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2019

Owning a restaurant is the culmination of the American Dream for many—particularly within immigrant communities. In fact, according to the U.S. census, as reported in Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN),immigrants own 29 percent of all restaurants and hotels in the U.S., more than twice the 14 percent rate for all businesses.

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As romantic and exciting as owning a restaurant might be, it’s not easy. Food trends are constantly shifting—with some disappearing as quickly as they emerged. Still, despite some reports of a coming “bloodbath” in the industry, there are signs of stabilization and even growth. NRNreports on data from TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence showing same-store sales in December grew 2 percent, the highest in more than three years. December was also the seventh straight month of positive industry growth. Overall, same-store sales in 2018 were up 0.7 percent, which may not seem like a lot, but was the industry’s “best performance” since 2015.

To find out about the latest restaurant trends I talked to Nancy Luna, Senior Editor at Nation’s Restaurant News.

 

Rieva Lesonsky: What current national trends are you seeing? Last year it seemed it was all about providing breakfast all day. What’s the “must do” for 2019?

 

Nancy Luna: Restaurant trends these days are more focused on operational efficiency The continued shift toward an on-demand society is forcing restaurants to provide customers with delicious food in a timely manner through delivery, and mobile order/pickup. This is happening in both QSR [quick service] and casual di

ning. Not so much in fine dining.

 

Lesonsky: What changes do you think restaurants need to make to appeal to millennials, the nation’s largest consumer group?

 

Luna: I would argue restaurants are no longer catering specifically to millennials. That was overtly true two-three years ago. Today’s restaurants, at least the smart ones, are moving towards capturing a new category of diners: on-the-go, stay-at-home eaters who want to sit on their couch eating their favorite restaurant food while binge-watching shows on Netflix. That could be Gen Y, Gen X or Gen Z. You can see this playing out in QSR and Fast Casual, as [I] cited in this story.

 

Lesonsky: You’ve confirmed what I’ve heard—that every restaurant must offer a delivery option. True, or is it hyperbole?

 

Luna: Mostly true. Clearly delivery is not the right business model for fine dining concepts. It’s most advantageous for casual dining, which has struggled to compete with the quality and affordability of fast casual players. For casual dining, delivery levels the playing field and has contributed to incremental sales, according to chains I’ve interviewed.

 

Restaurant Trends to Watch

 

As for what America wants to eat, Restaurant Business says these trends will take hold in 2019.

 

  • Look for more plant-based patties on restaurant menus, as well as “veg-forward dishes.”
  • Yet “2019 will see a record-high beef supply…and prices have declined for prime rib-eyes and loins. More favorable beef costs may translate to more of this red meat on menus, perhaps in smaller portions in sync with healthy eating trends.”
  • Butter is back. Restaurant Businesssays it will be “enhancing everything from coffee to grilled meats with rich flavor.”
  • Sour power. The “rise of Persian and Filipino cuisines” have pushed extreme sour foods into the mainstream. That means foods flavored with ingredients such as vinegar, tamarind, pomegranates, and sour oranges.

 

For more on 2019 restaurant trends, check out this article.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky
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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. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

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After ending 2018 on a high note, small business owners are optimistic about the year ahead. Small business owners reported confidence in the economy and their hiring plans. But how will the tightest labor market in decades impact their search for talent? Sharon Miller discusses this and more from the Fall 2018 Small Business Owner Report.

 

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“The Heartbeat of Main Street” delivers timely insights tailored to the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Featuring a rotating line-up of small business experts and industry leaders – and covering a range of topics – each episode explores the trends that have an impact on revenue creation for small business owners.

 

The series is hosted by ForbesBooks, and more information can be accessed through a dedicated home page. New episodes will appear regularly on the Small Business Community podcast page. Be sure to check back often – so you don’t miss a beat.

