Wages of American Workers Rise But Don’t Blame Minimum Wage Hikes

Wages of American Workers are on the Rise But Don't Blame Minimum Wage HikesWages are growing in metro areas across the U.S. as businesses compete for workers in tightening labor markets, The Wall Street Journal reports.

While the economy has trended upwards for the last eight years, wages in U.S. cities have remained somewhat stagnant. Throughout 2017, however, metro area workers switched from part-time to full-time jobs, while those who had given up on finding work rejoined the workforce.

Coupled with an unemployment rate at a 17 year low, slow wage growth across the country has baffled economists. Economic theory suggests that a contracted labor market causes competitive wage increases.

“[City-level data] show the relationship between wage growth and a tight labor market still holds,” Moody’s Analytics senior economist Adam Kamins told TheWSJ. “You’re seeing the first movers into full employment and past it, with the uptick in wage growth.”

The new data comes as scheduled minimum wage increases hit 18 states and 20 cities at the start of 2018. Minimum wage policies are often criticized as job killers that raise some workers’ pay at the expense of others’ jobs. A 2016 study found that a $15 minimum wage in Washington D.C., would cost the city 1,200 jobs.

“This study proves what we’ve known all along: this dramatic D.C. wage hike will hurt the most vulnerable in the District, costing them jobs and important economic opportunities,” America Rising Squared Communications Director Jeremy Adler told The Daily Caller News Foundation at the time.

A competitive labor market has pushed wages above $15 an hour in some places without decreasing employment.

Ryan Vaughn, head of human resources for Honeyville Inc. in Ogden, Utah, told TheWSJ that his company is now paying up to $16 an hour for forklift drivers. The company was paying $3 to $4 less only nine months ago.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Wages of American Workers Rise But Don’t Blame Minimum Wage Hikes” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/01/wages-of-american-workers-are-on-the-rise.html

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Weave your good news into the Brag Basket

Basket weave texture

Your good news is more than welcome in the Brag Basket. Weave it in! Photo by Rachealmarie on Pixabay

The Brag Basket is open! This one is for Jan 5-7, 2018. Bring your good news, big or small, to share with everyone.

What can you share in the Brag Basket?

  • introduce yourself
  • share some great news from this week
  • celebrate progress, even baby steps
  • congratulate a friend
  • applaud for each other
  • confess your undying love for rural places

Want to see some past Brag Baskets and read some past contributions? Here’s the archive.

How do you join in?

Below this post is the comment section. Add your good news there.

Reading this in your email? Hit reply.

Don’t like to brag? Just share some good news for someone you’re happy for. It’s a conversation with friends. So jump in. And remember to cheer for each other.

Source: http://smallbizsurvival.com/2018/01/weave-good-news-brag-basket.html

Life Happens

Life

Photo (CC) by Howard Lake, on Flickr

Let’s start with Best Wishes for 2018. 

That wish was to be a part of my post last week. But as you may or may not have noticed, I didn’t get a post done.

This is not the first time it has happened but those missed times were typically planned for some reason.

Last week my missed blog occurred when I had a “life happens” event. A Saturday phone call put me on a different track as I ended up locating and helping my mother move to an independent retirement community.  Thankfully, Becky gives me a great deal of independence in my posts.

But it raises a good question. Are you prepared to handle such unplanned life events and still maintain your business? Most businesses can’t just shut down for a short break and then restart right where they left off. Momentum is lost as well as good will with your customers. For a retail business, shutting down during the holiday season might just end your business.

In many ways, such events are just another type of disaster. As you have done your disaster planning, did you think about these personal life events that impact your business as much, or maybe more than, as a burst water pipe or a fire.

Yet, most of the events you have planned for probably involve the business system only. This makes them somewhat more contained than a personal event where both the business and family systems are involved at the same time. If only one system is under stress, we can often call on the other for various types of relief but where do you turn when both systems are stressed?

