Small Business, Big (missed?) Opportunity

Fri, 02/20/2009 - 16:39 -- Erik Olson

On my drive to work, I see businesses up for sale, big stores closing left and right, and people looking for work on the corners. Every night, the news hours tell stories of companies laying off thousands of employees, and we listen to the difficult stories told by friends and family members who have lost their jobs, are about to lose their jobs, or can't seem to get hired. Blame for this whole mess remains up for debate, but what I do know is that small businesses have a wonderful opportunity to narrow the gap between themselves and larger competitors.

While large businesses cut their workforce and budgets to please their investors, crafty small businesses have a unique chance to shift their pawns into strike positions and plan for their attack. Small businesses are used to being resourceful since money has always been hard to come by, and these times are nothing new to many.

We feel like we are in the same boat here at Freelock. While others around us falter, we are attempting our ascent. We've spent thousands to launch our new website, hire talented individuals, and are attracting more and more customers by delivering and increasing services as opposed to decreasing our offering. We've also managed to save thousands of dollars by using Open Source technologies to operate and market our business, savings that have helped put us in the excellent position we are in.

 As a former small business owner and serial small-business employee, I was amazed at how much you can get in the Open Source world if you have a bit of time and resourcefulness. Simple things like websites, complex things like CRM systems, and strange things you will never use like an Achilles Life Simulator (no joke!). I find myself challenging the limits of Open Source on a daily basis, thinking to myself theres no way that theres a program that can do that and then spending 20 minutes trying to find it.

I can admit that Open Source isn't right for everyone, but I can also say with confidence that proprietary systems from the giant mega companies aren't right either. Its got to be a strategic choice to break away from the pack and make a sprint for the front. It has to fit your strategic vision and you've got to have the corporate culture to back it up. Combine those two items with an infrastructure of Open Source technology and you can find yourself way out in front of your competition and/or closing the gaps between you and a larger company in an economic downturn.

We know we aren't alone, we know there are more of "us" out there drooling over the opportunity they see, just waiting by the door for the right time to act. If you're interested, we'd love to have you! (if you've got what it takes)

Comments

I do agree that this is the time for the smaller business to start organizing their web presence. I say it this way because that were all this is going to. You need something, look it up on the web and find where you need to go and get it, or order it on-line. I like to think I'm efficient and use what I have to the fullest. I have mostly freeware programs, some I had to pay for, but still like the freeware the best. If people who are layed off (I'm one as well) would just apply their skills to get something going on the internet, they will be further ahead of the game. Sure it takes time, but it's worth it.

Submitted by JamesF (not verified) on

Have you been tracking the new legislation which will push about 12 billion annually in the hands of small businesses and especially retailers? The government wanted to limit the cost/transaction of credit card processing services to 12 cents maximum! That would fee up about 12 billion dollars per year, potentially opening the door for a lot of new jobs. Problem is... right now all this goes to the banks! Naturally they couldn't let this happen and conducted a MASSIVE lobbying campaign which caused the government to postpone the legislation by 1 year. So... what do you think? Is corruption going to win next year too?

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on

Its tough to say as of right now. Credit card processing services are climbing up. And we all know they are going to start charging monthly for debit cards. I wonder how the government going to react to the mobile credit card processing business?

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  1. When I first handed John an initial disaster- an unfinished website that had to be completely rebuilt, he took all in stride and developed our site from the ground floor up, with speed and expertise. In addition, John has continued to take initiative in making our site to be one that we are extremely proud of. John continues to be a collaborative partner in the maintenance and continued development of AnswersForElders.com. I highly recommend him and his team for all your open source web needs.

    Suzanne Newman, CEO
    AnswersForElders.com

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