Magazine Article | March 19, 2014

A Marriage Of Technology & Profitability


By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

Each year, we give you this guide with one purpose in mind: to educate you on the latest trends in the most lucrative verticals out there, while providing a handy partner program reference to some of the leading vendors in the market today. Why this combination?

If you’ve been reading Business Solutions magazine articles over the past 12 months, you know that we believe strongly in the power of a recurring revenue model to give you both stable and predictable revenue and of selling deeper into your existing customers.

Sell Deeper To Existing Customers
Let’s face it, if you’re not selling to healthcare providers today, chances are slim that within the next 12 months you’ll be able to learn enough to break into that market. The same can be said for other verticals, including retail. The specialized knowledge needed to adequately address the specific needs of retailers is hard-earned and not easily or quickly gained. Therefore, I urge you to go deeper with your existing customers.

Not only is it much easier to work with existing customers that (hopefully) already look at you as a trusted advisor, you should also be intimately aware of their needs. In fact, if you spent time listing all of your active customers and then jotted down areas you know they’re lacking or areas they could improve outside of what you offer, I’m sure you’d come up with quite a list of potential business.

Unfortunately, your biggest obstacle might be overcoming whatever prejudices you have towards the technologies and/or services you’re going to have to add to sell deeper and address those needs. I wish I could say some magic words to make you or your company’s leadership open-minded enough to broaden your line card.

Who Wants Stable & Predictable Revenue?
If you are open to being a true total solutions provider, then this guide is for you. Going back to one of my previous points, it’s my sincere hope that any technology you add to your line card, you offer as-a- service. That is, you sell the solution on a monthly subscription basis. Rather than buying the solution outright, the customer pays a monthly fee over a specific term and, in return, gets a working solution, including upgrades, services, etc. The benefits are great for customers who want to avoid costly CAPEX IT investments and for you (because you’ll make more over the life of the contract).Subscribe to Business Solutions magazine

While everyone loves a big lump sum of money from a new sale, look at these new sales as ones you wouldn’t normally be getting. In short, it’s bonus money! Because it’s bonus money, offering the solution as-a-service shouldn’t impact your cash flow. A negative impact on cash flow is the number one (apart from close-minded thinking) obstacle to adopting the as-a-service model. Easing into the model this way allows your traditional revenue stream to continue to support the business while these new sales can grow into something special.

At first, the recurring revenue will just be gravy. You might even be unimpressed. Over time, as you add customers and more services, this money will compound to the point of not just covering your expenses, but funding other business changes you can’t currently afford to make, including transitioning your current core offerings to the as-a-service model.

Then, of course, is the effect this model can have when it’s time to sell your business. Without getting into numbers, unless you’ve got some recurring revenue on the books, the business you’ve spent years building isn’t worth very much. That is, it might be next to worthless. Take action now.

Chances are, you’re going to read about a technology or service offering within this guide that you’re not familiar with. The companies who helped with the editorial and those who provided details about their partner programs are ready and willing to answer questions you might have, educate you on the technology, and become your partner. It’s up to you to be willing to take the first steps.