New Articles

How Businesses Can Avoid Becoming Irrelevant In A Changing World

relevant

How Businesses Can Avoid Becoming Irrelevant In A Changing World

The business world has produced a veritable graveyard of once magnificently successful companies that came, conquered and thrived – but ultimately perished.

In many cases, those businesses share a common reason for their demise: Times changed. They didn’t.

“I’ve always been fond of the saying that if you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less,” says Adam Witty, a successful entrepreneur and the ForbesBooks co-author of Authority Marketing: Your Blueprint to Build Thought Leadership That Grows Business, Attracts Opportunity, and Makes Competition Irrelevant.

“Over the years, many businesses discovered they didn’t change quickly enough, much to their chagrin. Others realized their old business model no longer applied, and they did adapt.”

In the last decade or so, media companies especially have had to navigate their way through an extraordinary disruption of their business models, says Witty, who also is the founder and CEO of Advantage|ForbesBooks (www.advantagefamily.com).

“Reading habits and advertising habits shifted,” he says. “This meant media companies needed to diversify and be innovative if they wanted to continue to thrive.”

Witty was involved in such a diversification recently when his company announced a partnership with American City Business Journals, the publisher of 44 weekly Business Journals in cities across the U.S. Through the partnership, American City Business Journals is branching out into the book-publishing field with the creation of Business Journals Books, an enterprise that will be operated jointly with Witty’s company.

“This is an exciting new way for them to be creative and create a new revenue stream for their business,” Witty says.

With COVID-19 and the 2020 recession forcing companies to navigate their way through even more changes, Witty says businesses that want to avoid tumbling into irrelevance need to:

Review and rank their products. A few years ago when Witty’s company did such a ranking, he realized one product line the business had offered for years didn’t measure up and needed to go. “It was hard to deliver, had low gross margins, was extremely people intensive, and had very limited scalability,” he says. “The time, energy, effort and capital we were investing in this product line were taking away our ability to invest in new products that would be more scalable and more profitable.”

Always be on the lookout for new ideas. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, so savvy business leaders are always open to new ideas for bringing in revenue, Witty says. “You should also encourage employees to suggest ideas,” he says. “Maybe a lot of those won’t work. But the more ideas that get tossed around, the better the odds something will prove a winner.”

Favor facts and data over opinions. No matter how much an entrepreneur loves the business plan they used originally to launch their business, they need to make decisions about the future based on facts and data, Witty says. “You must deal with the way things are, rather than the way you want them to be,” he says. “Facts and data will tell you the way things are.”

“Because of COVID-19 and the recession, a willingness to adapt to changing consumer habits and ways of doing business is probably more important than ever,” Witty says. “The businesses most likely to thrive coming out of this are those that have a plan, but also remain flexible and are willing to change that plan as the circumstances around them change.”

___________________________________________________________________

Adam Witty, co-author with Rusty Shelton of Authority Marketing: Your Blueprint to Build Thought Leadership That Grows Business, Attracts Opportunity, and Makes Competition Irrelevant, is the CEO of Advantage|ForbesBooks (www.advantagefamily.com). Witty started Advantage in 2005 in a spare bedroom of his home. The company helps busy professionals become the authority in their field through publishing and marketing. In 2016, Advantage launched a partnership with Forbes to create ForbesBooks, a business book publisher for top business leaders. Witty is the author of seven books, and is also a sought-after speaker, teacher and consultant on marketing and business growth techniques for entrepreneurs and authors. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily and USA Today, and has appeared on ABC and Fox.

wayfair decision

How the U.S. Supreme Court Wayfair Decision Affects Small Business

The Wayfair Case

In 1992, the Supreme Court, in a case referred to as “Quill,” ruled that the lack of substantial physical presence in a state is sufficient grounds to exempt a business from having to collect and remit sales or sellers use taxes to a state.

This precedent protected small businesses from “burdensome” administrative processes that would have interfered with and limited interstate commerce.

The “Quill” case ruling laid down the law that ruled our land until June 21st, 2018.

On that day, the current Supreme Court reversed the “Quill” decision in a new case referred to as Wayfair.

Economic Nexus

Economic nexus, as established in the Wayfair case, was defined as $100,000 or 200 transactions per year shipped to South Dakota residents or companies as the threshold for requiring an out of state company to be subject to sales and use tax collection.

