Small business pulse: Main Street firms show little interest in hiring new college graduates
OSB regularly monitors dozens of small business economic indicators from various research groups, measuring everything from hiring trends to borrowing patterns to optimism levels. Here, in the Pulse, we provide quick snapshots of the latest research from and about Main Street.
New college graduates searching for employment might as well skip right over Main Street, according to a new report.
Only one in five small business owners plan to hire recent college graduates in the coming months, according to a new survey released by Capital One. Women-owned businesses showed a slightly higher propensity to hire new grads than those owned by men (73 percent and 81 percent, respectively).
College graduates are not alone. More broadly, the data showed that two-thirds of small firms do not plan to hire at all in the next six months.
“While optimism and confidence are on the rise and more small businesses are on sound financial footing, concerns and uncertainty continue to hold back plans for staffing increases and growth,” Jon Witter, president of direct, consumer and small business banking at Capital One, said in a statement.
Other findings in the report:Continue reading this post »
Small business weekly: On immigration and capital formation, regulatory delays stifling entrepreneurs
A look back at some of the biggest small business and start-up stories from the past week, with a focus on Washington.
Sudden regulatory change crippling tourism firms: Owners of some tourism businesses say a processing delay and a sudden immigration rule
change in Washington have disrupted their operations at the worst possible time of year, preventing them from hiring additional foreign workers.
SEC urged to hasten JOBS Act implementation: Securities experts shared suggestions for how the Securities and Exchange Commission can reduce barriers to capital formation for small businesses at a congreesional hearing on Wednesday.
A discord between banks and business owners: Business owners, bankers and federal officials have starkly different views on whether capital is readily available to small firms, making policy decisions awfully difficult for those trying to revive an ailing Main Street.Continue reading this post »
Small business advice: Seven steps to help your company survive a natural disaster
As we enter another hurricane season, safety and disaster preparedness should be on the forefront of all our minds; and in addition to personal and home safety, it is important to recognize the impact severe weather can have on businesses, as well.
Small businesses struck by a severe storm can be forced into a standstill for a few days, several weeks — or even longer. Preparedness can prove vital to business survival after natural disasters and other emergencies.
Below are some simple tips to help small business owners prepare for and mitigate damage caused by a natural disaster:
• Identify an alternate location: For many small business owners, the recovery process after a natural disaster can be lengthy. Consider moving employees to an alternate work site, such as a satellite office or hotel ballroom. Whatever location you have available, make sure to equip it with critical equipment, data files and supplies.
• Customer preparation: Make sure your customers know what to expect from your company in the event of a prolonged disaster displacement. Publish backup business or store locations on your website, and make sure your customers know your company’s emergency contact information for sales and service support, and alternative methods for placing orders and payments.Continue reading this post »
Securities experts advise SEC on capital access for small businesses
Representatives and analysts from the securities industry offered their suggestions for how the Securities and Exchange Commission could reduce barriers to capital formation for small businesses at a House Committee on Financial Services hearing on Wednesday.
Some urged the SEC to speed up its deliberation of regulations that would set the ground rules for crowdfunding under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, while others highlighted the importance of investor protection.
Witnesses from the securities industry specifically recommended
quickly implementing the JOBS Act’s Regulation A+ , which would exempt small businesses raising up to $50 million from registering with the SEC.
“While we wait for the JOBS Act provisions to be enacted, entrepreneurs’ access to capital is limited, and job creation and economic recovery have been put on hold,” said David Weild, senior capital markets advisor for advisory and accounting firm Grant Thornton. He noted his firm’s support for a House bill that would require the SEC to finalize Regulation A+ rules by the end of October.
Others suggested adjustments to current securities law.
Joseph Ferraro, vice president of Prospect Corp., a New York-based investment firm and business development company, requested reforms to laws governing BDCs (a classification created by Congress in 1980 to encourage investment in small businesses).
Current law requires BDCs to invest at least 70 percent of their assets in “eligible portfolio companies,” leaving a maximum of 30 percent for financial companies, Ferraro noted. “This limitation makes no sense decades later given the substantial growth of financial services as a leading job provider in the American economy since 1980.
Financial services companies employ millions of American workers and have a capital magnifying effect that results in more capital flowing into small- and medium-sized American businesses.”
Cromwell Coulson, president and chief executive of OTC Markets Group, a New York-based securities market, recommended updating the Securities Act to require increased disclosure of stock promotion activity, and the people promoting stocks, to encourage market transparency.
Some witnesses proposed new markets — for instance, a parallel stock market for public companies valued under $2 billion. “This new market could allow higher commissions to provide incentives for small investment firms to return to the business of underwriting and supporting small-cap companies. While established markets would continue to operate as they do today, this solution would give issuers a choice in markets,” Weild said.
But Donald C. Langevoort, a law professor at Georgetown University, warned the committee not to abuse inexperienced investors: “[W]e should beware of reforms driven by the desire to attract capital from less sophisticated investors simply because there are so many of them and they might be more excitable and less demanding,” he said.
“[I]nvestor trust is closely tied to capital formation and economic growth...if [investor trust] hits some horrible tipping point and recedes because there is too much perceived risk of opportunism and abuse, capital formation will be damaged by poorly-crafted innovations, not enhanced,” he firstname.lastname@example.org
Small business advice: How small companies can harness the power of big data
A common misconception is that “big data” is a resource only available to the world’s largest companies; however, as technology advances and open-source platforms become more prominent, more small and medium-sized businesses are able to harness the power of these large data sets to help them boost their bottom lines.
Small businesses are major drivers of innovation and account for approximately half the world’s gross domestic product. In addition, they often find unique ways to solve complex business problems. This allows SMBs to think outside the box when utilizing big data and analytics solutions to create truly fresh approaches.
When properly implemented, analytics can be a game changer for small firms, but it’s important that the correct steps are taken to ensure that any solution is tailored to suit their unique needs. Here are a few pointers to help you get started.
●Bigger isn’t always better
Identify the challenges your business is facing and determine the most important types of data that will help to address those challenges.
The sheer amount of data available is growing at an exponential rate and can often seem overwhelming. Depending on your industry, certain types of data are going to be more critical than others; and sorting that our first will make the entire process much more manageable.
For example, an independent grocer might want to know how many and what types of items are selling on any given day, at any given time. From there, it can analyze data to identify specific demand trends that can help determine the shipments and stocking requirements during the course of the week, month or year.
●Learn to walk before you run
Using big data is a long process. It’s important that once you identify the data you need, it’s properly collected and analyzed. Often, this requires companies to invest in technology platforms or services which are flexible, scalable and provide storage options.Continue reading this post »