If your company is teeny-tiny, you run it out of your home, or you are just getting your business started, there's more reason than ever to check out a site called Planet Soho. (It used to be called SohoOS, but the company just changed its name.)
The company's mission is to offer simple cloud-based software applications that small office/home office (SOHO) businesses can use for managing contacts, handling billing and invoices, keeping track of billable hours or project deadlines, running lead-generation campaigns, filing important documents, logging inventory status, and generating operational reports.
These basic level capabilities are available for "free," although in my mind there is a cost associated with giving your name and personal information (but that's a subject for another column).
In any event, now that the site has passed the 1 million members mark, it's adding a bunch of new services through partnerships with FedEx Office, Office Depot, Go Daddy and Intuit.
Those relationships will enable small businesses to take advantage of discounted rates and services from those companies, starting in January 2013.
Here are the specifics:
FedEx Office - Members will receive a 30 percent discount at more than 1,700 shipping locations across the United States and Canada when they show their Planet Soho membership card.
Go Daddy - Small businesses can get a discounted URL that leads either to their Web site or a free Planet Soho directory page (in the case of companies or individuals that haven't built a Web presence yet).
Office Depot - The giant office retailer has agreed to offer discounts of up to 25 percent on a range of items.
Intuit - Planet Soho members can purchase Turbo Tax at a 15 percent discount throught the Intuit Alliance Partner Program.
Stay tuned for more partnerships over time that use the volume of business represented by SOHOs to help earn them some breaks on the tools they need to run things more efficiently and cost-effectively.