Friday, February 29, 2008

What do small businesses have in common?

I recently went to two small-business trade conventions. The first convention was in Fort Worth, Texas; the second one was held in New York City. The two cities are as different as one can imagine. The people who came to the Texas show were mostly small construction companies and a variety of home-based businesses. In New York City, folks were mostly in the consulting and design businesses. You would think at first that the two groups would have little in common. But one thing bound them closely. Owners of small businesses in both cities shared an intense desire to be fiercely independent. They wanted to be their own bosses.

I was also surprised to find that their work habits were surprisingly similar -- both groups wanted to work anytime, anywhere. They were moving more and more of their work online with Web-based email and backup of their files over the Internet. In Texas, the owner of a small family-owned construction company wanted to write bid proposals and schedule jobs while traveling and liked the fact that CatalystOffice was entirely Web-based. In New York, a consulting company whose three partners worked from their homes liked the idea of an online office through which they could share files and contacts. Given these nation-wide trends, I was surprised to read recently a story detailing the efforts of Mozilla (which created the incredible Firefox browser) is focused on improving their installable desktop client. Old habits die hard, I guess.

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