Small business is too big

This article is about how to target small businesses when promoting your service/products.

“Small business” is a too broad, stop using that term in your head

There are only two types of small businesses: one that sell out all products they make. one that need help selling.

These two types are the ONLY thing you need to think about when targeting your service at “small businesses”.

Small businesses (lets call it Type A) who sell out products need help to smooth operation.

Small businesses (lets call it Type S) who need help selling need help to get distribution.

Before Type S becomes Type A, it needs to do ONLY two things:

  1. Make remarkable products, a purple cow.
  2. Find first 5 customers who love you. 1 is too few, 10 is too many. 5 is a good number to shoot for in one month. Once you have 5 customers who love you, they will spread the words. It will not take as long to get the next 50.

How do you take your startup/business from Type S to Type A.

It will be a painstaking process to go from Type S to Type A. The most important is to build the purple cow that address a must-solve problem with laser focus. It’s ideal if you can identify an urgent need before making products.

But if you have made a product but do not have a precise idea who will need it, you are in a tough boat.

But do not give up.

Think deep, and tirelessly reach out to 20 prospects per segment you think might need your service. While reaching out, keep in mind which camp your prospects (if you are targeting at small businesses) are in, are they Type A or Type S. Make sure your products only stand for one thing when reaching out to Type A or Type S, either helping operation (for Type A), or helping to drive demand (for Type S), not both, or you will end up doing neither.

No matter Type A or Type S, the best scenario is your prospects do not need further education. Because education is expensive (email back and forth, phone calls, video conferencing, demo, on site, or worse, spending time to come up educational materials that explain a product that is not needed…you name it), and its a red flag: if they need too much education, their needs are not urgent, because they don’t know they have that need. Duh!

Time to pivot

But if you have tried but failed to get people adopting, assuming your message is clear, then give it last try by getting “launch” help from experts such as Charlie Hoehn, who can help you scale up your precision reach.

If it still fails, its time to pivot your product and service. Repeat above process.


  1. If your ideal customers are Type A: make sure your service helps them ease operation pain that comes from their own success. Needs such as payroll, staffing, hiring, expense, logistics, customer service…you know, “boring” stuff.
  2. If your ideal customers are Type B: make sure your service helps them get from 0 to 1, drive demand, reach bigger audience, improve product quality. Needs such as marketing, social media outreach, PR, advertising, improving product quality…you know, “fancy” stuff.
  3. Finally, do not think “small business” anymore.