8 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know
By Rieva Lesonsky
We’re taking a break for the holiday. Be back with Things on July 17.
1.—Are You Checking Email 24/7?
Somedays I feel I have to check email every five minutes. Regular contributor Matt Zajechowski of Digital Third Coast worked with Reachmail to show just how often Americans check their email—outside of regular working hours.
- 54% of Americans admit to dealing with more email each day both inside and outside the office than they did 3 years ago
- 75% check their work email on weekends and days off.
- 61% check their work email while on vacation.
- Only 25% say they’ve never sent a work email after 6pm. Men are more likely (62%) than women (46%) to send work emails after 9pm.
Look at the infographic below for more.
2—Attending a Conference? Don’t Squander the Opportunity
Guest post by Cheryl Hyatt, Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search
Conferences are valuable opportunities to expand your knowledge and network. Unfortunately, they are opportunities that are too often squandered because attendees arrive unprepared and are often overwhelmed by the expanse of opportunities and end up doing little or nothing. In an age of increasing accountability for resources, here’s how to make sure you or your employees form beneficial connections, not just a clutter of business cards in your briefcase:
Reach out to folks in advance. Do your homework. Who is speaking? What are the sessions and events? Tweet about your attendance. Send some emails to folks you know will be there. Reach out to attendees and presenters before they arrive for the best chance to get some face time. Having appointments set in advance will ensure progress on your goals for attending in the first place and help you organize your time at the conference.
Offer something of value. Relationships function on reciprocity. Individuals will be disposed to help you when you have helped them. Host a meetup. Volunteer for the conference. Through providing opportunities to others, they will see your leadership qualities and skills and be inclined to open a door for you as well.
Business cards: give and take. Most attendees know to bring plenty of cards to spread around, but if you only pass out your card, you give the decision about whether to continue contact to the other person. Make notes on the business cards you collect to remind yourself of any key details to jog your memory. You should always follow up with connections in the week after the conference. Connect on LinkedIn and include a personal message affirming how good it was to meet them.
Whether it’s an industry conference you look forward to annually, or a mandatory requirement for CEs, these tips will make the experience even more worthwhile.
3—Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone?
A new survey from Decluttr.com reveals just how addicted Americans are to their smartphones. The survey reveals:
- Men are four times more likely than women to use their smartphones during a wedding
- 67% of males, compared to just 13% of females, admit to checking their devices during a romantic night out
- Twice as many women than men would rather give up sex than give up their phones
- Smartphone owners look at their phones more when they’re with friends than during family time, but men do so more during either occasion
- 83% of men (compared to only 17% of women) say the worst part about not having their trusted smartphones with them is not being able to watch videos or stream movies and TV shows.
- Even if their phone had a cracked screen, 52% of men would put off getting it fixed because they can’t be without their phones.
- 43% of men and 56% of women say a digital detox would be beneficial.
Decluttr offers some tips for weaning yourself off your cell phone:
1. Gradually leave bigger gaps between checking your messages or social media posts. If you normally check every 15 minutes, make it once an hour, if every hour, leave it for 2-3 hours, etc. Build up to only checking two or three times a day. You can let friends/work colleagues know in advance that you’re going to be doing this and that if there’s an emergency where they need an urgent response from you, they can call you.
2. If you think you’ll get bored without your phone to turn to, think of ways you can fill your time instead. Read a book or listen to music when you’re travelling on public transport or waiting around. You could also make better use of your time learning a new skill or exercising.
3. In social situations, only use your phone if you’re sharing something with the people you’re with—looking up information or posting a social media post that includes your friends.
4. Don’t check your phone when you’re on a date, or with someone you’re meant to be spending one-to-one time with. Focus on whoever you are with.
- Be fully present and start to appreciate being in the ‘here and now’. Take notice of what’s going on around you, connecting with real people in the real world.
You can check out the full results here.
