SohoOS: Advantage, Small Business

SohoOS: Advantage, Small BusinessTechnology tools have fundamentally changed the way businesses operate, providing capabilities and resources that were unimaginable a few decades ago. While new software tools, collaboration technology and infrastructure capabilities have the potential to level the playing field between large enterprises and smaller companies, the benefits of the technology revolution have largely gone to larger corporations, which were positioned to take advantage of technical innovations as they developed.

Ron Daniel, CEO of SohoOS, aims to change that by providing business management tools and a collaboration platform small businesses, micro businesses and freelancers can use to compete with larger companies. SohoOS empowers its members with a comprehensive suite of management tools, including contact management, sales automation, inventory management, document management and project management capabilities as well as a powerful collaboration platform – at no charge. The SohoOS suite is available to small businesses, micro businesses and freelancers online or via telephone.

Shoestring: What’s the idea behind SohoOS, and when did you get started?

Ron Daniel: SohoOS launched in 2010. Our vision is to enable small businesses and micro businesses as well as freelancers to become Virtual Enterprises by giving them a way to identify potential partners and collaborate on a global scale. We believe that technology has the potential to level the playing field between small and large companies, enabling true competition, which ultimately benefits consumers as well as the businesses themselves.

Shoestring: Why would a small business, entrepreneur, freelancer, etc., use your product?

Ron Daniel: We offer a complete set of business management tools at no charge, an operational infrastructure that small businesses, micro businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers can access from any browser, smartphone or tablet device. Our members can user our tools to manage contacts, process invoices and billing, manage inventory, projects or documents, network with freelancers and vendors, produce reports and manage sales. It’s all set up on an intuitive interface that is easy to access and use.

Shoestring: How do members use these tools, and what’s the advantage to them?

Ron Daniel: SohoOS members save time by using automated business management tools that streamline core business functions. They save money since the tools are offered at no charge to them. But perhaps the greatest value we deliver is the ability for small businesses, micro businesses and freelancers to band together to effectively compete with large companies. For example, a mom and pop gym might offer a wonderful customer experience that a chain gym operation can’t duplicate. However, for prospective members who travel a lot, the chain operation’s multiple locations could swing the advantage in the larger business’s favor. With SohoOS, the mom and pop gym could find similar businesses among our membership and forge reciprocity agreements. This would eliminate the chain gym’s advantage and allow the smaller business to effectively compete.

Shoestring: How many members do you currently have?

Ron Daniel: In less than two years, we’ve grown to more than 730,000 small businesses worldwide. We add an average of around 3,000 businesses per day. Our rapid growth is a testament to the value we deliver and the power of our business model. We’re firm believers in capitalism and are convinced that Virtual Enterprises are the future.

Shoestring: Was your company started on a shoestring budget or was it funded?

Ron Daniel: Both – after our initial launch, our core product was so successful that we quickly attracted investor notice. We received more than $11 million in investment capital from Mangrove Capital Partners and Morgenthaler Ventures.

Shoestring: Do you plan to expand services or broaden your platform?

Ron Daniel: We are definitely expanding the services we offer on our site and will roll out support service upgrades throughout the year. At SohoOS, we are committed to continuously assessing member needs and providing value through management and collaboration tools. We expect that strategy to continue.

Shoestring: After your fast start, do you see long-term growth potential for SohoOS?

Ron Daniel: The growth potential is huge. We’re proud that we were able to exceed three-quarters of a million members in such a short timeframe. However, there are more than 500 million small businesses around the world with Internet access. All of them are potential customers. There are many resources designed for businesses, but we believe we offer the best B2C platform for small businesses, micro businesses and freelancers – one that allows them to compete while accessing a comprehensive suite of powerful yet simple-to-use tools.

Shoestring: Is SohoOS active on social media?

Ron Daniel: We have a blog that provides some great tips members can use to grow revenue and elevate brand awareness. Readers can find it at http://www.sohoos.com/blog/. Here are our main website and social media links:

Main site: http://www.sohoos.com/welcome/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SOHOos

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/sohoos

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/sohoos

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/soho-os

Our YouTube channel provides simple instructions for getting set up and taking full advantage of what SohoOS has to offer. Here’s an overview:

Shoestring: The economy seems to be undergoing some fundamental shifts. What do you envision as the future of the economy?

Ron Daniel: I envision a future micro-economy that is global in nature and that empowers small companies, micro businesses and freelancers to compete. I believe the barriers to competition between smaller and larger ventures are less insurmountable than is widely believed and that if small businesses, micro businesses and freelancers could compete on the basis of quality and service delivery alone, their potential is practically limitless. This is what inspired me to start SohoOS – to provide the tools and collaboration resources these businesses need to compete on a level playing field.

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