It’s been a tough year for resellers. I hear that some of you have lived off back logs, some service and maintenance contracts and recurring revenue. I hear that the competition for most jobs has been pretty fierce and that some folks have sold projects at cost to keep valued employees. I’ve also heard that some folks are okay and others are doing well! It’s been the hardest on manufacturers, as their businesses have few or no service and maintenance contracts or recurring revenue components.
I’m hearing that stimulus money is hitting the streets funding new business or business that had been shelved, and that bid requests are up significantly and new contracts are being signed. Some folks who’ve been laid off have landed good new jobs, in just the last couple weeks and others are in negotiations for positions. Is it over? I wish but it is getting better.
Our industry is better positioned than many for a variety of reasons. We work in all the verticals and aren’t dependent on any one sector to drive our growth. Homeland security is still big and private industry owns much of the public risk. Schools, hospitals and even municipalities can’t shut down and walk away and while they’ve cut back on spending security is an essential part of business today. You can differ upgrades and new systems but only for so long in this litigious, risk-burdened society.
Technology developments are on our side too. Video is in its infancy in terms of proliferation of image quality as well as the numbers of ways that it can be used to add value. We can debate the big brother issue until we are blue in the face but video will be everywhere eventually. Middleware for vertical market applications and integration software that allows products to easily be installed is beginning to pop up. Web-based or managed services and software is out there already. They provide new functionality at low costs. And analytics software is doing necessary tasks to manage risks without the need for human intervention. Plus there are products that combine physical and logical security into one system giving you ways to broaden your offerings.
This dip in the growth line is a bump in the road in the big picture and it can be your friend if you let it. During the depression new companies formed and some became the fastest growing, most profitable companies on the planet. Some people took calculated strategic risks because of a job loss or the desire to start anew. Others had a vision of what the future would bear, calculating that consumers would want something different tomorrow.
I don’t think that things are going to come back to exactly where they were before. Over and over again in history there are turning points and I think this is one of them. Consumers are simply going to expect more for less and this will mean that you’ll need new technologies--new services and offerings that allow you to make money but give your customer more features.
Mankind has an incredible ability to adapt, adjust and respond to change--some better than others. And the better changers often lead the game. Whether you are the leaders or not isn’t the point. The point is that the future is bright, exciting, innovative, enabling and full of opportunity. These are exciting times for those who are willing to make changes.