 

 

Sharon Miller:                 We are in one of the tightest job markets out there. Unemployment rate falling to 3.7 percent, that's the lowest since 1969. That was in September where we had the 3.7percent unemployment rate. I mean, we are at a historic time within our economy, where if you want to work, you're employed. And so, it's really up to the business owners to focus on retention.

 

Narrator:                         Welcome to “The Heartbeat of Main Street,” with ForbesBooks and Bank of America. This is part two of our interview with Sharon Miller about the Fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report.

 

                                       Sharon is the Head of Small Business for Bank of America.

 

Gregg Stebben:              Sharon, I'm wondering, in the face of the competitive hiring environment that we're in, how is this impacting employers in terms of numbers? Are you hearing that, oh, we're literally losing this percentage of our workforce? We're trying to hire and it's taking us this long to get people. And then when companies, when there's a delay for companies to actually make the hires they need, what are they doing instead? For instance, are they turning to things like technology?

 

Sharon Miller:                 So, as far as the turnover, I mean we don't have the exact number for the overall turnover, but what we did report is within one year, at least 24 percent of small business owners have lost one employee or more. So we do know that. And 11 percent of small business owners said they lost 10 percent or more of their workforce. With 24 percent losing one, that's a quarter of all small business owners. We've got 29 million small businesses in the United States, so that's quite a bit.

 

                                        Now, some of them were let go, that's about 30 percent, some took a position at a larger company. About a quarter of them said that they took positions at a larger company. So, there's different reasons for people departing, and it's not to say that it's all because the employee decided to get up and leave...I mean, 30 percent were underperforming, so that business owner had to let them go. So that's one thing.

 

                                        So, we do know that the unemployment rate of 3.7 percent is the lowest it's been since 1969. We have an economy out there where it's tough. It's tough to attract and retain because employees can really have the pick of where they want to go, at least top talent. And so, with that being said, there's some shifting strategies out there by business owners. And some of that, to your point around technology, I would say that the thing that small business owners are modifying their strategy around, they're saying, "We want to give them more flexible work culture. Give people flex time." So, if you want to work 10:00 to 6:00 versus 8:00 to 5:00, you know, just giving them some different hours. Or maybe you work Monday through Thursday, take off Fridays. Those types of strategies, I've heard from business owners that they're doing a lot.

       

                                        Or letting them work from home. They don't need to come into the office. Social media, they're out there on social media trying to attract new talent to say, hey, here's what we're doing at our company, come to work, we're growing. We are continuing to innovate. And that's all very, very attractive to people coming to work and job candidates. So, there's some different strategies out there outside of just more money or more benefits, but at the heart of it, it does come down to dollars and cents, and we are seeing rising wages out there. We are seeing more business owners implement healthcare benefits or retirement benefits to attract the right employees.

           

                                        And so, these are all the conversations we're having with business owners every day.

Kate Delaney:                 Wow, fascinating. So talking about the flexible hours, working from home, etc. So, kind of piggybacking on that, Sharon, how else are small business owners rewarding, we'll say, employees, and then giving back to their communities during the holidays?

 

Sharon Miller:                  Well, the business owners out there, when they have the right employees, they're focusing on flexible hours, so that's one thing. Professional development, discretionary bonuses perhaps at the holiday season. Eighty-three percent of small business owners plan to offer perks during the holiday season. Maybe they're going to close the office, they may give a salary bonus, or they may give a holiday party.

 

                                        So, all of these things feed into that culture that small business owners and entrepreneurs are trying to really deliver for their local business, which spills over to the local community. And keep in mind again, Kate, the advantages of small business employment, it's powerful. You've got less bureaucracy, you got a more collaborative environment, you've got greater responsibility, creative freedom, all these things. A local community impact because small business is local, and that's really attractive.

 

                                        So I always remind our clients, yeah there's some things that we can continue to implement and get better every day, but don't forget about what it is at the heart you do, and the advantages you already have built in by being a small business.

 

Gregg Stebben:              We're talking with Sharon Miller. She's the Head of Small Business for Bank of America. We're talking about a lot of findings and statistics and information that comes out of their Fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report.

