Find the Shop Talk blog at newsobserver.com/shoptalkblog.
'); } -->
Find the Shop Talk blog at newsobserver.com/shoptalkblog.
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is looking for area businesses, incubators, venture capitalists, educators, thought leaders and others who play a role in the Triangle's entrepreneurial culture to participate in a venture that seeks to tell the Triangle’s story as part of a national dialogue that profiles unique entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Google named Cary the digital capital of North Carolina in an eCities initiative that seeks to recognize communities in each state embracing the power of the Web to grow their business.
Two startup incubators announced Wednesday their plans to expand this fall, an indication of the Triangle’s growing appeal to entrepreneurs and technologists.
American Underground, a network of startups with two locations in Durham, will soon open a space at 213 Fayetteville St. in Raleigh. HQ Raleigh, a business incubator on Hillsborough Street, plans to relocate to 310 Harrington St., a much larger space in Raleigh’s Warehouse District.
Read more here.
Small-business owners’ optimism dropped slightly in June, according to a monthly National Federation of Independent Business survey of owners’ plans and opinions.
The NFIB’s monthly economic index, which is based on the survey, dropped just under a point and landed at 93.5.
Six of the 10 index components fell, two rose and two were unchanged. While job creation plans increased slightly in June, expectations for improved business conditions remained negative. The index has been teetering between modest increases and declines for months. The index, however, is 12 points higher in June than at its lowest reading during the Great Recession, but seven points below the pre-2008 average.
“After two months of incremental but solid gains, the index gave up in June. This appears par for the course, given that there is no reason for small employers to be more optimistic and lots of things to worry about,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Washington remains bogged down in scandals and confidence in government’s ability to deal with our fundamental problems remains low. Economic growth was revised down for the first quarter of the year and the outlook for the second quarter is not looking good. Nothing cheers up a small-business owner more than a customer, and they remain scarce and cautious while consumer spending remains weak and more owners are reporting negative sales trends than positive ones. It certainly doesn't help that the endless stream of delays and capitulations of certain provisions of the healthcare law adds to the uncertainty felt by owners. Until growth returns to the small-business half of the economy, it will be hard to generate meaningful economic growth and job creation.”
The top business problems for small-business owners in June were taxes and regulations and red tape, with 20 percent of those surveyed ranking each as their top problem. Another 18 percent of owners cited weak sales as their top problem, but only 2 percent reported that financing was a major concern.
The survey included questions on:
Job Creation: Small-business owners were not able to contribute to job growth again in June, with the average increase in employment coming in at a negative 0.09 workers per firm. While 360,000 new part-time jobs were added, about 240,000 full-time jobs disappeared.
Hard to Fill Job Openings: Nineteen percent of all owners surveyed reported job openings they could not fill in the current period (unchanged). Twelve percent of owners reported using temporary workers, little changed over the past 10 years. The health care law provides incentives to increase the use of temporary and part-time workers, but this indicator has not registered a trend toward the use of more temps.
Sales: The net percent of all owners reporting higher nominal sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months gave up four points, falling to a negative 8 percent. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes lost three points, falling to 5 percent of all owners.
Warnings and Wages: Reports of positive earnings trends deteriorated one point in June to a negative 23 percent. Four percent of owners reported reduced worker compensation and 19 percent reported raising compensation, yielding a seasonally adjusted net 14 percent reporting higher worker compensation (down 2 points). A net 6 percent of those surveyed plan to raise compensation in the coming months, down three points.
Credit Markets: Credit continues to be a non-issue for small employers, five percent of whom say that all their credit needs were not met in June, unchanged from May. Twenty-nine percent of owners surveyed reported all credit needs met, and 53 percent explicitly said they did not want a loan (67 percent including those who did not answer the question, presumably uninterested in borrowing).
Capital Outlays: In June, the frequency of reported capital outlays over the past six months fell one point to 56 percent, nine points below the average spending rate through 2007. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next three to six months was unchanged at 23 percent. The frequency of expenditures remained at the high end of recession-level readings, but there is no surge in capital spending on the horizon.
Good Time to Expand: In June, only 7 percent characterized the current period as a good time to expand facilities (down 1 point). The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months was a net negative 4 percent, a one point improvement.
Inventories: The pace of inventory reduction continued in June, with a net negative 7 percent of all owners reporting growth in inventories, unchanged from May. For all firms, a net negative 2 percent (down three points) reported stocks too low, a sharp deterioration from May and consistent with weak spending which produces a buildup in stocks.
Plans to add to inventories declined sharply; the net percent of owners planning to add to inventories fell 4 points to a negative 1 percent of all firms.
Inflation: Twelve percent of the NFIB owners surveyed reported reducing their average selling prices in the past three months (down four points), and 19 percent reported price increases (unchanged). The net percent of owners raising selling prices was 8 percent, up 6 points. As for prospective price increases, 19 percent plan on raising average prices in the next few months (up two points), and 3 percent plan reductions (unchanged). A net 18 percent plan price hikes, up three points.
The report is based on the responses of 662 randomly sampled small businesses in NFIB’s membership, surveyed throughout the month of June.
Go to the complete report.
A Triangle company and nonprofit agency have joined forces to support and promote businesses that participate in a two-year program centered on sustainability initiatives.
The Green Plus Certification program provides education, networking opportunities and recognition for small to mid-sized business that seek to improve their bottom line through sustainability initiatives. The program is a product of the Durham-based Institute for Sustainable Development, a partnership of universities, chambers of commerce and business leaders that seeks to educate and cultivate leaders in the sustainability field. The organization has members in 18 states.
Local-Ventures is a Chapel Hill-based company that focuses on local sourcing. The Local-Ventures website enables businesses in the Triangle to find, assess, and purchase from vetted local vendors.
After last month’s drop in small-business confidence, April’s Index of Small Business Optimism rose 2.6 points to 92.1, which is just above the recovery average of 90.7.
Every month, the National Federation of Independent Business surveys small business owners’ opinion and plans. The April index includes responses of 1,873 randomly sampled small businesses in NFIB’s membership.
In April’s report, four index components rose, two fell and six were unchanged.
NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg, however, said the sub-par recovery persists for the small-business sector.
Each year, the Cary Chamber of Commerce recognizes local small businesses with its annual Excellence Awards. The prizes go to companies based on the business's community contributions such as innovation, work environment, sustainability, success and community service.
Atlantic Tire & Service claimed the top prize: Small Business of the Year.
Also winning awards: BP Studios, Innovation; Wine and Design, Cary, Community Service; Masterpiece Home Improvements, Work Environment; AlphaGraphics Cary, Green Plus Sustainability; Panther Creek High School, Entrepreneurial Award in Education; The Carying Place, Charitable Partners Award.
The awards were given out on May 9.
Its wealth of highly educated people, low cost of living and large research industry make Raleigh the No. 2 city in the country to start a small business, according to a recent study. The City of Oaks also earned an "A" as its small business grade.
In calculating the top cities, NerdWallet, a consumer finance resource company, used five criteria, including how easy it is to obtain funding, business-friendliness, how the local economy is faring, the affordability of the city and ease in getting hired.
Here are the top ten cities on the list:
3. Austin, Tex.
4. Tulsa, Okla.
5. Oklahoma City, Okla.
10. Omaha, Neb.
For the complete report, go here.
Sutton's Drug Store celebrates its 90th anniversary on Wednesday. Owner John Woodard credits dedication and responding to the changing needs of customers as reasons for the Chapel Hill pharmacy's lasting success.
Has your company been around as long as Sutton's? We want to hear what you've done to stay in business.
Share your success story in the comments field of this blog post.