As you head into a new year, I would encourage you to think about similar events that you might face. What unique demands might you face? And what resources do you have to help? Some prep work will offer a great deal of relief both: (1) thinking about the future, and (2) when and if the day comes when you need to put your plan into action.

Once again, have a happy and prosperous 2018.

Source: http://smallbizsurvival.com/2018/01/life-happens.html

For better planning, assess your strengths

Rural people are strong. Let’s start with our strengths when planning. Photo by Julius Silver from Pexels 

 

Too often, our planning starts from what we don’t have. We focus on what to improve, what we lack, what we messed up last year.

My friend, educator Kristie Pretti-Frontczak suggested a strengths assessment instead. Here are her questions to kick off your thinking:

  1. What do you aspire to accomplish within the next year, within the next 3 months, within the next 30 days?
  2. What goals will move you toward your aspirations?
  3. If you were to rank the top three goals to begin working on immediately, what would they be?
  4. What do you see as your strengths that will help you to accomplish your goals?
  5. What do you see as opportunities to learn or grow that will help you to accomplish your goals?
  6. If you could have one tool or piece of information that would be key to your aspirations, what would it be?

I find her approach of starting with your strengths, instead of what needs fixing, refreshing. I’ve been using it in my new year planning, and it’s looking good.

If you have a favorite planning tool, let’s hear about it!

New here? Take the Guided Tour. Like what you see? Get our updates.

Source: http://smallbizsurvival.com/2018/01/better-planning-assess-strengths.html

(POLL) Did Your Small Business Have a Good 2017?

The end of the calendar year is upon us once again. It’s time to assess how your small business is doing and in this week’s poll question, we want to check the pulse of our community.

This surely has been an interesting year for small businesses in the U.S. A new President was inaugurated who promises big changes for the business environment in the country. And certainly, a lot of small businesses are anticipating a cut in their taxes. And many are already seeing regulations slashed at the federal level, but perhaps not at the state and local level.

Consumer confidence is up, too. And that has retail businesses chomping at the bit to see a revival in sales. A record holiday shopping season surely helped a lot of small businesses in the last few weeks.

So, again, this week, we want to know how 2017 treated your small business. Was it better than last year or worse? Did sales go up or down? Have you added staff or were you forced to cut help to trim your spending?

Answer the poll question below and let us know.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “(POLL) Did Your Small Business Have a Good 2017?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/12/poll-small-business-good-2017.html

Fill the new year and the Brag Basket with your good news

Here’s to another year filled with good news!

 

The Brag Basket is open! This one is for December 29, 2017 through Jan 1, 2018. I gave you an extra day for the new year. Bring your good news, big or small, to share with everyone.

What can you share in the Brag Basket?

  • introduce yourself
  • share some great news from this week
  • celebrate progress, even baby steps
  • congratulate a friend
  • applaud for each other
  • confess your undying love for rural places

Want to see some past Brag Baskets and read some past contributions? Here’s the archive.

How do you join in?

Below this post is the comment section. Add your good news there.

Reading this in your email? Hit reply.

Don’t like to brag? Just share some good news for someone you’re happy for. It’s a conversation with friends. So jump in. And remember to cheer for each other.

Source: http://smallbizsurvival.com/2017/12/fill-new-year-brag-basket-good-news.html

The end of year checklist for small businesses

Here’s your year-end checklist of essential to-do items for your small business. Photo by Becky McCray

 

As you wrap up one year and prepare for the next, your business needs to do the same. You have some accounting tasks to reset and some backups to make.

Must do Jan 1

These are the ones you can’t easily do later, so you don’t want to put them off. The good news: these are the easy ones.

Count your inventory.

If you sell or make products, take an inventory of all products or raw materials on hand at the turn of the year. If you use a cloud-based point of sale system, it’s extra important to write down the end of year inventory total on January 1. Most POS systems only keep a running (current) inventory total. If you forget to write it down now, you’ll have to figure backwards from all purchases and sales (not a fun job.)

