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What is the Value of Your Company? January 19, 2009

Posted by Frank Coker in Finance, IT Business.
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There is a big difference between bringing value to your customers and building value for the owners. Having a valuable company starts with bringing value to customers, but there are more steps required to translate this into value for the owners.

There are over 100,000 small technology services and solutions businesses and probably half of these have little or no value from an equity or market-value point of view. These low value companies are hard to sell and generally result in very little cash for the owner if they had an emergency situation and needed to exit.

A large part of value in a service business is derived from the revenue stream. If the revenue stream is fairly steady, usually because of monthly service agreements, there is more predictability and therefore more value.

Unpredictable revenue, usually from break-fix work and from short-term hourly projects, is less dependable and has much less value. Even when revenues are on a clear growth path, if they are “lumpy,” the buyer is going to place a lower value on the company. The other reason a lumpy revenue pattern has a lower value is that a company without long term service agreements is going to be spending much more on sales than a company with long-term monthly agreements. Here is an example of a company with a strong growth trend but with big revenue swings – and a very low market value.

 cci-24month-revenue-graph1

Predictable revenues from contracts increase the value of your IT service company.

The challenge is that most technology companies are owned by technology experts and enthusiasts. Most are simply not aware of what they could and should do to build equity value in their business. It’s not hard to do, but if you haven’t learned about the fine points of building business value, it is unlikely to happen by accident. Unfortunately, most accountants and attorneys don’t know how to do this, so this information can be pretty hard to find.

I am very excited about a new offering that will be provided by SMBTN that is aimed at helping tech company owners get a better handle on financial planning and building business value. You will be hearing more about this in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, here are a couple of blog articles you might want to check out:

More information coming soon….

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Preparing for the Upswing January 19, 2009

Posted by Jim Locke in IT Business, SMB Summit.
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summit2009_lgo1The SMB Technology Network has selected “Preparing for the Upswing” as its theme and focus for 2009. Obviously, we all have concerns about the current economic crisis. With this in mind, we have decided to dedicate not only our SMB Summit Conference to the topic but to make it our primary focus for the year.

Our goal is to provide your business with insights and best practices for a changing economy that permit you to continue to grow your business in 2009. We hope you will derive a great deal of value from this and would enjoy any comments that you would like to make on the topic.

New Release of SMBTN Community Toolbar December 9, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in Benefits, SMBTN, Tools.
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We have made a new release of the SMBTN Community Toolbar available for download. This release includes additional tools, resources and partner programs and adds Autotask integration, messaging, and SMB podcasts from a variety of sources. The toolbar is only a week old and is already getting quite a few hits.

We are seeking feedback and suggestions about the toolbar and hope that you will find it to be a valuable resource.

Download the SMBTN Community Toolbar! December 2, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in Productivity, SMBTN, Tools.
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We continue to seek out new ways for SMBTN members to connect with each other, access SMBTN programs and resources, and make your work day just a little easier and more profitable. Our latest effort to this end is the new SMBTN Community Toolbar.

This toolbar is compatible with both Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers and includes:

  • Quick Links to SMBTN Sites, Communities and Portals
  • Google Search
  • Custom searches of the SMBTN Community and key SMB websites
  • Links to many SMBTN Partner Programs
  • Links to Technical Tools like EventID.net, DNS Reports, and MX Toolbox, as well as, key technical knowledgebases.
  • An RSS Feed Reader, prepopulated with SMB news and information
  • A chat client that permits you to communicate with any other SMBTN Member who has the toolbar installed.

This is our first release of the toolbar, so I encourage you to comment on it and its features so we can make future improvements to it. In the meantime, check it out. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Download the SMBTN Community Toolbar

SMBTN Health Benefits Program is LIVE! November 20, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in Benefits, Partners, SMBTN.
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association-health-programs-logoSMBTN members will now receive savings up to 40% on Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Disability Income, and Long-Term Care Insurance and More!

The SMB Technology Network is pleased to announce new health benefits programs, exclusively designed for our members.  All members who participate in these programs will receive special premium rates and enhanced insurance coverage for yourself, your family or your company. These benefits can be extended to part-time and full-time employees of your company, as well.

We are pleased to offer significant association value to our members on programs including:

• Health Insurance
• Student Health Insurance
• Life Insurance
• Long-Term Care Insurance
• Disability Income
• Critical Illness
• Cancer and Accident Policy
• Dental and Vision
• And More!

To take advantage of this tremendous membership benefit, visit the SMBTN Association Health Programs website and fill out the online form.  An Association Health Program representative will contact you with a free, no obligation quote.  Or call them toll free at 888-450-3040. 

