IT’s Role in the SMB Community: A Discussion with Harry Brelsford of SMB Nation


Most small businesses don’t have the ability or resources to have IT professionals on staff, and instead rely on outside IT specialists to help them maintain their communications, troubleshoot computer issues, and support networks and infrastructure. These individuals are indispensable to keeping your business up and running, as well as helping to facilitate growth. They are also the go-to people for making technology purchases and often act in an advisory role for their customers and clients. The bottom line is that they are important to you and your business!

No one knows just how important they are – or champions their cause more – than Harry Brelsford, founder of SMB Nation, a publishing and events company targeted at the small and medium-sized business (SMB) channel partner/reseller/consulting/VAR community. SMB Nation spreads the knowledge of SMB technology trends through its conferences, books, SMB PC magazine, online services, worldwide seminars, workshops, and accredited Pocket MBA certificate (an academic partnership with Aspen University).

Harry joins me today to chat about IT involvement with small and medium-sized businesses, as well as the Top 150 SMB program currently underway.

BIZ BLOG: Hi Harry, thanks for joining me. Can you share some insights about the role that IT companies play in the life of a small business?

HB: Perhaps the worst kept secret in the new economy is the dominant role that technology plays. At home and work, you can’t escape it. Central to making technology “work” at work, the independent IT company makes it all happen. Affectionately known as the computer guy/gal, this individual becomes a trusted advisor, integrated into the fabric of the small business. She offers insights such as the secure deployment of smartphones and tablets into the small business.

Do you have some tips to pass along to help small businesses choose the right IT professional/company to handle the tech issues that arise in their day to day operation?

Personally what I’ve found is that a small business should (hopefully) be served by a small business. It’s about right-sizing. A small IT support company best knows the needs, hopes and desires of a small business. Selection is a process you need to honor and in my opinion, it starts with a referral – ask another small business if they are pleased with its IT services.

Would you look for a different IT consultant to help with your mobile needs than you would for other technology needs?

It depends. If the need is that of a smaller business, it’s likely that the single point of contact – the computer guy – can handle it. If it’s more sophisticated, such as the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server (BES), then you need to strongly consider a specialist.

Tell us about the SMB 150 and why it’s important to acknowledge the work of these organizations in your community.

There are both known and unknown SMB heroes out there that need and deserve recognition. The SMB 150 awardees are influencers who set the tone and tenor of the best practices in SMB technology, plus best behaviors. We acknowledge that these heroes need 15 minutes of fame; the SMB 150 awards support that goal.

Don’t forget to head over to to check out the SMB 150 program, and to vote! Watch for more discussion on our @BlackBerry4Biz Twitter® channel.

Calling all SMB owners for discussion: How did you choose your IT support? Share in the comments below!

About Marcy D.

Marcy joined Research In Motion® (RIM®) in 2005 and has been involved in marketing to SMB ever since. Prior to RIM, all of her work experience was in small businesses and startups, both working for and consulting with. Marcy knows firsthand the joys and tribulations faced by small business owners and employees, and hope to share the BlackBerry® solution message to make the experience better for them.

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