Dear Aunty B,
I am in the telecommunications industry and have been trying to sell some of my products to the small business market. We have spent quite a bit of money designing “small business packs”, but they are not moving very well. Do I get out of this market and concentrate on more profitable, larger clients?
Sounds to me like you need to scrap your current approach and start again. If this is too expensive, then yes, it might be a good idea to get out of this market as it could have a major impact on your profits.
I have seen huge organisations with smart marketing people get this market totally wrong, so don’t be offended.
The clue to the small business market – or in fact any market, is to arrange your business around customers and their needs – not around products and your needs.
Remember products don’t buy your products – people do.
Once you start to organise your business around your customer, you are forced to collect an enormous amount of information about your customers (which is easier to do with the right online tools) and to analyse that data across your company.
But first off you need to define your customer. There is no such thing as the small business market. Instead there are many types of people who run small businesses.
Take the home-based business market. People in that market can vary from your business builder – a tech savvy person in their 40s who is home for a brief period to save costs while building a fast growing business – to the hobbyist who is selling a few things on eBay and has no intention of building the business.
Many businesses make the huge mistake of lumping all the home business owners in together. But the tech savvy business builder at home has more in common with an emerging entrepreneur than the hobbyist.
The small business market demands very sophisticated strategy. But in the long run, it can be worth it if you get your marketing right (look at MYOB). And once snared, a small business client can be very sticky, loyal and profitable.