Consumerism isn’t a sellout if capitalism works for all

RICHARD V. REEVES | July 19, 2019 | 152 views

The essential thinginess of capitalism has been one of its most-criticized features. Materialism, and specifically consumerism, are almost always used as pejorative terms. Nostalgic conservatives, egalitarian progressives and environmentalists loudly agree on at least one thing: we are just buying too much stuff. They’re not wrong. The US self-storage market is already worth $38bn, and growing fast. Almost one in ten households are now renting extra space. One feature of late capitalism is that many of us have more things than we have space for things. At its best, however, consumerism is a powerful, positive force. It allows for the expression of identity, it can hold sellers to public account, and it drives new thinking and development. But this is only the case when consumers are being served fairly in the market. Today, there is a pressing concern about whether the forces of “bigness” a trend toward fewer larger companies  combined with a reluctance on the part of governments to intervene in consumer markets, is dampening innovation and narrowing choice.

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

5G – An Optimal Solution for Small Business

Article | July 29, 2022

Is your business prepared to harness the potential of 5G? If not, this is the right time to do it. It would help if you prepare to implement 5G technology since it will present a tremendous chance for novel ideas, new products and services, and revolutionized business models. 5G is not just about fast internet speed for the future; it is also about faster business. 5G has the potential to increase individual productivity, boost the efficiency of sales channels, and provide various new business prospects. In the face of future hazards and uncertainties, 5G will be critical in developing stronger adaptation and resilience. Small businesses must consider how 5G will influence them and how they might benefit from it. In the future, 5G will be crucial for various sectors like automation, AI, machine learning, virtualization, and cloud computing. Because these industries are likely to experience growth in the coming years, it is essential to plan how to reap the benefits for your personnel and business operations. 5G Business Models and Opportunities for SMEs The world has witnessed the disruption in business models with the arrival of 5G for incumbent operators and verticals alike. There will be numerous good opportunities for big players in the market, who are in good position. However, the real winners may well be the SMEs that have mastered the key technologies and services that make the new business models possible. Key features like speed, ultra-low latency, high scalability, and network efficiency make 5G unique for business operations. 5G is a gateway for new opportunities, especially when integrated with Wi-Fi 6. It promises new efficiencies, greater productivity, and new ways to define your small business. SMBs need to build a robust strategy so that once the technology is available, their businesses will be well-equipped to utilize 5G and reap the benefits of the advanced network. In addition, better network connectivity will encourage the development of new products and services for customers, which will help business expansion and long-term success. Motivations for Investing in 5G Large number of SMEs are intrigued by 5G's potential security, automation, and competitiveness benefits. This indicates that companies perceive 5G as much more than just a "faster internet" and envisage ways in which a 5G-enabled future will help them survive and thrive over the next decade. A few other compelling factors encourage businesses to invest in 5G. Here are the ones listed: Improved remote working operations Improved customer experience The efficiency of operations/cost savings Enables new types of services and products Greater operational security Improved data collection and analytics Increased competitiveness Improved automation Increased productivity of the workforce Final Word 5G offers a significant opportunity for small enterprises to expand their reach. This technology allows the company to become a true digital leader. It is time to trust in the potential of creativity and collaboration and put them into practice for economic growth.

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TECHNOLOGY,SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Time to Reinvent the Small Business Insurance

