Website Now Connecting Small Businesses And Penny Pinchers In A Bad Economy

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With the economy sputtering, local small businesses increasingly find themselves in a world where every consumer is looking for a bargain - a great deal, a nice discount. But, for many, reaching those bargain-hunters directly through paid advertising is financially impossible. The difficulty in bringing in new business is leaving many Americans finding themselves in crisis.

According to small business lending analyst Robert Coleman, in 2008, small business defaults on Small Business Administration (SBA) loans reached 12 percent, up from just 2.4 percent in 2004.

Interestingly, with the explosion of websites catering to all sorts of people, there hasn't been a "one stop shop" where a small, independent businesses owner can offer these deals for consumers in their area to find them.

Where others might see gloom and doom, Jan Stuart saw hope and opportunity. An entrepreneur who saw his own successful business go under due to the stock market crash in 1987, Stuart has launched a new project, JansDeals.com, which specifically caters to the new deal-seekers who increasingly use the internet, and allows small businesses to cheaply target them, by listing deals that they can edit and change as they see fit.

"I really sympathized with the small business owners, because I've been there," said Stuart, who is offering small businesses three months free listings on the website to help launch the site. "You've got the big stores like Macy's which can afford to buy a full-page ad, offering 30 percent off all handbags. But what about the handbag shop down the street, or the woman who sells hand-made bags from a small home-based business? How can they say, 'Hey, I got a good deal here too!'? There was nothing for them - not even on the internet. That's why I created Jan's Deals."

Indeed, online marketing has been very much untapped by small businesses. 220 million+ people have internet access, according to Nielsen. But, more than half of all small business owners aren't using the internet to market or advertise their business, according to American Express.

Those who hadn't used the internet for advertising, and took part in a limited test phase of Jan's Deals in Boca Raton, Fla.,. seemed pleased with the results. Stuart's site includes testimonials from local businesses praising the concept.

"I do a lot of advertising in news print and on the Web, but since signing up with Jan's Deals I have never had such a consistent flow of new patient's from one source," writes the owner of Siegel Chiropractic Center.

Reaction like that is what Stuart believes will be replicated nationwide, as more businesses find his site and sign up.

"Americans are desperate for deals, because they have to stretch every dollar. But, at the same time, they want to help their locally owned small businesses, because everyone knows the horrible effect small businesses failing has on the local economy. Marrying those two things together at a website like this will absolutely take off," said Stuart. "Someone just had to create it."
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