complimentary Sausage Sandwiches to ease fuzzy heads upon arrival! In addition to meeting some more (in)famous faces from the Community who’d I’d not had an opportunity to meet in person before, I was genuinely impressed by the presentations from HP (who’s Server range I’m a new convert to as a result of this event), Microsoft, Symantec (who realised they had an uphill struggle shaking off the crappy Anti-Virus supplier image, but addressed this admirably) and most of all Westcoast on why the Small Business Channel is important to them.

Did I mention how entertaining Westcoast Chairman Joe Hemani is to listen to? Don’t go changing Joe! <grin>

Overall, a fabulous couple of days which have filled me with a sense of enthusiasm for both the Community and my own business which I last felt coming away from attendance at the Microsoft Small Business Symposium in Manchester. There is the value of the couple of days out of the office for me, right there.

I understand that there is a hope that this will become a regular event, with Westcoast as a supplier nailing their colours to the SBSC mast. I’m all in favour of this and hope the regular event becomes a reality – as judged on this past couple of days, such an event couldn’t be run any better than by Susanne Dansey and Westcoast.


2 Responses to “Westcoast Small Business Forum – Or “give the SBS Community Alcohol and Sausage Sandwiches and you’ll make a friend””

  1. 1 sy October 9, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Hi i am new comer to this site. I am very happy to post my comment in this blog. I gathered lot of information. Very nice.


  2. 2 Richard October 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Wow – if that last bit of Spam doesn\’t sum up exactly what the readers of this blog need…… an Alcohol Treatment Clinic.That link is gold, my friends.

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