The explosive growth of small business hasn't failed to catch the attention of technology vendors: More and more are packaging specialized products and services together. Hewlett Packard's (HP) new HP Technology Small Business Initiative is one of the most comprehensive programs out there, offering small-business products and information to make purchasing and using HP technology easier.
One component of the program is the HP Small Business Solution Expert campaign. HP is partnering with resellers across the country to give small businesses better access to resellers' technical expertise for purchasing decisions and technical support. To accomplish this, HP is conducting seminars with resellers nationwide to develop "Solutions Experts" who are specifically trained to meet the needs of small businesses.
Another leg of the program is the HP Small Business Resource Center, HP's Web site for small business (http://www.hp.com/go/smallbiz ). Here you can find information and product specifications for HP's small-business products and services. One useful feature is an online directory to help you locate authorized HP resellers in your area. It also provides information about their level of expertise.
Finally, HP has added new products to its already well-rounded small-business line that coincide with this program. Among them: a line of affordable laser printers called the HP LaserJet 6L printers and the HP JetDirect 150X Print Server that's designed to connect printers directly to a network for faster printing.
Programs like the HP Technology Small Business Initiative are a step in the right direction. As long as the market remains strong, expect the trend toward specialized products and services to continue.