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.

Cincinnati Weather

“Nice weather today!” “Think it will rain?” Go anywhere in Cincinnati and you’ll hear comments about the weather. Much like our bills and bank accounts, weather is always top of mind. So we were wondering… could Cincinnati weather have anything to do with how we think about our money? Well, let’s take a closer look…

Did you know that our weather makes Cincinnati a great place to live? It’s a beautiful city, in part because we get about 44 inches of rain and 15 inches of snow a year. Plenty of moisture for plants, green hills, and fresh water, and just enough of the fluffy stuff for an occasional sledding day. We have slightly fewer sunny days (176 compared to the U.S. average of 205), but our clouds earn Cincinnati a BestPlaces Comfort Index of 7.2 out of 10, making the Queen City one of the most pleasant places to live in Ohio. (Source: bestplaces.net

But what does weather have to do with money matters? Well, it teaches us a few things…for example:

Always be prepared. With weather, we prepare for the day with an umbrella, light sweater, or snow boots. With money, we prepare for trends in interest rates, rising or falling prices, or simply having enough change in our pocket for whatever our day has in store.

Put safety first. Under threat of hail, we park under cover instead of in the driveway, and when forced to drive through flood water, go slow and go only one vehicle at a time. With money, we save for the proverbial rainy days to build a financial foundation to get us through emergencies.

Appreciate life. As the great social thinker John Ruskin once said, “sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. Whether about weather or money, we are optimistic.

Take advantage of the difference between the weather and climate. Weather is what is happening today: sun, rain, snow, wind, calm, cloudy. Climate is the long-term pattern of weather recorded over a 30-year period of time. Our relationship with money is no different: how much we have in the bank can change daily, and financial security is how well we managed our money over time.

We may have many different financial weather days as savings grow and wane, and investments follow the traditional peaks and valleys of gains and losses. Think about your financial life like we think about weather: be prepared for the unexpected and always put your own safety and the safety of those you love first. Now, let’s go out there and enjoy the day!

Avoiding Downturns

October leaves rippleThe recent stock market gyrations in October dampened more than a few investors’ enthusiasm for a never-ending bull market. October has a reputation for being a scary month for investors. Black Tuesday was in October 1929 and Black Monday of 1987 was also in October. These memories often override the facts though. According to Bloomberg, October’s Dow was positive in 15 out of the last 20 years. But there are lessons in all of this madness for small business owners for never having an “October surprise”.

  1. Never take your customers or clients for granted. Stay in touch, even when things are going smoothly. Demonstrate how important they are to you so when they have a problem they turn to you, and not to your competitors.
  2. Never assume that you know how your customers are doing. Make a phone call and ask whether they have any concerns or headwinds and, if so, what you can do to make things better.
  3. Never put all your eggs in one basket. If your livelihood depends on income from one or two really large customers or clients, make an extra effort to seek out new business on a steady basis.
  4. Never assume that just because your business is doing well that it always will.

As a trusted financial support team, we are always on the lookout for unusual fluctuations and trends for our customers and communicate what we see so that clients can choose to respond. And we don’t just do this in October, but throughout the calendar year.