Ahem – mind if I brag for a moment……

As I posted yesterday adn MJ Shoer (SBSer from Boston area) picked up on….financial markets are always creating opportunity whether up, down, around, upside down. I am glad my post was well-read yesterday.

I want to follow that with this “call” I made back in late 2007 in Redmond Channel Partner Magazine about the year ahead….while the other panelists were giddy about the Windows Server 2008 launch (important!), with all due respet, I was already concerned about the economy:  http://rcpmag.com/features/article.aspx?editorialsid=2396 

Hedge Your Portfolio

Harry Brelsford
CEO, SMB Nation Inc.

A well-published technical colleague known as Tcat Houser starts one of his certification success books by noting that bulls get rich and bears get rich — but pigs get fat. His point: Properly hedged, you can make money whether the market is up or down. In fact, real traders despise Goldilocks markets where everything is “just right.”

How does that philosophy apply to Microsoft partners in 2008? Two words: mixed signals. On the one hand, there’s the constant barrage of discouraging economic news: the credit crunch, a pending economic slowdown, volatile oil prices and more. On the other, you’ve got Microsoft touting 2008 as a huge year, with its server family creating plenty of new opportunities for partners.

Because things could go either way, it makes sense for Microsoft partners to “hedge their portfolios” for either occurrence. Ramping up for a big year of customer deployments in the second half of 2008 seems like a reasonable strategy. But what if adoption rates for the new server line are slower than expected due to market acceptance or general economic conditions? If the economy remains stable or picks up, do whatever you’ve always done to spur growth (it’s easy to look like a brilliant leader when times are good). But if the economy stumbles, focus on the basics. In any downturn, spending on luxuries declines but spending for necessities stays the same. So if things slow down in 2008, consider investing more on marketing and possibly acquiring competitors to increase your market share, attracting more customers who need those necessities.

And if you’re risk-averse, take heart: You can still focus on helping customers get more out of what they’ve already got. For instance, you may be able to boost your billable hours by training clients to make better use of their existing software.

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