Power in Information: A New “Zillow-Like” Service for Small Businesses (Interview)

Q&A with Doug Llewellyn, President and Chief Operating Officer of Purch, a next-generation digital publishing and marketplace platform that is driving the future of publishing by connecting high-intent buyers and performance-driven marketers in consumer and SMB markets.

Doug Llewelyn, Purch

Doug joined Purch in 2013 and, as President and COO, he is responsible for the company’s two core business units, strategic planning, corporate development activities, and Purch’s business metrics and operational framework. As such, he has overseen the relaunch of Business.com and its new business valuation tool, powered by BizEquity.

How does Purch serve small-to-medium businesses?

Purch is a next-gen digital publishing and marketplace platform with 25 brands across lifestyle, technology, shopping and small-to-medium business categories that help intent-based buyers make purchase decisions. Purch already had a robust community of 5.7 million SMB members, but we wanted to extend further into the very important, but often underserved, category. We relaunched Business.com in April as a platform that serves small-to-medium businesses throughout their lifecycle, from budding start-up to global expansion.

Business.com currently has a focus on 15 key industries, including restaurants, construction/general contracting, retail and other key verticals. We wanted to start out in those industries to tackle the biggest sectors where we could make an immediate impact based on our experience, the size of our membership within these industries, and the alignment across these industries with our existing partners.

Business.com will expand across even more areas so we can address the needs of all small business owners.

Since Business.com relaunched in April, what has the feedback been? What are you finding that SMBs need?

We know from Business.com members that running a small business is challenging on multiple levels and, while small business owners are experts in their area, they are unlikely to be experts at all the things it takes to truly succeed. This includes human resources, finance, operations, marketing, etc. Business.com provides them with resources for them to get the help they need to improve the different areas of their businesses. Small business owners are telling us they need these resources, access to experts in fields where they don’t have as much expertise, and resources to help them understand, grow and improve the different aspects of their business and industry.

Small business owners also have told us that understanding their value, or having the ability to understand their businesses’ value, seems to be a major challenge they face. One reason they may not understand their value is because they can’t afford the tools or services required to undergo a full valuation. This is why we created the Business.com Report Card, powered by BizEquity, which helps SMBs understand their value, enabling them to chart a more knowledgeable and strategic course forward.

About 85 percent of the world’s 200 million small businesses don’t know what they’re worth. There are 7.7 million businesses in the United States alone that will change hands in the next 10 years, representing $10 trillion in value. In addition to that, 25 percent of small businesses are underinsured and will have no insurance in the next five years. There is power in information. Clearly, understanding value and how it can work for a business is a truly important need in this industry.

Business.com Report Card - screenshot

Can you tell us more about the Business.com Report Card and what it provides?

The Business.com Report Card gives small-to-medium businesses realistic estimates of their value and comparisons with regional and national industry averages to help SMB owners better understand and grow their businesses.

This new SMB valuation tool fills a gap in the market by creating a ‘Zillow-like’ service for small businesses that helps SMB owners better understand their businesses’ value and gain clearer insight into their competitive standing.

The valuation tool gives SMBs big-business insights through the key valuation metrics of asset, equity, enterprise, and liquidation.

The Business.com Report Card is available for use across all the industries served by Business.com, including restaurants/hospitality, construction/general contracting, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, agriculture, travel, and financial services.

Even for those small business owners not thinking of selling right now, it’s important for them to know what their business is worth. The Report Card valuation process will help them estimate the real value of their business so they can make better decisions today and in the future.

This also works the other way around for entrepreneurs. If they are looking to buy a business, the Business.com Report Card automated business search agent will help them buy or sell a business by helping them navigate the Business.com inventory of 45,000 active for-sale business listings.

What’s on the horizon for Business.com?

In the coming months, Business.com will be providing services that will allow SMBs to buy, sell or advertise their businesses, manage local listings, manage and monitor reviews, social sites, and keyword/SEO performance, and compare business services ranking in relevant industries to what competitors are using.

In addition, Business.com has partnered with BizHive to organize the first-ever B2SMB Summit, taking place Oct. 3-4 in Chicago. The Summit will gather business-to-small-business experts to discuss the latest innovations and best practices for big companies looking to engage, close and retain small business customers, at scale.

We recently announced a few key speakers from Dell, LinkedIn, Cisco, Comcast Business, GoDaddy, DocuSign and Web.com. The conference will include numerous networking opportunities and full days of sessions about quantifying the marketplace, fostering SMB innovation, B2SMB opportunities, non-traditional SMB sales channels, making connections and more.

The mission of this summit matches the mission of Business.com in that we want to help the SMB community from all angles to better reach, engage and sell. We wanted to be a part of this summit because we recognize the rapid evolution of the $500 billion B2SMB market and how important it is to provide resources and networking opportunities for SMB owners. We are building a national event that we hope will continue for years and years to come. The B2SMB Summit website has full conference details, including online registration and the latest speaker and program updates.

Beyond that, Purch is continuing to work on this platform to serve small business. We’re also conducting surveys of small business owners, the results of which can help us identify how we can better serve them. We have much more to come with Business.com and we encourage people to keep up to date with us so they can learn how they can benefit from our community.

SMB owners should join Business.com – membership is free – and follow Business.com and Purch on Twitter at @businessdotcom and @purch.


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