Growth has never been more important than it is today. Across all industries, business leaders are tasked with finding new sources of growth by exploring new products, new customer segments, and new geographies. As our previous research has emphatically shown, small and medium businesses (SMBs) are a massive untapped source of growth opportunities.
We have made it our mission to help enterprises realize and capture this valuable customer base – in past essays (If enterprises build trust, SMBs will spend and Don’t tell me, show me), we found that enterprises have consistently missed the mark in understanding and meeting SMB needs in the United States (US) and need to take targeted actions to garner their trust and budgets. However, the US is just the tip of the iceberg.
SMBs play a central role throughout the global economy and represent a massive opportunity for global enterprise (software and platform) growth – according to the World Economic Forum, “Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which represent around 90% of all firms globally, provide roughly 70% of all employment and, by some estimates, contribute to up to 70% of global GDP”1. As SMBs represent the latest untapped growth opportunity for platforms (that are increasingly exhausting and saturating their traditional customer bases), it is more important than ever to get the global SMB opportunity right. To uncover the success factors for winning this significant customer base around the world, Accenture expanded our US-based research to 5,000+ SMBs across 11 different countries on six continents.
Our research reveals that while not all SMBs are the same, they share three key similarities globally. In this essay, we will show how these similarities reveal a global blueprint that, if followed, will enable enterprises to capture the global SMB opportunity at scale.