Archive for April 2010

Grow your business with offers from these trade associations

Whether you are in the tech business full time or as a side line it is important to create as many connections and networking opportunities as possible to help your enterprise grow and prosper. One resource that can’t be overlooked is the alignment of your business with one or more trade associations related to your work.

I was organizing my e-mail this morning and came across a few recent announcements from several trade associations, all listed in The Force Field IT Business Resource Directory. I know some providers inside The Force Field know these associations but many may not be aware of them, so I wanted to take a few moments to get the word out to those who are interested in new opportunities to add value to their entrepreneurial endeavors.

I wanted to pass these announcements along to everyone but do not have time to write them up individually so I will highlight them in digest form. The associations are listed in alphabetical order.

ACRBO – Association of Computer Repair Business Owners

  • New Preferred Vendor ProactiveWatch. You can provide that type of monitoring for any size business at an affordable cost. Some of the features are monitoring, management, access and remediation, reports, and many more. Normal pricing starts at $10/month with a $50 a month minimum, however minimum is waived for ACRBO members. If you do hit that $50 a month they will also provide 2 free licenses for your own use.
  • Discount on CommitCRM packages. The CommitCRM package is a complete CRM, service management and billing solution. When corresponding with CommitCRM tell them that you belong to the Association.
  • Virtual Administrator is offering discount per license for Hosted Kaseya.

Membership to ACRBO is FREE. Contact: Dan Hand. E-mail: dan(at)acrbo.com Web site: http://www.acrbo.com

Dan was interviewed on his book in The Force Field Episode 8 – The Computer Repair Business by Dan Hand.

ASCII Group

  •  The 2010 ASCII Reseller Success Summit. One day event for solution providers features workshops on selling and providing Managed Services. Event dates NY/NJ, May 6, 2010,  Chicago, June 3, 2010, Orlando, September 16, 2010
    Boston, October 14, 2010. FREE Special VIP Pass ($975 value) for subscribers to ChannelPro. Subscription to ChannelPro is free to qualified professionals.

Membership to ASCII Group from $125 month. Web site: http://www.ascii.com

CompTIA

  • CompTIA Breakaway 2010. Annual event August 9-12 2010 in San Antonio Texas. Admission is FREE to CompTIA members, Early Bird rate of $199 for non-members until April 30, 2010.

Membership to CompTIAis annual and dues are based on organization type and membership level. Web site: http://www.comptia.org

NASBA – The Association of Channel Resellers

  • Newegg Business. NASBA announced a B2B volume discount program from Newegg.
  • Kaspersky Lab teams with NASBA. Discounts on volume license packs purchased through D&H Distributing.
  • D&H and NASBA discount program. Resellers receive discounts on purchases through D&H distributing.
  • Innovative Visions partnership. NASBA has partnered with a VoIP consultancy for voice and data services allowing members to earn extra revenue reselling VoIP.

Membership to NASBA is FREE.  Contact: Frank Raimondi. E-mail: frank(at)nasba.com. Web site:  http://www.nasba.com.

Learn more about NASBA in The Force Field Episode 35 – Partner With Your Vendors.

 

National Contractors.com

Web site: http://www.nationalcontractors.com

Sign Up: http://www.nationalcontractors.com/membership.htm

Tech-Army.org

Tech-Army.org, aka The Tech Army Organization is a national service company for computer repair, CCTV and IP security camera installation, laptop and projector rentals. The company follows a military theme and recruits field service technicians, computer repair shops, computer rental companies and other IT professionals. Tech-army.org offers leads to member technicians. The company is owned by XPonex, Inc. who also owns CSN1 Technologies.

See CSN1 Technologies.

Rent-A-Computer
6730 Roosevelt Blvd.
Franklin, OH 45005

Web site:http://www.tech-army.org

https://secure.tech-army.org/Default.asp ?

http://www.rentacomputer.com

Recruiting: https://secure.tech-army.org/sign-up.asp

National IT Contractors: is yours listed and still in business?

One of the most accessed and utilized areas of the IT Business Resource Directory on The Force Field portal is the National Contractor Directory. This directory is one of the most complete and comprehensive listings of national service companies for contract IT work available on the web today. Unlike previous directories, one of the advantages of utilizing ours is the ability of the tech to comment on and rate the company. The comment and ratings feature is powered by our peers and is intended to help techs make sound decisions when dealing with these companies and help them decide whether or not to perform work for them at all.

I am currently updating the National Contractor Directory and searching for companies whose status is either unknown or may no longer be in business. At last count there are over 100 companies on the list and more will soon be added. While there are no plans to remove any companies at this time, there are obviously some who are no longer active or doing business, at least as they are listed. These companies will be flagged as such and will remain on the list for the time being as a point of reference for those techs researching them.

Locating and researching each company is a long and comprehensive job and due to other obligations it is one which I am not able to devote all my time to perform. I need your help.

