Small Business is our Business

Nielsen just released its First Quarter 2015 Total Audience Report on media consumption. It should come as no surprise that millennials (aged 18-34)  tune in using their smartphones——-spending 9.5 hours weekly , almost double the average of all adults(5.5 hours).  Their tv consumption pales compared to other adults, spending  only 22 hours weekly versus 36 hours by all adults.

The John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization funding inter-disciplinary research,  conducted a study of 5,000  college students in 2014 to determine qualities that young entrepreneurs typically exhibit.  The findings reveal these aspiring entrepreneurs  display four key qualities——innovative thinking, self-control, an inclination to take the initiative, and entrepreneurial mentors who were role models that supported their entrepreneurial interests.

As a small business owner one of your primary concerns is to make sure your website works properly and loads quickly.  A survey of 1,008 adults by Limelight Networks, an online market research firm, found most consumers would not wait more than FIVE SECONDS for a website to load.  A look at the percentage of consumers who would wait up to five second before leaving by age includes——

18-29 years        48%

39-44 years        34%

45-60 years        42%

Immigrants started new companies or became self-employed at twice the rate of native-born Americans in 2014——creating an average of 520 businesses monthly per 1,000 people. This is up from 26% in 2013. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a think tank and educational nonprofit for entrepreneurial development, annually  conducts a survey of business start-ups nationwide.  These immigrants accounted for the majority of ” Main Street” growth in such businesses as restaurants, retailers, dry cleaning services and beauty salons.

LaunchPad LI , an incubator for start-ups , has opened its fifth location on Long Island.  Located at the New York Institute of Technology, this Launchpad will focus on Internet Technology and Cybersecurity, Bioengineering and Medical Devices, and Energy and Green Technologies. Space will be available for ten companies.  Additional facilities include three conference rooms , an auditorium with 100 seating capacity, and video conferencing.  Other Launchpad sites on Long Island are located in Huntington, Mineola, Great Neck, and SUNY Stony Brook.  For additional information on LaunchPad go to http://www.launchpadli.com

On June 16th I attended a breakfast sponsored by the Melville Chamber of Commerce on the Long Island Economy.  Some of the comments from this panel discussion I found most interesting include:

Although the employment, and unemployment rates fairly mirror the national levels and average weekly wages are in line with the rest of the country (Nassau $1,022 and Suffolk $1,031), there are major problems.  Energy costs on Long Island are TWICE the national average and property taxes are off the wall.  The 2% property tax cap is a blessing in disguise.  A projection of property taxes for the next ten years with a continued cap would rise 20%.  WITHOUT the cap, an astounding 58% increase.

Home sale prices have risen the past year. Up 6.1% in Nassau (average price $435,000) and up 10% in Suffolk  (average price $330,000.  What I found MOST interesting is that the issue of ZOMBIE homes on Long Island was not addressed .  This is an issue that has only begun to appear and I believe will  plague the Long Island economy for the foreseeable future.

No surprise that exporting plays an important role in the Long Island economy.  It is the U.S headquarters  of some major  foreign companies—-Nikon, Canon, and Swissair to name a few.  New York state ranks 4th among the states in exporting. Among New York counties Nassau ranks 5th ($6.6 billion revenues) and Suffolk ranks 9th ($3.8 billion revenues). An astonishing 95%of these Long Island exporting companies are small businesses.

No forecast was given.

Elite Daily, an online news service by and for millennials, conducted a survey of 1,300 of it’s readers in October 2014. The focus of the survey was to get a better grasp of millennial consumer behavior and social media usage.  The U.S. Census estimates there are 86 million millennials born between 1980 and 2000. Demographically, this group is very different from previous generations.  Eighty percent (80%have a bachelor’s degree and  it is more racially diverse—-64% are white, 12% Asian, 11% Hispanic, and 7% African American.

A key finding is that  millennials do not trust traditional media and advertising.  Before making a purchasing decision, one out of three (33%) consult blogs for product information, 37% consult friends, 36% parents and 17% online experts.  Fewer than 3% rank television or magazines as influencing a purchasing decision.

Millennials are digitally connected.  Eighty-seven percent (87%) use two to three tech devices daily—- a smartphone, tablet, or a wearable device.  These devices are used to stay connected to friends, family, or colleagues.  Facebook is the number one social media network that influences their spending habits. (42%), followed by Instagram (21%), Pinterest (12%), and 6% each for Twitter and LinkedIn.

Brand loyalty is important .  This loyalty is based on product quality, customer service, and  a company’s support of social causes.  They are  active consumers and  want to be engaged .  Sixty-two percent (62%) say that if a brand engages  them on social media networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.  Forty -two percent are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. They want to develop a relationship with businesses they patronize. If they like your product/service, millennials will eagerly take part in the company’s marketing efforts by referrals and reviews.  As a business owner you can’t ignore them.

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