An Entrepreneur's Best Friend: The MyBizHomepage Financial Tools Dashboard

SCORE One for Entrepreneurs

In its first year, SCORE, dubbed “counselor’s to America’s small businesses’ talked to almost 300,000 entrepreneurs. As a non-profit organization, the group, comprised of retired executives who donate their time and expertise to providing free counseling to small businesses, first aligned itself with the Small Business Administration. Back then, the entrepreneur was required to visit a local SBA and register to use the Business Information Centers (BIC).

“The vision was to share the experience of thousands of professionals who had been there and done that,” explained Ken Yancey, SCORE’s CEO. “At first, we were limited by the number of BIC offices around the country. Now we can serve ten times that amount.”

Yancey is referring to his recent partnership with a new web site, MyBizHomepage.com. Created by serial entrepreneur Pete Justen, the site is grounded in its Financial Tools Dashboard, a multi-functional page that entrepreneurs use to track and manage their operations. Yancey and Justen decided to partner when they realized they were serving the same market, and their business models of providing service offerings matched perfectly.

Free is a Compelling Price

“Like many entrepreneurs, I created a product born of frustration,” said Justen tongue in cheek. “Every time I needed a report from Quickbooks I had to contact my controller or accountant, both of whom were charging by the hour. I wanted a simple way to access the information real time and make decisions without spending hundreds of dollars an hour or waiting three days.”

The result was a single platform that allows a user to create a profile by filling in simple data (name, address, password etc) and selecting a file to upload and view. Justen had used every major accounting package on the market, so he selected four to integrate with his software: Quickbooks, Peachtree and Microsoft Money. But he found that simple reports had to be converted by someone, “usually a marketing type” he said, into a graphical picture he could use in board meetings and other presentations. So he went back to his technical team and they created the perfect solution. Graphical representations for over 300 types of reports supported by the accounting packages.

Once Justen created the basic platform for uploading and accessing data, he went three steps further. He had his technologist build a “dashboard’ really a multi-panel page with nine “modules” that display content Justen wanted to see in one integrated fashion. At first, it started with graphical displays of the data he was looking for, such as cash flow, inventory, expenses or vendor receivables. But this soon matured into modules for news, email, communities he had joined and even professional development

An Integrated Community

Shortly before the platform went live, Justen and Yancey decided to make SCORE the official consulting resource of MyBizHomepage and embedded the SCORE consultant locator within the Education tab. Now community members (as the product users are called) can type in a question, their zip code, see the SCORE volunteer profile and then decide who gets the question. SCORE commits to a 48 hour turn-around, so if you aren’t on deadline for signing a contract, your question can be answered by an expert.

Justen then turned his attention to other content and services that he needed as an entrepreneur. Since he’d just created a partnership, he figured other entrepreneurs could benefit from knowing the how-to’s of crafting a pitch through completing an agreement. He knew my company, BMG, had recently launched the Envoy line of alliance partner development products. So he pitched me on a partnership. For once, it was great to be on the receiving end of a partner pitch!

Like Yancey, I agreed whole heartedly with the market focus and liked the platform and free business model. In less than a day, the agreement was concluded, the products integrated into the MyBizHomepage platform and will be released to market this summer in tandem with several other new offerings Justen has under wraps.

Taking advantage of Justen’s hard work is easy. Visit www.MyBizHomepage.com, visit “Get Started Today” and follow the instructions. When I signed up as a member, it took less than three minutes before I was tracking my companies financial information on line. SCORE counselors are located under the Education tab.

For those readers who want to visit the BICs, they operate much like a public library and are generally open 9-5 Monday through Friday.

Author:.

Sarah Gerdes is recognized as one of the leading partnership experts by Fortune, Inc. Magazine has represented governments, F50 firms and small businesses in forty-five industries. Learn her secrets to jump-starting revenue here.

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