The best of times, worst of times description is one of those overused literary allusions. But it may well apply to the business of selling accounting software over the last year.
Of course, best and worst depends on whose bottom line is gored. And despite the economic gloom, there were Dynamics resellers at the Microsoft Convergence user conference early last month who said that the situation is hardly as bad as 2001.
That dive off the reselling cliff was the result of all the buying to solve Year 2000 problems that sucked demand into 1998 and 1999 and left 2001 with a pool drained of prospects.
It might be more accurate to say this year its a bimodal market: a lot people doing bad, a lot of people doing well, and not a lot in between, the best and worst with some conditions. Of course, it doesnt help to be in a tough market, whether geographically or in something as hard hit as construction and it was clear 2008s construction woes took their toll on revenue for VARs that sell products such as Sages Timberline and Master Builder.
Its easy to describe what went wrong for some dealers. Its tougher to say what went right, except thats possibly so simple that the reason can be overlooked. Those who thrive run their businesses well and know how to adjust when times are bad. Those who simply filled orders find themselves adrift in the market.
The smart people, at least the smart people with some money to spare, spend into a recession to gain market share. That was the philosophy espoused by Tony DiBenedetto, the CEO of Tribridge, which is one of the hottest Dynamics reseller in the market.
But there are many like him. They are gaining share at the expense of those who are less nimble. They are picking up orphans of those who were less fortunate. And they dont sit around and complain they dont get leads from the vendor. They develop their own.
They also adjusted product lines. Many of the success stories are clearly those businesses that broadened their product lines, more eggs for the same basket. Diversity helps during a down turn.
Microsoft resellers who carried two of the four Dynamics accounting applications added one or two more. Sage MAS resellers picked up Accpac, and a lot of people saw the handwriting on the low end of the market and added QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.
Maybe they were also lucky. But they helped make their own luck.
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