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2017

“…Greed, for the lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”

 

- Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

 

While we certainly are not living in the go-go, high-flying, greed-is-good ‘80s any longer, there is still a belief in some quarters that many business people remain quite Gekkoish –selfish,  materialistic and looking out only for themselves.

 

In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth, and I am happy to report that the latest Bank of America Small Business Owner Report (SBOR) agrees. Twice a year, my friends at Bank of America survey 1,000 small business owners across the country. The SBOR always contains fascinating insights, and this latest one is no different.

 

What I love about the Fall 2017 SBOR is how it busts several common myths about small businesses and their owners, including the one that business owners are greedy and selfish.

 

For instance, according to the report, 60% of small business owners participate in a big way in charitable giving during the holiday season, including:Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 6.00.07 PM.png

 

  • Giving money to a charity (nearly 50%)
  • Giving employees bonuses (35%)
  • Giving employees holiday gifts (33%)

 

Here’s another busted myth: Or Millennials are the most cynical and jaded of all generations. Maybe not. Guess who the SBOR found to be – by far – the most optimistic of all small business owners? You bet, it’s the Millennials.

 

According to the SBOR, “When looking across generations, millennial small business owners have a significantly more optimistic outlook compared to Gen-Xers, Baby Boomers and senior entrepreneurs.” Here’s an example of just how enthusiastic they are:

 

  • 81% expect to make more money next year, as opposed to 60% of Gen Xers and only 45% of Boomers
  • Almost half of Millennials surveyed expected to hire more employees next year, as opposed to only 25% of Gen Xers and 11% of Boomers

 

Here is another great small business myth busted by the Small Business Owner Report: it turns out that social media is not all that important to the small business bottom line. If you do any reading about small business—in fact, if you are simply alive and part of the Internet culture today—you well know the importance of social media. But consider this amazing statistic from the survey:

 

67% of small business owners said that social media had no effect whatsoever on the bottom line of their business. Not only that, but half of those surveyed said that online ratings had no effect on the success of their business.

 

One last myth buster. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, right? Apparently not, at least not when it comes to running a business. While men in the survey generally were a tad more optimistic than the women, it was practically statistically insignificant. For instance, almost half of men anticipated revenues to increase over the next year. A little more than half of women said the same thing. Similarly, 16% of men said they planned to hire next year while  16% of women said that, too.

 

As I said, the Small Business Owner Report always contains a lot of great information, and this one delivered in spades – busting, as it does, myths about small business owners that deserved to be busted.

 

Read more from small business expert Steve Strauss

Related article: Nine Reasons Why Millennials are Important to your Small Business

Related article: Women small business owners see gender equality in the workplace on the horizon

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot SBC.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss                        

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

The Fall Small Business Owner Report (SBOR) from Bank of America shows that while small business owners are generally optimistic, there’s a downward trend of individuals who expect to grow their business – even from just this spring.

 

This trend may not be surprising given the heated political environment and the concerns that, despite the rhetoric about the importance of small business in the economy, policies to help small businesses thrive rarely follow suit.

 

In the SBOR, the two biggest economic concerns impacting business owners weren’t things like consumer spending or even credit availability—no, the top issues were healthcare costs and corporate tax rates, with the latter at a slight increase from just a year ago.

 

Not entirely coincidentally, those issues have been at the heart of important yet stalled legislation over the past year. This means that government could, with the right focus and guidance, truly help small businesses create more optimism and, ultimately, growth. Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 2.58.45 PM.png

 

While most small business owners will tell you that they’d just prefer government to get out of the way, here are a few of the top ideas government could implement to address those top small business economic concerns, as concisely laid out in the SBOR:

 

Free Market Approach to Healthcare: I’ve said many times that the solution to fixing healthcare is to address the costs via transparency and choice. In terms of healthcare insurance, we need coverage that’s available to all, that’s cost effective, and ensures quality care. This requires a free market approach to healthcare where individuals and families can buy nationwide. It also means reducing the burdens on business. You shouldn’t have to depend on an employer to get great insurance, and you—as a small business owner—shouldn’t fear growth because you will be inundated with extra costs.  These fixes will allow small businesses in particular to focus more on growth and hiring.

