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Thread: Targetting the small business sector

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Targetting the small business sector

    How many corporates do a good job of targetting the small business sector?

    This story gives some background:
    Cellphone number portability together with a capitulation by the taxman, who says he will no longer bother with taxing the personal use of business cellphones, makes it more compelling than ever for business owners to move all their staff cellphone contracts into one group package.

    Cellphones can now legitimately be offered to employees as a perk. And because a small business with a handful of salespeople can collectively clock up thousands of minutes a month, it makes sense for the business owner to try to negotiate a volume discount. It also makes sense for the cellphone company that, by winning over one small business, it signs up several active individual contracts.

    Yet only one South African cellphone company seems to have cottoned on to the potential of small businesses as fertile recruitment ground. Still only six months old, it is difficult to say if MTN's Connectivity-4-SME offering for small businesses will work, but it seems to press all the right buttons.

    MTN's senior manager for SME marketing, Natasha Basson, says any registered small business signing up more than one mobile number will get rates discounts, which grow with the number of staff members they sign on. "You can't dilute a corporate offering and then say to an SME [small or medium enterprise] 'there you go' and think they'll be happy. They have specific needs," says Basson.
    full story from M&G here
    And then we have further on in the story:
    Asked about their offering to small businesses, both Vodacom and Cell C's public relations departments made vague statements about discounts that can be negotiated by small businesses.

    The lack of products aimed specifically at small businesses is not unusual for South African corporate service providers. Financial services, telecoms and even raw material suppliers usually have well-developed corporate offerings on the one hand, and a good understanding of the individual consumer on the other. But most seem to struggle with the small business sector, which is heterogeneous and little understood. Often products launched for small businesses are ill-conceived and mistargeted.
    What do you think - do big corporates miss the mark when developing products for the small business segment?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Gold Member garthu's Avatar
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    I certainly think most do. A few large corporates make the effort but only a few. Some even do it well. It surprises me though as i believe SME, MLM, (sure cant call MLM SME but same league) is the way forward. Corporates would rather deal with c orporates or individuals. There is to much pain in trying to offer multiple products in the middle. As it becomes a "negotiated" affair, the training of the staff and there competence has to be improved as they are no longer offering a single package with take it or leave it attitude but rather restructure to suite. Corporates cannot trust there employees to think for themselves although many given the opportunity would do well (and then many won't)

    It systems need to be upgraded, staff training, criteria matching and on and on... To much effort, money. Kiyosoki, Trump and the likes reckon it is what will lead SME, MLM etc into the future is the corporates lack of adapting in general
    Garth

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    We have yet to acknowledge that corporations detest us as SME's. The Small Entrepreneurial Business poses the biggest threat to Corporations. The diversity that small businesses represents, has the potential to eclipse the influence of the corporations. The oversight is not only confined to cell phone packages, but extends to the entire spectrum.(save for a few).

    If a corporation becomes the "client" of a SME, the chances are great that the corporate client will destroy the SME,s cashflow through late payment. Corporate clients also manipulate their sme suppliers contract, and regulate them like employees.

    The list is endless
    Sean Goss We all are scared, but only few are brave.
    www.sgafc.co.za

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgafc View Post
    If a corporation becomes the "client" of a SME, the chances are great that the corporate client will destroy the SME,s cashflow through late payment. Corporate clients also manipulate their sme suppliers contract, and regulate them like employees.
    Or worse. I can vouch for this from personal experience. The number of times I have to remind corporates that they signed my contract when they try to tell me "they only pay at 30 days from statement for everything" is amazing.

    On one of our facilities management accounts, the corporate was trying to pay for the cleaners effectively 60 days after they would have if they had employed them directly! The accounts dept. only caved when I sent a letter addressed to the MD for them to pass on, suggesting that their staff should be paid their salaries 30 days + in arrears too.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Big Corporations: The Obstacle to Small Business Growth

    Big business, small business, they basically the same thing right? (Small business, just a maller version of the big one?)Wrong, a vast difference exists between a corporation and a small business.

