I've worked with small businesses throughout my 30-year web developer career. From being self-employed back in the 90s to building my digital marketing platform over the past decade. Besides, small business owners are the backbone of the UK economy ...
Well, there are around two million of us. That's my Total Addressable Market (TAM in SaaS terms) so it's certainly worth YourPCM being perceived as a small business because of the endless possibilities to work with so many different types of business.
UK small business owners always have a natural affinity with other small businesses. That's why we network so much and get to know, like and trust our peers. We understand the challenges that come with running a small business, such as limited resources and a need to be more agile, so why would anyone want to work with a faceless corporation when a local small business can offer the same products and services, usually at better prices?
I certainly understand those challenges because I'm facing them. The first one is that our cost of living has gone up dramatically in the UK, and we're nearly all struggling to pay the bills. Council tax, fuel, food, energy, business rates, corporation tax ... it's all on the up and we're all wondering how to survive. We do that by working together.
Where every single software subscription I pay for has gone up, I refuse to put my prices up for existing subscribers. Yes, each year I review my costs and may nudge up the monthly subscription costs a little for new subscribers, existing subscribers always pay what they've always paid.
Combine that understanding with a high level of training and support that comes with a friendly smile and you've got yourselves something called customer loyalty. My subscribers know that if they need help, they can call or email and they'll reach a human being to talk to who can resolve their issue quickly and easily.
Unlike the faceless corporation! Got a problem? Trawl their knowledgebase first, then fight with a chatbot so you can maybe talk to a human then finally, they may permit you to register a support request and get back to you in 3 to 5 working days with an answer that may or may not help you. In the meantime, my subscribers have called or emailed and we've got onto Zoom to show them how to solve their issues and are happily back to work again.
And finally, if a subscriber has a specific request during a demonstration or actually makes a Feature Request after using YourPCM for a while then it can be implemented quickly and easily. "Oooh, that's a good idea" I usually think, and then the following weekend it gets implemented, lickety-split!
No, no and thrice no! However, big YourPCM gets, I will always consider us to be a small business. And to be honest, I don't want to turn into a huge, faceless corporation, because that would mean I'm part of the problem.
My target is 10,000 subscribers so a smallish team would suffice to support a subscriber base of that size:
- Growth Team members will go networking and will be regularly reminded (by me) that the people they talk to are human beings and pay our wages. They must be treated with respect at all times. Certainly no upselling, just get to know them, get them to like and trust you, listen to their needs and give them what they want.
- Subscriber Team members, who are naturally a bit geeky, will be schooled in the art of conversation and taught to have a friendly smile on their faces when dealing with our subscribers and themselves trained to go above and beyond to keep them happy.
- Developers Team members will probably never be allowed to speak to subscribers daily, but certainly will be encouraged to come to exhibitions and face-to-face events then get stuck in. Even I lose my perspicacity when I'm in developer mode, so if they're deep into a coding project, it's best not to disturb them.
All in all, I like being a small business and I intend to stay that way, no matter how many subscribers YourPCM has in the coming years. It is all about 'know, like and trust' in the world of small businesses here in the United Kingdom.
I'm often found at networking events or product demos talking about my roots, my experiences, extolling the many reasons I believe YourPCM is the best product for them and how we want all of our subscribers to grow and thrive. My entire team will be trained to think that way too.
Once a small business, always a small business.
If anything I've mentioned here resonates with you, do call me on 0333 335 0420 and let's see how I can help.