When it comes to small business in the United States, more women are running the show.
On Wednesday, the National Women’s Business Council released an analysis of preliminary Census data which showed there were nearly 10 million women-owned small businesses in the U.S. in 2012, a 27.5% increase from 2007. (The Census defines a woman-owned business as one where a woman owns 51% or more of the business equity or stock).
While men still own more businesses than women, women-owned businesses grew at a rate of four times that of male-owned businesses. In 2012, men owned nearly 15 million businesses.
Overall, women-owned businesses earned a total of $1.6 trillion between 2007 and 2012 and the vast majority (89.4%) were run by sole proprietors, meaning the only employee was the owner.
The report, which pulled data from the Census’s Survey of Small Business Owners, also highlighted major increases in small business ownership among women of color, particularly black and Hispanic women.
Signing up with a credit card processor is a big step for small businesses. It allows small business owners to accept more forms of payment, which in turn drives revenue by making it easier and more appealing for customers to shop in the store. Before signing an agreement with a credit card merchant service processor, however, it is important to get all of your questions answered so that you know you are putting your business in the best position moving forward.
Start by inquiring about and understanding any contract requirements, as well as any processing rates as they relate to various types of cards. Get these rates for all cards, including corporate and rewards cards, in writing, so there are no surprise increases down the road. In addition, talk to your processor about American Express transactions, as well as the procedures for fee deductions from your account and if they offer next day funding. Finally, research a potential processor and consult other small businesses about their merchant solutions so you do not get stuck in a situation that does more harm than good.
A marketing plan may not be at the top of every new business owner’s to-do list, but it should be. While a business plan helps map the direction for your company, a marketing plan helps your company understand how to get there by detailing important steps on the road to creating customer relationships.
“The single most important thing for a small business to include in its marketing plan is a very clear understanding of its customers and its competitors,” said Robert Thomas, professor of marketing at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
Though a marketing plan can be formal or informal, at a minimum it describes who your customers are, where they get information, and how you are going to reach them. Thomas said the development of a marketing plan requires four specific tasks:
The past few years have seen an opportunistic and favorable business environment and it looks like thankfully it is poised to continue.
Here are the advantages of being a small business owner … now.
In no other time has technology made it easier for us to do business, communicate and grow on such an efficient and far reaching scale. The Web, email marketing, social media, plug-ins and apps allow us to organize and focus communication. and to help people in ways that save us time and energy and improve efficiency.
The cloud offers front end management of tasks, while many small service companies still juggle paper spreadsheets and calendars to stay organized.
We’ve seen, and run, plenty of stories about which cities are the best to start and build a business. But how about the employees? What are the best cities in which to work at a small business?
WalletHub recently crunched those numbers, using a combination of factors meant to represent the environment for small businesses as well as a region’s overall economic environment. Overall, the South and West seem to host more businesses that are hospitable to their employees, while cities in the Northeast generally don’t appear in the rankings until much further down. At number 10, Boston was the highest-ranked city in the Northeast, well below Austin, Omaha, and Raleigh. San Francisco came in 23rd; San Jose was number 34.
The metro areas that ranked the best for their small business economic environments were:
It’s safe to say that to a large extent the success of a business depends on the talents involved in running its operations. In order for your small organization to expand, you’ll need both strong, responsible workers and individual talents that will help you push your business offer into the next level. Here are 5 smart tips on how to attract talented employees to a small business.
- Offer a wider responsibility scope
In smaller companies, employees wear many hats and have much more influence over company policies. And that’s something that should serve as your main selling point – talented employees are ambitious and when choosing between two opportunities, they’ll pick the one that offers a wider scope of responsibility.
When talking to prospective employees, make your expectations clear and delineate their daily tasks and long-term goals. If you spot a real talent, try to get to know this person to learn what their background and career goals are – only then you’ll know how to make an offer that is too good to be true.
Cybersecurity is in the news lately, with President Obama recently proposing legislation that would set federal standards for notifying consumers about data breaches. Consumers aren’t the only ones worried about a cyber attack: Small business owners, too, are concerned, says a recent report from the National Small Business Association (NSBA).
More than nine out of 10 small business owners in the study cited cybersecurity as a concern. This is not an unfounded fear: Half of them report they’ve already suffered a cyber attack, with 61 percent of those attacks taking place in the last 12 months.
What happened to these entrepreneurs as a result of the attack? A service interruption was the most common problem, followed by the business website going down. In addition, 19 percent had either their business credit cards or bank account hacked.
The cost of cyber attacks is also on the rise. In 2014 the average cyber attack cost a small business $20,752, a substantial increase from the average of $8,699 an attack cost businesses in 2013.