Advertisement

SMALL BUSINESS | HEARD ON THE BEAT: Small Business

Niche Magazine Veteran Sets Up SmallOffice.com

March 15, 2000|DENISE GELLENE and MARLA DICKERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

William J. Curtis made millions as a publisher of niche magazines such as Home Office Computing and Field Force Management.

Now the Mailbu-based entrepreneur has turned his attention to the Internet with a site aimed at a popular target for e-marketers: small business.

By Curtis' estimation, there are 300 sites aimed at small business, a market consisting of 25 million home-based businesses and 7 million companies with less than 100 employees. But Curtis, 42, said the large and fragmented nature of the small business market gives many sites a chance of success.

With 2% of that, it's possible to have a successful business, Curtis said. "Of course," he added, "some [sites] will drop out."

Curtis envisions his venture, which is 40% owned by Freedom Communications, the parent of the Orange County Register, as an e-hub where small businesses can chat, get information and conduct business.

SmallOffice.com, which launched officially this month, has formed partnerships with Internet companies that provide online insurance quotes and assistance with press releases. Curtis said he is negotiating a deal with a credit union that would offer online financial and accounting services. Curtis said SmallOffice will take a fee on those transactions.

Curtis, who owns 60% of Small-Office.com, said it was launched with a seven-figure investment. It has 90 employees.

At the height of his foray into magazine publishing, Curtis owned 24 titles in partnership with Freedom. In 1998, the Curtis-Freedom venture sold six magazines to Petersen Publishing Co. for $62 million. Curtis sold his 50% stake in the remaining magazines to Freedom for an undisclosed amount last year. He said SmallOffice retained the right to use the subscription lists of Home Office Computing and Home Business Computing to market the new site. The magazines have a combined circulation of 671,000.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|