In the 2018 Wayfair decision, the Supreme Court said states could require companies with an “economic nexus” to their state to collect sales and use taxes.

The potential to encumber small businesses who sell outside of their home state by forcing them to track and comply with a different set of sales tax laws for each state is a very real burden.

Non-compliance can result in penalties and back taxes.

Compliance

Without an automated solution, managing compliance could be a full-time job due to the complexities of state tax regulations.

This may include navigating 10,000 plus sales tax jurisdictions across the country, many of which are amorphous and do not conform to city or county boundaries, or zip codes.

Compliance may require using different tax bases (taxable product categories, i.e., clothing, food items, etc.) in each state (except for the SST member states who agree to standard taxability within their state).

Another obstacle can be figuring out all the arcane rules related to taxability of handling, shipping and certain product usage rules that also vary from state to state.

Learning to use each state’s portal to report and pay sales and use taxes (even as these are being changed to keep up with reporting changes) could prove to be challenging.

Compliance could require monitoring sales tax changes across the same 10,000 plus jurisdictions and tracking their own sales dollars and transaction counts by state.

Tracking the different thresholds of each state on how soon they must begin collecting sales and use tax after hitting that state’s threshold amount (believe it or not at least one state expects tax on the first transaction after the threshold is reached) can provide even more complexity.

Resellers & Exemption Certificates

I’ll share a story that I recently heard from a former state sales tax auditor.

He found that many distributors do not do a good job of administering the resale exemption certificates issued by the state that the reseller’s customers reside in.

And if that certificate was not properly filled out and signed, he would then disallow the exemption and all that revenue would be declared taxable.

In addition, penalties and interest would be added on top of the uncollected tax.

Since every state has its own forms for resale certificates and its own rules for renewal of certificates (or not), administration is not a small task. And unfortunately, a task that is sometimes not given the importance it deserves until an audit is coming.

You Have Options

It would be much better to prepare before the states start their hunt for revenue so you can formulate a plan, rather than wait.

We suggest first and foremost if you get a letter from another state asking you to provide information to them, call your lawyer and your sales-tax-specialist accountant immediately, and before you provide any information discuss your situation and your options.

In addition to planning to handle these new requirements, we encourage small business owners to build your infrastructure and prepare your data so that you can handle this.

___________________________________________________________

John Miller is President of Passport Software, Inc., a leading provider of accounting, manufacturing, distribution and business software solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. Founded in 1983, Passport Software’s goal is to help clients with the effective use of technology in order to focus on profitability and improving their business processes.

This article was originally published in smallbizclub.com. Republished with permission.

company

How Will Your Company Emerge from COVID?

We all learned growing up (hopefully) that our deeds define who we are. Times of crises especially reveal what kind of character people, and companies, have. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception. It’s forcing companies to evolve rapidly regardless of size, industry, or location. As we fear job loss and lament the dislocation from our work, we have to stay focused on improving our workplace cultures, processes, and environments, all of which define our organizations.

The Coronavirus Pause

Over time, leadership that’s bogged down by deadlines and daily quotas can forget the evergreen management principles needed to drive long-term success. The coronavirus offers companies a chance to reset their workflow, reexamine their offerings, let go of dead-end initiatives, and embrace emerging opportunities. The pandemic gives each of us an opportunity to remake ourselves—to disrupt the disruption.

Evaluate Yourself and Your Ideal

First, you must find ways to take stock of your brand impact. If you don’t appear to others as you intend, odds are you’re not the company you want to be. Evaluate who you are and why, then decide who you want to be and assess the action needed to get there.

-Find out who you are in the marketplace. Solicit opinions on your organization and its impact from trusted colleagues, friends, prospects, clients, and even honest competitors.

-Go through your workflow, your processes, your team, your client list, your vendors, your strategic partners—everything that you are currently doing that defines your company. Share and review it with members of all departments. Look at your current mission, revisit your original purpose, and find the direction to match that goal. Define what you need to change.

Next, assess, reassess, and harness all of your information and resources. This may help you find new business lines, action items, or process improvements.

-Amass all your institutional knowledge. Bring your leadership and staff together to codify everything you do. Capturing all the tacit and implicit knowledge of your people will reveal new paths to take and lessen the chance of missed opportunities.

