Small Business Challenges Facing the Small Business Owner

Customer Relationship Management business chart on a digital tab

Data security for the small business owner that deals with merchant accounts or other type of high sensitive information, is a very serious business.  Keeping the information secure is for many small and big businesses nothing short of miraculous.  Target, a big retail store had a security breach not long ago, and following that, had to settle a law suit because  of it.  For many small business owners, the idea of being in charge of their own data security is daunting.  The need to have a data security expert in your payroll may not be possible, but the need is real and many small business owners need to address the issue right away.

For more news about this, follow the links below.


5 Data Management Challenges Facing Small Business Owners

Small business owners must now where an additional hat – the data scientist hat.

As small business owners, we generally wear all the hats. And if we’ve grown to where we aren’t wearing all the hats at the same time, we at least rotate through them a few times a month.

One hat that is becoming increasingly important – and scary — to wear is the data scientist hat.

Although data scientists come in many forms, with varied skills, a small business data scientist is mostly responsible for parsing through and analyzing data to present key findings about a business. The goal is to use data and the findings to address challenges, find opportunities, and ultimately, help a business save time and money.

While most of us don’t have the luxury of hiring a bona fide data scientist to handle these figures, there are a few things you should know and consider as you run your business and aim to become as efficient as possible in your business functions.


7 ways to make your small business attractive to venture capital funding

In 2015, venture capitalists invested over $58.8 billion in businesses, yet African-Americans only received one percent of venture capital funding. While opportunities to grow small businesses have been scarce in the past, large investors are beginning to dedicate more attention and inclusion to minority commerce that fosters growth and success. This leaves new opportunities for African-Americans to obtain the money they need to reach more customers.

Before jumping into the big leagues of expanding your business and making a global impact, here are seven ways to attract the right venture capital players and stand out from the competition.

  1. Know Your Business

Investors are looking for companies who have studied their market, discovered loopholes and are creating a valuable solution to a problem. When presenting your plans,you must be very knowledgeable of your project and of the venture capitalist industry. Useful websites like A VCand Both Sides of the Table offer practical advice through the lense of very successful startup founders and investors. From the materials used to where investors distribute their money, build your confidence so that no investor will doubt the future of your company.


The SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard®: Most Still Struggle to Offer, See Value in 401(k)s

Less than a third of small business owners offer the retirement saving vehicle.

GLENVIEW, Ill.Sept. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The majority of small business owners (66%) do not offer a 401(k) plan and 42% of those not offering it don’t see the value in it, according to the August 2016 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard®.

Thirty-five percent of those not offering a plan said the fees are too expensive, and 23% said they don’t know how to manage a 401(k).

The small business owners that do offer a 401(k) said they do so to build retirement savings for themselves and their employees, with just 5% saying they offer it to attract new employees and 6% saying they offer it for tax breaks.

In total, 28% are offering a plan and another 6% plan to add one soon, the Scorecard survey found.


 

Business News For The Small Business Owner

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It is perhaps the ability of a small business owner to keep optimism at high levels to be able to do what they do every single day.  There is no other people telling you what to do, or what jobs require top priority.    As a small business owner, the credit and blame stop with them.  There is no employee that works in a small business, that is not the responsibility of the owner.  The successes and the failures mean something else for them as well.  To be a small business owner is to be different.  To have the courage to do what many others wish to do, but are afraid to take the first step.  Read more about business news by following the links below.


Abrams: Small businesses have already won the gold

Small-business owners: If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you may be getting the wrong message. I’m here to tell you that you’re winners, even if you never get the business equivalent of an Olympic gold medal.

For the past week, I’ve been mesmerized watching swimmer Katie Ledecky breaking world records with ease. Usain Bolt running faster than any man on Earth, and smiling as he does it. Those amazing, fearless gymnasts, led by Simone Biles, risking life and limb.

But one aspect of Olympic coverage that frustrates me is when someone asks a silver- or bronze-medal winner if they’re disappointed because they didn’t win the gold.

Most of these fantastic athletes react the way American swimmer Nathan Adrian did when asked whether he was upset that he “only” got a bronze. He looked surprised, then, with an endearing grin, he reminded the correspondent that hey, he was at the Olympics and he won a medal. How great is that?


The Truth About Hiring Friends in Your Small Business

Hiring friends must be done with care to be successful.

Small business ideas are often mulled over by friends long before you take the plunge and say, “I’ve made the decision. I’m starting my own business.” Friends’ reactions may range from encouragement to total negativity, but there’s a good chance at least one friend might be interested in working for you or with you.

