Small Business – NuvoDesk Coworking
business startup concept

Tips for Starting a Business in an Uncertain Economy

Key Points

Learn what industries were affected during the pandemic along with tips for testing the waters for your new business venture.

Starting a small business is hard work in any environment, but it’s even more challenging in a tough economy. Small business owners must hone their business plans. If you create a thorough business plan for starting and growing your company you can stay focused on your goal when things inevitably get tough.

If you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, consider the following tips for successfully building your business in a challenging economy.

Tips for Starting a Business in an Uncertain Economy

1) Be Real with People.

Don’t gloss over the realities people are facing. Offer support.

2) Prepare to adapt.

Prepare for business to be slow, but also be open and willing to adapt. You may have to broaden your horizons or niche down.

3) Track your expenses.

Keep track of your finances. You need to know where every dollar goes. Cash flow is crucial in times of uncertainty.

4) Get clear on your audience and their problems.

Know the problems they face and how you can solve them. Don’t start a business if there is no need for your product or service. 

5) Build an audience first.

Network and build an audience before launching. You can build an audience for free through a blog and on social media. Make sure to collect feedback — it will tell you whether or not you’re heading in the right direction.

6) Get moving.

Crises inevitably end. If you start moving now, you’ll be the one standing while others take time to get back up and running. Start small and grow over time.

7) Do your research.

Nearly 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years. That number jumps to almost two-thirds by 10 years. There are plenty of reasons why a business fails, but CB Insights found that 35% of startups fail because there’s no market need.  The way around this is to research your target audience before starting a business. Look into economic trends, consumer behavior, audience demographics, and competition.

The Truth About Uncertainty

Economic Uncertainty Headline

While uncertain times surely make it harder to build a business, the truth is that there truly is no certain or perfect time to do so. If you’re considering starting a new venture, evaluate your life, relationships, and bank account and decide if they’re sturdy enough to ride the waves of entrepreneurship. 

Be prepared for the ups and downs of business-building. Add safety nets before starting your business (whether that’s having X months’ living expenses saved, a healthy pipeline of leads, etc.), and know that there’s always risk involved.

Data from several sources continues to support those looking to start a new business. The Census Bureau reported that more than 4.4 million new companies were created in the U.S. during 2020 — a record-setting high. This is a 24% increase from 2019 and 51% higher than the average from 2010-2019. 

The influx of entrepreneurial activity during 2020 didn’t just set records in the US. It was also the largest increase of any country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or the G20 with available data.

Before taking the leap, consider which industries have been most affected by the pandemic and which may be the most profitable. Retail, food service, and logistics have seen major losses. However, finance, construction, and eCommerce barely slowed down. 

Your chosen industry plays a part, as well as the amount of additional funding you can get from the government and private stipends. But it’s clear that the economy is getting back on its feet, and more people than ever before are setting up their own businesses.

When Is The Best Time to Start a Business

Ask any entrepreneur when is the best time to start a business and they’ll probably tell you “there is no perfect time.” Every business takes dedication, strong leadership, a great product or service, and a little luck.

Research from the Kauffman Foundation found that 30% of new entrepreneurs in 2020 were unemployed when they started their companies. Some entrepreneurs had ideas brewing for a while and took advantage of downtime during lockdown to create their own companies. 

See what the experts are saying.

The Bottom Line

There are unique benefits associated with starting a business in any economy. If you do your homework, think strategically, and take advantage of every opportunity to minimize costs while maximizing the value to your customers, you can build a foundation for long-lasting business success.

 

By Leslie Radford
small business saturday tag on canvas

Small Business Saturday Ideas You Can Use To Sell More This Year

Key Points

Small Business Saturday – what it is, how it came to be, how to support a small business, and some ideas you can implement into your small business to help it grow.

 

If you think about it, every business started out as a small business. Even Amazon started in a garage as a small business! Small businesses become larger businesses because consumers like what they had to offer. 

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 27 this year. Let’s take a look at what it is, how it came to be, and some ideas you can implement into your business to help it grow.

What is the Purpose of Small Business Saturday?

