16 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know
The 54th Annual Super Bowl kicks off Sunday, February 2nd. But, of course, everyone is buzzing about it now. Check out posts #1-3 to learn more.
1— Keep Your Team Productive During Super Bowl Week
Guest post by James Carroll, VP of Global Sales at TetraVX
Keep Your Team’s Head in the Game: More and more employees are requesting to work remotely—which could be a nice compromise for employees looking to stay at home the day after the Super Bowl. Tools like Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx Teams and unified communication platforms allow for virtual group collaboration, making it simple for anyone to work from any location and still feel connected to their workplace without having to be physically in it. By providing your employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, you’re limiting the impromptu ‘sick day’ and increasing the likelihood that employees will work through the day.
Use the Super Bowl as a Way to Engage Employees: Whether your company has one location or 40, the Super Bowl can be a way to engage employees throughout the entire organization and build a stronger sense of community. By utilizing workplace communication tools, businesses can randomly select teams throughout the organization and create employer-sponsored team challenges or polls to keep everyone alert. Creating excitement around the Super Bowl, both before and after the game can keep employees engaged with one another.
Be a Coach to Your Players: Whether remote or in the office, make sure to have management lead by example. Encourage managers to check in with their teams to see how their Super Bowl Sunday was. Also, make sure managers are readily accessible and their availability is clearly visible to your remote workers with the help of features like IM and phone presence.
2—Capitalizing on the Big Game Buzz
Guest post by Suhaib Zaheer, SVP and general manager of Bluehost
Social media will be the hub for big games conversations, but it’s important to always point back to an owned channel, like your website. Instagram and Facebook are notorious for outages during big moments, like Thanksgiving last year. Since social media sites are not user owned, SMBs should not completely rely on them for campaigns or moments like the Super Bowl. Below are a couple tips to leverage social media while also anticipating a crash.
- Use your blog or website as the origin of Super Bowl content and promotions. For example, a local restaurant should have big game specials on their website or in a blog post. SMBs shouldthen leverage social to promote those specials, linking back to the website for more information. If promotions are only published on social media, customers can not see them if the platform crashes.
- Experiment with live blogging the event and feeding that content into social media. For example, instead of only commenting on big game commercials on social, copy the commentary onto a live blog that is updated every time you see a new funny commercial. This enables the content to live on outside of and beyond the big game.
- Most conversations willtake place during the Super Bowl, but don’t forget that the next day can be just as important. Feature a recap of your big game party or rate your favorite commercials on your website and schedule the content to publish the following day. This gives social content a longer life on your website.
3—What the Internet Couldn’t Resist Talking About the Super Bowl
According to Hootsuite & competitive social insights partner, Brandwatch, this is the Super Bowl buzz:
Fan favorite? The Kansas City Chiefs have made their way to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1969, facing off against the San Francisco 49ers, who are set to make their first appearance in the game since 2013. The Kansas City Chiefs have been mentioned 249,000 times in conjunction with the words “Super Bowl” or #SuperBowlLIV this week. There are 106,000 mentions of the San Francisco 49ers over the same period.
Most of the people talking about the Super Bowl online are male sports fans from the U.S.
Social media thinks the Chiefs are going to win, though NFL Quarterback Joe Montana guarantees his former team is going to win. Spoiler alert: Montana has played for both teams.
4—What Are You Worried About?
Every small business owner experiences sleepless nights. SurePayroll just released its 2020 Small Business Worry Index, revealing what’s keeping owners of businesses with 20 or fewer employees up at night.
Small business owners are concerned about the future despite the strong economy.
- Almost a quarter of respondents anticipate being unable to make payroll at least once in the next year, leaving as many as 1 million Americans at risk of missing a paycheck.
- Business worries seep into small business owners’ personal lives. A significant number of respondents say personal relationships, physical and mental health, and their work-life have suffered as a result of work-related stress.
- Trouble with tariffs: 35% of respondents are concerned about how tariffs will affect their businesses in 2020. Additionally, respondents indicated uncertainty among political leadership and decision-making as some of their biggest worries heading into the next decade.
Other topics covered in the survey included the economy, taxes and regulation, cash flow management, technology and cybersecurity, and hiring.
5—Growth Priorities for Small Businesses
What are the top priorities for small business executives? A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll and sponsored by CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) explores the intersection of technology and talent in driving business success and reveals the top priorities for investment and growth.
37% plan to invest even more in their businesses during the next 12 months compared to the past 12 months, the survey reports. Cloud computing systems (52%), customer relationship management tools (48%) and cyber security/data privacy (47%) are key priorities for technology investments.
Earlier technology investments have already paid off for small businesses, with 42% crediting tech spending as a driver of growth over the past 12 months, along with providing exceptional customer service (60%) and offering new products (48%).
Most small business executives agree continuous technological investment is a business need (84%) and that it is critical in helping their business to attract and retain customers (79%).
Looking at the year ahead: For small businesses, the most important financial business needs over the next 12 months will be optimizing cash flow (43%) and increasing working capital (43%), highlighting the importance of high-quality financing services.