While mixing business with friendship can work out, many people choose to keep business separate from friendships. Business relationships gone sour can ruin relationships, and some people avoid this risk by starting out with a “no hiring friends” policy. Most people fall between the two extremes of wanting to hire friends and refusing to do so. With strict boundaries, it’s possible to successfully hire friends for your business.

Hiring a Friend Will Be Fine, Right?

Maybe? After deciding to start your own business, it’s intuitive that many people want friends on board to help build the business. And since close friends tend to be vocal supporters of your ideas, and may be willing to work long hours with little or no pay it makes the choice a quick solution.


Aetna ditching 70% of its ObamaCare business

Insurance giant Aetna won’t be offering coverage under ObamaCare next year in 11 of the 15 states it now serves — an announcement that instantly became an issue in the presidential race.

Aetna’s decision led Donald Trump to charge that President Obama’s health care reform was “imploding.”

“Aetna’s decision to leave the Affordable Care Act’s public marketplaces is the latest blow to this broken law that is slowly imploding under its regulatory red tape,” said Trump campaign deputy national policy director Dan Kowalski.

“Millions of Americans have lost their health coverage under this disastrous policy, eliminating their ability to choose their doctors. Thousands of businesses have been forced to cut employment or shutter their doors in response to Obama’s signature achievement,” he added.

The company had previously warned that it expected to lose more than $300 million this year on the 900,000 patients it covers under the Affordable Care Act.

Aetna said it is pulling out of ObamaCare markets in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

 


 

Interest Rates and Small Business Borrowing

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Many believe that the increase in the interest rate will have a minimal effect in consumers wallets, and others believe small business borrowing will have no change despite this.  Borrowing for the small business owner  they believe is not a matter of whether the interest rate is high or not, but whether the small business owner believe borrowing can benefit their business or not.

For more about this and other topics follow the links below.


Everything You Need To Know About How The Rate Hike Will Affect Your Wallet

For the first time since 2006, the Federal Reserve has announced that it will raise interest rates by 25 basis points. This means that it is increasing the target for short term interest rates to a range of 0.25% to 0.50% from a range of 0% to 0.25%.

Within minutes of the Fed’s decision Wednesday, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and US Bancorp became the first banks to announce that they would increase their prime rate, a rate used for consumer loans like mortgages. Effective December 17, the prime rate at Wells, JPM and US Bancorp will move from 3.25% to 3.5%. Later in the afternoon, Citibank announced a similar move; many other banks are likely to follow suit.

Yet despite this and despite all the hubbub surrounding the Fed’s decision – journalists and Fed watchers have literally been talking about a rate hike for years – the immediate impact to consumers’ wallets will be virtually indiscernible. Fed chair Janet Yellen even said as much in her Wednesday afternoon press conference.


Small businesses like Nick’s Roast Beef may be easy targets for the IRS, says expert

Nick’s Roast Beef, a small family-owned business in Beverly, was federally indicted Monday and charged with reporting false tax statements.

As it turns out, Nick’s may be just one of many small businesses the IRS keeps a close watch on, according to Forbes.

Small businesses that run cash-only operations make easy targets for the federal government, defense attorney Joel Androphy told Forbes. All the while, bigger, more sophisticated businesses get a pass because the work to prove evasion can be more complicated, requiring more time and work, he said.

Many of the cases the IRS works on come from the “Whistleblower” program and involve small businesses with claims under $2 million, which is small in comparison to what some large corporations may be hiding, according to Forbes.


Don’t expect Main Street to accelerate borrowing overnight

What’s more relevant to small business lending appetite is optimism.

As years of low interest rates start to wind down, don’t expect Main Street to accelerate borrowing overnight.

There can often be a disconnect between the Fed and smaller businesses, which are driven by other variables including cash flow, business opportunities and loan availability and terms. If you’re a growing business, you’ve likely already signed onto loans. For the rest of the smaller guys, however, it’s likely borrowing will ramp up gradually to stay ahead of higher lending rates. And if anything can trigger more borrowing for small companies, it’s a more upbeat mood about business prospects.

“Business credit is so different than consumer credit. It’s driven far less by rates and far more by availability in terms of both loans and market opportunities,” said Jeff Stibel, vice chairman of business researcher Dun & Bradstreet. “Rates are almost irrelevant.”

The Federal Reserve, as widely expected, approved a quarter-point increase in its target funds rate on Wednesday. It was the first rate increase in nearly a decade.


Entrepreneurial Stubbornness – the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

59948705Persistence, not listening to the nay-sayers, determination, following your dream: All things which contribute to starting and building a thriving business. All things which are fueled by good old-fashioned stubbornness.  I have yet to meet a successful small business owner who doesn’t have a very large streak of it.  Unfortunately, that’s not always a positive.

