Small Business Interview: Power Solutions

When 30 year-old Hani Hajje founded Torrance, California-based Power Solutions, Inc. in 1995, the Internet was still perceived to be a risky, unknown business quantity.

“People back then thought the Web was going to crash,” Hajje recalls. “A lot of businesses didn’t understand or see the advantage of the Internet.”

That changed when several burgeoning startups began creating e-commerce shock waves.

“When the big boys like Amazon and pricelineexposed people to using the Internet,” Hajje says, “their success got people’s attention — convincing them of its value.”

A New Era

Hajje was no exception. He shifted his company’s focus from Web designing and used his engineering skills to develop ActiveC, an e-commerce software program that allows companies to unify their brick-and-mortar databases with their new online enterprises.

Without this type of integration tool, a company is faced with time-consuming multiple inputting of data, often making it impossible to accurately track the sales process from beginning to end.

“It became an issue of customer service,” Hajje recalls.

Goldmine Integration

Since then, closely-held Power Solutions has seen its revenue soar by 100 percent each year and its workforce grow correspondingly.

Part of the boost came from a strategic partnership formed eight months ago with popular sales contact management software Goldmine, which has more than 600,000 registered users.

The partnership allows e-tailers to automatically import purchase history into their Goldmine database. Additionally, sales forces are able to gain instant access to online sales information, giving them the ability to generate accurate sales forecasts.

ActiveC has also been integrated into the Great Plains popular accounting program, and Power Solutions is in the process of forming a partnership with QuickBooks, another popular accounting program.

Hewlett-Packard Alliance

In August, Power Solutions formed a significant alliance with Hewlett-Packard Co., becoming a member of the computer giant’s Web Developer Partner Program.

Under the program, HP refers its customers to Power Solutions for e-commerce solutions.

“Joining hands with HP enables both parties to provide cutting-edge and comprehensive business solutions for our clients, ” Hajje notes. “I’m very optimistic about our future together.”

Intense Competition

Even though business is booming, Hajje admits that competition is intense — especially from big players like IBM and Microsoft Corp. Nonetheless, he says ActiveC stays in the game by offering its customers a unique benefit:

“ActiveC was created using open source code,” he explains.

Open source code allows Power Solutions’ clients to easily tailor ActiveC to fit their specific needs, and they can also adapt the program when those needs change — with or without Power Solutions’ help.

“We give them the key,” Hajje says.

Future Of E-Commerce

Meanwhile, in the midst of putting in 60 hours a week in a schedule that is “like a wild tornado,” Hajje predicts that his company will get even busier as e-commerce continues to skyrocket over the next five years.

However, unlike some industry observers who predict a fragmented online commerce platform for the immediate future, Hajje believes there will be a convergence.

“All will emerge into one,” he says.

Hajje feels, however, that the emerging of “one system” will never eliminate the need for the human touch when customers shop online.

“They’ll always want to hear a voice.”

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