Small and medium (SME) size businesses comprise 99% of all businesses. The UK definition of an SME encompasses micro (less than 10 employees and an annual turnover under €2 million), small (less than 50 employees and an annual turnover under €10 million) and medium-sized (less than 250 employees and an annual turnover under €50 million).
Audiences - Small & medium businesses
Retail, professional services, hair and beauty, cafes, restaurants, catering, technology & IT, manufacture and production, healthcare, agriculture, construction, real estate, arts and entertainment, education and training, tourism and hospitality and many other sectors.
Typical topics and subjects can include pricing strategy, distribution channels, advertising, business services, product and service feedback, market understanding and competitive analysis.
Euro barometer of small & medium businesses
A CATI study was conducted with 300 interviews with SMEs in 23 European markets for 6,900 interviews in total. Sample sources by employee size, revenue and sector (SIC) from the D&B database. Representative targets vs national SME profile in each market. All programming and hosting by RONIN, with local translations of the questionnaire, open-ended translations and data delivery on a weekly basis.
- 6,900 phone interviews across 23 European markets
- Representative sample sources from D&B by RONIN
- 15 languages translated by RONIN translation services team
A small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) refers to businesses that maintain revenues, assets, or a number of employees below a certain threshold. The specific metrics that define an SME can vary by country. Here are some examples of typical SME businesses across various industries:
Independent grocery stores
Local boutique clothing shops
Specialty gift shops
Local law firms
Marketing and advertising agencies
Hair salons and spas
Food and Beverage
Independent cafes and coffee shops
Technology and IT
IT support and managed services providers
Software development firms
Digital marketing agencies
Manufacturing and Production
Small-scale food processors
Craftsmanship workshops (e.g., woodworking, metalwork)
Clothing and textile manufacturers
Private dental clinics
Physical therapy centers
Small vineyards or wineries
Boutique agribusinesses (e.g., organic herb farms, beekeeping)
Construction and Real Estate
Local construction firms
Real estate agencies
Property management companies
Local courier and delivery services
Small charter airline companies
Independent taxi or ride-hailing services
Arts and Entertainment
Independent art galleries
Event planning companies
Education and Training
Private tuition or coaching centres
Local vocational training institutes
Independent e-learning content creators
Tourism and Hospitality
Bed and breakfast establishments
Local tour operators
Adventure sports companies
It's worth noting that the above examples can vary in size and scope. Some might be at the larger end of the SME spectrum, with hundreds of employees, while others might be small businesses or even solo enterprises. The key characteristic is that they operate at a scale below that of larger corporations in their respective sectors.
What topics are best covered, and what types of market research with SMEs?
When considering market research for SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises), the objectives often revolve around understanding the market, customer behaviours, competition, and potential growth opportunities. The best topics to cover and types of market research methodologies suitable for SMEs include:
Topics to Cover:
Size and growth rate of the market
Market segmentation and target audience
Market trends and future forecasts
Customer demographics and psychographics
Buying behavior and decision-making process
Needs, preferences, and pain points
Customer satisfaction and loyalty
Identifying key competitors and their market share
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of competitors
Unique selling propositions of competitors
Product and Service Feedback
Product usage and satisfaction levels
Feedback on pricing
Suggestions for improvements or new product/service ideas
Branding and Positioning
Brand awareness and perception
Positioning in the market relative to competitors
Effectiveness and reach of current distribution channels
Opportunities for new distribution methods or partnerships
Price sensitivity analysis
Optimal pricing points and strategies
Promotion and Advertising
Effectiveness of current marketing campaigns
Feedback on promotional materials and advertising mediums
Barriers to Entry
Challenges faced when entering or expanding in the market
Regulatory, economic, or competitive barriers
Types of Market Research:
In-depth Interviews: One-on-one interviews with stakeholders, customers, or industry experts.
Focus Groups: Group discussions led by a moderator to gain insights on specific topics.
Ethnographic Studies: Observing customers in their natural setting to understand behavior and preferences.
Surveys and Questionnaires: Distributed to a larger audience, either online, on the phone, or face-to-face.
Observational Research: Counting or recording specific behaviors or actions in a given setting.
Industry Reports: Existing reports that provide insights on market size, trends, and competition.
Competitor Analysis: Using public data to analyze competitors' strategies, products, and performance.
Online Analytics: Tools like Google Analytics or social media insights to track online behaviour.
A/B Testing: Testing two versions to see which performs better, often used for marketing campaigns, websites, or product features.
Product Trials: Providing samples to get feedback on new products or features.
SWOT Analysis: Assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
PESTEL Analysis: Evaluating external factors (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal) affecting the business.
Conducting market research can be a resource-intensive task for SMEs, given their typically limited budgets. However, choosing the right topics and methods can yield valuable insights that guide decision-making and strategy. Often, a mix of both qualitative and quantitative research methods provides a comprehensive understanding of the market and the challenges at hand.