2021 Small Business Owner Report

| May 1, 2021

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Despite continued challenges, our latest research found small business owners have started to regain their footing. Economic confidence and
business revenue expectations have bounced back significantly from levels seen last fall, with hiring plans on the rise as well. Most also feel that a widely available vaccine in their local community will be helpful in bringing their business back to normal.

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4 Questions to Ask — and Answer — Before Starting a Side Hustle

Article | July 6, 2021

Starting a side hustle requires doing a bit more than deciding you will monetize your interests. You can explore a hobby or activity that you are passionate about through a side hustle. This hustle may also allow you to carve out a space for pursuing natural talents, such as the ability to bake cakes or sew clothing. Typically, a side gig is pursued on the side in addition to full-time employment elsewhere. Side hustles may not be your full-time line of work, but that doesn’t mean they do not receive any less attention. Starting a side hustle requires an investment of time, energy, focus, and dedication. This ensures that you may pursue what you love, learn by doing, create and establish a working business plan, and, ideally, set yourself up to build a loyal customer or client base that enjoys and invests in your offerings. Starting a side hustle also means being able to ask, and answer, tough questions to ensure you’re ready to commit. Before you start, make sure you can confidently answer the following questions to ensure a healthy lifecycle for your side gig.

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Ways to Protect Your Small Business Against Supply Chain Disruptions

