Signs of Recovery in the I/T Industry?

Signs of Recovery in the I/T Industry?

by Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications and Questar PC

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Information technology, hardware, software, networks and unified communications providers are hoping for the best: they’re hoping the belt tightening of the last two years is behind them. I/T and telecommunications spending has begun to show signs of life again after so many companies put the brakes on spending and managers had to “make do.”

In an August 2010 report by Gartner, a technology research firm, they stated that spending in 2010 increased by 2.9 percent. While that is down from the previous 4.1 percent growth, it is still growth nonetheless. But, when you consider 2008 and 2009, and that spending fell 5.9 percent, it still leaves you with the perception of deficit in the growth.

For the past three years, many I/T execs have had to put many projects on hold, knowing that any request for expenditures would get voted down by the board. Even projects that could be cost justified had a snowball’s chance in hell because they required upfront capital expense and that money just couldn’t be justified by the budget.

Where many firms are starting to move is in the I/T leasing direction, because–while traditional lending sources are not opening the faucets to financing–leasing companies have plenty capital to make it worthwhile. Not only that, but when taking a depreciation on I/T, most firms are looking at an amortization schedule that is already aged when the equipment lands on the dock. With a full equipment lease, and associated support, it’s a total expense that can be deducted from the gross before taxable income.

After the meltdown of 2008, businesses across many industry sectors have been in the cost-cutting mode and in no mood to spend a dime on anything.. That includes smaller sectors such as real estate brokerages, insurance groups and small to medium sized businesses. That may work for a while–for a year or two–but information technology can only be put off for so long before it starts to have consequences.

And so, we rapidly approach the close of 2010 as Thanksgiving gives way to the Christmas shopping season, and the harbinger of the New Quarter hails in the foggy streets of commerce. Only one thing is certain: and that there is still going to be a lot of uncertainty.

Going into 2011, businesses are still worried about the anemic recovery of the economy. Despite all the assurances from political pundits, the reality on Main Street is that Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue haven’t gotten the message yet. Business owners, both small and large, are still concerned about recent legislation that hasn’t even been read yet, much less defined. The potential for higher taxes, the termination of the Bush Tax Cuts, and higher insurance premiums gives cause for more concern and higher blood pressure than profits.

Midterm elections, likely to put the country on a more conservative course, may also put a stop to the out of control deficit spending of this present administration. With the tsunami of Conservative Republicans taking over the House of Representatives, and paltry gains in the Senate, there is hope that these new Tea Party Conservatives can put the kibosh on President Obama’s anti-business agenda.

Gartner’s forecast for 2011 is for about a 3.5 percent increase in enterprise I/T spending–up from the 2.9 percent projection for 2010. Enterprise I/T comprises a multiplicity of sectors which include, but are not limited to, equipment, software, networks, labor, tech support, outsourcing, TPA (Third Party Administration), Unified Communications and Messaging platforms for mobile workforces, and supplies. Then you must consider the cost of financing and leasing…

Anecdotally, the heads of several real estate and insurance groups tell me that they are hearing a more optimistic tone this past summer. And ever since the mid-term elections, that tone has increasingly become more positive.

While no one is swinging on ropes across the pond right now, at least businesses are more open to discussing their options. Nevertheless, many businesses are still holding out for the January inauguration of our newly elected junior Representatives and Senators before they pull any triggers on new projects and spending sprees. Once the end of January rolls over into February 2011, they will have a better handle on their budgets and make more informed decisions.

Despite Gartner’s prediction of an increase in spending, it is also wise to develop a contingency plan to mitigate the risk of zero growth in 2011. It is recommended that business owners look at “cost optimization” in 2011 to begin taking advantage of the overriding value of their assets as the markets return to growth. Taking a lease option in their infrastructure growth is also a wiser choice than taking a depreciation on assets. The downside to depreciation is that much equipment is already obsolete when it hits the dock: leasing provides a safety net to allow an escape through upgrade in the middle of a lease, therefore not tying up the purse strings.

