New Business, Day One, Solving an E-mail Problem 1

It’s exactly one year later. That’s just a coincidence, but still, a good lead. Today marks the first official day of the new launch of a new line of business, exactly one year after a new, much younger management team took over.

This post is a special pleasure for me. I’ve posted a lot on this blog about new businesses, successful startups and interesting business ideas. This particular one, unlike all the others, is about my business, Palo Alto Software, and its new line of business, Email Center Pro. Here’s the “why” page from www.emailcenterpro.com:

Not that I expect you to read that page, but I hope it gives you the idea. Like most of the businesses I like, it’s built around a specific problem, and it solves that problem. In this case it’s that problem of managing the shared e-mail addresses like marketing@paloalto.com, info@paloalto.com or help@paloalto.com. Add real-time collaboration to these shared inboxes. What happens when the person who normally answers that e-mail is out sick? How often does an important e-mail get missed because it’s not clear who’s answering it? How often does an important e-mail get answered twice, once apiece by two people, and with two different answers? That’s the need.

Like a lot of good business ideas, this one didn’t just pop out of the vapor. We’ve been using a system like this for four years in Palo Alto Software, because it’s a problem we’ve had. Until about a year ago, it was just our internal software, written originally in Cold Fusion and managed and updated for years. It took a new management team to recognize the product opportunity in it. Then the team rebuilt it from top to bottom, adding security and reliability by using Amazon Web Services and some other cool Web 2.0 technology, on the foundations of long-term use in a real-world setting. Teams were expanded, management structure was changed, and the Web application became a reality. You can sign up for it, for free, at www.emailcenterpro.com.

Obviously I’m biased on this one, but I like to think it’s a good example of how a business moves from one business offering (business plan software) to a new product area with a very similar target user base. And of how a business implements a new idea.

About the Author Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry. Follow Tim on Google+ Read more »

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  • http://theretailblog.com Erik

    Thanks! This looks like a great product. I have found that some small businesses move too quickly into advanced CRM solutions like Salesforce and SugarCRM simply because of the “shared email” problem. This product could be a great first step before moving into the cost and complexity of CRM.