 

                                        And you know, it's interesting that you mention local, Sharon, because one of the things that I found fascinating in the report is a map of the U.S., and you've called out some cities where there tends to be trends about how they're attracting and keeping people. So, San Francisco is most likely to offer flexible hours. In LA, they've had the easiest time finding qualified candidates to fill positions. In Chicago, they're most likely to say small businesses compete with larger companies for talent.

 

                                        I'm just curious if you have any thoughts on why different markets tend to use different things to attract and keep talent? Is there something culturally going on in those markets that we could also learn about, or do you think that within a business community, small business owners are talking about what's working and using what's working for others to help themselves?

 

Sharon Miller:                  I think it's both, and Gregg, you're right, I think because small business is local and it is a lot of word of mouth, and you also have people collaborating in local communities through different chamber organizations or just different events, you are finding that people are talking. I mean, business owners, they're going to their kid's soccer game and talking on the sideline about what's working, what's not.

 

                                        So, all of this sort of comes together in a community, and that's why we like to highlight it, because maybe someone in San Francisco doesn't know what's going on in Chicago, and we were able to highlight it, and that's also the power of Bank of America, because we do have a footprint across the entire country where we're able to give insights back to our clients to say, you know what, it might not work here, but it sure is working in Chicago. Would it hurt to give it a try?

 

                                        So, these are some of the benefits of working with a large institution that is national, but operates in 90 local markets. So, we're local enough to be able to have different focuses in our local markets, and that's how we run.

 

Kate Delaney:                 Wow, it made me think of something else, the power, of course, Sharon, of what you offer, what Bank of America offers. And let's say for example I'm in Boston and you see the success that they're having in San Francisco with the flexible hours, but we're not really doing that so much in Boston. Do you share that information and say, "Hey listen, here's some of the successes that we're seeing here, and some of the trends," because I would imagine they would gobble that up.

 

Sharon Miller:                  We do, and we just launched in four states our Business Advantage 360 program, and this is our...and it will be launched across the country in the first quarter...This is a very powerful digital capability, an online capability for business owners that's really going to change the way they manage their business, that they get insights into just this, that they're able to manage their cashflow.

 

                                        And so, not only is it through sitting down with our bankers in the 4,500 financial centers across the country where we have business experts, but it's also through our digital capabilities, and going online at BankofAmerica.com/smallbusiness, where you're able to not only access the report we're talking about today, but you're also able to understand what's going on. Different reports, different information for clients. We just launched the Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship [at Cornell] because we know that women are a force to be reckoned with, for one, Kate, and I'm sure you can agree. And two-

 

Gregg Stebben:              I can agree, too. I can agree, too.

 

Sharon Miller:                 There you go, Gregg ... That we're opening businesses. I mean, when I sit down and I see the trends happening, businesses are being opened at twice the rate of men, by women, with half the capital. And so these are some of the issues we're seeing because we are a larger institution, and we're able to go out and solve some of these problems, or at least to help to solve them and partner up with universities like Cornell to get out the information on what, not just women, but all entrepreneurs, need to be thinking about.

 

                                        So, all of that is in our website. We've got a Bank of America Community. So yeah, either you want to read about it, you want to go into our financial center, sit down with a specialist, and to me, I would advise coming in, sitting down with a business specialist, because there's no more powerful interaction than that across the desk, because every business owner's unique, just like people, and that's where we're able to help with their priorities.

 

Kate Delaney:                 Sharon Miller, Bank of America Head of Small Business. Thanks so much, we appreciate it as always.

 

Narrator:                         Thanks for listening to the heartbeat of Main Street with ForbesBooks at ForbesBooks.com, and Bank of America, at BankofAmerica.com.

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After ending 2018 on a high note, small business owners are optimistic about the year ahead. Small business owners reported confidence in the economy and their hiring plans. But how will the tightest labor market in decades impact their search for talent? Sharon Miller discusses this and more from the Fall 2018 Small Business Owner Report.

