Opportunity in Uncertain Times

Don’t be Chicken Little and look for the worst in things.  The economy is going through a shift and the market is unstable.  Small businesses still need technology and they need smart solutions to streamline their business more than ever.  This is a true opportunity for those of us in this industry.  It is a great time to GROW our small business.

Although there is a great opportunity for new business, it is important to be conservative and SMART.  Watch your money and pay attention to the things you spend it on.  CMIT held a wonderful Town Hall meeting with all of our franchise partners today.  Jeff Connally covered some great tips on success in uncertain times.  His points were dead on and many were repeated in two good articles I read today.

First, VAR magazine highlights some ideas for how VARs can beat the recession.  Some of the key points are summarized below:

  1. Take this opportunity to HIRE new staff.  There will be some good labor looking for work so snatch them up for fresh ideas.
  2. Sell on ROI and don’t under value your services.  A dollar saved is a dollar made (something Joe Williamson has been saying).  It is true that companies are looking for ways to cut so sell them on the value of outsourcing IT to save money.  I could write on this topic all day but you get the picture.
  3. Review the industries you target.  Health care, public safety, education and government have a budget to spend so maybe you need to refocus who you are marketing too.
  4. Increase your marketing as it more important then ever to keep marketing.  Many people cut back since they are uncertain how much money they will have over the next few months.  This is the worst thing you can do b/c rebuilding the momentum will take several months.  IT services are still needed so don’t stop marketing – this includes networking events.

The article covered 10 tips so I suggest you take a look.

The second article is a blog from Karl Palachuk on how to make money by being better organized.  He provides some common sense examples on how to protect yourself and not let client’s run all over you.  Some examples he gives are to keep track of all your time and get invoices out on a regular schedule.  If you wait, you tend to forget and your time is valuable.  Don’t think that not billing for everything is being a nice guy.  It isn’t; instead, it is just being a stupid business person.  Charge clients late fees and invoice a net 30 policy (I would say it should be a net 10).  Make sure you track your money in a tool like Quickbooks and stay organized.  It will PAY off.

Good luck and good selling.  Make these uncertain times a great opportunity to grow your business!

Most Profitable (Recession-Proof) Products

Since I was on maternity leave in Aug/Sept, I’m behind on some of my readings.  I found a great article from Channel Insider dated 9/23/08.  We are in a good space to be servicing technology as the economic slow down (or crisis if you want to see it that way) will not drastically affect the services we provide.  This article looks at the top 10 technologies that remain high in demand and produce healthy profits.

10. Point of Sales/Commerce Applications – Go Quickbooks – The CMIT family has many certified QB POS technicians so reach out and keep the business in the family.

9.  Network Infrastructure – as Sun Microsystems said “The network is the computer.”  Small Business owners need network connectivity more than ever and we will continue to deliver.

8.  Application Development – SharePoint anyone???  My expectation is that SharePoint development will take off this year and really help the small business.

7.  Enterprise Application – SMBs are realizing that the cheap open source products they started using don’t cut it.  They are now looking to pay for feature-rich and dynamic applications that help optimize business performance.

6.  Storage Solutions – I believe storage virtualization will grow in 2009 and beyond.  For now, leverage CMIT’s great prices with Dell or a managed hosted server through our partnership at Rackspace.

5.  Business Intelligence Software – There is an opportunity for software sales but most importantly, professional services opportunities which means longer engagements and higher margins!

4.  Mobility Solutions – Small Business owners will begin to make the entire office mobile so solutions for security and management will be on the rise.

3.  Managed Services – Channel Insider describes it as “white hot”.  CMIT was one of the first solution providers to start selling managed services in Q4 of 2006.  Less than 2 short years we have realized what a game changer it is for our industry.  Dell and other big players will help educate the market that proactive management is a MUST.  CMIT Marathon will continue to be a hot seller!

2.  Software as a Service (SaaS) – The ease of management and upgrades will keep this on the top of the list.  CMIT will continue to provide solutions like CMIT Anti-spam that make SaaS a key part of our services.

1.  Security – We were right about launching CMIT Guardian as our next product line.  This solution keeps the small business protected with an onsite and offsite backup strategy.  With a 2008 profitability rating of 31%, there is no better time than to promote CMIT Guardian.

What a good article!  Click here to view it for yourself.