More and more vendors are jumping on the bandwagon to support and help their small business customers through Web initiatives.
Some, like Google, are providing a host of new online products at great prices — free. 🙂
Others, like Intuit, have created full-fledged community sites where you can network as well as find resources, such as JumpUp.
Another group, such as GotVMail, are focusing on assembling a variety of pre-screened services and special discounts to help you save money and do business more effectively.
Still others are creating small business resource websites. The resource sites typically include product information and perhaps access to an online control panel where you can manage the account you have with that vendor. They also include general business help resources, in the form of articles, forms, links to helpful sites and so on. Sometimes the resources are created specifically for their sites and in other cases the resources are “best of class” gathered from outside sources.
For instance, ATT has been advertising its new small business site, Onward SmallBiz, here at Small Business Trends. I was curious and finally had the chance to go explore their new resource site. A notable feature is an awesome Tools section. There on a single page you can find links to a wide variety of forms useful in the daily operation of your business — it’s a good page to bookmark.
So, in the end, are we business owners better off for all of these new Web resources that vendors provide for us? I think so. There is so much more free assistance available to us to run our businesses, than even a few years ago. And let’s not forget that the relationship with our vendors is often like an ecosystem — we need the vendors in order to be successful, and they likewise need us.
What do you think?