CBM Blog

Long time, no hear.. 

(...sorry about that!!)
Posted by Rick Wednesday, August 5, 2015 9:40:00 AM

I guess a blog is something that should be kept up pretty frequently, and I have been bucking the trend.  I apologize.  Unfortunately, I have been locked off from a few of the social media areas here at the office, areas that I would use to keep the blog fresh and new, so you will just have to deal with whatever content that I can come up with, sans social media.  2015 has been rolling along pretty well lately, though sales are the usual roller coaster ride.  Some months, you string along a ton of business and things are looking great, and then a few months are a struggle to piece it all together.  Mind you, it has been a fantastic sales year so far...it has just been a lot of extra work to get it done.  But that is nothing new and so, I digress.

Either way, Canon has released a bunch of new equipment in the last two quarters, and it is obvious that the kings continue to wear the crown of the office products world.  The newest color MFP systems continue a trend towards scaling down as the newest departmental systems have been relesased and are ready to be placed.  The footprint has shrunk, but the feature set is huge!  Of course, that is nothing new with the minds at Canon.  Great job as usual!  Also, Formax and their paper handing and paper destruction fleet have expanded as well.  Lots of great things happening with our manufacturers and I am glad to be a part of it!  It is a great time to be a CBM salesperson!!

Last item of note and one of my biggest so far.  I pitched an idea to the ownership about creating a buying consortium with all of our products.  I was given the go-ahead to put it together and as of today, the buying guide is complete and ready for delivery.  We are only working two specific vertical markets right now--school districts and churches--and with those we should get a pretty good indication of whether this is going to work out or not.  Early indications are good that people are going to like it, as I have gotten feedback from a few of my current customers that had a chance to look at it and comment on it.  Prices are off the charts, was one of the comments given.  Off the charts!!  Just what I want to hear.  Good things coming from 647 Franklin Street. So with that in mind, I look forward to a fantastic August, as we start to look at the beginning of school in three weeks.  And before you know it, fall will be upon us.  Oh, by the way, it is less than four months until Christmas!!  Enjoy the weather!!!

2015 is rolling now!! 

(Hop on the technology train!)
Posted by Rick Monday, January 26, 2015 2:35:00 PM

I know, it is so hard to believe.  2015 is here, and man, has it been a wild opening month!  Sales are brisk, the economy looks like it is rebounding a little bit and CBM is treading new horizons this coming year.  First of all, we are making a foray into 3-D printing.  I know, right?!?  3-D printing has been around for decades, but it is just now getting pushed to the forefront.  Technology has gotten better and less expensive and now, you can buy desktop 3-D printers.  Yes, I said  desktop 3-D printers.  This is actually a big deal because now schools that really wanted to get their hands on a 3-dimensional printing device can create a 3D lab for less money than creating a full-blown laser printing lab.  And the educational perks are endless!  Imagine talking about the internal human organs, and the lesson plans call for studying the human eyeball.  You can go to the textbook to create the lesson plans, but studies show that students get more out of the 3-D visualization than a 2-dimensional book, so let's go to the 3-D printer and print the eyeball...in color...in high detail.  Or an engineering class at the local college wants to do a mock up of a potential project.  No problem!  Jump on the printer and blast away!  It is that simple!

We are also excited too, because we have decided to start the new year off with a bang and get some excitement growing about new technologies that are on the market.  It has been a while since we had a technology show here at CBM, so on Tuesday, February 3, from 9am until 3pm, we are going to have Tech Show 2015, featuring the new Cube printer and the new Formax ColorMax 7 Memjet printer.  Both of those products are fantastic time savers and product creators, and we are proud to offer and show them both.  We will also be showing our two lines of shredders, our two lines of copiers/MFP systems and of course, the latest in low-cost laser printing.Things are moving and grooving here at CBM Business Machines, and we are poised to have a very good year for 2015.  We continue to thank our customers for their support and for trusting us with their office technology.  If you are just checking us out for the first time, give us a shot.  Allow our 51 years of business experience to work for you!!

Here comes 2015!! 

