Friday, March 18, 2005

The situation for the client of our potential business buyer has been stabilized, and everything should be at 100% in the next 48 hours (Saturday or Sunday). They've handcuffed me by not letting me work at the client location, and I've had to do everything remotely, so I've never met anyone at the client location, but from what I've heard on conference calls, the client seems much happier than they were two days ago.

With most of the pressure off now, I took some time to talk to one of the business owners this afternoon. This firm is organized as a corporation, and is owned by two men who are in their fifties and perhaps sixties. The business owner I've met with so far seems cordial and reasonable, and he seems to be in charge of the technical side of the business. While he seems like a "normal" person in our industry, he warned me that his partner comes across very strongly. He tells me his business partner doesn't mean anything by it, but he's extremely direct and all about the financial numbers, and he said this has a tendency to scare some people off.

This company is a "full service" computing firm (beware what you get with a so-called "full service" computer firm, lol), nearly three times as large as our company, and as mentioned, they're about sixty miles from my home. Their office space is very modern and spacious, and I'm told they have another smaller office closer to ours. I've never heard of them, but from the appearances they seem to be doing well.

While waiting in their lobby this morning I picked up some of their marketing material, and found letters of recommendation from their clients, and I know two of these clients very well. I jotted down their names, and I'm trying to think of a good way to ask these clients what they think about this firm.

This afternoon I called Marty to update him on the situation, and also shot an email off to the other partners to let them know things were under control here now. The business partner I've been talking to here seems very happy, so I'm sure I've made a decent impression.

As a side note, seeing this business helps me understand why we have problems growing. From what I've seen they do not hesitate to hire inexperienced people, which we never do. They're a general purpose company that is very happy to sell you a desktop computer, while we tell people to go to Dell, HP, or some other place when they ask us about buying computers. As a result, I suspect their profit margins are much lower than ours, probably in the 7-10% range, and despite having three times as many employees as we do, I'll guess their net income isn't much higher than ours.

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