-Have your leadership team focus on the near misses of the past and build a “recent lessons learned” catalog to facilitate self-examination. This will also show you how and where you need to mentor your team, build new working relationships, and improve collaboration.

Third, examine your leadership team through a new lens and rebuild—leaving your dysfunction behind.

I have heard countless times from colleagues (and experienced myself) how destructive it can be to be wholly removed from decision-making, and to have one’s hands tied when trying new things, or even just seeking counsel from outside your department due to trivial power dynamics.

-Share ideas and solicit them. Let people from all levels of your organization contribute freely and synergistically. You will be amazed at how much more engaged all your people are when they know they can contribute in a meaningful way.

-Treat your people well. Mental and emotional health are the wellspring of longevity, loyalty, and creativity. You simply get much better performance out of happy people.

-Break the taboos. Have people from different teams explain their roles to each other. Encourage them to talk to each other about the different functions in your business.

Becoming Who You Want To Be

An example of such a reboot is a small rideshare startup for kids and families. The company—RideAlong—was started by parents in New Jersey who were initially just seeking a safe way to get their kids to and from school.

RideAlong’s CEO Norbert Sygdziak was stunned by how much pent-up demand he discovered: “We started in September 2019 and had double-digit growth and double-digit profits. What started out as a local community need quickly snowballed into real demand across the country. It was incredibly fulfilling. But then came COVID.”

Schools shut down. The business went away entirely. RideAlong’s leadership was at a loss like everyone else. But then it clicked. Sygdziak and members of his Board and leadership team all galvanized around one question: “There are so many people in tougher situations. What can we do to help those people in this time?”

Sygdziak started by taking care of his people and asking his team to pull together. He made sure to take care of his drivers first as they were completely out of work. He paid them to keep the team intact and demonstrate his appreciation of what they were going through. The executives waived and postponed taking paychecks. He gathered volunteer teams of drivers and staff to partner with hospitals, food pantries, restaurants and non-profits to deliver food and supplies to seniors and families in need, provide meals to overtaxed healthcare workers, help children get to hospitals for much-needed regular medical treatments, and coordinate school deliveries for students.

It is not an uncommon pivot at this time, but it is a great example of the power of reexamination. These non-profit relationships and good deeds are leading to for-pay partnerships in ways they never dreamed. Pulling together the entire team, asking “why do we exist?” and “what should we do?” allowed them to reimagine everything.

Importantly, it crystallized what Sygdziak and his team wanted the company to be. They were not just a kids’ transportation company, but rather a mechanism for building community. Sygdziak is moved when he thinks about it: “We were forced to think more deeply about our purpose. By spending our resources on helping those less fortunate, by providing connection, and hopefully alleviating some difficulty, we found inspiration and grew tighter as a team. Now we understand exactly who we want to be.”

Who Will You Become?

Whatever you do with this time, if you have it, embrace it.

Despite the damage done, the coronavirus has inspired companies to pivot to philanthropy. Maybe you have the opportunity to prepare for change and pursue what the ferocious day-to-day never quite allowed. Reach out and expand relationships and geographies. Refine and redirect your team. Fully explore the ideas and solve the problems that always seemed too big to take on.

Rewrite your story and be better.

________________________________________________________________

Jennifer S. Bankston is the President of Bankston Marketing Solutions and has over twenty years of experience spearheading strategic initiatives for law firms and other industries including technology, financial services, life sciences, and healthcare. Jennifer is also rooted in technology, having developed various applications and products within the organizations she has worked. She can be reached at bankstonmarketingsolutions.com

business owners

What Small Business Owners Can Do to Steer Their Way Through a Crisis

As the nation’s economy continues to struggle because of the impact of COVID-19, small business owners and their leadership skills are being put to the test.

They face the task of adapting to the crisis and helping their employees adapt as well. But just what steps can business leaders take to keep employee morale high, make sure the business stays afloat, and manage their own concerns about the future?

One of the most important things is to be transparent with employees about where the business stands, says Adam Witty, ForbesBooks co-author of Authority Marketing: Your Blueprint to Build Thought Leadership That Grows Business, Attracts Opportunity, and Makes Competition Irrelevant.

