David Koch: Why Small Businesses Aren’t Just Small Businesses 

David Koch: Why Small Businesses Aren’t Just Small Businesses 
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

In this guest post with B&T, David Koch, famed media personality and the Founder and Chairman of Pinstripe Media, a media network catering to small businesses, talks about the power of small business. In 2021, the Australian Marketing Institute awarded him the Sir Charles McGrath Award for his contributions to the marketing industry. Ahead of the 2022 AMI Marketing Excellence Awards Gala, he shares valuable advice on working with small businesses…

I’ve owned an family business since the late 1990s. I love small business owners. I love their creativity, their commitment and their passion. There are now 2.4 million of us—we account for 97% of all Australian businesses.

Through Kochie’s Business Builders and our other channels at Pinstripe Media, I’ve been helping other small businesses for 15 years. Across all that time, there’s one truth that stands out:

Small business is not just a small version of big business.

Too often, when marketers reach out to small businesses, they don’t think about the people they’re trying to help. But if you take the time to place yourself in their shoes, you’ll understand some key differences between small businesses and larger companies.

In it for passion

Business owners start to pursue their passion. Very few start their business because they’re passionate about finance, marketing, or other administrative areas. Instead, they want to outsource and automate as many of those processes as possible, so they can focus on what really matters to them.

So the more holistic, end-to-end offering you can bring them, and the more time you can save them, the happier they’ll be.

The weight of responsibility

To be a business owner is to take on a huge responsibility for your business, your employees, and everyone who relies on you. It’s a stressful role that inevitably causes sleepless nights worrying about a whole host of issues, like cashflow, talent shortages, and inflation—they’ve survived all that and more. Anyone running a business is resilient and passionate, but they also want to have time to enjoy life: they still want to coach their children’s football or netball team, or go to their music recitals.

So make it easy for them to help you, help them. The more you can take off their plate, the more grateful they’ll be.

Remember that business owners can also feel shackled or burnt out, so a little empathy goes a long way.

Relationships that last

Too many marketers don’t understand how to work with small business. It can be a frustrating journey for business owners to find partners that properly support them, but once they find a partner that truly understands them, they’re willing to pay a premium for a reliable service that they know will take care of them.

Small business owners want to build a partnership with people they trust. They don’t want to just be sold to. If you can connect with them and help them realise their passions, they’ll reward you with a long, fruitful relationship.

People first, business second.

There are a lot of ways that small businesses differ from big corporations, but it all stems from one core truth: business owners are living, breathing people pursuing their passions, and they want partners who support them.

If you adopt that perspective, you’ll build more powerful relationships with small business owners and more effectively help this growing business segment.

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