Small business owners heading into 2018 have a lot to be happy about — but they’ve also got some major concerns about the continued success of their businesses.
Capital One polled small business owners about their hopes and fears, and here’s what the latest Small Business Growth Index has to say about their responses.
All told, small business owners feel good about their finances. Nearly half (47 percent) say their businesses’ sales rose in the past six months—the highest percentage recorded by the survey since the second quarter of 2013. Some 37 percent say their financial position has improved from one year ago, too.
But it’s not all sunshine. While small business owners are happy with their finances, they’re also wondering how long the good times will last. In fact, two of the top three concerns cited by entrepreneurs in the survey are financial in nature. Continue reading
by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach
When entrepreneurs start up a business one of the decisions to be made is the name. A large portion of our businesses are named after the owner (yours truly included). While this may be an easy way to get things started, it may not always be the best. As a recent New York Times article pointed out, there is both good and bad about naming a company after yourself.
On the plus side, you can build a powerful personal brand, there is a lot of recognition for you, the founder, and people like businesses that are associated with a person versus a static object or a made-up word. Assuming you have a good reputation, this can help get the word out about your new company and from then on YOU become the company and vice versa. In my consulting practice, it was easy, and it made sense as I could leverage the reputation I had built up over the years as an executive coach and strategic planner. This can also be powerful if you come from a well-known or famous family name, you can leverage the hard work of your parents or grandparents.
Read more on Mary Marshall’s website.
Accurately tracking financial data is not only critical for running the day-to-day operations of your small business, but it is also essential when seeking funding from lenders or investors to take your business to the next level. In addition, keeping tabs of your finances can help ensure your products and services are priced right, identify what your margins are, determine your cash flow and make filing taxes easier.
Here are three basic financial statements that are important for your small business:
- Balance sheet. This statement provides an overall financial snapshot of your small business. As an equation, it looks like liabilities + owner’s equity = assets. The two sides of the equation must balance out. There are two types of assets: current and fixed. Current assets include cash or other holdings that can quickly be converted to cash within a year. These may include inventory, prepaid expenses and accounts receivable. Machinery, equipment, land, buildings, furniture and other essentials that you are not planning to sell are considered fixed assets. Liabilities can be broken down into current or short-term liabilities, such as accounts payable and taxes, and long-term debt such as bank loans or notes payable to stockholders. Owner’s equity includes any invested capital or retained earnings. If you captured all of your accounting information correctly, both sides of the balance sheet equation should be equal. Download SCORE’s template to start setting up your own balance sheet.
Read more on the SBA.gov website.
Today’s farmers are changing the way we farm and eat in this country. Folks starting out in farming today are:
- From both rural and urban areas, and everywhere in between
- Conscious of their impact on the environment and interested in learning how to protect natural resources on their farms
- Pursuing new markets and selling both fresh and value-added products directly to consumers, wholesalers, restaurants, schools, and food hubs
- More likely to be female, a person of color, and/or have served in the U.S. military
- More likely to consider diversi cation options, comprehensive conservation systems, and organic farming practices
Today, a significant portion of livestock, poultry and other crops are being raised under production contracts, also known as grower agreements. Contracting has changed the shape of American agriculture. In the future, you may consider signing a contract to raise a crop under detailed specifications or to care for livestock or poultry owned by someone else.
USDA cannot tell you whether or not to sign a production contract. Each farmer and every farm business is different and there are many different types of contracts available. Making the important decision to enter a production contract should only be made after you consider how contracting may affect the future of your farm business. Continue reading
SCORE latest infographic examines small business owner sentiments about the future. This infographic reports the findings of part 3 of The Megaphone of Main Street Small Business Jobs Report. Continue reading