One of Lonier's admitted goals at the Summit was to help the corporations in attendance build their "golden Rolodex," a list of new allies with whom they could partner in strategic alliances to better corner this space. Many were there to do just that.
Ravi Agarwal, founder and chairman of small-business e-commerce provider BizLand.com, was at the Summit to network. Consider his core audience: 50 percent of his customer base has fewer than five employees. He was in Carlsbad to discover like-minded companies looking to successfully serve the home office set. "We want to see who else is in this space," he says.
So does Anthony Segil, director of business development with ePolicy.com, an online insurance provider. Most of his company's new business is coming from homebased business owners. It's important, Segil says, to learn more about this audience, and possibly pick up some tips from and develop some synergies with those who are successfully targeting the at-home worker.
The home office market is fragmented and hard to target, he said. Partnerships could help build a more cohesive message. Maybe he could find a partner to build a virtual community, where homebased officers' commonalties, needs and insights could be shared. Segil reports that it's that lack of homogeneousness that throws his marketing people. He admits, "Whoever's bright enough to figure that out wins."