Also, Gartner recommends I/T providers to target high-growth sectors through the next 4 years, such as public utilities and international government bodies. Gartner didn’t divulge any figures for risk management or actuarial segments, but in the insurance sector alone, I/T spending is expected to increase by just 2.1 percent, putting it second to last on the list, just ahead of local and regional government spending.

While budgets are still going to be a major area of concern, companies that postpone investments in upgrades to their present technology could see themselves at more than a competitive disadvantage: they could find themselves out of business due to catastrophic infrastructure failure or compromise. New technologies are coming online every day which will deliver cost savings and profits, and increase operational function and efficiencies.

[Ed. Note: Ernest O’Dell is publisher and CEO of the Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute, the Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing Institute, and Director of DMS Group Publishing, a holding company for QuestarTeleCommunications.com, and QuestarPC.com. He has won international recognition in 182 countries and is published in over 20 different languages. His publications cover marketing in small, medium and large businesses, telecommunications, real estate, insurance, risk management, public utilities and government related industries.]

To read the complete article in PDF format, click on the link below.
Signs of Recovery in the IT Industry.pdf

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How to Sell Your House Using a Lease Option

By Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing

Are you trying to sell your house in a buyer’s market? A lease option may be the perfect solution to ensure you get top dollar for your home and maybe even generate some extra income off the sale. Lease options, in which you lease (rent) your property to a potential buyer who has the option to buy the property at the end of the lease term, can allow you to tap into a huge pool of people who want to buy a home but who, for one reason or another, aren’t quite ready to make the purchase yet.

Click the link below to read the complete article in PDF format.

How to Sell Your House Using a Lease Option.pdf

How to Sell Your House in 30 Days or Less

By Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications and Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Are you starting to get anxious because your property isn’t selling? Or maybe you’re just thinking about selling, and you’re not sure how buyers will react.

A few years ago, anyone could have easily unloaded their home… just name your asking price, place an ad in the newspaper or hire a realtor, and POOF! Like magic, your home was SOLD!

But it’s not happening that way now in today’s current real-estate market. What worked a few years ago, isn’t working so well today.

In fact, the statistics state that your home may very well ‘sit’ unsold for a year or more.

The game has changed!

…and if you don’t change with it, you may be left out in the cold!

Selling your home can be a very stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Following these steps, you might be able to sell your house in 30 days (not a guarantee) or less!

Click the link below to read the rest of the article in PDF format and learn just a few tips for bettering your house-selling experience.

How to Sell Your House in 30 Days or Less.pdf

How to Make a Fortune As An Investor In Today’s Real Estate Market

By Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications and Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of real estate markets around the country that are hurting for buyers. That’s understandable. You’ve had greedy politicians involved in the market process for too long, and a lot of greed became the prevailing factor. There’s no way ANY administration is going to pull this rabbit out of the hat by government “bail-outs” which are nothing more than a stinking barrel of pork.

The only people who are going to pull this market out of a slump is investors like you. There just isn’t a “silver bullet” solution for it this time around.

Now is the time for the investor who has been sitting around or wanting to diversify their portfolio with real estate to act. There is no other time like now to take advantage of the low interest rates you can find.

To read the rest of this article, click on the link below.
How to Make a Fortune As An Investor In Today’s Real Estate Market.pdf

How to Save Your Home from Foreclosure

By Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications and Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing

Thanks to fierce competition among lenders, a dizzying array of mortgage options, and government policies to encourage home buyers, more people than ever before are able to buy homes. Unfortunately, the increase in homeownership has been accompanied by record foreclosure rates. Just a couple of missed mortgage payments can start foreclosure proceedings, and before you know it the house you’ve worked so hard to buy can be taken away from you. Worse yet, you may still end up owing money if the sale of the home doesn’t cover your loan balance, and a foreclosure hits your credit like a freight train. If you’re threatened with foreclosure you may be able to prevent this scenario, but you’ve got to act fast.

