A Little Guy's Marketplace

Internet business-to-business exchanges are saving small companies lots of money by letting them behave like bigger guys

Ken Register needed help. Almost a year ago, the president of Heart-O-Dixie Animal Nutrition, a small chicken-feed maker in Montgomery, Ala., was looking to replace his long-distance carrier with a cheaper alternative. Otherwise, his phone bills would soon start to peck away at his bottom line. But with just two employees, Register couldn't afford to pull them from their day-to-day jobs to spend time calling carriers, requesting quotes and handling negotiations. "Phone service is one of the worst things to shop for," he says. "You have to read the fine print on everything."

Almost by accident, though, Register discovered he could...

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