Beware of Small Business Averages

beware of averagesWhen you lump together numbers and come up with averages, you can get a pretty skewed picture of things.

What’s more, averages can lead you to the wrong conclusion.  They can cause you to take the wrong actions.  Sometimes they are just not very helpful.

A case in point is the numbers you often read answering the question: “how many small businesses have websites?”  Typical responses say: 50% of small businesses have websites.  Or more recently, 44% have websites.

However, those are averages.  What an average does NOT tell you is how much variation there is among small businesses.

You see, among the largest small businesses, a full 73% have a website, according to one survey.  It’s only when you look at the smaller end of the small business market that you see numbers in the 50%-or-under range.

Over at Selling to Small Businesses, I wrote about a set of research results from Barlow Research that broke down the figures about how many small businesses have websites, according to size of business based on annual revenues.  Here is what their research showed:

Percent of businesses that have a website, by annual sales size:

45% – Revenues of $100,000 to $499,000
49% – Revenues of $500,000 to $999,000
69% – Revenues of $1.0 Million to $2.49 Million
67% – Revenues of $2.5 Million to $4.9 Million
73% – Revenues of $5.0 Million to $10 Million

And what about midsize businesses? For businesses with revenues of $10 Million to $500 Million in size, 84% have websites.

Read the whole thing, especially if you sell to the small business market. It just may clarify how you to approach your marketing.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.