There are times when it actually is a benefit to live near Microsoft. You couldn't tell me that when I used to struggle with software or Windows compatibility issues in the past - knowing I could drive there, but without anyone to contact. Good news, though... on March 14, Microsoft is kicking off their Small Business Summit live near their campus - but if you are not in the Pacific NW, don't worry - you can sign up for over 25 webcasts on sales and marketing, financial management, productivity, mobility, and security.
While there are a couple of GREAT speakers like Jay Conrad Levinson and John Yokoyama lined up, I am disappointed that the Sales & Marketing track seems weaker than the others, though... (note to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner: you have good local resources at your disposal in this area.... hint.. hint... )
It isn't often that I feel Microsoft, my hometown mega-corporation, actually cares about small business - so it has been good to see the development of programs like this.
If nothing else - listening to Keith Ferrazzi of Greenlight will be valuable - (see my fellow All Biz blogger Lisa Haneberg's e-book 9 Lives of Leadership with a chapter on Keith) There are at least three or four additional potentially interesting webinars on a host of subjects. Check it out.
As either a business owner or a professional seller, conferences like this (including web-based ones) are a great way to see how large corporations market and how they create value for you to want to be involved. Keep in mind the offers, Microsoft SBS follow up emails once you sign up - and the whole brand and packaging of what Microsoft claims to be a big focus of their vision now - support of the small business owner.