Leasing today should no longer be simply a means of procurement. Properly configured and deployed, leasing becomes a powerful strategic advantage that gives any company a decisive competitive edge in the marketplace, while at the same time conserving precious cash and credit for other critical business needs.

In the wake of the recession, businesses of all sizes are coming to grips with a new reality. Large corporations are sitting on mountains of cash, but are reluctant to spend it. Conversely, smaller companies are finding it difficult to get the credit they need, and are hoarding cash to preserve it as long as possible. Regardless of size, every business is learning to do more with less in order to slash costs and boost profitability. Businesses are accomplishing this by streamlining operations wherever and however possible, using new technology and equipment to become more efficient.

The new reality has created tremendous opportunities for equipment dealers in many different industries. It also has created tremendous risk as well. The opportunities lay in the fact that businesses need new equipment in order to survive and are aggressively moving to acquire and install it. The risk stems from the fact that these businesses need more than just equipment. They need help acquiring it, deploying it, maintaining it, expanding it and ultimately, retiring it.

In short, the equipment dealer can no longer simply sell equipment. Today’s customer demands an end-to-end approach that covers the entire lifecycle of new equipment. Additionally, the industry is already moving to a managed services approach where the equipment dealer brings together service providers that can sell, install and manage the converging technologies that today’s office environment relies upon. Apart from copiers and printers, a managed services contract typically includes computers, software, network infrastructure, security, data storage, telephony, and in some cases even furniture. It’s total office management offering.

The key to all of this, however, is flexible financing that funds the entire package and then ties it all together. Transactions need to be processed, invoices sent, payments received and funds disbursed to all of the service providers involved. The complexities of the contract must be streamlined and distilled into a single point of contact for the customers. A leasing company that understands these challenges and addresses them becomes the perfect partner for implementing the end-to-end solutions that customers demand today.

To succeed in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, equipment dealers must rethink even the most fundamental aspects of their business. The question is no longer how to sell more equipment. Instead, it is how to provide more value. Showing customers how to leverage strategic leasing to gain a decisive competitive advantage is the answer.

The key is to find an equipment leasing and financing partner that understands the new realities to the small- and mid-ticket leasing marketplace, and that can adapt its business processes to those of its customers. Financing companies today must be exceptionally flexible in their approach and creative in their thinking. There are no longer any one-size-fits-all leasing solutions.

The equipment sales business has changed dramatically over the past several years, and the equipment financing industry has changed right along with it. Leasing is no longer a commodity service. Properly implemented, equipment leasing can become a tremendous strategic advantage.