How to Segment the Small Business Market

Small businesses represent a huge opportunity for mobile service providers to offer a wider variety of services and expand into new markets. Mobile providers are well-positioned to serve small business customers, but success will depend on having a solid understanding of the market’s diverse communications needs.  Fundamentally, it all comes down to getting the market segmentation right.


The small business market is complex because it is not a monolithic or homogeneous group. Whether they employ a few people or a few hundred, businesses come in all sizes and have different requirements for communications and collaboration. A one-size-fits-all approach to service packaging won’t get very far in this market.

Solutions for small business users must address the unique business challenges they face in their specific segment of the market. But how can mobile service providers effectively segment the small business market?

To illustrate, the following provides examples of segmentation:


Professional consumers (“prosumers”) are a growing independent workforce, many of which are self-employed tradespeople who are continuously on the move. They could be a plumber in a van, a personal physiotherapist visiting patients at home, or a software contractor working from a laptop in a cafe. They often don’t have a traditional office or desk – let alone a desk phone – so their business cards typically have only their mobile number and an email address.

These on-the-go entrepreneurs need to manage work and personal communications. Some might even juggle two smartphones or dual SIMs. Plus, many prosumers in the gig economy seek schedule flexibility and better management of their work/life balance. They’re looking for communications solutions that give them:

  • Multi-personas on a single device, fully integrated with the native dialer
  • High quality voice that is not dependent on IP data services
  • A landline phone number  
  • Simplicity in management and use across devices  
  • Temporary numbers, for separate clients or projects

Small Businesses and Teams

Over 90% of global businesses employ less than 10 people. They may have one physical location, but it is probable that several employees are mobile, connecting from home, “on the road” or at a client’s office. Small businesses typically have a mix of inbound and outbound voice calls, including those between staff, as well as those with clients or suppliers. They may also have seasonal or contracted temporary workers who rely on their mobile devices.

Within larger businesses there are groups of individuals forming teams that are in frequent communication, and desire tools to enhance their intra-team collaboration from their mobile devices. Employees in these teams can include those who are inherently mobile, such as hotel housekeeping, delivery drivers and utility repair; or mobile professionals, such as a team of salespeople. While employed within a larger enterprise, their needs and behaviour are very similar to that of the small business.

Small businesses and teams need simple and reliable solutions, such as:

  • Multi-identities – fully integrated with the mobile native dialer
  • Effective management of incoming and outgoing calls  
  • Simplicity in provisioning, management and use  
  • Temporary lines for seasonal and temporary workers  
  • Rapid customer service and problem resolution by quickly routing calls to the proper staff  
  •  Intuitive team collaboration and messaging

By exploiting their inherent infrastructure, brand and distribution advantages, mobile service providers can create meaningful non-price differentiation and build greater loyalty in the high value, high growth business mass market with the addition of a better communications experience.

Metaswitch is helping mobile service providers do exactly that with our MaX portfolio. MaX is a cloud-native, carrier-grade mobile group communications product that uniquely combines the native dialer experience of the smartphone with network-based voice services, group communications and collaboration features while still offering simple management and control.

To learn more about the small business opportunity for mobile service providers, please download our white paper