It is often said that the economy runs on small businesses that produce what we need and employ the people that we know. In Canada, almost half the workforce is employed by a small business.
These businesses are quite often getting their first big breaks from their website or blog page. A well designed website, even if it costs $10,000, can sell products and services for less than almost any other types of traditional advertising. Plus, if you sell online, a website does double duty as a salesperson and a cashier.
With small overhead and next to no staff, many companies get a decent start using their website as a launch pad and immediately open their doors to an international market.
The following are examples of websites that are the “store front” for some innovative products and ideas coming out of Edmonton and Calgary.
So I’m not really that into Instagram myself, but I do like to look at other people’s Instagram masterpieces. This website is a platform for true Instagram enthusiast to display portfolios of their pictures.
Designed by three guys from Edmonton, the site is amazingly polished and simple. A showcase for musicians, photographers and artists, Monogram is designed to be simple to use and share with fans and clients.
The Casetop by Livi Design
This is a neat product that, unlike most technology, integrates with almost any mobile operating system. Created by Edmonton-based Livi Design, the Casetop is touted as a laptop replacement with longer battery life and a 10 year relevance promise.
If the product, which is still in development, works as it says it will, it may go a long way to replacing the traditional laptop. It may, however, also succumb to the problem of low demand. There may be a market out there for making your phone a laptop, but it’s difficult to gauge how large that might be.
Bonus cool-ness: they accept Bitcoins! Don’t know about Bitcoin? Stay tuned to this blog for an introduction to the Bitcoin phenomenon.
This example is a bit older tech startup, but it’s basically the dream story for many small tech businesses. Investopedia was launched in 1999 by a company in Edmonton as an information resource for laypeople looking to invest in the stock market. They were bought out by Forbes for an undisclosed amount in 2007.
Tech business is for sharing. Many startup companies are building their website and traffic to catch the notice of some big players. Then they sell for large amounts of cash. And in Investopedia’s owners’ case, start all over again with a new website and new target market.
Named the most innovative startup on the planet, Calgary-based eThor is further simplifying online purchasing. eThor is a platform that connects the point of sale system of any business to any website or app. Consumers are then easily able to find and buy products from that business online.
Calgary is often viewed as an oil town first with everything else way down the list. It’s a big place, though, with plenty of cash and a comfortable environment for starting a game changing tech business.
Maybe it’s your turn?
Edmonton and Calgary are the population powerhouses of Alberta but most tech businesses don’t need the strength of numbers that traditional small businesses with overhead and stock require. Therefore, anywhere with a decent internet connection can be the home base of a thriving business with online clients.
Software development is big business. Companies looking for ways to streamline, expand, scale and analyze all want cutting edge programs that do the heaviest lifting. The best part is that good software developers happen everywhere, from Saskatoon to Regina, Calgary to Edmonton and all the small places in between. Once you are on the web, you are everywhere to your clients.
So grab a laptop, a latte and a good internet connection and you’ve got all the infrastructure you need for a great small business with big potential.