Microsoft has lowered the minimum deal size for its reseller finance offering in a bid to push it into the small business market.
As of October 9, resellers can offer Microsoft Financing on any deal worth more than $3000. When the service was first introduced locally in March, it was only available on purchases above $15,000.
The Sensis SME Business Index 2006 found that cash flow was a problem for 10 per cent of businesses. Recent Microsoft research conducted with more than 400 small business specialists in the US estimated that one in three lost 20 per cent of their small business opportunities because of inadequate financing options.
Microsoft partner director, Pip Marlow, said lowering the bar for Microsoft Financing would help resellers close deals with these small businesses.
Account manager for Phrixus Technologies, Alex Day, said the Sydney-based reseller had asked Microsoft to make its finance program available on smaller deals. She estimated financial issues were a major stumbling block on 20 per cent of quotes.
Microsoft Financing worldwide program manager, Chip Lang, said the division had grown 100 per cent year-on-year since it was launched in the US in 2002. Catering for small business was a natural extension of the service.
"Part of the reason we couldn't cater for small business when Microsoft Financing was launched was because of the complexity of doing business in the smaller space," he said. "We have worked to get that down to make sure the interest rate covers the cost."
Microsoft Finance covers any combination of hardware, software and services. The only stipulation is that the deal must include some Microsoft product. The average interest rate charged is about 12 per cent but varies according to size of deal.
"A core tenet of this is that it's intended to support our partners' business," Lang said. "We recognise that it needs to be as easy to use in order to hit that bogey. All we ask is that there is some Microsoft content - it doesn't get any easier than that."