 

iTunes-Button.gif

 

“The Heartbeat of Main Street” delivers timely insights tailored to the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Featuring a rotating line-up of small business experts and industry leaders – and covering a range of topics – each episode explores the trends that have an impact on revenue creation for small business owners.

 

The series is hosted by ForbesBooks, and more information can be accessed through a dedicated home page. New episodes will appear regularly on the Small Business Community podcast page. Be sure to check back often – so you don’t miss a beat.

 

Sharon Miller:            Most business owners expect that the end of this year, their revenue expectations for 2018, 80% of them believe that their year-end revenue will exceed 2017, and that's pretty powerful. So, they're thinking this year's better than last year, and they're thinking next year will be even better.

 

Narrator:                    Welcome to “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks at ForbesBooks.comand Bank of America at BankofAmerica.com.

 

Kate Delaney:            It's always a good time when we can be joined by Sharon Miller on the show, Bank of America, head of Small Business. She's here with some great news about small business. The US small business sector looks to end 2018 on a pretty high note according to the Fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. Sharon, so first of all, thanks so much for joining us.

 

Sharon Miller:             Thank you so much for having me.

 

Kate Delaney:            We have all kinds of questions and it sounds like entrepreneurs and small business owners are feeling really good about the economy. So, what are their expectations for revenue growth and hiring for 2019?

 

Sharon Miller:            Well, confidence in the economy, it does remain strong and their revenue expectations, the confidence in the economy, hiring plans, all of that is up since last fall, so we do see an uptick in positive sentiment from business owners and by all accounts, from our most recent survey, the confidence remains very, very strong.

 

Gregg Stebben:         I know we've asked you this before, Sharon, but I'm going to ask again just for anyone who hasn't caught our earlier discussions about previous reports, how is it that you do these reports and compile this data, because I think it's really helpful for people to understand where this information is coming from.

 

Sharon Miller:             So we survey 1,000 small business owners across the country and we do it twice a year. It's from all different types of industries, from all different types of sectors and geographies so that we can really get a pulse on how business owners are feeling.

 

                                   At Bank of America, we have 3.3 million small business clients that we serve, and so every single day we're sitting down with business clients understanding, are you looking to expand your business?Do you want to apply for a loan? How is your working capital? What about your cash flow? These are the questions and discussions we're having every single day. But then we go in twice a year and we want to make sure that, you know, this is how the sentiment is across the United States, and we over-survey in 10 major markets as well, just to see if there's some geographic differences.

 

                                   And by all accounts the whole country is very strong. We see very strong optimism and sentiment from business owners—hiring is there, plans to apply for a loan, that's up, and so all of the different aspects of the report that we're asking, they look better than they did the last six months.

 

Kate Delaney:            Sharon, it's fascinating how you pull all this together, and talking about the 10 major markets and compiling all that information. When you do that, and since you've had such great success with it, this is just kind of a sidebar question, and I think the listeners will find this fascinating: Do you then go back and recalculate, okay, something's changed here or something's moved here with business, so we're going to instead focus on this area? How do you do that when you go into the next year and you plan for the next time around?

 

Sharon Miller:            Well, it's the basis of everything we do. I mean, we have to listen to our clients. We need to understand what's happening in the economy, how business owners are feeling, and so we adjust our ongoing continuing education for our bankers. We may adjust the types of information that we're delivering in that city because we operate in 90 local markets across the country and we know that every market is unique. And so, I'm sitting here today in San Antonio, Texas, and there's a lot of building. There's a lot of growth happening, hiring, expansion, and we have a heavy oil industry. We've got a diversified economy, we’ve got financial services here, we've got a lot of tourism. And you may go to another city and it may be very strong in technology, whereas San Antonio, the number one cyber security university sits in our backyard here at University of Texas San Antonio.