(...and we are ready!!!)
Posted by Rick Thursday, December 4, 2014 2:16:00 PM

Now that Thanksgiving 2014 is in the books, I hope that you all had a great holiday.  I hope that it was relaxing, safe and full of good cheer.  As of today, we sit exactly 3 weeks from Christmas 2014, and in exactly 4 weeks, we will turn the calendar on a new year.  Are you excited?  Are you ready?  I know that I am!!  As is the case, this is the time of year when we reflect on the past year and try to learn valuable lessons on all of the good and bad things that may have happened.  In reflecting on 2014, it has been a very trying year.  From a personal issue with a sick parent, to a weird and wacky sales year, I am going to be very happy to see 2014 in the rearview mirror.  But, I am forever the optimist and I am looking forward to 2015 with a renewed fervor, a hop in my step and a future full of potential.  I feel that I am on the verge of a personal breakout year...so why not 2015, right?!?

Now, on to the business side of things.  2015 is going to be a big year for CBM Business Machines.  We are set to launch a few new products that will make us stand out from our competition (as if we don't already!).  Just the very thought of these products is making the hair on the back of my neck stand up!!  It is going to be an exciting 2015 for sure, as CBM moves into another 50 years of bringing business machines to the masses of western Pennsylvania.  We are glad to keep our customers happy and on the cutting edge of technology, and that is why we continue to take a fresh look at our offerings here at CBM.  We do not remain stagnant, and we continue to find new and affordable ways to help make our clients more efficient at a discount.  It is what we do well.  And the service will continue to grow strong as well.  We have one of the best service departments in the industry and in western PA, and we feel that with this team of service experts, we take a back seat to nobody.

So, with all of this being said, I will let you all move into the final few weeks of 2014.  Whether the year was bad, good or neutral, just keep in mind that you are still here and kicking.  The Good Lord continues to bless us all, and that is why we have the opportunity to praise Him and welcome his Son into the world at the end of every year, and then turn the calendar on a fresh year.  It is the definitely the best way to end a year and begin a new one.  So, from all of us here at CBM Business Machines, we thank you for your business and your trust in us to serve your business machine needs and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!!  We will see you in 2015!!!  God bless!! 

 

Why not defer?!? 

Posted by Rick Wednesday, November 5, 2014 9:42:00 AM

To defer or not to defer...that is the question, right?  Well, let's put this all into context for you.  We are now about halfway through the last quarter of the year and soon, budget money use will be in full swing.  Use it or lose it--at least that is the way that it was at one time.  But the rules have changed a bit and now people are hoping to add new equipment even if budget money for 2014 does not exist.  So, what to do about that new printer or copier that you have been putting off forever.  Luckily, we work with a few really great financial institutions that have some creative lease programs.  One of the programs that we have not used a whole lot but it is at our beck and call is the 'payment deferral plan'.  What a great idea for those companies that need it now but really cannot pay for it until fiscal year 2015!!  You can elect to take receipt of the equipment now in return for a 30-day, 60-day, 90-day or even up to a 120-day payment deferral payment plan...for just a mere few dollars per month added to the payment!

Leases are already a heaven-sent item when it comes to companies that are trying to preserve their capital, to be used for other pressing items in the company.  When dealing with equipment of any kind, why not set them up on a lease?  It really is a great way to preserve that much-needed capital and get the machines that you need to continue your everyday operations.  Leases have gotten a bad rap for many years, thanks in large part to the automobile industry.  Some of the horror stories that have eminated from car lessors would be enough to make anybody turn and run.  Now, that is not slamming the auto lease industry.  Many, many people are avid lessors of their automobiles and they truly love it.  You just have to know the "ins and outs" of the industry and fully understand the protocols that are in place when leasing a car.  The same holds true for machine leasing.  A well-educated customer is a good customer with great foresight into the corporate financials of his or her company.  Leasing does not have to be a scary thing at all.  The best thing to do is to ask a lot of questions when considering leasing, and I think in the end, you will find that folks that complain about leasing create much ado about nothing.  Always be observant of the "end of lease" terminology and what that means exactly to you , the consumer.

