Member information

How the small business membership zone works

The Small Business Owner Network has created a platform where we try and match the needs and requirements of new entrepreneurs with the skills and services available in the market so that they can get their businesses started.

To join click here

This is not a place where companies list their products and services to entrepreneurs in the hope that they will become paying customers. Those companies don’t realise that most entrepreneurs are generally broke.

Rather, this is a place where existing business owners, soon to be new business owners and entrepreneurs can find help in getting their business started and running. This is best described by a quick example:

Example:

  1. Joe has a new business he wants to start, so he joins the SBON zone. There he posts a brief summary of what his business idea is about and what he needs help with to get it going. In this case he needs business premises to rent but he does not have cash for a deposit and first months rent.
  2. In the SBON zone there are already existing businesses who can provide help. Maria has a small factory with some space in the corner that she does not use. She contacts Joe with her proposal. Joe can use the space in her factory to get his business started. In return he will pay her a small commission on each sale he makes instead of a monthly rental.
  3. Joe gets business premises he can use to start his business and Maria gets some extra income that she wasn’t getting before.
  4. If Joe doesn’t like the premises or if he can’t make any sales, he simply packs up his stuff and leaves. No debts. It didn’t work our but at least he tried. If Maria suddenly gets busy and needs the previously empty space in her factory she can ask Joe to leave. No legal proceedings required to get rid of a bad tenant.

The main feature of this concept is that there are no contracts or promises. These are the sort of things new entrepreneurs should stay away from. The very nature of a new business means it is risky and its future is uncertain, so expecting entrepreneurs to make promises of payments over many years is unrealistic.

All payment arrangements must be in the form of commission from sales made by the new business (or you can view it as dividends from profits). No monthly payments or deposits should be part of the arrangements. In each case the provider of the service becomes like a partner in the business, receiving their fair payment from sales.

The entrepreneur sacrifices some flexibility during this start up phase as they are a guest and will be expected to follow or reasonable rules of their host. The service providers take some risk that they waste time and energy and a bad business or business owner, but they also gain the opportunity of either better cash flow in the short term and may even develop a relationship which can eventually turn into a much bigger contract or deal with the now established and profitable new business.

The following would be examples of entrepreneurs who should register and join.

  1. New startups needing factory space, warehousing or office space.
  2. New startups needing office staff to take orders and do book keeping.
  3. New startups looking for investors in their business idea.
  4. New startups looking for sales people to sell their product for them.
  5. New startups looking for a distribution point in another city.

The following would be examples of service providers with existing businesses and skills who should register and join.

  1. Factories or warehouses where your space is not being fully utilised.
  2. Businesses with office staff who are not busy enough.
  3. Investors looking for new businesses to invest in early on.
  4. Sales persons who are looking to earn extra commission by selling a wider variety of products.
  5. Businesses with under utilised delivery vehicles that could be used for extra deliveries and errands.

How does it work after you have signed up and joined?

  1. You, the entrepreneur will post a brief summary of your business idea and what you still need to get it going. You can be as vague as you want to protect your idea, but should give enough information to make the idea interesting to the service providers. This is not an open forum available to the public. Instead only registered members will see your posts. This protects your idea from being stolen and also prevents you from being spammed.
  2. Service providers who provide the services required by the entrepreneur will be notified of the new post by SBON. They can then log in and view the post. If the idea interests them and they feel they can help, they will then be able to contact the entrepreneur directly.
  3. Once contact is made, the entrepreneur and the service provider can meet and directly discuss how they can help each other. SBON does not get involved with your negotiations.
  4. If more than one service provider can help, they will be notified in batches of three so that the entrepreneur has a choice of providers, but not so many as to be bombarded by many offers. If no deal can be struck from the first three, a second batch of three can be provided – if there are any.

SBON does not validate or recommend or guarantee any entrepreneur or service provider. Each party needs to do their own checks with their potential business partner. Where complaints are received about entrepreneurs, and at our own discretion, we find them to be untrustworthy, we will remove them from the zone. Similarly if we receive complaints about service providers making life unreasonably difficult for entrepreneurs or requiring payments that are not related to commission on sales or a similar arrangement, we will remove them from the zone too. Service providers with a successful history will be given preference when new business idea posts arrive.

We hope the zone puts entrepreneurs and service providers together in a mutually beneficial relationship which does not put the entrepreneur at unreasonable financial risk or burden.

To join click here