Small Business Trends Radio

What Small Business Owners Want

Steve King on What Small Business Owners Want.Some service providers and vendors have made progress on what it takes to market and sell to the 26 million small businesses in the United States. It’s a time of changing trends.

Our featured guest in this episode of Small Business Trends Radio is Steve King, a Research Affiliate at the Institute for the Future. Steve is also the project leader for the Intuit – IFTF Future of Small Business project and has over 25 years of industry and consulting experience including having lived and worked abroad. Steve’s blog is

Here’s a sampling from the show:

  • Demographic trends are changing. — Not that long ago it was only middle-aged men who met our perceived definition of small business owner. Now, women, immigrants, baby boomers and even teens are forming new businesses at a growing rate. There is no longer one set of demographics and vendor marketing should reflect the changing nature of the small business customer.
  • Partnering between large and small businesses is occurring more frequently. — Large companies such as Google are now partnering with small and mid-size firms, whereas a year or two ago, they were partnering strictly with larger firms. By partnering with smaller niche players, Google can now provide technology and services to these niche markets, with the small business partner receiving a percentage of the profits from those sales. These new partnerships differ from the traditional relationship dynamics between large and small businesses, which were either competitors or vendor/purchaser.
  • Large corporations without an obvious connection to small businesses are partnering to find new sources of product innovation. — Proctor & Gamble is an example of a company that is finding new sources of innovation by partnering with smaller firms. For instance, fifty percent of their product innovation is coming from outside, through licensing. This presents an opportunity for smaller businesses, that can now find markets through the power of Proctor & Gamble. If you want shelf space at Walmart – as a small business it’s very difficult. But show up with Proctor & Gamble branding – and it’s much easier.

Steve provided many useful insights into the changing world of small businesses and how it impacts the marketplace. To hear them, click the player below.

5 Responses to “What Small Business Owners Want”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Very interesting to hear the changing trends in small business ownership. It’s hard to believe how many people are working for themselves now and how many will be in the future.

  2. Chris Says:

    I really like the changes that are taking place and I like the fact that these smaller companies are now becoming a force to be reckoned with in the business world. I found this interview to be particularly enlightening with regards to these new trends and it’s amazing to me how many large companies are actually partnering with the smaller guys.

  3. EJMalyn Says:

    I think both small and large businesses benefit fron this new changing trend. Also, this is a great incentive for that small business owner.

  4. Bob Says:

    What companies like what Proctor & Gamble is doing would be interested in partnering with a small software development company?

  5. Introducing Steve King, Our Newest Expert Says:

    […] here at Small Business Trends.  We also had him on the radio show last year, where he spoke about demographics and trends in the small business market.  He’s also  contributed two articles over at the American Express OPEN Forum as one of […]

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