“Face the facts head-on and don’t try to sugarcoat it,” says Witty, the founder and CEO of Advantage|ForbesBooks (www.advantagefamily.com). “Share with your team, in calm and rational terms, what impacts you expect the virus to have on your business and what the business is doing to try to mitigate those negative impacts.”

Witty suggests other steps business leaders need to take as they manage their way through the crisis:

Over-communicate. With remote work, communicating is more important now than ever. In an office, much of the communication happens naturally as people drop by each other’s offices or pass in the hallway. With everyone spread out, communication can easily fall by the wayside so it needs to be more intentional. Witty says it’s critical to use video communication like Zoom or Google Hangouts whenever possible to interact with employees. He also makes a point of sending at least three company-wide video messages a week. “In times of great uncertainty, communicate more not less,” he says. “In the absence of information, people tell themselves stories, and I can promise they are bad stories.”

Project calm. When a leader is anxious and fearful, everyone will pick up on that and they, too, will become anxious and fearful. “If your employees see that you are worried, they will begin to think it is all over,” Witty says. That doesn’t mean to fake it or to pretend the situation isn’t bad. “We can’t control the situation we find ourselves in,” he says. “But we can control how we react to the situation, and how we react will dictate our results.”

Consider introducing new products or services. Now is a good time to get innovative, Witty says, so brainstorm with your team about alternative ways to bring in revenue if your usual sources have been disrupted. For example, some restaurants that were strictly sit-down establishments pivoted to offer takeout and delivery. Witty’s own company created new publishing and marketing products aimed at potential clients who may be more cost-conscious during these tough economic times.

Finally, Witty says, have a plan.

“Hopefully, you already have a strategic plan for your business that you are executing week in and week out,” he says. “As we continue to move along through this crisis, that plan will need to be adjusted as COVID-19 makes some pieces of your plan obsolete.”

He suggests meeting weekly, if not more often, to keep updating the plan to reflect the new realities. Then communicate the plan and its latest adjustments to your team.

“When employees know the leaders have a plan,” Witty says, “it creates calm and confidence.”

______________________________________________________

Adam Witty, co-author with Rusty Shelton of Authority Marketing: Your Blueprint to Build Thought Leadership That Grows Business, Attracts Opportunity, and Makes Competition Irrelevant, is the CEO of Advantage|ForbesBooks (www.advantagefamily.com). Witty started Advantage in 2005 in a spare bedroom of his home. The company helps busy professionals become the authority in their field through publishing and marketing. In 2016, Advantage launched a partnership with Forbes to create ForbesBooks, a business book publisher for top business leaders. Witty is the author of seven books, and is also a sought-after speaker, teacher and consultant on marketing and business growth techniques for entrepreneurs and authors. He has been featured in The Wall Street JournalInvestors Business Daily and USA Today, and has appeared on ABC and Fox.

self-employed

Metros With the Most Self-Employed Workers

The coronavirus pandemic has cost a record number of Americans their jobs as much of the economy shut down in mid-March. Even as some states start to reopen, many businesses will remain closed or operate in a reduced capacity, meaning millions of workers will remain unemployed.

According to Census Bureau data, there are over 15 million self-employed workers in the U.S., making up about 9.7% of the nation’s workforce. Self-employed workers are especially vulnerable during economic downturns since they do not have the same type of job protections as other workers. The CARES Act provides emergency government aid to workers affected by the pandemic, including the self-employed, who might normally fall through the social safety net. But these funds have been difficult to secure and can have long wait times. Furthermore, confusing messaging around the loans leave many self-employed workers unsure about what the funds can be used for.

The self-employed, which for the purpose of this analysis includes those adults who operate either incorporated or unincorporated businesses, are represented in every industry sector except public administration. Other services—a catchall industry sector that includes, among others, car repairs, barbershops, salons, dry-cleaning, and pet care services—has the largest share of self-employed workers at nearly 26%. Both the Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining industry and the Construction industry have high rates of self-employment, at 24% and 23% respectively.

As of 2018 (the most recent year of Census data available), these three industry sectors accounted for over 5 million self-employed workers, but a combination of non-essential business closures, disruptions of the food supply chain, and a hold on construction work in many states will likely drive these numbers down.

While almost 10% of workers are self-employed at the national level, the self-employment rate varies considerably across cities and states. Montana and Vermont claim the highest percentages of self-employed workers in the country, at 14% and 13.4%, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia has the lowest share of self-employed workers, with just 6.3% of workers who are self-employed.

