Need help getting your web design/development business off the ground

Here is a new offering from Microsoft that might help: WebSiteSpark.

Here is the deal. It costs you nothing to join, but there is a $100 fee when you leave the program. You can only be in for 3 years and have to renew each year, so this means $100 for 3 years. And you must have fewer than 10 employees, so this is a small business only offering. And, you must have your website up within 6 months of enrolling.

What do you get?

  1. Free Software
    1. For Design
      1. Visual Studio Professional (3 licenses)
      2. Expression Studio 2 or 3 (1 user) and Expression Web 2 or 3 (2 users)
      3. Windows Web Server 2008 or R2
      4. SQL Server 2008 Web Edition
    2. For Production
      1. Windows Web Server 2008 R2 (4 processors total)
      2. SQL Server 2008 Web Edition (4 processors total)
  2. Get Business Opportunities
    1. WebsiteSpark marketplace – customer facing
    2. Partner Solution Profile – partner facing
    3. Web App Gallery – show off your wares
  3. Get Support and Training
    1. 2 Professional Support Incidents
    2. Free online training (not sure what this is, but probably an extension of Microsoft partner benies?)
    3. Managed newsgroups on MSDN (sounds like you already have this?)
    4. Access to Network Partners and Hosting Partners

There is another option, if you box software for a living: Empower ISV. Unlike WebsiteSpark, there is an upfront and yearly cost of $375 plus applicable taxes. You also have to release and announce a new commercial piece of software within 18 months of joining. And you can only belong for two years (total cost $750 + tax). Benefits:

  1. Software
    1. Internal Use
      1. Vista Business – up to 5 licenses
      2. Office 2007 Professional – up to 5 licenses
      3. Windows Server 2008 (standard or Enterprise) – 1 license, up to 5 CALs
      4. Windows Exchange Server 2007 (Standard or Enterprise) – 1 license, up to 5 CALs
      5. Windows SQL Server 2008 (Standard or Enterprise Edition) – 1 license, up to 5 CALs
      6. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (Standard or Enterprise) – 1 license, up to 5 CALs
    2. Development and Testing
      1. 1 MSDN Premium Subscription
      2. 5 licenses for Visual Studio 2008 Professional (via MSDN subscription)

And, if business software is your main goal, you can become a partner for free and then get the action pack. this will cover your basic needs, like Office and Windows (plus a few more basic business needs). The list of software is here, but note that this is not development software.

Peace and Grace,

Twitter: @gbworld
September is Chilhood Cancer Awareness Month:


One Response to Need help getting your web design/development business off the ground

  1. Cheryl D says:

    Another option if you don’t do web design/development is the MS Partner Action Pack $299 (per year for the download version) and you get 10 licenses for any OS released during your subscription, whatever is the current version of Office and a selection of Server licenses. True you will likely have to pass a small proficiency test appropriate for what you do using MS software (we have one for web design but Visual Studio is not in the Action Pack) see

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