Business Intelligence: Tips, Tools and Resources for Entrepreneurs

By at 12 September, 2020, 9:18 am

By Karen Kerrigan-

Here’s our weekly roundup of tips, content and data to help your small business navigate, survive, and yes thrive in the COVID-19 economy.


Negative Impact on Small Business is Weakening, Small Business Trends: “According to the latest results of the US Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey, fewer businesses than ever are reporting that the pandemic creates a very negative effect on their company. Just 31.8% of small business owners surveyed by the Census Bureau say the reaction to the pandemic is having a “large negative effect” on their operations. Wait … just?”

SURVEY: Disappointed and Frustrated, Small Business Owners Feel Left Behind by Congress, 10K Small Businesses: “Only 7% feel like federal elected officials prioritize policy issues impacting small businesses over big businesses.”


Featured Resource: FACEBOOK’s Small Business Resource Guide


Management and Operations

Payroll Tax Credits and More to Get Your Business Through the Pandemic, Small Business Insider – SBE Council:  “COVID-19 triggered stay-at-home orders, business closures, and government shutdowns. To try to preserve jobs and save businesses, federal policy created various tax credits to help employers and employees weather the pandemic. Some comparable tax breaks have been provided to self-employed individuals. And there’s an opportunity to defer a portion employment taxes. Here are these credits and other opportunities, as well as what you can expect in the future.”

Legalese Small Business Owners Better Know Because of COVID-19, Big Ideas for Small Business – SBE Council: “You don’t have to go to law school to know where you stand; just read this to familiarize yourself with the language of law that’s coming into play more commonly because of the pandemic.”

7 Strategies to Solve Your Business Problems Faster, Startup Professionals: “Problem solving is a full-time task in business. Whether you own the business, or have only a small role in daily operations, making decisions and solving problems is a key part of your job. The most effective people, and the happiest ones, are the ones who accept this reality, and even relish the challenges of overcoming the unknowns, rather than struggling and stressing with each.”


Marketing, Sales and Branding

Social Commerce Keeps on Growing, Small Biz Daily – SBE Council: “Customers are scrolling and shopping—54% of NA survey respondents say they’d shop on social media. Of those who actually prefer social shopping, 84% shop from Instagram (I must admit I do too). The next most popular shopping platform is Facebook, but Bazaarvoice points out all social channels ‘have the power to influence a customer to [make a] purchase.’”

Why Customers Want to Shop Small Year-Round, Small Biz Daily: This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way Americans prepare for everything—from the summer travel season to the back-to-school season and even the fall sports season—and small businesses are feeling the strain. But even in a pandemic, consumers want to shop small year-round. For small businesses looking to adapt, consistent engagement is key.”

SCORE WEBINAR: Getting Your Business Online

FREE: September 22 – 1:00 p.m. ET

Do you need technology that helps you adapt to our new online world and meet demand after disruption strikes? Are you trying to digitize your business quickly but don’t know where to start?

Taylor Short and Sam Bonanno from Software Advice will walk you through easy and stress-free ways to help you find the right software to get your business online fast. They’ll answer 3 critical questions you should think about as you adopt the right software for your business:

● What problem do I need to solve with software?

​● How do I choose the right software for my business?

● How can I purchase software efficiently?

You’ll get actionable tips for identifying the biggest challenges with current software, what to look for when evaluating multiple products, and how to accurately calculate the total cost of adopting new technology. Register, or learn more here.

3 Essential Ways Packaging Will Change Because of Covid-19, Crowdspring: “Every industry, including the packaging industry, is searching for ways to adapt. Product packaging – always an unsung hero – has developed an even more vital role in the Covid-19 world.”

55 Key Features Every Business Website Should Have, Small Business Trends: “A website reflects the personality of the company in the virtual world. Your website helps to promote and sell your products and services. Besides this, it helps in distinguishing your business from the competition. In fact, it is your business’ most important asset for sharing information, building credibility, and standing out from the competition.”

6 Proven Low-Budget Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses, Crowdspring: “Whether you’re a small startup or an established small business, knowing how to market your business is vital to its success. If you’re worried that all effective marketing has to be expensive, let us reassure you – it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of terrific opportunities to earn customers while staying within a small business marketing budget.”


Consumer Trends

7 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed How We Shop for Food, Yahoo: “For the first time in a generation, Americans began spending more money at the supermarket than at places where someone else made the food. Grocers saw eight years of projected sales growth packed into one month. Shopping trends that were in their infancy were turbocharged.”

How Covid-19 Will Shape Holiday Retail Shopping in 2020, Inc.: “While Black Friday is still months away, a few predictions are safe to make now. Chief among them: For many households, consumers will be spending for the holidays no matter what.”

Gallup Annual Survey on Confidence in Institutions: Small Business Ranks Number One, SBE Council: “Small business, as noted, ranked best, with a total of 75 percent saying they had ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in small businesses. That was up by seven percentage points from the previous poll.”


Data Trends

Consumer Confidence Hits Pandemic-Era High Mark, Morning Consult: U.S. consumer confidence has hit its highest mark since the onset of the pandemic, according to Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. The current reading as of September 8 is 90.78, while the highest reading in 2020 was 115.57 on February 11.

Pew: Record 52% of Young Adults in U.S. are Living With Their Parents, Axios: “The bottom line: More young adults living at home may affect the U.S. economy by slowing demand for housing and household goods, and by cutting down the number of renters, per Pew.”

COVID Fees are Cropping Up at Businesses. Majorities of Consumers are Not Happy About It, Morning Consult: “Many businesses have already come under fire for tacking COVID fees onto the end of receipts, and the Morning Consult polling suggests that more consumer backlash is a real possibility. Across a variety of businesses and institutions, both national and local, majorities of consumers expressed opposition to the idea of being charged a COVID fee.” Alternative: Increase prices.


Startups and Entrepreneurship

How to Find the Right Idea for Your Side Hustle, Entrepreneur: So many ambitious, self-motivated, and intelligent people have a desire to start something new but they are convinced that in order to be successful, they need a big, impressive idea.”

Startup Proposals That May Raise Red Flags, Startup Professionals: “If you aren’t willing to take some risk as an entrepreneur, then don’t expect any gain. Yet everyone has limits, and every investor implicitly has similar limits on what makes a startup investable, or one to avoid at all costs. If you need investors, it’s important that you understand their filters, and even if you are funding your own efforts, you need to recognize the red flags.”

Franchise vs Business Opportunity: What’s the Difference?, Small Business Trends: “It comes down to how much control the business owner wants to exert, the level of creative expression, and speed to profitability vs a willingness to operate based on the franchisor terms. There are many benefits to franchise ownership — brand recognition, training, co-oped advertising and marketing, and ongoing franchisor support — but that doesn’t mean franchising is right for everyone.”

How to Start a Real-Estate Business: Complete Step-by-Step Guide [2020], Crowdspring: “If you want to take the plunge and start your own real estate business instead of just treating real estate as a career while working for someone else, there is a lot to consider. Here’s everything you need to know to plan, start, and grow a real estate business – we include all the essential tips and steps.”

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council



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