I’m an advocate for small and medium businesses (SMBs) – coming from a SMB background I’m all to aware of the difficulties that those at the bottom of the foodchain experience. I’ve long been involved in business advisory roles and was part of a team that set up a SMB online community a couple of years ago – looking to leverage the offline conversations that SMBs have in an online way.
So it was interesting to see that company.com recently launched. Company.com is a service that promises to “Discover ways to save money and grow your business.” It does so by aggregating together a bunch of different services that SMBs can purchase (legal, loams, collaboration, business incorporation etc etc) and bundles it up with both online guides and a forum to ask questions of the SMB community.
As I said, having been involved in setting up a similar community, albeit in an independent and not-for-profit way, I’m all too aware that key to all of this is gaining some critical mass. Company.com is apparently looking to attracts users via some “cooperative agreements” that will launch later this year. While I’m not sure what those are, it’s interesting to note that the founder of company.com. Bill Wade, formerly served as Vice Chairman of Sage Payment Solutions which is a part of Sage software – one of the “big three” in SMB accounting software.
While I have no knowledge of the route company.com is looking to take, I really believe that what they’re offering is an excellent way for a large software vendor to start to build a community around their product. Previously Sage tried to do something similar (if on a smaller scale) around their eventually-fated SageLive product. It’s also not a million miles from what Intuit could do with their Partner Platform (see disclosures here)
For now company.com is a kick-ass domain name and a nice flashy site – the months ahead will tell us whether it can truly become a service of value for SMBs.