Lions and Tigers and Best Buy — Oh My!
The VAR Guy has a confession: He likes Best Buy. A lot. He blows 12o percent of his holiday budget and most of his annual tax refund (before Uncle Sam even cuts him a check) at the Big Box retailer. Some channel watchers consider Best Buy a big, scary company that will smother small business VARs. “Oh no: Here comes Best Buy and The Geek Squad.” Settle down, folks. There’s no reason for alarm.
Fact is, companies like Best Buy increase consumer awareness of IT–from Windows Vista (oops, bad example) to WiFi. Thousands–perhaps millions–of small business owners are deploying WiFi networks because they’ve come to trust the consumer WiFi devices they already have at home. You can thank companies like Best Buy and Starbucks for such strong WiFi awareness.
Yes, Best Buy and its Geek Squad team will crush some commodity break/fix resellers. You know the kind: The reseller down the block who’s charging $50 an hour to install anti-virus software for his neighbor. Hopefully, you don’t fit in that category.
There’s even some concern that Best Buy will use its latest acquisition, Speakeasy, to push into the managed services market. Hmmm. A little broadband here. A little hosted PC security there. That’s possible. But Best Buy as a full-blown managed service provider? That sounds like quite a stretch to The VAR Guy.
Instead of fearing Big Box retailers, get out of their way. Let them have the low-end market. Investigate true managed service solutions from companies like Autotask, N-able, Kaseya and Level Platforms. If your IT consultants are under-utilized, don’t go scrambling for commodity work to keep them busy. Instead, leverage online marketplaces like OnForce to bid on only the engagements that interest your team.
Without a doubt, Best Buy is coming to your town. Let them fix your home PC while you’re out delivering higher-margin services to your customers.