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Thema: Open up Home Edition to microenterprise and small business use, please

  1. #1
    STARFACE User

    Registriert seit
    02.06.2008
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    10

    Standard Open up Home Edition to microenterprise and small business use, please

    I would strongly encourage you good folks to consider not only changing the name of the Home Edition (as per this thread), but also relax the allowed usage to include microenterprise and small businesses. The allowed number of users at four for the Home Edition pegs the demographic of the user whether a 'home' user or 'business' user. In either case, they are not likely to have the budget to afford enterprise-class products.

    In today's world where the traditional employee/employer bond is severely challenged, it is getting increasingly difficult to distinguish a 'home' user from a 'business' user as there are many folks who would consider their home-based activity non-business even though they are finding ways to survive as self-employed folks. And many very small businesses often are the only way for people to make a living in marginalized communities. Access to software technologies such as SugarCRM and STARFACE can give us the edge to compete in today's world.

    And remember, too, that the legions of contract temporary workers are 'stealth message-carriers' into the organizations who hire them on projects. I have often influenced a client by showing them how to use technologies that they are not aware of nor likely to have found on their own. So a relaxed approach to the Home (Community) Edition would allow your limited-user version to work better for you in generating more sales.

    Finally, if you want to generate sales for the PBX edition -- at least in the speed of instant gratification world of the U.S. market -- you are going to need to add on-line eCommerce sales at your corporate site so that folks can purchase small numbers of affordable licenses. This provides a "stepping stone" sales process where folks and businesses can go from "kicking the tires" by evaluating the Home/Community Edition, then they purchase additional licenses as needed. Of course you could still use a distributor/VAR channel for large-volume sales and support, but please don't neglect us 'little guys.'

    --SoyaWax/Sohodojo Jim--
    www.SoyaWaxInternational.com (3 employees makes us a microenterprise)
    www.Sohodojo.com (no employee non-profit applied R&D lab supporting rural and distressed urban self-employment, microenterprise, and small business)

  2. #2
    STARFACE User

    Registriert seit
    02.06.2008
    Beiträge
    10

    Idee Proposal: It is time to end minimum-seat pricing

    In the U.S. for the year 2003-2004 (the latest available data), non-farm microenterprises and very small businesses CREATED 1.6 MILLION NEW JOBS while firms with more than 500 employees ELIMINATED 214,200 jobs. (Source: SBA Business Profile 2007.)

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, "nonemployer" firms -- that is, the self-employed person, many microenterprises, and any small business whose owner/operators do not pay themselves a salary but share revenue on some other basis -- account for roughly 3 percent of all U.S. business activity in terms of sales or receipts (that is, the Gross Domestic Product or GDP). These nonemployer businesses account for nearly three-quarters of all U.S. businesses. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Nonemployer Statistics.) Three percent does not sound like much. But in the U.S. economy's 2006 GDP of over $13 trillion dollars (USD), these very small businesses represent a sales/revenue marketplace of $390 billion dollars (USD)!

    Of the 5.9 million businesses in the U.S., fully 3.6 million of those businesses have less than five employees. In other words, microenterprises -- businesses with less than five employees -- account for 61% of all businesses in the U.S. (Source: SBA Size of Firm data.)

    Now, let's look at the unfair premium paid by this vital but under-appreciated portion of the business software marketplace. Since vertico software does not state its per-seat price for its STARFACE PBX product, I'll use the per-seat price for SugarCRM Professional version. Both SugarCRM and vertico software have adopted a 5-seat minimum pricing model.

    SugarCRM Professional has features that many very small businesses would like to use, especially those that require dynamic teamwork. One can argue that teamwork is often even more important in a very small business as the ebb and flow of individual's availability is proportionately far greater than ones impact in a larger organization. A very small business is often dependent on the effectiveness of mutual support of the firm's one and all-important team. The free Community Edition of SugarCRM does not include these teamwork features, and the Community Edition developers' efforts to provide these features as a free add-on module are hampered the 'moving target' nature of the ever-improving codebase of this excellent commercial Open Source product.

    SugarCRM Professional costs $275 USD per year per user. However, with a 5-seat minimum purchase, this puts an unfair burden on very small businesses.

    With a 5-seat minimum, the punitive additional cost of being a very small business is as follows (based on a $275/seat annual price):

    • 1 seat 'actual' cost $1,375/seat being a 400% premium for being small
    • 2 seats -- $688/seat or a 150% premium
    • 3 seats -- $458/seat or a 67% premium
    • 4 seats -- $344/seat or a 25% premium
    • 5 seats -- $275/seat or a 0% premium
    Although I don't know the per-seat price of STARFACE PBX, the punitive premium percentage will be the same as this SugarCRM example.

    To make matters worse, software industry pricing models tend to offer per-seat price reductions for larger-volume customers. In effect, very large enterprises get subsidized by the software industry! This unfair cost of being small is disheartening, discouraging, and is, frankly, a disgraceful but too often 'common sense' policy within the software industry.

    To justify such unfair pricing models, software companies often refer to 'cost of support', suggesting that larger firms have the staff and technical savvy to self-service their needs. This is yet another unfounded and, again frankly, insulting justification for unfair pricing practices. With the movement away from actual full employee contracted employment status to 'permatemp' work relations, a vast number of the U.S. 'nonemployers' are among the most technically savvy and experienced workers in the workforce. We simply have to fend for ourselves and work when work is available. To do this, we need to network in loose groups, and run our personal lives in a business-wise manner. This means we need and deserve equal access to the kind of software technologies that are available to larger businesses. And we should not pay a premium for this access.

    Any firm who wants to be fair to all its customers can eliminate the 'cost of support' rationale by simply doing two things. First, put all direct one-on-one support on an on-demand, paid basis. Second, reduce one-on-one support with a effective, multi-featured, on-line self-support community service. Ironically, many software companies have long ago adopted this model of pay-per-incident and community self-support. Yet these same companies maintain their predatory pricing models that discriminate against very small businesses.

    What's left to justify these unfair marketing policies? The next most likely candidate is the 'cost of sale' argument. In the old world of ultra-high enterprise software pricing, complex installation, and support contracts, this cost of sale argument was justifiable. And for a certain segment of the marketplace this still is the case and justifiable as a pricing rationale. But in all reality, the cost to a software company for me to enter 1, 2, 3, or 4 into the quantity field of an eCommerce shop and hit 'Add to cart' is no greater than the automated transaction cost of a representative of a larger firm entering 5 or more to make a similar on-line purchase.

    There may be other esoteric or bean-counter justifiable reasons that a software provider may cite to justify unfair pricing. But whatever these so-called rationales, these justifications simply do the software provider a disservice. Revisit the figures that I cited at the start of this article. (Okay, it's a rant.) Can any business truly afford to discriminate against such a potentially large and influential market segment? I think not.

    I encourage vertico software, SugarCRM, and others in the software industry to see that the time has come to end minimum-seat pricing models wherever possible. Level the playing field for all businesses and your sales will increase.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    --SoyaWax/Sohodojo Jim--
    www.SoyaWaxInternational.com (3 employees makes us a microenterprise)
    www.Sohodojo.com (no employee non-profit applied R&D lab supporting rural and distressed urban self-employment, microenterprise, and small business)

  3. #3
    STARFACE Crew
    Benutzerbild von caryon
    Registriert seit
    05.01.2007
    Beiträge
    136

    Standard

    nothing to add at this point. We will think about our pricing for the international business.
    There is no place like 127.0.0.1

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