SBS encourages consumers to keep it close to home when buying gifts this holiday season. Spending money locally helps everyone in the community prosper.

History Of Small Business Saturday

American Express, a U.S. corporation with $37 billion in revenue in 2018, started Small Business Saturday in 2010. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) joined as a co-sponsor five years later. SBS has become an important part of how many small businesses launch their busiest shopping season.

According to the 2018 SBS Consumer Insights Survey, the total reported spending among U.S. consumers who said they shopped at independent retailers and restaurants on the day reached a record high of approximately $17.8 billion. The same survey reported that more than 70% of consumers are now aware of the Small Business Saturday initiative. Based on this annual survey over the years, SBS spending has now reached a reported estimate of $103 billion since the day began.

 

Most Popular Things To Buy Local

According to one study, the following are things consumers are most likely to buy from a small business.

Most Popular Things To Buy Local  bar chart

Small Business Saturday Statistics

99.7% of all U.S. businesses are small businesses

64% of new jobs created in the U.S. between 1993 and 2011 were from small businesses

Small businesses donate 250% more to non-profits and community causes

Small Business Saturday Activities

Here are some things you can do to support small businesses:

Go On A Local Shopping Spree

Many shoppers opt for big box stores on Black Friday, knowing that there’ll be sales on common holiday gifts. Small businesses sometimes offer many similar discounts — but without the marketing dollars to display the price cuts, they’re often left out in the cold. If you were planning on purchasing a TV this holiday season, try calling your local electronics store to see if they’re offering any discounts first.

Talk About It

Social media is a wonderful way to share our daily lives with friends, but sometimes, letting them know about a good deal from an e-commerce giant or a big box store can feel like advertising. With small businesses, it’s different: Instead of contributing to some corporation’s bottom line, you can rest easy knowing that you’re helping a neighbor succeed.

Make It A Habit

Small Business Saturday only lasts for one day, but you can get acquainted with your local shops. Don’t let another year pass before your next visit! For small businesses to succeed, they need our support throughout the year.

Think Big Shop Small signage

6 Small Business Saturday Ideas You Can Use To Sell More This Year

According to one survey of 5,000 consumers, 72 percent of people said they will make more of an effort to support small businesses this year. Use these simple ideas to make sure you’re a part of the big day.

1) Own your identity as a small business

Customers want to shop small this year so highlight your identity as a small business. Tell your story of how and why you got started. Remind your customers of ways you’ve gotten involved in local community efforts. Share what makes your products or services special and personal. Don’t be shy about talking about what makes you different from the big box stores. 

2) Craft a compelling Small Business Saturday offer or discount

It’s so important to have a great offer to help your business stand out from the crowd. Start thinking about your audience and what would appeal to them. What is your store known for? Has anything worked particularly well in the past?

Here are some examples of offers you might want to consider:

  • 15 percent discount on all new items
  • Free coffee and cookies for guests while they shop
  • Free gift with any purchase over $50
  • 20% off your next purchase when you spend $40 or more
  • Free gift wrapping

3) Send out an email series

Email marketing is a tool that helps you reach your customers and prospects, directly in their inbox. (Click here to learn who NuvoDesk recommends for help with email marketing.)

When people sign up to your mailing list, they’re interested in what your business has to offer and are interested in supporting your business. Let people know why shopping small is important for your community. You can include a special offer or exclusive content to promote Small Business Saturday.

Consider partnering with other local businesses in order to promote each other. Let your email readers know where they can shop local on Small Business Saturday. It’s recommended that you use a series of 3 emails to remind people to shop with you. This time of year is busy, so these emails are a great way to remind people and get them to take action to support your business:

Email 1:  Send an announcement email as soon as possible. Let them know that Small Business Saturday is coming up and why they should shop locally. Include the details about your offer.

Email 2: Send a reminder email a week before. Remind them of the deadline and your offer so they don’t forget.

Email 3:  A day or two before Small Business Saturday, send a last-chance email so they don’t forget to shop with you and use your offer.

