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      Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Update by Brawlin Melgar, Lead Publisher
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Exchange 2003 Is Dead - Is Your SMB Ready?

Microsoft’s popular collaborative and messaging software, Exchange 2003, long ago replaced its predecessor Exchange 2000. Now its time has come when Microsoft officially ended its support for Exchange 2003 just a few days ago.

Over the years many SMB's have upgraded to newer versions of Exchange, however many have not. A few of the most common reasons SMB's have put off upgrading their Exchange software include; cost, time, not understanding why to do so, and the occasional necessity of a full server upgrade. Now, with the the end of Microsoft support for 2003, the day has come when putting off the upgrade any longer is clearly done at one's own risk.

But for those who have not upgraded you do still have options. Before you rush into anything, like after 11 years that's really about to happen, there are a few questions you should ask yourself about your specific IT environment:

1 - Can your server handle it? This question is really important and will help you understand the scope of the project. Click here to see a list of requirements to make the jump to Exchange 2013

2 - Can your workstations handle the Microsoft Outlook upgrade? If your workstations are running Outlook 2007-2013 then you will be able to connect seamlessly with the new Exchange software. If your workstations have older Outlook software, you will find it difficult if not impossible to install the new version of Exchange.

3 - Could your SMB use an offsite e-mail solution? Though this is not a fit for everyone, with affordable options from giants like Google, it is becoming more and more main stream.

For more help with this decision see the below infographic entitled "Excchange 2003 end of support; what's your next move?"

Rackspace® — Support Is Ending For Microsoft Exchange 2003. Are You Ready? [Infographic] Rackspace® — Support Is Ending For Microsoft Exchange 2003. Are You Ready? [Infographic]

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Update by Andy Wendt, Editor
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Office Furniture Buying Tips For The SMB

Outfitting your office space with the latest and greatest styles of office furniture can either be an exciting experience or a daunting task, depending upon how you go about shopping. If you go into the process without any forethought, you may end up frustrated and overwhelmed. If you take the time to carefully plan and consider what you need, I would recommend choosing only those Los Angeles office furniture stores that can provide a fun adventure as you search and shop for the perfect pieces for your needs.

One of the first things that you should do before you buy any furniture is measure your space. Buying furniture without knowing the dimensions of your office can result in incorrect sizes and pieces that may not fit. Start your space planning by deciding on the size of desk that you want, where you plan to place it, and how you plan to use it. Doing this gives you a guide for the style, size, and types of furniture that you will need for your office.

Finding the right pieces for your price point can be impossible if you don’t know what your price point is. Los Angeles office furniture can be expensive, so it is important to come up with a budget before you spend all of your money on one item. Budgeting allows you to set aside money for all of the furniture that you need so that you don’t run out before you are completed with the project. Remember that if you work with a designer you may have to pay an additional fee.

Because you will likely use your furniture every day while working, comfort and ergonomics are essential considerations that you should give close attention. Do some research on the types of chairs or desks that will be the most comfortable for you and your employees so that you can pick the best pieces for optimal comfort.

The shopping process for Los Angeles office furniture does not have to be difficult when you plan ahead. 

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Update by John Beagle,
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A Startup SMB Tech Company 30 Years Ago

by John Beagle

Tom Hornyak, founder of Micro Rental Service, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based technology rental firm celebrates 30 years in business this month. Congratulations Tom. No easy feat considering that only 37% of companies in the IT industry survive more than 4 years according to a University of Tennessee research report.

How did Tom get his SMB off the ground and why the technology rental industry?

Photo: Tom Hornyak, Owner Micro Rental Service, Inc.

Tom graduated from Penn State and passed his CPA exam on the first try and immediately went to work with one of the 'Big 8' public accounting firms.

So why six years later did Tom start a company that rented computers to business? Tom said, "The reason that I left public accounting was that I found out that I wasn't going to make partner as they weren't admitting new partners at the time. I had been an audit manager for about 6 years and I could have stayed as a principle but I decided it was time to leave. At the time I was the only one in the entire firm that had a computer, an IBM XT with a 10 gig. hard drive. I saw the potential in this new [computer rental] industry and decided to go out on my own."

