Here's an obvious market opportunity that I suspect many managed service providers are overlooking: The number of home-based businesses (HBB) in the U.S. using Software as a Service (SaaS) nearly doubled in 2008, growing 92 percent to 2.3 million HBBs, according to AMI Partners Inc. Why should MSPs care?
There's widespread concern across North America that we're in a so-called jobless recovery: The economy is growing again but many established business are slow to hire. As a result, I think many of those displaced workers are launching their own home-based businesses.
Instead of buying a small business server or full-blown accounting applications, it's clear that many of those HBBs are simply turning to SaaS for their applications. Look at MSPmentor's parent, Nine Lives Media Inc. Other than buying a few Macintoshes and an accounting application, all of our software lives in the cloud. And our 15-person company depends on a few trusted folks to advise us on which SaaS and cloud services to use.
Finding the MoneyCan VARs and MSPs really profit from home based business customers? In some cases, those entrepreneurs have tight budgets and prefer to deal directly with SaaS providers. But there are plenty of examples of home-based businesses leveraging partner-driven solutions -- such as online backup or hosted Exchange.
If you're an MSP looking to tap the HBB market, I recommend getting in touch with your local chamber of commerce to find an ongoing list of business startups in your area. Each time a new small business or home-based business launches,you should send them a standard outreach package describing your on-premise and off-premise services.
Entrepreneurs -- even home-based businesses -- want to focus on their companies, not technology decisions. And AMI Partners' research provides a timely reminder that HBBs are rapidly making the move to SaaS.
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