To find the locations with the most self-employed workers, researchers at Volusion used data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the share of workers who are self-employed. Researchers also looked at the total number of self-employed workers, the median income for self-employed workers, and the median income for all workers.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into cohorts based on population size. Small metros contain 100,000-349,999 residents, midsize metros contain 350,000-999,999 residents, and large metros contain 1,000,000 residents or more.

Here are the large metropolitan areas with the largest percentage of workers who are self-employed:

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Volusion’s website: https://www.volusion.com/blog/cities-with-the-most-self-employed-workers/

business

4 Things Everybody Gets Wrong When Starting a Business in China

Starting a business is a brave and bold move. It requires effort and you may even have to sacrifice an average of 70 hours a week, for probably the next 2-3 years, in order to get the thing running smoothly. This, in essence, is what most startups fail to recognize and understand. Some say success doesn’t come overnight and to some extent this holds water. So, if you are looking to open a new chapter in life and start a business, here are some problems faced by startups that are considered wrong when starting a business.

1. Business Name

This is a mandatory requirement and if you have in the past had another startup, you know this is required. So, for those starting up a new business, or for those venturing into this world for the first time, a Business Name is necessary. Once you have registered a Business Name, you may go a step ahead to getting a logo for your new business as well as acquiring a domain name. All these three should be unique and not like any other registered business. This will be the trademark of your business and if in doubt over the name, logo or domain selected, there are sites that can help you know if the one you select or create has already been taken. By failing to do so, you may end up registering using either a business that closed or one that never took off, eventually bringing confusion to prospective customers when simply searching for your business.

2. Business Plan

This is another necessary requirement. Failing to have an established business plan is like planning to fail. One thing that a new start-up again may confuse is a Business Plan and a Business Structure. These are two different things. First, doing some research and deciding whether to be a Sole Proprietor, venture into a Partnership or register a Company, should be the first step into knowing what business plan to have. Once you have decided on the type of business, you can then lay down the plan. Contained in a Business Plan are aspects of funding as well as what type of business venture to undertake. It will also entail how you plan on spending, so as not to over or underspend.

3. Business Structure

A business structure is different from the Business Plan. While new startups confuse this, they eventually lack a management scheme and gradually finish to poor management. So, a Business Structure is what entails what every employee in the business is to do. From the executives, accountants, superintendents, junior staff to all other working employees. When deciding on what structure to have, it is advised to seek the knowledge of professionals and experts in the field as such, professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and even some businessmen may help you understand and decide on the best business structure for your business.

4. Business Location

This is a vital element. For those looking to register a business in China, failing to understand the laws of the land could lead to problems. Again, this is among the biggest problems faced by startups. You will need to understand laws relating to taxes, registering the business as well as the many different laws within the country. So, the laws in different countries are different, and to avoid problems during startup, it is similarly advised to seek the counsel of those experienced in the field or do thorough research.

5. Nature of The Business

While you will be required to state the Nature of The Business when registering it, it is an essential aspect in determining how things will be run and what is to be done. In other words, this is a sure way to set yourself apart from other ventures depending on the type of business you carry on. Note that, this is also an aspect in the Business Plan, and because of that it should be a well-researched type of business to avoid huge competition. Though competition is good, you will need to offer something new to the Nature of the Business so as to keep the light on.

So, considering this factor carefully and staying in line with them, you will be on the way to having a fruitful business and even though it may take time, it is worth the wait. It is also recommended to do more research over the matter of opening a business to have enough knowledge when you do so.

pandemic

Pandemic Thinking: How to Keep your Head in the (Long) Game

The COVID-19 pandemic is crippling and toppling many U.S. small businesses. Often called “the backbone of the economy,” small businesses that are managing to survive face an uncertain future.

As states start to reopen, consumer spending is in steep decline while unemployment skyrockets and many people remain hesitant to venture out. But RJon Robins, founder/CEO of How To Manage A Small Law Firm (www.howtomanageasmalllawfirm.com), says some entrepreneurs find their businesses in trouble because they had the wrong mindset toward customers all along.

