Thursday, October 16, 2008

Register Now for CES: Free

Beginning November 1st, the cost for CES goes from zero to $100.

January 8-1, 2009 in Las Vegas. Be there.

And if you register now: $ Zero.

Why attend CES? Well, the first reason is to get a taste of what your future looks like. What your living room will look like, what your kitchen will look like, and what your clients home technology will look like.

Most of us have figured out how to avoid being sucked into the black hole know as "The Boss's Home Computer." 72 hours of labor and no fix for the virus downloaded by the teenager; no backup system; no you can't reinstall; no you can't delete the three terabytes of vacation photos or the encrypted Dad's Stuff directory.

At the same time, there's huge growth potential at the high end of the home entertainment market.

There's huge growth potential in high-end telephone systems for home.

There's huge growth potential for building up a serious home office.

Nay-sayers will whimper, "Boo hoo, there's going to be a recession and this is the worst economy since blah blah blah."

Unless you are a bank, insurance company, or home builder, the next 12-18 months is filled with massive opportunities.

Here's what happens in times of economic turmoil:

1) Some people will spend less. Changing spending habits mean growth in some areas (buy less of this; buy more of that).

2) Companies will lower their prices to compete. Not you, but commodity-based companies. The result will be massive new purchases of cheaper products. Someone has to install all that crap . . .

3) Many, many people will not be affected. They will keep their current job, at their current pay rate. Their life will cost a little less here and a little more there, but their discretionary income will be about the same.

Here's the cool thing about money: It doesn't disappear. It just moves and flows in different ways under different circumstances. You need to not find yourself selling last year's solution into last year's market.

It takes work, and training, and pain to move into new areas of revenue.

Here's a success strategy for the rest of your life: Be willing to invest time and pain in learning new things and you will always stay ahead of the competition.

In times of distress, humans tend to "hunker down" and focus on what they know best. That's a great defensive strategy and will help in many situations. In fact, it will help you in the next year or so.

But if you can must the energy take this opportunity to expand your skills and your business into new markets, you'll be the rare commodity that can ask a higher price no matter what's going on around you.

And two years from now, when everyone else catches up because the market is "known" and safe, you'll be an established leader as the commoditization takes place. Then you can decide whether to stay or go.

Perfect example: Telepresence is poised to take off. The economic conditions will force down prices, to that will actually speed up adoption of this technology in the next 18 months. Will you be in or out?

Join me, and several other SMB consultants in Las Vegas in January. You'll learn a lot, in a fun environment. And you might just find some things to add to your line card for the next year.



  1. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Please do tell, how does one avoid the "boss's home computer blackhole"? What's the secret, I definitely haven't figured it out, really would like to though.

  2. We had one approach before managed services and a different one after.

    Before our current flat fee pricing, this is how we handled home computers:

    - Flat fee of $500. If, after two hours, we had not resolved the problem, we were authorized to format the hard drive and install things back to factory specs. If they had one or two simple programs, we'd install them as well.

    Only one person took us up on this offer. Twice. Then he decided it was cheaper to buy a new computer than to bother us.

    After we introduced our current managed service offering, we have a new policy. The current policy is:

    - You can cover the machine for $60/month like any other machine on managed service. It will be virus scanned, tuned up, etc.

    - If a machine is not covered then all labor is billable at our current non-contract rate of $300/hr. with a one hour minimum.

    We have a couple of machines on contract. They both treat these machines like work machines, so they're not a problem. No one has ever taken advantage of the $300/hr opportunity.

    Of course we always tell them that you can work on cleaning spyware for ten or more hours and make very little progress. They do a little math and go somewhere else.

    Truth is: Any good computer store will work on it for an hour and then recommend a reformat. So for $250 they get the same result and we're out of the picture. Yee-haw.


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