Article | August 9, 2021

COVID-19 had a drastic effect on businesses worldwide. It affected small businesses in various ways, and owners faced unpredictable supply chain disruptions. However, the coronavirus pandemic proved to be a blessing in disguise. The supply chain executives attempted to sustain critical operations during the pandemic. This put their inventiveness, resilience, and adaptability to the test. In addition, the pandemic revealed areas of the supply chain that needed improvement, and it served as an actual test of corporate values and purpose. Supply chain disruptions can impact small businesses in various ways, including increasing expenses, reducing revenue, eroding market share, or causing production challenges. All these factors have the potential to impact a company's bottom line adversely. According to the Institute for Supply Management research, over 75% of the 628 firms questioned reported supply chain delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the same study, 57% of respondents indicated higher wait times for orders with Chinese suppliers. The global supply chain has been a lifeline for the response, ensuring critical medical supplies, food, and other critical commodities reach those who need them the most in time. Challenges Faced by Supply Chain The coronavirus caused a supply chain breakdown, adding a few more obstacles to the already existing ones. Supply chain disruption takes a variety of forms and sizes. Supply chain and operational expenses creep up from several sources and so become prohibitively expensive. In the absence of visibility and accountability for reducing them, operational expenses might rise. Demanding forecasting during the worldwide pandemic added another degree of complexity to the supply chain difficulties of many small businesses. COVID-19 shattered predictions for a variety of merchants and suppliers of consumer goods/services, putting them in the position of choosing how much inventory to hold or create at any moment. Global supply networks are fragile and are collapsing in the face of multi-country disturbances. Talent shortages across the supply chain and operations continue to place a high premium on human labor. A lack of flexibility hampers the inability to meet client expectations for personalization and customization. The resilience strategy was built on outmoded technologies, impairing visibility and decision-making. Risks in the Supply Chain The coronavirus has disturbed businesses and, more importantly, caused supply chain disruptions, altering consumer behavior, supply chains, and routes to markets, knocking businesses off balance. Businesses must move quickly and boldly to create and execute a short-term tactical strategy that will mitigate threats to human health and ensure the continued operation of global supply chains. This may be accomplished with robust data and analytics to comprehend complexity, anticipate possible disturbances, and develop a swift reaction. Methods for mitigating supply chain risks comprise the following: Prepare resources and assembly far in advance to act as a buffer against a brief disruption. Provide incentives to supply chain vendors who ensure operational continuity. Monitor the situation and take the necessary response/contingency steps. Utilize a recovery strategy to re-establish the original supply chain and mitigate the damage swiftly. Impact On Supply Chain The impact of coronavirus supply chain disruptions is severe. Small businesses' supply chains will be crucial in promptly, safely, and securely delivering goods and services. Numerous businesses worldwide rely significantly on manufacturing and supply chains in China, Southeast Asia, and other low-cost countries. However, recent global changes have compelled these businesses to reassess their supply chains, stability, and reliability in the face of an uncertain future. Over 30% of small companies indicated that supply chain interruptions had a material impact on their operations as per the estimates.Another third reported a negligible effect. In addition, over half indicated that the disruptions' effects are worse than three months earlier, while just 6% reported an improvement. The impact of supply chain disruption includes substantial and operational disruptions. These disruptions range from minimizing the impacts of reduced supply to managing disruptions to logistics providers and obstacles to achieving their contractual commitments to consumers. COVID-19 emphasized the critical nature of supply chain resilience to develop more robust long-term operations. As a result, the future repurposed and reshaped supply chains will have to include resilience and adaptation into their calculations. COVID-19 is causing supply chain interruptions in 94% of Fortune 1000 firms. 75% of firms have had a negative or significantly unfavorable impact on their operations. 55% of businesses want to reduce their growth forecasts (or have already done so). Here Are A Few Ways to Mitigate Supply Chain Disruptions For Your Small Business Locate Backup Suppliers and Vendors Identifying backup suppliers and securing them is critical for resolving supply chain problems on time; backup suppliers are the glue that holds a robust supply chain together. Unfortunately, numerous small enterprises rely on a single source for raw materials, resulting in the demise of many small firms. Manufacturers may safeguard themselves against supply shortages by arranging for backup sources in advance. To mitigate potential risks, manufacturers should consider selecting backup suppliers from various geographical regions. This will ensure that local material shortages and disasters have a minimal impact on order fulfillment. Still, it will also aid in developing a relationship with them to step in when needed. Finally, consider asking suppliers to carry business continuity insurance, equipment failure coverage, and other types of insurance to help decrease the probability of order fulfillment being halted. Incorporate Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) A supply chain breakdown may be a rude awakening for any small businesses that are operating normally. Supply chain management encompasses not just raw material sourcing but also the end-to-end flow of products and services and the planning and administration of operations related to sourcing, procurement, conversion, and logistics management tasks. Utilize cutting-edge technologies to assess possible supply chain risks. For example, consider adopting AI-powered mapping and environmental analysis solutions and aggregation applications that give global overviews and cyber threat assessment systems. Tools for supply chain risk management exist to assist you in tracking and controlling your supply chain. These tools may significantly improve the efficiency of order intake, shipping, ordering supplies, and inventory management. In addition, as supply chains grow more cloud-based or automated, it becomes increasingly important to use software to monitor your supply chain risk management program. Customers Should Be Informed For many small businesses, supply chain disruptions are unavoidable, and they will impact the products and services you expect to deliver. However, in this situation, it is critical to have clear communication with consumers. Keeping in touch with your consumers is essential for protecting your brand and the relationships you've worked so hard to build. Transparency with customers is critical when dealing with supply chain disruptions. Before customers make an order, be open about the reasons for the delay and potential difficulties, and communicate with them proactively about what is happening with your business and how you react. Never, ever leave your consumers in the dark. Bottom Line The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everyone in every country on Earth. However, not all breakdowns are internationally recognized, and supply chain disruptions are unavoidable. However, by carefully preparing your reaction, assessing possible supply chain risks, and identifying backup suppliers and vendors, you can help prepare for even the most extraordinary circumstances. Frequently Asked Questions: What is supply chain disruption? A supply chain disruption occurs when the manufacturing process of items and their distribution to clients are disrupted. Disruption brings everything to a grinding halt - the traditional spanner in the works. A supply chain disruption occurs when a sudden shift or crisis — whether local or global — has a detrimental effect on that process. What are some of the causes of supply chain disruption? Here are some of the causes of supply chain disruption: Natural disasters, Transportation failures and delays, Political, economic, climate, or cyber threats, Pandemics, Product problems, and Price fluctuations. How to handle a supply chain disruption? You can handle a supply chain disruption by: Diversifying supply base, Identifying backup suppliers and vendors, Creating a supply chain emergency plan, Communicating with your customers, Incorporating supply chain risk management (SCRM) and by Adopting risk evaluation tools. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is supply chain disruption?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "A supply chain disruption occurs when the manufacturing process of items and their distribution to clients are disrupted. Disruption brings everything to a grinding halt - the traditional spanner in the works. A supply chain disruption occurs when a sudden shift or crisis — whether local or global — has a detrimental effect on that process." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are some of the causes of supply chain disruption?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Here are some of the causes of supply chain disruption: Natural disasters, Transportation failures and delays, Political, economic, climate, or cyber threats, Pandemics, Product problems, and Price fluctuations." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to handle a supply chain disruption?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "You can handle a supply chain disruption by: Diversifying supply base, Identifying backup suppliers and vendors, Creating a supply chain emergency plan, Communicating with your customers, Incorporating supply chain risk management (SCRM) and by Adopting risk evaluation tools." } }] }

