Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mars and Venus and Small Business

A few posts back (on January 10, if you want to look it up in the “January” archives on the right) I blogged about the phrase “small business.” I suggested that while it is a useful description of a category, you should not use it when addressing people who run small businesses – because one of the meanings of “small” is inconsequential. I even went back to my experience 15 years ago at PROFIT magazine, which we renamed from the previous title, Small Business, for that reason.

As you may know, another magazine recently went through a similar name change. In 2004, Small Business Canada renamed itself Enterprise – probably for the same reason we changed Small Business. Because many readers don’t identify with the term, and few advertisers like to pay to reach markets that are apparently inconsequential.

Anyway, a friend of mine who is familiar with that magazine was saying yesterday that she thought the name change was a good idea: “Because men will never buy anything with the word ‘small’ in it.”

I hadn’t realized this phenomenon was gender-based, but maybe it is. “Call it, ‘Huge Business,’” advised my friend. “Or ‘Fast-Growing Business’. Men will buy anything that’s big.”

It’s a different perspective from mine, but the result is pretty much the same. Keep “small business” for internal use. “Business owners” sounds much more flattering.

Even consequential.

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