It can be especially challenging to be a small-business owner during the holidays, but fortunately, this month comes bearing good news. Here are some small business news items and tidbits from November, just in time to recharge your spirits.
Small Business Saturday Is Nigh
Last year, 88 million consumers spent $14.3 billion when they shopped small on Small Business Saturday, according to American Express (the mastermind behind SBS). This year, Small Business Saturday happens on November 28, and you don't want your business to miss out on all the local love.
American Express offers free marketing materials to help you make the most of the day. It suggests you plan ahead (see what your city is doing to support small business shopping!), take advantage of social media marketing, and create an in-store event for the day to attract shoppers.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Is Out
Medium released the Trans-Pacific Partnership text, and it's about as reader-friendly as a trade agreement is going to get (you've been warned). But the TPP is a bag of mixed feelings for small businesses. Fortune thinks it's a win, noting the TPP has a section that addresses trade barriers that disproportionately impede small businesses (e.g., complicated trade paperwork). That may help small businesses if they ever decide to go global.
Forbes offers another take, stating there's almost nothing in TPP relevant to the small business reality, namely because they don't really export to new markets. But if you work with clean energy or the patenting process, the article concedes the TPP may make your life incrementally easier.
The 2016 Economic Overview Looks Promising
Economic projections for 2016 in a nutshell, as reported by Bloomberg Business: the TPP will open up more trade, the Federal Reserve probably won't hike federal funds interest rates until the end of next year at the earliest, there's a thing called the "misery index" that combines the latest inflation rate and unemployment rate (and it's as good as it's been since the 1950s), and oil prices are perched to stay cheap. Champagne, anyone?
Women Mechanics Rock
Meet Patrice Banks (@girlsautoclinic), an engineer who owns the automotive education business Girls Auto Clinic. The Huffington Post reports Banks aims to empower women through education in the hopes they will stop seeing cars as strictly a man's domain and save money on repairs, too. She offers free monthly auto repair workshops for women (and does it while wearing red stilettos, no less), so if you're in Philadelphia, check out what Banks is up to.
Your Retirement Saving Just Got Easier
Saving for retirement may seem like a Sisyphean undertaking when you're in business for yourself. The Washington Post reports the government just rolled out the myRA program, which stands to make saving a little easier. Like a Roth IRA, the myRA program allows workers to save their after-tax dollars for retirement, and workers can contribute up to $5,500 a year or $6,500 a year for people ages 50 and up.
The best part? The report notes there are no fees and the accounts have no minimum balances. Contribute what you can – every little bit helps.