Going into business for yourself holds a lot of appeal in 2020. The gig economy was already making it extremely difficult for many people to find stable employment, then along came a pandemic to close offices everywhere and cause mass unemployment across the globe. Having been confined to their homes with internet access and a lot of time, people who might never have risked it are now looking for ways to bet on themselves and control their own careers.
What are the options? E-commerce is a tried-and-tested option, particularly given its low barrier to entry and the steady demand for online retail, but it’s also ever-increasingly saturated. When there are hundreds upon hundreds of stores for every type of product, many selling the exact same items for very similar prices, it’s really tough to stand out.
But selling products isn’t the only way to get ahead in E-commerce. It’s also possible to sell software — or, to be more accurate, resell software. In this post, we’re going to consider whether this is an option that entrepreneurs should consider pursuing.
Needing to work remotely, companies everywhere have turned to the SaaS industry, and there’s no way that the business world would have been able to cope with the lockdown measures nearly as well if it hadn’t been able to rely on staples like Google Docs and the Microsoft cloud ecosystem. Notably, though, there’s still a huge amount of room to grow.
Plenty of companies still cling to old software versions and operational methods, and those who are already using some SaaS tools can be convinced to move deeper into the world of cloud computing (embracing big moves such as the transition to cloud storage). In short, then, there’s a lot of money to be made, which is a pretty great reason to give software reselling a try.
Selling software can easily sound very daunting, even for those who know a lot about IT. There’s a lot to learn: it’s vastly more difficult in principle than selling a product. Or at least that seems to be the case. In truth, it isn’t that important to know that much about the fine details of the software you’re reselling. What matters is that you understand the benefits and have excellent sales technique. After all, you’ll often be pitching software to relative luddites.
That said, you can only really proceed with underwhelming knowledge of the software you’re reselling if you’ve chosen a reliable partner. Reselling cloud software involves going through a cloud solution distributor — you license the software through that distributor, package it for your customer, and sell that package on at a profit.
An excellent resale partner will have established relationships with software developers, allowing you to take advantage of industry-leading licensing rates (there are distributors, including intY, a Scan Source Company, that are trusted by massive developers such as Microsoft), but that’s not all. They’ll also have the expertise to answer any questions your customers might have, and be willing to share their support as part of the partnership scheme, allowing you to lean on them whenever you’re not sure about something.
Critically, though, you need to have some way to add unique value to your packaged software (being a Value Added Reseller). You won’t otherwise be able to make enough profit on it. So what can you add? Well, if you do have significant IT expertise, you can offer the support yourself instead of passing it to the distributor. This can be a big drain on your time, but it can be lucrative if you can convince your customer that they can rely on you.
Alternatively, you can simply provide some kind of consultancy service: perhaps providing training for professionals who need to learn how to use the software you’re reselling. As with most forms of tuition, you only need to know enough to cover the lessons, so it doesn’t matter so much if you’re an expert yourself — just that you’re adequately confident with it.
Overall, then, is reselling software a good option for entrepreneurs? Well, it ultimately depends. Anyone who feels extremely confident that they can offer worthwhile software support can make some real money through packaging up software licenses and profiting from their support service.
Additionally, an entrepreneur with fantastic sales technique can partner with a great distributor and profit through convincing stubborn companies to embrace the potential of new technology. But if someone doesn’t know that much about IT systems and doesn’t have the gift of being great at sales, they should look for another avenue.