 

Give All Small Businesses a Real Tax Break: Small businesses outnumber big business by a huge margin (around 28 million vs. less than 15,000), but the big businesses are in for the big tax breaks. And, recent proposals that theoretically offer a small business tax holiday come with a big asterisk in the form of so called “guardrails.” Millions of professional service providers and solopreneurs could face no tax break and also lose deductions. Treat the small businesses as the real economic and hiring engine that they are and more growth will be the obvious outcome.

 

Create Small Business Tax Hiring Incentives: Not only should small businesses get a tax break, but creating an incentive—such as tax holidays for a new employee’s salary for the first year—would take the risk out of hiring and allow small businesses to get the personnel required to grow. If just 5% of the small businesses in this country were to hire their first employee, that would be one million new jobs available!

 

Keep Creating Pressure to Lighten Regulations: Finally, make it easier for small business owners to be in business. While much of the red tape is at the local level, everything from confusion over independent contractor definitions to having to get worker’s compensation insurance for work-from-home employees in some states makes it hard to be a business owner. Let business owners focus their time on running their businesses – and growing.

 

Although the these changes would be ideal for small businesses and perhaps increase owner's optimism in business growth, it's important to remember change doesn't happen over night. For now, I suggest learning a few ways to grow your business.

 

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Related article: Four Things Small Business Owners Should Consider Before Offering Employee Healthcare

Related article: Top 10 Overlooked Tax Deductions for the Self-Employed

Related page: 5 helpful tips for tax season

 

About Carol Roth

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Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File ® legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including

host

of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.

 

Web: www.CarolRoth.com or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Steve Strauss

What We Are Thankful For

Posted by Steve Strauss Nov 24, 2017

With the Thanksgiving holiday wrapping up and the holiday season upon us, I am reminded of the things that small business owners and their employees have to be thankful for this year and every year. In no particular order:

 

Being in business: Needless to say, the economy has been tough the past few years, so it is no small feat that you have stayed in business. There is much honor in the hard work it takes to navigate these uncertain times. Your business pays the bills and feeds the family, and provides people with the goods and services that they need.

 

While there may be a few bumps in the road, I don't know any entrepreneur who would trade her gig in for a different one.  We should be thankful for the opportunity to wake up each day and follow our dreams.

 

Our customers: Customer loyalty is almost an oxymoron these days, so to those customers who stay with us year in and year out, we should give them a big “Thank you!” If not for them, we would not get to live the entrepreneurial dream — in all its pain and glory.


Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss

 

Our staff: No one can do it all alone. We should be incredibly grateful for our people – those who buy into our plans and help carry them out. Whether it's a part-time virtual assistant or a staff of 50, employees make it all possible. We are thankful that they help us so much and that we can afford to keep them on. I bet most of us wish we could do even more for them.

 

Our family and friends: By the same token, it is practically impossible for an entrepreneur to create and run a business without the love and support of his familNov 27 Pull Quote.pngy and friends. They put up with our long hours and listen to our crazy schemes. Tell them how much you appreciate it. If you’re like me, than the support of family and friends means more than they know.

 

Our partners: Whether it's a supplier who extended terms to make things easier this year, or the banker who said yes, we typically have an extended network of people for whom we are very thankful and lucky to know. They are the folks who help us stay in business, and for that we are grateful.

 

This great country: Yes, the election was grueling, but in the end, once again we had a peaceful and democratic resolution to who gets to wield power. And while there are

plenty of problems we need to solve, is there any other place you would rather live and run a business? Nope, me neither.