Click on the link below to read the rest of the article in PDF format.

How to Save Your Home from Foreclosure.pdf

How to (and How NOT to) Market on Facebook

by Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing

MAY 10, 2010

Unless you’re a hermit and have been living on a deserted island in the middle of the South Pacific for the past 4 or 5 years, you know how popular and widely used Facebook is today. Just a few years ago, you had to relentlessly encourage friends and family to join this social networking website. With over 400 million users, it has gained substantial coverage in the news media, as well as Twitter and a few other unknowns. Nowadays, it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t have an account on Facebook.

Facebook overtook MySpace as the Number One social networking website on the planet last year and is also giving Google a run for its money when it comes to generating traffic. When you understand how important Facebook marketing has become for your website, you’ll jump on the bandwagon and learn how to use it properly. Done right, you can make a name for yourself and become an authority. Done wrong, and you’ll be totally ignored and banished to the nether regions of oblivion.

What It Is, and What It Is NOT

  • It’s Not A Pitch Zone

The most important thing to remember about social media is that it’s not a place to blatantly advertise your product or service. While you might have hundred or thousands of connections on Facebook, it is annoying (and offensive) and borders on outright spam for you to constantly barrage your newsfeed with self-serving promotions. If you do this, you will not get any favors from other users, and you will largely be ignored and even receive bad reviews. Worse, you will get disconnected from others in your connections and blocked… FOREVER.

Social media is used for building relationships with other people who have feelings, likes and dislikes, just like you. Some of them can turn into potential clients in the market, and others will refer potential business to you–ONLY if you have something of value to offers.

There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • you can post helpful information (links) that helps them solve a problem.
  • you can personally chat with them to assist them.
  • you can create content addressing the needs of users and post it.

The bottom line is that you want to be seen as genuine and helpful. If you’re not, then you’ll be seen as just another nuisance.

Word can get out about you in one of two ways: You’re either the “real deal” and before you know it, people will become interested in what you have to provide in terms of products and services. Or, you’ll become known as just another rank amateur and banished along with the rest of the spammers.

And, trust me: there’s more of them on Facebook than you care to know about. You’ll meet them soon enough.

The things you share on Faceboo, or any other social networking site, should NOT be the “latest and greatest” business opportunity or product that you’ve found. It should be useful information that can be helpful to other users. You can share helpful information in the form of teasers that will interest people enough to ask and wonder if there’s more, and have them subscribe to one of your autoresponder series. Or you can invite them to subscribe to a regular newsletter you publish. Offering free stuff is great for getting attention too.

How To (and How NOT to) Market On Facebook

…or any other social network for that matter.

The great thing about Facebook is that from the outset, it has encouraged all users to use the website as a means of sharing information and marketing whatever they please. You must be careful, however, as to how much information you share, as not everyone on Facebook is really who they say they are.

Nevertheless, Facebook has developed a lot of ways for users to do this. You are not obliged to use every single one of them, but a combination of carefully chosen venues can help you improve your Facebook marketing.

Facebook Fan Pages and the New Like Button

This is probably the Number One marketing tool on Facebook. I’ve written a few posts and articles on the subject, which you can find on this blog.

Facebook describes Fan Pages as “a public Profile that enables you to share your business and products with Facebook users.” It is specifically designed for promoting a business and everything it has to provide. People can then become a Fan of your page and when they do this, they let their friends know that they’ve become a Fan of your page via their News Feed. The potential for your Page to gain a lot of popularity in a small period of time is great.

Not only that, but each post you make to the status wall of your fan page gets indexed into the search engines automatically–which is good, if you’re trying to build back links and traffic to your site.

It all depends on the content you deliver to people. If they find your information useful to their pursuits, you’ll have a large following. Violate that first rule of trust in the relationship, and you’ll see your membership dwindle, and you’ll start getting bad reviews… not only in public, but in private.

