For small business owners and startups alike, managing one’s online footprint can be somewhat of an arduous task. For starters, it is often very unclear what is working and, for the newcomer to business, there are hundreds of social media channels and groups to be a part of. Having some sort of presence on each platform in existence is not just overwhelming, it is completely unmanageable.
Brisbane based startup myPresences, founded by Paul Gordon, was created to solve what is quite often an assumed issue: that small business owners have very little understanding of what is happening online around their business, do not have the time to properly manage their presence and reputation online, and have little understanding on how to do so. As a result, this means that business owners are not taking advantage of possible opportunities to enhance their business by tapping into suboptimal online platforms and taking advantage of reviews and ratings sites.
“We believe that online [web and apps] will only become more important for local business each year going forward as more consumers use online as their primary method to connect with the business around them, and new technologies emerge to make it even more convenient,” said Gordon.
myPresences has built a local marketing platform that streamlines the functionality of many different online solutions into a single platform. It covers social media management, online review management, influencer management, media monitoring (photos/videos), search engine management, listing/profile management and much more into a single platform that is designed to cover everything that a small business owner would need. The platform does this across more than 300 services and apps worldwide.
As part of the platform, myPresences has an API that helps service providers and app developers worldwide connect with its users in a way that the startup claims has never been done before, and that this is a central part of the company strategy moving forward.
“Ultimately we intend to be much more and aim to be the first place small business owners go when the go online each day,” says Gordon. “This is because we provide them with everything they need to know about the online face of their business and provide them with the best place to find new opportunities for their business online. We want to be as ubiquitous with small business owners as LinkedIn is for professionals.”
The trouble with platforms like this is that getting and keeping traction/stickiness among small business owners is notoriously hard. In December 2012, Dan Norris launched his first business prior to current ventures WP Curve and Helloify called Inform.ly. That venture was very similar to what myPresences is trying to do, albeit leaning slightly more towards technology driven businesses than small businesses per se. In the end, Norris decided to fold the business after lack of traction.
Having said that, it should be noted that Gordon is not a novice. He has been actively involved in the startup space for the last 20 years and is the founder and CTO of Shortcuts Software. It also happens to be the world’s largest provider of software for salons and spas, with over 15,000 locations worldwide. The business was acquired in 2013 by Constellation software.
“myPresences was conceived when I was researching online for salons when we were building an online directory for salons about 4 years ago, and I realised there was little support for the small business owner to cope with all the new services that were appearing where consumers could interact with and talk about their business. After Shortcuts was acquired I moved full time to building myPresences,” Gordon said.
The platform has an attractive UI and an intuitive UX that is easy to navigate, so from a cosmetic perspective everything about the startup is ready for customers. The big challenge is getting those small business owners who, as stated by Gordon himself, are already ‘busy’ people – will they be persuaded to take time out of that schedule to invest in learning to use a new platform? Only time can answer that question.
Gordon is just starting to look for capital to expand and scale the business this year. myPresences is currently in a limited public beta with about 150 businesses on the platform, with the view to have a full-scale launch soon.