Article | July 20, 2022

Insurers should reconsider the SME market. Small enterprises face the recovery from disruptions with a new set of requirements. In addition, the pandemic pushed customers’ desires for a broader range of coverage, services, and distribution alternatives. As a result of the sensitivity to business insurance-related complications, business owners conduct a comprehensive analysis of the available solutions. There are various business insurance types available: Business Owner’s Insurance (BOI), Product Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Directors and Officers Liability Insurance, and Workers Compensation Insurance. Insurers view disruptions as an opportunity rather than a threat; hence, they are now better prepared to adapt to a shifting market emphasis. Insurers Pay Attention to Changing Small Business Customer Needs The pandemic made small businesses aware of possible gaps in their insurance policies. The devastating impact of the pandemic on companies and the ongoing economic uncertainties present chances for insurers to take immediate and decisive action. Significant small business owners are looking for more coverage and price flexibility, additional risk management services, and new insurance providers. Insurers are strengthening their market position by launching additional commercial coverage and offering discounts in exchange. In addition, insurers are increasingly likely to offer cyber insurance coverage in a world dominated by the digital economy due to escalating concerns about cyber threats. Insurers are offering more adaptable solutions to increase affordability and satisfy the changing demands of consumers. Similarly, establish chances for differentiation by providing tailored, comprehensive risk management options. In light of the ever-evolving threat to small businesses, their insurance policies must reflect the present state of affairs. How are Insurers Enhancing Product Value as a Way Forward? Insurance is no longer only a product or commodity purchased based on price but, instead, a service solution purchased based on perceived value to decrease risk and control loss. By using data analytics and AI in different parts of their business, like underwriting, claims, marketing, and distribution, insurers can make better, more timely decisions about dynamic pricing for consumers. Below are a few more ways that insurers can enhance their product value for a better future: Redesign current plans to give additional flexibility in coverage, premium payments, and payment triggers Expand the stack by including new coverage like cyber, remote employees, climate risk, and cryptocurrencies Bundle more coverage to save time and money while increasing retention Keep automated tools easy to find, navigate, and integrate via applications and an intuitive website Go Robo offers digital solutions to assist small companies to manage their insurance portfolio, submit and follow-up on claims, and enhance risk management How Should Insurers Adjust to Win SME Market Share? Small business insurance covers everything and may be tailored to the needs of specific sectors and enterprises. However, current conditions provide incumbents with the incentive to reinvigorate their legacy companies and let new rivals enter the market and disrupt them. " Insurers must have the capabilities to understand their customers and have technical solutions allowing them to rapidly evolve and adapt solutions as the market changes." -O'Hearn, global insurance leader at PwC Below are a few ways that insurers can adjust to win SME market share: Concentrate On Prospering SME Segments The growth outlook for SMBs varied by segment and industry. Therefore, insurers must identify the businesses and market areas that will drive the next wave of development and then build products and capabilities to service them. Provincial NordWest, for instance, created a new digital attacker to aid micro and small SMEs. This method enabled Provinzial to target new markets. Develop New Products The liability of small businesses has taken on an entirely new form. The requirements of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have changed considerably; insurers should build solutions that adequately meet the new realities. Axa XL and Marsh launched usage-based, price-per-mile automobile insurance that allows businesses to pay only for their coverage. In addition, thimble permits clients in the United States to suspend their policy and payments for 30 days without termination. These product solutions directly fulfill the needs of SMEs for improved flexibility and a focus on value, while also encouraging trust and transparency. Future of Insurance for Small Businesses The game of insurance for small businesses is becoming digital. As the SME category has been primarily untouched thus far, there is a considerable possibility for profitable expansion through focused investment and a heightened emphasis on the area. The insurance sector is beginning to give the small company market its attention. The fundamental shift in efficiency and scalability brought about by digitalization, and the increased segmentation and analytical capabilities made possible by modern technology have made small business insurance far more effective. In addition, targeting the SME sector is no longer viable but lucrative. According to Fit Small Business, 36% of small businesses prefer to make an insurance claim online. Conclusion The opportunity exists for insurers to renew and update their business models to better serve small companies. For example, they may change their operating model to be more user-centric, agile, and direct. Regardless of the course insurers choose, the current market void represents a great opportunity. FAQ: Why Do You Need Small Business Insurance? Businesses require business insurance because it helps cover the expenses involved with property damage and liability claims. How much does small business insurance cost? Business insurance costs vary depending on the plans purchased and the coverage levels. Other variables include your industry, personnel count, revenue, and location. Which Type of Insurance Do Small Businesses require? Below are the different types of insurance small businesses require: General Liability Insurance Business Income Insurance Workers' Compensation Insurance

