Strength In Numbers

While prospects for servicing enterprise accounts remain few and far between for solution providers, there continue to be opportunities in the small-business market.

In an exclusive story, CRN's resident economist, Director of Editorial Research John Roberts, predicts that enterprise spending will continue to be weak in 2002 due to a variety of factors.

KELLEY DAMORE Can be reached at (781) 839-1272 or via e-mail at

First and foremost is Enronitis. Large companies are being extremely conservative with their balance sheets, and technology spending is being pushed to the back burner. To make matters worse, enterprises that overspent in 1999 and 2000 are now investing only in technology that provides an immediate return on investment.

Large vendors traditionally have been enamored with Fortune 500 companies. But let's remember that 81 percent of all businesses in the United States are small. There are more than 6.5 million businesses with fewer than 100 employees in North America, according to research firm Roper NOP. Collectively, these companies are expected to spend $243 billion on IT in 2002. This is pretty compelling.

The growth of D&H Distributing is further proof of the opportunities in the small-business market. D&H distributes primarily to solution providers that sell into small businesses. While other distributors have been facing cutbacks, D&H is projected to grow 30 percent year over year, to $875 million from $750 million, for the fiscal year ending in April.

These numbers show that small businesses are opening their pocketbooks, despite a difficult economic environment. Many may look to upgrade antiquated equipment or peripherals because prices have dropped and higher-end technology is now more affordable.

For these reasons, CRN is excited to introduce a monthly supplement called "Selling Small Business" that will outline the opportunities and new products in this growing market. The first installment will run in our June 10 issue.

It is our hope that we can provide the information you need to ferret out new sales leads in one segment of the market that is actually showing signs of healthy growth.

What would you like to see in this monthly section? I can be reached via e-mail at