What’s been interesting is seeing those companies who genuinely understand and appreciate small businesses and those who do not.
I think of Intuit – their flagship products are all for small businesses and Xero is gunning for their market share. I think of Infusionsoft whose mission is “to help small businesses succeed and whose founders are entrepreneurs who know what it’s like to eat “beans and rice“. Sage, recently launched SageOne built from the ground up for small businesses.
Microsoft makes products for just about every segment (consumer, business, enterprise, small), but Cindy Bates who heads Microsoft’s small business efforts is laser focused on the small business market.
There are very big companies who sell to the small business market intentionally or not (Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon, AT&T, Verizon Wireless) and there are thousands of smaller companies who are also focused on this market in whole or in part – such as Zoho, BatchBook, Carbonite, Dropbox and many others.
What I’ve also observed is that in all of these companies (UPS, FedEx, Hiscox, American Airlines and more), there are companies who have a deep passion to KNOW and UNDERSTAND small businesses and those who just have their advertising agency slap stock photos of small businesses on products in hopes that a “small business owner” (or sometimes they call us an “SMB”) will buy the produt.
Recently Symantec upped their small business focus.
For years Symantec has sold a variety of products to small businesses – Norton Anti-Virus, Symantec Endpoint and many products in between. Like many of their peers they indeed sold to small businesses, but did not have the passion of small business and entrepreneurship dripping in their veins. Now they do.
Started last year and completed recently they have a new small business team, led by Group President Rowan Trollope, whose mission is to redefine how SMBs safeguard their information.
From what I can see this is NOT a simple “branding campaign” but this is a deadly serious dedication to understanding small businesses. My friend Brian Burch (head of small business marketing) and his colleagues have been on the road “literally and figuratively” all about one thing – the growth and understanding of small businesses.
Much of what Symantec is doing (and will be doing) is the same – great products for small businesses. But what you won’t see so public is a bench of players on the Symantec team who LOVE small businesses and are keenly interested in understanding them and serving them better.
Companies who are serious about reaching small business owners – must be serious about understanding them and really, really committed to having an organization that knows how to reach them.