Little Guy vs Goliath
First, who is the "little guy"?
Small business owner is the little guy. It's the handyman who's running a one-man show: doing the work, finding new customers, answering the phone and everything else in between. It's the small store owner who's running her business with the help of her family: her son is the tech support guy; her daughter is the customer service rep and her husband is the "go to guy" for everything.
They are the little guys and they are everywhere... but you know what? They're the big guys!
They're the ones who have the determination the get up every morning and despite all the limited resources and hardship, they give it their best, one more time, to do a great job, find new customers and grow their businesses. This is no small feat.
They're the big guys because they're everywhere: in small towns and big cities. In our neighborhoods and in the dusty streets of Jaipur, India. As a matter of fact, they are the majority. According to some statistical information I found, almost 90% of businesses here in the United States are small businesses. That makes them the big guys!
So, the question is who cares about them?
If they’re the majority and they provide products and services for our everyday needs, it’s in our best interest to make sure they grow and get better at what they do. How can we help them compete with "the other big guys" -- the ones with many employees; the ones who employ executives with impressive resumes; the ones with elaborate strategic initiatives that will have a major impact on their shareholders; in short, the ones with deep pockets?
I see companies advertise their high-tech solutions in fancy ads and commercials. I see them use great-sounding phrases like "impact", "21 century", "lead globally".
I'm sorry to say this but I don't see these small companies living the life of the 21st century or make a global impact. What I realize is that most small businesses are run on Excel sheets, email and some bookkeeping application. Their method of data integration is "copy and paste".
So how can the "little guy" go against Goliath?
I think, they need the same sophisticated tools and buttoned up processes of larger companies. Actually, I think they deserve better tools and processes than the ones used by enterprises. I strongly believe that given the tools and the opportunity, a small business can do a much better job than a larger organization. That's because most small businesses are fueled by passion.
How do I know this? First, I'm a small business. I know exactly what it means to be a "little guy". Second, I've spoken to so many of them -- in some cases, as a consultant. I've seen how they run their businesses.
So, what do we do? How do we give small businesses and startups a chance to not just compete but take their businesses and the economy to the next level?
As mentioned earlier, I think they need better technology to manage their businesses. They need to see the big picture which means integration out of the box. They need to see how a small glitch encountered while delivering a project will impact their cash flow without spending hours, copying and pasting data from one app to another. They need to easily see a customer’s spending patterns and the last time they served that customer so that they can offer an incentive to bring the customer back.
So, they need a better suite of tools that are integrated? No! They need more than that.
I think they also need to connect with other small business owners and experts to learn better ways to improve their businesses. They should be able to easily communicate with customers and vendors and this communication should automatically be logged in the “relationship management” system without copying and pasting. They should be able to make payments which are automatically entered into their books.
I think they need one platform that brings all the necessary tools together with full integration. A platform that is easy and fun to use. A platform that is free to use.
One app…… one platform... That's Ingrid
We’ve made it our mission to build this platform and named it Ingrid.