What Is The Difference Between Enterprise And Small Business?

When it comes to business opportunities, size doesn’t matter. However, small and large businesses sometimes approach their markets differently. The result is two business types with very different needs and demands regarding technology solutions. Enterprise business is much bigger than a small business regarding staff headcount and annual revenue. They also operate in various sectors with unique regulatory environments and ownership structures. As a result, an enterprise business requires a range of IT solutions unsuited to smaller companies.

What is an Enterprise?

An enterprise is a large organization with extensive internal and external operations and often partners with other businesses.

Enterprises also have many employees, a wide range of products or services, and their way of business expansion. Often, an enterprise is so large that it might be broken down into departments, each with its management team. Enterprise businesses are typically multinational, operate in various sectors, and operate with a complex ownership structure due to the high capital needed to start and grow such an operation. Enterprise businesses often have complex processes requiring structured, scalable, and highly integrated technologies.

What are Small Businesses?

A small business is any organization with less than 500 employees. A Small business is usually owner-managed and has close ties to the surrounding community and local resources. A small business is often associated with entrepreneurialism and the American Dream, with many successful entrepreneurs choosing to start their new business over working for someone else. They may partner with other companies, but they are generally self-contained organizations with a limited number of employees and products or services. The decision-making process of a business owned by one person depends on the business owner.

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Differences in Staffing

An enterprise business has a more significant number of employees per location. They also have a more complex organizational structure requiring specialized expertise across various departments and functions.

Front-end staff members in enterprise businesses are often specialists in their fields, such as new business analysts, project managers, and new business continuity and risk management staff. Small business owners have a few individuals compared to enterprises, and their employees often work closely together. In many cases, one owner or executive may perform several different functions, such as marketing, accounting, and sales.

A small business owned front-end staff are more generalists, including customer service representatives, human resource staff, and marketing staff.

Differences in Software

An enterprise organization uses more complex software than a small-scale business. Enterprises may use various software products to meet their needs, such as customer relationship management (CRM), human resources, financial, and even complicated supply chain management software. Small business owners tend to use more streamlined software. This software may handle essential functions, such as managing leads or employees. A small business may also use software that is integrated with enterprise software.

Enterprise employees may require additional training and an investment in time to learn the system, whereas self-employed individuals require minimal or no training.

Enterprise businesses have centralized IT departments, whereas a small business venture has decentralized IT departments.

Enterprise businesses have more complex IT systems that often span multiple locations and require a specialized IT department to manage them. A small business has less complex IT systems and is usually operated by its business owner or a single IT staff member.

Differences in Infrastructure and Operational Needs

Enterprise businesses need a more robust infrastructure and frequent maintenance since they have more complex operational needs, such as scheduling and workforce management.

An enterprise business requires solutions that can scale in real-time to meet the needs of large numbers of employees across multiple locations. This is unnecessary for smaller companies that do not require such a scale-up feature.

While small business owners may outsource some functions, such as payroll or HR, enterprises may partner with other companies and need to have those relationships before starting operations.

Due to their business expansion, enterprises may also have complex networks and IT systems, mainly if they operate globally or across departments. A small business may need to partner with external providers, but it may not require the same level of support as enterprises.

Enterprises may also need to hire managers or leaders in various departments, such as IT, legal, or HR. A small business may only need managers for one department, such as marketing or sales.

Differences in Marketing and Lead Requirements

An enterprise business often requires marketing solutions that generate leads from a large customer base across various channels. On the other hand, a small business usually needs marketing solutions focused on generating leads from a local customer base through a few select tracks.

Enterprise businesses can be run by online business owners and often require automation solutions with a wide range of marketing channels, such as email marketing, social media marketing, advertising, and lead nurturing. A small business often needs marketing automation solutions with a narrow range of marketing channels, such as email marketing and social media marketing.

Enterprise businesses require lead management solutions that can handle a large volume of leads and have the ability to be integrated with other enterprise systems. A small business needs lead management solutions focusing on simplicity and integration with the rest of the company’s systems.

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Differences in Data Storage and Retention Needs

Since enterprise businesses often hold sensitive data in their operations, such as financial and healthcare data, they need strict data storage and retention, such as keeping data for specific periods compared to a small business. Enterprise businesses must often comply with strict government regulations regarding how data is stored, processed, and retained. A small business, on the other hand, may not require such strict data storage and retention requirements, such as the need for periodic data backups.

Enterprise businesses often have strict requirements for data preparation and protection, such as the need for data encryption, data masking, and managing access to sensitive data.

Differences in Network Requirements

Due to the larger size of enterprise businesses, their network requirements differ significantly from those of small businesses.

Enterprise businesses often require higher capacity networks due to a more significant number of employees and a greater volume of data being transmitted across the network. A small business often needs more straightforward and more cost-effective solutions.

– Enterprise businesses often require advanced technologies such as virtualized environments and hybrid networks, such as an MPLS network.

Differences in Business Requirements

Enterprise business often requires high risk-taking ability and scalable systems, whereas a small business often uses simple and cost-effective methods.

Enterprise businesses may require systems that are integrated with legacy systems or have more advanced reporting features.

Enterprise businesses may require more secure systems, such as systems that support strong authentication solutions and have more robust encryption.

Enterprise organizations often have to comply with strict industry regulations. They may need to interface with multiple internal departments or third-party organizations. These requirements can be complex and must be addressed throughout the company’s operations. In contrast, a small business often has more limited business requirements.

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Differences in Customer Base and Service Offerings

Enterprise businesses often operate in regulated industries, such as financial services, healthcare, or insurance. As a result, they usually have particular requirements and expectations from their technology providers. On the other hand, a small business is generally less regulated, allowing it to be more flexible and agile in its customer offerings. Enterprise businesses often seek to integrate technology with other systems or leverage it to reduce costs, such as by automating processes or leveraging AI-powered tools to reduce manual work.

Enterprise businesses also often need specialized IT solutions tailored to their unique requirements, such as specific security or compliance requirements. A small business is usually looking for more general technology solutions that can help it streamline operations, increase productivity, and improve customer experiences.


Enterprise organizations and small businesses have a lot in common. Both types of organizations have strong core values and understand the importance of customer service. They also have a similar elegant culture and are often driven by entrepreneurialism. offers automation solutions to businesses of all sizes which enhance business processes. also helps in lead generation, which helps businesses increase their sales.

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