Small Office/Home Office
By Paul Barbagallo
Currently, 15 million small businesses are active in America, if you define a small business as an enterprise with one to 500 employees. By the fourth quarter of 2002, more than half of these small businesses saw improvement in sales from the three previous quarters, according to a survey conducted by Business Know-How, a small business online service for home office professionals and small businesses.
A recent study by financial experts Cattles Invoice Finance reveals that, compared to 2001, almost 80 percent of small companies and self-run businesses enjoyed the same or higher profits in 2002, even though just under half noticed a slowdown in their business sector.
"Downsizing of big business, the inconsistent state of the economy and the tremendous gains in communication and computing have all contributed to the entrepreneurial movement of the past 10 years," says Steve Ruffler, sales manager, business division, List Services Corporation.
Of course, he asserts, the Internet and the ability to buy and sell almost anything from anywhere enables the small business to act and present itself like a big business.
Pete Candito, president of CC3 List Group, concurs: "The cost of technology has come down, so that's allowed this market to grow. In terms of high-speed communication, bandwidth has increased tremendously, making it easier for SOHO [small office/home office] people to participate in online activity."
Large or small, no business is expecting a pain-free 2003, but these numbers clearly show how SOHOs have bucked the downward trend.
A Captive Audience
Whether or not a small business is based out of one's home, a direct mail offer sent to this market will most likely be seen by the decision maker, says Lori Collins, director of business development, FocusUSA, a list company that manages several SOHO files.