December 4, 2008
It’s been a long time coming! For some time now I’ve been alluding to a community site I was involved in creating. We’re finally ready to peel a few layers of the onion back.
Bizchat has arrived on the world and awaits its members. So what is bizchat? Well in our own words;
Bizchat is a community site targeted at New Zealand small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It aims to recreate the peer-to-peer conversations that currently occur around a barbeque or beer. Founded by SME owners themselves, it aims to fill a hole in the market – other offerings tend to have two main failings;
- They tend to be very static – not allowing any real conversation to occur around a resource
- They tend to be either a corporate front or hosted by a government department
Bizchat is an independent and neutral site that will become a vibrant and dynamic forum.
Bizchat is being funded via sponsorship and will have three main channels of information;
- SME specific newsfeeds from existing news media
- Events calendar for SME relevant events
- Resource library sourced from various business support organisations
All of these three channels will be dynamic with community members able to ask questions, comment and rate the advice and stories contained within the site.
So what does all that mean?
Well for years I’ve been involved as an owner, manager and adviser of small businesses and it’s never ceased to amaze me the common features that SMEs have. For example, most business people I know would far rather seek advice from their peers than from a Government agency, and similarly, given their time constraints, SMEs yearn for one place to fulfil all of their resource requirements.
We all know that there are a heap of sites out there, from Government departments to industry bodies to lobby groups. We reckon that the main failing of the other offerings is that they are all pretty individual – just having one story – it’s like being at a bar and having a choice of one type of beer!
Bizchat attempts (and it’s an ongoing project) to get all of the information offered at those other places, but also allows users to talk about the information in a dynamic way. It’s like having a choice of ALL the beers and also being able to taste test and compare tasting notes about them all.
The first stage is live now, we’ve partnered with a bunch of different organisations – some central/local government, some private industry and some professional bodies – but all of these partners are here for the same reason – they see a need for what we are doing, and belief that a united approach is going to be the most successful way to build the capability of NZ SMEs.
Like all community sites, bizchat is dependant on an actual community – so for know it’s a little echo-y in there – we’re working on it though and are looking forward to seeing the community develop over the weeks, months and years to come.
Finally thanks to Telecom New Zealand for seeing the value in this thing and being prepared to support it at arms length.