“Understanding these key insights and trends can help small businesses maintain a competitive edge and also drive growth,” says Ken Martin, managing director of CIT’s Small Business Solutions unit.
How talent meets technology: Small business leaders recognize that their workforce will play a major role in implementing technology investments and addressing the risks that may come with them. While 82% say their current workforce has the technology skills to keep pace with digital transformation, 69% also say businesses need to focus on hiring tech-savvy employees as relationship building becomes less important.
Security, privacy concerns in focus: Cybersecurity and data privacy are top of mind for small business executives, as 56% say the risk of security or data breaches are among the top three highest concerns when it comes to technological changes. Other concerns include not knowing how new technology will work with current tools or systems (41%) and not having enough capital to invest in the latest technology (32%).
Less than a third of small business executives are currently outsourcing financial aspects of their business, such as payroll (32%), credit protection (20%), talent acquisition (13%) and accounts receivables management (12%). However, as companies add more employees, it is increasingly likely that they will consider outsourcing these various services. Additionally, small businesses may also embrace a more virtual workplace and expect an increase in remote staff.
6—Business Health Overview
BizBuySell, an online marketplace for small businesses, recently released a report—Insight Report: 2019 Small Business Market: Uncertainty Creates Opportunity and Risk—that gives an overview of the 2019 health of small businesses.
In 2019, 9,746 closed sales were reported by brokers, a 5.5% decrease from the deals reported in 2018. While 2018 was a record-breaking year, there are many issues surrounding the market that could have caused hesitation from buyers and sellers alike in 2019. Business owner confidence dropped 6 points in 2019 according to BizBuySell’s Annual Confidence Index, largely due to political and economic uncertainty (most notably from the international tariffs).
However, when looking at an overall picture, it appears sellers are sacrificing value to avoid an uncertain future—and at prices much higher than in the past—while buyers take on increased value and risk.
- The median revenue of a sold business in 2019 was $567,000, up 7% from 2018’s $531,653
- The median sale price of a business sold in 2019 increased just $1,000 to $250,000 compared to 2018, while the asking price remained flat at $275,000
- Median cash flow increased 2% from 2018 and reached $122,506 overall
- While the median sale price of business sold in 2019 was $250,000, more than 1,300 transactions had an asking price of over $1 million
- Business owner confidence dropped 6 points in 2019 according to BizBuySell’s Annual Confidence Index
According to an opinion poll, a potential economic recession is the top concern for 31% of SMB owners, with rising minimum wage (19%), presidential elections results (18%) and tax regulations (13%) following. And 42% of small business owners claim that Chinese tariffs will increase their business costs. Of 42%, 64% plan to increase prices in order to stay afloat
7—4 Steps to Navigating HR & AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to disrupt industries—and HR is no exception. Apparently, while AI is seen as an essential component of the HR, the actual implementation of AI solutions is lagging. A report from Human Capital trends shows while 72% of HR and business leaders see the value in implementing AI, only 31% are prepared to address it.
The main concerns with AI include:
- Implementing AI would disrupt existing recruiting operations
- AI for recruiting would be difficult to integrate with an existing ATS and lead to challenges in data management
- AI would prove challenging to deploy into new job openings or client companies
Mike Pauletich, VP of Global Alliances and Partnerships at Mya Systems shares some steps you can take to navigate these issues and successfully implement AI into your HR process:
1—Have a very clear goal. Take a step back, think big picture, and ask yourself critical questions like which processes can be enhanced, are there any specific problems you’re trying to solve, and ultimately, is your organization truly ready for AI? Increased response time, personalized candidate experience, driving overall efficiency, saving time for recruiters, delivering a great experience for hiring managers – while adopting AI can accomplish all of these, it’s important to prioritize based on your company’s needs in order to select the right vendor.
2—Prepare your team. Communicate how incorporating new HR tech into your recruiting process, or other HR functions, can give your company a competitive edge. Thinking outside the box when hiring is the only way to find and hire quality candidates in the current talent shortage. Make the benefits clear, maintain honesty and transparency around the new technology, and outline the upcoming changes in the current workflow for a seamless adoption.
3—Do your research. With everyone claiming to offer AI-powered solutions, it can be easy to get lost in the noise. And adopting AI for HR is not a small decision, typically requiring multiple stakeholders and a lengthy evaluation phase. Pay attention to any red flags early on in the process – references that don’t relate to your business, poor communication, lacking details about how the technology works, and more.
4—Choose wisely. If you do it right, you’re buying a partnership rather than a product. Make sure you’re entering into an evolutionary relationship instead of focusing on one fixed output. Your company’s needs will change so there must be a commitment to grow and adapt together for a successful implementation and ongoing relationship with your AI partner.
8—Looking for the Ideal Job Candidate?
Let’s face it, the job market today favors the job seekers. They get to choose where they want to work, which is why attracting and retaining qualified employees remains a huge issue for small businesses.
