South Africa
Differences between a B2B and B2C business
Start your business 8 Apr 2021

Understanding the differences between a B2B and B2C business

It is important to understand the type of business you plan on running before you draft your business and marketing plans. While there may be similarities between the plans for a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) business, there are also a few nuances to be aware of. Understanding the needs of these different customers will determine the success you have with the business model you choose.

Before you draft your business plan, here are a few differences between B2B and B2C businesses that you need to be aware of:

  • The size of the customer base: With a B2B business, you would be marketing yourself to a smaller group of potential customers, which consist of other businesses. B2C businesses may have the advantage of a larger potential market; however, it is still crucial to understand the needs and trends in the market you are targeting.
  • Communication methods: B2B customers look for more personalised communication, such as emails and personal meetings. B2C businesses tend to have room to experiment with media such as social media to reach a wider audience.
  • The sales process: There can be a wide range of people involved in the B2B buying process, such as boards, committees and partners. There is a relatively shorter decision-making process in B2C sales; however, communication needs to be simple and concise while attracting and engaging the emotions of customers.
  • Product development: In a B2C sale, you have the option of selling a standardised product or service to most of your customers. With B2B, customers may look for a more personalised offering that addresses a specific need.
  • The selling proposition: It is always crucial to demonstrate what makes your offering different from existing alternatives. In a B2B plan, you should highlight the financial and rational reasons, whereas in a B2C, there is room for a more emotional approach on how you communicate your selling proposition.
  • Customer relationships: Depending on the product or service you offer, a B2C sale can be a once-off purchase. In B2B, happy customers are likely to stick with a specific vendor for a longer period.

Choosing the right business model is one of the very first steps in building a successful business venture. Always be sure to do your research on the various options available to you. Once you have determined the right business model for you, use our business plan template to create your own business plan.


The above article, resource or tool is intended as general information and doesn’t constitute financial advice. You should take independent financial advice if you have any questions about your specific circumstances.