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VARs and Small Business: A Perfect Fit
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By Jennifer Bosavage

Those of us who have tried to figure out why we can’t do something with our PCs – like successfully install Microsoft’s SP2, or make the switch from a Microsoft to a Linux operating system – can recognize the need for IT help. But many small businesses believe they just can’t afford IT staff. That’s because many small businesses feel as though they need to “go it alone,” sort of like the stereotypical dad who won’t ask for directions while driving the family Ford. As a result, huge market potential exists for solution providers that would cater to the SMB segment.

The truth is, many small businesses need professional IT help, but can’t pay a full-time staff member. And, even if they could afford a part-time employee, it would be largely ineffective in this 24/7 world. That state of affairs opens a sizeable market for entrepreneurs who are technical savvy and don’t mind getting a phone call or two during “off” hours. Solution providers, or “value-added resellers” (VARs), function as the trusted technology advisor for their clients.

Many big-name solution providers are already out there, making millions, if not billions, of dollars. They include IBM Global Services, Oracle Services, Accenture and many other behemoths. Those companies focus mainly on enterprise customers. Though each is fully aware of the potential of the SMB market, these industry giants have not been very successful in making inroads. There are a variety of reasons for this. These include customer budget constraints and cash flow problems and lack of appropriate products and customer specialists on the part of the providers. But, perhaps most importantly, large players in this field have not been able to crack the SMB code because they just don’t understand it. And that’s where a small value-added reseller (VAR) has a decided advantage.

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Jennifer Bosavage is a freelance technology writer.
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