 

This is an incredible country, especially for entrepreneurs. I just heard a stat yesterday that said more foreign-born entrepreneurs choose to come to America to start their businesses than any other country. And we all know why:

 

  • We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. That is, we allow people the opportunity to take a chance here, and succeed or fail of their own merits. We not only encourage entrepreneurial risk-taking, we celebrate it.
  • We have a great history of entrepreneurship here. We love entrepreneurs. They are our modern-day rock stars.

 

So we are thankful that the American Dream applies to us all, no matter where we began.

 

Small businesses in this country have much to be grateful for. I know I do. Thank you so much for visiting our site and reading my column. A happy holiday season to you all. You make it possible.

 

What are you thankful for? Please share below.

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot SBC.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss                         

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Black Friday is almost here, with Cyber Monday right behind. But did you know that the day after Cyber Monday is now called “Giving Tuesday?”

 

It makes sense. After all of that eating and shopping and clicking and buying, Giving Tuesday is a chance to count our blessings and show our appreciation in a meaningful, tangible way to those for whom we are grateful. And there is no doubt that small business people have much to be thankful for. Between great employees, supportive spouses and partners, our beloved customers, a business we (usually) love, and the community that supports us, entrepreneurs and small business people are fortunate indeed.

That is why it is so important to remember the people who make the dream possible. Here are a few ways give back to those who give you so much:

 

Participate in holiday food drives: Down the street from me is a great little restaurant that annually adopts a family in need. They donate the food, and then solicit funds, dry goods, and other needed items from the community to donate on Christmas Eve. It is a fantastic way to both help the community, and engage the community, all at once.49023134_s.jpg

 

Adopt a school: Along the same lines, most public schools are looking for help, whether it be school supplies, library books, or what have you. Your giving could be as simple as donating office supplies or as complex as helping to build a new playground structure. Either way you know that that kind of giving would be much appreciated by the students, the teachers, the community, and yes, your customers.

 

Donate: Pick a local charity and earmark a portion of all sales for that good cause. Or, simply put a donation jar next to the cash register and give the money to the group when the time is right.

 

Give in your customer’s name: Instead of sending out gifts to favorite clients this year, why not take the opportunity to recognize your customers by giving donations in their name to their favorite charity?

 

Shop at Goodshop Give: Goodshop Give is the world’s first-ever “shopfunding” site. First, tell the search engine who you want to support. Then, when you shop at thousands of participating online stores, a percentage of what you spend will be donated to that cause.

 

Sponsor a youth sports team: Undoubtedly, there is some local team in your neighborhood that could use new uniforms or equipment. Giving them some seed money and putting your name on the back of their jerseys is sure to make everybody happy.

 

Volunteer together: Spend some time with your team batting around ideas and come up with a charity for whom you would all like to volunteer. For example, you might want to work together on a Habitat for Humanity house, or maybe you would like to volunteer to feed the homeless during the holidays. There are so many options because there is so much need.

 

Thanking those who are so generous to us is what it’s all about. Happy Holidays!

 

Related Article: Evaluating Charity Requests? Four questions to ask

Related Article: Charitable Giving: How to evaluate and support good causes

Related Page: Support communities globally and locally

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot SBC.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss                          

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Not too long ago, taking your business global was a daunting prospect requiring massive amounts of work, resources and expertise.  Now, it’s just a few clicks away. 

But while it’s possible to ‘go global’ simply by running an international Facebook ad or translating the copy on your website into a few other languages, in order to be successful with international expansion, it’s important to have the right strategy in place.

 

Just like your current online marketing plan, your international strategy needs to touch every facet of digital marketing. Here are a few points to consider for each.

 

Your website

You likely have stumbled across websites with the option to switch to other versions in different languages. And while making your content accessible to non-English speakers is a minimum requirement for going global, it’s important to realize  simply translating the copy most likely won’t bring the results you’re seeking.

 

Even if you hire native speakers to translate your site, some things just don’t translate – and the same goes for marketing tactics. What comes across as appealing and persuasive in one culture can seem off-putting or even offensive in another, so it pays to do your research and create customized versions of your website for each international market you enter. From the content you include to the images, graphics, and even the colors you choose, each version should reflect your research into that culture’s values and sensibilities.

