……. So many books you read about business (e.g. Nick Rampley-Sturgeon’s “Small Business, Big Profit”), seem to view small one-man or one-woman businesses as no more than a glorified job.
As I’m just in the process of discovering, having just set up my own business, it’s not.
For one thing, you have to go out and sell your business, you haven’t got a nice manager there to give you work, and if there’s no work in, or the computer goes pop, you can’t just sit and have a gossip, you need to go out and find more work or you don’t get paid.
Small and micro-businesses are still businesses. I don’t plan to grow beyond me and the computer – but I’m not in a job. I have a business. ……
I have known Emily now for a some time. She is moving away from a midsize practice of accountants to work by herself and help small practice and small business with setting up their accounting and business.
What gets me going is that she is only been doing this for a short period of time and already has learned that as a one man business nobody really cares about your business or is interested in what you do – why is that?
I believe her great business attitude ” I don’t plan to grow beyond me and the computer…” is the reason. This means there is only very “little” money to be earned from a business like that. Secondly it has been very difficult in the past to service such a large number of small businesses with a limited budget.
One could argue for example Microsoft is doing well in this arena, with MS-Office and all that, but that would be wrong, since MS-Office is and can be used by anyone in business or not, so nothing special for small business there. Let’s not even talk about SAP, Oracle, these guys have nothing to offer to small business, IMO.
So why is it – well it is because they simply do not understand small business, they can not understand an environment without daily meetings, or where you have to worry about how to sent a parcel and how long that is going to take you. While you are out doing your work, who is going to chase you open invoices, do your bookkeeping or answer your phone? These are the sort of issues small business face today!
This is easily demonstrated by the following example, here is a software vendor who claims to offer small business accounting software and you can buy a support contract too. It is also a well known fact that most admin work in small business gets done after hours. Guess what – all the support staff of the software vendor is not available after hours.
What small business needs is a Small Business Infrastructure to grow in and that helps to keep “all the balls” in the air, 24 hours a day. I have not seen any serious software vendor on-demand or not, who really understood this and is offering any relevant services in this sector. That in my opinion is also one the reasons for the horrendous mortality rate among small business in the first 12 month – over 50 %.
I also notice these problems when I talk to people about what WinWeb does. If I talk to small business and some accountants, business advisors, they get it in a flash. Not so with almost everybody else, they find our products and services very confusing and it takes a long time to make them understand what it is we do and when they finally get it they are very surprised about the whole concept.
I always use the parcel example and it goes something like this: You work in a large company and you want to sent a parcel – what do you do? – you give it to your secretary. If you work by yourself you go down the post office – ever been there? – and stand in line to send your parcel, because you don’t have a contract for sending a parcel once a month. Result, one or two hours out of your business day (up to 25%) is gone. In my experience even politicians and civil servants can relate to that example.
WinWeb will get someone to come and pick your parcel up – we call that a Live! service – and that is what we do and as such provide the same office (small business) infrastructure to one-man or one-woman businesses.
This of cause does not fit into the “core-business” mentality of most software vendors and that is why small business gets such a raw deal in this environment.
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