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Is Small Business A Key For Big Vendors? How Are Things Changing?

Big vendors and service providers say that they have always prized small and startup businesses. They also note their affection is growing as the sector expands and these businesses' needs become more complex.

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The small business market has always been important to Dell and we believe that now more than ever, technology is transforming small business. The smallest start-up now has the opportunity to be an instant global business. The American economy is being driven by innovative small business owners who are setting up networks, creating Web sites and entering regional, sometimes global, marketplaces while serving customers with the same level of service and efficiency.

The rise of standards and a continuing drop in prices and complexity are making technology available to small businesses that used to only be available and affordable to large enterprises. Many small businesses are utilizing wireless technologies to transform a once stationary workforce into a mobile workforce. Products like servers, storage and high-performance database technologies can now be the engines driving the success of much smaller companies. In order to compete in the global marketplace, small business priorities and spending are mainly focused on four key areas: connection to the Internet, mobility, security and storage.
Frank Muehleman, Vice President, Home and Small Business Division, Dell.

Of the eight million customers UPS serves around the world each day, most are small businesses. They are, and always have been, one of the company's highest priorities. But the role UPS plays in these businesses is more integral to their growth than ever before. For example, UPS Capital, the financial arm of UPS, just announced this week that it has increased its small business lending three-fold. Two of the biggest trends that have influenced the increased small business activity include the Internet and global trade.

It's no secret that the Internet has proven a powerful platform for business tools. These technologies give small enterprises the ability to act big, which is a competitive threat to many large companies. But UPS has approached it as an opportunity. That is because the Internet has provided a flexible interface for UPS to create and deploy more personalized, one-to-one solutions for small businesses.

A second trend has been the globalization of trade. The world is smaller and small businesses are looking beyond their home borders for growth. Customers that once seemed a million miles away are now just a click away. In fact, according to a report by Elizabeth Clark from the International Trade Administration (ITA entitled Small & Medium-Sized Exporting Companies: A Statistical Handbook, the number of SMEs exporting to China has been rising much faster than the number of large companies. Her research found that from 1992 to 2003 the number of SMEs exporting to China surged by 437 percent, compared to 127 percent for large-company exporters. That is why many of UPS's global trade technologies and international trade services are squarely focused on meeting the needs of small business customers.

In short, these two trends - growth of the Internet and global trade -are good news to the entrepreneur because they have intensified the demands and increased the opportunity for large companies to shift from "big vendor" to "biggest ally" with their small business customers. These trends have also positioned the small business as bigger, and yes, more important, than ever.
Steve Holmes, spokesman, UPS.

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