They make up a half of all jobs in the UK and account for half of our GDP, yet the significance of the SME sector is often overlooked, according to a new report
Business to business market research specialists, B2B International, have published a White Paper on the importance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the vast, often untapped, opportunities they offer for suppliers of goods and services.
Co-author of the report, and B2B founder, Paul Hague, says SMEs are the ants in the ant hill rather than the more glamorous animals of the forest. Because they are small and tightly managed, decisions can be taken quickly and they are flexible in responding to changes in the temperature of the market. In the UK, as in the rest of the world, SMEs are recognised as the most responsive engine of economic growth.
The report concludes that SMEs operate as simple decision-making units. Co-author Sarah Woodburn believes there are no complicated purchasing teams in SMEs. Very often it is just the boss who is tea person, book keeper, principal sales person and buyer. With all these duties, it is not feasible to agonise too deeply about the choice of a supplier. Decisions are made quickly and based on simple criteria such as the supplier is easy to buy from, it is good value, or it is supported by the right kind of service. Once a purchase has been made, a relationship is established and very often a buying pattern is set up that will last for a long time.
B2B estimates the shopping basket of SMEs adds up to over £1 billion of products and services per annum. Sarah finds it surprising that this huge spend is often ignored by marketers who have their sights on the larger corporations that appear to make easier picking.
B2B’s research highlights the benefits of tapping into the SME market and shows that companies who have seen the potential in SMEs realise premium prices, good margins and loyal customers!
B2B launch new SME online panel
B2B wants to get to the hearts and minds (and purchasing patterns) of SME owners and has recently launched an online panel comprised of key decision makers within the SME sector. The panel can then be tapped into by companies wanting to research that market. B2B has undertaken a rigorous panel recruitment programme to ensure a diverse and high calibre sample of thousands of SME decision makers throughout the UK, people who are notoriously hard to get hold of yet who buy hundreds of different services.
Director Nick Hague says business people running SMEs seem to be the Cinderella of the business world – they are the forgotten decision makers. However, they are powerful purchasers of products and services that can be as varied as utilities, cars, finance, computers, stationery, insurance; the list is endless.
B2B International, which has been firmly established in the online research industry since the company’s inception in 1998, remains one of the forerunners in e-enabled research.
If you are a decision maker within a UK based SME, Click here to join the panel.