Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Every day, we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.
It’s National Small Business Week and we’re kicking things off by examining top small business trends from last year before looking at important steps SBOs can take to prepare for hurricane season. Finally, we look at why companies still haven’t perfected their hiring processes and how algorithms are to blame.
Top small business retail trends from 2018
Retailers account for approximately 35% of American small businesses and the interaction between small and large companies is shaping the retail landscape in interesting ways. Most noticeably, big brick and mortar stores are scaling back their square footage, mimicking the mass appeal or mom and pop operations. At the same time, advances in technology now allow SBOs to adopt new payment platforms that used to be limited to larger corporations. Small Business Saturday and coworking partnerships also top the list of trends from last year.
The Number: 17.8 billion. SBOs are getting onboard with Small Business Saturday with big results. Last year this small retailer day brought in $17.8 billion in sales, with 59% of businesses reporting that the event significantly contributed to their holiday sales.
The Quote: “Overarching patterns illustrate what is happening to this segment of the retail industry and show that large chains are beginning to take the lessons of independent companies and apply them at scale.”
High winds ahead: maintaining business-as-usual during hurricane season
Atlantic hurricane season starts next month and there a number of things SBOs can–and should–do to protect their business from potential hurricane damage. While buying a generator and stocking up on potable water are more obvious steps to take toward disaster preparedness, backing up important data, updating employee emergency contact information and checking on insurance policies are equally important.
The Number: 13. Meteorologists at Colorado State University have predicted 13 named storms and 5 hurricanes for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.
The Quote: “Disaster planning can be highly detailed, and owners may not realize they’re forgetting important aspects of protecting their companies.”
Lack of evaluation and biased algorithms mar many hiring practices
While many US companies tout the importance of their employees, a recent study finds major failings in recruiting, hiring and retention practices–and in companies’ ability to monitor their own processes. Pre-employment screenings do not always offer meaningful results and interviewers ask off-the-cuff questions that are more subject to bias and personal interpretation. Furthermore, algorithms can also introduce bias into the hiring process, further handicapping employers from making the best decisions about their hiring needs.
The Number: 90%. In the three decades after World War II, American companies filled approximately 90% of their vacancies from internal candidates. Today, that percentage has dropped to less than a third.
The Quote: “Companies often seem to be channelling Groucho Marx in their approach to applicants: they won’t hire someone who is actively looking for work.”