 

      More from Small Business Expert Shama Hyder

 

SEO

Similarly, customize your search engine optimization efforts for each international market. SEO keywords aren’t just single words – they’re the complete phrases people use to search for things on Google and other search engines. So once again, familiarity with the culture and its idioms is key for optimizing your site, creating content and running paid ads.34361668_s.jpg

 

Another important consideration is the search engine itself. While Google holds a position of prominence internationally, it’s not on top everywhere. In China, Baidu is the search engine of choice, and in Russia, it’s Yandex. If those are your target markets, some research into those engines’ algorithms is called for.

 

Social Media

Marketing internationally via social media is another area where research  into cultural norms and preferences is needed. From the images you use on posts to the kinds of posts considered appropriate, in-depth research - or even help from a local - is recommended to ensure you make the right choices for each audience. And in order to make each of your social media pages as welcoming as possible, have one in each different language of your target markets. Wading through a page where only every other post is understood gets old quickly.

 

Social media advertising presents another sticky international situation, since laws and regulations for advertising differ from country to country. Be sure you’re clear on what’s allowed and what’s not before you create your first international ads.

 

By doing research into your international target markets, getting help from locals, and then customizing each aspect of your online marketing strategy for each culture, you’ll enjoy much more success from your efforts. While some things remain a constant – your website as marketing hub, the importance of SEO, and the effectiveness of social media marketing – the way you approach those tools will differ from culture to culture. Tapping into those differences is what will help you stand out from your competition, and make a splash on the international stage.

 

Related Article: Is Your Website Driving Millennials Away? Here are 6 Warning Signs

Related Article: Why Local SEO Matters More Than Ever (and 4 Steps to Success)

Related Article: The Social Media Time Suck: How to Pick Your Platforms

 

About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder Headshot.png

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group–a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015.LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.

 

Web: www.shamahyder.com or Twitter: @Shama.

 

You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

It’s that time of year boys and girls. Time to make a list and check it twice? Yes, that too, but for the small business owner, more importantly, it is time to gear up in earnest for the holiday selling bonanza.

 

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American plans on spending almost $1,000 on holiday goods this year – for presents, decorations, food and so on. Forty-one percent have already started shopping while the total amount expected to be spent during this holiday season is $678 billion.

 

That said, there will be more competition than ever for those Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping dollars. But don’t fret. Here are a dozen ways to jump to the front of the holiday shopping line:

 

1. Spruce up the stores, physical and virtual alike: With the influx of traffic that will soon be visiting your online and offline stores, it is incumbent upon you to make a great impression. Online, add new content and products. Offline, deep clean, add new displays, and so on.

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2. Utilize your e-newsletter: Your opt-in list is amazing because it is a list of people who literally give you permission to market to them, who want to hear from you. The secret is to not abuse that privilege, especially before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The old 80-20 rule comes in handy here: 80% of your content should be things that help your holiday customers and 20% should be your own marketing and advertising.

 

3. Check out retargeting: How many times has this happened to you? You go to a site, check out some shoes (or whatever), and then for the next few weeks, all you see online are ads for those shoes. That is retargeting. It is a simple, affordable advertising cookie. By some estimates, only 2% of website visitors convert on the first visit. Retargeting is an inexpensive way to target that other 98%.

 

4. Have a contest: There will be sales galore in the next few weeks and you should definitely partake (see below), but it would also behoove you to get in the holiday spirit and use your e-newsletter and Facebook page to promote a holiday-themed contest. Have a “guess the weight of the giant pumpkin” contest or maybe a pie eating contest. The winner could get free products, or a donation made to their favorite charity.

 

5. Show your appreciation: Have an invitation-only sale or event for your best customers to say thank you.

 

6. Have a different kind of sale: Everyone will be having Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. You should do something different. How about a Terrific Tuesday sale or a Wacky Wednesday sale? Be different to stand out in a crowded market.

