Alibaba Launches B2B Tuesday to Spotlight U.S. Business-to-Business SMBs

Today, Alibaba.com, the B2B business unit of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), shared the results of its brand new “Alibaba.com U.S. Small and Medium Business (SMB) Confidence Survey” and introduced “B2B Tuesday,” a major new awareness initiative to spotlight, celebrate and support B2B-focused U.S. SMBs, highlight their contributions to the U.S. economy and help them capture the global ecommerce opportunity. B2B Tuesday will be celebrated every Tuesday by Alibaba.com and other like-minded organizations. Together, the B2B Tuesday community promotes the successes of U.S. B2B SMBs, share insights and resources to help them grow and make it easier for U.S. SMBs to access the $23.9 trillion global B2B ecommerce opportunity – which is six times the size of the B2C ecommerce market. B2B Tuesday will feature B2B success stories, in-person events, new platform offerings, educational content, and more.

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FINANCE

vcita Data Reveals: 67% of SMBs on Edge About Economic Challenges in 2024

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

According to new data revealed today by vcita, the business management platform for SMBs and the organizations that serve them, economic factors are dominating the concerns of SMBs in the new year, with 67% of SMBs citing the financial elements of their business to be their biggest worry. These findings underscore the pivotal role financial stability, and the technology that secures it, plays for small and medium-sized businesses navigating the business landscape in 2024. As SMBs brace themselves for the challenges of 2024, economic elements loom large on their horizon. Cash flow, deemed a pressing concern by 25% of SMBs, stands alongside the equal worry of attracting new clients. Moreover, rising inflation is weighing on small business owners, with 17% citing it as a major concern. Reflecting this sentiment, they have an increasing demand for comprehensive financial tools, which have proven to be major contributors in the development of financial resilience and healthy cash flow management, with 38% expressing a preference for an all-in-one digital solution that encompasses billing, invoicing, payments, and accounting reports. In fact, 49% of SMBs are already using digital tools to automate the financial elements of their business. In addition, 31% of SMBs have indicated early adoption of AI technology, leveraging AI applications to gain insights and generate content for marketing and client communication. These statistics emphasize the growing reliance of SMBs on digital solutions to navigate the complex business terrain ahead. "As economic headwinds intensify, the need for reliable digital tools becomes paramount for sustaining business resilience," said Itzik Levy, CEO and Founder of vcita. "SMBs are increasingly embracing digital solutions and recognizing the critical role they play in ensuring their adaptability and continued success in an ever-evolving market. We have been supporting the SMB community with digital solutions for over a decade, and are committed to continue expanding our platform, including the incorporation of AI technology, to facilitate the growing needs of the SMB segment." In terms of willingness to spend their hard-earned dollars on these digital tools, 72% of SMBs are already spending a minimum of 1200 USD per year on digital tools with 58% spending between 1200-6000 USD every year. This highlights how SMBs are leveraging digital innovations as a means of navigating the complexities posed by business and financial uncertainties. Additional findings include: The State of AI: 31% of SMBs are already using AI in their business operations. For the 69% who are not using AI in their business, the main reasons are that they don't feel it would help their business (31%) and that they don't understand how to use AI (30%). The SMBs that are using AI saw a multitude of uses for the technology in their businesses from helping with pricing services and products based on competition (20%), to writing email and SMS campaigns (18%), to following up with clients (16%). Multiple Digital Tools: As SMBs continue to navigate the intricate landscape of digital tools, a prevailing trend emerges – reliance on multiple tools to manage diverse business needs. 79% of SMBs are utilizing two or more digital tools, with a notable 13% juggling five or more tools to efficiently operate their ventures. However, amidst this multiplicity, there's a resounding desire for consolidation, with 90% of SMBs expressing interest in combining all the capabilities of their digital tools into just one tool. Peer Recommendations Key: When it comes to choosing these tools, SMBs heavily rely on peer recommendations, with 49% valuing word of mouth from friends and fellow business owners. Google reviews also hold sway, influencing the decisions of 23% of SMBs seeking reliable digital solutions. About vcita vcita is an SMB tech company dedicated to helping small and medium businesses thrive in today's digital world by providing them with the tools to manage and grow their business. With vcita's solution, small businesses can manage all aspects of their day-to-day operations and client engagement including scheduling, billing, payment collection, client management, email and SMS marketing. inTandem by vcita is a platform designed to serve the needs of SMB service providers, offering a customizable, white-label, platform that allows organizations that serve SMBs to bring their clients all the essential vcita tools under their own brand. With inTandem, partners can deliver great service and value to their SMB customers and unlock new revenue streams, reduce churn, and increase customer loyalty. With hundreds of thousands of small business users worldwide and partnerships including marketing agencies, banks, financial service providers, telcos, MSPs, and fintechs, vcita delivers an innovative digital solution uniquely designed to serve the needs of SMBs and the companies that support them.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Small Business Hiring Experiences Flat Reading in November

