Small Business News Briefs

By Patricia Fusco | Posted March 26, 2003

LaGarde Debuts Mid-Market StoreFront Solution
LaGarde, a Kansas City, Kan.-based provider of e-business solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, recently released a new mid-market store front solution.

LaGrange's StoreFront Mid-Market Solution is a fully integrated, e-business system for medium-sized companies that don't have the IT budgets or technical resources to devote to such ambitious Web building projects.

Bob LaGarde, founder and CEO of LaGarde, said the offering is designed to deliver a tightly integrated storefront solution for sophisticated mid-market clients.

"By leveraging our highly evolved e-business platform we will design and deploy a customized solution at a fraction of the cost," LaGarde said.

The StoreFront Mid-Market Solution includes the StoreFront platform, on-site consulting, Web design, implementation, and on-site training with custom development services for integrating existing business operations. The system requires an initial fee of $1,500 for onsite consultation. The total solution begins at $12,000, but final fees are based on the scope of the project.

StoreFront 6.0 is built on the Microsoft .Net platform, which offers a secure way for SMBs to create full-featured, "enterprise-like" Web stores. Proving to its popularity, LaGarde's StoreFront software currently powers more than 45,000 Web stores in over 70 countries around the world.

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Small Business E-Government Initiative
In California, the Governor's Office of the Advocate for Small Business (ASB) has initiated a new program to provide a single Web destination for small businesses to learn about proposed state regulations that could impact their businesses.

The Small Business Regulatory Bulletin is designed to encourage small businesses to participate more fully in the state's regulatory process by reviewing proposed regulations and providing feedback back to the appropriate state agencies.

"Running a small business is a full-time job and then some," said Sonya Blake, Governor Davis' Advocate for Small Business. "Few small business owners have time to regularly review the new regulations proposed each month by state agencies to determine which ones may or may not impact their business."

The bulletins are issued each month. Each regulation listed in the bulletin includes a short summary of what the proposed regulation is intended to do, and includes a schedule of any planned public hearings or deadlines for submitting public comments.

Blake said the job of identifying which regulations impact small business is done by the state agencies themselves under current law, and that her office makes no judgment on whether the regulations are good or bad for business, or how they ought to be improved.

"That analysis is best done by the small businesses themselves," Blake said.

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Can You See A Video Phone In Your Future?
Sorenson Media and D-Link joined forces to co-develop one of the first affordable videophones for small businesses — the D-Link DVC-1000 i2eye VideoPhone.

The i2Eye DVC-1000 is a stand-alone device — no computer is needed to complete a videoconference over the Internet. Simply connect a standard telephone line and a television to the i2eye unit, which in turn connects to a standard Ethernet network connection through a cable or DSL modem. Once connected, users are ready to conduct real-time videoconferencing.

A set-up wizard guides users step-by-step through the set-up process, which usually takes just a couple of minutes. A remote control is included with the i2Eye DVC-1000, which allows users to answer an incoming videophone call or initiate an outgoing call.

Using advanced video compression capabilities developed by Sorenson, the videophone maximizes the image and audio quality within the available bandwidth of a standard broadband connection. The i2eye can send and receive video at 30 frames per second with a 352X288 Common Intermediate Format (CIF) resolution at 512Kps transmissions.

At $299, the i2Eye DVC-1000 is one of the first affordable videophones on the market. Of course you'll need to buy two units before you can strike up a conversation with a business associate over the Internet. But the i2Eye DVC-1000 remains an interesting videoconferencing solution for businesses to connect with employees and other businesses over a high-speed access line and a TV.

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