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Functions of the Calculator

What’s a Sole Proprietor?

Path to Prototype



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Basic Market Information

From a Planning Exercise for New Chip Accelerator (Early January 2022):

The "CRM for Very Small Businesses" market is in the billions and very sub-divided (i.e. firms under 20 employees). After Salesforce there are thousands of industry-specific solutions and nearly all presume access to desktop computing. Because these products are geared toward businesses where administrative and sales duties are parsed out between multiple people, communication channels like phones and messaging are distinct from the CRMs and Web Publishing systems that enable promotion and ordering at a distance. These tools have been moulded to the work routines of firms with 10-20 employees while mobile-first teams with less than 10 or less than 5 employees are not being served. Because these leaders wear every hat in a single day while on the job site or in the field.. their digital tool must also do everything. And since phone and texting are their primary activities, any viable business management solution must be built around these tools.

In the US there are approximately 6 million tradesmen, 80% of which are in firms with less than 10 people. Supervisor-to-Worker ratios for these groups are 1:4, therefore we see a market of roughly 1.2 million motivated team leaders in the US. Tradesmen in small firms make up about 1.2% of global population, so 1/5th would represent almost 188 million globally.

The closest market segment with the most similar needs are small independent farmers, primarily those operating in the Global South. The US has 3.2 million farmers. Farmers represent 2.25% of work population, 0.73% overall. Globally though, there are about 570 million farms and nearly 2.25 billion people who derive their livelihoods from farming. Assuming farmers make up 20% of global population with 1/5 acting as owners or supervisors, there is roughly 520 million potential buyers of a CRM-type system that helps manage relationships and information in a unified setting.

For Very Small Businesses, the needs for a CRM are simple enough that employee management activities can be united into one strong offering. This is based on the reality in the smallest firms that employees and contractors are somewhat indistinguishable from suppliers and clients who offer goods, services, labour and commitments that are commonly defined by debts and payouts.

Our differentiator is to take these insights, build up on the informal ways that people in the first 1/4 of the economy operate, and provide a "Value Exchange Engine" that is seamlessly accessed via conversations. This will provide the Internet with a missing piece of common commercial infrastructure - a source of truth for value provided via labour or delivered items. This service will be solution-agnostic and therefore be pinged by any service attempting to settle debt. By anchoring the creation and access to these records within conversations we are able to provide value in the way that many globally expect it to occur - within real relationships where accountability among friends, family, colleagues and regional residents exists.

Dave's 3 Questions

In the book Play Bigger, by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lockhead and Kevin Maney, they share a story in Chapter 5 about Bullpen Capital and its efforts to bridge the funding gap for startups who aren't yet at Series A.

Bullpen Capital hosts a monthly pitching event they call Fullpen. One of the authors, Dave Peterson, regularly attends. He asks the following 3 questions of most companies who present in the Fullpen. 

Today, London Street is in the Fullpen! Well, it's our first (pretend) visit. Here goes.

1. Explain like a 5 year old

People who own small businesses and use texting for everything frequently lose track of important information, dates and documents, costing them a lot in missed opportunities.

ZAKO is a simple tool for texting people and saving important information about each of your contacts.

Its main job is to help you create lists of people based on the different kinds of relationships you have. If you're a Carpenter, you might group people into "Upcoming Jobs", "Past Customers", "Leads", and of course "Family"!

Inside each conversation you can access a bunch of little tools that help your relationships grow, like Notes, Calculator, Reminders and a special tool called Counter that makes it easy to log quantities like Hours Worked or Hours Traveled.

In regular Pitchspeak, we'd also frame it this way:

Tradesmen and labourers use texting to coordinate EVERYTHING but.. their default SMS apps don't assist with managing relationships and information. Despite the limitations of these tools they continue to monoplize the small business messaging market due to their simplicity. ZAKO is a replacement for default SMS apps like Google or Samsung Messages. It brings the business functions of the phone into one app, centred around the activity of texting. ZAKO is made for the needs of the Mobile Proprietor. 

2. If problem solved perfectly, what category are we in?

The category we are building is focused on Mobile Business Management. The simpler way to describe this category (in connection with the product type we're offering) is... Workbase. That's the best we've got right now, let's see if it sticks.

3. If we win 85% of the category, what's the size of our potential?

Okay, this is a tough one. We'll be tackling Dave's 3rd question soon in a separate post.


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