Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why Small Business Isn't Buying From You

To help computer resellers in Canada sell more to entrepreneurial clients, I write a regular column for Tech Data's Tech Times magazine. "SMB Spotlight" looks at how small business owners think, and what makes them buy - or not.

From my first Tech Times column, published earlier this year, here are four reasons why business owners don't buy.

1) They're too busy. This is the same reason they don't return messages or finish half the projects they begin. They work much harder than the average Canadian. The stats show most entrepreneurs work at least 50 hours a week, compared to 35 to 40 hours for salaried sorts. (That’s a difference of nearly two 8-hour shifts a week.) And PROFIT Magazine’s research finds that the CEOs of top growth firms – the companies most marketers most want to deal with – work more than 60 hours week.

2) They’re not listening. Business owners face more challenges and choices every day than most people face in a year. Do I raise my price? Fire that person? Borrow money? Upgrade my ERP system? If you expect them to put everything on hold to listen to your pitch, you're dreaming.

3) They throw loonies around as if they were silver dollars. Many marketers have noted that business owners tend to be more frugal than most corporate decision-makers. They treat their companies’ money like it was their own. Which makes sense, because it is their own. Business owners are as keen to throw their hard-earned cash at new solutions as you are eager to spend yours.

4) Your offer is too complex. Business owners have too much to do, too much to read, too many problems. They cope by tackling the easiest decisions first. If your solution requires too much thinking, chances are it will be put on hold while the entrepreneur looks at simpler problems with quicker paybacks. Your turn may come tomorrow – unless other more manageable problems surface in the meantime.

These are the primary obstacles facing anyone marketing to small business in Canada today.

Fortunately, overcoming them is easy. You can capture their interest by developing trusted-partner relationships, pressing all the right buttons, crafting simple but compelling product descriptions, advertising more often and effectively, and stressing value, value, value, like a jukebox with just one record.

More excerpts from SMB Spotlight will appear here in future.


narayani biswas said...

a lot of big talk about small business but few revelations about true success but many thanks for exposing the genuine problems one is likely to face while venturing on such a business

Dat said...

Great points. Selling to business owners without keeping in front the points you highlighted yields little results. Thank you for a back to basics post.