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TECHNOLOGY

Virtual Promotion – A New Way of Marketing for SMBs

Article | July 16, 2022

No one anticipated how businesses would adjust to the unexpected change in business operations when the pandemic struck the globe. However, businesses were successful. Small firms that explored inventive ways to bring offline services online received a robust response. Today is the age of developing campaigns across channels automatically and improving their efficacy and reach. People choose to remain online via several channels and digital gadgets. Therefore, SMEs are turning to the future of advertising, which is online. Google Ads Google advertising is one of the best decisions you can make in the internet and virtual marketing age. Google Ads is the largest and most popular online advertising platform globally, and by advertising on Google, your business may reach a potential audience of one million people. With Google Ads, you will likely receive ten times as many leads and double your conversion rate compared to traditional marketing techniques. It allows you to target a particular demographic without spending thousands of dollars. It is not only for Google's benefit but also for the companies, as more and more customers want to buy online. As a result of the pandemic, digital demand for products/services has increased, and Google has benefitted from this. Google's marketing platform provides a centralized location to see, advertise, and manage everything. Omnichannel – Integrated Approach Omnichannel marketing is a new technique that has blurred the line between physical and virtual marketing to adapt to technology's reality. The method by which customers acquire goods and services is also evolving in terms of speed and platforms. So focusing on how your customers want to be promoted and on their devices is a new path forward. The most significant benefit of a platform-based strategy for omnichannel marketing is access to unified, real-time customer data. Omnichannel marketing is effective for all businesses, regardless of marketing team size or budget. The particular choice of techniques depends on the nature of your business. However, many sorts of organizations may profit from an omnichannel marketing strategy. Traditional retailers such as Walmart, Target, Kohl's, Macy's, and many more are increasingly emphasizing this omnichannel or integrated marketing strategy. Future of Digital Marketing in The New Tech-Age The digital behaviors that customers have established over the past two years are likely to persist for the foreseeable future. The world of digital marketing is set to undergo significant changes in 2022, and businesses should be prepared to take advantage of them. Businesses search for changes in the virtual and augmented experience known as the Metaverse, which represents the future of the web. AR tools are at the top of the list of technologies that simplify small businesses’ interaction with their audience. Marketers are becoming more strategic as automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning remove a significant portion of the menial tasks associated with digital marketing. According to the 60-second marketer, the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices will reach 41 billion by 2027. Last but not least, micro-influencers will significantly affect the marketing industry. Conclusion Even if the investment appears substantial, SMBs should remain open to upgrades to obtain the digital transformation niche. It is time for small firms to advance gradually and adopt new technology to prevent missing out on lucrative markets. Along with getting used to new technology, people will be rewarded for new ways of thinking and doing things.