The Good

Stubbornness is a positive quality when it’s driving you to create, build and sustain a business.  The desire to “do things my way”  is a powerful motivator.  It’s what keeps you on track to work the long hours and make the hard decisions.  It has built multi-national Fortune 100 companies, as well as the local machine shop.

The Bad

As the saying goes, “There are 2 sides to every coin.”  There’s a bad side to entrepreneurial stubbornness.  It’s human nature to become attached to our own viewpoint – not only do we get stuck in ruts, we furnish them for additional comfort.  This makes it difficult to see other’s (accountants, consultants, employees, managers) points of view and listen to their ideas. 

Ideas which are good for you and your company.  When a company is growing there’s a juncture when the owner should shift from “a one-man show” style of management to a team approach.  Many don’t make that change, they stubbornly hang on to old ideas and ways of doing things, which often leads to the ugly.

The Ugly

There comes a time when an owners’ refusal to modify his inflexibility crosses the line from poor management skills to self destructive behavior-“the old way is good enough, no  one is going to tell me what to do”.  Resulting in — due to the owner’s unwillingness to recognize and adapt to changing ideas, technologies, employee’s needs and market requirements — a bankrupt company. 

Good entrepreneurial stubbornness often turns bad and ugly over time.  Owners fail to understand that we all need to evolve if we are to thrive in an ever changing world, and we have to be willing to listen to others to do so.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”


Small Business Money Issues

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From retirement funding  to meeting payroll every month, small businesses are plagued in a continual basis with issues about money.  Legislation in Washington  can be helpful or devastating to the small business community, and in some instances small business owners find themselves with the same problems regardless of what happens in Washington.  Does your business need a loan? Do you need money to fund a retirement account for you?  Follow the links below for more news about this and other issues affecting your business.


Loans, taxes, regulations on small-business election agenda

There are no “one size fits all” issues for small business in the 2016 presidential campaign. While candidates try to appeal to all small businesses, many owners want very specific things. A sample of what’s on the agenda of some individual owners and two small business advocacy groups:

Help small banks compete: Community banks whose customers include small businesses are at a disadvantage because of regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act implemented following the 2008 banking crisis, says Jim Angleton, owner of Aegis FinServ, a Miami-based financial services company. While the law is needed to prevent a recurrence of the practices that led to bank failures of all sizes, it places a disproportionate financial burden on smaller banks, Angleton says.

The number of small banks in the U.S. dropped 14 percent after Dodd-Frank was enacted in 2010, according to researchers at George Mason University.


5 Creative Ways To Fund Your Small Business

A look at the fast-evolving options for entrepreneurs on a money hunt—including several that first-time entrepreneurs tend to overlook.

When Mike Shapiro quit his job as a corporate lawyer to launch a group of community news web sites in 2008, he relied on savings he’d frugally socked away for years. “I wasn’t an Armani suit guy at my firm,” says Shapiro, CEO and publisher of TAPInto.net, a five-employee franchise chain, based in New Providence, N.J., that now has 37 locations.

But self-funding the business turned out to be stressful. During the first two and a half years, he poured about $250,000 into his startup, taking no salary while he and his family lived on their savings. And as he was launching the business, his son, then an infant, had to have open heart surgery, and his wife stayed home to care for the baby.


Small Business — and State Governments — May Rescue Your Retirement

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Half of Americans employed in the private sector work for small businesses. That means many workers simply don’t have access to retirement plans. Big firms lure talent with tax-advantaged savings plans like 401(k)s — and even match workers’ contributions, while neighborhood businesses often lack the means to provide such benefits.

But now, the small-business backbone of the economy is slowly rising to the occasion, often with the assistance of state governments.

Here’s one such example from the state of Washington: The Small Business Retirement Marketplace, signed into law last week by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, will provide an estimated 1.5 million residents in the state with access toworkplace-based retirement accounts.

“Employers do not have to do anything but deduct and forward the money — the same way they handle taxes,” said Rep. Larry Springer, a co-sponsor of the state legislation, in a press statement. “We know people are very unlikely to save for retirement if they are not offered a plan through work. The Small Business Retirement Savings Marketplace will allow more workers access to a safe, easy and affordable way to retire in dignity.”


Small Business News

62227730To start a business, regardless of where you live, you have to considered the many advantages a particular state or city has on the success of your business. Paperwork and taxes are too cumbersome for many small business owners to consider, so the less they have to deal with those issues the better. The attraction of many cities for the small business owner is the possibility to finding funding, less taxes and paperwork.

To read more about this topic follow the links below.


