There are any number of things that can derail a small business owner’s dream, particularly external issues that are out of an owner’s control such as an economic downturn, shifting consumer habits, or technology changes rendering products or services outdated.
But small business owners are optimistic, according to a late 2017 survey conducted by Staples. The survey showed 86% of respondents were optimistic and four in five reported that their businesses were thriving or surviving in 2018.
There are business matters that small business owners point to as cause for concern, as outlined in the survey. Those issues include disorganization, tax preparation challenges and a lack of marketing knowledge.
A Staples press release announcing the survey results offer a closer look at the challenges:
Disorganization Kills Productivity
53 percent of thriving/surviving small business owners describe their workplace as very organized, while only 23 percent of struggling/failing small business owners say the same
1 in 3 business owners believe that workplace disorganization leads to less productivity
3 in 4 owners with struggling or failing businesses believe disorganization has affected their company’s productivity
Tax Preparation Challenges
More than half of small business owners view tax preparation as complicated
Nearly 50 percent of small business owners handle their business’s taxes themselves
2 in 5 believe that leaving tax preparation to the last-minute causes complications
Nearly 40 percent are not good with numbers or do not have accounting expertise
Professional Marketing Advice Makes All the Difference
More than one third of thriving business owners face challenges designing effective marketing materials for their business
Fifty percent do not know how to reach new prospective customers on their own
Thriving small businesses are more likely than others to use all forms of marketing; 63 percent of thriving small businesses use social media advertising, 59% use online advertising, and 46 percent use print advertising
The greatest asset of any business is its people. Unfortunately, many organization are facing challenges in workforce and talent development efforts. The Indiana Chamber seeks to provide assistance through various policy and program efforts.
Currently, the Indiana Chamber Foundation’s 10th annual survey of Indiana employers is taking place. Hundreds of human resources professionals and company leaders have already shared their insights on skills shortages, training needs, incentives and more.
The Chamber Foundation is partnering with Walker, an Indiana-based customer experience consulting firm. The survey sponsor is WGU Indiana. Check out its brief video on “Why We’re Different”:
Among the recent trends: Companies that left Indiana jobs unfilled in 2015 due to under-qualified applicants increased to 45% – compared to 43% and 39%, respectively, for the prior two years.
In addition, 27% of respondents identified filling their workforce and meeting talent needs as their biggest challenge. Another 49% categorized the talent needs as “challenging but not their biggest challenge.” The 76% total exceeds the numbers for 2015 (74%; 24% biggest challenge) and 2014 (72%; 20% biggest challenge).
View more on the 2016 results. If you have not received the survey from Walker and are interested in participating or learning more, contact Shelley Huffman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 264-7548.
Reader’s Digest has a long history as one of the trusted, or at least popular, publications. While its overall impact may have declined, it has interesting findings in its recent Trusted Brand survey.
Are some of your favorites on the list?
Seventy-eight percent of this year’s survey participants stated they would choose a brand that’s been identified as more trustworthy than a different brand with equal quality and price. More than 5,000 Americans across the country participated in the online survey.
“Trust is an integral part of the Reader’s Digest DNA and we wanted to continue to capture Americans’ changing attitudes on brand trust, recognizing the most trusted brands in a variety of categories that matter to consumers,” said Kirsten Marchioli, VP and group publisher for Reader’s Digest.
In addition, the study reported 67% of U.S. adults surveyed pay more attention to trusted brands, and another 67% say they pay more money to support trusted brands.
Some of the Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands for 2016 are:
Automobile (passenger cars excluding trucks): Toyota
Several straightforward conclusions can be drawn from the ninth annual workforce survey conducted by the Indiana Chamber and its foundation.
The good news is that respondents are optimistic about growing their businesses over the next one to two years. The challenge, however, is that they don’t know where they are going to find the workers to allow that growth to take place.
For the third consecutive year, the number of jobs left unfilled due to underqualified applicants increased. So did the number of employers who identified filling the workforce as their biggest challenge.
“There is a reason that Outstanding Talent is the top driver in our Indiana Vision 2025 plan,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “The survey once again reinforces the work that must be done at so many levels to increase the skills of our current and future workers.”
Nyhart, Indiana’s largest independent actuarial and employee benefits consulting firm, released the results of the 2011 Indiana Healthcare Benefit Survey Tuesday at the Indiana Chamber’s 2011 Indiana Employee Benefits Seminar. The survey reached 215 employers across the state reflecting the benefit plans of 170,000+ Hoosier workers.
Healthcare benefit costs increased 6.9% (single coverage) and 8% (family coverage) in 2011.
The typical Hoosier is paying $105/mo. for single coverage and $417/mo. for family coverage. Indiana employers provide an average subsidy of $364/mo. for single coverage and $915/mo. for employees with family coverage.
For 2011, nearly one in five employers increased their deductible. Employees of those companies saw their deductible rise by 49 on average%.
Healthcare benefit costs are higher costs for Hoosiers than the national average.
