Dave Hunegnaw and a team of fellow entrepreneurs are giving small businesses the ability to create an online profile, then explore, connect and collaborate with their peers.
Does that concept sound familiar?
“We’ve actually been described as the Facebook or LinkedIn for small businesses,” Hunegnaw says of AboutOurWork.com, which enters the open beta phase July 1.
“Any business owner who’s been through the process of having a website designed/built can tell you that it can be a very daunting and costly task,” Hunegnaw says. “Identifying a designer to create the right look and feel, then hiring a developer to code the design can be very intimidating.
“The AboutOurWork profile page builder is quick, easy, and can give the business owner a stunningly gorgeous website in five clicks. A business owner can have a website in five minutes flat. And even if you already have a website, having a profile page gives a business added exposure for free.”
AboutOurWork also allows small business owners to see their connections to other small business owners visually through a series of circles and lines that vary depending on the type and depth of their relationship.
“Just imagine, no more ‘Hello, my name is’ stickers and networking events,” he says.
To learn who has helped Hunegnaw get AboutOurWork off the ground, where he gained inspiration for the site, and which business profile is his favorite, keep reading.
The Metropreneur: What inspired you to start the site?
Dave Hunegnaw: As an entrepreneur, I often struggle with how to fit into the existing social networks. LinkedIn is a great site for folks looking to advance their careers but doesn’t really work for entrepreneurs and small business owners, so I don’t use it. Facebook does work well for business-to-consumers, like restaurants and retailers, but not necessarily for the business-to-business community. So my personal page is also my business page. Just ask any of my friends on Facebook.
[M]: You started working on the AboutOurWork concept about three months ago, right?
DH: Yes. Concept to open beta in under 90 days.
[M]: Is there anything like AboutOurWork in existence at the moment?
DH: Yes and no. About.me, which I absolutely love, has been around for a year or so now and does a really nice job of letting individuals create a personal splash page. They were actually an inspiration for AboutOurWork and you can even see a bit of them in our site. But that’s where the similarities end.
[M]: Do you expect competition in the near future?
DH: Of course! That’s the nature of business. There isn’t a day, or night, that goes by when I don’t fear a major player launches a competitive product or service.
[M]: Who’s on the AboutOurWork team and why did you bring them on?
DH: We actually have a solid team of fellow small business entrepreneurs working on the site.
Christoph Roedig is our technology lead. Christoph has been very busy leading all of our technology efforts while simultaneously working on his PhD in physics at Ohio State University.
Andrew Johnson is our design lead. Andy runs ShapingThePage.com and has done some amazing work for a number of national companies, including Grasshopper Labs and Chargify.
Alex Ford is a “hybrid,” I suppose, and floats very nicely between designing and development for the site. He also recently founded Crater, a one-man microagency that does work in web design, brand identity, digital media and more.
Brooke Paul and I are co-founders on AboutOurWork. Brooke is also a serial entrepreneur and his most recent business was MobileWait.com, which provided wait management services to the restaurant and hospitality industries. MobileWait was recently acquired by ProfitStreams in Denver. Brooke and I are also mentors for the OSU 10x program.
[M]: How many business have created AboutOurWork profiles?
DH: We’ve had 100-plus profiles created to date− some really awesome profiles, too! I think my favorite is the V Power Yoga profile page.
[M]: What’s the feedback been like?
DH: Feedback on the concept has been fantastic! The idea of giving a small business owner the ability to create a presence online for free and then be part of a niche social network that can help grow their business has been really well received.
[M]: The site is free to use now. Will that change down the road?
DH: There will always be a free version but as with any business that strives to be sustainable, we are exploring a few revenue opportunities, but will only add them if they bring real value to the business owner.
[M]: Is there anything else you think we should know about the site?
DH: Glad you asked. What excites me about AboutOurWork is that we as a team of small businesses really built the site for us. As a group of small business owners, we took the frustration of not fitting into the existing social networking landscape and decided to make our own. And we’re doing it in a way that’s never been done before.
To learn more about AboutOurWork, visit AboutOurWork.com.