Small Business Report 2019

Every year around this time we deliver business news that we think our small business owners and entrepreneurs care about. 2019 has been a good year for those willing to stay on top of trends and charge headlong into the competitive landscape of the dot-com world.

In Ohio, small businesses employ over 2.2 million people, almost half of the State’s full employment. Our growth was slightly under the national average, but up from the previous year. The average small business owner that’s incorporated makes around $52,000; if unincorporated, the figure is around $23,000.

One of the fastest growing segments is the small business startup. For those startups to survive, they must be aware of and participate in today’s business trends:

  1. Automation Software: Successful business owners do more with less using automation for accounting, data entry, email marketing, customer service and customer relationship management.
  2. Smart Technology: Smaller business infrastructures, from smarter systems and manufacturing methods, the success small business owners learns how to reduce the cost of goods and services using technology.
  3. Smaller Brick & Mortar: Remote work environments give small business owners the freedom to have more hands on deck without the expense of increased office space, phone systems, utility bills, and amenities like larger break rooms and parking passes. Work-from-home employees stay in jammies and save on their commute time. They are happy, and this makes for greater productivity.
  4. Digital Access: In 2018, over 70% of small businesses used social media, websites, and email marketing to grow their business, find leads, solve problems, and deliver customer service. When the 2019 numbers come out, we expect them to have increased to 90% or above. According to Nextiva, 57% of customers would rather contact companies online than call a help desk, expect when it’s a payment issues.

In this connected world, consumers expect information at their fingertips, quick response to problems, and ease of purchase. 

Employees want casual work environments with state-of-the art technology that is fast, consistently updated, and available from almost any device.

We believe that small businesses who can best define their brand online and deliver great customer service through the use of digital marketing will be viewed most favorably and grow the fastest in 2020. We love to write about small business in our home town of Cincinnati. If you haven’t read past blogs, we invite you to visit us here or on Facebook.

Effective Delegation

workplaceIt isn’t often that we pass along to our readers an article written by someone else, but we ran across the article from Entrepreneur Magazine: 7 Rules for Entrepreneurs to Delegate Effectively. We deemed it worthy of a share.

Since we agree that delegating some of your work is a key factor to success on both a personal and professional level (as the article states), we encourage our small business owners to read the article.

As Halloween draws near and the days become shorter, it good to think about using our time more effectively. Speaking of time, Daylight Savings Time reverts back on Sunday, November 4. And whether we are ready for it or not, we’re about to enter another holiday period and wonderful opportunities to celebrate our good fortunes at Thanksgiving and our blessing at Christmastime.

Occupational Fraud Is Real

As a business owner, have you ever suspected that an employee was skimming off profits? Because awareness is vital to prevent fraud in your organization, we are sharing the annual Report to the Nations for 2018 from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (download the report for free here) According to the report, worldwide fraud added up to over $7 billion in losses last year.

fraud IGIn small businesses, fraud often goes unreported. But corruption like purchasing and sales schemes, bid rigging, invoice kickbacks, and downright cash skimming added up to a median loss of $108,000 in U.S. businesses—over 70% occurring in for-profit organizations.

Small business lost almost twice as much per scheme as large companies. Those with fewer than 100 employees lost an average of $200,000 — 42% of which can be attributed to lack of internal controls.

Two alarming statistics are: 1) longer term employees stole twice as much as newer employees, and 2) a majority of the victimized companies never recovered a dime.

The report also shows what is proven to reduce fraud: 1) data monitoring & analysis, and 2) surprise audits. Yet only 37% of victim companies implemented these controls. Had it not been for an inside tipster, internal audit or other type of management review, these schemes would not have been detected at all.

In 85% of the cases, the employees committing fraud displayed at least one behavioral red flag. We encourage our small business executives to download the report so they can develop an alertness to these behaviors or clues and better protect their hard-earned profits.

Downloading the report is free, infographics make the report easy to understand, and access to the report does not require any personal information. Be safe, small business!