 

7. Create a loss leader: A loss leader is a product you sell at or below cost to attract attention and customers. It gets people in the door. You take a loss on that item but it leads to other sales.

 

8. Sell gift cards: Did you know that gift cards have become the most popular gift in America? The National Retail Federation study indicated that 6 in 10 people would like to receive a gift card as a gift, so you need to sell them online and off. Bonus: Gift cards are great word-of-mouth advertising as it is one customer telling someone else that you have great merchandise.

 

9. Show Amazon who is boss: People shop at Amazon for low prices. But what you can do that the online giant cannot is offer a physical experience. Create a kid space in your store. Serve hot cocoa. Offer parents a free gift-wrapping station.

 

10. Team up: Team up with other local businesses in the area for mutual success. You can cross-promote each other, have a joint event, offer discounts to each other’s business, that sort of thing.

 

11. Give: Donate to a local charity. Give employees time off to volunteer. Earmark a portion of all Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to a good cause. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to let people know what you are doing.

 

12. Schedule time off: Find out when your staff would like some time off – to shop, for family commitments, and so on. Similarly, you should schedule some time off for yourself. Even though this is likely the busy time of year for you, don’t be a turkey – we all need a break, especially during the holidays.

 

Related Article: A Small Business Guide to Thrive – and Survive – the Holiday Season

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Related Article: The 4 Most Important Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Business Owners

Related Article: The Value of Customer Loyalty − Infographic

Related Article: How to Enjoy Vacation and Keep Your Business Humming

 

About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot SBC.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss                            

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

You see them each month in the news. Politicians throw them around as a measure of success; or the opposing party points to them as a failure. But what do the federal jobs numbers really mean for your small business?

 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the Employment Situation Summary of national employment data the first Friday of every month. It also releases the Current Employment Statistics, a related survey with data on workers who are on payrolls. Finally, state and metro area employment data are released monthly, too.76154429_s.jpg

These reports measure several things:

  • Unemployment rate
  • Number of new jobs created
  • Wages: Did they increase or decrease?
  • Workforce participation: What percentage of the total adult population is either actively looking for work or employed?
  • Underemployment: What percentage of people are working part time even though they would rather be working full-time?

 

Employment numbers are considered a “lagging indicator,” which means they reflect things that have already happened rather than predict the future. However, they are useful in making short-term decisions and, when you look at the long term, some jobs numbers can be used to make forecasts.

Here are some things to consider when you look at the jobs report:

 

  • Do the numbers meet expectations? If the jobs reports diverge significantly from what economists have predicted, it can be either a positive or negative sign—depending on whether they’re higher or lower than expected.

 

  • Is it an employer’s market or an employee’s market? When unemployment is low, jobs are easier to find—so businesses, especially small ones, have a harder time finding qualified workers. You may need to offer higher salaries, better benefits or otherwise make your jobs more appealing in order to attract employees.

 

  • What are the long-term trends? Blips in jobs data from month to month are typically not that significant. It’s more important—and useful—to look at the long-term trends.

 

  • Don’t forget underemployment. In recent years, “the gig economy” has become more prevalent, and many Americans who want full-time jobs with benefits can only find part-time work. That means the unemployment rate doesn’t tell the whole story.

 

  • Wage growth is a double-edged sword. As an employer, rising wages means you’ll need to pay more to attract and retain employees to remain competitive. But wage growth typically makes consumers more willing to spend—which is good news for small businesses.

 

  • Don’t forget state and local jobs numbers. If your business caters to local customers, these are often more important than national trends. For example, hurricanes in the United States affected jobs reports in September. While this depressed the overall statistics, it won’t really affect businesses in other states unless they have a lot of customers in areas affected by the hurricanes.

 

  • What industries are growing and shrinking? Note which industries are gaining or losing jobs. One industry’s loss can be another’s gain—for example, if retail establishments in your area are losing jobs, some of those employees might be candidates to work at your restaurant.

