SMB month in Canada

By Paolo Del Nibletto

Welcome to October, and to fall. It’s this time of yeartypically where most solution providers close the books and hope for a better,more sustainable future. I say this because of the horrific year we all hadbecause of the downturn in the economy.

October also happens to be small business month in Canada.I’m not sure if this is celebrated in other countries, but I can’t think of abetter place to celebrate it than here in this country. You see, Canada is anSMB country. It has been estimated that there are more than one million SMBs inCanada.There’s big business here too, but instead of Fortune 500 we have a Fortune 100or less. And, given the many layoffs from the high tech sector and otherindustries, there will be plenty more small businesses opening up.If there’s any one opportunity the channel should try to captureit’s the SMB market. Here are a few more reasons why.

Tim Brunt from IDC Canada says he sees PC sales recoveringfirst for the SMB segment, beginning in Q4 and in force in Q1 2010, driven inlarge part by the federal government’s tax write-off program, and Windows 7.The write-off means more money in their pockets, and many may even push to dothe purchases in 2009 to get the credit on this year’s return. The channelshould be making a big push around the tax credit, as it will drive sales.

This government stimulus package will be key in boostingPC sales and solution provider’s bottom line in the next few months.

If that doesn’t happen, expect it to in 2010. StephenHarper’s Conservatives may be offering this 100 per cent capital cost allowanceon new computers purchased by businesses between Jan. 27, 2009 and Feb. 1,2011, but they sure aren’t promoting it. That’s your job. It’s a pretty goodincentive and something you should be telling your existing customers aboutimmediately. This alone could recharge an ailing computer market.

Windows 7 will be another reason for customers to upgrade.And it’s not just based on Vista’s poorperformance. What Windows 7 really means to the market place is that there isfinally an OS that can give customers a competitive advantage. Let’s face it:XP works well. Customers know that and they’ll stick with it, but it’s also avery old operating system. Since most wise customers skipped Vista;those people will be looking for something that is cutting edge and I thinkWindows 7 has it.

But besides the stimulus package, the promise of Windows 7and an improving economy, the best way to get at the SMB is to be creative inhow you solve IT problems. CDN has put together an editorial package startingon our cover that will best inform you on where the opportunities are in SMB.We also recruited a channel marketing expert to pass on some tips on addressingthe market in the local community.

Two quick hits before I go. Reginald Howatson formerly of NexxlinkTechnologies Inc. has a new job at Laval, Que.-based Renaps Technology as itsvice-president sales and marketing. Howatson is one of Microsoft Canada’skey solution provider advocates.

PR practitioner Matt Kanas has left Maverick PR tojoin Edelman where he will be working on Intuit and Citrix. CDN wishing Mattand Reginald the very best.

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