It’s time to stop treating all SMBs the same

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Vodafone have released a new report, SMEs Like Me which shows us why it is time for big businesses to stop treating all SMBs as the same, homogenous group.

Much like the people working to keep them afloat this year, SMBs are diverse. It is important for big corporation’s to realise this in order to give them the support they need to face complex challenges.

It is important that during this intense period, SMBs are looking for support. Unfortunately a ‘guidance gap’ is beginning to emerge with 59% of SMEs having sought no support or funding from any third party, and only 11% having sought advice from large companies or business mentors. Alarmingly, 71% of sole traders were not seeking out the help they were entitled to as they didn’t identify as a SME and therefore didn’t believe the support was available to them.

According to Vodafone’s report, there are different personality types of an SMB and these need to be recognised and embraced.

  • Passion Seekers – company owners who launched their business because they were passionate about the idea, to create a legacy, or build something unique.
  • Lead Players – business owners whose main motivation is the desire to be their own boss and take ownership of their career.
  • Sole Not SME – self-employed people who identify as a sole trader, rather than seeing themselves as a small or medium-sized business.
  • Necessity Entrepreneurs – those who have started their business venture or joined a company out of necessity, such as the loss of a job, needing to supplement their income, or because it was the only viable option for them.
  • Career Climbers – employees working for SMEs who are the most motivated by career opportunities, such as role variety and chances to be promoted and progress.
  • Community Builders – business owners and employees at SMEs who feel they are contributing positively to the community, or that have a focus on sustainability or helping other people.
  • The Reassessors – people working at companies that have been established in the last two years and are largely motivated by the opportunity for greater flexibility and freedom, as well as a chance to give back to their community.
  • Ever Presents – owners and senior management at businesses that have been in operation for 20+ years and have survived the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2022, we simply have to do a better job of defining and understanding SMEs. We’ve learned that 71% of self-employed people don’t describe themselves as a small business, which means they may not believe that they have access to the same support systems as other business owners who run larger companies. This reinforces the need for better, clearer, more accessible advice and guidance.

– Andrew Stevens, Head of Small and Medium Business, Vodafone UK

To support SMEs on their journey Vodafone has two central resources: V-Hub which offers free expert guidance, knowledge and a constantly evolving range of tools and training alongside free one-to-one advice with an adviser; and business.connected in partnership with Enterprise Nation, Cisco and Samsung, which is helping 150,000 small and medium-sized businesses adopt technology, boost digital skills and stay safe online.

Do you think there is enough support available for your business?

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