business

14 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky

 

1—Happy Birthday App Store

Tomorrow (July 10) is the 10th birthday of Apple’s App store. Google Play also turns 10 this year (in October). To mark the occasion Campaigner has created a timeline. Check it out below.

Use How Email Evolved Alongside Mobile

2—The Future of Business Apps

Speaking of apps, according to InfoStreet, many small businesses currently use between 5-15 business applications to perform day-to-day operations. However, there is no one system available to manage them all.

Check out the infographic below to find out how to better manage your apps.

 

3—Lending Program for U.S. Military Veteran Entrepreneurs

Last month Bank of America announced a $20 million Veteran Entrepreneur Lending Program to connect U.S. military veteran business owners with affordable capital to help kick-start and grow their businesses.

“Helping our veterans translate their skills and become entrepreneurs driving the U.S. economy is one of the ways Bank of America is thanking them for their service,” said Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan.

Loans will be administered through participating community development financial institutions (CDFIs)—nonprofit institutions with expertise in lending to small businesses and an understanding of local circumstances, including economic development and job creation opportunities. In addition to deploying capital, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation is providing $1.3 million in grants over two years to help CDFIs manage operating costs.

Each year, more than 200,000 U.S. service members return to civilian life, including 10 percent with a desire to own a business, creating a pipeline of potential borrowers. Additionally, there are more than 2.5 million businesses in the U.S. that are majority-owned by veterans. Of those, more than 440,000 veteran-owned businesses have employees1, which helps drive economic growth and job creation in local communities. The lending program will kick off in seven U.S. states with the following CDFIs administering the loans and offering an interest rate reduction on loans for qualifying borrowers:

Prior to receiving a loan, borrowers will participate in a two-month training program led by learning partners—IVMF at the Syracuse University, Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at Oklahoma State University, and VETToCEO by Veterans for Veterans – offering technical assistance and other resources to help borrowers stay on a path of success and grow their businesses.

 

4—Online Lending Empowers Small Businesses to Grow

A recent report on small business lending in the U.S., The Economic Benefits of Online Lending to Small Businesses and the U.S. Economy from NDP Analytics, reveals that some of the nation’s largest “FinTech” small business lending platforms funded nearly $10 billion in online loans from 2015 to 2017, generating $37.7 billion in gross output, creating 358,911 jobs and $12.6 billion in wages in U.S. communities. This upsurge in lending from online small business lenders is filling a critical financing gap for small businesses across industries, reports the study, which offers an in-depth look at the economic impact of online small business lending. According to the study, the dollar amount of loans provided by just five leading online small business lenders (including Kabbage, OnDeck and Lendio) increased by 50% in three years, from $2.6 billion in 2015 to $3.9 billion in 2017.

The study also shows 24% of small business borrowers are microbusinesses with less than $100,000 in annual sales and two-thirds have less than $500,000 in annual sales. Overall, 42% of small businesses borrowed between $10,000 and $50,000 from five online small business lenders; the average loan was $55,498.

Small businesses are vital to local economies: The research shows, on average, for every $1 lent to small businesses, sales of the small business borrowers increased by $2.31, creating $3.79 in gross output in local communities across the country.

Online lending fills the financing gap for small businesses: Small businesses, from local restaurants to small manufacturers, home builders and doctors, provide everyday goods and services and employ over half of the private-sector workers in the United States.  Small businesses rely heavily on access to capital, with nearly three-quarters of small business owners seeking small loans to start, operate, or expand their businesses.

“Online lending complements, rather than replaces, traditional funding sources,” said Jason Oxman, CEO of ETA, one of the sponsors of the study. “Advanced technology enables online small business lenders to gather information and assess credit risks quickly to provide critical funding for small businesses. Online small business lenders provide key options and benefits to American small business owners in the highly competitive lending marketplace.”

 

5—Getting Money Round the Clock

One of the lenders mentioned in the blurb above, Kabbage, Inc., reports its 145,000 small business customers accessed more than 300,000 loans during non-banking hours, reaching a record total of more than $1 billion in funding. In total, Kabbage has now provided access to more than $5 billion in funding. The non-banking hour analysis illustrates how fully automated lending solutions, like the ones Kabbage offers, remove the age-old hurdle of normal business hours by offering companies 24/7 access to working capital online.

“The findings illuminate the true around-the-clock nature of business owners,” says Kabbage CEO, Rob Frohwein. “While we wish small business owners could reclaim their nights and weekends, we built Kabbage to allow business owners to access funds on schedules convenient to them, not us.”

