SMB. It’s a common acronym for small and medium businesses – the group my work has been focused on for almost two years now. In Europe, it’s SME – small and medium enterprises.
We (as in the “author’s we” – pluralis maiestatis) often think of the “mom & pop” store or the scrappy start-up when thinking of SMBs. Sure that’s the SB portion of it. It carries a certain romanticism because we can all cheer for their success.
Much harder to nail down is the MB portion – those businesses successful enough to be facing new and different challenges. You can categorize them by number of employees, by revenue generated, by budget spent, or any number of other arbitrary numbers.
For my own personal classification, they’re those who have grown enough that they’ve found the benefit (or necessity) of hiring a dedicated IT manager. They may be a department of one or a few, and as hard to find as their segment is to define.
So, I really enjoyed the opportunity I had today through Spiceworks to spend time with a few of them hearing their stories from the IT trenches. As a communicator and marketer, this sort of direct feedback from your audience in invaluable.
What did I learn today? Here are just a few nuggets:
- They are almost always researching new technology
- They hate the word “cloud”
- One big challenge is changing mindsets that see IT as an expenditure, rather than a partner in the business’ success
- Leasing allows them to keep up-to-date hardware, although some systems they’ll run “till they die”
- The relationship with their individual sales representative is REALLY important – they’re more likely to purchase through them, than through a vendor web site
- Whitepapers are good, but they don’t like gated content (who does, right?)
- They don’t want to be locked into one vendor and they don’t want to have to go out to individual vendors’ sites for those whitepapers or forums.
Which leads to the fact that they love Spiceworks (well, at least these four that Spiceworks brought to us )
Image via Creative Commons by baldheretic/Jay Lee
- Spiceworks, the Free Cloud-based IT Management Tool, Launches iPhone App (readwriteweb.com)
- SMBs Boosting IT Spending, Hiring (informationweek.com)
- Spiceworks Surveys IT in the SMB; Spending is Solid (austinstartup.com)
- New Spiceworks iPhone App Launched (austinstartup.com)