It was Sunday and I was mulling over the data I had seen on Friday. I had launched and was running the small business area of Discover Cards. We used to do a monthly survey of consumers and small business owners. The survey in November 2007 was on internet usage by small business owners.
I was a little skeptical of the topic. How many internet businesses are really out there after all? We were trying to serve the main street business owners at Discover, not the geeks. The results were stunning.
More than one in two consumers looked online before buying any product or using a service. A similar number believed that a business which had a website was more credible.
But only 36% of business owners had a website. I was not clear why there was this gap.
My thoughts were interrupted as the door bell rang. It was my handyman, Gus. We had called him because we had to get a leaky faucet and Gus was the best handyman we knew. He was also a very smart business owner.
I was standing with him trying to learn the tricks of his trade when I thought about my survey results.
"How do you get your customers, Gus" I asked him.
"Well, I get a lot of customers through internet- through Service Magic." he responded.
"Didn't know you were an internet business" I joked.
"Every business is an internet business these days, Vish" Gus responded.
"Do you have a website" I asked him
"Oh, it's too expensive. And I don't know tech stuff to maintain it." he responded.
The point hit home. "Every Businss is an internet business these days" stayed with me. That month, I called the best folks I had worked with in my career and started Small Biz Express.
Small Biz Express is now the online arm of many small businesses. We help business go online including unlimited updates, maintenance and hosting for as low as $29 a month. "In your Corner" is not just our tagline- it's an article of faith, the cornerstone of our philosophy and informs all our actions. And we plan to make web accessible to all the small business owners who don't want to deal with technology by providing really inexpensive solutions. And Gus was our first customer!