The Microsoft Small Business Specialist certification is designed to demonstrate that a company has demonstrated expertise in designing and implementing small business IT solutions. It provides the business with benefits that are only available to certified small business specialists, including additional sales and technical support.
To earn the Small Business Specialist certification, the business must first be a Microsoft partner. You can be a Microsoft Registered Partner or Certified Partner. Each have their own entry requirements which can be found on the Microsoft website. The company must also subscribe to the Microsoft Action Pack and pass a sales and marketing skills assessment. This is a small test that is taken online to verify that the applicant has the necessary knowledge to be able to sell suitable IT solutions to small businesses.
The last requirement is that the company hire someone who has passed one of Microsoft’s required technical exams. The most common exam to take is the Small Business Server exam. Before moving on to the 2008 exams, this was 70-282 Planning, Implementing, and Managing a Network Solution for Small and Medium Businesses. With the 2008 exams, you can now take the Windows Small Business Server 2008 Configuration Certification.
When the requirements are met, you have access to various benefits, including partner logos and specialized support. This gives you access to another level of support that includes 5 free incidents per year. There is also an active online community that you can access, this is useful for solving difficult technical problems and getting help selling solutions to small businesses.