When faced with a choice of cutting back benefits or shifting costs to employees, 44% of employers favor reducing benefits to maintaining cost levels while 18% favor passing cost increases on to employees.
“The survey reinforced what we’ve been observing in our practice – that employers are shifting to high deductible plans and looking for ways to put more of the healthcare costs on the shoulders of their employees as costs continue to escalate,” said healthcare actuary and lead researcher Randy Gomez, FSA. “The study of the survey confirms that in the future healthcare benefits will be treated as a commodity.”
The study was conducted in partnership with First Person Benefit Advisors, Gregory & Appel Insurance and Old National Insurance. The executive summary of the survey is available to all businesses for download online at www.nyhart.com/research/. Companies seeking to receive the entire 80+ page report including benchmarks by industry, geographic region and employee-count may do so if they commit to participating in the 2012 survey.
Sick of polls? Hope not. Because during the legislative session, we’ll post a weekly poll question on our blog (top, right) and try to gauge your thoughts on some of Indiana’s most critical issues.
To kick things off, we’re asking: "There is a proposal to model an Indiana immigration law after the one that has been implemented in Arizona. Do you support that proposal for Indiana?" You can simply vote, or leave a comment regarding the topic as well. As usual, please keep it civil and germane to the topic.
Additionally, we have a question up on the site of BizVoice magazine asking about your favorite Indiana sports movie. This poll complements this article, as well as an upcoming segment on Inside INdiana Business next weekend.
When the economy improves, do you expect your staffers to stay put? According to a new survey from Deloitte, many American employees may be searching for greener pastures. The reason? Lack of trust in leadership. You’d be wise to make sure that’s not the case at your company. The New York Post writes:
Just wait until the recession is over.
One-third of American workers claim they will look for a new job once the economy gets better, according to a survey released today.
A whopping 48 percent of those who want to change jobs are mainly motivated by a loss of trust in their employers, according to Deloitte’s fourth annual "Ethics & Workplace Survey."
“With lack of trust and transparency factoring into the employment decision of roughly half of the respondents who plan to job hunt in the coming months, business leaders must be mindful of the importance of both on talent management and retention strategies, as well as the bottom line impact,” said Sharon Allen, chairman of the board at Deloitte.
Forty-six percent also said a lack of transparent communication from their organization’s leadership was the reason why they were not happy at work.
“The survey shows that trust and flexibility are critical in today’s workplace," said Allen.
After all, you can’t go the distance, with too much resistance … and so forth.
A survey from Clarus Research Group, a non-partisan organization based in D.C., indicates that despite the notion our country is one big contentious soda can ready to explode with the fury of 1,000 suns (or do I just watch too much cable news?), an overwhelming majority of Americans are actually happy with their jobs. However, it seems older workers are far happier than their younger counterparts, and access to health care obviously plays a role, too. Read on:
The survey, conducted by Clarus Research Group, found only 6 percent of workers unhappy with their current employment. Another 6 percent said they were neither happy nor unhappy.
“In these tough times of high unemployment and uncertainty, many workers are happy that they have jobs,” said Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus Research Group. “However, despite the nationwide results, there were important differences among population groups, especially based on age, race, education and region.”
Age is a major factor, with the youngest and oldest workers a wide 27 points apart. Only 69 percent of workers under the age of 30 are satisfied with their jobs, compared to 96 percent of those 60 and older.
Workers with medical insurance were happier—90 percent, than those without it—75 percent.
Respondents who said they were happy with their jobs by group:
Race: 90 percent of whites and Hispanics; 77 percent of African Americans
Education: 92 percent of workers with college degrees; 83 percent without
Region: The highest was the West (95 percent), and the lowest was the South (83 percent); in the middle was the Northeast (88 percent), and the Midwest (92 percent)
Party: Republicans, at 92 percent, were happier than Democrats, at 80 percent. Self-described independent voters were almost as happy as Republicans at 91 percent.
“It is interesting to note that there was only a one-point difference between women and men,” said Faucheux, “and no difference between union and non-union workers.”
The survey was conducted by live telephone interviewers August 14-18, 2009, using a nationwide scientifically selected sample of 560 registered voters who said they were employed full-time or parttime. The margin or error was +/- 4.1%.
Perhaps they’re more daring when it comes to trying organic cuisine, implementing an aggressive 401(k) investment strategy, or listening to that dangerous and provocative Elvis Presley "rock and roll" music, as they call it.
But when it comes to their first jobs, a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates security and opportunity for advancement are top priorities. In fact, security ranks well above opportunities to pursue personal development and display creativity. Also of note, the students weren’t too concerned about the company taking an active role in the community.
Edwin L. Koc writes in the May 2008 NACE Journal:
"The fact that ‘company takes an active role in the community’ finishes 13th out of 15 in terms of importance is especially interesting because so much has been made of this generation’s community consciousness."
"The fact that financial security is the hallmark characteristic of this year’s graduating college seniors is frankly surprising. Most of the students in this generation come from families that would generally be viewed as relatively well-off."