For the past 18-month, optimism among small business owners is in an all-time high, as sentiment rose from 2.3 points in May 2018 to 10.47 in November 2019, based on the survey results from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
For owners that wish to expand their business or those that expect an improvement in their earnings, have fortunately had the second straight monthly gain for the index. These positive earnings are a far cry from the previous months of fear over the looming recession.
Economy & Job Opportunities Continue To Grow
With the additional 226,000 jobs last November, the survey results prove that the economy continues to have a steady growth.
According to William Dunkelberg, the chief economist at NFIB, believes that business owners have anticipated this growth. In a press release, the “historic run may defy expectations of many, but it comes as no surprise for small business owners” Dunkelberg said. He added that this might be attributed to the fact that small business owners “understand what a supportive tax and regulatory environment can do for their companies.”
In addition, legislation such as the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 are giving small business owners a tax break which will help give them room to expand their businesses.
Based on the numbers, the Net 12% of all owners show higher nominal sales in the past three months- in fact, it has been the highest since May 2018. Moreover, 60% of business owners have claimed that they are making capital outlays since October. Debts are also going low as only 3% claim that they cannot meet their borrowing needs.
Looking into the employment sector, job creation has been the highest since May. The growing competition and demand in the job market had also pushed as much as 30% of small business owners to raise their compensation. Another 26% are also preparing to have an increase in the next few months. The increase in compensation has been the highest level since December 1989.
In addition, economists are also predicting that payroll will rise from 156,000 in October to 185,000 in November. This is positive news is a stark contrast to the concerns of a recession.
The positive earnings have also affected pricing. In fact, the decreased cost pressure, especially in labor and allowed business owners to retain their regular prices. Even the inflationary pressures have not been strong enough to create huge price hikes. Although the highest inflation goes to the retail trade and construction.
The changes in the employment and economic sector have also influenced how they think as “owners are aggressively moving forward with their business plans, proving that when they’re given relief from the government, they put their money where their mouth is, and they invest, hire and increase wages” Dunkelburg said.
All these good signs both in the economic and in labor have allowed small business owners to gain more profit. This also gives ordinary consumers a positive outlook on what the next year will bring.
Airbnb Bounces Back amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
It comes as no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected the tourism industry, including the hotel and accommodation sector. Despite the initial setback, Airbnb’s are slowly starting to rise with the trendy Airbnb nomadic culture work from home individuals are starting.
When the Covid-19 pandemic started, the first industry to take the brink of the economic downfall was the tourism industry. With flight and movement restricted by lockdown protocols, fewer people are checking into hotels and booking at Airbnbs. While the industry initially felt the effects of the lockdown protocols, they are slowly bouncing back with the Airbnb nomad trend.
So what exactly is the Airbnb nomad trend? Because more and more companies are encouraging people to work from home to control the spread of the virus, people are ditching their apartments and are starting to hop from one Airbnb to another as an opportunity to explore the world (within the confines of their Airbnb) while they are working from home.
Working in Style
Take, for example, Tess Pawlisch, who has been working in San Francisco for four years. She can only take a few vacation leaves amidst her busy schedule in her previous office work set-up with her demanding job. However, now that she is working from home, she can balance working from her Airbnb even when she is on a sunny beach in Mexico sipping tropical-flavored shakes. Pawlisch is only of the many individuals who decided to seize the opportunity to “travel” while working from home.
With the initial setback to minimal to zero bookings for Airbnb during the early half of the year, this trend comes at a perfect time for the accommodation giant as Airbnb sales skyrocketed to twice their original sales start of the year. Airbnb’s market value is almost at par with another booking giant, booking.com, with the Bnb having $83.2 billion and booking having $85.6 billion. Airbnb has been doing so well in the past few months in terms of shares and stocks that they even surpassed Marriott hotel, which has a projected $41.7 billion valuation.
Exciting Opportunities Await
The work from home set-up is advantageous for people who are bitten by the wanderlust bug, but it is also advantageous for individuals with families or those who want to be nearer their families during these trying times. For example, Trey Ditto was working in Brooklyn, New York, because of his job. Because his company encouraged him to work from home, he decided to move in with his wife (who was also working from home) and their 2-year-old son when they found a bigger apartment near the upstate portion of New York City for about two months. When they realized this would be the new normal soon, they moved to another Airbnb in Texas to be closer to their families—an opportunity that would not have been available if they were back in the office.
However, hopping from one Airbnb to another is not all luxury and glamor. First, the stress of hauling all your things to settle for a month and then moving to another house the next. It can be extremely exhausting. Second, there will always be the element of surprise. For example, even if the unit’s photos are very enticing (it’s called marketing for a reason), the actual unit may be smaller or more run-down than earlier anticipated and can be quite stressful for picky individuals. Lastly, since the Wi-Fi connection is essential for work from home individuals, not all Airbnb units have the best Wi-Fi access to work with. In fact, the Wi-Fi connection is the number one complaint of individuals who are slowly adapting to this lifestyle.
