Own a small business? Here are five things you should be thinking about

The election is just one thing employers should consider

If you’re a business owner, you are always thinking about the next big idea, the bottom line and how you can make things better for your employees. The truth is, your banker should be thinking about those things, too. We asked a few lenders here at UMB Bank in Colorado what their small business customers should be thinking about, and here’s what they said:

Unemployment Rates – Denver’s unemployment rate is currently below 3 percent, the third lowest in the nation. And while that sounds phenomenal, it is actually causing some real problems for Colorado businesses. Those problems include a lack of talent to fill the workface needs in several industries and wage increases that employees are demanding due to the lack of labor and skilled employees. Small business owners should be looking at their compensation and determining if it is attracting the right talent and if that talent will stay with them in the current economic climate.

Real estate – Both the commercial and residential real estate markets are facing real challenges right now in Colorado. There is an incredible amount of building going on, but prices are going up so fast that businesses and residents can’t afford them. Home prices are becoming so expensive that people can’t afford to live here, which is a serious concern. On the other side, you have commercial space that is extremely expensive. If you’re looking for a retail front, office or warehouse – it’s either impossible to find or the prices are so steep it doesn’t make economic sense. If you are looking to expand your business operations or buy real estate, it’s important to understand the current CRE climate as well as the geographic challenges and determine if now is the right time.

The election – As with any presidential election year, the current race creates an environment of uncertainty among business owners. There are two big issues that could pose a threat to small businesses: the minimum wage increase and health care. If minimum wages increase to $14 or $15 an hour, many local businesses will face challenges with revenue and cash flow, particularly if they employ lower-wage workers. The other topic of note for business owners is health care. Depending on what happens from an election perspective, the rules and regulations of the Affordable Care Act may change. These are both issues that small business owners need to think about as they start planning for 2017.  

Interest rates – Everyone is getting to a point where they think the current interest rates may be the norm. It has been nearly eight years since we’ve seen any significant change, and there is definitely angst over when this will happen. If rates continue to stay low, what does that mean for the economy? How does that impact small businesses? If rates start to rise, businesses will need to reconsider their current strategy and start to lock in rates for the long-term.

Fraud and Protection – Fraud continues to be a top concern among business owners, and the latest statistics prove it is a legitimate fear. In the 2016 Association for Financial Professionals Payments Fraud and Control survey, 62 percent of companies were subject to fraud during the survey period and wire fraud has nearly doubled from 14 percent to 27 percent. The truth is, businesses can plug one gap and another one opens up somewhere else. The key is stay vigilant with your associates, train them and understand the latest tactics that are being used to commit fraud. More tips for fraud protection and security are available.

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