Becoming a technology reseller can prove to be a lucrative business opportunity. However, while it’s a viable business option, it’s not always an easy one — and not every entrepreneur or business is well positioned to offer technology solutions to clients.
As you begin to explore the possibility of becoming a reseller, ask yourself a few important questions to evaluate your business’s readiness to jump into the reselling fray. Your answers to these questions can help you determine if you should pursue opportunities now, or do some work developing your business before you move forward.
Question #1: Have You Fully Evaluated Potential Vendor Partner Programs?
Every vendor partner offers a different reseller partner program. The key term to remember, though, is partner. Don’t focus exclusively on compensation and reward programs (although they are a concern) but also consider how well the vendor partner works with you to support your business and help you grow while offering the highest possible level of service to your clients. Your vendor partner should be working side-by-side with you at all times, offering resources and support for training and development as well as assistance closing deals.
When evaluating potential vendor partner programs, you should also consider the advantages of a particular vendor over others. Can you identify the “wow” factor that creates a better experience for your customers? What are the competitive advantages that a vendor offers? Your reseller partner should be able to articulate these advantages, specifically as they relate to your target market. Without the ability to identify these points, you will struggle to build your business, and may not see the success you hope for.
Question #2: Do You Have the Staff and Experience to Successfully Resell Technology?
Growth and change are constants in the tech world, and as a reseller, you need to be able to keep up with those changes. However, on a day-to-day basis, your customers are going to expect assistance and support, from the beginning of the purchase process through maintenance and growth.
The question then becomes one of whether or not you have the expertise and knowledge necessary to provide the services that your customers need, and if you need help, can you get it? Some Cisco distributor partners, for example, offer Cisco tech support to their authorized resellers, helping them as they get client businesses set up. If you don’t have access to resources and support, can you get your own team up to speed yourself? Are you prepared to hire experts who can fulfill those important roles? A successful reseller isn’t just an order taker. You will be a partner to your customers, and you need to be ready to fill that role.
Question #3: Do You Understand Your Competition?
Competitive analysis is an important part of any business, but it’s perhaps even more important in the realm of reselling. Customers are turning to you for expertise, so what do you have to offer that other resellers don’t? Understanding your competition can help you measure market demand and find ways to better serve your customers. What are people asking for that they can’t find? How can you fill those roles? Remember that it’s better to do a few things exceptionally well than to provide mediocre service in more areas. It’s almost impossible to be an expert in all areas as a reseller, so determine your strengths and use them to determine your business focus and plans.
Question #4: Do You Have a Business Plan?
Working with the right vendor partner can help your business get off the ground and remain profitable, but you need to develop a business plan. Do you have a pricing strategy? Have you considered the effect on non-billable hours and other costs of doing business? Do you know how you will manage your workload and staff? Considering these factors ahead of time can not only help you secure a partnership agreement, but can prevent unpleasant surprises down the road. Unless you have a plan that considers all aspects of your business, you aren’t ready to become a reseller.
Again, reselling technology equipment is a potentially lucrative business. As with any business, though, you need to ask important questions and assess your own readiness to move forward, so you remain profitable and avoid unnecessary challenges.