The Daily Rundown

SBDR: Virginia Eyes Meal Tax, Employee Stress Skyrockets, Ransomware Attacks Cripple SBOs

Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.

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Welcome back. Are you fresh off a 3-day weekend? Let’s get the party started by checking out Virginia restauranteurs’ reactions to a proposed meal tax. Then we’ll look at strategies SBOs use to combat employee stress. If you’re looking for a reason to be stressed, consider the alarming increase in ransomware attacks on businesses and even cities in 2019.

Proposed ‘meal tax’ legislation impacts Virginia small businesses and ‘mom and pop’ restaurants

Virginia’s legislature is considering a bill that would allow county governments to levy a “meal tax” on restaurants around the commonwealth. Opponents of the bill believe that it will be detrimental to local businesses and place an unfair burden on small restaurants and mom-and-pop establishments that can not easily absorb the cost of the tax.

The Number: 6%. The proposed legislation would allow counties in Virginia to raise taxes on restaurants by as much as 6%. 

The Quote: “The consequences are clear: fewer customers dining out means a less-vibrant restaurant scene in Virginia.”

What can small businesses do about employee stress?

The mounting pressures of modern life have caused many SBOs to consider how they can play a part in reducing their employees’ stress. Unlike large corporations that have the budget to build recreation space and implement wellness programs, small businesses often need to find lower-cost, creative solutions. For example, instead of providing a wellness program, hosting a wellness seminar or offering reduced-cost gym memberships can help relieve some of the stress employees face.

The Number: 88%. A recent survey by Korn Ferry found that 88% of professionals think that the stress level around their office is higher than it was 5 years ago — and out of those, 51% believe that the stress level is “much higher.” Yikes. 

The Quote: “A stress-free work environment is hard to achieve, as a certain level of pressure (or stress) is healthy to push the workforce to achieve the company’s revenue goals.”

Ransomware attacks increase, small businesses impacted

Ransomware attacks represent some of the scariest and most costly methods used by hackers to disrupt business and cripple cities. Hackers gain control of computer systems, lockout the owners and then demand payment to be let back in. Payments can cost business owners tens of thousands of dollars and can even force small businesses to go under.

The Number: 41%. Last year, over 200,000 companies reported being attacked by ransomware, representing aa 41% increase in attacks from 2018. 

The Quote: “I was suddenly retired and I didn’t want to be,’ said Dr. William Scalf, one of two doctors at Brookside, which closed in April after failing to recover its medical files from hackers who demanded $6,500.”

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