The Above the Cloud podcast is back this week with a new episode featuring Josh May, co-founder & CEO of POWr, a San Francisco based start up that builds website plug ins for self-service website users, mostly small business owners.
Josh sees POWr’s role as helping SMBs make their sites more competitive with big businesses. Josh started his first business at 18. He has built POWr into a profitable business on a $100K seed round and a $40 marketing investment. Note there is no “K” after the 40.
The niche POWr fills has been created by the revolutionary evolution of the small business tool set enabling SMBs to do everything from payroll to point of sale using simple tools with data stored in the cloud. The site builder space, featuring players like Squarespace, Wix, WordPress and many others, is part of this wider trend. POWr’s plug ins add functionality that is common on enterprise sites, like social feeds, lead forms, payment buttons, countdown timers and so on.
“We’ve gone from a very expensive, complicated, limited world for small businesses to what is now the opposite,” Josh said. “Now you can get a site up in a matter of minutes and it is extremely affordable.”
A big driver of growth in the self-service space will be millennials taking over more and more small businesses, Josh said. This brings with it a completely different mindset on how to build and run a business, which he sums up as “There must be an app for that.”
POWr has plugged itself into this ecosystem of site builders, a strategy he refers to as “baking your marketing plan into your product.” Hence no outbound selling, no expensive lead generation for POWr.
Here is a short clip from the podcast where Josh talks about his first start up
Making the use of technology easy for small businesses is a big opportunity. As we say often, SMBs didn’t get into business to do accounting or payroll. They’re in it to practice their craft.
“They are focused on their business,” Josh said. “They are not thinking about these other things [e.g., building websites]. Picasso shouldn’t have to cut down a tree to make a paint brush.”
In other words, if you can make life easy for Picasso so he can just paint, Picasso will reward you.
Josh says a key to success in the small business market is to listen first, then build products based on what you learn. Too many do the opposite and end up back at the drawing board.
“The small business market is very unpredictable,” Josh said. “Think of it like a ball of clay. If you spend all this time creating a piece of art out of a ball of clay, then you hold it out of the window of a car going 100 miles an hour, the clay will lose its shape. It’s better to hold it out the window first.”
You can listen to the entire episode here
You can find all episodes of Above the Cloud here.