The “Small Business Label”: Knowing What Is and Isn’t For You?

As I stroll through the aisles of my local grocery store, Pathmark, I see all sorts of labels. Low fat. Organic. Low salt. Of course I never see labels for “more sugar” or “added fat and tasty” but that’s another point. Hence my love with Chinese restaurants.
The Food and Drug Administration has very clear (for the most part) rules in how food products are labeled so customers have little confusion on what they’re buying.
When smaller businesses buy products – sometimes it’s not so easy. Many companies, in an effort to reach our growing market slap “small business” on their products but the products are really for larger businesses or just any business.
Forbes writes It’s one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book: Make the same product, but sell it to a new audience. That’s what large retailers and manufactures have been doing lately to tap the lucrative small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) segment.
What makes a “small business” product really small business.
Simplicity is one aspect. IBM’s Express line of software products have specific design templates that they must meet. One of the criteria is that the product should be simple to install. Large companies can assign entire departments and dozens of consultants to install a particular software product. For many small businesses it’s probably the owner and maybe one other person who takes care of the technology.
Price. Paying $30,000 for hardware might not be that much for a company making $100,000 million a year, but it’s quite a bit of money for a small business making $3 million a year in revenue, for example. Technology that is “small business” labeled has to be economically priced. Software as a service is a growing solution as the pricing is often monthly and “cash flow” sensitive
Support is another important criteria. Email provider Constant Contact has very good support (and meets the criteria above) and I think this is one reason why it’s grown to over 100,000 customers.
I’m sure there’s other things that are critical when considering if a product deserves a “small business” label or not, but these three things are probably the most important.
The next time you consider a product, especially one with a small business label, think about the support you’ll receive, simplicity of use and cost.
I think companies such as Intuit and Constant Contact show that if your product is really simple, economically priced and has good support you don’t need to yell, “this is for small businesses”.
Of course Homestead and Officelive have excellent web design tools for small businesses as well.
On the other hand, “DSL for small business”. This is just about price.