Always be cognizant of what is your responsibility at the end of any lease.  Lease companies are not banks, and thus they will ultimately charge a little bit more than what a bank normally would when using their financing structure.  However, lease companies are afforded some different rules of engagement because they are NOT banks, giving you, the customer, some tax advantages that you normally would not have otherwise.  Speaking to your tax professional will uncover a whole lot of those tax advantages, I am sure.

A friend of mine once said, "You can't be scared."  Now, truth be known, he was not standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon or gargling gasoline while playing with matches, but the boldness of his few words of wisdom ring true today.  You really cannot be scared of things that you may not know a whole lot about.  Asking pointed questions will alleviate much of that fright and you will then be able to concentrate on what you need to achieve in the end.  Heck, you read this whole diatribe and only lost a few minutes of your life, but hopefully, you will have learned a very valuable lesson in life...never be scared.

I Got to Thinking Lately.... 

(smell the smoke?)
Posted by Rick Tuesday, October 14, 2014 10:00:00 AM

You know, writing a blog is pretty nice for some people, and a nightmare for others.  For me, it is kind of cool in that I can use one of my less-used talents (writing) to create things that I normally would not do.  For others, it is nightmarish, just trying to come up with content and new subjects to write about.  For me, I really want this to be about work, sales and the company, but I do not want to do something over and over again.  So, I got to thinking about what I wanted to write about and it hit me--why not do an entry about our fine people here at CBM?  Great idea!!

Well, it obviously starts at the top.  Don Felix, our owner and CEO, is obviously our leader extraordinaire.  Former military in the first Gulf War, having been injured over there while serving his country, he brings a stability to an otherwise crazy business environment.  He is the soul of the company and keeper of everything CBM.  His vast knowledge is key in the business realtionships that we build here at CBM Business Machines  Our administrative people have been here quite a while with the company.  Fred, our Operations Manager, has his hands on everything CBM.  It is his extensive knowledge of the ordering, tech dispatch and company logistics that keep CBM ticking like a well-wound watch.  Carrie is our project person.  She is part-time admin and part-time sales.  She has a solid knowledge of the finances and AP/AR departments of CBM.  In the last four years, she jumped into the sales department to help out whenever needed.  Mark, our service manager, is the oil of the CBM machine.  His vast knowledge of not only our systems, but computers and networking in general, as well as the machines that we service and sell, make him the most perfect choice for service manager. Got a problem?  Ask Mark!  Our service department is, in my opinion, one of the best in western Pennsylvania.  Rikk, Paul, Jason, Shawn and Matt all have certain strengths that they bring to the team, but one thing is for sure:  they will work on an issue until they get it corrected.  With their vast amount of technology and tools, they will research, make calls to tech support numbers, virtually anything to get the job done fast and efficiently.  Their understanding of the machines that they service daily is a testament to the time that they put into their education of their jobs.  They take a pride in what they do...and it shows!

Outside of the Johnstown area lies a vast amount of territory to cover, but that is not a problem at all.  Matt is our government sales person, and he is one of the most knowledgeable people in this part of the industry.  He also has the thick skin of somebody that deals with government contracts, as this part of the industry is truly brain-melting stuff.  Having to navigate the 'red tape' of government contracts takes a certain person, and Matt is our guy.  Rob is our northern tier salesman, and he does a fine job.  Having been in St. Marys for most of his life, Rob has a charisma and friendliness that endears him to customers, older and newer.   Need something?  Call Rob.  And finally, I have been in the business for 20 years...13 of those with CBM.  I truly enjoy what I do and the best part is dealing with people.  I really enjoy sitting down with a person or people and working through the daily grind to find solutions to their problems.  I find it refreshing and the reason I get up every morning to come to work.  I just thoroughly love my job!  When I was given the opportunity to work for CBM, it was a "no-brainer".  You have to love what you do and work at what you love...pretty simple idea.

Well, there you go.  A blog post dedicated to the hard workers of our world here at CBM Buisness Machines!  They are most-deserving of much more, but for today, they are stars of the blog-world.  And they are my friends, my co-workers, and people that I "go to battle" with every day.  So, if you would excuse me, I have another customer to take care of.  Until next time...

