Are you covered?

Last month I wrote about the power of leasing and how this could be put to good use by indies during these tough economic times. My email inbox has had some interesting correspondence in it.
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What seemed to be a recurring theme was that getting customers accepted by lease funders was proving very difficult without personal guarantees from business owners – and in some cases even from shareholders who were not directors.

Upon further investigation I discovered that many of the cases were traditionally very low credit risks, such as professionals and local businesses with long trading histories and strong balance sheets. It also appeared that these were businesses that in the past would not have been interested in leasing through anyone other than their own High Street banks.

Well, it seems that those traditional sources of funding have dried up and these types of business are having to turn to outside sources of finance, which at the end of the day are only asking for similar security to that already demanded by the businesses’ bankers.

The long and short of it is that there is actually a massive opportunity here for indies as they can provide not only the ICT solution that local businesses are looking for but also help them find the funding being withheld by their own bankers.

If a business is in good enough health to take on a monthly lease rental commitment over three years then the owners and directors should not be too concerned about offering their personal guarantee.

I had an interesting report back this week from Allied Westminster Insurance Services, which provides insurance-related products and services. It seems that the firm is increasingly being asked by Brigantia members to look at their business insurance as they try to keep costs down.

What is alarming is the number of businesses that believed they had sufficient cover which in fact don’t. This is an extremely worrying matter and I would urge all independent retailers to look closely at their insurance policy documents, as when things are tight a failed insurance claim could make the difference between business survival or failure.

My advice is double check that you are covered for building and repairing on your premises if you have a typical bank-provided shop policy, and also make sure all those connected with the business are covered when working away from the shop, unit or office.

The headline premium should not be the driving factor with an insurance policy – it should be the actual cover. You may find you can keep the premium down by removing things you don’t need while making sure everything that you do need is included. Let me know what you find.


Are the product specs sufficient?

I fondly remember performing my first upgrade to my home PC. It was shortly after I had installed the recently released Windows XP, only to find that my PC didn?t quite meet the system requirements.

Are tablets the future?

Barely a day seems to have gone by recently without a new tablet PC being launched. The question really is whether there is an actual need for such a device outside of certain established niche markets. Apple and many others certainly seem to think so.


You don't progress by standing still

By now readers will be aware that the PCA has progressed to become the TCA ?the Technology Channels Association?by joining with the Mac Technology Association. Since you will probably have already read the press releases and the comment around them, I thought you might also appreciate a bit of the inside story.

Engaged? You should be

Here's a complaint that I frequently hear from independent resellers: "Vendors and distributors just don't want to listen to us little guys."

Are desktops still relevant?

A look at our top selling desktops and laptops shows an interesting pattern. In terms of specs, there?s very little to differentiate the top three laptops from the top selling desktops.

Sorry Apple - you have become too expensive

I thought it was about time I presented one of my more controversial commentaries. Lately, resellers have reminded me about one particular aspect of selling Macs that is now causing a noticeable problem.


A letter to Apple UK

Dear Apple, Firstly, I really, really want to say thanks for reading my column, because it was only recently that I had it confirmed. I know not everyone at Apple UK reads me, but some of you do. I wish I?d heard this directly from the source, but ? and I?ll sing this in my best Cliff Richard falsetto voice ? I guess ?we don?t talk anymore...?