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Top 8 Options of Startup Financing for Small Businesses

Article | July 23, 2021

Are you set with the business idea? So now is the real mammoth-sized challenge that is how to get startup finance? As the adage goes, "never put all your eggs in one basket," and this is especially true when it comes to startup financing options for your business. Entrepreneurs ought to understand the importance of diversifying financial sources and the available options. It is crucial to select the appropriate startup financing for small businesses. According to a 2020 Federal Reserve report, new company small businesses are the primary source of job growth in the United States. Still, they are much more likely than larger firms to face financial difficulties in accessing borrowed capital. Millions of Americans start their businesses each year. According to the Census Bureau, there would be over 4.3 million new business applications in 2020 alone. It is vital to choose the suitable funding options as per your business requirements. Because every business's needs and circumstances are unique, no financial solution is one-size-fits-all. Some choose to finance their startups with their years saved capital or get “love money” from family, spouse or friends, or any other funding options. How you choose to fund your business determines the structure and operation of your business. Hence, finding appropriate funding for startups is a bit tricky. In this blog, explore few options of startup financing for small businesses and grow your business. What is startup financing for small businesses? Startup capital is a large sum of money raised to help with the financial needs of new businesses. Small business startup loan covers all the major company’s initial costs, such as purchasing equipment, working capital, machinery inventory, supplies, licenses, office space, furniture, product development, purchase of construction equipment or real estate. Funding for startups can be provided by venture capitalists, angel investors, banks, or other financial institutions. It is pretty common that a new business might require more than one round of startup capital investment. In addition, many investors ask for a solid business plan in exchange for their money due to the risk involved in investing in the young company. Advantages and disadvantages of startup financing for small businesses Advantages: • You will have enough money to start your own business. • Personal wealth can be safeguarded. • You have the option to retain ownership. • You can establish business credit. Disadvantages: • It isn't easy to get startup business loans approved. • High-interest rates. • These loans may limit cash flow. • Your personal credit may be jeopardized. • You might not get all the money you asked for. Where can I get a small business startup loan? Small Business Credit Cards Business credit cards are the most preferred option of startup financing for small businesses. As a result, small businesses are highly targeted by business credit card issuers providing them multiple offers, unique benefits, and applications. Small business credit cards give small business owners easy access to a changing line of credit and a set of credit limits for making purchases and withdrawing cash. Business credit cards are safe, convenient, and a great alternative to startup business loans. Applying for small business credit cards can be quickly done online or through banks. The criteria to qualify for a small business credit card depends on the business owner’s credit score and combined income (personal and business). Small business credit cards are convenient startup financing options. Choose a credit card with a 0% APR to save money on interest. You will be able to pay off your debts in full each month once you start generating revenue. According to a recent Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey, 53% of small businesses use credit cards to help fund their operations. The most significant advantage of a small business credit card is that you can access the funds immediately for short-term needs, potentially increasing your company's purchasing power. Venture capital Venture capital funding is a good choice of startup financing for small businesses. Venture capital is a type of equity and financing provided by investors to start-ups and small businesses with the potential for long-term growth. Venture capitalists are a type of investor who typically invests in a business against equity and holds a small portion of the company's ownership in exchange for capital. When investing, venture capitalists consider a few criteria, such as specific industry sectors, company stage, and geography. In addition, venture capitalists frequently seek entrepreneurs with a robust business model that has the potential for higher returns. Venture capital financing is difficult to obtain because, as a business owner, you must ensure that their focus matches your company's and its stage of development. Venture capital is a time-consuming process that looks for more considerable opportunities that are stable, have a strong team, and have good traction. However, because venture capitalists provide a lot of mentorship and ownership, this may not be the best option for you if mentorship and compromising do not fit in your books. Crowdfunding Crowdfunding is a new trending option of startup financing for small businesses and has increased over the past few years due to its low risk for business owners. Crowdfunding is a way to raise startup capital through small contributions or investments from many individuals via crowdfunding websites or crowdfunding platforms. To raise funds for startups through crowdfunding is not very difficult; it just requires setting up your company profile on the popular crowdfunding websites or crowdfunding platforms available. The profile needs to describe your company, its business, the products or services you deal in, and the amount of money you wish to raise. Interested people can contribute to your campaign in exchange for a reward for their contribution. In addition, setting up a crowdfunding campaign gives exposure to your young company seeking money for the startup. Crowdfunding for startups is accomplished by gathering donations from diverse people in exchange for a special reward. This incentive could take the form of free products, exclusive discounts, first access to new products, premium merchandise, the opportunity to join the team, or even becoming a significant capital investor. Some of the popular crowdfunding platforms in the US include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, Onevest, SeedInvest, and many more. Each crowdfunding platform charges a