Weekly Small Business News Roundup #3: House Approves $50B, Small Business Vaccinations, Montana Best State for Small Businesses

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Welcome to the 3rd installment of our weekly small business news roundup in 2021. A lot is going on in our world, and we make sure you don’t miss out of the important small business news that happened.

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The House Small Business Committee approves $50 billion in emergency pandemic aid for small businesses...

Panel Approves $50 Billion for Small Businesses: Stimulus Update (BLOOMBERGLAW)

The House Small Business Committee has approved $50 billion in emergency pandemic aid for small businesses. A senior Senate Democrat highlighted comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on the weak state of the job market in his push for a longer period of enhanced unemployment benefits. Five House committees are acting Wednesday on their parts of the stimulus bill, with three more planning to move on their pieces in the coming days. A further three with jurisdiction over elements of the package have chosen not to have public votes and hearings, spurring criticism from Republicans.

Small business taxes you need to know …

COVID-19’s impact on 2020 taxes: What small-business owners need to know (BenefitsPro)

Of all the measures taken by the Federal government to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) probably received the most attention. With many small businesses forced to shut their doors—at least temporarily—millions of employees were left without a source of income. The domino effect of this collapse threatened to trigger the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression; a prospect that, sadly, came to fruition.

Most small business owners gives the President’s recovery plan a thumbs up …

Majority of small business owners support President Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID relief plan (CNBC)

CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and SurveyMonkey (Nasdaq: SVMK), a leader in agile software solutions for customer experience, market research, and survey feedback, today announced the results of their quarterly CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. The survey found that 63% of small business owners support President Joe Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID relief package. The legislative proposal picking up support from 46% of Republican small business owners, even as only 14% of the same group approve of how Biden is handling his job as President overall.

Free legal advice for Wisconsin small businesses impacted by COVID-19 …

Wisconsin lawyers offer free legal advice to small businesses impacted by the pandemic (HNGNEWS)

Small businesses in Wisconsin now have a place to go for free legal advice on issues they face due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a tough economy. Starting Feb. 5, volunteer attorneys with the State Bar of Wisconsin Business Law Section will meet with small-business owners each Friday for an hour-long appointment as part of the section’s new Small Business Assistance project. The project, implemented in collaboration with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics program, pairs volunteer attorneys and law students with pre-screened small-business owners who have legal questions related to their businesses.

American Express on the FEDS radar over its small business practices …

American Express is cooperating with a federal probe into its sales practices for small business and consumer cards (BusinessInsider)

Several federal agencies are probing American Express’ small business and consumer card sales practices, according to a regulatory filing. Amex received a grand jury subpoena from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York related to its small business cards sales practices, the company disclosed in Friday’s filing. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also seeking information related to Amex’ consumer sales practices.

South Korea opens up a bit to help small businesses and the self-employed …

South Korea to Ease Social Distancing to Help Small Business (Bloomberg)

South Korea is relaxing its social distancing rules, allowing nightclubs to reopen and extending the operating hours of other businesses in an effort to ease the struggle of mom-and-pop stores. Starting Monday, South Korea will apply level 2 social distancing rules for Seoul and surrounding Gyeonggi province, a half notch lower from the previous 2.5 level, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said at a briefing. For the rest of the country, the level 1.5 social distancing rules will be applied, also a half notch lower. “We took people’s fatigue into consideration,” the prime minister said. “We are relaxing the rules for small businesses and self-employed.”

Small business confidence is down …

Small-business optimism hits 8-month low (MarketPlace)

Each month, the National Federation of Independent Business releases its small business optimism index. In January, the numbers were lower than they’ve been in the last eight months. Uncertainty is a big driver of business pessimism. And there’s certainly a lot to feel uncertain about: the rate of the vaccine rollout, the scale of the relief package and how long it’ll take consumer spending to recover. But business uncertainty also comes down to the small things a survey can’t capture. These kinds of doubts keep businesses from growing, even if they have the resources to. More than 60% of small-business owners surveyed by NFIB said they’re not interested in a loan.

The Big Sky Country of Montana leads the pack …

Montana ranked number one as best state to start a small business in 2021 (The Blueprint)

Montana’s Department of Commerce welcomes small businesses, offering a variety of resources for new business owners. The best state to open a business in 2021, Montana scores high in several areas, including the number of new businesses calling Montana home. A five-year business survival rate of 53.4% puts the odds of success in your favor. With a median annual income of $57,153, labor costs should be reasonable, and geographically, Montana holds little risk of natural disasters, with forest fires the major culprit in 2020.

Montana’s corporate tax climate is not as optimal as it could be, with a corporate tax rate of 6.75%, while the individual income tax rate tops out at 6.9%. Montana does not currently have a state sales tax. Consumer spending is also on the rise, going from $41.4 million in 2017 to $45.3 million in 2019, a 9.2% increase, with the state on an upward trend.

The rich keeps getting richer …

As small businesses decline, only the wealthiest benefit (OCRegister)

And for the record, when I say “small business people,” I don’t mean Michael Bloomberg, I mean people who own businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Based on this definition, small businesses make up about 90% of businesses in California. Nationwide, small businesses employ nearly half of the private-sector workforce. Only 10% of businesses are considered large businesses — those with 20 or more employees. Many of these large businesses have been able to stay open throughout the pandemic, while small businesses such as bars, restaurants and hair salons have had to shut down and re-open a number of times, depending upon the ever-changing restrictions and regulations imposed over the last 10 months.

In these metro areas, small companies are more likely to be back to business as usual or expect to be by midyear...

Where Small Business Sentiment Is More Positive for 2021 (MoneyTalks)

The Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey shows that during the first week of December 2020, business expectations were depressed nationwide. While less than 2% of small businesses have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, 52.9% of small businesses nationally expect they won’t return to normal levels of operation for at least six months or ever. Though that outlook may seem a bit bleak, business sentiment remains stronger in some places compared to others.

A few business owners plan to require workers to get vaccinated …

Require workers to get vaccinated? Not on Main Street: Small business owner survey (CNBC)

Barely more than one in five small business owners (22%) will require their employees to get Covid-19 vaccines when they become available, according to the latest CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. Twice as many (42%) say they won’t mandate vaccinations. Whether to require workers to be vaccinated as soon as possible has become a controversial topic in the business community. With little guidance coming from the federal government, business leaders have been left to make decisions on their own.

Is YouTube part of your 2021 digital marketing plan? 

10 YouTube Videos That Every Small Business Should Create [infographic]

The online video leader remains a key platform, despite rising challenges from Facebook, Instagram and more recently, TikTok. Indeed, YouTube has over 2 billion monthly, logged-in users – and what’s more, YouTube has seen a rising amount of usage on home TV sets. That presents significant opportunity for big-screen, impactful outreach, all with Google’s advanced audience targeting options. It has the reach, the ad options, and now the potential to connect with viewers on the key focus for home entertainment. If you’re making video content, you need to have YouTube on your planning map.

That’s it for this weeks small business news round up. Catch you again next week!

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