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FINANCE

Fintech Lending Trends Transforming the Small Businesses

Article | May 13, 2022

Fintech lending trends are enabling small business owners to access fresh funding through AI, machine learning, and big data. Fintech is a fast-growing section of the financial industry, yet little is known about its performance. For an extended period, borrowing from banks was difficult for startups, small companies, and entrepreneurs; however, the expansion of industry and Fintech solutions has prompted lenders to assist small businesses using the newest AI and data analytics technologies. “Many of the processes associated with running an SMB have traditionally been very paper-based, difficult and slow. But with the advent of new technological solutions, all of these processes will be transformed.” - Karen G. Mills, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and author of the book Fintech, Small Business & the American Dream: How Technology Is Transforming Lending and Shaping a New Era of Small Business Opportunity. The global financial industry is predicted to reach US$26.5 trillion in 2022, growing at a 6% compound annual growth rate. (The Business Research Company, 2020) From 2021 to 2025, the worldwide Fintech market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 23.58%. (Research and Markets, 2020) Small companies encounter a few significant challenges when it comes to financial management. Let us take a quick look at a few of them. Pain Points for SMEs Bank lending is frequently constrained because it takes more time and knowledge to comprehend small businesses than to grasp more standardized consumer enterprises. Also, due to the smaller loan amount, the typical relationship-based corporate banking model is expensive when dealing with small enterprises. Frequently, small businesses lack the required information, such as a history of audited financial statements, for banks to accurately analyze their cash flow position. In addition, banks are reducing their exposure to small firms due to regulatory requirements. Future of Fintech: B2B Lending By reorienting customer expectations, Fintech lenders have changed the future loan ecology. Fintech loan approval enables businesses to grow their assets, employment, and sales. Financial technology adoption is critical for small business growth and results in a greater return on investment. What’s Changed in B2B Lending Fintech? Offline businesses have historically relied on traditional financing, but online enterprises have always relied on equity. There are several trends that organizations should monitor, including the following: Cross-Border Payments B2B Lending Solutions Conversational Artificial Intelligence Accounts Payable Automation Electronic B2B Payments Smart Contracts BlockChain Emerging Fintech lenders are addressing this issue by doing more sophisticated creditworthiness assessments using real-time analysis of more data inputs. OnDeck is one such fintech lender. In addition, it uses machine learning to determine the creditworthiness of small enterprises. Debt vs. Equity in Financing Your Business Things with a return on investment of less than one year may make sense to finance using debt, as the return will be reasonably soon. On the other hand, it makes sense to fund long-term investments through stocks. Direct debt is a relatively new phenomenon in the world of Fintech firms. However, Fintech firms have various financing options, and depending completely on debt may be a sensible financial decision. How Can Businesses Take Advantage of Fintech Innovations? "In order to achieve the most from Fintech opportunities, companies in financial services need to treat Fintech innovation as a mainstream activity — and incorporate it within and across their entire organization." - Tek Yew Chia, Fintech Leader for KPMG in Singapore. Fintech organizations use AI and machine learning to automate manual processes such as risk modeling and credit decisioning. The adoption of Fintech solutions is having a profound effect on business operations. The following are the top three reasons why small and medium-sized businesses should invest in Fintech services: The scope of its capabilities and features The services are available for 24 hours a day The service's simplicity of installation, configuration, and use According to Weforum research, equity investment in FinTech startups doubled from $4 billion to more than $12 billion between 2013 and 2014. Due to the efficiency and effectiveness of FinTech solutions on a smaller scale, small firms will be one of the primary beneficiaries of FinTech's disruptive impact. Numerous firms benefit from enhanced, innovative Fintech solutions; here are a few highlighted examples. Reduced Costs Through the use of Fintech, the integration of physical and digital payment methods has been consolidated by combining bank account cards and client ids. This strategy enables organizations to operate more efficiently and at a lower total cost. Financial technology makes it possible for companies to send and receive money in different currencies without having to pay a lot in conversion fees. This speeds up the process of Fintech lending. Compliance and Security Many users disagree that Fintech Lending is secure. However, Fintech solutions are far more secure and safe than traditional banks. In addition, Fintech companies frequently invest heavily in their security infrastructure, both online and off. As a consequence, clients have confidence in the security of their data. Regulatory actions assure sound finances, governance, risk management, and compliance capabilities, therefore minimizing threats to the public safety net and potential harm to customers. Fintech firms do adhere to these regulatory requirements. Increased Transparency With the widespread use of Fintech in traditional banking, the phrase "transparency" is no longer a buzzword. Transparency in the payment sector also entails providing better visibility on payment timelines and outlining the path a customer's money will take during the payment journey. International payment solutions are redefining how the worldwide remittance process is seen. Notifying customers at critical points in the payment process, such as when money is received from a client and when it reaches a beneficiary's account. Overview of a Provider Amazon Amazon Lending was formed in 2012 to extend finance to small businesses selling on Amazon. Amazon's internal algorithms choose vendors based on data elements such as merchants' frequency of out-of-stock situations, the popularity of their items, and inventory cycles. Amazon provides retailers with three- to six-month loans ranging from $1,000 to $600,000 to assist with inventory purchases. According to reports, the firm charges up to 13.6% yearly interest rates. Conclusion Fintech has the potential to significantly and sustainably change small business finance, hence stimulating economic development. Furthermore, by integrating into the Fintech ecosystem, small businesses may access a variety of previously unavailable options. Disrupting the closed-door world of traditional financial institutions and mainstreaming alternative, technology-driven solutions creates a new industry while also enabling more entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. FAQ How is Fintech impacting the business? Fintech is transforming payment processing, money transferring, funding, accounting, and e-commerce. It helps businesses improve the process and create operational efficiencies. Why is Fintech so popular? Fintech helps businesses gain a share of online and offline markets, increase the customer base and achieve ambitious business goals. Which technologies are utilized in Fintech? There are some critical technologies in the focal point of discussion: Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Security, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the cloud.

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Endgame is a leading endpoint security platform that enables enterprises to close the protection gap against advanced adversaries by preventing advanced attacks and detecting and eliminating resident attacks.

