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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
PowerBlog Review: BusinessWorks

Editor's note: We are pleased to present the forty-fourth in our regular weekly series of PowerBlog Reviews of business weblogs.

Small business weblogs are written primarily to market and promote their businesses, right?

Not necessarily. BusinessWorks is a different kind of business blog. It's by someone not even in business -- yet.

BusinessWorks' tagline says it is "a dotcom in making, A Journey from Concept to Wall Street."

is a study in using a blog as a tool to start up a new business, including researching the market and writing a business plan. Previously we've encountered a few such "case study" blogs. But never before has the owner walked us so precisely through his thinking process for deciding what kind of business to start in the first place.

BusinessWorks is very much a blog about process and problem solving, not about marketing.

The brains behind this blog calls himself Businessorati. He is a software developer who works in an Omaha, Nebraska (USA) software company. Obviously the blog is a project he is doing outside of his day job, as his posts are almost always late at night. (Because this is a side gig, we won't publish his real name.)

Businessorati began thinking about entrepreneurial options when he was facing the prospect of his job being outsourced to India. He looked at buying a business and even buying a franchise. Eventually he got another software development job, but decided to use the entrepreneurial knowledge he had gained to start a blog.

The startup saga starts in September 2004 when the blog was launched. At first we know he wants to start a technology business but he isn't sure what kind of business. We follow Businessorati as he evaluates three high-potential technology sectors: biotech, nanotech and RFID.

We follow along day by day as Businessorati engages in what he calls organized brainstorming. We see him evaluate the pros and cons of each technology. He even conducts online market research of sorts, in the form of a poll on the most promising sector in which to start a business.

After he decides what kind of business to start, we watch him develop his business plan, section by section.

In many ways, on different levels, BusinessWorks illustrates how blogs can be used for guiding and documenting a "process" in real time, due to their chronological set-up. You can put up a single post on each step of a process, addressing each step in manageable chunks, and move on after each one. It's a user-friendly, highly-readable tool for project management -- unlike the typical spreadsheet.

BusinessWorks also illustrates how blogs can be used for problem-solving. We readers are like flies on the wall, watching the writer's thinking processes. We watch as he wrestles with each problem or issue. He even engages his readers in helping solve his essential business challenges, a revealing move that involves teamwork and joint learning.

Businessorati seems to have really enjoyed writing his blog. And he is very committed to pure blogging. I asked him where he sees the future of blogs and he replied, "Blogs will be a very powerful medium in future as long as big companies don't pay the bloggers to sell their products or services. Basically free spirit of bloggers should not be bought out. If this happens, it will be very difficult for sincere bloggers to voice their opinions about a product or service without being compared to other bought out bloggers."

The Power: The Power of BusinessWorks is in the way it uses the blog format as an integral part of a process, to solve a business problem.

Not all small business blogs can or should be about marketing. They can be productivity tools... ways to organize internal activity and intellectual capital. By using the blog format in these capacities, BusinessWorks shows us how to harness the variable power of the blog.

More news... more trends... more insight...

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