Home to tech colossus Dell Technologies, the Lone Star State has been at the fore of the technology revolution for over 30 years. It's fair to say, however, that the last decade has seen major Texan cities such as Austin and Houston move beyond their traditional images of university town and energy sector hub and become technology hot spots.
As a result, MSPs and VARs have reaped the benefits of having innovation pour into the state. But, like everything, Texas' flourishing business environment presents challenges, as well as opportunities, to those who operate within it. We spoke with players across the state to hear about the top five factors that are having an impact on channel partners running their business in Texas.
1) Fitting in with the locals
Texas is a state built on word-of-mouth and a deep-rooted culture of knowing people and taking them at their word, commentators note.
For the CEO of San Antonio-based player Monroy IT Services, George Monroy, this has a direct impact on its marketing strategy. With a population of 1.5 million, San Antonio is the US' seventh-largest city. But the city's business culture belies its size, said Monroy, who claims business leaders must almost try to become a "mini celebrity" in order to grow a client base.
"Marketing is a little bit different here. San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States in terms of population, but everyone is kind of small-town minded, so it's difficult to try to figure out exactly how to market to get new clients," Monroy told CPI in an interview.
"It's a very relationship-based city, which means a lot of networking and lot of events. So it's about being seen and almost trying to be a mini celebrity, so to speak. It takes a bit of effort to try to run your business and also get out there and meet people."
MSPs in Texas can find themselves struggling to break into the local market at all. Despite being known as one of the most diverse cities in the US, Housten-based Byte-Werx's MD, H. Michael Wayland, told CPI that the way customers work in Houston can make it challenging for MSPs starting out.
"There's still a lot of ingrained, ‘old-boy' type of customer relationships, and so breaking in when you're just getting started can be a challenge or take time," Wayland said.
The good news for Texan MSPs is that once you're in, "they will share you with basically anyone and everyone they know", he added, but it takes time initially.
To manage this, Texan MSPs talked of intense networking, joining local community groups, volunteering efforts, charity events and supporting local causes.
"It shows you're in it for things outside just your business or profit," Wayland noted.
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