4—Marketing Through Farmers’ Markets
Farmers’ markets are becoming launch pads for many small businesses. If you want to know how you can sell your products at farmers markets, Catt Fields White, the CEO of San Diego Markets, and industry expert share some advice. She also launched the InTents Conference in March to share smart new ways to increase farmers’ and food makers’ income, grow their brand identities, bring their products to market and more.
Price: Farmers’ market shoppers are more interested in quality and knowing the source of their food than bargain hunting, so make sure your prices reflect the products’ value.
Displays: Draw your customer in at the farmer’s market by attracting them in the right way. Create an appealing display with a full table that tempts shoppers with abundance, and insures they don’t feel they’re choosing from leftovers. Tidiness counts, keep clutter off your table.
Promote organically: Stand up to keep shoppers at eye level and engage with them to offer directions, recipes and advice along with your product, building a loyal following organically.
Word of Mouth: Create interest by donating to local schools and fundraising events and letting neighbors spread the word about your product quality.
Engaging Social Media: Find your niche social media platform and promote your business by organically engaging with customers and showing that you care! Farm and food businesses are ideal for Instagram’s visual platform.
Attractive Marketing Collateral: A busy market provides plenty of traffic but also lots of distractions, so be sure your booth has eye-catching signage and your packaging keeps your products visible. Keep clever flyers or menus in stock for takeaways.
5—Small Business Owners are Confident
CNBC and SurveyMonkey announced the results of their first-ever CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. The quarterly survey aims to measure the health of the beating heart of the American economy and gather Main Street opinions on jobs, regulation, healthcare and other hot issues facing small businesses.
Key findings from the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey include:
- 25% of small business owners say taxes are the most critical issue facing their businesses.
- Other issues: regulation, customer demand and cost of employee health care all tied at 14%.
Most small business owners think policy changes will have a positive effect on their businesses over the next 12 months:
- 42% say changes in tax policy will have a positive effect; 24% say it will have a negative effect
- 38% say changes in regulations will have a positive effect; 26% say it will have a negative effect
- 27% say changes in trade policy will have a positive effect; 22% say it will have a negative effect
When it comes to job creation, 63% don’t plan to increase the number of full-time employees, while 27% expect to hire.
6—The Importance of Networking Important to Career Success
According to new LinkedIn global survey results, almost 80% of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success. Not only that, but 70% of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection. Despite the importance of networking, the survey revealed gaps in how professionals feel vs. their behavior and how they stay in touch with their network. Here’s what LinkedIn found:
Networking attitudes don’t match networking behaviors
- 38% globally find it hard to stay in touch with their network.
- 49% say it’s because they don’t have enough time.
- 79% agree professional networking is valuable for career progression, but only 48% keep in touch with their networks when things are going well in their career.
Tap your connections to find your way in
- 35% say a casual conversation on LinkedIn messaging has led to a new opportunity.
- What type of new opportunities? Business deals—25% of professionals have established a new business partnership through having a conversation on LinkedIn Messaging.
- 61% agree that regular online interaction increases their chances of leveraging that person to be a lead for jobs. So, consider sharing an article, asking a question, or reaching out if you’re planning a trip to their home town.
To help, LinkedIn just released new search features.
7—Student Debt Crisis
According to a poll from LendEDU:
- 5% of millennials say the U.S. student loan crisis poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than global warming
- 7%of millennials say it poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than North Korea
Check out the full report here.
8—Small Businesses Weigh in on Trump’s Proposed Budget
What do small businesses think about the proposed budget and healthcare plans currently being debated in Congress (note—the survey was taken before the Senate unveiled its healthcare solution)? Manta’s poll reveals:
- 45% of small business owners have read Trump’s full proposed budget. Of those who read it:
- 39% believe their businesses will be positively impacted by the budget cuts
- 31% aren’t sure what effect it will have on their businesses
- 38% say the proposed budget cuts to Medicaid will negatively impact them as an individual
- 56% believe the White House’s proposal to lower the tax rate on “pass-through” income will positively affect their businesses