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About Grow Smart Business

Tim Kelly, CEO, Network Solutions LLC
The Small Business Success Index identifies exactly how and why small businesses are successful
Tim Kelly
CEO, Network Solutions LLC.

Welcome to the 2009 Small Business Success Index.

The Small Business Success Index was designed to measure how successful small businesses believe they are in six key areas of business that include: capital management, marketing and innovation, human capital, customer service, IT deployment and compliance. By having small businesses identify the areas where they feel they are succeeding and failing, the Index will help others understand their needs and pain points. In addition, the Index will also highlight what successful small businesses are doing differently so that others can use them as benchmarks for their business.

The SBSI identifies exactly how and why small businesses are successful on 28 business activities that are critical to their long term health. This is in contrast to most widely publicized indexes that capture broad opinions on the business environment that reflect the short-term.The SBSI is also unique in that it captures the full range of variables that affect small business success, including the traits of businesses and their owners, the role of technology, and the impact of broad trends such as globalization and regulation. To illustrate, the SBSI study highlights the competitive advantages of small businesses that rely heavily on internet-based solutions.

Network Solutions has been enabling small business success for 30 years, the last 16 of which have been helping them to get onto and be successful on the internet. We have used the knowledge and experience gained over that time to develop Web-based services that help small businesses establish and grow their companies online.

American small businesses are the bedrock of the U.S. economy. There are more than 25 million of them in the US, according to the Census Bureau. They employ more than 58 million people1 ; that is a greater number of jobs than big companies can claim, and they create more new jobs each year than any other sector. In these unprecedented economic times, we believe it is important to establish a way of monitoring the health of this vital segment of our economy. By gaining a better understanding of the challenges that small businesses face, all who serve this constituency will be able to better address their needs and help them succeed. I should also add that our global small business experience suggests the key findings in this research are applicable to businesses in other countries.

Indeed, small businesses can use the survey themselves to diagnose their own competitive success, while policy makers can use the index results to set priorities for supporting small business.

A crucial part of taking our concept of the Small Business Success Index and developing it into a trusted, reliable and rigorous tracking and measurement instrument, was partnering with reputable entities in academia and research. We have found such partners in The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, an internationally recognized leader in management education and research; and Rockbridge Associates, a full service custom market research firm. Together we have created an Index that we believe will be the cornerstone in helping Americans have a better understanding of small business and its impact on our economy.”

-Tim Kelly
CEO, Network Solutions LLC.

1 U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy


Dr. P.K. Kannan
Associate Professor,
Center for Excellence in Service
Robert H. Smith School of Business
3461 Van Munching Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

P. K. Kannan is Associate Professor of Marketing at the Robert H.Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. He is the Director for the Center of Excellence in Service. His current research stream focuses on new product/service development, design and pricing digital products and product lines, marketing and product development on the Internet, e-service, and customer relationship management (CRM)and customer loyalty. He has received several grants from National Science Foundation (NSF), Mellon Foundation, SAIC, and PricewaterhouseCoopers for his work in this area and research papers have been published in Marketing Science, Management Science, Journal of Marketing Research, and Communications of the ACM. His research has also won the prestigious John Little Best Paper Award (2008) and the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science Practice Prize Award (2007). His research has also been selected as a finalist for the Paul Green Award (2008). Dr. Kannan was a panelist in the NSF Workshop on Research Priorities in e-Commerce (1998) and a Fellow of the AMA Consortium on e-Commerce (2001).

Dr. Kannan serves on the editorial boards of the Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, and International Journal of Electronic Commerce. Dr. Kannan has served as the Chair for the American Marketing Association SIG on Marketing Research.

His teaching interests include customer relationship management, new product development, Internet retailing and pricing and marketing models/research. He has taught these courses in executive programs for Black & Decker, Home Depot, ARINC, McCormick, and Northrup Grumman. He has corporate experience with Tata Engineering and Ingersoll-Rand and has consulted for companies such as Frito-Lay, Pepsi Co, Giant Food, Black and Decker, SAIC, Fannie Mae, and IBMAbout the Robert H.Smith School of Business.

The Smith School’s strengths in both academics and research are reflected in its rankings and other accolades. The Financial Times ranks the school’s full-time MBA program #18 in the U.S. and the PhD program #6. The school’s part-time MBA program is also ranked among the nation’s best and is annually rated #1 in the Washington, D.C. – Baltimore region by U.S. News & World Report.

About the Center for Excellence in Customer Service

The Center for Excellence in Service (CES) is dedicated to providing business leaders and academics with the latest knowledge in service strategy and research with a focus on information technology.

The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. The Smith School offers innovative academic programs (BS,MBA, Executive MBA, MS, and PhD) as well as comprehensive services for students, employers, alumni, and business, government and non-profit organizations. The Smith School has become one of the world’s leading business schools in transforming its curriculum to reflect the needs of leadership for a global economy powered by technology and entrepreneurship. Smith students learn how to apply information technology to create innovation and drive business growth, while the school’s world-renowned faculty create new management knowledge and identify leading business practices for today’s networked world.

University of Maryland Contact
Carrie Handwerker
Public Relations Associate
Office of External Strategy, Marketing Communications
Robert H. Smith School of Business
3570-C Van Munching Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1815
(301) 405-5833 TEL
(301) 613-6356 MOBILE
(301) 314-7973 FAX
[email protected]

About Rockbridge Associates Inc. : The SBSI survey was conducted by Rockbridge Associates Inc., a leading market research firm based in Great Falls, VA. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and associations. Rockbridge conducts primary research and consulting to help with product design, positioning, pricing, and customer satisfaction.

Small Business Success Index 4

Index Score*   Grade
73 marginal
Capital Access 67
Marketing & Innovation 65
Workforce 76
Customer Service 88
Computer Technology 73
Compliance 92
*Index score is calculated on a 1-100 scale.

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