Monday, January 16, 2006

Selling to Small Business

If you are from “large” business (where does that line start?) you probably need some help when selling to small business. There are major differences between selling to a billion-dollar company and a $5-million company.

So where does large business get help in selling to small business? Talk to someone who intimately knows small business.

Imagine if you could talk to someone who has researched, analyzed and championed small business for over a decade. One who has sat down and run open forum discussions with fast growing small business – some of which quickly became large business. One who ran a small business unit as part of a large business.

So who is this guru of selling to small business? Rick Spence, the former editor and publisher of Profit Magazine. It is unusual for an editor to also become publisher of a corporate-owned magazine. During his tenure he transformed the magazine from “Small Business Magazine” to “Profit”. A major name and focus change. Over the years he reviewed, interviewed and met with hundreds of business owners. He learned what makes them tick (and talk). He studied their goals, their dreams, their problems and their needs. (He even wrote a book, Secrets of Success from Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies.)

Rick left PROFIT a few years ago (though he still writes a column there) to become an entrepreneur himself. Last month he launched a blog, Selling to Small Business ( ) to help other marketers serve small business better. He says it's all a part of his mission of championing small business: "When the banks, tech firms and service providers better understand business owners," he says, "they are much more likely to offer products and services that entrepreneurs need, at a price they can afford. So everybody wins!"

Recently, Rick has blogged on The Seven Simple Rules for Selling to Small Business, what motivates entrepreneurs, what stresses them out, and how big marketers get it wrong. It makes for a fun and informative read for anyone in marketing.

I know Rick, and he's very open about encouraging dialogue and comments on his blog. (He does that on his other blog, too, Canadian Entrepreneur .) Rick is even offering to let other people post articles on his blog if they have something to say about marketing to small business. You can contact him at

(By the way, one of Rick's key lessons is to be very careful about calling your prospects "small business". That may be what they are, but it may not reflect their owners' mindset. Rick quotes one business owner who says, "A small business is any business smaller than my business").

George Torok
Marketing Specialist

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