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SME - a misunderstood and often neglected opportunity

As we narrowly avoid a triple recession and watch export markets convulse with currency and regulatory problems, it can be tempting to turn inward and hunker down to wait for better times. But after four years of austerity, weathering the storm could be the worst thing to do. Without a foreseeable return to ‘business as normal’, new opportunities need to be explored and markets developed. For some companies these will be new exports and international expansion, but for many the opportunity is far closer to home.

In the search for potential growth in the economy, both businesses and the Government have spent much of the last two years talking about small to medium enterprises (SMEs). In 2011, David Cameron said, “We need this to be a country where more people think I can start my own business and I can sell to the world". Considerable energy and investment has been directed at SME business, with the launch of initiatives such as StartUp Britain, because smaller businesses can be more dynamic, take bigger risks and have a disproportionate impact on the economy. This is also a market that big business has often failed to understand and serve well. All of which creates opportunity for today’s B2B marketers.

But there is a problem - SME describes 99.9% of all UK businesses, so not much use for segmentation and targeting remains tricky. It lumps start-ups in with hundred-year old companies and florists with F1 Engineers. In short there is as much dividing the SME market as defining it. But get under the skin of what makes your SME audience tick, build an intelligent propositon and leverage inbound marketing to full effect and revenue growth will follow. Take a look at the latest B2B best practice guide to find out more. Enjoy the first chapter in particular, where I explore these issues and ideas in more depth.

Graham Wylie