“Small business owners everywhere are infected by pandemic thinking,” Robins says. “But they were infected with this thinking before the pandemic. It’s only now the strategic weakness of short-term, fear-based, transactional thinking in all different kinds of businesses is becoming more obvious. Pandemic thinkers ask the wrong question, ‘What can you do for me today?’ Rather than, ‘How can we work together to build a long-term mutually-profitable relationship?’

“Business owners who built long-term relationships with customers and clients can weather this storm. Those who didn’t think this way before can adopt elements of this kind of thinking and they’ll start seeing the benefits almost right away.”

Robins offers small business owners three tips on how to develop long-term relationships that benefit both customers and businesses:

When first meeting, look ahead at the relationship 10 years from now. “The scale of a person’s thinking has a lot to do with whether they win the game,” Robins says. “Look for all opportunities to be of service, even in some small way, to earn the right to call the person a client. Every deal doesn’t have to be a grand-slam. Just get on base. Just get into the game. That way you can discover opportunities to be of greater service and have a client for life.”

Show you care.  “A lot of people don’t know how to show that they care. Ask yourself when is the last time you called to check on a former client to find out what’s happened in their life or business since the last time you did business together?” Robins says, “What are their plans for the future? What can you take off their plate and help them with today even if what they need is just someone to help them think things through? Good relationships built over time are especially evident during the pandemic. Ironically, though, a pandemic is a perfect time to begin a marketing campaign like this and besides, you probably have a lot of free time on your hands anyway.”

Have a long-term business plan. “A business being run without a 12-month, forward-looking budget is like a car being driven with a windshield covered in mud, and on an unfamiliar road with no particular place to go,” Robins says. “A business that is being run without weekly cash-flow projections is like a person stumbling around in the dark in an unfamiliar house. To take an active, consistent interest in your clients and develop programs encouraging them to keep coming back, it helps to have a long-term written plan for your own business.”

“Businesses generate revenue by solving problems for their clients and customers,” Robins says. “And right now there’s an abundance of problems, which is another way to say there’s an abundance of opportunities. Whether you already have or decide to begin developing great long-term relationships with clients, it’s an investment that will pay long-term dividends.”

________________________________________________________

RJon Robins is founder and CEO of How To Manage A Small Law Firm (www.howtomanageasmalllawfirm.com), the leading provider of management services  for the solo and small law firm market. In 2019, How To Manage a Small Law Firm was named by Inc. as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing privately-held companies in the country for the fifth consecutive year. A graduate of American University and Nova Southeastern College of Law, Robins is a member of The Florida Bar and The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

small businesses

U.S. Metros With the Most Small Businesses Per Capita

Small businesses across the United States face dire circumstances following the COVID-19 outbreak. While each individual small business might seem inconsequential to the broader economy, in aggregate, these firms are critical to the country’s financial well-being.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees makeup approximately 95 percent of American business establishments and employ 40 percent of private sector workers. These 7.4 million small businesses (or 2.27 per 100 residents) also account for roughly a third of total private sector payroll.

Unfortunately, research shows that small businesses and their workers are particularly vulnerable during recessions and other periods of economic hardship. A recent survey conducted by the New York Fed found that even prior to the pandemic, 64 percent of small businesses faced financial challenges in the preceding 12 months. The same survey reported that a two-month loss of revenue would cause 86 percent of firms to take a serious financial action, such as using the owner’s personal savings, taking out a loan, or cutting staff salaries.

Moreover, small businesses in some industries have a larger economic impact than others. Among small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, those in accommodation, food services, and retail trade—coincidentally, the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19—employ the most workers. These industries, combined, account for more than 16 million employees and $362 billion in annual payroll.

Like the businesses themselves, small business employees are also more financially vulnerable than their large-firm counterparts. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that fewer small business employees have access to retirement benefits, healthcare benefits, paid sick leave, life insurance, or disability insurance. Troublingly, only half of employees in small businesses have health insurance through their company and only two-thirds have paid sick leave.

While small businesses are a critical component of the national economy, some parts of the country depend more on small businesses than others. To find the metropolitan areas with the most small businesses, researchers at Construction Coverage, a review website for workers’ compensation insurance and construction software, analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked each location according to the number of small businesses per 100 residents. Researchers also included statistics on the total number of small businesses, the number of retail, accommodation, and food service businesses, and the share of workers who are self-employed. For the analysis, small businesses were defined as those employing fewer than 50 workers.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, locations were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: large metros (1,000,000 residents or more), midsize metros (350,000-999,999 residents), and small metros (less than 350,000 residents).