 

                                  In San Jose, California, you've got an incubator of high tech and what's happening with the newest wave of devices, so every city's a little different and we want to make sure that we're training our bankers to be able to interact and not just interact with clients, but to get ahead of them and to help them think through their business plan. What's next? Should you apply for a loan, should you use your working capital, what can you expect in the year ahead? And so, that's where we have and use these insights every single day to plan for the year ahead and quite frankly, the next three to five years.

 

Gregg Stebben:         We're talking with Sharon Miller. She's the head of Small Business for Bank of America. We're talking about the Fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report, a report they do twice a year.

 

                                    And Sharon, whenever business people get together and whenever there's headlines about business and the health of businesses, there's a couple of issues that always come up, especially in 2018, 2019, and two of those issues are taxes and healthcare. What did you find small business owners thinking and doing, and what would they like to see change there when it comes to those two issues, taxes and healthcare?

 

Sharon Miller:            Sure. So, as far as healthcare is concerned, we've been doing this survey for the past six years and for every single survey result, healthcare is the top of the list of concerns for business owners.

 

                                  While healthcare costs remain the top concern during this survey, what we found—and that was at 63% of business owners, they’re concerned about the cost of healthcare, about the complexity—this has dropped to the lowest level at 63% in the six years of this history of the survey. So, that's actually down nine percentage points from the fall of 2017.

 

                                   So, while it remained a top concern in the fall of '17, 72% of business owners were very, very concerned. This time 63%. So it's dropped nine percentage points from our last survey. But again, it's the number one concern.

 

                                   When it comes to your taxes and concern over corporate taxes, that also reached a five year low. And this was at 37% this fall, and that's down 14 percentage points from the fall of 2017. So, although there are concerns and these are still the top two concerns of business owners, it's dropped significantly since last survey.

 

Kate Delaney:            Sharon, when you look at that, what are some of the other things that small business owners are concerned about? What else is on their mind?

 

Sharon Miller:            You know, there's concern about trade policy, tariffs, there is concern about commodities prices, the dollar, the stock market, compliance and government regulation. So, all the things that I sort of bucket into, as really not controllable for business owners. And so these are things going on around them in the economy and the broader market, they have a lot of control over their business plan, around their business. But a lot of these issues and we can't control what's going to happen with the stock market. It's up, it's down, it's going, it's cyclical.

 

                                   And certainly with tax rates, where the government is setting those. So yes, we got to get out and vote, we've gotta do all those things. But when it comes to can a business owner directly control that? They can't, and so the focus in my conversations with business owners, it's about their business, how do they, in spite of everything going on around them, continue to drive forward, to grow and expand and do better this year than they did last year?

 

                                   And most business owners expect that the end of this year, their revenue expectations for 2018, 80% of them believe that their year-end revenue will exceed 2017, and that's pretty powerful. So, they're thinking this year's better than last year and they're thinking next year will be even better. And so, that to me is what they can directly control.

 

Gregg Stebben:         I love hearing about that kind of optimism. We're talking with Sharon Miller, the head of Small Business for Bank of America and the Fall 2018 bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. It's interesting, Sharon, you mentioned what are the things that business owners can and cannot control? Well, one of the things they can control, I would think, is how they make it through a period where hiring is so challenging and so competitive. What kinds of things did you hear from small business owners there?

 

Sharon Miller:            Well, they are experiencing it. You're right. We are in one of the tightest job markets out there. Unemployment rate falling to 3.7%. That's the lowest since 1969. So, that was in September where we had the 3.7% unemployment rate. We are at a historical time within our economy where you know, if you want to work, you're employed. And so, it's really up to the business owners that need to focus on retention.

 

                                   And small businesses are experiencing a very high rate of personnel turnover. They are. I mean, just as in corporate America. So we're seeing more people going to different companies, whether it’s be they're getting more money, they get better benefits, whatever it might be. But I would say that what small business owners are thinking about in order to retain, they're talking about how do I implement a retirement package for my employees? How do I give them healthcare? How do I perhaps think about giving them a more flexible work culture?