Small-Business Owners Gained Confidence in April

WASHINGTON — Small-business owners in the United States gained confidence in April and were surprisingly bullish about capital expenditure plans, further supporting views that economic growth is rebounding after a dismal first quarter.

The Labor Department also reported on Tuesday that job openings fell in March. The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday that its Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.7 points to 96.9 last month. It was the largest gain since December.

Small businesses historically have accounted for half of private gross domestic product. The economy is clawing back after being hit by a mix of bad weather, disruptions at ports, a strong dollar and deep spending cuts by energy companies.Data on employment and consumer sentiment have suggested a pickup in growth momentum at the start of the second quarter, but the dollar and lower oil prices continue to weigh on manufacturing.


San Francisco Chamber CEO Applauds Small-Business Rebels

Small businesses take center stage in San Francisco next week, with an emphasis on disruptive technology and businesses that have butted heads with the status quo.

Uber and Airbnb sprang up in this city, beginning as startups testing new, even quirky business models. They quickly transformed into global companies.

Chamber of Commerce President Bob Linscheid says there are lessons to be learned from businesses — startups or established companies — that challenge the norm.

“That lesson is that you must constantly innovate,” he says. “Our city is a haven for innovation and entrepreneurship.”


The Best And Worst Cities For Small Business Employees

Last month, Forbes reported on the best cities for starting a business this year, and much attention is frequently given to the locations working the hardest to attract founders who’ll create coveted jobs. But which cities are the most hospitable to those who hold those positions?

To determine the best and worst cities for small business employees, personal finance site WalletHub looked at 100 of the country’s largest metro areas, evaluating each against 11 metrics that examine the small business climate as well as the larger economic environment.

As a means of measuring the health of the small business scene in each city, WalletHub considered the number of business with less than 250 employees per every 1,000 residents, small business job growth, diversity of industries, percentage of small businesses offering health insurance to employees and employee earnings adjusted for cost of living.


Are You Ready for Growth?

64002400Responsible parents teach children how to manage and mitigate risk.  One of the classic childhood lessons is how to cross the street safely.  We are taught to Stop, Look (both ways) and Listen before crossing.  It’s an important skill for both children and adults to acquire.

A responsible business owner needs to stop, look and listen when he is thinking of expanding his company.  Growth is a high risk area, which involves a multitude of new challenges.  It is up to him to make sure he understands and is ready to meet them, because many successful businesses fail when they attempt to go to the next level. 

There are a variety of reasons for why they fail.  The biggest one is the lack of preparedness by the owner, who attempts to grow without giving thoughtful consideration to the changes he needs to make to be successful.  He falsely believes that what he did in the past will support future success.  Unfortunately, it rarely does. 

One of the reasons that past success is not a good indicator of future success is that many do not understand the dynamic of growth.  He thinks that because he was able to grow from a start up to a $2 million company that the same skill set will continue to be usable for a $4 million one.

However, as a business grows it demands different requirements from the owner. A few of these requirements include: learning to read more complicated financials, keeping up on increased tax liabilities and government regulations, understanding additional human resource requirements, finding and retaining good employees, developing an operational knowledge of profit and loss, and knowing how and when to delegate. 

The duties and functions of management change with growth.  If an owner does not keep up with these demands he will start to lose control.  When the business is growing, he must grow too.  Many a business has become a victim of its own success because he was unable learn new behaviors and skills.  He did not stop, look and listen.


3 Reasons Why People Succeed

54642287There is an old saying; “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it” (Mark Twain). The same can be said about success – everybody talks about it, but very few people do anything about it. They rarely do anything about it because everybody has faults that keep them from achieving their goals, dreams and desires.
But, successful people persevere in spite of their faults, while others fail because of them. There are many reasons why some people succeed when others, who’re just as smart and talented, don’t. Below are 3 of the reasons why people succeed.
They take personal responsibility – Two of the most common defense mechanisms are rationalization and denial. Successful people work to minimize both behaviors; they don’t make or accept excuses from themselves. They take responsibility for and are always learning from their constructive and unconstructive actions.
They’ve learned that when they’re accountable they’re also in control. When they’re in control they can keep their attention on what’s really important – spending resources on finding solutions. People who expend their limited resources (time, money and energy) on making excuses and justifying their behavior aren’t people who look for solutions.
They don’t blame outside circumstances – The lack of time and money is a universal issue for individuals when they’re trying to achieve their goals, as is the drain of energy due to too many outside demands. These situations are nothing new or unique for anyone.
The difference between successful people and everyone else is that they don’t blame these circumstances for their difficulties. Their answer to these problems is a resounding – “so what”. They understand that adversity is a given in trying to get ahead and never a good reason to give up.
They have high standards – Unsuccessful people accept mediocre behavior from themselves. They cut corners, take shortcuts and are believers in “good enough”, which produces work that has to be apologized for, redone or fixed and compensation made.

