Small Business Pulse

 The US Census Bureau produces a Weekly Pulse Newsletter that offers a perspective on the state of small businesses in the US.  This survey was developed to gauge the business impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US (with some exceptions such as agricultural businesses).  You can subscribe to the Census Bureau surveys - of which there are many - and receive them in your inbox. This stage in the pandemic, when we are focused on returning to "normal",  is an interesting time to take the temperature of how we've borne it. Here are the highlights from their emailed newsletter. You can see periodic pulse reports here . Weekly Pulse Newsletter The U.S. Census Bureau is in a unique position to produce data on the social and economic effects of COVID-19 on American households and small businesses.  Small Business Pulse Survey Updates Explore Data See Data Tables Based on responses collected May 24 through May 30 ,

Small Business Trends During COVID-19

 There are the trends we read about in journals and newspapers and then there are the observations we make from our own perspective - and they don't always match. Throughout this pandemic, we have been able to see with our own eyes the businesses that have closed temporarily or permanently. Friends can tell us how they have been affected by COVID-19 and it is no surprise.  While we see all these outward signs of a shrinking back, there are also indicators of new growth. We have been busy despite COVID-19. This article in Forbes describes what we have seen as supporters of small business owners: Small businesses were hit hard by COVID-19 but there were also a staggering number of new business starts. Small Business Struggle While New Businesses Surge: A Paradox? by  Dane Stangler "Existing small businesses continue to struggle. New entrepreneurs are seeking opportunities. That is what the data appears to be saying about the state of small business and entrepreneurship amidst th

Coming Next Week: An Overview of the Recently-Released NAPCS Data From the Economic Census

Coming This Week: An Overview of the Recently-Released NAPCS Data From the Economic Census What is NAPCS? An Overview of the Recently-Released NAPCS Data From the Economic Census This webinar will provide an overview of the recently-released North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) data from the 2017 Economic Census. These data replace the Product Lines data historically released as part of the Economic Census. The webinar will include a demo of how to access the data on , following a typical use case. Additional Webinars Coming Soon December 3, 2020: 2015-2019 American Community Survey 5-year Pre-Release Webinar December 9, 2020: DECCS Tips and Tricks December 10, 2020: Spanish Webinar Series: ACE AESDirect Export Filings

America's SBDC Virtual Conference Sept 29-30, 2020

 Today is the first day of the ASBDC annual conference, held virtually this year due to COVID-19 but still with a lot of great sponsors and content.  America's SBDC is the association that represents America's nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). This will be my first virtual conference but I imagine it will be the state of affairs for the foreseeable future. In this case, it means more people are able to "attend" which is a good thing. It will be interesting to see how this event turns out.  The trade show aspect of a conference is tricky since it is awkward enough (to me) in person. Creating a virtual 'booth' is more challenging when trying to hold an attendee's attention. There are videos and chats and some useful materials but I think for brands that really want to wow, they will have to break out of the chat or zoom box and add something more. Maybe they can borrow something from the TikTok generation to liven up and add a

E-commerce Acceleration

It may not come as a surprise that e-commerce is up in 2020.  Pandemic-related safety precautions and stay-at-home orders  ha ve  forced a lot of business online  over the last few months . The newest numbers from the Ce nsus Bureau give a picture of just how extensive that shift  has been  in the U nited States .  Take a look  at this chart from the  Census’  most recent  quarterly  report   on e-commerce in the retail sector : Image Description: A chart titled   ‘ Estimated Quarterly U.S. Retail E-commerce Sales as a Percent of Total Quarterly Retail Sales:  1 st  Quarter 2011 to 2 nd  Quarter 2020 ’ . The chart shows a steady rise i n  the  share of e-commerce sales  from under five percent in 2011 to  just under twelve percent in the first quarter of 2020, followed by a rapid spike to  over fifteen percent in the second quarter of 2020.     Look at that spike in  the second quarter of 2020!   E-commerce’s share of total retail sales steadily grew from under five percent in 2011 to