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Think You Know the SMB Owner's Mind? Guess Again.


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The number of new SMBs entering the market and innovating around the world is astounding. However, the resources that owners have is still limited. Small business loans are at an all time low and grants are difficult to come by and take a lot of time. Getting to cashflow positive and setting up a viable business is constantly on the minds of owners. They are turning to technology products to cut costs when it comes to marketing, hiring, and even keeping in touch with customers. Most owners are pretty comfortable with technology given the popularity of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. However, there are still many that struggle with adopting technology for their business or even being aware of what they should be using to take their business to the next level.

As technologists it's easy for us to create products that we know how to use, but many of us have not actually experienced the life of a small business owner or know how they view and interact with technology products. In this talk Poornima Vijayashanker will share some insights into the minds of SMB owners, and they key things we as technologists should think about when designing and building products for these individuals.

Published in: Education, Business, Technology

Think You Know the SMB Owner's Mind? Guess Again.

  1. Think You Know the SMB Owner’s Mind? Guess Again. Poornima Vijayashanker @poornima CEO & Founder BizeeBee #techforsmbs
  2. “I’ve never been an SMBowner but I feel like I’vewalked the earth in their shoes...”
  3. BackgroundDad (Hardware Engineer) + Mom (SMB Accountant) = Me (Femgineer)Volunteered & Consulted for Years before starting BizeeBeeTalked to 100+ SMBs in 10 countries in the last 2 1/2 yearsInterviewed business coaches, bloggers, employees & startups thatsucceeded & failed in the space.
  4. “So you wanna build tech for SMBs?”SMB Market right nowThe Mind of the MerchantTheir ProblemsDesignDistributionMonetizationPopular Products
  5. What’s happening right now?
  6. 24M Small businesses, but growth is onthe decline...
  7. Where are most businesses starting? Most popular?1. Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers2. Full-Service Restaurants3. Homes for the Elderly4. All Other Amusement and Recreation Industries5. Used Merchandise Stores6. Meat Processed from Carcasses7. Landscape Architectural Services8. Beauty Salons9. Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services10.Child Day Care Service
  8. The Mind of a Merchant...
  9. To whom it may concern at Bizeebee, I am currently in the process of opening a dance studio. As a result I amlooking for a studio management software program. Thats how I cameacross Bizeebee and was trying out what I understood to be a free product.Without warning, I receive an email that tells me that I walked into somesoftware booby trap that now commits me to a monthly charge without myconsent. I find this tactic to be insulting and malicious. As a result I havechanged my opinion regarding this software. I quickly went from wanting tosign up for the upgraded version, to now wanting to opt out of any and allservices related to your software and company. From this moment forward, Iplan to never use this software in any form and as such expect to never becharged for any service or product. I would appreciate confirmationregarding the resolution of this issue so that I know that no further action isrequired. Thank you.
  10. Passion vs ProfitsSmall Thinking vs Big Problems Cost vs Investment Margins
  12. 10. Back office tasks9. Seasonality8. Inventory Management7. Theft6. Location5. Hiring & Training4. Customer Acquisition3. Customer Retention2. Pricing1. Cashflow
  13. DESIGN
  14. They say: What it means:“Don’t make me cut & paste anything!” Make it push button.“Don’t make me set anything up!” I want it to work out-of-the-box.“I want my data in the cloud but not I want a fully integrated solution.distributed across multipleapplications.”“You have bugs? Bye bye!” Paper might be time consuming but its bug free & I get it.
  15. Software StandardHardware Standard
  16. distribution
  17. How do we build tech companies to reach them?How do you reach them? Marketing. Influencers Organizations.What seems to work, Sales force.but doesn’t really? Reviews. Daily deals.Who has been successful? E-mail marketing companies. Payment providers.
  18. Monetization
  19. Will they pay for stuff? YES!How much will they pay? depends. Online Payments - $740B, $1750/avg year CRM - $6.6B, $2500/avg year e-mail Marketing - $1.5B, $133/avg year Daily Deals - $1.25B
  20. Popular products & their real use cases.
  21. Products they use: What they use it for:Email Marketing List management, newsletters, promotions. Social Media Twitter: Posting status, schedules or connecting with other owners. Facebook: simple CRM. Daily Deals Not a source of cashflow. Better advertising ROI than print/radio. I don’t want to deal with the “discounted” customers.
  22. Q&A