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Partners! Have you considered specializing in serving the technology needs of small and/or medium-sized businesses? This post explores your SMB opportunity in Canada,. I will review the importance of this segment and provide some information and resources to help you build your practice.

Small business economy

Big businesses may get all the attention, but Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses make our economy tick. According to the Canadian Government’s latest “Key Small Business Statistics – January 2019” report, small businesses represent 1.15 million of Canada’s 1.18 million employer businesses. That’s 97.9 percent of all businesses.

Of the almost 12 Canadians employed by businesses, 70 percent (8.3 million) work for a business with under 100 employees. Add another 2.4 million Canadians working for medium-sized businesses, and you’ve got 90 percent of all people employed by our private sector. That’s almost 9 out of 10 Canadians!

According to the Government of Canada, small and medium-sized businesses collectively contributed more than 50 percent of Canada’s GDP.

Small versus medium

How do these businesses feel about technology? Internal research conducted recently by IDC for Microsoft revealed what you may already know from your direct experience in the field. Typically, small businesses do things distinctly from medium-sized businesses. Their technology attitudes and ambitions differ significantly.

KISS for small business

Most Canadian small businesses want cheap and cheerful solutions. They tend to run only a handful of apps to conduct their businesses. Almost half have only one IT person on staff. So, they tend to keep things simple. Any technology they introduce is strictly a means to an end. Baseline stuff.

Scaling issues

As Canadian businesses start to scale, however, their IT needs, ambitions, and dissatisfaction grows. Our internal research shows medium-sized companies jump from a handful of apps to dozens. IT complexity and costs soar. And IT teams quickly find themselves more preoccupied with break and fix than advancing digital innovation.

Digital maturity

The good news is that medium-sized companies want to innovate with technology. When realized, that ambition ultimately translates into digital maturity, which BDC research tells us makes or breaks a business. Digitally mature businesses develop their own apps, reinvent their operations digitally, and take advantage of transformative technologies, including artificial intelligence/machine learning.

“Businesses with higher digital maturity are 62% more likely to have high sales growth than other businesses, more likely to have high profit growth (52%) and are three times more likely to have innovated. Businesses with weak digital maturity often struggle to grow sales and often see sales fall.” – BDC “Digitize Now” study


The revenue opportunity

While it’s wonderful to have enterprise customers with big asks and huge budgets, specializing in small or medium-sized businesses opens up a huge opportunity that’s often underserved. And, can provide you with new recurring revenue streams.

To start, every small and medium-sized organization needs an Office 365 subscription, to stay competitive and operate efficiently. But Office 365 alone will not meet all of their business security needs. Office 365 + Windows 10 + the network and device security technology built into Microsoft 365 Business = a complete solution.

While Office 365 is a great place to start, every SMB customer deserves the security and peace-of-mind Microsoft 365 delivers.

Your own IP

For both small and medium-sized companies, partners also create and market their own branded “cheap and cheerful” solutions for businesses built on Microsoft platforms, like Microsoft Teams, Office 365, and Dynamics 365. They can offer ingenious bundles combining hardware and software and upsell managed services and other value-adds.

Want to accelerate the app development process? You can build an app or extend apps your customers already use. Start here

Inspiring innovation

From there, partners can expand the conversation. As a trusted technology consultant, you connect the dots between technical maturity and success. Partners can provide their customers with a technology roadmap that eliminates complexity while encouraging them to dare to dream and invest in innovation.


Get started!

Take advantage of these great resources to help you build a SMB practice!