By Karen Axelton

small business marketingDoes your company market BtoB products or services? If so, a new survey from the Enterprise Council on Small Business has some interesting insights about what your potential customers care about.

A survey of more than 1,000 businesses showed that the length of time a company has existed has a significant impact on the owner’s focus. Younger businesses, especially before they become profitable, are more than twice as focused on growth as older businesses. Because they’re still seeking to establish themselves, these entrepreneurs are concentrating on revenue and cash flow that they can put back into the business.

As the business matures (at the 5 to 9 year mark) the entrepreneur’s focus switches from revenue and growth to profit. Once the business is mature (9 years and older), the owner’s focus moves to customer retention.

ECSB points out that understanding the life cycle of a business can help you market more effectively, and offers these tips:

  • Market to early stage businesses by talking about how your product/service can help them grow and establish themselves. Your message should convey that you empathize with their position and are ready to grow with them.
  • Market to midstage businesses (5-9 years old) by showing them how you can help increase profit margins by making their operations more efficient.
  • Market to mature businesses by focusing on how your product or service can help them retain their customer base.