 

  • Workforce participation can indicate long-term trends. Currently, workforce participation is around 62%. As the U.S. population ages, more and more Americans will leave the workforce. In the last U.S. Census, the population aged 65 and older grew at a faster rate than other age groups. For businesses, this means it will get harder to find workers, and retirees (often on fixed incomes) are likely to spend less.

 

Reading the jobs numbers alone won’t tell you much. Combine them with other key economic indicators, such as new residential construction, consumer spending and international trade, to get a fuller picture. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are two sources of good analyses that can help you get the gist of jobs numbers and other economic indicators quickly.

 

 

RELATED ARTICLE: The importance of employee perks and how you can offer more than you think

 

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About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of

America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Economic Confidence, Revenues Surge for Small Businesses

 

SBOR-Chart.gifSmall business entrepreneurs are confident revenues for 2017 will top last year and that 2018 promises to be even better, according to the Fall 2017 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report (PDF).

 

In the semi-annual survey of 1,000 business owners, nearly three-quarters say 2017 year-end revenue will surpass last year’s figures. Similarly, economic confidence is strong heading into 2018 as nearly half of business owners expect their local economy and the national economy to improve.

 

  • 71% of small business owners are optimistic that their 2017 year-end revenue will surpass 2016 business revenue
  • 16% plan to hire more employees, 70% of which plan to hire full-time employees

 

For a complete, in-depth look at the insights of the nation’s small business owners, download the Fall 2017 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report here.

Small Business Saturday is on November 25th. Is your business prepared? Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year, Small Business Saturday launched in 2010 as a day to support small, local businesses nationwide. The event has snowballed since then: In 2016, 112 million consumers spent an estimated $15.4 billion at independent businesses on Small Business Saturday.

 

The special day isn’t just for retailers, despite it being sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (This year, it's on November 25.) Any local independent business—restaurants, spas and salons, home services businesses and more—can profit from this day. Even independent e-commerce businesses can leverage Small Business Saturday.

 

U.S. consumers love shopping with independent businesses. In a recent survey by Ask Your Target Market, 49% of respondents say they prefer to patronize small businesses over large ones; 34% even go out of their way to do so. But that doesn't mean you can sit back, relax and expect customers to pour into your business on November 25. Here are six things you can do to prepare for Small Business Saturday.

 

1. Staff up: Be sure you have enough staff scheduled on Small Business Saturday to serve customers. Hopefully, you’ll be getting a lot of first-time visitors, so their experience with your business must be a positive one.

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2. Stock up: Make sure you have plenty of inventory on hand. No business wants to attract a crowd of customers and then run out of what they want to buy.

 

3. Team up: Small Business Saturday is a neighborhood affair. Talk to other local business owners in your area to see if they're planning to participate. The more businesses get involved, the more awareness you’ll generate—and the more customers you’ll attract. Your local Chamber of Commerce, business owners’ organization and even City Hall can help put together a Small Business Saturday marketing push. According to the American Independent Business Alliance, from each dollar spent at a local independent merchant, 2 to 3.50 times that recirculates in the local economy. That’s something every local government can get behind! Community organizations and chambers of commerce can even become Neighborhood Champions of Small Business Saturday.

 

4. Speak up: Let the local media know about Small Business Saturday and what your community is doing to promote it. Local newspapers and bloggers are always looking for holiday-related stories. If this is the first year your city or town is participating, educate the media about what this day means to local small businesses and the community.

 

5. Spruce up: Get ready to put your business’s best face forward on Small Business Saturday. Make sure your location is looking good, and take care of any needed repairs such as burned-out light bulbs or heating malfunctions. Plan your holiday store decor, too.

 

6. Keep it up: Small Business Saturday raises awareness of independent local businesses—and hopefully, you can keep capitalizing on consumers’ newfound awareness of your business year long. Plan to: collect email addresses; sign new customers up for loyalty programs; encourage reviews on rating sites; engage on social media and otherwise stay in touch with them throughout the holidays and all year long.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of

America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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