Intuit, the maker of widely-used small business software QuickBooks, has a new Beta site about starting a business. Called “JackRabbit,” (now called Jumpup.com) this latest site is designed for startups and those planning to start a business.
I like the witty connotation behind the name “JackRabbit. ” Think of a startup “taking off like a jackrabbit” or “a jackrabbit start” or something similar. Don’t we all want our startups to have a jackrabbit start?
I have spent some time on the new JackRabbit site, and I am impressed. It is a nifty site — quite user friendly. To me it represents the new generation of small business resources online.
In some ways, such as with its Bookmarks and Contact features, it raises the bar for other small business help sites. No longer is it sufficient to just provide information. If you are going to launch a site today, you also have to provide a framework for small business owners to organize the reams of information we need to keep track of, and also a way to connect with others (since most of us are doing more networking online these days).
JackRabbit does that. It is a combination of three things:
- Tips and Tools – It includes some general advice. Of course, lots of sites give advice. The part where I got excited, though, is the easy way you can find a number of interesting free online tools. There are several online calculators and other free tools offered in conjunction with third parties, such as Palo Alto Software (makers of BusinessPlan Pro). There is also a link to download a free copy of QuickBooks Simple Start, a scaled down version of the famous QuickBooks software. I suppose you can locate many of these tools on your own, but half the battle today with so much information available on the Web is just finding — and remembering — the most useful tools. JackRabbit helps you do that.
- Bookmarks – The site has “bookmarks” or links of helpful business resources and websites. Bookmarked sites can be any kind of resources you need when starting a business. Anyone can add a bookmarked site or Web page. You can even add tags (equivalent to keywords), to make it easy to search for bookmarked sites by topic. The sites you add are visible to others, and also saved in your own page (“My JackRabbit”) where you can find them readily.
- Contacts – JackRabbit has a streamlined way you can network with other small business owners who are members of the site, and save them in your “My Contacts” area. This social networking aspect of the site is a key feature that sets the site apart from most content-based websites. Even so-called community sites such as discussion boards rarely make it easy to connect directly with other users of the site. For instance, on most small business sites it is difficult or impossible to save a list of contacts with each person’s name, photo and contact details for future reference.
An interesting touch is the About Us page with information about the JackRabbit team. It is an open and friendly approach that puts a human face on Intuit.
So, what are the downsides? Few that I can see. It looks like the content is still a little sketchy in places, but I am sure more content will be added over time. And when it does, it will be interesting to see how well the site scales and still remains user-friendly even as the volume of content grows.
Intuit is looking for business owners to try out JackRabbit and offer feedback while it is still in Beta test. Once on the site, you will find a link on the top right corner of the page where you can send in feedback. So — go check out JackRabbit.