4) Reach interested customers on social media

Social media is a tool that will help you expand your reach to even more potential customers. Start by sharing similar content used in your email series on social media. Use the content and offer you’ve added to your email campaign to promote the idea of shopping small.

Create a series of three social posts, just like you did with your email series; an announcement, reminder, and last-chance reminder to keep the buzz going. (We partner with these guys to make sure our social media makes an impact.)

5) Prepare your physical store (if you have one)

Now that the word’s out, make sure you’re stocked and staffed for success. Think about your staff and what their strengths are, then assign tasks to each member to cut out any confusion when your store is filled with eager shoppers.

You could also print out an email sign-up sheet ahead of time and encourage shoppers to share their email addresses to stay in touch throughout the rest of the holiday season and into the new year. Don’t forget to snap a few photos to capture the excitement in your store. Share them on social media.

6) Keep the momentum going

As exhausting as the day might be, don’t overlook the importance of follow-up in the week after Small Business Saturday. A small thank you can go a long way, and it will only take a few minutes to create. Depending on how many photos you took, you could share an album on Facebook, or simply pick the best one to share with your fans via SMS.

You can keep your text simple — try something like, “Thanks to everyone who stopped by to #ShopSmall this Saturday. We appreciate your support and hope to have you back again soon!”

Next, add your new email subscribers to your list and send out a quick email.

In any follow-up message you send, your goal should be to remind your customers of their great experience with you and entice them to visit again soon. Include an image to make the thank you more personal and include an offer to bring people back into your store before the end of the year.

 

Encourage Your Customers To Shop Small This Year

Even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, you can take some of these ideas to use for your service or products. Partnerships can go a long way. Referrals are extremely important, so start telling your friends and neighbors to #ShopSmall.

 

NuvoDesk supports small businesses just like yours!

coworking space

Top 6 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Coworking Space

Top 6 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Coworking Space

 

Key Points

 

Location

Budget

Work Environment 

Community

Duration

Amenities

 

With 2022 around the corner and coworking spaces projected to exceed 23,000 worldwide, how do you choose the best coworking space that fits your needs? 

Before making your selection, you should consider these top 6 tips when selecting a coworking space: 

 

1 Location

Location is the most important element when choosing your perfect office space. You’ll want your new office that is within a reasonable commuting distance from your home. Consider local conveniences such as restaurants, availability of parking, shops, and public transit that make it easy to access and entertain clients. 

Nuvodesk location

2 Budget 

Make sure the space you choose offers an affordable and long-term solution for you and your team. If you are going to outgrow the space within a few months, you may want to use a swing space. Determining what your budget is in advance will help you filter out spaces that are much too expensive from an early stage, saving you time and money. 

3 Work Environment 

Determine if you need a dedicated office or if you can work from a hot desk with the use of meeting rooms. See if you can visit the space to work for a day or two to make sure that wherever you choose to work, you can fulfill your foundational business needs. 

nuvodesk floorplan

4 Community 

Once you have determined if a space meets your needs and budget, you can look into some of the more fun aspects to the space. Each coworking space fosters and attracts different members from local neighborhoods. Besides the “business” reasons for joining a community, you want to be encouraged to come to work every day, network, and make new friends. 

5 Short-Term or Long-Term

Planning for the future is a fundamental business strategy. How long do you plan on staying at your chosen coworking space? Are you planning on expanding nationally or globally? Does the coworking space you choose offer access to a network of locations? These are important elements that you should have the answer to prior to picking a space. 

6 Amenities 

Choosing a coworking space that boasts unique amenities is always a plus. Aside from the typical free coffee, wifi, and printing, finding a space that can offer above and beyond will make your work life much better. 

golf simulator
Selecting a Coworking Space

If you are looking for a coworking space, consider NuvoDesk. We are conveniently located off Highway 360 in Arlington, have various workspace options, and amazing amenities. You’ll love the community we have and will make new connections.

 

Try us out for a day for free!

