October 29, 2008, 9:16 PM — In addition to what they're buying, resellers are also paying more attention to who is buying. On the lowest end of the market in the SOHO segment, there is some unexpected growth, particularly as more people are thrown out of work and launch their own small businesses. All these new small businesses need computers, and this represents an opportunity. According to AMI-Partners' research showing the top SMB trends for 2008, home-based businesses are becoming an important revenue stream for vendors, and forecasts a "recession-driven home-based business boom."
But even though there may be more of them, that doesn't mean that they won't be vulnerable, and historically, the small business sector is one of the most vulnerable to economic crises. According to the American Express OPEN Small Business monitor, a semi-annual survey of small business owners, a third of respondents cite the uncertain economy as the greatest challenge they face in growing their businesses. Small businesses are less optimistic, with 48 percent optimism this fall compared to 64 percent last fall. In addition, capital investment plans are at their lowest in the history of the survey.