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DDEC to Disburse About $1 Million for Small Business Recovery

theweeklyjournal | August 12, 2019

Today begins the disbursement of Capitalization Funds from the Labor Development Program of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym), to meet the needs of small businesses, whose companies were affected by the passages of hurricanes Irma and María in 2017, announced DDEC Secretary Manuel A. Laboy Rivera. “Some 206 small businesses will receive money to meet various business needs. For this reason, the DDEC Labor Development Program has approximately $926,500 committed, out of a total of $2.5 million allocated to boost the recovery of these businesses,” said Laboy, who added that these funds were allocated by the National Dislocated Workers Grant of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Small business confidence drops to a low as U.S.China trade war rattles Main Street

cnbc | August 12, 2019

Small business confidence has dropped to a level not seen since 2017, matching the all-time low since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began taking the pulse of Main Street in a quarterly survey three years ago. Business confidence is now lower than it was amid the major stock market sell-off of late 2018 and equals the way entrepreneurs felt in late 2017, when the tax cuts package and its provisions for small business owners were in doubt. Small business owners are undoubtedly better off now than they were the last time the confidence index was this low. Over half of business owners in the CNBC SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey for the third quarter of 2019 say that business conditions are good. That number was 13 percentage points lower (55% vs. 44%) at the time of the 2017 low. Fifty-eight percent say they expect revenue to increase in the next 12 months, and Trump’s net approval rating is holding strong, at 57%.

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80% of Rural Entrepreneurs Say They Are Better Off Than Urban Counterparts

smallbiztrends | August 11, 2019

Ask any entrepreneur why they went into business, and improving their quality of life will almost always rank in the top three answers. And more often than not, the location of the business and where they live will also play an important role. According to research from SCORE, rural entrepreneurs are reporting a better quality of life compared to their urban counterparts. This is despite the fact they face more challenges when it comes to the workforce, access to digital technology, and funding. But overall, they seem to be more content. For small business owners, rural or urban, the challenges are an accepted part of being an entrepreneur. And even with these challenges, their entrepreneurial spirit is exemplified by the more than 30+ million small businesses in the U.S. When it comes to quality of life and cost of living, 80% of rural small business owners believe they are better off than business owners in urban or suburban areas.

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DDEC to Disburse About $1 Million for Small Business Recovery

theweeklyjournal | August 12, 2019

Today begins the disbursement of Capitalization Funds from the Labor Development Program of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym), to meet the needs of small businesses, whose companies were affected by the passages of hurricanes Irma and María in 2017, announced DDEC Secretary Manuel A. Laboy Rivera. “Some 206 small businesses will receive money to meet various business needs. For this reason, the DDEC Labor Development Program has approximately $926,500 committed, out of a total of $2.5 million allocated to boost the recovery of these businesses,” said Laboy, who added that these funds were allocated by the National Dislocated Workers Grant of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Read More

Small business confidence drops to a low as U.S.China trade war rattles Main Street

cnbc | August 12, 2019

Small business confidence has dropped to a level not seen since 2017, matching the all-time low since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began taking the pulse of Main Street in a quarterly survey three years ago. Business confidence is now lower than it was amid the major stock market sell-off of late 2018 and equals the way entrepreneurs felt in late 2017, when the tax cuts package and its provisions for small business owners were in doubt. Small business owners are undoubtedly better off now than they were the last time the confidence index was this low. Over half of business owners in the CNBC SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey for the third quarter of 2019 say that business conditions are good. That number was 13 percentage points lower (55% vs. 44%) at the time of the 2017 low. Fifty-eight percent say they expect revenue to increase in the next 12 months, and Trump’s net approval rating is holding strong, at 57%.

Read More

80% of Rural Entrepreneurs Say They Are Better Off Than Urban Counterparts

smallbiztrends | August 11, 2019

Ask any entrepreneur why they went into business, and improving their quality of life will almost always rank in the top three answers. And more often than not, the location of the business and where they live will also play an important role. According to research from SCORE, rural entrepreneurs are reporting a better quality of life compared to their urban counterparts. This is despite the fact they face more challenges when it comes to the workforce, access to digital technology, and funding. But overall, they seem to be more content. For small business owners, rural or urban, the challenges are an accepted part of being an entrepreneur. And even with these challenges, their entrepreneurial spirit is exemplified by the more than 30+ million small businesses in the U.S. When it comes to quality of life and cost of living, 80% of rural small business owners believe they are better off than business owners in urban or suburban areas.

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