Small Business Branding / Sponsorship
and Sky launched a new television series entitled "The Big Idea" where contestants compete for seed money to turn their business plans into reality. Vodafone
has also just launched its small business price plans and are hoping the show will serve as a vehicle to promote the new offerings to entrepreneurs.Why target SMEs at the pre-startup stage?
Having no history with other providers, companies see the startup
stage as an ideal one to become the default brand option. Duncan Robbie runs Shell Livewire
, a forum for small business owners. In his opinion, "Entrepreneurs tend to be focused
individuals that know what they're looking for. They make the judgement call and are the decision maker; you don't have to go through any gate-keepers. Entrepreneurs are more susceptible to change and new working ideas."
Nick Moss runs the Business Startup tradeshow
and comments "Targeting entrepreneurs and pre
-start businesses is a logical step for any business. If you are a bank, for example, then targeting a business before it starts is definitely logical. You become the lead supplier as the entrepreneur hasn't got a history with other companies. Entrepreneurs are essentially risk takers; they step out of the guaranteed income and assurity
band. They have no guarantees
as to where their next pay cheque is coming from, so they are willing to take a greater risk."How to reach small business owners?
Entrepreneurs are notoriously difficult to reach. There is no one database of small business owners and gaining access to those who are considering starting their own company is an even greater challenge for marketers. Vodafone
is hoping that through the television show small business owners will identify themselves and consider the pricing packages that Vodafone
has to offer.Evaluating pre-startup entrepreneurs
Moss from the Business Startup tradeshow further
comments, "Twenty per cent of visitors attending the event will never actually start a business. Exhibitors have to be ruthless: talk to them and clarify that they're actually worth talking to."
Moss feels that there are three types of entrepreneurs:
- those thinking about starting a business
- those undertaking a "reality check"
- those who are already in the process of starting a business
The last group offers the greatest opportunity for marketers who are trying to sell into small business.Vodafone
is off to the right start and are targeting the entrepreneurs who already have the idea and are starting their business. According to B2B Marketing
, "With such an increase in activity; TV, Internet and face-to-face marketing all taking a big step towards entrepreneurs, and the establishment of a degree dedicated to just that, it seems that entrepreneurs might just be the next big thing for brands."
Labels: b2b marketing, branding, business startup, duncan robbie, nick ross, shell livewire, small business, sponsorship, the big idea, tradeshow, vodafone
Seminars for Small Business Owners
My last post discussed using online training as a way to attract small business owners to your website. Another great way to generate leads is through seminars
. By providing free or low cost seminars that add value to your prospective targets, you can drive qualified leads to learn more about your offering, ask related questions, and interact with your company staff.
How can you ensure that the seminars you deliver are seen as valuable to your small business owner target market? Here are the suggestions from three small business seminar experts.Keep Them Short And Intensive
Karen Watkins from Business Connect has delivered over 140 seminars to 40,000 small business owners. "Our experience has shown us that short, intensive, fast-track courses seem the best 'fit' for this sector. These courses offer succinct, practical information supported by comprehensive workbooks, resources and checklists."Don't Try To Lock Them In Right Away
runs a Business Enterprise Centre in Sydney. "New-start businesses need to research, gather and then test the concept in the market. They just want to talk with no obligation, like a sounding board."Be Practical And Applicable
Lesley Ann Grimoldby
is an E-Myth consultant from InterContact
Business Consulting. "Small business owners don't want theory. Whatever they do must be practical and applicable to their business. It is essential for them to be able to measure the results of their work and see the chaos of their lives replaced by order."
Labels: david baumgarten, karen watkins, lesley ann grimoldby, seminars, small business
Small Business Turns To Online Training
A recent Ipsos Reid survey
of 860 entrepreneurs done for Microsoft Canada found that 86% of small business owners think training is the best way to maintain a competitive advantage. The study also found that the average small business owner spends $900 in training on each employee.
Three popular sites that provide free training for small business owners are:
- www.microsoft.ca/sbplus - Microsoft Canada's small business website contains over 30 hours of business and technology training.
- www.cbsc.org - The Government of Canada's website for entrepreneurs provides interactive planners, tools for market research, and other training modules.
- www.cfib.ca - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has offered online training for its members for the past 9 years.
Offering online training on your website generates buzz with small business owners, drives qualified traffic, and helps your target customers learn and interact with your products and services. Every business that targets small business owners should look at how they can include an online training component to their website to increase their exposure and drive more sales.
