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Your IT Lifeline A great reseller can save the day.

By Ericka Chickowski

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Most business leaders recognize that the right tech expert can offer distinct competitive advantages, but let's face it: Most small businesses just don't have the resources to maintain a cadre of go-to IT specialists. At best, there's one beleaguered tech guy slogging through the company's computer problems and recommending purchases. At worst, it's that one overworked person in accounting who also "knows a lot about computers."

It's for these reasons that small businesses should consider relying on trusted technology resellers and service providers to do a lot of the technological legwork for them. These partners can help a small organization choose the most suitable technologies for a big project, aid in their deployment and potentially take over the care and feeding of these systems.

But selecting the wrong reseller or service provider can have disastrous consequences, which is why it pays to do your homework before partnering up, says Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer of the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), an IT industry trade organization.