Thursday, January 21, 2010

Report on Your Business Magazine

I see the Globe and Mail has renamed its small business magazine “Your Business.”

It’s an improvement over the old name, Report on [Small] Business Magazine. As I have been saying for years, many business owners dislike being called “small business”, even if on a national level they do seem small.

My favorite example is the entrepreneur who described his company as "the second-largest steel fabricator in the Ottawa valley.” Yes, it’s a small business according to most definitions (less than 50 employees), but that's not the way its owner likes to see it. The word “small” may be a handy category for marketers or bureaucrats to use, but it doesn't begin to give business owners the respect they crave.

In fact, since 95% of all businesses are small businesses, the proper synonym for small business is simply “business.” Entrepreneurs themselves refer to “my business,” never “my small business.” Bell Canada and RiM and Imperial Oil aren't just businesses – they're big businesses. My friend’s six-person design shop – now that’s a real business.

So I think the Globe has made a modest improvement by calling their magazine Your Business. In fact, it’s one of the many new titles we considered when I arrived at Small Business magazine 20 years ago and decided to change the name (for the reasons cited above). That's when we decided to rehabilitate the much-maligned word “Profit.”

“Your Business,” we concluded, wasn't a bad name. Just dull.

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