Fear is dominant in today’s economy from the volatility of the stock market to unknown/unwanted rules and regulations pouring down from the federal government to oil prices unexpectedly plunging, to the possibility of yet another recession around the corner. Fear can be debilitating and makes running your business that much more challenging. The best thing to combat fear is education and positioning yourself to be smart and ahead of the curve with your business in 2016 and beyond.
1. Government Risk & Regulations
Running a profitable small business is hard enough, now add the ever-increasing government regulations that are constantly changing and creating serious headaches. From $15 minimum wage hikes to required health care for all your full-time employees, to higher overtime expenses, small business is experiencing a slew of regulations that severely affect their ability to run their businesses.
For over 5 years running, small business owners have cited regulations as a top impediment to conducting business according to the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index.
“We’re going beyond the point where we can comfortably operate a functioning business and meet the requirements of these laws,” says Diana Lamon, a Los Angeles restaurateur.
Check out the many facts and figures regarding the impact of government risk & regulations here.
2. Your Company Being Sued
Everything is going well in your business than out of nowhere a major contract falls through and you cannot pay a supplier or perhaps a customer falls ill from one of your products. These scenarios do and can happen and when they do, lawsuits are coming next.
Do you believe you are personally protected? Think again, if your company is not set up properly it opens up the possibility of losing your home or other personal assets. This is known as ‘piercing the corporate veil’. Are you still running your business as a sole proprietor? Are you loose with personal expenditures vs real company expenses? For example, if it appears to a judge you have deliberately run your company into debt you can be held personally responsible.
Proper insurance is also essential to protect yourself from lawsuits. Get advice from your trusted lawyer, CPA, commercial insurance consultants and other mentors in your industry on the types of insurance your company requires. Being insured is one thing, but being properly insured is what is going to protect you.
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You think hiring new employees is no big deal in today’s economy? Think again, the job market has been favoring candidates over employers. There might be more individuals looking for work or a better job, but that isn’t translating into the qualified candidate’s companies are looking for.
“It’s going beyond the traditional hot job sectors of tech and health care at this point. The truck driver might be a harder job to fill right now than a software developer,” says Tim Sackett, an HR blogger, and president of HRU Technical Resources. “I actually have hiring managers say to me, ‘Just find us people who will actually show up and work’ — and these are for professional jobs.”
Many companies are providing more perks such as free lunches or gym memberships to help recruit and retain employees. In the IT space, companies are offering sign-on bonuses, paying relocation costs, free medical and dental insurance, company-paid mobile or car plan and even unlimited vacation.
We all know getting a business loan isn’t like it used to be. Only 21% of companies applying for a commercial loan at a traditional bank get approved. There is a dizzying array of ‘loan’ products out there from the incredibly high rates of an MCA/ACH loan to online small business lenders offering cash to high-risk companies with approvals right online. Of course, this is a house of financial cards ready to come crashing down.
Deciding where and how you get your company funded is one of the most important decisions you will make as a business. Do you have IRS issues? Are you a start-up? Do you want to take on additional debt? Does the funding company have the experience to help you navigate through all the ins-and-outs of your specific situation?
Obtaining the proper funding advice is crucial to your business success.
Changing technology is nothing new in 2016, but it’s no less of a challenge for companies of all sizes and industries. From cybersecurity to keeping up with competitors, dealing with technology is no easy task. With each passing day, it becomes more crucial your company takes their business process online. As the new generation becomes your critical buyers and partners, they will expect to have online tools to complete business.
Those companies that continue to do business the old way, no matter how established, will suffer from not adapting. Just March of last year the number of mobile-only adult internet users exceeded the number of desktop-only internet users. For example, more people will open this blog on a smartphone than on a desktop. Has your company had discussions of new mobile apps, integrating new technologies into your business processes or even cloud computing? Better get this conversation started or you could be left behind by your more tech-savvy competitors.