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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Catering to the New Side Business Market
Signals vs. Noise has a thought-provoking article discussing the "side business" market. So just what is a "side business"? They describe it as the 1 to 10-person business:
"What's real are the millions of side-businesses out there. Independent freelancers, people who work for their employer during the day and then run their own side business at night, passionate hobbyists that generate some income (and even those that don't). It seems everyone has one these days. A little something here, a little something there. Something they love to do, or something they have to do, but the trend is clear: Many people are building their own side-businesses. And they need software (just not too much).

The big office suites aren't for them. The big project management apps aren't for them. The big heavy spreadsheets aren't for them. The bloated accounting and payroll apps aren't for them. What they crave are low/no-learning curve, simple focused tools that let them get their work done quickly and then get out of their way. And I believe they'll increasingly prefer that these apps will be hosted by someone else -- who has time for IT, or installs, or update patches, or....?"
The point of the article is: there's a neglected market of millions of tiny businesses out there thirsting for products designed specifically for them.

I love finding these kinds of on-the-ground descriptions of marketplace needs, because they are right on the money. And I happen to agree with this one, to the extent that there are millions of very small businesses that are underserved.

Rather than approaching them as smaller versions of corporate clients, these tiniest of businesses have buying behaviors that are more like consumers than businesses.

Read the whole article, because as of this writing there are over 60 comments. The comments demonstrate the challenges of cost effectively going after this market segment.

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