You need to show them a reason to become a Fan of your Page as well as a reason for staying on. So, don’t blow it. Over promotion of a product or service on fan pages can be just as detrimental as doing it on the regular profile page.

Facebook Events and Groups

Create “special interest” groups fits nicely into some people’s social models. It can also be a great way to communicate with like-minded individuals. A Facebook group can also be used for company employees to communicate with one another and you can either make them public or private.

Events are another great way to get information to your peeps. They can be held at a certain date and time, and depending on your type of business, you can create one for a local or international audience. It can be any one of the following:

  • seminar: It should be introductory and free but you could promote a paid one too.
  • webinar: A seminar conducted online which anyone in the world can join.
  • product/service launch: If you are about to launch a product or service, this is a way to gain attention.
  • news releases, press releases, announcements or “technical papers” and Special Reports.

The best part about creating an event on Facebook is that it can go viral, and before you know it, people will be attending your event in droves.

Advertising on Facebook

A little over a year ago, Facebook introduced an advertising service where people can place segmented ads promoting their website or their Facebook Page and they pay per click (PPC) or impression (CPM). It works in a similar way to Google Adwords.

You can target your ads to certain geographical locations, demographics and social actions. For example, given the programmatic nature of Facebook, you can attach your ads to social actions, age and gender. If you were a wedding photographer and wanted to promote your services, your ads could be set up to appear only to females between the ages of 18 and 30 and whose relationship statuses indicate they are engaged.

Or if you were a real estate photographer working in a particular geographic region, you might segment your ads to only be shown to those in your driving radius. So, if you were in the Atlanta, Georgia area, you would want to segment your ad to that area.

Don’t Fight It: Embrace Facebook

If you want to market your website online, you’d be absolutely crazy not to use Facebook marketing as one of your key strategies. It’s cheaper than Google AdWords, and it’s better targeted. Just be careful not to get caught up in it too much because it can become a very time consuming — and expensive — activity.

Article Marketing on Facebook

Several categories and tags to consider when promoting your articles on Facebook:

  • Advertising
  • Blogs & Podcasts
  • Business
  • Ecommerce
  • Google
  • Linking Strategies
  • Marketing
  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • SMO (Social Media Optimization)
  • Search Engine Positioning
  • Security
  • Technology
  • Communications, Telecommunications, and Unified Messaging
  • Video Marketing
  • Web 2.0
  • Web Design
  • Webmasters
  • Website Promotion
  • Website Traffic
  • Article Writing
  • Copy Writing

…and a plethora of many other subjects.

The key to remember about using Facebook is the distribution of information. While you want to guard your personal information as much as possible, you do, however, want people to know as much about your business as possible. Doing it in a way that is not offensive or intrusive, while building relationships with your connections is the way to do it.

Violate this primary rule, and you’re toast!

Video Advertising: Is It Right For You?

By Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing

Saturday, May 8, 2010

You may have been intimidated in the past with the prospect of video advertising. While it is not totally daunting, it can be cheaper than you think. It is no longer necessary to buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment when you can do it “on the cheap” for a couple hundred bucks.

But, you may still say to yourself, “I’m not ready for video advertising.” And that’s okay. You may be right. But don’t let that hold you back when it comes time for you to take the plunge: because video advertising will always be ready for you.

The dilemma facing you, and millions of other web professionals, it that the complexity surround the technology can seem insurmountable. But it’s not. From both a marketing and technical standpoint, video advertising is like trying to take a still shot of a moving train. It comes across to you as a blur. Just trying to understand it can be challenging.

Yes, video advertising is a fast-moving technology, but it’s also a fast-moving opportunity. But, it is a technology that can be mastered. How easy or how difficult is up to you.

Click on the link below to read the complete article in PDF format.

Video Advertising – Is It Right For You – GUERRILLA REVIEW.pdf