Labels: Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Government of Canada, Ipsos Reid survey, Microsoft Canada, online training, small business
Small Business Outlook For 2007
In order to sell to small businesses, you first must understand them. MasterCard Worldwide recently released its Annual Small Business Survey. It's a poll of 4,000 small
business around the world who manage businesses with 1-99 employees.Optimistic For 2007:
Looking ahead to 2007, more small business owners are optimistic (28%) than not (21%) and see the future to be promising. Entrepreneurs from the United States and Australia, 66% and 65% respectively feel that 2007 will be a promising year for them.Working In And On The Business:
The average entrepreneur works more than 50 hours a week and spend 18 of those hours on administrative tasks. The more employees an entrepreneur has, the more time is spent on administrative tasks. Solopreneurs
spend 7 hours on admin tasks per week while those with 2-9 employees spend 18 hours per week on administration. Owners with 10 or more employees spend 31 hours per week on average on admin responsibilities.Competitive Challenge:
The number one challenge small businesses feel they will face with their business in 2007 is competition. Other top challenges are cost increases and sales / business development.Motivation To Work:
The top two motivating factors for small business owners are making
enough money to cover living expenses (70%) and having more control over the future (64%). Other important considerations are providing employment, contributing to society / the community, building something that can be passed on to their family, and being their own boss.
The survey also discusses trends in year-end bonuses, job fulfillment, and business control. You can read the entire article here
Labels: average work week, competition, MasterCard worldwide, motivation to work, small business, small business survey
What Entrepreneurs Want For Christmas
Wondering what successful business owners are looking to pick up this holiday season? Crowdstorm
put together a list of what leading entrepreneurs are putting on their Christmas wish list
Philip Wilkinson, chief executive of Crowdstorm
, said: "Christmas wishlists
abound at this time of year but no one has ever thought to get together a strong group of internet
entrepreneurs behind many of the web's most successful businesses and ask the top things they want to buy."
"Combine this with some fun videos explaining their choices (some of the choices do need explaining!) and you get an interesting new perspective."
"We have left the list open: any other entrepreneurs or people in the internet
business are more than welcome to submit their top five items for publication. We're expecting some extremely strange stuff!"
You can view the full list at http://www.crowdstorm.com/entrepreneur_wishlists.html
Labels: crowdstorm, entrepreneur christmas wish list, philip wilkinson, small business
Promote Your Business Online
Intuit Canada released an interesting study
about small businesses in Canada. The survey polled entrepreneurs with under 50 employees and discusses issues such as optimism for 2007, the role of the government to help small business, and what problems are holding entrepreneurs back from succeeding.
One of the interesting findings was that when researching information on their business and making purchasing decisions, the number one resource small business owners turn to is the Internet. More popular than asking family and friends, their accountant / bookkeeper
, or the government, entrepreneurs are going online to find suppliers, make connections, and buy products and services.
This finding brings two important factors to mind: search engine optimization and website conversion.Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you want to target the entrepreneurs who are looking for your products and services you need your website to come up on the first page in Google. There are many newsletters, websites, and forums (including my own
) that discuss SEO
as it's one of the hottest topics of the day for small business owners. If you don't have the expertise to do it yourself, hire someone. If you don't, you'll be missing out on an entire segment of the market that is very influential and carries tremendous buying power. Another advantage of using the web is that it's an effective way to reach a large audience. Calling on individual small businesses can be time consuming and a difficult strategy to turn a profit on. Having a website that is well positioned in the search engines lets the small business owners come to you. If you haven't already engaged in some sort of SEO
strategy, make it a top priority for 2007!Website Conversion
You can have all the small businesses in the world coming to your website, but it won't help your business if they don't become paying clients. You need to make sure that your website converts visitors to customers. Some of the key components are to have a compelling headline, a clean layout with bright colours, pictures of your product or service, testimonials from happy existing clients, and stories that visitors can relate to. Again, if you're serious about making your website an effective tool for your business, engage the services of an expert.
Labels: Intuit Canada, online promotion, search engine optimization, small business, website conversion
Small Business Is A Hard To Reach Group
According to the 2004 US Census Bureau there are 7.4 million
small business owners in America. Only 2 million have over 10 employees. The remaining 5.4 million
are under 10 employees.
Small businesses are notoriously difficult to reach. They represent enourmous buying power in masses but it is not economical to try and reach each one individually. Companies need to be innovative in how they reach the small business market.
Word of mouth is one way entrepreneurs make business decisions. As Dirk Morris, founder of Untangle, a startup
software company, points out
Its known that peer word-of-mouth is big influencer on information technology buying decisions in small companies. Making our software free for a significant portion of our target market essentially seeds our word-of-mouth campaign. If we delight the owner and techies in the tiny organizations, they may recommend us to their friends with slightly larger organizations. The techie may decide to use our software in many organizations he helps out. We believe the most effective way to reach the market is by creating a buzz among our target market.
This blog will outline strategies companies can take to effectively target small business owners.
I hope you enjoy and happy selling!
Labels: Dirk Morris, hard to reach, small business, Untangle