I am compiling a list of companies that need to be updated as well as new ones  that need to be checked out. All I am asking is if anyone who recognizes any companies on the list and/or has performed work for any of these companies and knows whether they are currently active and are recruiting techs or no longer doing business to either e-mail me at comments@theforcefield.net or post your comments in this forum thread or this blog below.

This will allow me to update the listing and keep it current for everyone. Also, if you know of any national contractors, platforms or service companies not on the list please let me know.

Here is a current list of nationals who are either new, MIA, or whose status is unknown:

  • ACSYSTECH, Inc.
  • ATC Tech Solutions
  • CanDoIT
  • Cindy’s Techs
  • Cilicon IT Solutions
  • Computer Source North America
  • Equant
  • FS 24-7 Ltd
  • Integrated Automation International
  • iTechnicians.net
  • iTenol
  • New Edge Technology
  • Pro-Tec Services, LLC
  • On-Site Computer Services, LLC
  • Ryno Network Services, Inc.
  • WifiLand

 This list will be continuously updated during the next couple of days as we go through the directory. If anyone knows these companies or does any work for them, please let us know!

Thanks in advance!

U.S. Edge

U.S. Edge is a national service company for phone systems, cabling, Managed Services and IT and telecom staffing. The company is based in Massachussetts.

U.S. Edge

212 Carnegie Row
Norwood, MA 02062
(866) 9US-EDGE
(781) 843-4411

Recruiting: (781) 843-4411
E-mail: recruiting@usedge.com

Web site: http://www.usedge.com

Third episode of The Force Field restored and re-released

Last year the CDN which hosted the first six original episodes of The Force Field went offline permanently, taking the episodes with it. As we just released The Force Field Premium Edition Volume 1 in The Force Field Podcast Store on another host, which consisted of the first six episodes remastered with extended content and no advertising, there was no immediate concern.

The original, free versions of the first six episodes of The Force Field have been remastered, restored and there are plans to re-release them online during the next few months. Two months ago I re-released The Force Field Episode 1 – Pilot and uploaded it to another CDN which hosts our current episodes. 

Last month I re-released The Force Field Episode 2 – The VoIP Connection and made it available as well.

 Today I re-released The Force Field Episode 3 – The Last Frontier and it is now available in its original listing on The Force Field Podcast Episodes page.

This episode features an interview with Dave Hendrickson in which we talked about his experiences as an IT tech and OnForce Provider living and working in the great state of Alaska.

For those who remember the earlier days of OnForce, these episodes will be a trip down memory lane. For those who just started listening and are curious, it will be a trip back in time and a glimpse into the start of an experiment in podcasting that became a project dedicated to The Business of Tech. It is interesting to compare the early episodes and hear how the show has changed to become what it is today. If nothing else, it should at least be entertaining.

You can hear the episode at http://www.theforcefield.net/wordpress/?p=11 or at Episode 3 – The Last Frontier.

This is the third in a series of re-releases during the next few months. Episode 4 is planned for re-release next month. An additional episode will be re-released each month until June 2010. I will post an announcement as each episode is released.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Your Company Name Here

I was searching the Internet Archives for public domain music this evening and ran across an amazing piece of history that still applies to marketing today. I wanted to share it for a nostalgic look at the way companies were marketed and promoted yesterday, for a laugh and perhaps to make us all think.

How well do you promote your business? How will the way you market your product or service today be perceived by the world in the future?

Here’s a great way to market your business. Simply enter “Your Product Here”.

 

ServiceKey

ServiceKey is a Managed Service Provider that offers its services to Managed Service Providers, Integrated Service Software Vendors (ISVs), Value Added Resellers (VARs) and Solution Providers for resale to their end users. The company allows service providers to rebrand their products and services as their own.

In addition to services, the company offers and Independent Service and Maintenance Organization certification program.

ServiceKey was founded in 2003 and is based in Norcross, Georgia.

ServiceKey

6264 Crooked Creek Rd – Suite 5
Norcross, GA 30092-3178
Phone 866-441-0496
Fax 678-868-1257
email – info@servicekeytss.com

Web Site: http://www.servicekeytss.com

Vital Network Services

Vital Network Services is a national service company offering break/fix services, intergration, network management, wireless site survays, unified communications and network design consulting services. The company is based in Tampa, Florida.

The company offers partner programs for Authorized Service Providers and Channel Partners.

Vital Network Services

Corporate Headquarters

14520 McCormick Drive
Tampa, Florida 33626
Toll-Free: 888-248-4825
Local: 813-818-5100
Fax: 813-818-5101

Field Engineer Call-In

Toll-Free: 877-677-8271 (US & Canada)
Local: 813-818-5100 Option #2
Fax: 813-818-5296

Web Site: http://www.vitalns.com

Authorized Service Partner application

Are the Yellow Pages relevant to your marketing strategy?

