Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are fundamental to modern life, providing goods and services that people use every day. They often give customers more personal attention and specialize in a select range of goods or services.
But what is considered a small business? And how do they differ from an enterprise company? Let’s look closely at SMBs and enterprises to understand their distinctions better.
What Is a Small Business?
Depending on the industry, a small business refers to companies with fewer than 1,500 employees and typically less than $50 million in annual revenue. Examples of small businesses include small retail stores, restaurants, plumbers, electricians, service providers, independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers.
Small businesses are often B2C (business-to-consumer) operations that sell products directly to consumers or B2B (business-to-business) operations that provide services to other businesses. Smaller companies may also have few staff members or only one employee, the owner.
Many small-to-medium businesses are incredibly adaptable in their operations, from the home office to renting out space and having a physical presence. The wide selection of resources available provides SMBs with everything they need to take an idea and make it into something truly successful.
SMB vs. Enterprise
The most recognizable difference between SMBs and enterprise companies is their size. Enterprise organizations often establish global reach with annual revenue surpassing $50 million, multiple locations worldwide, and an average of 500 or more employees.
In addition to physical size, market focus also separates SMBs from enterprises. While SMBs may focus on a single sector or industry, enterprise companies typically operate in several markets simultaneously, providing their customers with a wide range of services and products with the capability to invest in research that leads to groundbreaking developments.
Small businesses might have the disadvantage of being smaller than large corporations, but their size can be their greatest asset. Smaller companies have quite a few advantages that larger enterprises do not.
- Small businesses can be more agile when enacting changes and reacting to new trends in the business market.
- Small companies are also better equipped to personalize their product or services because staffing is often more streamlined.
- Small business owners also tend to be more involved on a daily basis with the operations of their company compared to large corporate counterparts, who could quickly lose track of critical, pivotal decisions being made on lower levels within their organization.
- Because they’re less accountable to shareholders and other stakeholders, small business owners have far greater autonomy when it comes to decision-making, allowing them to focus on serving their clients or customers better than big companies.
- Additionally, because workforces may be smaller at a small business, staff at all levels have the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills, allowing them to expand their horizons beyond what is normally expected from an employee of a massive company.
Small businesses may appear to have the odds stacked against them, but they can quickly turn this adversity into an advantage. These smaller organizations often make more with less through a sharp focus on agility and cost efficiency. However, they are still prone to day-to-day challenges.
Small Business Pain Points
Small businesses face significant hurdles when competing with large enterprise companies. From having access to resources and capital to sheer size and influence in the market, larger companies often hold an edge.
Many small businesses face an uphill battle against huge corporations that often dominate their niches. It is hard for the smaller players to make a name for themselves, but if they can find creative ways to market their services and stand out from the competition, success is definitely possible.
Other difficulties include establishing and maintaining trust with consumers; customers tend to lean towards more prominent brands due to their perceived reliability and eye-catching advertising. However, small businesses can utilize technology to create advertising campaigns and a unique customer experience.
Additionally, smaller companies frequently struggle to attract top talent since they only sometimes have the means to offer high salaries or benefits packages that can match what big businesses provide. But leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are ways to work more effectively and efficiently with a small team.
These obstacles make it difficult for small businesses to sustain a profitable operation and compete on an even footing with large enterprise companies. But overall, this gap is getting smaller.
Closer Than Ever
In the past, small businesses found themselves at a significant disadvantage to larger enterprises when it came to staying competitive. SMBs lacked the resources, technology, and sophisticated systems that large companies could access, making it challenging to keep up with their bigger rivals. Consequently, there was a wide gap between SMBs and enterprise companies in terms of security, accounting, and financial management, cloud technology, customer service, and many other areas.
Today, thanks to technological advancements such as cloud computing and DXPs, the gap between SMBs and enterprise companies has narrowed significantly. Now more than ever, small businesses have the same access to sophisticated technology as larger companies without investing in expensive infrastructure or specialized staff. This means SMBs now have greater control over their operations while reducing costs.
As SMBs become more competitively positioned with their larger counterparts, they must take cyber security more seriously than ever before. Using tools such as managed firewalls and encryption services, they can protect their sensitive data from malicious actors while protecting customers’ personal information in compliance with industry regulations.
Furthermore, keeping up with accounting and financial management is crucial for smaller businesses as they seek to remain agile in an ever-changing landscape. By automating standard processes such as invoicing, payroll, and bill payments, SMBs can save time while freeing up resources for other projects.
In addition to focusing on security and financial management, it’s also vital for small businesses of today to understand the customer journey if they want to stay ahead of the competition with larger firms. The ability to track customer activity across all channels, from website visits to app downloads, is essential for gaining insights into customers’ behavior to improve marketing campaigns or overall company initiatives.