Networking, Volunteering, and Government Roles of Small Business

Networking, Volunteering, and Government Roles of Small Business

Government entities need the backing of the citizens and businesses in order for positive changes to take place in a community. Changes must grow from the bottom up. Large and small businesses, services, non profits and ordinary people giving time and in some cases money, to enact positive causes, ensures that the whole community benefits.

Politicians, citizens, religious and business leaders are responsible to find a common ground, stop nit picking and slandering and focus on the real problems . A main initiative rooted in self agenda, is misread, misquoted and misinformed at every opportunity for a payoff of attention, and serves as a waste time on trivia.

Kalamazoo, Michigan is a Model City

In a southwestern Michigan town during the 1990’s, discussions, dialogue and presentations of various volunteer groups in a non-profit organization catapulted sustainable, positive changes and growth. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, these changes ended up affecting surrounding communities in Kalamazoo county. Citizens for change in the combined Kalamazoo and Portage areas know that giving of self will render what is needed.

Kalamazoo Growth Survives Business Downturn

Even though the closings of large donor companies caused the Forum of Greater Kalamazoo to eventually disperse, there were spin-off groups that continued the work. The city improved so fast that people who had lived in the area and moved away came back after a few years to find a city that wowed them. The result was new growth in businesses, and a new look for the city.

Although the recession took a toll and many businesses went bankrupt, the city of Kalamazoo remains progressive and upbeat.

Even though disagreements arise, progressive, positive businesses can overcome and reach agreement through non-profit forums, supporting citizen endeavors and co-operating with government.

Southwest Michigan First, the Catalyst of Business Growth

Although the recession took a toll and many businesses went bankrupt, the city of Kalamazoo remains progressive and upbeat.

In just a few years, the Radisson Hotel was transformed into a space age focal point to Michigan Street.

Kalamazoo Avenue gained a fabulous new renovation to the Arcadia Festival site and across the street, the Amtrack train and bus station lot was merged with the cities Metro Transportation system with new brick and mortar, and parking stations for in town and out of town buses.

Old Brownfield developments in the downtown area changed from slum looks to resurfaced brick, updated and renovated to house new restaurants, technology and other businesses.

Burdick Street Mall-The First Renovation

A new brick paved downtown mall laid over heated duct work now runs through the Burdick corridor. The mall street and walk way was laid over heated duct work and creates a wonderful and exciting place to shop, lounge and eat in or outdoors.

Changes are too numerous to mention in one column and all brought about by the citizens backing government in a small college town called Kalamazoo, Michigan.

New Walmart Opens, Small Businesses Close–Common Misconceptions

New Walmart Opens, Small Businesses Close–Common Misconceptions

A theory the new Walmart opening in town will indefinitely cause all local small businesses and existing retailers to disappear from the grid is a dismal conviction that society and small business owners recognize as unabridged fate.

Independent retailers are under pressure when billion dollar mega-retailers bring local competition–recent article states entrepreneurs gain by innovation.

Old Wive’s Tale Debunked

The article, The Wal-Mart Effect: Wave of Destruction or Creative Destruction?, from Economic Geography shows reputable, analytical stats backed by researchers at University of Florida, University of Toronto, and Princeton. In a 14 year study from 1980 to 2004 in Florida, research suggests small businesses may lose more by regarding or undertaking the notion that business will indefinitely flounder–buying into what has been engrained in the minds of Walmart shoppers, independent retailers, and Walmart greeters across the board.

Even though this a premise society has adopted and adapted to as commonplace knowledge, research from the study states this misconception as fallacy. The ostensible mythos negatively effects intimidated local business owners to the point of considering and often calling it quits rather than evaluating all possible circumstances before closing.

If local surrounding businesses offer services and products Walmart does not provide, the competition is not as steep in the long haul as some skeptics state.

Creative Destruction, Entrepreneurs Step Up

According to the study, retailers close to Walmarts are apt and previously equipped to sell the same products as the mega-retailer–providing the same product or service at a competitive rate either forces independent companies to change or leave the scene.

The vacant locations eventually attract fresh occupants and entrepreneurs that diversify the local market. For example, an art supply store can provide higher end, professional products Walmart does not stock.

A Korean restaurant, for instance, will benefit more from the new neighbor whereas a newly established Kodak store owner may need to reevaluate her business strategy since Walmart provides photo development services as well.

Variety and diversity in the market regenerates depletion of past businesses dissolving while opening doors for future investors, ultimately to potentially successful entrepreneurial ventures, in a business environment when large super stores like Walmart force market transformation.

Over time, the newbies establish products and services to compete and succeed with extensive innovative changes in business strategy to push forward and out perform competitors of old.

Inevitable Losses, Envisioned Gains

Entrepreneurs should be optimistic when Walmart waltzes in a few exits down I-77 from another Super Walmart: the small business owner should take a look at setting up shop next to the fresh asphalt and offer services and products the new mega-vender does not provide, perhaps a joint, non-profit validation parking service venture for Walmart customers.

Professional Employer Organizations for Small Businesses

Professional Employer Organizations for Small Businesses

In an increasingly complex and regulated business environment, owners must manage a plethora of complicated personnel matters, such as employee health benefits, retirement plans, workers’ compensation compliance, payroll, taxes, and unemployment insurance claims. Short of hiring or expanding full-time human resources expertise, many business owners find themselves juggling these unproductive details themselves. Worse yet, some owners leave themselves exposed to potential liability by operating outside of required government standards or find it difficult to compete with their more efficient rivals.

A Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, enables a business owner to keep current staff yet outsource much of the human resources management function, including payroll, benefits, and workers’ compensation. Working with a PEO frees the business owner’s valuable time from these necessary distractions and allows him or her to focus more energy and talent on core business activities that generate revenue and make the company more profitable.

How a PEO Works

According to the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, the PEO industry is approximately 30 years old, with 700 PEOs operating across all 50 states. Through a shared employment relationship referred to as “co-employment,” the business owner and the PEO agree to share employer responsibilities. Under this arrangement, the business owner typically remains the work site employer and continues to handle decisions related to hiring, termination, job requirements, work assignments, and promotions. The PEO can step in as the administrative employer, taking on functions related to payroll, benefits, and compliance with employment laws.

A typical PEO client is a small business with between 10 and 50 workers, although larger organizations are beginning to utilize PEOs as well. The types of businesses turning to the PEO model are diverse. PEO clients include accounting firms, manufacturers, universities, medical offices, government agencies, and others.

Benefits of a PEO

In addition to relieving the business owner from unproductive time-consuming administrative tasks, contracting with a PEO has other advantages. A PEO relationship can allow an employer to offer enhanced employee benefits that may otherwise be too expensive. PEO sponsored benefit packages can include 401(k), healthcare plans, dental, vision, employee assistance programs, and more.

A PEO may also enhance the work site and contribute to a safer working environment. Staffed by certified human resources specialists, the PEO focuses on safety programs, workplace risk management, and sound human resources practices. Other services may include recruiting, pre-employment screening, and planning for wages and compensation.

In an economy that continues to challenge employers to control costs and rein in spending, a PEO can be a viable alternative for many business owners. Employees can benefit as well, through greater access to valuable and meaningful benefits, in addition to the peace of mind that comes from knowing they work for an employer that is better positioned to remain strong and competitive.

Top 4 Ways to Generate Local Attention for Small Businesses

Top 4 Ways to Generate Local Attention for Small Businesses

If you intend to grow your business, the best place to start is locally. Do not overlook the advantages and support you can gain from your local community.

There are many small company owners and individuals who are looking for effective ways to generate local attention for small business with intentions of expanding. With the economy still in a fluctuating condition, it is important to use the right methods to properly advertise and get your brand or company name out where valuable consumers can see. Here are some of the best ways to attract more attention for small business and the benefits it can bring.

4 Tips to Generate Local Attention for Small Business

  1. Start a Company Website

If you have not done so already, the most crucial step to make is to setup a website for your small business. Even if you have little intentions or future plans to sell products or services online, it is important to remember that consumers almost always do their research on the internet. Aside from convenience, online forums or blogs are the most popular way to find or write reviews about certain companies.

 If you do not have an existing website, you will need to start one immediately in order to generate local attention for small business. Although the most traditional way to advertise is through printed material like newspapers or magazine ads, the costs can be drastically high while the exposure is severely limited. Even if you already have an advertisement in place somewhere in print, an online webpage can only benefit your small business.

A website will not only help you market your company’s professional integrity and products you offer but it is also a great place for customer to leave feedback. In addition to positive reviews, potential customers also have an easy way to reach your business with any questions or problems. If you manage to find customers then you will want to provide excellent service to ensure that they come back for more.

  1. Organize Community Events or Programs

Once you have your company’s website up and running, another great way to generate local attention for small business is to get involved with the local community. Consumers almost always prefer companies that give back to the average Joe instead of reaping the profits for themselves. Consider what industry your company belongs to and use your creativity to start a related event.

The benefits of involving the community can be continuously rewarding. Not only is this a great way to gain word-of-mouth advertising but you will also have relevant and meaningful information to add to your website. One of the most important factors when increasing attention for small business is to have something unique and different to offer that other companies don’t. Since most small businesses do not engage or host local events, your brand name will surely stand out and catch the attention of new clients.

  1. Build a Good Reputation

Any tactic or strategy you use to generate local attention for small business can be a complete waste if your small business does not have a good reputation. In most cases, having no reputation at all would be preferred over having a bad image. Though word-of-mouth is often not the best way to advertise, it is an effective way to warn others. A majority of individuals will tell their friends and family if they have a bad enough experience from dealing with your business.

When looking for ways to generate local attention for small business, be sure that you handle all customer complaints and inquiries with urgent care. Ask yourself whether you would choose a small business again if it takes days to receive a response. Following up is a pivotal step when building a good reputation. If you are able to leave a big enough impression for customers to leave reviews, you will want them all to be as flattering as possible.

  1. Find a Marketing Expert for Guidance

A great way to generate local attention for small business is to find guidance from marketing experts who have full insight into how internet advertising works. If you are looking to expand your company and increase profits then it can be beneficial to invest a small amount for valuable tools. If you are looking to generate leads for your small company, consider some marketing tools such as email lists and always make sure that the content on your webpage is relevant and interesting.

Having a professional can also ensure that you receive a customized marketing plan that meets your unique requirements. Even if you are skeptical about hiring an expert, consider doing your own research online for the many different ways to generate local attention for small business.