Here are the large metropolitan areas with the most small businesses per capita:

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website: https://constructioncoverage.com/research/cities-with-the-most-small-businesses

experiment

5 Tips to Help You Lead & Experiment During Crisis

As a leader, during COVID-19 (or any crisis) it can be hard to find your feet and to feel confident in your path. You may feel inadequate, unsure, and out of your depth. That is to be expected. This is leadership like we have never seen before. So many businesses are closed or trying to find new ways of doing things. I believe almost every organization feels like a start-up right now. Uncertain times need new kinds of leadership. We don’t have the answers, only questions, and still, we are asked to be leaders. Being experimental in your leadership approach will help you try things, learn from them, and figure out your next experiment.

These tips will help you find a new center for yourself as a leader:

You are not responsible. It should go without saying, but this is not your fault. This is a global challenge that doesn’t have clear answers. Your people may want you to have answers, but you won’t and you can’t. They will want certainty about their jobs, their income, and their lives. You can’t promise them the future. Encourage them to do their job today and let them know you have compassion but cannot be the answer to their future. Give up being an all-knowing leader and be human. Practice compassion and be collaborative to help your team makes sense of the crazy.

Get bad news out of the way fast. If you have lay-offs and reorgs to do, do it quickly. Make a plan–even if it is a bad plan and clear this from your “to do” list. You will be a better leader with clarity. Kudos if you can be compassionate while you do it. There are some businesses that will not survive this. Don’t hide your head in the sand like an ostrich. Embrace information and communication even if it is bad news. Work on being a good leader in bad times. Figure out what being a good leader means to you. Kindness goes a long way when you are delivering bad news.

Think about a timeline. What is important 1 week from now? What is important 1 month from now? What is important 1 year from now? Some organizations need to be extending their timeline (How will we emerge from this crisis?) while others are busy changing to meet day to day needs (What do our clients need today?). Make sure to orient your thinking daily and consider multiple time frames. Make time to consider your leadership path before you face a day of decision making and are faced with the feelings and challenges of others. Find your own true north as a leader.

Be kind and firm. Your team members may be spinning and scared. Be empathetic and then ask them to get back to their jobs and produce good work. Having meaningful work is a privilege in these times and you can ask them to be achievers right now….today. You can deliver groundedness and purpose as long as they are working. There can be compassion for the challenges they face (kids at home, new environment, etc) but don’t let them off the hook. They are being paid to provide work. Your insistence on them delivering work is part of the work of leadership right now.

Practice extreme self-care. You are your own strongest asset. Experiment to strengthen your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Reach for the salad and smoothies instead of the martinis and chocolate cake. Exercise. Sleep. Meditate if that works for you. Journal or sit and think. Pause. Ask for help and love from friends. Schedule a virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues. Try and go deeper than you ever have before with your self-care. You have never needed to care for yourself as you do today. Experiment with giving yourself what you need.

You will get through this. You will learn from this. You will do your best and you will do your worst in this. As an experimental leader, it is important that you stay engaged in the struggle of leadership. Try and fail and dust yourself off. Figure out the change you want to see and what the barriers are. Figure out an experiment. Collect data. Figure out what you just learned. Ask, “What is my next experiment?” Go experiment again.

_________________________________________________________________________


Melanie Parish is a public speaker, author, and Master Coach. An expert in problem-solving, constraints management, operations, and brand development, Melanie has consulted and coached organizations ranging from the Fortune 50 to IT start-ups. She is the author of The Experimental Leader: Be A New Kind of Boss to Cultivate an Organization of Innovators. For more information, please visit, www.melanieparish.com, and connect with her on Twitter, @melanieparish.

small business

Small Businesses: Here’s How They Impact Communities

Every small business owner knows how important it is to have the support of their community. Luckily events such as Small Business Saturdays help bring small businesses and their local shoppers together in order to benefit the community as a whole. This survey put together by OnDeck, a small business loan provider, looks at small business customers to learn a little bit more about how they support small businesses AND also how the small businesses they
support helps the community in return.

why small businesses are important

ondeck second annual small business community impact survey

why small businesses are important

ondeck small business community impact survey