Small Business or Micro Business?

| March 3rd, 2009 | ,

There is a lot of talk about small business in the news today, especially in light of the unpredictable economy, but did you know a small business is defined as having anywhere between 20 and 100 employees? That doesn’t sound very small to us. We prefer to refer to ourselves and many of our customers as micro businesses. But what exactly is a micro business? If any of these characteristics sound familiar to you, your business may be a micro business.

  • 1 to 10 people
  • Tightknit, comfortable company culture
  • Getting it done with as few people as possible
  • Wearing several different hats throughout the day
  • Thriving on diversity within the workplace
  • A team of self-starters, always looking ahead to the next thing
  • Always having an ear to the ground, anticipating change in the air, and ready to adapt quickly as needed.
  • Are actually friends outside the office
  • Go to Dodger games together
  • Family-style business, where family is roughly translated as tribe, gang, or cohorts
  • Jeans on monday, shorts on friday
  • The office has more computer monitors than people.

These are just a few I could think of off the top of my head. I am sure there are many more. Micro businesses are an extremely influential market force, but they’ve been mostly neglected by software companies. It seems most software companies create products for the enterprise and then try to convince small businesses they need the same thing.

From the day we started Intervals, we had the micro business in mind. After all, we’ve been one for the last nine years. We know the ins-and-outs of running a business with a small crew, and we knew that there are hundreds of thousands of businesses like us out there.

Intervals is not the enterprise app masquerading as small business software. I think our customers would see through that very quickly, just like they’ve seen through MS Project and other large enterprise apps.

On the flip side, there are a lot of “simple” or “silo” apps that do one thing, and often quite well, but just don’t complete the picture for a small team. A micro business considering these apps has the option to use several of them at once to run the multiple aspects of their business, or use an app like Intervals, that has carefully calculated the features needed. And with an app like Intervals, it’s all in one place, under one login, on one server. Makes things a little easier to manage.

Before you commit to a web-based project management tool, find out what type of business you are, and what level of features is going to suit your needs best. Whether it’s the Silo, the Enterprise, or something in between, you’ll want an application that helps you get the most done without getting in the way.

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Lear

8 Responses to “Small Business or Micro Business?”

  1. Small Business or Micro Business?…

    What exactly is a micro business? If any of these characteristics sound familiar to you, your business may be a micro business….
    BTW I love your blog!

  2. Sam says:

    Actually, microbusinesses are 5 or less employees. Checkout http://www.microenterpriseworks.org for resources.

  3. John Reeve says:

    Sam, thanks for the clarification and the link.

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Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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