To The Rescue

Making A Match

In most areas, there are multitudes of qualified resellers to choose from. The hardest part is finding one that meets your needs, as well as one you're comfortable developing a long-term relationship with.

Don't choose the first reseller you come across in the Yellow Pages. The best sources for computer resellers are referrals from friends, colleagues and business professionals such as your accountant, Waxman says. Weiner chose Thresher Communications after several respected colleagues praised the company's work.

If you prefer particular computer brands, you can also choose a reseller that way. Contact computer manufacturers for a list of local resellers in your area that are familiar with the products you use. Some companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, provide online information that's useful in locating local resellers. At Hewlett-Packard's Small-Business Web resource center (http://www.hp.com/sbso/home.html), click on the "Where to Buy" icon to find the reseller nearest you.

You should also look for certifications the resellers may have earned, Waxman says. Resellers will advertise if they're a certified Novell, Microsoft or Cisco reseller, for example. That way, you'll know they've received training in certain products or specialties.

Once you've chosen a reseller, take the proper steps to build a solid relationship. Be open and clear about why you're using their services and what you'd like to achieve. It's also a good idea to designate one person in the office to work closely with the reseller, preferably someone who's tech-savvy. This ensures there's one knowledgeable, reliable contact for the reseller to discuss issues with and offer advice to. Expect competitive pricing, personalized service and a high level of expertise from your reseller.

Turning to a computer reseller for expertise is just like using any other business expert. No doubt you have relationships with accountants, lawyers, marketing specialists and countless other business professionals. In the end, a computer reseller is just one more resource in your toolbox.

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This article was originally published in the May 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: To The Rescue.

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