As global events cause the economy to slouch, small businesses, in particular, have been feeling the pressure. Plain Sight, a new app founded by Detroit native James Chapman, aims to relieve some of this stress by empowering business owners to reach out to new customers and maintain connections with old ones.
Chapman moved to Detroit from Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2016 to work with Quicken Loans, taking lead roles with the company’s entrepreneurship programs.
Plain Sight began as a social networking platform for business connections, matching entrepreneurs with like-minded people. Users who download the app complete a profile detailing their background and the connections they’re looking to make – whether it’s with potential employers, investors or partners.
Users are able to see the profiles of nearby users and also receive notifications when candidates check into businesses near them. During the pandemic, this has been helpful for start-ups looking to make connections in their area’s business community and find ever-elusive safe meeting space.
“When COVID hit, we thought we were done,” Chapman recalls. “But honestly, business owners have been looking for any way to bring people into their space and feel comfortable doing so.”
The app’s latest update gives more features to entrepreneurs with physical locations, such as restaurants, coffee shops and co-working spaces. Plain Sight has added a dashboard where users can interact directly with existing customers and potential patrons by, for instance, sending promotions or organizing reservations.
“At the end of the day, we’re all professionals in this together, and we need tools to fit the needs of this time,” Chapman says. He and Plain Sight hope this will help give businesses the competitive edge they need to stay afloat. “We try to take the work out of networking and help make those connections.”
Available for download on iOS and Android, and from the Apple store.