CBIZ | December 13, 2023

The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index reported a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.15% in November after experiencing two consecutive months of declines in hiring. The CBIZ SBEI tracks payroll and hiring trends for over 3,100 companies that have 300 or fewer employees, providing broad insight into small business trends. said Anna Rathbun, CFA, Chief Investment Officer, CBIZ Investment Advisory Services, LLC. Up to this point, month over month employment trends have tightened in range compared to the SBEI historical data Even if small businesses are not inclined to hire in large numbers considering the uncertain economic environment, they are also not willing to lay off workers easily. [Source -Business Wire] The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment report indicated hiring growth that barely beat expectations. The November reading showed an overall increase of 199,000 private-sector jobs. Given the overall hiring growth, the national unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.7%. The report is inclusive of all non-farm private employers across businesses of all sizes. Meanwhile, the ADP employment report indicated hiring growth among small, medium and large-sized companies. Its November reading showed an overall increase of 103,000 private-sector jobs for the month. Small businesses accounted for an increase of 6,000 of those jobs on a seasonally adjusted, month-over-month basis. The ADP report counts small businesses as companies with 49 or fewer employees, while the CBIZ SBEI uses data from companies with 300 employees or fewer. From a regional perspective, the West (1.72%) was the only region to report an increase. The Central (0.05%) and Southeast (-0.07%) regions both showed a flat reading, while the Northeast (-0.28%) experienced a decline. On an industry level, gains in employment were seen in Management, Transportation, and Utilities. Industry decreases were observed in Agriculture, Fishing and Hunting, Information, and Rental and Leasing Services. Rathbun added, “Out of the industries that shed jobs, Information stands out. As companies tighten their belts, spending on advertising as well as publishing, telecommunication, and broadcasting can end up on the chopping block. Attrition in employment for these services may help to complete the picture of American enterprises becoming leaner through the end of the year.” Additional takeaways from the November SBEI include November’s snapshot: 19% of companies in the index increased staffing, 61% made no change to their headcounts and 20% reduced employment totals. Industries at-a-glance: Management, Transportation, and Utilities experienced hiring gains. Decreases were seen in Agriculture; Fishing and Hunting, Information; and Rental and Leasing Services. Geographical hiring: The West (1.72%) reported a hiring increase, while the Central (0.05%) and Southeast (-0.07%) regions both showed a flat reading. The Northeast (-0.28%) experienced a decline. What’s next? While most areas of the United States saw flat to negative employment trends, the West stood out with a large increase. This increase was broad-based, not isolated to any industry or sector that might suggest something more meaningful. It remains to be seen how the year will wrap up. About CBIZ CBIZ is a leading provider of financial, insurance and advisory services to businesses throughout the United States. Financial services include accounting, tax, government health care consulting, transaction advisory, risk advisory, and valuation services. Insurance services include employee benefits consulting, retirement plan consulting, property and casualty insurance, payroll, and human capital consulting. With more than 120 offices in 32 states, CBIZ is one of the largest accounting and insurance brokerage providers in the U.S.

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FINANCE, BUSINESS STRATEGY

BDC Square Vancouver: a new networking space for entrepreneurs to make powerful connections

BDC | December 08, 2023

BDC, Canada's bank for entrepreneurs, is officially opening its third BDC Square, a collaborative space for entrepreneurs located in downtown Vancouver. Following the success of similar spaces in Montreal and Toronto, Vancouver's BDC Square is now available to host events for small and medium-sized businesses—enabling them to make powerful connections with peers, clients and BDC employees. "Peer-to-peer connections can go a long way in developing entrepreneurial skills and building a strong business community," said Jean-Philippe Ménard, Senior Vice President, British Columbia and North, BDC. "I am proud we are offering a space that will bring this community together, fostering more collaboration, and ultimately driving B.C.'s economy forward." Vancouver's BDC Square is in The Stack, a Zero-Carbon and visually striking high-rise in the centre of Vancouver's business district. Entrepreneurs are at the very heart of what BDC stands for, and so the bank created a space just for them, to network, learn and share ideas. BDC Squares in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver all aim to showcase the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem—and to encourage collaboration and peer-to-peer learning amongst entrepreneurs. The multifunctional spaces are open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and have a capacity to host events for up to 125 attendees. About BDC As Canada's bank for entrepreneurs, BDC is a partner of choice for all entrepreneurs looking to access the financing and advice they need to build their businesses and tackle the big challenges of our time. Our investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions to help grow the country's most innovative firms. We are one of Canada's Top 100 Employers and Canada's Best Diversity Employers.

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