7. There's a Lot To Be Said For Surviving
In 2009, both ends of the VAR500 spectrum felt the impact of a poor economy. Although the mean revenue of the average VAR on our list grew nearly six percent, billion-dollar-plus companies saw revenue fall an average of 1.25 percent. And many smaller companies from last year didn't make it to 2010.
"A lot of weaker companies that divided the market prior to last year were just done. If you borrowed a bunch to expand, or were highly leveraged, [you were in trouble]," said Denali CEO Chris Gerhardt. "We hired resources that were freed up when other companies were firing people." The company was looking for people with deep levels of expertise, and found them -- something not so easy to do when times are good.
The downturn also forced solution providers to focus on their strengths and face -- and then improve upon -- their weaknesses. As Gerhardt pointed out, no company can cut their way to growth.
"In a downturn, you have to still be looking for revenue. In upturn, you need to also look for efficiencies," he said. "Great companies are made during difficult times, not when everything is going well. That's when the team pulls together."