SME businesses are a passion of mine. I founded one (Circle!) and as a B2B specialist I regularly explore the opinions and behaviours of SMEs.
But before I go on, let’s be careful with that label of ‘SME’. Even if we exclude sole traders, there are still more than one million SMEs in the UK alone. Inevitably with a group of that size, there’s a lot of diversity – different attitudes, behaviours, needs and opinions. So, to define your target market as ‘SMEs’ is a good start, but misses an awful lot of nuance (that deserves a blog post all of its own – see my colleague Andrew Dalglish’s exploration here).
That said, there is something which in my experience is common to most SMEs – ambition.
Sure, some SMEs are lifestyle businesses set up to enable a particular way of living. Some have run out of steam and are happy just plodding along. Others still never even set out with the intention of being market leader. But a new study from SAP and Circle Research proves that these are exceptions to the rule.
Our global survey of over 800 senior strategic decision-makers in SMEs reveals that 9 in 10 describe their business as ambitious. A hard core of around half of the population (46%) go further and use the term ‘very ambitious’. If we isolate these particularly ambitious businesses we see that they have a lot in common:
- They have a common mind-set. They are strategic, energised and pioneering; very ambitious businesses don’t wait to see what happens, they reach out and grab the future
- They employ people in their likeness. Ambitious companies employ very ambitious people (after all, it’s the people who will achieve the ambition)
- They place significant emphasis on technology. Adopting new technologies has already given them a competitive advantage and they want to be early-adopters going forward
And strong ambition pays off. Over the past two years, nearly half of very ambitious businesses (48%) have seen revenue growth of more than 30%, compared to just over one quarter (27%) of (simply!) ambitious companies.
Read the full report here.
Find out more about Circle Research’s B2B marketing research services here.
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