What does an SMB (small & medium business) owner look like? This is a question I ponder quite often. I know what you're thinking, my pondering can be pretty mundane and boring. I do however think it's an interesting question with a lot of different points of view. How do you target SMB? How do you know what SMB wants? How do SMB owners want to be "spoken" to? We have a few different thoughts on this internally at Name.com.
I personally do not think of the typical business owner as a suit wearing, straight laced, strictly business kind of individual. When I think business owner I think of my grandpa standing behind the counter of his auto parts store in the 80's with a cigarette burning in the ashtray beside him. I think of my dad in his coveralls crawling under a Caterpillar tractor to weld up some critical piece of broken steel. I think of myself during the several times I've taken the leap and tried to make it on my own as a business owner. I think of the middle aged out of work carpenter doing his own thing after losing his job, Name.com customer Athena Hollow running her own porn adult entertainment site, the hip and with it Ink Coffee across the street, the spunky and local Big Fat Cupcake company, my own boss and enlightened yoga master who also happens to be the Name.com CEO, Bill Mushkin, my dentist, my real estate agent...I could go on but think you get my point.
These people have their BS detectors set on high and you can't sell them snake oil. A shiny suit and a freshly ironed tie isn't going to help you seal the deal with them. Burn them once, betray their trust, mislead them in any way, be sleazy with them, and they are done with you.
They say there is a sucker born every minute, and the business owners I think of and that I know are not one of those suckers. They got to where they are today by being smart. Not just book smart, but business street smart. They've taken their lumps, gotten battered and bruised, learned from their mistakes, and continued on bigger and better than they were before. They've become successful by not only being good at what they do, but by being scrupulous and mindful in the way they spend their hard-earned money and who they spend it with.
Did you know that 49% of business owners in the US don't even have a college degree? That tells me that almost half of them are truly self made, self taught, roll your sleeves up and get it done kind of individuals. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think of the typical business owner as being someone you can sweet talk, pull the proverbial wool over, or bamboozle into buying your product. Yes, I said bamboozle.
As a company that likes to think of themselves as the purveyor of products aimed at business owners I like to think that we try to provide the best service and products that we can in a straightforward, clear, no BS sort of way. We also try to not take ourselves too seriously, have a great sense of humor while we do what it is we do, and conduct ourselves in ways that we think our customers can relate to. I personally try to ask myself, and I believe the entire company does as well, "What is the best thing we can do for our customers?" The answer is not always the same. But if you truly do right by the people giving you money, the company and those that work for it tend to do quite well by extension. I think this same frame of thought can be said of almost anything: do right by those around you, treat everyone how you want to be treated, be honest in the way you conduct yourself, and by and large good things will come your way.
When you think of business owners what do you think of? If you yourself are a business owner how do you perceive yourself? Do you prefer a no nonsense strictly business approach in the companies you work with or do you enjoy working with those that are a bit more personable and casual in how they conduct themselves?