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Information Unleashed

Born from the Flames: A New Breed of SMBs

Created: 12 Jun 2012 • Updated: 13 Jun 2012
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By Brian Burch, vice president of marketing communications, Symantec

We’ve all heard about how regular forest fires clear the way for new life, making a healthier ecosystem overall. And if there is a silver lining to be found in the struggling global economy of the last few years, it’s the emergence of a new breed of entrepreneurs who are utilizing the latest technology to effectively compete in today’s challenging business environment. These “accidental entrepreneurs” found themselves in a difficult economic situation and decided to make their own opportunities.

The millions of white-collar workers who were laid off between 2008 and 2011 certainly play a big part in rising global unemployment, which is now totals 27 million more people than on the eve of the global economic crisis in 2007. But a subset of these individuals, those who founded small businesses in the wake of the economic crisis, are a positive and growing force in an otherwise tumultuous market. The accidental entrepreneurs include those laid off in large numbers from some of the world’s largest companies, individuals who were forced to “unretire” due to declines in their home equity and investment accounts, and even stay-at-home spouses. Unlike the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, these entrepreneurs are less likely to be fulfilling a life-long dream to own their own business or make their passion their profession.  

But accidental entrepreneurs tend to have one thing in common: they are agile, highly educated, tech-savvy and battle-tested business professionals who are willing to try new things. They make decisions for their company based on analytics and market opportunities rather than emotion or gut-feel.  In short, they are driven by profits, not passion.

Like a pack of velociraptors among a group of herbivores, accidental entrepreneurs are quick to react and take advantage of changing conditions, which gives them an edge over their larger competition. These owners are resourcing and operating their company quite differently from the traditional small business. They understand technology, and they are more willing to adopt the latest trends, such as cloud computing and virtualization, to meet the current needs and future scalability requirements of their growing business.

In the rubble of the recession, the impact of this explosive economic “tsunami” has been difficult to quantify, but the evidence has landed in the United States at least.  New data from Forrester Consulting shows that 75 percent of U.S. accidental entrepreneurs expect their revenue to grow more than 10 percent over the next year, compared to just 39 percent of small businesses founded before the recession. And, 46 percent expect to double their number of employees in the next two years – that’s four times the number of pre-recession small businesses who report the same. With the right mixture of knowledge and technology, even a small business born of the economic crisis can have a real impact in the market and challenge larger competitors.

Symantec recognizes the vital role these small businesses play in the global economy – that they are a different breed from yesterday’s more cautious, conservative companies, and we are prepared to meet their information protection needs moving forward. We know that accidental entrepreneurs, as well as pre-recession small businesses, are looking for comprehensive solutions that meet a wide variety of needs without requiring significant IT resources, and our SMB experts have developed tools to help today’s entrepreneurs realize their vision of success. These adaptable businesses need simple and scalable protection, and that’s what we’re committed to deliver – the solutions that will help SMBs worldwide grow from the ashes of adversity.

Learn more about Symantec’s information protection solutions for SMBs at