After-hours lending on the rise: The total number of dollars accessed outside of typical banking hours increased nearly 6,000% between 2011 and 2018. This shows how much business owners rely on the convenience of managing cash flow needs any time of day, particularly outside of open business hours for most banks. Non-banking hours in this analysis represents the local time between 6 pm and 6 am on the weekdays, and the full 48 hours over the weekends.

Weekday vs. weekend lending: 64% of after-hour lending was accessed during the work week, between 6 pm and 6 am, totaling $754 million. The remaining 36% occurred on weekends, totaling $429 million. The data is a nod to the dedication of business owners as more than one-third extend their work weeks to handle cash flow needs even on the weekends.

 

6—B2B Buyer Expectations

Avionos recently released a report uncovering current purchasing habits, preferences and expectations of today’s B2B buyers.

Key findings include:

  • More B2B customers are shopping online than a year ago: When reflecting on past purchasing habits, 89% of procurement officers  say they make more purchases online today compared to just a year ago.
  • Self-service offerings are critical in the selection of B2B suppliers: 97% of procurement officers consider a supplier’s online customer portal offerings a critical factor when selecting a supplier.
  • Digital content builds customer confidence: 54% of B2B customers feel more confident about their online purchases if the supplier offers detailed product content; however, 43% of B2B customers cite a lack of accurate content as the biggest pain point of their online buying experiences.
  • B2B organizations need to think beyond their brand site: Since 78% of B2B buyers begin their product discovery on either Amazon or Google, organizations need to take a holistic approach to their digital brand to create a competitive edge.

 

7—Are You Anticipating Growth in 2018?

According to the 2018 Small Business Survey conducted by TD Bank, expansion is on the agenda for small business owners in 2018, with more than half anticipating revenue growth and 22% planning to hire staff, compare to last year when 46% of business owners expected to increase revenue and just 9% had plans to hire.

Take a look at the infographic below and see what small business owners are expecting for the second half of 2018.

 

8—The Future of Work

Braidio, an online and mobile-enabled social learning platform, recently released the findings from its first ever survey on the future of work. The survey exposed the realities of American office workers’ preferences for methods of learning, technologies they think will have the greatest impact in the next five years, and their preferences in collaborating with others.

Key findings include:

American office workers prefer collaboration: 81% of respondents think peer collaboration helps their productivity, and 48% say that’s their preferred method of learning at work. While this is the preferred method of learning for the majority of respondents, the survey found that knowledge isn’t being shared and captured as effectively as possible.

The decentralized workforce: 58% of workers surveyed expect the workplace to be more isolated in the future (i.e., they will be able to work from home), yet still put peer collaboration as a major priority for learning and for productivity (81%).

Video content is king: 71% of workers 55+ rely on video content to learn new skills, a close second to the 76% of their 18-24 year old counterparts.

Older employees leaking knowledge: Only 35% of employees share critical knowledge in any formal system. It gets worse as employees get older, with only 26% of those 45-54 and 23% of those 55+ sharing those learnings with their peers

Gender pay disparity: 66% of males say they have received a raise or promotion because they completed additional training on the job, compared to only 47% of females.

Active workflow listening: Only 35% of workers are aware the power of active workflow listening is available to deliver a solution to you when you need it in your daily workflow.

 

9—Can Hand Gestures Get People to Listen to You?

Yes, they can. Check out this informative infographic from PoundPlace to learn how you can get people to listen to what you’re saying.

 

10—Small Business Snapshot

A recent study from BizBuySell reveals some interesting stats and common practices of small business owners. The report shows:

Becoming a business owner (Top 3 answers)

  1. Started business from scratch – 64%
  2. Purchased an established business – 21%
  3. Business was passed down from relative – 4%

Most challenging part of purchasing a business (Top 3 answers):

  1. Finding the right business – 40%
  2. Understanding how much the business should be valued at – 23%
  3. Negotiating the price with the previous owner – 12%

Small business marketing usage rates

  • Social Media – 62%
  • Email – 50%
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – 27%
  • Events – 26%
  • Print Advertising – 26%
  • Print Brochures – 24%
  • Direct Mail – 24%
  • Paid (PPC, Display Ads) – 19%
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – 16%
  • Newsletter – 15%
  • Content (Blogs, Whitepapers, etc.) – 15%
  • None of the Above – 19%

Other highlights:

  • Current owners plan to stay. 68% of current owners DO NOT plan to sell their business in the next 2 years.
  • Eyes on the American Dream. While today’s small business owners are still mostly white men 40-59 years old, the report found the next generation of prospective owners are a more diverse group. In fact, 64% of surveyed potential buyers, who are not natural citizens, are first-generation immigrants.