Awhile back I was talking with a service provider about marketing strategies and the topic of yellow pages advertising came up. We basically agreed that, in this day and age of Internet directories and mobile communications devices, print advertising such as the Yellow Pages were somewhat passe’.

This is no great revelation to many business owners who are fairly caught up with technology in the 21st century. If you Google, Yahoo or Bing the topic you will find a plethora of articles and blogs to support this.

The reasons for this conclusion are obvious, of course, but while there is a general consensus among those who commented online that the Yellow Pages seemed to be losing their effectiveness as a marketing tool, it rather surprised me to actually find a blog to claim otherwise – and with great conviction.

The article that caught my attention was  called “Yellow Pages Are Dead?? Far From It . It was on a wordpress blog http://askmeaboutyp.wordpress.com . The author KenC was obviously defending and promoting his product and services. No surprise there. What made it an interesting read was that it was posted in 2008, was still receiving comments and he was responding to comments a year and half later with the same conviction.

This particular post addressed the argument from whom KenC called “paper athiests” that printed phone directories (the Yellow Pages in particular) were not the environmental handicaps and landfill hogs many in the “green” world made them out to be.  According to his post, Yellow Pages were still relevant and profitable forms of advertising and not a waste of good paper dumped at millions of front doors to be simply tossed aside or into recycling bins.    

It was somewhat amusing because most of the readers disagreed with his position, and one or two even questioned the data used to support his claims. Comments posted in other blog entries throughout the site echoed the sentiment, many citing personal experiences to support the argument that today’s technology has made the Yellow Pages somewhat obsolete and in comparison was an expensive form of advertising with little ROI.

The most interesting read for me, however, were his responses to the comments. While I expected him to be somewhat defensive of his position, he was aggressively so, calling his detractors “uninformed” and “obtuse”.

He seemed to take it personally, as if anyone’s dislike of a printed phone book was an attack on him. This obsession piqued my curiosity, so I decided to investigate further.

Apparently the blogger known as KenC is Ken Clark, owner of KenC Consulting LLC. According to his Bio his specialties include strategic business planning and support in sales and marketing. Now, I don’t claim to be a salesperson or marketing guru here, but I was always taught that if you want to sell or market something to someone, don’t talk down to them, don’t be condescending and never treat them like they are stupid.

I left the pages of that blog with the feeling that he did all three to me.

Now, I don’t have anything in particular against using the Yellow Pages. I do think that the Yellow Pages and printed phone directories in general have lost much of their impact and relevance in the marketplace and for many of the same reasons given by those who commented in KenC’s blog. Here are the reasons why:

The decline of traditional landlines

Traditionally, listings in the White or Yellow Pages are those of individuals and businesses who have landlines with the phone company who publishes the books. With a decrease in the number of landlines used today and an increase other forms of telecommunication such as VoIP, the printed phone directory is not the ultimate source for phone listings it used to be.

The rise of mobile telecommunications

Most consumers have cell phones and other mobile devices to communicate with. Phone kiosks with directories are disappearing from the public landscape. When was the last time you saw a phone book at a public telephone booth? When was the last time you saw a phone booth?

The proliferation of mobile apps

Mobile devices do not typically need an eight to fifteen pound book of yellow pages to lug around with them. If you need to find a dry cleaner or dog groomer in town is it easier to dial 411, Google it up or search for one on your mobile device, or is it more expedient to let your fingers do the walking through a 2000 page phone book on a shelf? Why bother with the book? There’s an app for that.

The Internet and New Media marketing venues

the White and Yellow Pages are online. I don’t need to pull the phone book that’s propping up my computer desk  to shop for a new one. I can save my back and surf for it instead.

CODB

The Cost of Doing Business includes marketing and advertising. Most businesses today, especially in a tight economy, are looking for ways to decrease spending and increase ROI. There are a myriad of ways to market your business to specific target demographics  without spending big bucks on print advertising to general audiences. While the printed Yellow Pages can still reach an audience, it isn’t a targeted one but compared to some other forms of targeted advertising it is very expensive.

Now, those are reasons I disagree with KenC’s views on Yellow Pages advertising. I tend to concur with others who disagreed with KenC and commented in his blog. Does that make me uninformed or obtuse? I don’t think so. Not at all. I never said advertising in the print Yellow Pages was totally ineffective. It is merely a form of advertising that may not be for me. However, there may be others whose businesses may do very well with Yellow Pages advertising. It may be the best fit for their business. If so, by all means go for it. If it isn’t, don’t use it. Do what works best for you, but don’t let anyone call you obtuse if you don’t think the Yellow Pages works for you.

Do you use the print Yellow Pages to advertise your business? If so, does it work well for you? Do you think the printed Yellow Pages is still relevant or has it, like other forms of print media, become obsolete and offers little ROI? Whether you agree or disagree, no worries. I won’t call you obtuse.

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