Leasing vs. Purchasing 

(What to do??)
Posted by Rick Friday, September 19, 2014 12:48:00 PM

Boy, if I had a dollar for every time I have had to answer THAT question!  So, Rick, what is the best thing to do?  Believe it or not, the answer may surprise you a little bit.  In our business, I would have to say that we are at about a 65-35 breakdown...more leasing to purchasing.  Now, that is not to say that leasing is always the answer.  And the problem is that many people associate 'vehicle' leasing with 'equipment' leasing--and they could not be any more different.  Yes, the general practicalities are the same, but in the end, the rules differ quite a bit.

One thing that we always talk about with leasing is the safety of capital.  Why purchase a $15,000 piece of equipment when you can easily get it for $250 a month for the next 60 months?  Why put out those capital dollars for something that will be depreciated over time, not giving you the maximum tax advantages that exist within the lease realm?  Now, there will be some that say, "Well Pav, we can buy this thing and run it until it dies!"  So true.  However, have you ever seen a machine that runs like a champ one day and just klunks out and dies the next?  Very rare.  It usually goes through a period of small breakdowns, followed by more periods of longer breakdowns and then on to the grand finale failure parade.  Know what happens during these periods of events?  Frustration, anger, pleading and begging telepone calls, more frustration and then eventually the reality that the machine is now in need of replacement.  And do you know when Murphy's Law allows this to happen?  At the worst possible moments in history.  These things never occur on YOUR time table.

We also get a chance to talk to people that are always looking for a good deal, or in copy-speak, CHEAP!  Now, all of us are always looking for a great deal for just about any big-ticket item that we buy.  For some people, the "best" deal is the cheapest deal.  And have we learned our lesson yet?  Nope.  We all end up taking the cheapest, blowing it up and wearing it out quickly, and then we let buyers remorse finally tell us what we did wrong initially and then we swallow hard, turn over the price tag, swallow hard again and then realize that we are not going to go through buying junk again.  Moral of the story:  cheaper is not always better.  Purchasing is not always the way to go.  And eventually, you will learn to trust the people that do this for a living and have been at your side for many, many years, saving you money and looking out for your bottom line:  we, experts!  We have been in this rodeo for a long time now and we are not jaded.  We are educated to the industry and we want nothing more than to show you what our education has done for us.  We want to give you the best possible product for the best possible price that is the best solution to your problems.  So, swallow hard and come on down to CBM to talk to us soon!!

Enjoy your Labor Day extended weekend!! 

Posted by Rick Friday, August 29, 2014 3:26:00 PM

As we get through the "final" weekend of summer, let us realize that even though this summer may have felt like it never even existed, we had some of the nicest weather in our area.  In my opinion, it never really got up for long periods of time, and the evenings, for the most part, were pretty comfortable.  Now, most people would probably debate and that is OK, but I felt that hte weather ws pretty good.

Schools are now in session and the kiddos are finishing their first full week of school.  It is with great happiness and great sadness that school is back, seeing that this is a true signal that summer is unofficially-offically over.  However, for the fottball fans out there, this is now getting into your time, and it won't be long untilt he pucks are dropping on the ice everywhere.

From all of us here at CBM, we wish you all a very happy and healthy Labor Day.  Go out and enjoy the weekend as much as you can!!

Summer is quickly heading out the door 

Posted by Rick Tuesday, August 12, 2014 1:52:00 PM

Where did the summer go?  Pretty good question, right?  The weather is cooler and really never got kicked in, all except for a few days of scorching heat.  And, as of this writing, school is back in session in less than two weeks.  Have children?  Their happiness is about ot turn sour when the yellow school buses start to show up on our city streets.  If you have not gotten a little down time, now is your chance.  Before you know it, that white stuff will be a flyin'!  I am not looking forward to that, but reality is what it is.