 

                                   And so, there are some hiring challenges, but I think that when small business owners focus on the perks of what they can deliver, like flexible hours, maybe giving them some professional development and then when you go a step further and say why do people go to work for a small business? They go to work because they believe working at a small business has got some advantages, including the ability to have less bureaucracy. They have a more collaborative environment, more responsibility.

 

                                   When you're working in a company that has less than 100 employees, you're certainly going to have some greater responsibility and more impact or at least feel that you have more impact for that company. So, there can be some certainly some strategies that business leaders can implement over and above what they're doing, but I think they also have to go with what they already have and press that advantage, which is a smaller environment, less bureaucracy, more freedom for creativity, entrepreneurial and creativity development. All those things that really we hear from Millennials, from people entering the workforce. This is what they want. So, I think small business owners should be proud of that and this should be something that they can use to attract better employees.

 

Narrator:                    We’ve been talking with Sharon Miller, head of Small Business for Bank of America. This has been Part 1 of our interview with Sharon about the Fall 2018 Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report. You can hear Part 2 of the interview on January 2nd, here on “The Heartbeat of Main Street” with ForbesBooks at ForbesBooks.comand Bank of America at BankOfAmerica.com.

 

 

Stay tuned for part II

Not long ago, I was researching a company with whom I might do some business  and, as is the case so often with social media, I ended up down a rabbit hole of tangential information. Somehow, at one point, I found myself on the personal Facebook page of the CEO. He was wearing a red baseball cap that said:

 

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“Make America Great Again”

 

That moment affected my decision (although which way I will not disclose.), The moment serves as a reminder that social media generally, and Facebook specifically, is a public, not a private, place.

 

Most importantly for our purposes, you better be darned sure that you want to publicly wade into the political and cultural wars that divide our country these days because if you do, you will surely evoke a strong response one way or another.

 

Now, maybe you are thinking that politics and small business don’t mix, and if so, I agree. People frequent your business because you provide products or services they like. My take is that they don’t really care what you think, and in fact, in this era of divided politics, I suggest what you think has more risk of doing harm than good.

 

But guess what? We may be wrong.

 

According to Forbes, a recent survey of U.S. consumers found that an amazing two-thirds say “they want brands to engage in social and political issues.” That number goes even higher for younger consumers, those 18-34 years old – 73 percent of millennials want brands to speak up.

 

But here’s the rub: That same survey found more than half (52 percent) of respondents would show greater brand loyalty if they agreed with the brand’s position while even more (53 percent) said if they disagree with the brand’s position on an issue, they would frequent the brand less with a sizable minority stating they would publicly criticize the brand.

 

Given that sobering news, while consumers might want brands to speak up, there is a lot of risk for those that do. And yet, even so, there is also clearly a lot of pressure these days on businesses to take a stand. It might be a faction of employees who want their voices heard, or maybe some customers who feel strongly about an issue.

 

So, what do you do? How can you take a stand in an era of highly partisan politics? Here are a few tips that might help:

 

1. Pick your battles: Supporting a politician, opposing a politician, whatever, is just too risky. The possibility of angering your customers is too high with, as I said, little payoff. Unless supporting a candidate or party is mostly a no-brainer for your small business, the general rule is to leave this area alone.

 

Better: Choose to support an issue that resonates with you, your business and/or your clientele. Choosing an issue that aligns with the values of your business can help reinforce your brand. An outdoor travel company can safely champion environmental causes without wading into the political battles of the day.

 

2. Be a uniter not a divider: We all know what the hot-button topics are, and again, the problem is, if you play with those issues you can get burned.

 

A better strategy for the business that wants to get involved is to pick an issue not as polarizing. A topic that aligns with your values and which people generally support allows you to do good while minimizing the risk of alienating key customers.