"I saw the potential in this new industry and decided to go out on my own."

At first Tom was doing computer training and installing PC based accounting systems in other SMBs.

As the owner of a small business, Tom was responsible for just about everything, from selling, purchasing, managing, payroll, finance, everything. Hell, I even cut the grass in the summer and plowed the snow in the winter.

Tom explains that Micro Rental Service, a relatively small company by design as much as by circumstance. Although the Pittsburgh market isn't all that large, they have found a nice niche. Micro Computer Rentals, Inc. is the largest and oldest computer rental business in the Pittsburgh area.

When Tom started, he was doing a lot of PC training in Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect. He had some out of town clients from his accounting days that requested that they come to Pittsburgh for him to train them.

They requested that Tom's company find a suitable space and rent some PCs for them to use for the training and they would pick up the cost. At that time, there were no companies renting PC's in the area or anywhere in the US for that matter.

Tom borrowed some money and purchased computer equipment for the training business. The rental business sprang from that.

One of MRS's first customers was Ticketron, the national ticketing company. Tom did a small deal for them at Pitt Stadium where they rented an IBM XT to connect to their ticketing machine. A few months later they requested that a couple more XT's be shipped to their main office in New York City. Tom tried to get out of the New York conrtact, suggesting that they could find someone in New York City to handle it. They told him that since they were so satisfied with his service in Pittsburgh, they wanted to use him nationwide. Over the next 4-5 years he had systems as far away as Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, the Milwaukee Bucks Arena, Florida, New Jersey, and Chicago. Those were the great rental days when the customer kept the equipment for years and years. This one customer helped me pay for my building and get my start in the rental business.

This month marks the 30th year in business for Micro Rental Service, Inc. Congratulations, Tom Hornyak!

Legal Name Micro Rental Service, Inc.
State of Incorporation and date PA 4/1/1984
Current Address of Business 4390 Rt. 8, Allison Park, PA 15101
Main Products or Services Short-term technology rentals, computer network installation and consulting, computer repair and equipment sales
Industry Certifications , Microsoft, Cisco

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Update by John Beagle,
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Free Taxpayer Software for SMBs

Free Software Available at for Taxpayers Making $58,000 or Less; Basic E-Filing & Online Extensions Available to All 

By Kate Morgan

As you know, American taxpayers now have less than two weeks to complete and file their taxes with the IRS. Through a partnership with the IRS and Free File Alliance, taxpayers can use free, brand-name tax software available at Through the Free File program, all taxpayers can e-file their federal tax returns or extensions at no cost.

April 15 is less than two weeks away, and Free File is the perfect solution for Americans who are crunched for time,” said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance. “Also, anyone can use Free File to submit an extension from their computer – giving themselves an extra six months to prepare and file a federal tax return, and taxpayers  making $58,000 or less can access brand-name software to prepare and e-file their tax return in minutes. Just visit to find the tax software option that’s right for you.”

There, users can access free software from Free File Alliance member companies. Taxpayers with higher incomes may choose to use Free File Fillable Forms, which allow taxpayers who are familiar with tax law and need no preparation assistance to complete and e-file their federal tax returns or extensions.

Free File has saved taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion in preparation and filing costs since the program began in 2003. Free File Alliance member companies have continually worked with the IRS to strengthen the Free File program, and taxpayers have consistently reported that it is user-friendly and efficient. Responding to a 2009 IRS survey, 96 percent of users said they found Free File easy to use, while 98 percent said they would recommend the program to others.

About the Free File Alliance

The Free File Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of 14 industry-leading tax software companies, has partnered with the IRS since 2003 to help low and middle-income Americans prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns online. The Free File Alliance is committed to giving 70 percent of Americans free access to the industry’s top online tax preparation software. About 40 million returns have been filed through IRS Free File since its inception. For more information, visit

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