What is SMB – Small Business?

Ramon Ray and Me

When I first heard the term “small business,” I was a bit confused. “Small” doesn’t always mean small – because a group with hundreds of individuals could be considered small in respect to larger organizations. I’m not a small business, I’m dinky.

Ramon Ray introduced himself to me last week, and we recorded this SMB interview (MP3). Take a listen; I tried to share a few ideas about building one’s own Internet audience. I asked a few of my LinkedIn contacts how they define Small Business and received the following responses.

Subhas C. Biswas:

Usually directed by one or a few persons at the top. Chain of command is short, usually direct. Number of processes are a few. Serving a few customers and suppliers are few. Employees are few, may be below 20 for small and below 200 for medium enterprises. Most SMEs are single location with some branch office for distribution network.

Steve Jenkins:

Like most things, it’s all relative. But I tend to make the distinction in the same way the UK Govt does: that the size adjective should be based on head-count. You can’t base it on revenue or earnings; I know plenty of “small” businesses that make piles of money, and we all know plenty of “big” businesses that lose insane amounts of money. You can’t do it based on number of offices – one of my small businesses has three offices (three partners who all work from home). You can’t do it based on number of suppliers and customers – some of the biggest companies I know only have one customer (the Govt). It’s all about the headcount, baby.

Listen and decide for yourself.