I had a briefing yesterday with BizSlate, a SaaS player that is launching its beta today to help all those small businesses growing so fast that Quicken just doesn’t do the job.
I like this company’s spunk. Its founder, Marc Kalman, is super fired up. You can see it in the app his team built. It reminds me of what SocialPandas Founder Mark Trang said to me last night in a briefing. What people need is time and space. Make a potion like that for a small business and you can almost see the magic spread.
Ever see someone suddenly realize what is to come in the future? You can see it their eyes when they realize what has happened. You have changed their lives forever. We all know that feeling. I still remember when I discovered RSS. One of the great holy shit moments — comparable to that first kiss with Gayle Connors in the sixth grade during a game of spin the bottle. Wow. Life looked different after that.
Small businesses are starting to get those moments where they suddenly find themselves awake to a new world. Once they get a taste of a new app that transforms the way they view work then all bets are off. Go to an enterprise kingpin? Lease a server? Hire an IT team? Buy software with oppressive licenses and an incessant stream of sales people trying to sell you one more software suite? You have to be nuts.
Small businesses are the future of this new world. And as they grow, they will need services like BizSlate. The service is a super lightweight enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool for keeping track of that pair of shoes as it goes from the shop floor to the truck and eventually to the store. BizSlate helps manage your inventory, new products, all the vendors and so on. It makes it so you do not have to sit behind a desk and manually update a change in order.
For BizSlate, it’s a matter of providing a tool that is easy for the small business to use. For most, the heavy-duty enterprise resource ERP systems is out of their range. There are some decent solutions coming from companies like SAP. NetSuite works but it is still a big investment for most small businesses.
Small business is back. Call them startups if you want to make it look sexy. That works just fine. Kickstarter, accelerators like PIE here in Portland – the change is happening. I don’t care how many billions you have in the bank. You may realize there is a problem but if you ignore it, then it’s your descendants who will feel the pain.
Our generation gets that. In the U.S., we are seeing a paradox. The fat cats want to cut us out and protect corporate interests. Deficits are so out of reality that it seems almost pointless to think our institutions have any chance of being the pillars of society that they once were. We have noting else to do but to look locally for ways to survive and online for the network. Bridging these two forces is what will change society. Local, organic farmers, craft people, technology providers – they make the magic mix.
The heroes will be remembered. They will get battered and they may be almost to their knees in pain. But they will survive. That’s the story about today’s small business person. They’re the new heroes.
All they need is that first kiss.