 

By Leslie Radford
checklist

End of the Year Checklist for Small Businesses

End of the Year Checklist for Small Businesses

By Leslie Radford

Key Takeaways

Things you need to do at the end of the year

Updates

Backups

Audits

Plan

It’s December and you are in holiday mode, but don’t forget all the important things you need to do at the end of the year for your business. Finish out the year strong and in order with this checklist.

  1. Run year-end financials: These reports give you the opportunity to look at the big picture. You need to know where your money is being spent and how you can manage it better next year. What are your best income sources? Who still owes you money? Do you owe money to others? Make a list of assets. Know how much cash you have on hand. Have a copy ready for tax time.
  2. Update employee and payroll information: Make sure phone numbers, addresses, and payroll information are up to date. This will also make preparing W-2s and 1099s easy at tax time.
  3. Update vendor and client files: Make sure your vendor list is up-to-date and know exactly which vendors you will be using next year. Will you have repeat clients in the future or have some of them moved on?
  4. Audit inventory: If your business sells a physical product, you need to know how much of what is in stock, what needs to be ordered or manufactured. This information is also needed on this year’s taxes. Get rid of old inventory and make room for the new.
  5. Review insurance policies, contracts, business plans, and other important documents: Does your current insurance policy still apply? Are your contracts up-to-date and will they apply for the following year? Do you need to update company policies? Do you need to make changes to your business plan due to growth?
  6. Back up computers and cell phones: This task is time-consuming but necessary. Back up data like employee records, point-of-sale systems, and all of your accounting information. Many small business owners do a ton of work from their cell phones. Don’t get in a bind when your phone crashes and you haven’t backed up your contacts.
  7. Audit your website: Make sure all links are working correctly, there’s no old information or products still listed, and see if there are ways to make improvements in SEO and sales. Update images, headlines, content, and other relevant information.
  8. Make a plan of action for the new year: This one is important and probably the most overlooked. Using all the data collected from steps 1-7, how was your year? Did you meet all your goals? What goals will you set for the following year? Break up the next year to set small objectives to help you reach the larger goals. Make a list of accomplishments to see how you’ve grown. New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for your personal life; they also make for a successful business as well. Fill out a calendar for next year with known dates for certain activities, deadlines, and bills. Incorporate these ideas into your business plan.

Go forth and conquer 2020!

6 reasons to join your local Chamber of Commerce

  1. Networking

People do business with people they “know, like and trust”. The Chamber offers members many ways to network including breakfasts, lunch seminars, business after hours, Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting ceremonies, and other special events. Every person you meet has the ability to connect you to (potentially) hundreds more people. That means your professional network grows exponentially with each person you add. A strong professional network can introduce you to potential clients and trusted service providers and more. The chamber initiates more business-to-business commerce and more opportunities for networking and connecting local professionals than is available through most other local organizations.

  1. Visibility

As a new member of the Chamber, you will be listed in the Chamber e-newsletter, on social media and have the opportunity to be highlighted in other chamber publications. You can grow your business by advertising with the chamber and sponsoring events. Chamber events are innovative and fun ways to help members meet potential customers, clients and vendors— and generate new business leads. The more events you attend, the more visible your company will be to the community.

  1. Credibility

Membership brings credibility to your business. Many members of the community consider a Chamber membership to be a sign of a reputable and solid business. Consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it’s a member of their local Chamber. According a research study by The Schapiro Group, Inc. and Market Street Services, when consumers know that a small business is a member of their local Chamber, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of it and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.

  1. Discounts

As a Chamber member, you have access to the member database. This is a great way to reach out to other members, network and make referrals. You will also gain access to members-only discounts and services. You can list any news, promotions or events though the website and database system and offer other members discounts on your services.

  1. Have a Voice

The Chamber represents the local business community, giving a voice to the membership’s ideas and needs. Chambers take on the tough issues and may oppose new regulations, taxes, assessments and costs that will negatively impact small businesses.

  1. Learning

The Chamber has opportunities for members to attend training sessions, workshops, and seminars that will help your business succeed, such as sales, marketing, social media, networkings and more.

NuvoDesk is proud to be members of the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce.

Join your local Chamber today!

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