Subject: Support Business model [ WAS Re: Intro and question]
From: Faber Fedor <faber@linuxnj.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Mar 2003 21:36:25 -0500

On Fri, Feb 28, 2003 at 12:19:37AM -0500, Chris Maeda wrote:
> 
> >> is it possible to build a business without a large nest egg?
> 
> It depends on the business.
> 
> Based on your description, Linux NJ is a services business which
> is not capital intensive.  I would try to bootstrap the business by 
> selling long term support contracts (ie X machines, Y users,
> Z response time for $$ per month).  Once you sell the support
> contracts, you would be justified in staffing up to deliver
> against them.

This raises a point that I was going to start another thread with,
namely, the viability of support contracts with FOSS.

I've gone this route with a few clients, but you know what I've found?
After awhile, they don't need the support.  This "Linux stuff" is so
reliable and stable that it "just runs".  This, in turn, means that the
clients don't need support.

A client who used to be my biggest (in terms of cash flow) now talks to
me once every three months or so.  The system I built for them is so
stable, they don't need me.

This has happened several times.  At first, I thought I was doing
something wrong, business-wise, but there was an article about this on
Linux Today a few days ago, let's see if I can find it...nope...that
mentioned the same problem afflicting Linuxcare and VA Linux, etc.

Maybe I just need some incompetent customers? :-)

It would seem to me that a support/sysadmin kind of consulting would
have to work on the "customer accretion method" just to stay solvent,
let alone expand.

Thoughts, anyone?

-- 
 
Regards,
 
Faber                     

Linux New Jersey: Open Source Solutions for New Jersey
http://www.linuxnj.com