Most entrepreneurs wouldn’t start a business in the middle of a recession. But that’s exactly what Laurie McCabe and her co-founder, Sanjeev Aggarwal, did. Because there really wasn’t a research firm focused on the small business market, they decided to start one, which became SMB Group. McCabe’s company researches the niches that make up the small business market to provide quality research to businesses.
Before running SMB Group, McCabe acted as Partner at Hurwitz & Associates, where she co-authored Collaboration for Dummies and led SMB-related projects. Prior to that, Laurie served as Vice President of SMB Insights & Solutions at AMI-Partners for five years. Her 20-plus years in IT mean she’s in demand as a speaker, blogger (she contributes to Small Business Computing) and writer.
The Future Looks Bright
Despite some hurdles in starting and running SMB Group, McCabe is eager to see where she can take the company in the future. She and her partner hope to double the amount of business they bring in this year, and she plans to add new services in SMB adoption of emerging technologies.
The success of SMB Group, says McCabe, comes from the relationships they build with their clients, and the free research they give in exchange:
“We go out of our way to provide our clients with focused services to help them achieve their goals. We also spend a lot of time developing relationships with SMBs and bringing their perspectives into everything we do for our vendor clients. In return, we give back by providing free research and insights to SMBs. I think the fact that we provide a strong link both ways has really helped us succeed.”
Having the right business partner has also contributed to the company’s success.
Taking and Giving Advice
McCabe was an inquisitive student in her youth, and that’s helped her as a small business owner. “Most of my teachers encouraged my curiosity, although I’m sure some of them might have gotten sick me asking questions all the time.”
By asking the right questions, McCabe has taken on new career paths, and learned to be a better entrepreneur.
Her advice to other small business owners?
“…do something fun–exercising, playing with your kids, running with your dog, going out with family and friends. I think most small business owners work super hard–and taking time to relax and enjoy life is essential to recharge your batteries so you can think more creatively about new opportunities.”
Laurie was recognized as a Small Business Influencer Champion for 2011. Read more of our Small Business Influencer Champion interviews.