'They' are hopefully clueless about small businesses

By Robert Craven, MD of The Directors' Centre

Owners of the so-called ‘small and medium-sized’ businesses feel ignored by big businesses and government. We are sold to in an insulting manner.

Please note:

- Small and big businesses are very different

- Not enough 'stuff' is designed for small businesses or communicated in a way that appeals to them

- Most stuff for small businesses is, to be frank, pretty patronising

So, here's my list of thought bubbles I would like to send to the big corporate who claims to have had a Damascus moment and now wants to work with the small business community:

1. I am not an 'SME' (Small and medium enterprises). I am a small, or owner-managed, or independent, or growing, or self-employed, or new, or young, or boutique business. When I go to a party I do not say "Hi, I am an SME." And as for the "smee" word, what is that all about? I never ever call myself a "smee".

2. I am not part of a homogenous mass of some four million similar sales prospects.

3. I am not an immature/undeveloped big business.

4. I am not a second-class citizen who you see as a market opportunity only after you have exhausted the blue chip big ticket spenders, as a way to maximise your investment.

5. I want you to sell to me with an entirely fresh approach, not merely a scaled-down version of the methods used with big corporate.

6. I do not want to be patronised.

7. All marketers are liars; your salesmen are worse.

8. I know you don’t really care (in words or in actions). If people talked to you the way that corporates to small business people they would punch you on the nose.

9. I am not another target towards your year-end sales goals.

10. I have a less formal, faster buying cycle than a corporate so create faster systems to match how I buy and not the other way around. I am not interested in your processes; they are for your benefit only.

11. I want my supplier to understand me, business, my business, me.

12. I want swift action.

13. I want to know what I am paying for, and how and when I am paying.

14. I do not want to be bamboozled with science: keep it simple, stupid.

15. I am the customer; remember who I am.

16. I don't want my time wasted.

17. I want you to make it easy for me to order and to buy from you; win my trust 'cos I don't have to buy from you today or ever.

18. I beg you to make sure your service delights me; show me how you can help, show me the benefits.

19. I ask that you customise your products and service for me.

20. I would be happiest if you could be more of a trusted adviser, and not a numbers jockey.


Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness