- Front Page
- Biz Tools
The Franchise Owner's most trusted news source
As the U.S. prepares for a change in leadership, a few major economic changes are taking place. The potential repeal of Obamacare could impact small business owners and self-employed individuals more than others. The marijuana industry has some concerns about Jeff Sessions’ appointment as Attorney General. And the number of businesses being bought and sold has reached an all time high.
You can read about those changes and more below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.Economy 28 Percent of Obamacare Customers are Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs
If Obamacare is repealed without a replacement, two groups are likely to be upset, small business owners and more specifically the self-employed or those in the gig economy. Coincidentally, those people may be among voters who helped elect Donald Trump — an outspoken advocate of repeal — into office.Number of Small Businesses Bought and Sold Hits All Time High, BizBuySell Reports
If you have ever thought of buying or selling a small business or franchise, now is a good time to do so. The number of small businesses bought and sold has continued to rise steadily. According BizBuySell.com’s Q4 2016 Insight Report, small business transactions reached record highs in 2016, exceeding 2015’s annual totals by 8.6 percent and 2014’s previous high by 4.Marijuana Industry Reacts to Trump Attorney General Appointment
President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to appoint U.S, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as attorney general has kicked up a storm in the cannabis industry. Many fear Sessions, a vocal opponent of marijuana, will come down hard on the business, even if they complied with their state laws.Yelp Report: Is This the Year of Millennial and Minority-owned Businesses?
Millennials and minority-owned businesses are most optimistic about 2017, according to a new survey by Yelp (NYSE: YELP). Millennial and Minority Owned Business Statistics Yelp’s second Small Business Pulse survey reveals millennials expect 69 percent more revenue growth than their older counterparts for 2017. Minority-owned businesses are also feeling positive about their growth.Employment Could Businesses Eventually Face Overtime, Flexibility Backlash?
Advancements in technology and connectivity have undeniably swept in a new golden era for remote working. Last year, 38 percent of Americans were permitted to work from home at least one day a week (PDF) — and almost half of all professionals considered leaving their jobs due to a lack of flexibility.Management Food Pantries Are Getting Smaller to Better Serve Communities (Watch)
Today’s food pantries are getting a makeover. In past years, communities would rely on local charity organizations and churches to collect food and other needed goods and then wait for families in need to ask for help. But there are some issues with that process. For one, even those who have genuine needs aren’t always willing to go out of their way to ask for help.Retail Trends Coffee Prices Rise: Will Your Business Be Affected?
Consumers are bracing for impact after the company behind some of America’s most popular coffee brands announced plans to increase prices by an average of 6 percent. Folgers, Café Bustelo and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee will all be affected by global roaster and distributor J.M. Smucker, which blamed the imminent price hikes on “sustained increases in green coffee costs”.Small Biz Spotlight Spotlight: #getfried Fry Cafe Makes French Fries a Main Course
When you think of French fries, you probably picture them next to a hamburger or other dish. But now, fries can actually stand on their own as a main course thanks to #getfried Fry Cafe. Read more about this new spin on fries and the business behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Offers french fries with a twist.Small Business Operations Discord Offers Potential Business Collaboration Features — at No Cost!
Even though Discord was created to give gamers a highly-secure all-in-one voice and text chat app for free, it can easily be applied for business use to enable collaboration. Setting up Discord, the Free Collaboration Tool In as little as 10 seconds, you can set up Discord if you choose to run it on your browser.Boxed Offers Bulk Shopping Online for Businesses
Cutting out the time it takes to actually go and buy your business supplies hasn’t been a reality until recently. But ordering your supplies from your PC or smartphone through a service called Boxed, can give you back hours you can devote to making your company better.Technology Trends High Tech Entrepreneurs, Take Note of This New Heart Device (Watch)
How do you treat a failing heart? That’s a complicated question, and one that doctors and scientists have worked tirelessly to answer for years. But a new innovation takes a unique approach that actually makes a lot of sense — mimicking an actual working human heart.More Consumers Can Soon Try Grocery Delivery From Amazon (Watch)
Grocery delivery is a growing trend in markets around the U.S. But some of those who could most benefit from getting their groceries delivered, like those living in food deserts, can’t afford it. That’s about to change in a few select communities though.Paris Wants to Mix Old and New With Eiffel Tower Upgrades (Watch)
The most recognizable landmark in Paris may be getting a makeover. The Eiffel Tower has been around since the late 1800’s. And while it’s still an iconic building, city officials in Paris feel that it could use a few updates. The proposed changes would include adding security measures, improving the flow of tourists, upgrading elevators, paint, lights and more.SimpliSafe Home Security Service May Also Provide Small Business Solution
Securing the place we live and work in used to be a task best left for professional, but like almost every other industry, digital technology is also democratizing security. SimpliSafe Home Security lets you install a wireless security system with all the bells and whistles, without needing an expert and paying an arm and a leg for it.Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network
There was heavy snowfall in and around Seattle for the first time in years, but the weather-watch didn’t stop 50-plus attendees and 10-plus speakers from engaging in Microsoft Partner Network’s 100 Days to Cloud workshop.Why This Private Business is Heading to the Moon (Watch)
For the first time ever, a private company is heading to the moon. Moon Express got the approval from the U.S. government last year. And it recently raised enough money to make the trip. The company’s goal is ultimately to mine the moon for resources. But that could be more easily said than done.WordPress 4.7 Reaches 10 Million Downloads, Releases New Security and Maintenance Update
Just a little over a month after its release, WordPress version 4.7 has been downloaded over 10 million times, according to the official WordPress.org blog. WordPress Version 4.7 was released to the public on December 6, 2016.
Trump Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Obamacare Repeal Could Impact Self-Employed, Buying and Selling of Small Businesses Up" was first published on Small Business Trends
It will soon cost more to send that check in the mail — or that vintage ash tray you just sold on eBay for that matter.
A new increase in United States Postal Service mailing and shipping rates goes into affect January 22, 2016. So, if you have any last minute packages to ship and would like to save some money, now would be a good time.2017 Postage Rate Increases Go Into Effect Soon
The new USPS increases announced in October 2016 include a two cent bump in the cost of a First Class Mail Forever Stamp — the first such increase since January 2014.
The increase doesn’t include changes for Postcards, letters being sent to international destinations or additional ounces for letters, the USPS explained in an October release.
The prices for First Class Mail are as follows:
Letters (1 oz.) 47 cents 49 cents
Letters additional ounces 21 cents 21 cents
Letters to international destinations $1.15 $1.15
Postcards 34 cents 34 cents
USPS Shipping Services will see a somewhat more dramatic increase.In another release from October 2016, USPS announced an average increase of 3.9 percent for its Shipping Services.
The announcement further outlines a 3.9 percent hike in Priority Mail and 3.3 percent boost in Priority Mail Retail prices.
Here’s a more detailed look at how the rates for USPS Shipping Services in 2017 will break down:
Small flat-rate box $6.80 $7.15
Medium flat-rate box 13.45 13.60
Large flat-rate box 18.75 18.85
Large APO/FPO flat-rate box 16.75 17.35
Regular flat-rate envelope 6.45 6.65
Legal flat-rate envelope 6.45 6.95
Padded flat-rate envelope 6.80 7.20
The USPS quickly points out there is no increase for First-Class Package International Service, Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International.
The release also insists increases don’t won’t raise average rates above $5 per shipment across all products.
That may be. But certainly the increase introduces one more cost for small businesses who routinely use the service to consider when evaluating other options.
Post Office Photo via Shutterstock
TOMSK, Russia-Outside the new McDonald's on Red Army Street in the Siberian town of Tomsk, a billboard throws down a challenge: "KFC. Opening soon."
Often though, it’s big businesses that are plucking the best talent away from small businesses. It’s them that typically has the capital to pay a higher salary and the resources to offer better benefits packages.
So, if your small business currently has some great talent on board and their help is invaluable, what are you doing to keep them in the fold? And if you’re looking to hire someone new to the team, what can you do to incentivize them to say yes to your offer?
If you’re like a lot of other small businesses, offering more money may not be an option. But there are other non-monetary benefits that could speak to a prospective candidate you just can’t let get away.
Tell us what your small business is doing to keep top talent in this week’s poll question and feel free to share your stories in the Comments section below.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Handshake Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "What Is Your Best Incentive — Besides Money — For Keeping Great Employees? [POLL]" was first published on Small Business Trends
Big banks have always been averse to risk. They also tend to view small and medium-sized businesses as high-risk, choosing to restrict investment, in terms of both lending and services, for the SMB market. A 2015 credit survey by the Federal Reserve found that smaller institutions were 18 percent more likely to approve a small business loan than big banks, while SMBs that did work with big banks reported an uninspiring 51 percent satisfaction rating.
While banks are not always helpful to SMBs, there are other options for the services they deliver. The good news for SMBs is that everything from small business loans to payments, payroll to point of point of sale suddenly has competition in the form of fintech. Fintech is creating competition in a financial services market which would have seemed highly inhospitable to budding providers just a few years ago. Some fintech companies are thriving providing specialized, effective services, from lending to payments and everything else SMBs need to thrive.Fintech Trends Competition Benefits Many
Some of the results are stunning, with fintech companies that were themselves small businesses rapidly expanding into the service vacuum left by big banks. Companies shaking up the SMB lending market include Kabbage, which has processed over $1.6 billion in SMB loans, and Lendio, which secured $20 million in funding in October. Sweden-based payments provider Trustly is processing transactions at an annualized run-rate of over €3.5 billion.
Clearly, their market is large, and investors see continued growth. So who are their customers? Trustly’s Chief Commercial Officer, Johan Nord, sees them as regular SMEs, with an appetite for growth, that want a a cost-effective, easy, and effective system for payments.
“Trustly’s technology allows SMEs to expand from one country throughout Europe at no extra cost, effectively making them pan-European,” Nord says. “It is all managed through one agreement for all markets, thereby reducing administrative costs. Since Trustly manages the entire payment process, it enables instant and painless refunds for merchants. It affords SMEs other functions too, such as enabling payments to be delayed until certain criteria have been met or splitting payments between different providers in the value chain.”
For the most part, fintech companies have not not fought the big banks for their traditional lines of business, like big business credit, and residential mortgages, but there have been fintech entrants even to those markets, in addition to those supplying under-served or newer markets like eCommerce.
Competition from fintech not only increases the availability of financial services, it can also promote lower prices, and create new services through tailoring or packaging for specific markets, as well as innovation. Fintech can also deliver other benefits, like speed, security, and convenience.What Fintech Brings to the Table
Applying technology to financial industry challenges often means using innovations in encryption and other areas of security, or algorithms which help analyze opportunity and risk.
Some of the specific benefits of fintech vary between different financial services, and some are more or less common to the type. Technology can lower barriers and costs, and enable new or different service models, including tailored solutions.
Just in lending, social lending and algorithmic credit assessment have increased availability for small and medium-sized businesses. New models of financing are also enabled by fintech.
Peer-to-peer lending platforms lower the scale barrier that has blocked many SMBs around the world. Companies like US-based Funding Circle or Prosper Marketplace have facilitated tens of thousands of peer-to-peer business loans. SMBs are benefiting not only from access to financing, but in some cases from superior rates, spurred by both the removal of intermediaries and competition for early market share.
In payments, fintech is deeply connected to ecommerce and international commerce, enabling cross-border sales without creating major challenges related to transaction speed or currency conversion. By enabling ecommerce for SMBs, fintech holds the key to rapid growth for companies slowed only by the size of their local market. A company successfully serving a local niche may simply repeat that success in numerous similar markets in different locations if it can manage to take payment and deliver the product or service from a distance.Importance of Business Services Procurement to Profitability
For many small and medium-sized business owners, the same kinds of scale issues that make borrowing harder also present cost challenges. There are very few opportunities for SMBs to cut costs without sacrificing the quality of core products or services. Getting a slightly better rate, or a slightly more efficient service, can be the difference between good margins and no margins.
Savings can be found in competitive areas of the business services market, and in emerging services that do something in a new, more efficient way. While fintech has increased direct competition with the big banks face in a number of services, fintech can also reduce the number of steps in a process, as Trustly does by providing a bridge directly between customer’s banks, and the merchants they want to pay.
“For SMEs new Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs), like Trustly, offer the efficiencies that comes with new and innovative electronic payment solutions. Trustly’s service enables consumers to pay for goods and services online directly from their bank accounts, without the need for middlemen such as a credit or debit card, with bank level security to and from anywhere in Europe. The product is free for consumers, and has the added safety feature of not storing any of your valuable details, and for SMEs, such as e-merchants, it eliminates risk and fraud issues. The Trustly user interface can be integrated into the merchant’s web page and visiting consumers can pay from their local bank using their traditional login details, on any device.”
Those efficiencies, from avoided fees to middlemen to fraud reduction, all save businesses money.
Since all of the money saved in business expenses is either added to the bottom line or redirected into funding other areas, finding ways to receive the same or better business services for less money is a huge opportunity. At this point in the development of the market, SMBs are positioned to join the front line, benefiting from that opportunity, with fintech.
With a little extra time to shop around, you can take advantage of new and improved market for financial services.
– For SMEs new Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs), like Trustly, offer the efficiencies that comes with new and innovative electronic payment solutions. Trustly’s service enables consumers to pay for goods and services online directly from their bank accounts, without the need for middlemen such as a credit or debit card, with bank level security to and from anywhere in Europe. The product is free for consumers, and has the added safety feature of not storing any of your valuable details, and for SMEs, such as e-merchants, it eliminates risk and fraud issues. The Trustly user interface can be integrated into the merchant’s web page and visiting consumers can pay from their local bank using their traditional login details, on any device.
– Trustly’s technology allows SMEs to expand from one country throughout Europe at no extra cost, effectively making them pan-European. It is all managed through one agreement for all markets, thereby reducing administrative costs. Since Trustly manages the entire payment process, it enables instant and painless refunds for merchants. It affords SMEs other functions too, such as enabling payments to be delayed until certain criteria have been met or splitting payments between different providers in the value chain.
Fintech Photo via Shutterstock
Seventy percent of today’s small online B2B businesses say they have lost a deal because potential customers had trouble ordering on their websites. And more specifically 35 percent blame their site’s inability to support promotional discounts or promotions.
The results are highlights of CloudCraze’s 2017 B2B Digital Commerce Imperative study.
CloudCraze, a B2B/B2C cross-channel eCommerce solution native on Salesforce (NYSE:CRM), surveyed nearly 200 IT and marketing professionals with an online presence about the challenges and opportunities they face serving customers across channels.
The company wanted to learn how brands that have already made the move online can drive greater sales through digital.2017 B2B Ecommerce Trends
In general, CloudCraze’s study noted that a gap has emerged between the commerce expectations of B2B buyers and what brands are able to provide.
“Many [B2B businesses] struggle to meet the complex needs of their buyers due to a reliance on inflexible, outdated commerce systems,” wrote CloudCraze in its report. As a result, 31 percent say they’ve missed out on at least $2 million in sales.
Another notable finding was that business buyers’ expectations center around convenience. This is not entirely surprising. Most B2B customers demand mobile access to their commerce platform (55 percent), convenient payment processes (52 percent) and advanced payment features (50 percent).
But the study also unearthed some interesting data about B2C companies as well in its surveying.
When asked what would solve their customers’ pain points, B2C businesses said payment management was the first priority, with 26 percent ranking it highest on their list. Omnichannel account engagement came in second at 24 percent and storefront management third at 23 percent.
CloudCraze also surveyed 197 B2B and B2C businesses in September 2016. Download the full report for more industry insights on B2B and B2C customer expectations and business readiness in 2017.
This article, "70 Percent of B2Bs Have Lost Sales to Online Ordering Issues, Report Says" was first published on Small Business Trends