Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Today we lead off with more not-so-great news about China, though this time it’s about counterfeit goods and not scary diseases. Speaking of scams … we’ll then take a look at the firestorm around American Express and the alleged bad behavior of some of its employees regarding new small business accounts. Thankfully, we’ll end the day on a positive note with a story about a comedian in England who put it all on the line in support of small businesses. Hopefully you appreciate a British sense of humor!
Counterfeit goods from China cause big problems for small businesses
First, it was trade tariffs, then it was the coronavirus and now it’s fake (insert your favorite luxury item). When it comes to China, the news just hasn’t been good lately. In response to small businesses reporting that counterfeit goods are diminishing their profits, the Trump Administration has announced new initiatives aimed at reducing the online sale of Chinese knock-offs. As one business owner said, “The Chinese counterfeiters pop up so fast, the moment you take them down another one pops up.”
The Number: 90%. Over the past two decades, the number of counterfeit goods confiscated at the U.S. border has increased by ten times, with 90% of the seized goods in 2018 coming from China or Hong Kong .
The Quote: “The amount of resources and money that we have to spend chasing down counterfeits has become monumental.”
AmEx employees scam small businesses to boost sales
Credit card and banking giant is under fire after some of its employees allegedly signed up small business owners under false pretenses or without consent in an effort to boost sales. The shady sales tactics reportedly started in Phoenix and spread as far as Florida before, according to investigations. American Express, however, reports that these fraudulent actions account for only a tiny fraction of all sales.
The Number: 30%. Businesses account for 30% of AmEx’s revenue.
The Quote: “Less than 0.25% of the group’s sales activities have been identified by us as inconsistent with our sales policies.”
British comedian changes name to protest treatment of small businesses
A British comedian takes his responsibility toward small businesses very seriously. The man went so far as to change his own name to HUGO BOSS in protest of the German fashion brand’s treatment of small businesses. When comedian Joe Lycett found out that the brand has issued cease and desist letters to small companies attempting to use the word “Boss” in their trademark or advertising, he decided to change his name to draw attention to the thousands of pounds spent by these companies on legal fees. We admire his dedication to the Small Biz cause.
The Number:$1.4 billion. In 2018, the Hugo Boss Group had $1.4 billion in sales.
The Quote: “Unfortunately for them this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss.”