Holiday Shoppers Want Their Money to Go to Good Businesses
More shoppers are looking to buy local products and support companies that align with their values, like Black Lives Matter and other movements.
A lot of small businesses got hurt when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The death of George Floyd has shed more light on racial inequality, and the result is that almost 60% of consumers are highly likely to shop in local stores or neighborhood shops for the holiday season.
Many US consumers have responded to a survey saying that they are looking to buy locally sourced items this year, and some are looking to support companies that align with their values, as well.
4 out of 10 respondents say that they’re looking to shop from minority-owned stores, and the same amount says that they support retailers that reinforce the Black Live Matter movement.
The pandemic has brought about difficult times for everyone, which is why most consumers are ensuring that the companies they buy from work hard to create a world where they want people to live.
According to Aurora James, spending a dollar somewhere is voting for that item to keep existing, and in this pandemic world, a lot of companies aren’t going to be able to survive anymore, which is why every dollar spent really matters.
Major companies have taken notes and are now supporting small businesses by carrying their products in their store. Lowe’s has started a pitching contest to look for entrepreneurs who stand out and also provided millions of dollars for grants to minority-led businesses and small shops.
James, a Brooklyn-based business owner, says that the pandemic has pushed consumers’ desire to shop local, whether through a major retailer holding products from a local shop or through a mom-and-pop store.
Most holiday shoppers want to give gifts that make them feel good about buying it because they know that they supported a small business and because they chose a gift that is appropriate for the person receiving it.
Now, James is pushing big companies to assist Black-owned businesses because she was upset by the disruption of the pandemic towards these businesses. Aurora James pitched that major companies pitch at least 15% of their shelves for small businesses.
Since the start of that petition, some companies like Sephora, Macy’s, and Rent The Runway have joined the pledge.
The support of consumers towards small businesses will decide if these stores can keep their business alive.
Some shoppers have decided that they will shop from local businesses on Saturday, which people are now calling Small Business Saturday. This shopping event was pitched by American Express and was created to encourage shoppers to buy from their communities.
Knowing how corporate America turns a blind eye towards some of these small businesses, but being sustainable and equitable is really good for businesses, and they’re still the right thing to do.
So when you go shopping for your Christmas gifts, we hope you consider buying from local minority-owned businesses.
Bridal Gown Industry Resilient amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
All’s fair in love and war even during the Covid-19 pandemic. While celebrations and gatherings are growing smaller and smaller as crowd control and social distancing measures become stricter, love still blooms against the struggles that the pandemic is causing.
Even when the world froze with the Covid-19 pandemic, love continues to bloom. This is apparent with the sales in bridal gowns such as that of David’s Bridal, where sales are the same as that of last year. Even if wedding ceremonies are growing smaller with intimate wedding ceremonies, the need for brides to buy a wedding gown is still largely present. Even if the wedding gets postponed, they are still pursuing wedding ceremonies, albeit on a smaller scale.
David’s Bridal Turns It Around
Like any other industry, David’s Bridal was not exempt from the financial onslaught of the ongoing pandemic as it shut down stores, especially during the initial onset of the pandemic. However, with everything going digital, David Bridal decided to turn it around and adapt to the new times by investing in online marketing strategies and started using social media to generate more sales. With its new management, Oaktree Capital Group, they were able to shut down any whisper of bankruptcy and reduced its debt load by more than $400 million!
With everyone using the power of technology, bridal boutiques such as David Bridal decided to go digital to cater to a wider audience. It began offering virtual consultations with their stylists so brides can discuss their dream wedding gown in the confines of their homes. Their app also includes an augmented reality feature so the bride can see up close the type of fabric and beadwork and choose according to their personality and style.
Adapting to the Bride’s Taste
When you hear wedding bells, you will envision a blushing bride in a long white gown. And while that may be true in a more traditional sense, David Bridal recognizes that brides nowadays have to change tastes, and they included a more comprehensive portfolio when it comes to the styles of their wedding dresses. They included little white dresses, jumpsuits, and even separates that will be better suited for an intimate wedding ceremony. Aside from accommodating a more comprehensive portfolio of wedding gown styles, bridal accessories sales are also going through the roof with one very important addition—the face mask, which is usually done in the fabric of the wedding gown to match the bride’s outfit.
Resilient Revenue Growth for the Bridal Industry
In a recent survey by Moody’s Investor Services, results show that brides are spending at an average of $600 per gown—which is the same as what they are usually spending in the past few years, prior to the pandemic. Though sales for prom dresses have significantly lessened, the increase in wedding gown sales, bridesmaid dresses, accessories, and other dresses have grown significantly even with the ongoing pandemic.
With the thriving market in the wedding industry, David Bridal is seizing the moment and setting up a loyalty program of either spending more or recommending other clients to choose David Bridal for all their bridal needs. What’s at stake? It can go from a free wedding bouquet up on a honeymoon trip to Jamaica.
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