Small Business: A Tough Nut to CrackBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2007-11-27 Email Print
Dealing with small businesses is a complex and difficult task. What makes them so special?Vendors and their partners have put much effort into tapping the small-business IT market. After all, it makes sense to pursue this space, which makes up more than 70 percent of business in the United States. But there seems to be a major problem fully addressing the needs of those companies and getting small-business owners to loosen their purse strings for technology investments.
I have spoken to many VARs about this very subject, and most agree on one thing: Vendors have to stop looking at the small business as a "little enterprise." Selling solutions into the small-business market takes much more than just shrinking down an enterprise product to fit the needs of a reduced user count. Vendors need to think about that when developing, pricing and delivering products. What's more, if a VAR is focused on small business, the vendor needs a channel program that fits a lower volume and lower revenue model and offers additional support.
That is especially true when one considers the ultrasmall or home-based business with fewer than 10 users. The key here is the user count, not the overall employee count. What makes those types of businesses so unusual and difficult to deal with?
One final argument comes down to safeguarding data. While most SOHOs are fiercely protective of their data, they do little to back it up for safety. Here, SAAS, managed services and remote storage can keep the data safe and meet disaster recovery needs, all at a much lower price than that of a traditional solution. So when it comes to the small-business market, VARs should sell on the strength of new ideas and not products shrunk down from the enterprise.