Record end of year mileage. 

If you use your vehicle for business, write down your mileage at the end of the year. This provides an important baseline for your mileage records all year long. I always put this on my online calendar so I can find it easily.

Get these done during January

These are the tasks that need to be done soon, but don’t have to happen on January 1. Right now, commit time on each Friday during January to work through the checklist until you are all finished.

1. Financial Data

Backup accounting data. 

Yes, this applies whether you use a program on your computer or if you use a cloud service. Every cloud service is subject to being interrupted at the worst possible time or even close down with no warning. Best to backup now. Do an export of the data in your accounting system’s backup format and CSV.

  • Quickbooks
  • Freshbooks
  • Wave
  • Any accounting program

Run accounting reports.

Run year-end financial reports as PDFs. If you need data a few years from now, it will be easy to look at a PDF report that shows the answer in easy-to-read format. If all you have a CSV, you’ll get to re-import, reformat and clean up the data, then run a report to see the answer.

This also gives you insurance against changes in your accounting service. I can’t even tell you how many different accounting services and programs I’ve used over the years! Here are the key year-end reports to run off:

  • Profit and Loss, Jan 1 – Dec 31
  • Balance Sheet, dated Jan 1 and another dated Dec 31
  • Detail of every transaction, Jan 1 – Dec 31
  • Export all data as a backup (CSV)

Run payroll reports.

Save these as PDF as well.

  • Payroll details for each employee, Jan 1 – Dec 31
  • Payroll tax filings, Jan 1 – Dec 31
  • Export all data as a backup (CSV)

Download online transactions.

Make sure you have downloaded a PDF report of all transactions for the year. Your bank may restrict how long statements are available, so download all of last year’s bank statements now.

  • Online banking
  • PayPal
  • Square
  • Stripe
  • Any online transaction processor

Download copies of bills.

We all do business so many places that it’s tough to keep up. Since bank statements alone aren’t enough to satisfy the IRS, you’ll want PDFs of these are and any other online financial data. Make a list of these so you can refer back to it next year.

  • Utility bills
  • Credit card statements
  • Insurance bills
  • Supplier invoices
  • Tax filings

Update employee and contractor data.

Do you have a current mailing address for every employee and former employee you paid this year? You’ll need that when you issue your W2 forms. Many small businesses rely on independent contractors who may or may not live nearby. For US small businesses, you’ll need to send 1099 forms to each contractor you paid more than a few hundred during the year. (Check with a tax pro for the details.) One thing you can do right now is be sure you have updated data on your contractors.

  • Ask employees and former employees for any updates to their W-4 form or mailing address
  • Ask independent contractors for any updates to their W-9 form

2. Backup your data

Download cloud files. 

Many small businesses are relying on cloud solutions for collaboration, invoicing, email, and other key functions. Review your cloud services, and download copies of all critical files and data. Make a list of your current cloud services to make this task easier again next year.

  • Google Drive/Docs
  • Office365
  • iCloud
  • Evernote
  • DropBox
  • Password management
  • Point of sale
  • Contacts
  • Any cloud service with important data

Run off your calendar. 

Your business calendar documents your travel, meetings and more related to your work. It is a vital business record. You probably have to break it down by month or by week, or even by day, in order to make all the detail visible. If you use a paper planner, set a consistent and secure location to keep the old calendars available for at least 5 years running.

  • Save a PDF of your entire year’s calendar

Backup your files

You’ve just collected a lot of critical financial data for your business. Don’t risk losing those files.

  • Assemble all these files into a single folder dated with the year
  • Send a copy to a cloud backup such as Box or DropBox
  • Keep a copy on a USB thumb drive or an external hard drive separate from your computer

New here? Take the Guided Tour. Like what you see? Get our updates.

Source: http://smallbizsurvival.com/2017/12/end-year-checklist-small-businesses.html