Welcome to the Small Business Weekly Rundown. Each week, we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small Business News Highlights:
- Small business owners spend an average $25,000 on cyber attacks
- Truck driver shortage further exacerbates pandemic-related supply chain issues
- Majority of small business owners expect increase in revenue this year
- Small businesses struggling to compete with increased wages at larger companies
- The Paycheck Protection Program continues to struggle in its final days
Small business owners spend an average $25,000 on cyber attacks
“Small business can mean big business for cyber criminals. We know the financial impacts of cyber attacks can be substantial, and small businesses are increasingly feeling ‘cyber stress.’”
Cybercrime made headlines recently after a ransomware attack crippled Colonial Pipeline. A new report found, however, that United States small business owners (SBOs) are footing big bills, too, when it comes to dealing with cyber attacks.
According to the survey of SBOs, small U.S. companies paid on average just over $25,000 per deal to deal with cyber attacks. Furthermore, the research found that 53% of SBOs believe that the pandemic has left them more vulnerable to attacks due to an increase in remote work.
Truck driver shortage further exacerbates pandemic-related supply chain issues
“At some point in time everything in this country has to go on a truck — the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the gas you put in your car. If it ain’t for truck drivers you don’t have all of that stuff.”
Ongoing supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming even more severe due to a significant shortage of experienced truck drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, the industry must hire 1 million drivers to keep up with the growing demand for delivered goods.
Industry experts point to the federal government’s cash payments and the rise of ecommerce as causes for the boom in demand and subsequent backlog. They also hope that the end of expanded unemployment benefits will cause more unemployed people to consider trucking as a new career.
Majority of small business owners expect increase in revenue this year
“Almost 80% of those surveyed say a widely available vaccine and/or herd immunity in their community will play a pivotal role in bringing business back to pre-pandemic levels.”
A new survey from Bank of America found that over half (60%) of U.S. small business owners expect their revenue to increase over the next 12 months, compared to last fall when only 34% of SBOs expressed the same expectations.
In addition to believing that the local economy will improve (56%) and the national economy will recover (50%), small business owners indicate that they plan to hire new workers in the coming months (21%).
Small businesses struggling to compete with increased wages at larger companies
“With the growth I see in the market … in five years I’m going to be tapping out everyone in this country.”
As large companies like McDonalds, Walmart, and Target increase their minimum wage, small business owners are trying to balance their need to expand and invest in their company against the need to increase wages to attract and retain talent.
Already, SBOs report difficulty in filling vacancies in the current tight labor market, a problem that’s only exacerbated by an inability to offer competitive wages.
The Paycheck Protection Program continues to struggle in its final days
“By the time I caught up to what I need to apply, then boom-bam-bam, they announced they ran out of funds.”
The heavily criticized Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is set to expire on May 31, 2021 and the beleaguered program continues to struggle to effectively communicate how much money is still available to small businesses and what SBOs must do to apply for funds.
Recent changes regarding lender eligibility are blamed for rising frustration among financial institutions and SBOs alike. As of last week, only $3 billion of the programs $800 billion was unallocated and small businesses desperate for relief are largely unable to access it.
The Latest from Workest
If you (or one of your employees) is experiencing a “sense of stagnation or emptiness” you might be languishing and it could be impacting your performance at work. This week, Stacy Pollack looks at how COVID-19 has caused an uptick in languishing in the workplace and offers strategies to help workers deal with it.
For businesses attempting to create a return-to-work plan that prioritizes the safety of workers and customers alike, the question of mandating vaccination plays a key role in the discussion. Valerie Bolden-Barrett answers the question of whether small businesses can require COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.
Finally, before we say goodbye for the week, here are 3 things you should know:
- Some states are continuing to offer cash incentives to digital nomads who are continuing to work from home.
- Unsure about what will fly as post-pandemic “work appropriate” attire? A stylist weighs in with expert advice.
- Small business owners in NYC are scoring leases in sweet locations as the city sees a major shift in the post-pandemic commercial real estate market.