Bredin Report: What Do SMBs Want to Be Called?

We recently fielded an SMB Pulse survey of 500 principals of U.S. companies with up to 500 employees. Among other things, we wanted to understand how they prefer vendors to refer to them, to help with terminology in sales and marketing communications.

As it turns out, the term SMBs want vendors to use depends on their size. Companies with fewer than 20 employees most prefer the term “small businesses.” Companies with 20 to 99 employees also like that term, although they equally like the term “growing businesses.” For their part, companies with 100 to 500 employees also like the term “growing businesses,” although they equally like the generic “small or medium businesses.”

What you should use depends on your audience. If you’re marketing exclusively to companies with fewer than 100 employees, the term “small business” is fine. If you’re marketing to companies with 100 to 500 employees, “SMB,” “small and medium business” or “growing business” are equally fine. If you’re marketing to companies with one to 500 employees, “growing business” is a safe bet.

SMB’s Preferred Terminology

SMB’s Preferred Terminology

How do you like vendors to refer to you, for example, in sales or marketing materials? In other words, how do you feel if they use these terms when describing who their solution is designed for?
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We also wanted to understand at a high level how SMBs define their overall business goals. Given the choice of “succeeding,” “growing” or “thriving,” respondents from companies with fewer than 100 employees chose “succeeding,” while those with 100 to 500 employees chose “growing.” This aligns with previous Bredin research, which has found that the bigger the business, the more optimistic their growth expectations. However, the preference differences between the two words are slight, so you can use them interchangeably when communicating with SMBs about helping them achieve their objectives.

SMB Goals

When you think about your overall business goals, do you think about your business as:
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Need help understanding and/or engaging SMBs? Bredin can keep you up to date on evolving SMB needs and challenges through quick-turn, actionable market research. We can also help you develop high-value content and social posts to boost SMB awareness, brand perception, leads, conversion and revenue.

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.