 

Quick Takes

11—Get More Done—Faster

The folks at Evernote and Upwork have teamed up to create a really useful ebook filled with tips, tools and resources to help you scale your small business. You’ll learn:

  • 6 steps to choosing the right tools for your small business
  • 4 ways to protect company data when using collaboration tools (nearly 2/3 of cyberattacks are directed at small businesses because they typically have less security infrastructure than large companies)
  • The top 5 fastest growing freelance skills
  • How to standardize your process to maintain efficiency, work quality, and accountability

Get your free copy here.

 

12—Digital Marketer Salary Survey Results

Curious what the going rates are for digital marketers? Answers are in this Digital Marketer Salary Survey from digital marketing career and leadership coach Hafiz Muhammad Ali.

 

Cool Tools

13—Directory Assistance

Google uses citations to your business on other websites (like Yelp or TripAdvisor) to rank the relative importance of your business and determine its place in SERPs. The more accurate and consistent your business listings are, the higher it will rank in the Google search results. Ensuring consistency in your listings on so many different sites is a painstaking task, but it’s not impossible. Instead of tackling keeping your listings current & accurate yourself, it’s often smarter to outsource it.

Synup can help. It is a location intelligence tool that helps businesses with local marketing, discovery, and engagement. Synup helps businesses market themselves better online with a single-sign-on dashboard that unifies their entire online presence in one place.

Synup has now entered Australia, New Zealand and India, where they’re offering Synup Lite, so you can learn to use the product.

 

14—Dell Deals

Starting today Dell is offering some great deals on computers and other tech tools.  Remember, updating your hardware can make you and your staff more productive and efficient.

Check out the Dell Black Friday in July and Cyber Week deals below.

Dell’s Black Friday / Cyber Week in July deals & doorbusters

  • Black Friday in July deals run from July 2-16, with doorbusters running from July 9-13
  • Cyber Week in July deals run from July 16-23, with doorbusters running from July 16-20

Top Dell consumer PC deals: Deals available here.

  • Dell Inspiron 11 3000 – $129.99 (Save $70)
    • Doorbuster starts July 10, 11:00 am ET
  • Dell Inspiron 14 3000 – $179.99 (Save $50)
    • Available July 2, 6:59 am ET through July 16, 8:00 am ET
  • Dell Inspiron Small Desktop – $249.99 (Save $160)
    • Doorbuster starts July 10, 11:00 am ET
  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 – $479.99 (Save $200)
    • Doorbuster July 12, 11:00 am ET
  • Dell XPS 13 – $999.99 (Save $100)
    • Available July 2, 6:59 am ET through July 16, 8:00 am ET
  • XPS Tower – $999.99 (Save $100)
    • Available July 2, 6:59 am ET through July 16, 8:00 am ET

Top small business deals: Deals available here.

  • Dell Vostro 15 5000 Laptop – $679 (Save $419.57)
    • Available July 2, 8:00 am through July 16, 8:00 am ET
  • Latitude 3590 – $949 (Save $578.14)
    • Available July 5, 8:00 am through July 16, 8:00 am ET
  • Dell OptiPlex 3050 Small Form Factor – $569 (Save $386.71)
    • Doorbuster starts July 9, 11:00 am ET 
  • Dell PowerEdge T30 Tower Server – $299 (Save $438)
    • Doorbuster starts July 12, 11:00 am ET
  • Dell 23 Monitor – P2317H – $179.99 (Save $80)
    • Doorbuster starts July 11, 11:00 am ET
  • Dell Vostro Desktop – $439 (Save $316.71)
    • Doorbuster starts July 18, 11:00 am ET

Top electronics & accessories deals: Deals available here.

  • Jaybird Freedom Bluetooth Wireless Earphones – $49.99 (Save $100)
    • Available July 2, 6:59 am ET through July 16, 8:00 am ET
  • Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Bluetooth Speaker – $59.99 (Save $120)
    • Doorbuster starts July 10, 11:00 am ET
  • Dell 22 Monitor – S2218H – $99.99 (Save $100)
    • Doorbuster starts July 11, 11:00 am ET
  • Dell 24 Monitor – SE2417HG – $109.99 (Save $100)
    • Doorbuster starts July 9, 11:00 am ET
  • Dell 27 Monitor – SE2717H – $169.99 (Save $80)
    • Available July 2, 6:59 am ET through July 16, 8:00 am ET

If you’re shopping for gaming computers, deals are available here.

 

Business stock photo by mavo/Shutterstock