The enticing allure of large projects can be marred by small solution providers’ concerns over how they will finance the deal without damaging their company’s ability to serve existing customers.
Worries over sizable deals — and the dollars required to provide enterprise, large university, or government agency customers with the requisite hardware and software — can quickly dull the shine prompted by a CIO’s call. Qualms about vying on price against larger competitors may generate additional hesitation.
Don’t walk away. And don’t spread yourself financially thin, at the cost of the rest of your customers, your employees and your mental health.
Instead, quickly begin reaching out to your equipment financing and leasing partners. If you don’t have finance partners — or if you don’t have flexible partners who work on a one-to-one, customizable basis — start researching your options, and discuss your organization, this opportunity, and your prospective customer. Yes, I said prospective customer.
The sooner an equipment finance company becomes involved in the process, the sooner it can create a plan devised for your situation. Equipment Financing or Leasing may be the best option. Both of these instances remove you from the finance picture, in terms of capital and any risk.
While some equipment finance companies are vendor-owned (ie Cisco Capital/Dell Financial) and, therefore, focus only or heavily on a particular brand, it’s wise to consider a vendor-neutral finance company that will fund hardware, software, and margin-rich services. And finance companies that don’t provide anything other than funding have no vested interest, other than ensuring your unqualified satisfaction. This gives you one-stop financing, allowing you to more quickly deliver your bid or contract, and support your customer.
Already placed your bid?
It’s not too late to get a finance company involved. Flexible financing and leasing firms are adept at adapting to existing parameters to deliver the best value to you and your end-customer. Leasing, for example, stretches customers’ dollars further, and enables them to write equipment off as operational expenditures, not capital expenditures.
Plan for Tomorrow’s Big Deal
Just as you’ve probably established a relationship with a bank, a handful of distributors, and several vendors, it’s also wise to form partnerships with one or two equipment finance firms—even if you don’t need their services today. Just as many employees check-out Monster once in a while, take a look at what your finance firms’ competitors are offering, just in case the firms you work with aren’t keeping up.
After all, you don’t want to spend hours or days filling out endless paperwork. It’s important to find a partner that uses a streamlined process, especially on smaller deals. Turnaround time and responsiveness are also vital, with some firms providing same-day call-back, pre-qualification in 24 hours, and funding in 3 days or less.
In addition, make sure you find a finance partner that doesn’t require blanket liens or cross-collateral like most bank financing: One reason for teaming up with a financial services firm is to avoid tying up your own capital to meet a client’s IT needs, and liens and cross collateral make this moot.
So call your finance company and work with your account manager to develop a plan specifically designed for your large clients. And enjoy the glow—and profits—these big deals generate.