Partner Points

Partner Points: RCP Reader Letters

Small biz vs. Best Buy; limitations virtual server technology.

High-Price Guarantee
Having been consulting on my own since 1988, I have constantly had to redefine my business model and sell myself. My breakthrough came when I stopped trying to compete based on price. How can I compete on price when a complete system from Best Buy costs less than what I can purchase the parts for? [See "Best Buy's Small-Business Offensive," June 2006—Ed.] I have to sell the value of getting a system from me, rather than Dell or Best Buy, which is more than dollars and cents. I even tell people that I have a high-price guarantee. If my price isn't higher than any one else's, I will raise it 10 percent!

I may lose one or two jobs to Best Buy for Business (BBFB), but those customers will be back when something happens after hours, or when Best Buy sends out four different people after the other to their office and they have to keep explaining the same thing over and over before it gets done. How long is a customer going to put up with always seeing someone different who doesn't have a clue, personally, about his company? One of the things my clients like about me is that I have been doing their work for years and have watched their companies grow and I know where all the bodies are buried. If they are tempted to use BBFB, they're going to get tired of having to explain things I would know automatically. I have even had customers who briefly went with someone else who charged $25 per hour less than me. I was very polite, burned no bridges and told them I hoped it worked out for them. A few weeks later, they calle d me back because I didn't rant on them.

The second thing is that I will stop recommending Best Buy for purchases of anything dealing with computers and will send them to one of Best Buy's competitors! They may be surprised by how much business they end up losing because most of my clients ask me where they should go to buy computer stuff that I don't sell. We consultants influence a lot more purchases than we sometimes realize.

Besides, most people have heard enough horror stories about Best Buy's computer services with home users, I'm not sure they will want to take that risk for their business!
Matt Brock
Tuscon, Ariz.

Small Business Server Specialists
Many years ago Tandy attempted to cash in on the small business bonanza with their Tandy Business Centers. They staffed their centers with former "radio battery" salespeople, and it was apparent the moment you walked into the store.

Best Buy is attempting to cash in on the Microsoft certification "Small Business Specialist." In reality, that phrase should be recast as "Small Business Server Specialist." As an MBS Certified Partner in the SMB space, I not only have to know about SBS 2003, but also accounting, business procedures, personnel and HR matters, financial statements, etc.

Yet, Microsoft and Best Buy perceive this to be good for the SMB space. What will either one of them do, when one of their Geeks sends a well-managed company's financials south for the winter?
Roman Pawnyk
Cleveland, Ohio

Virtual Limitations
I've been investigating the possibility of leveraging a virtual infrastructure of a site I'm working on [see "Virtualization Saves Real Dollars," the June 2006 Solution Spotlight, for more on Microsoft Virtual Server R2—Ed.].

I can see where virtualization can be used. However, there are practical limits as to what you can virtualize (fax servers are problematic) and how you provision storage. On the other hand, the disaster recovery, load and resource management are great and what attracted me to the product in the first place.
Mike Butterworth
Oxford, United Kingdom