fee to list your campaign, a flat fee or a percentage of the funds raised. Because each crowdfunding platform is unique, make sure to read the fine print and fully understand your financial and legal obligations. Love money from family and friends Love money is nothing more than approaching your spouse, friends, and family for a loan to start your business. This is the most common type of financing option used by many companies, and it is one of the most essential sources of startup financing for small businesses at early-stage businesses. Regardless of whether you have a personal and healthy relationship with your family and friends, never approach them solely for financial assistance. The mature move is to present them with a well-prepared business plan, financials, and other necessary documents. Then, request their valuable feedback on your business plan, as well as their advice based on their business experience, if any. This approach demonstrates your regard for their knowledge and expertise. Despite all the benefits listed above, a business relationship with family or friends should not be taken lightly. Never assume that your close family or friends will lend you money. Do not take their financial assistance for granted. Angel Investors Angel investors are another excellent source of startup financing for small businesses. Unfortunately, many people believe that venture capital and angel investors are the same things, but this is not the case. Venture capital is the companies that invest in your business. In contrast, angel investors are wealthy individuals or successful retired business executives who invest directly in small firms and take an equity stake in the new venture. Angel investors are one of the few startup financing options sought out during the early stages of a new business's growth. Along with funds, angel investors offer advice based on their experience, technical and management knowledge, and network of contacts. As a result, Angel investors frequently have a low profile and invest less than venture capitalists. Personal loans for business A personal loan for business may be worth considering for entrepreneurs with excellent personal credit and a new business idea worth putting your own money on the line for. The benefit of this option is that there are no hidden fees; it is simply a personal loan. Personal loans have lower interest rates and easier repayment terms than business loans. This is an effective startup funding option because it can be used for almost any purpose. The most significant disadvantage of a personal loan is that you are the sole accountable if your business fails and is responsible for the repayment of the outstanding balance. However, this can be a viable option as a startup financing for small businesses if you need a relatively small startup capital. Small business administration (SBA) loans The SBA does not lend directly to small businesses; instead, it offers various loan guarantee programs to qualifying banks, non-profit lenders, and credit unions. For example, some banks offer low-interest loans to small businesses that are backed and guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). They target underserved companies and make loans to start-ups. The loan application process is time-consuming, with stringent requirements for qualified small businesses. As a result, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a few startup programs such as micro-loans and Community Advantage. Equipment financing Equipment financing is the top option if you need startup financing to purchase equipment and machinery. Because the equipment you will buy will serve as collateral for the loan, lending standards for equipment financing may be less stringent. However, if you do not return the money, the bank may seize your equipment to cover the cost of their lost money. Dealerships, banks, and online equipment finance providers all offer equipment financing. The main advantage of equipment financing is that you gain ownership of an asset, the payments for which are spread out over time, which is generally one to five years. Frequently Asked Question: What do you mean by startup funding? Startup funding is money raised to help a new business meet its initial costs. To raise startup capital, entrepreneurs must create a compelling business plan to sell their concept to potential investors. Where can I find startup financing? Angel financing, crowdfunding, small business credit cards, venture capital, equipment financing are few popular options to find startup financing. What are the types of funding? Crowdfunding, venture capital, angel financing, small business administration loan, small business loans are few types of startup financing to businesses. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What do you mean by startup funding?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Startup funding is money raised to help a new business meet its initial costs. To raise startup capital, entrepreneurs must create a compelling business plan to sell their concept to potential investors." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Where can I find startup financing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Angel financing, crowdfunding, small business credit cards, venture capital, equipment financing are few popular options to find startup financing." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the types of funding?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer",

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5 Best Practices for Small Business Owner Taxes in 2020

Article | February 20, 2020

Your clients are counting on you to shepherd them through the often-onerous process of filing both their business and personal taxes. This can be particularly tough for small business clients, many of whom may just be starting out and have yet to put into place the best practices to limit their company's tax liability. Hopefully, your clients are using cloud-based software and other technology to more efficiently and accurately track their receipts and finances, making it easier for you to square away their taxes this year. Of course, businesses will also require guidance to help them avoid problems that go beyond accurate record-keeping. Here are five ways you can help smooth out the filing process for your small business clients this tax season:

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Airtasker is a trusted community platform that connects people who need to outsource tasks and find local services, with people who are looking to earn money and ready to work. We're changing how people get everyday tasks done and how they earn money.

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