Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Social issues take the spotlight today as we look at stories about the impact of plastic bans on small businesses, the importance of social responsibility in engaging millennials, and ways to foster a respectful office culture.
Local legislation in Oregon and Minneapolis lands these two places on the growing list of states and cities banning different types of single-use plastic containers from being used by service industry establishments. Oregon passed a bill banning restaurants from freely distributing plastic straws to customers while Minneapolis’s Green to Go law expanded to prohibit styrofoam and plastic packaging. California is considering legislation to outlaw miniature plastic toiletry bottles in hotels by 2023 and plastic bags are quickly disappearing from shops around the country. Small business owners are struggling to balance consumer demand for ecologically-friendly packaging with the higher cost of these consumables.
The Number: $25. After receiving two warnings, Oregon businesses will pay a $25 fine for each day they are in violation of the law, up to a total of $300.
The Quote: “I don’t think you’re going to find a single business out there that isn’t affected and having to change packaging, more than likely because this packaging is more expensive than non-green packaging.”
A recent report from Freshbooks indicates that a whopping 24 million Americans dream of leaving their traditional jobs to work for themselves in the near future. While the lack of a steady income or benefits deters some people, 63% of self-employed Americans believe that quality of life is more important than income and more than half say they earn more money working for themselves than someone else.
The Number: 8%. Over the past two years, the number of self-employed people with a college degree has dropped by 8%.
The Quote: “Two years ago, the ‘typical’ self-employed professional was a tail-end Baby Boomer, but we’re fast approaching the point where Millennials become the dominant self-employed workforce.”
Presenting a socially-responsible mission statement and using ethically-sourced materials and products may be a key strategy for winning over millennial consumers and recruiting and retaining millennial employees at your company. Born between 1981 and 1996, this segment of the population expects businesses to emphasize social issues, such as equal rights, fighting poverty and protecting the environment, and engaging millennials on these issues can be an important way for small businesses to earn their loyalty as both employees and consumers.
The Number: 60 million. Socially-responsible shoe company TOMS has given away more than 60 million pairs of shoes since the company started in 2006.
The Quote: “And while giving away products may not be necessary, millennials expect companies to explain where they source their materials from, how they treat their employees and vendors, and what impact they are having on the environment.”
If fostering a respectful work environment, especially around gender-identity issues, is an important goal for your company but you’re unsure where to start, consider these tips for creating meaningful a transgender education training program.