Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Hello! Have you ever found a cheap(er) Chinese imitation of a luxury good or product and been super psyched? Well, apparently you should be ashamed of yourself! Plus, strategies for women-owned businesses to win government contracts and tips for staying engaged and productive when you work from home.
If the trade war wasn’t enough … Chines counterfeiters plague SBOs, too
When it comes to patent protection against Chinese competitors, most people think of big tech firms and headline-worthy tales of corporate espionage. Unfortunately, U.S. small business owners find themselves greatly impacted by Chinese knock-off products. Read on and be ashamed for all the times you’ve knowingly purchased pirate booty!
The Number: 87%. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade reports that 87% of all counterfeit goods seized at U.S. ports come from mainland China or Hong Kong.
The Quote: “You take down one and another pops up. It’s like whack-a-mole.”
Larger slice of federal contract pie available for women-owned biz
Women-owned businesses have only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to procuring government contracts. Though the process and paperwork may seem daunting, experts urge women to consider registering with the System for Award Management website and working with the Small Business Administration to find opportunities to apply for contracts. After all, the needs are vast and wide-ranging and there are literally billions of dollars available to help the government find everything on its list.
The Number: 5%. In 2018, women-led businesses were awarded $22 billion in federal contract money … which only counts for 5% of the total number of contracts.
The Quote: “If one thinks creatively, virtually every service or product that one offers could be targeted for the federal government customer.”
Stave off loneliness and increase productivity for remote workers
A disengaged worker is not a productive worker, particularly if the disconnect stems from remote work, or so says a new book highlighting the potential dangers of the recent trend toward flexible work arrangements. The author suggests that working apart hinders us from working together and ultimately decreases productivity and a sense of community. The solution? Find ways to stay connected to the rest of the team, such as picking up the phone instead of emailing, being intentional about scheduling one-on-one meetings or downloading an app that blocks out internet distractions.
The Number: 70%. Some estimates put the number of people who work from home at least one day a week at 70% of the workforce.
The Quote: “If you feel lonely as a worker, you can’t do your best work because psychologically a need is not met.”