 

Example: In the past decade, Coca-Cola  expanded its giving portfolio beyond educational causes to include access to safe drinking water and healthy living across the globe. To illustrate, Coke supports the Global Environment and Technology Foundation’s work in Africa to “replenish water sources and improve access to safe drinking water.”

 

World NGO Day can be a first step for small businesses wanting to support a social cause.

 

3. Go incognito: If you really feel the need to share your political views, do what a pal of mine recently did. He created a new Twitter account, an incognito one, and uses it to rage against the other political team.

 

And no one knows that he owns the small business down the street.

 

Check out what Rieva Lesonsky had to say about whether small businesses should take a political stand.

 

 

About Steve Strauss

 

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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.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

It’s our job as entrepreneurs to keep up with the latest trends—but it can be hard to keep up. It’s essential to know what’s driving consumer spending and how you can integrate new trends into your small business. Here’s what to look for in 2019. Have more? Let us know what trends you’re following in the comments section below.

 

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1. Generational marketing

 

There are currently five generations in America, each with its own set of demands. Three (baby boomers, millennials and Gen Z) are so large they have an outsize impact on industries and specific businesses. But no one has more influence in the marketplace than millennials.

 

2. Millennials

 

This huge generation—there are 84 million of them, ranging in age from 19 to 37—is too big to ignore. And they’re in the stage of life where they’re impacting so many businesses. Take weddings – already, according to The Knot, a $72 billion industry. Businesses affiliated with weddings, from retailers, to jewelry designers to restaurants, photographers, florists and dozens more, are poised to grow even more as younger millennials approach the median age of first marriage—29 for women and 31 for men.

 

The Knot reports two to three years after getting married, 35 percent of millennials start a family and 24 percent buy a home. That leads to many entrepreneurial opportunities for years to come.

 

3. Millennial parents

 

Millennials are the nation’s parents—they head 51.2 percent of households with children under age 18. Parents are big spenders—to the tune of $1 trillion a year. And, for the first time, women in their 30s are having more kids than those in their 20s. This is great news for entrepreneurs, since older parents spend more money on food, furniture, clothing, décor, and toys for their kids. More than one million millennial women become new mothers every year, and since so many millennials are still in their 20s, this is a long-lasting trend.

 

4. Home, sweet home

 

Home ownership peaked in 2004, but is now on the rise, thanks to millennials. Between millennials and older generations of home owners holding on to their houses, businesses involved in the remodeling industry will get a boost. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the most in-demand remodeling projects include bathroom, kitchen and whole-house remodels. Homeowners are also asking for more green home features.

 

Seniors (including baby boomers) are demanding more home services—82 percent of them are still home owners. They’re hiring contractors to senior proof their homes. They want wider doorways, lower cabinets, wood floors, and bathroom remodels to make their homes safer and more accessible.

 

They often prefer others handle home maintenance chores, turning to home services businesses to get the job done. While housecleaning, lawn care, snow removal and handyman services aren’t just for seniors, targeting this market can help small businesses build a thriving business.

 

5. Mangia!

 

Americans love to eat, so there’s no shortage of new food trends. According to restaurant and hospitality consulting firm af&co., donuts are 2019’s “dessert of the year.” These aren’t your typical donuts though—consumers want artisanal treats with “unexpected savory flavors and fillings.”

 

Food on demand (either pick-up or delivery) is also soaring. Off-premises dining (including carryout, delivery, drive-through, curbside pickup and food trucks) accounts for 63 percent of restaurant traffic nationwide, and delivery is the fastest-growing segment of this market, says the National Restaurant Association. Consumers expect restaurants to deliver food. 

 

Younger millennials actually prefer off-premises dining—24 percent order takeout three to four times a week, compared to 21 percent of older millennials, 17 percent of Gen Xers and 6 percent of baby boomers, according to the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) and the Center for Generational Kinetics.

