She starts with some stats on the small business/SMB market which she reminds gets labeled in countless ways depending on the source.
There are 27 million so-called small businesses in the U.S. alone, 21.4 million are single person or owner operators, not employees.
Of that 27 million, there are 5.4 million with 20 employees or under and 600K with 21-500 employees. In the marketplace, a lot of vendors define small business in different ways, as either less than 50 employees or less than 100 employees. Microsoft defines it as under 50 employees and SBA’s definition is between 500-1,000 but since this has to do with government contracting so it’s not really relevant.
SMB tends to mean 100 employees up to 500 or 1,000. The real emphasis is on the M which is mid-sized business. She says, “don’t get confused by the definition of small business, i.e., whether it’s an entrepreneur, a startup less than 5 years old, SMB (100-1,000 employees) or a micro-business. Tons of terms define small businesses.
But, she says, “small businesses are not homogenized milk.” Some do’s and don’ts when target small businesses with your product or service:
DO: segment and define your target market by industries, behaviors, needs, size (employee and news) and age (startups versus mature busineses)
DON’T: assume small businesses are all the same. PRICE isn’t everything when targeting small businesses.
DO: be price sensitive; create migration path for companies
DON’T: assume price is everything, but do give them something back.
DO: appreciate sophistication
DON’T: stereotype by owners age or number of employees.
DO: make the sales price easy. Sell growth without expense. Do sell quality of life for owners/managers. And do demonstrate ROI.
DON’T: sell based on reducing staff, don’t use tech lingo or corporate speak. Don’t deliver lengthy proposals, reports and presentations. Keep in mind that their time is very limited.
She also gives the audience 17 places/ways to find and target small businesses
1. From other small businesses – referrals
2. Partners who already have small business customers
3. Trusted advisors, accountants, consultants, lawyers et al
4. Search engines
5. Evening TV – cable TV ads and drive time radio
6. Social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
7. Coaching/biz owner organizations (YEO, NAWBO)
8. Family members
9. Integrated solutions (see TheSmallBusinessweb.com)
11. Social activities (church, children’s activities, sports)
12. Chamber of Commerce, i.e., Rotary (real estate)
13. Service on charity boards
14. Maintain connection with corporate coworkers
15. Networking events such as meet ups
16. Vertical industry associations
17. Online communities