I don't know about you, but as much as I love the spring/summer season, I also love it when the summer does start to drift away and autumn begins to take its place.  Football season is around the corner, tailgating and backyard fires will soon begin and people will be trying to squeeze out the last vestiges of the summer of 2014.  Like bidding farewell to an old friend, the summer of 2014 will be in our rear view mirror.     

 

Summer security is PIVOTAL for your business 

Posted by Rick Wednesday, July 16, 2014 9:16:00 AM

Have you been watching the news lately?  It seems that every summer, crime ramps up to epic proportions.  It seems that the warm weather brings everybody outside, and from there, the trouble begins.  That is because mobility is easier.  Snow is not around to slow things down, the temps are conducive to the "night owls" staying out later, and people are able to get around much better, allowing them the 'opportunity' to scope things out much better.  For house thieves, people's home decor offers them plenty of hiding places, i.e. shrubbery, yard knick-knacks and things like that.  Vehicular crime is up, as more vehicles take to the road, creating more congestion in our streets and highways. You can see that the ingredients are in place for the criminal element to take charge and do what they truly want to do.

Keep this in mind when it comes to your business, folks.  This is the time of year that a lot of folks take advantage of the good weather to rid their storerooms of unnecessary junk.  Old files are tossed out without thinking of the ramifications of their actions.  Thieves walk among us, people.  I wathce d avideo last night of a man that left his stuff on the beach for a few moments while he packed his wife and children in their car to go back home and when he returned, two women were trying to take his stuff.  He caught them on camera, and instead of owning up to it and leaving, they confronted him for taking the video, verbally and physically attacking him.  Do you not think that if given the chance to rummage through your garbage to find important information on your business that they would pass it up?  Not a chance!  All it takes is one criminal to take advantage of one opening in your business defense to put your company on the road to ruination.  I have talked with people that go out and purchase a $99 paper shredder and feel that they have just bought a piece of the Department of Defense.  This is not the case at all.  Don't you think that your business, whatever it is worth to you, deserves having a commercial-grade paper shredder to leave no vital piece of information behind?  Do you feel that having a cloud-based storage facility at your beck and call would be worth anything to you?  I would think that in this day in age, the extra few dollars to have the best would be worth it for your company's safety.

So, please, as you look at your business and try to find ways to protect all that you have created, bring in an expert that can look at your business from a little different perspective and give you legitimate suggestions on how to keep your business safe.  Call the experts at CBM Business Machines to lend a hand. 

Happy Fourth of July holiday to everybody! 

Posted by Rick Monday, June 30, 2014 12:07:00 PM

My last post was to welcome the summer.  This post is to wish everybody a happy and healthy Fourth, but to also lament that the summer is really flashing by our eyes.  Please, slow down a little so that I can enjoy it a little bit more!!

I had a chance to go to the Gettysburg battlefields with my son last weekend, along with the scouts in his troop, and as a history major in college, I am appalled that I never got there earlier in my life.  I am quite happy to have finally made it, though, and what I found was nothing short of amazing.  I learned so much that weekend, from my son and his camping "expertise" (or my lack, thereof!!), to learning about a battle of the Civil War that definitely changed the face of America at that time.  The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the war, and like a last second 3-point shot in basketball, or a last-second field goal in football, the Battle hung on a few tactical errors and how the North took advantage of those errors to force a pivotal victory.  At the same time, the Battle would also change the population numbers, as the horrific losses piled up during the three-day standoff.  Brother battling brother, families ripped apart by not only the battle but family in-fighting, and parents losing sons, nephews and neighbors at a record clip, would all form a young America at that time, and establish the laws that we live by today.  The war is certainly over, but the scars will remain forever.

With the holiday fast-approaching this week, and mostly everybody enjoying the extra long weekend, take a little time to realize what Independence Day means to you and your family.  Somewhere, as with Memorial Day a few weeks ago, somebody laid down their lives to fight for the freedoms that we all enjoy today.  We never really take stock in what history has done for us as a country, so for this Fourth of July-Independence Day holiday 2014, take a few silent moments to reflect on our forefathers and the sacrifices they made to give you what you enjoy today.  Say a prayer, a silent thank you, and go on to enjoy the weekend.  You have all earned it--now live it!!

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