Programs are contracted through nationwide A-Rated insurance carriers, as rated by A.M. Best and are offered by SMBTN in conjunction with Health Benefits Professionals & Association Health Programs. Rates and availability may vary by state.

This truly is the best program out there and it is made available exclusively for SMBTN members!  With savings of up to 40% and the current economic conditions, I have already called to get my quote. Find out how you can benefit from this membership program today!

5000 Reasons to Sell Speakeasy Hosted VOIP October 29, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in IT Business, Partners, SMBTN, VOIP.
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If you haven’t yet taken a look at Speakeasy’s hosted voice-over-ip telephone system, I strongly encourage you to do so before the end of the year. Why is that? Well, SMBTN and Speakeasy are currently running an exclusive promotion for our business members that will result in one member earning an extra $5000 this year. For each new Speakeasy VOIP deal sold, you earn a one time $250 commission, receive 10% comission on customer billing revenues each month (until service is cancelled) and are entered into a drawing for the $5000 SMBTN/Speakeasy VOIP promotion. Each time you sell a deal, you are entered into the drawing again, so your chances of winning improve with each deal sold.

SMBTN Business Members are already making hundreds of dollars each month in recurring revenue on Speakeasy DSL, T1 and VOIP services. It is a great insulator to the recent issues with the economy. As a Speakeasy reseller, you are also entitled to discounts of up to 50% on DSL, T1 and VOIP services for your business. Not a bad way to cut costs and “eat your own dog food” at the same time.

Want more information about this opportunity, contact MemberServices@SMBTN.org or (888) GO-SMBTN and we will put you in touch with our Speakeasy representative.

New SMBTN Membership Kits Available Online October 29, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in Benefits, SMBTN.
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I am pleased to report that we have new membership kits posted to the SMBTN Member Portal. To get your .pdf copy of our membership kit, please click on one of the following:

The membership kit includes information on all the benefits and programs that SMBTN has to offer and provides information on how to connect and get started with these programs.

If you have any questions or comments about the membership kits, please contact SMBTN Member Services. You input is greatly appreciated.

Repair Windows XP in 30 minutes with ReImage October 21, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in IT Business, Partners, Productivity, SMBTN, Tools.
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Get a 3-day Trial of ReImage Free!

Get a 3-day Trial of ReImage Free!

As we head into a tougher economy, it makes more sense than ever to work smarter not harder. With this in mind we have partnered with ReImage, a software tool provider that promises to repair broken Windows XP installation in as little as 30 minutes.

But don’t confuse this with some of the freeware or end user tools you have seen before, this software was designed as an expert system for the IT professional. It gives good feedback on problems found and repairs most of them within about 30 minutes. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself or read the case study about the experience that Computer Troubleshooter’s franchisees have had with the product.

Reimage has been dubbed the “Domino Pizza of PC repair” (repair in 30 minutes or less) by NetworkWorld. Reimage provides online operating system repair automation in minutes while safeguarding user data. Reimage has developed the first ever technology that offers software that repairs XP operating systems automatically (Vista coming soon). eWeek raves: “Reimage works like magic to repair problems with XP“.

ReImage:

  • Provides automated, online, repair which fixes a damaged XP OS.
  • Works remotely, on site and on multiple PCs, simultaneously
  • Takes about 30 minutes, per fix.
  • Safeguards all user data, settings and applications.
  • Requires no set-up (we download a 3MB ActiveX).

By using a remote access tool an automatic repair can be initiated from any workstation. The old fashioned practice of an onsite or manual online repair for software problems is now history. Reimage is all about saving you time.

After a few mouse clicks and 30 minutes you get:

  • A PC that is as good as new no viruses, malware, software clashes or blue screens.
  • Saving you hours of guess work, or having to reload the OS.
  • No loss of any applications, settings or user data.  

To learn more about how ReImage works, please click here or join SMBTN on Tuesday, October 21, 2008, at 11:00am PST for an online webinar about the product.

Jim Locke from SMB Technology Network speaks with Aaron Booker of Varvid.com – SMB NATION 2008 October 18, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in Benefits, SMBTN.
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Jim Locke from SMB Technology Network speaks with Aaron Booker of Varvid.com – SMB NATION 2008 from Mike Simmons on Vimeo.

Member Sharepoint Portal Maintenance October 11, 2008

Posted by Jim Locke in SMBTN.
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Our Sharepoint portal at http://members.smbtn.org will be down for maintenance from 10/11/2008 until 10/13/2008 to permit our vendor some time to perform server upgrades.

We apologize for any incovenience this might cause you and encourage you to contact us with any immediate needs that you might have at MemberServices@SMBTN.org or (888) GO-SMBTN.

Thanks for your cooperation in this matter.

Jim Locke, President
SMB Technology Network