When we discuss diversification in the office technology space, sometimes it’s as if we’re talking about a new concept. But diversification isn’t new. Generations of office technology dealers have been diversifying, going back to the days when they were selling office products and typewriters. Whenever something new came along, guess what they did? They diversified. Carbon paper, color-coded file folders, electronic calculators, mailing systems, and copiers are prime examples of new things they could sell.
The last 30 years have been the golden age of diversification in the office technology space. Some might extend that timeframe another five or six years back to the advent of fax, a technology that enriched and created many successful dealerships. Let’s start with digital technology. That’s been the catalyst for everything to come.
For many dealers connecting a copier to a network was a scary proposition. How many had the talent on staff to accomplish such a feat? Answer: Not many.
How many have the talent on staff today? Answer: Almost everyone.
To coin a phrase, the more things change, the more things change.
The golden age of diversification is alive and well, and the opportunities to expand one’s products and services offerings are greater than ever. No one talks about digital copiers as if they are something special anymore. Instead, we talk about MPS, managed IT, security, production and industrial print, smart office, barcode and label printers, and the beat goes on.
Some of these opportunities give dealers pause because they mean accepting the new reality that print is declining and never returning to previous levels. For dealers who plan to stick around and aren’t priming their dealerships for acquisition, a willingness to embrace new opportunities and use them to grow their business is essential.
For those hesitant to explore new opportunities but are still planning on sticking around this industry a while longer, understand that you might not be here today if you hadn’t diversified in the past, even in some small way. Don’t underestimate it.
This issue examines a host of diversification opportunities with the potential to keep existing customers satisfied and to win new customers as their businesses and needs change. As the world changes around you and your offerings change with it, new technologies and services can be a security blanket, allowing you to maintain long-term profitability and relevance in this golden age of diversification.
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