- Companies lose as many as 89% of potential candidates due to prolonged screening process
- On average people are willing to spend 118 minutes preparing and submitting their application
- 55% of the candidates believe it should take between one to two weeks from the first interview to being offered the job. It really takes on average 38 days
- Over 90% of respondents identify salary as the most important factor influencing job choice while the company brand is considered quite irrelevant
9—New Resource Center for Small Business Owners
Yahoo Small Business (YSB) just officially launched the new Yahoo Small Business Resource Center. The Center provides existing and aspiring small business owners with advice, news, and trends to help them succeed at all stages of the entrepreneurial journey.
The Resource Center also streamlines YSB’s portfolio of small business products into one easy-to-navigate landing page, and includes helpful “how-to” guides for new YSB products such as Business Maker and Website Design Services.
The recently launched Business Maker is a one-stop-shop that takes customers on a guided journey to business success, with recommendations based on their industries, stages of growth and business goals. Through Business Maker, users can do everything from developing an online presence, legally incorporate their business, create a business plan, and leverage other industry-leading solution providers through YSB’s ecosystem of partners. Business Maker also includes YSB’s mobile point of sale (POS) solution, enabling customers to take multiple forms of payment (credit, debit and cash) anywhere and anytime. The POS solution features an intuitive user interface designed to enable efficiency and combined with the security and trust of PayPal’s payment processing capability, enables customers to easily manage their inventory/catalog, and perform checkout and easy returns. The app can be downloaded and run via Android and iOS.
You can also access YSB’s Website Design Service through the YSB Resource Center, where you can experts to design, build, and manage your professional website.
Plus, YSB also revealed its new logo.
10—Software Helps Increase Productivity
WorkForce Software®, a leading global provider of workforce management solutions, just announced a “breakthrough user experience in the cloud, available with the company’s integrated WorkForce Suite, comprised of time and attendance, forecasting and scheduling, absence management, and analytics modules.”
The WorkForce Suite’s new and innovative user experience leverages intelligent automation to deliver proactive notifications to managers and employees. Delivered as a seamless experience across desktop, smartphone, and tablet, the solution’s groundbreaking technology empowers users to take immediate action on items that require urgent attention, without the noise and distraction of less-pressing tasks. The WorkForce Suite also incorporates WalkMe™ technology to provide contextual assistance to users across all devices.
In addition to the new user experience, WorkForce Software’s latest release includes a scalable cloud platform that supports continuous innovation. With a growing catalog of modern APIs for easy integration with leading business systems, the WorkForce Suite accelerates time to value for maximum return on investment. The company’s newest release also supports expanded data access so customers can connect and correlate their workforce data with the business intelligence tools of their choice. Customers who use the WorkForce Suite’s demand-based scheduling capabilities can also enable dynamic scheduling views and multi-task shifts, further increasing productivity.
11—Payment Solution Drives Revenue
GRUBBRR, a leading technology company delivering ordering and fulfillment solutions through its self-ordering kiosk, is now integrated with payment innovator FreedomPay, a leading TransAtlantic consumer-centric commerce platform. Through this partnership, GRUBBRR will offer its customers an even more secure, fast, and convenient payment experience, while simultaneously bringing digital engagement to the point of purchase for a complete business automation platform application.
Together, the two technologies will streamline operations while ensuring the highest level of PCI compliance and payment acceptance. With FreedomPay’s PCI-validated P2PE Commerce Platform, GRUBBRR’s customers will have access to the latest in payment technologies, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and contactless EMV, at an accessible price point for both small businesses and large enterprises.
“Payments technology has greatly advanced and adapted over time, and so has GRUBBRR. Today, we’re bringing automation to businesses through a fully integrated platform, and this partnership with FreedomPay will help us bring an elevated solution that is sure to delight customers with an engaging and informative interface,” says Bhavin Asher, founder of GRUBBRR. “In addition to improved customer experience, this integration will act as an updated business tool guaranteed to drive revenue and provide our customers with everything needed to efficiently operate and manage their business, in real time.”
12—The Burden of Student Debt
According to a just-released report from LendEDU, 62% of student loan borrowers would give up their 2020 vote if it meant their student loan debt was completely forgiven, while 68% would give up social media for five years.
- 30% would enlist to fight in a hypothetical World War 3 if it meant their student loan debt was completely forgiven
- 60% would give up all streaming services for life
- 52% would give up all payment methods besides cash for life
- 49% would give up being vegan or have to become vegan for life
- Only 17% would give up hot showers for the next 25 years, the lowest percentage in the report
15—Impact of Employee Email
Sigstr, a SaaS platform that turns a company’s employee email into a B2B marketing and analytics channel released a new report, Total Economic Impact of Employee Email as a Marketing Channel. The report provides a comprehensive evaluation of professional staffing services firm Kforce’s use of employee email as a marketing driver.
The report focuses on:
- How Kforce turned their high volume of employee email into a new marketing channel, all while solving a brand consistency pain point
- How Kforce is using this channel for recruitment, brand awareness, content and philanthropy
- The total economic impact Kforce has achieved with this new recruitment and advertising channel
16—Best Time to Shower?
- Nearly 3 in 4 people shower in the morning to feel fresh for work, while 65% shower twice daily for that reason
- 67% of those who prefer hot showers are more likely than those who take cold showers to be productive as soon as they get to work
- Those who take morning showers are the most satisfied with their overall life (78%), health (77%), and career (67%)