Mean,Really,Small,Business,Las DIY No, I Mean Really Small Business!
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Last week I attended two giant web shows at the Los AngelesConvention Center. The huge InternetWorld Spring 2001 and aconcurrent show titled eCRM, both offered in the sprawlingfour block square building in the City of Angels. I went toseek out and report on ecommerce solutions for the little guy. You know, that's you and me. The companies that haveless than 100 employees!The traditional label of "Small Business" has come to applyto far too many companies. I guess we should adopt the term"Microbusiness" to get realistic about what most of the worldimagines when you say "Small Business". I mean a business withless than 10 employees and I think most of the rest of theworld does too. Monstrous companies define us as invisible.Well picture this if you will, I brazenly approached onesales guy (there were dozens of them) at Siebel Systems booth (more like a small city dominating 10 spaces in theconvention center). I simply asked him "Does Siebel offerany solutions for the small business?"His response was predictable. "Our enterprise solutions canbe applied across multiple platforms to unite all legacysystems throughout . . ." STOP right there please! You might just as well have said avery simple NO! You could go on to say something really quitederogatory like, "NO, you puny imbecile! If we created anythingfor worker ants like you, we'd be broke in nothing flat! Goaway and come see us when you have $30 grand or so to spend andwe'll be happy to TALK with you then!"I have to be honest and say that the Siebel salesman was reallyvery courteous and pleasant. It's just the fact that they don'tget big by providing small solutions for small business people.So here is my list of really worthwhile solutions that I was able to find for LittleGuy.com at InternetWorld 2001.http://www.callbutton.comAs reported last week, my best of show award goes to CallButton.Reasonably priced, powerful, all around useful and a great ROI(return on investment) potential for small businesses online.http://www.GoToMyPC.comThis is another of my picks from a previous conference calledthe Upside Events Showcase 2001. I like it so much I'm makingit a repeat winner since they've now partnered with Expert City.Someone else clearly agreed with me on this one. ;-)http://www.epage.comThis company offers free classified ads for your web site. Holdon now, not just another business opportunities classified site.These folks offer searchable, co-branded, subject specific adsand auctions that match the theme of your site! Brilliant!http://www.MyeHive.comSet to capitalize on peer to peer technology in a huge way, theyare offering a browser "skin" that allows linking to and downloadfrom other desktop users -- any digital content you like fromebooks to music. But they've worked out a way to pay YOU for it!This site is still in beta and will go live soon. (Bookmark it!)http://www.gocard.comAffordable advertising for the little guy. And guess what?!You'll be in the rack with the big boys. It's open to even youand I on a first-come first-served basis. Your postcard on racksright beside American Express and major manufacturers in big cities!http://www.ibill.comVarious payment processing solutions for the small business online.These folks have been around for awhile and although they take a hefty chunk of sales, it beats some of the other options for littletiny businesses like mine. ;-)http://www.cihost.comThese folks were a big hit at the show. As attendees lined up tograb CIhost tchotchkes like keychains and pens with thier logoson them, sales staff started throwing CIhost t-shirts to the crowd.Good natured fun, and not reason enough to choose a web host, butthey offer top-notch customer service as a key component of sales.Good pricing and great webmaster revenue share affiliate program.http://www.goback.comBack-up and restore software that tops anything I've seen forsystem crash recovery. $40 bucks that could save you thousands inlost time and information. You just gotta check this one out! It'sunbelievable in it's power to get you back up and running after anugly system failure.My favorite crowd pleasing publicity stunt was fromhttp://www.SpiderCache.com Your picture with a friendly Tarantula on your shoulder. Theyoffer a wonderful product aimed at the small to mid-sized ISPor company with it's own servers. Traffic spikes and heavy bandwidth users gain stability and reduce peak loads. Wheredoes that spider come in? Unbelievably, there are more. But I'll save them for later.Good show. Most journalists were discussing the low crowd countand a few no-show show demonstrators. I was real happy to havethe chance to talk with some innovators without too much t-shirttossing and was glad to see Siebel Systems salespeople withnothing to do. Little-guy solution providers were quite busy. Article Tags: Small Business