    Corporations:
    Corporations are formed with the assistance of governments, corporate and investments banks, and “dubious “ and conventional investors alike. With their deep pockets they able to penetrate any market, though aggressive public relations exercises and sheer cunning. Through hostile take-overs and mergers they ensure rapid growth and expansion. To their work force they offer “job security” and stability, thus ensuring a readily available work force. But ask the workers if they happy. The stress in the corporate environment is unbearable, and yet these workers give their best years to these corporates.
    Around the globe multi national groups are plundering the planet faster than any other group. Take fish stock for instance. In his brilliant book, Private Planet,Corporate Plunder and the Fight Back, British Author, David Cromwell, writes the following:
    As for the fishing industry, TNC’s(Transnational Corporations), controls much of the global fish stock, while wielding undue influence over governments which ought to be regulating them. Pescanova, a Spanish-based corporation, owns one of the worlds largest fishing fleets of around 140 trawlers. Pescanova has a network of around 30 companies in 18 developing countries, processes about 20 per cent of the world hake catch and has 25’000 retail outlets. Courtesy of fishing agreements, this company may fish inside the 200-mile exclusive economic zones of coastal developing countries. One of these nations is Senegal, which depends heavily on fish as an earner of foreign exchange to pay interest on its debt. But under the EU-Senegal agreement, the livelihoods of 35’000 local fishermen (small businessmen), are under threat.”

    Small Business
    Corporations only pay lip service to the growth and development of small business. In reality, small businesses are perceived as a threat. Their diversity can undermine the true objectives of the corporations. Hence underhand tactics are applied, in destroying small business. Be very careful with those corporate contracts. Most corporations create endless problems for their small business suppliers. Common problems are delayed payments for services rendered to small businesses. Corporate property owners have a different set of rules for small business tenants than its corporate tenants or even natural tenants.
    Small businesses also loose most of their skilled work force to corporations over time, since they cannot compete with the pay packages of the big guys. Most professionals and other skilled people start out at small firms, gain valuable skills and are poached by big firms. The strategy is not to poach our best employees only, but also to destroy our small businesses through the theft of our most valued talents and skills.
    The huge banks are equally guilty of creating a hostile environment for small businesses. Even with the best business plan or feasibility study, many businesses fall foul of the banks stringent requirements. But an employee of the very same small business can secure a loan, with only proof of earnings (a salary voucher). So a small business that requires the loan to create jobs and other opportunities is unsuccessful, but an individual who funds selfish consumption with his/her loan is successful? Is this an accident? No, I have detected this state of affairs over and over again. Request a loan of R30 000 for business, and the bank turns you down, but ask for finance for a car of R50 000 and you successful. The list of manipulation is endless.

    Small business should start looking at building and maintaining there sovereignty. The best method is to formulate chambers or councils of small business. Support other small businesses, and consider small community banks for finance. Nothing precludes a small business from growing into a Big Business, but without the baggage that comes with the corporate culture. No fights with the corporates are necessary; just find a way to thrive as a small business!

    References

    · David Cromwell, Private Planet, Corporate Plunder and The Fight Back, John Carpenter Publishing, Alder House, Market Street,Charlbury, Oxfordshire 2001
    Sean Goss We all are scared, but only few are brave.
    www.sgafc.co.za

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    When I started offering websites I could not take on jobs from large corporates, so I focused on the small businesses. To my surprise and delight there are very few website designers who give a reasonable offering to small business.

    The standard practice in website design is to charge a large setup fee and offer very low monthly hosting fees with no support. I offer very low setup fees with higher monthly costs to make up for the setup fees- and offer support. Small business owners love the offer that I give but it seems that no website designers are following the same fee structure (not that I have found anyway).

    It seems pretty logical to me that small businesses would rather pay in installments rather than a big whack at the beginning, which makes my type of offer more attractive. For some reason the website design guys are crystalised in their structures and refuse to change, most of which are small businesses themselves!

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