Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Help is on the way. Today we look at new legislation before the Senate Finance Committee aimed at helping small businesses restructure debt, state-sponsored retirement plans for SMBs, new tools from Amazon to help small business sellers, and simple ways managers can turn around toxic workplaces. Happy Wednesday!
Bipartisan bill in Senate seeks to help small businesses with debt
Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley’s office announced today that the committee is considering a bill to help streamline bankruptcy proceedings for small businesses and provide tools to help companies restructure their debt. The Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) has broad bipartisan support in the Senate and seeks to help small businesses preserve jobs and find a path forward when going through bankruptcy. A companion bill is being introduced to the House of Representatives.
The Number: V. If passed, the SBRA would add a subchapter V to Chapter 11 in the bankruptcy code which would streamline the bankruptcy process for small business debtors, reduce liquidations and increase recoveries to creditors.
The Quote: “A well-functioning bankruptcy system, specifically for small businesses, allows businesses to reorganize, preserve jobs, maximize the value of assets and ensure the proper allocation of resources.”
Court rules in favor of state-sponsored retirement plans benefitting small businesses
Earlier this month, a federal court in California ruled that state-sponsored retirement savings plan CalSavers does not violate ERISA law, paving the way for small business owners in California to offer employees retirement benefits. CalSavers requires companies with more than five employees to offer their own retirement savings plan or to enroll in the state-run auto-IRA program. California joins the likes of Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut and New York and more states are considering similar programs.
The Number: 58 million. Approximately half of private sector workers–or 58 million Americans–do not participate in a workplace retirement savings plan.
The Quote: “Americans are at risk of running out of money in retirement, or having barely any to start with.”
Amazon announces tools to support small business sellers
Small and medium-sized businesses make up a large portion of Amazon transactions so, in an effort to support small business sellers, the e-commerce company has released new tools to help SBOs. These tools, based on seller feedback, include access to infrastructure, technology, and insights geared toward helping businesses expand their market reach and online presence.
The Number: 1 million. In the US alone, there are more than 1 million small and medium-sized businesses selling goods through Amazon.
The Quote: “The push to integrate small sellers into the Amazon ecosystem is driven by the fact they are “Growing sales in Amazon’s stores at a faster rate than Amazon’s retail business.”
Ethical managers can turnaround toxic work environments
Stress at work and home can cause employees to behave in ways that are inappropriate for the workplace, yet a recent study from San Diego State University found that ethical leadership can change a negative work environment. Bosses who demonstrate two-way communication, emotional support, and positive reinforcement empower employees and promote a positive office culture.
The Number: 6. A 2017 study of CFOs found that managers spend an average of 15% of their time, or 6 hours per week, dealing with office conflicts.
The Quote: “Ethical leaders want to help employees respond positively to negative situations and they try to offer resources to help employees who may find themselves hitting a rough patch.”
Creating compliant internship program good for business–and students
Creating an internship program can benefit your business in a variety of ways. Defining the intern’s role and ensuring compliance with state and federal laws is a key part of the program’s success and can help set up a pipeline of future talent for your company.
The Number: 10. At least 10 hours per week should be devoted to providing student workers with guidance, training, and trial work projects.
The Quote: “The chance to give back, to train potential employees, and to impart a bit of wisdom can be as fulfilling for business as it is helpful to students.”