I don't always have good vibrations when I hear of something "free" from the good folks at Microsoft, but maybe the times they are a changing: March 14 through 17, Microsoft is offering the Small Business Summit, an on-line series of webcasts to help, well, small businesses. The array of over 25 webcasts is quite impressive, including many applicable to most law firms. Day One includes Greenlight CEO Keith Ferrazzi on Skills and Techniques for Building and Maintaining Your Network of Contacts, and Day Three features financial columnist, Joseph Anthony, on Maximizing Your Cashflow. Of course there are webcasts featuring Microsoft products, but why not? I look forward to the session Windows Vista Demo, showcasing the next evolution of the Windows operating system. All told there are more than two dozen webcasts on marketing, finance, productivity, and computer security--all focused on small business.
If that isn't enough to make business owners take note, Microsoft is adding in a couple perks to attendees. If you attend one webcast you receive Microsoft's book "Small Business Kit", self-valued by Microsoft at $50.00. OK, not terrific, but if you attend 3 webcasts, Microsoft will sweeten the deal to a free copy of Microsoft Office Small Business Management Edition, which is valued at $669.00. What is MOSBME? Basically it is Office 2003 with two new additions: Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update and Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting 2006. Just for listening to leading experts help me to build my business from the comfort of my office? Yeah, that's better.
Free software or not, I'm pleased that Microsoft is using their technology to deliver business-building content to my computer, making it easier for me to learn more about running my business. That's customer value. I guess Microsoft is trying to make sure I have better vibrations about the company. That's good business--for both of us!