REDMOND, Wash. — June 30, 2008 — Microsoft Office Live Small Business (http://www.smallbusiness.officelive.com) has reached a pivotal milestone: In less than two years since its November 2006 commercial debut, the online service that helps entrepreneurs take, promote and manage their businesses online has surpassed more than 1 million subscribers. This milestone demonstrates that increasing numbers of small businesses — particularly those with fewer than 10 employees, for which the Office Live Small Business service is specifically designed — are realizing the importance of having a Web presence.
Although Internet access is pervasive among U.S. small businesses, many very small businesses still lack a company Web site, signaling a strong opportunity for millions more to get online.1 Today, as more and more consumers turn to the Web to search for products and services, small businesses are increasingly choosing to embrace the power of the Web through services such as Office Live Small Business, which has more than doubled its subscriber base in the past year alone.
“From the outset we knew we wanted to tailor Office Live Small Business to the smallest of small businesses because they have unique needs that were not being addressed by any other service at the time,” said Baris Cetinok, director of product management, marketing and planning for Microsoft Office Live Small Business. “We focused on three key things: make the service easy to use, make it affordable and make it all work together.”
Office Live Small Business customers who immediately saw the positive effects of having a Web presence are Mary Hetherington of Brentwood, Calif., who runs a women’s health club called FitDimensions, Lisa Christian of Kirkland, Wash., who runs a yoga studio, and Afua Anim of Washington, D.C., who runs a boutique bakery.
During the construction leading up to FitDimensions’ grand opening, Hetherington was able to open the club’s virtual doors to prospective members (http://fitdimensions.com). “People would e-mail me with questions through the link on our Web site, which made me very accessible,” Hetherington said. “This accessibility was crucial to our presale efforts.” More than two-thirds of the gym’s current membership signed up during the presale campaign.
Christian is an Office Live Small Business customer who said envisioning a Web site was an integral part of the overall business planning process that went into launching her yoga studio, called Studio Be (http://yogastudiobe.com). “Before I even signed the lease for my space I was thinking about how I was going to build my Web site and have an online presence.” Christian says she updates her Web site daily and that more than 70 percent of her clients discover her through the Web.
Anim opened her bakery in 2006 and soon recognized that she also needed to be online (http://ameliascakes.com). “In order for the business to grow I knew we needed to reach more customers,” Anim said. “For us to get as much exposure as possible, we’d have to be online.” Since then, her business has grown by 60 percent, with two-thirds of customers originating from the Web.
“We are able to entice small businesses to come to the Web by making the barriers so low, you can do it yourself and get started for free,” Cetinok added. “Some of our most successful customers have told us that their Web site is their business. It’s not about a static online brochure. When you have back-office tools that talk to your front-office Web presence, your online activities go to a whole new level and help you grow your business.”
About Microsoft Office Live Small Business
Microsoft Office Live Small Business is the award-winning service that offers a complete, affordable set of easy-to-use Internet-based tools that help small-business owners get online, attract customers and manage their business. Office Live Small Business has more than 1 million customers in five countries: U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Japan. More information is available at http://www.smallbusiness.officelive.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
1 AMI Partners Inc., “Microsoft Office Live Small Business: A Pulse Check,” April 2008
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