 

6. Looking Good

 

Men’s grooming is a burgeoning industry. Men’s personal care products (including skincare, deodorant, soap/bath products, hair products & shaving/depilatories) are already a $4.5 billion industry. Millennials are driving this trend as well, increasingly scooping up anti-aging products. According to new research from Mintel, 34 percent of dads (with children under 18) who use personal care products care about preventing the signs of aging, compared to 26 percent of male personal care product users overall.

 

And yet, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database, only a small percentage of men’s personal care products make anti-aging claims. This leaves a huge gap in the market. Mintel says, there’s “a significant opportunity for anti-aging personal care products specifically formulated for and marketed to men.”

 

These are just a few of the trends Americans are expected to embrace in 2019. Consumers have rising expectations, however, so you’ll have to work hard to meet them.

 

     What’s next?

 

 

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. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Have you wrestled with issues such as these?

 

  • Your business is struggling financially. A supplier sends you their monthly invoice—and they’ve significantly undercharged you. Do you correct the error?agreement-arms-business-1081228.jpg
  • Your children’s toy store is in the thick of the holiday shopping season when you discover that your best-selling product line is made using child labor. Do you keep selling the products?
  • You’ve received complaints that one of your employees is making derogatory and inappropriate comments to coworkers. But he’s your top salesperson and you know he’s recently received another job offer. Do you confront him?

 

In these and other situations, a small business owner may have to choose between principles and profits. But is it really an either-or choice?

 

Short-term profits, long-term price

 

Sticking to your principles may cost you in the short term. In the examples above, it could cost you money, customers or your best salesperson. But if you abandon your principles, you’ll pay a higher price in the long term.

 

Actually, you may not have to wait that long. Social media makes it easier than ever for customers and prospects to see what your principles are and when  you’re conveniently ignoring them. A potential job candidate could see employees at your company complaining about on-the-job harassment. A customer could discover the child labor issue before you do. Transparency gives consumers the upper hand.

 

Profiting from principles

 

In fact, sticking to your principles can pay off. According to a Deloitte study, purchasing drivers such as “social impact, health and wellness, safety and experience” are becoming more important as consumers increasingly base purchasing decisions on their values and beliefs.

 

In the last 12 months, 74 percent of consumers in a JUST Capital survey say they began purchasing or purchasing more of a company’s products or services in order to show support for its positive behavior. The same poll found nearly eight out of 10 Americans would take lower pay to work for a company they perceive as “just.”

 

The stock market believes principles and profits can work hand in hand. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index rates public companies based on the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. Participating companies report on their financial, social and environmental performance.

 

What principles do consumers care about most? The way you treat your employees takes top billing. Worker conditions, including fair pay, good benefits and a safe workplace, are the top priority for one-fourth of U.S. consumers considering companies’ principles, JUST reports.

 

How to balance principles and profit

 

How can you hold onto your principles while still making a profit?

 

  • Identify your business principles. What are your core values? What does your business stand for? Review your mission statement, value statement or vision statement. Are they still accurate?
  • Talk to your team. What do your employees think your business stands for? Do they believe the company is truly living its values? Your employees are the ambassadors for your business; they must be on the same page when it comes to company values.
  • Build your business’s values into your employee training. Set guidelines for how employees should treat customers, coworkers and vendors, as well as consequences for not doing so.
  • Practice. It’s not easy to make ethical decisions on the spot. Practice by roleplaying potential scenarios as a group. What should employees do if they see another employee harassing a co-worker? Is there ever a time when it’s justified to take office supplies home?
  • Look in the mirror. If your business isn’t living up to its principles, do you play a role in that? Perhaps you set production quotas so high that employees have to rush to keep up, compromising product quality. Own your mistakes and lead by example going forward.
  • Keep your eyes open. Pay attention to what your vendors, customers and suppliers are doing. It’s a global world and we’re all connected. Doing business with people and companies that share your principles will strengthen your commitment to your values.

 

Principles and profits can and should go hand in hand. Committing to your business principles and educating your customers about them will boost your brand—and ultimately, your profits.

 

Read next:

 

 

 

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. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

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