Side-Business Software: The neglected software market

Side-Business Software: The neglected software market.

The most innovative software designed over the next 10 years will 1. be web-based, 2. will come from small teams, 3. will come from self-funded companies, and 4. will be for the “side-business” or 1-10 person business market.

“long tail” is a buzzword. What’s real are the millions of
side-businesses out there. Independent freelancers, people who work for
their employer during the day and then run their own side business at
night, passionate hobbyists that generate some income (and even those
that don’t). It seems everyone has one these days. A little something
here, a little something there. Something they love to do, or something
they have to do, but the trend is clear: Many people are building their
own side-businesses. And they need software (just not too much).

big office suites aren’t for them. The big project management apps
aren’t for them. The big heavy spreadsheets aren’t for them. The
bloated accounting and payroll apps aren’t for them. What they crave
are low/no-learning curve, simple focused tools that let them get their
work done quickly and then get out of their way. And I believe they’ll
increasingly prefer that these apps will be hosted by someone else —
who has time for IT, or installs, or update patches, or…?

The new
breed of side-businesses don’t need scaled down versions of
“enterprise” apps or “small business” apps (which are just scaled down
versions of the big ones anyway) — they need new types of software.
They need brand new thinking. They need apps that can’t be categorized.
They need apps that break the rules that no longer apply. And these
apps need to be smaller, simpler, less. This isn’t about features, it’s
about “what can I get done with this thing and how long will it take?”
It’s about “is this better than paper?” It’s about “how is this better
than just winging it like I am already?” Those are the questions. Who’s
got the answers?

When you think small business, think 1-10 people
not 50-100. There’s an endless supply of 1-10 person companies. Who
cares about the Fortune 500? It’s time to care about the Fortune
5,000,000. Forget the enterprise market. Forget the mid-sized company
market. Build for the smallest of small companies and you’ll find a
thirsty, neglected market waiting for you.  [Signal vs. Noise]

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