In addition, the successful know mediocre behavior is short-sighted and it leads to distrust and broken relationships. They hold themselves to a higher standard where exceptional work is the only acceptable way. They understand that focus, dedication and hard work are the only things that lead to their dreams.
The definition of success is a very personal one. It’s unique to each individual and only they can know if they’ve reached it. Unfortunately, most people say they haven’t attained it. A final word from Mr. Twain, “There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”


Ohio’s Economy

business (5)Election Day is right around the corner and candidates are eager to tell you that Ohio is better off today than it was a year ago.  The economy is doing better thanks to their diligent work, astute maneuvers, and their hard work, etc. etc……..Before you cast your vote, here are some statistics that while they may not help you voting, may give you a clue as to the state of the economy.  The United States unemployment rate last September 2013 was 7.2% while this September 2014 is 5.9%. In 2009 when President Obama took office the economy had reached a 10% unemployment rate (Oct. 2009). The Ohio Unemployment rate today is 5.6% compared to 5.7% last month, and 7.4% last year. So, are we doing better? Is the economy mending? Are the taxes we pay now higher now than they were last year? Follow the links below for more information about the state of Ohio’s economy.


OHIO SMALL BUSINESSES Tax cut goes largely unclaimed

COLUMBUS
A tax cut for small business-owners in Ohio hasn’t been claimed as much as expected, leading some to shell out hundreds of millions in taxes that state law didn’t require them to pay.

Republicans including Gov. John Kasich have promoted the tax deduction as a way to help small businesses expand. Owners could take a 50 percent tax deduction on up to $250,000 of income for 2013.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that just 379,000 business filers took the tax deduction as of Oct. 19. That’s roughly half of the 717,000 filers the state’s Department of Taxation anticipated when the GOP-dominated Legislature passed the tax break in June 2013.

The newspaper reports that those business filers saved $287 million in income tax. That’s below the $533 million in projected savings. The average filer — those entities whose profit and income are one in the same — saved about $760.


Ohio small businesses paid way more income taxes than they had to last year

Ohio small businesses paid hundreds of millions of dollars in income taxes they didn’t have to, according to a story in the Columbus Dispatch.

Last year, Ohio business owners could receive a 50 percent tax deduction on up to $250,000 of income.

About 379,000 tax filers took the credit out of the 717,000 filers the state’s tax department thought could do so.

Those businesses saved $287 million of the $533 million the state believed could be saved.


Smaller businesses in Ohio turn cautious

Owners of small and medium-size businesses in Ohio are growing more cautious about the outlook for their sales and profit in coming months.

Just 39 percent of the business owners expect sales to increase in coming months, and only 29 percent predict a higher profit, according to PNC Bank’s semiannual survey of business owners released yesterday.

Both numbers are lower than the results of the spring survey and the one taken a year ago.

At the same time, though, the survey found that 82 percent of business owners are optimistic about their company’s prospects over the next six months. That percentage is consistent with previous surveys.

The seemingly contradictory results reflect an Ohio economy that is growing more slowly than the national economy, PNC economist Mekael Teshome said.


How To Spot Problem Employees Before Hiring Them

business (7)How to Spot Problem Employees Before Hiring Them

The whole hiring process requires careful thought and consideration. If an employer is not careful there are many things that can be overlooked in finding great employees. Upon viewing a prospect, the employer should view the initial application carefully to see if there is anything there that appears to be misleading or false. References and past employers should carefully be checked by giving them a call and asking a few unexpected questions and making certain that the past employer has a legitimate company. The past employer can be researched to see if they really exist.

If the application looks impressive, the next phase would be to give the person a call and let them know that their application was received and ask them why they feel they would be a good prospect for the job. It would be a good idea to tell them about the main job duties and ask them if they have experience in those areas. If the applicant is able to answer the questions in a convincing manner then this would be a great time to schedule an interview. If the person does not sound convincing they could be told that that there still needs to be time to view their application. This would be the perfect time to send them an email and thank them for their application and let them know why it was denied.

The interview is the final draw. First impressions mean everything. The applicant should be dressed for success suitable for the interview. Does the employer really express that they are interested in the company or in just getting paid to do a job? Some concerns may be health related problems that may cause this person not to be able to perform well on the job. The applicant should be able to work the hours needed and be able to be to work on time. Does the applicant answer in a way that he or she comprehends the questions asked? Does he or she communicate well and present themselves professionally? The answers to these questions could be red flags that help spot problem employees.