Dan Bricklin and Small Businesses

A Once and Present Innovator, Still Pushing Buttons is the title of an NYTimes story on Dan Bricklin, CTO of Interland and co-creator of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet and killer app for the computer in 1979.

Mr. Bricklin said that the real challenge was to figure out how to reach a portion of the 20 million businesses in the United States with 10 employees or fewer and ease their entry onto the Internet.

“This is the mass market for small business,” he said. “Cracking this market is the holy grail.”

The Internet, Mr. Bricklin said, is best viewed as an important but supplemental tool for business. “It is a medium of business that you have to understand, just like doing business over the telephone or face-to-face selling are mediums of business,” he said.

As a medium, the Internet enables even a small business to present a lot of information about itself and allows customers and suppliers to interact through a Web site or e-mail. Even if the information is as simple as store hours, it helps.”The person who wants to drop by your store on the way to work wants to know if you’re going to be open at 8 a.m., and he wants to know that at 10:30 p.m. the night before,” Mr. Bricklin said.

For most small businesses, he added, a reasonable goal for an online presence is to increase sales by 10 percent without having to add more employees.

“That is huge — it means a better vacation,” he said. “Remember, for these companies the bottom line is their pocketbook.”

SMEs are also what we are looking at. Our focus is on the emerging markets.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.