New Business Applications Jump in Q3 2020

U.S. Census Bureau reports

So what to do? You’ve been laid off from your job due to COVID. You can’t hang out with friends and family due to social distancing requirements. You can’t even leave your house much due to “stay at home” orders. With all this time on your hands and nowhere to go, what are you going to do? Let’s start a new business!

New Business Applications

Record Numbers

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report showing nearly double the number of new business applications were filed between July and October last year than in any quarter ever before. The number of new business applications has risen slightly nearly every quarter since 2009. But the number of new business applications in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 were about 77% higher. And Q2 was no slouch. It had held the record for the highest number of new business applications since at least 2005 before then.

The COVID Connection?

The numbers are truly remarkable but who can be surprised? COVID has caused a lot of lives to be lost and a lot of jobs and businesses too. The prospect of many of these jobs and businesses recovering when things return to “normal” is questionable.

But “when” is when? And what will “normal” look like? The government issued Americans stimulus checks and supplemented state’s unemployment coffers with trillions of dollars. The stock market fared incredibly well all things considered. Folks had money in the bank.

But as summer came upon them they realized it wouldn’t last forever. And you can only watch just so many reruns of I Love Lucy.

Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures

It takes some big huevos to start a business during difficult and unpredictable times. I know as I started (949) Local during the Great Recession. I met other local entrepreneurs at networking events and was awed by their resilience and optimism. Times were tough, but they had a plan to get through it. I am eternally grateful that many of them allowed (949) Local to be included in those plans.

Clearly, many Americans have shown their resilience and taken that leap of faith to strike out on their own. I applaud them! And wish them luck.

Google Adding New Features to Maps & Google My Business

Google has been busy this year adding new features to their Google Maps and Google My Business (GMB) products. Recently they added another three new features that we are excited about. These new features were featured in an article by @MattSouthern on Search Engine Journal.

Messaging from Maps and Search

If you have a verified GMB listing (if not, why not?!), you can now send customers text messages directly from the Google Maps app. And they can message you also. You can find them in the business messages section in the updates tab.

Though this feature is only available on the app now, Google says they will add this feature on the desktop dashboard soon. Can’t be soon enough IMO.

Too few businesses take advantage of GMB Posts. It’s free advertising for crying out loud! As a possible incentive consider this: Create a post for a sale or new item. When users see your post they now have a chance to message you directly with any questions.

Why are we excited? This gets people engaged with your business. And the more engaged the more likely they are to become longtime loyal customers.

Google Adds More Info to Insights

Google Insights report on the number of times your business appeared in search results, views of your listing and actions taken on those views e.g. website visits, requests for directions and direct calls. You can see activity for the past month, quarter or six months.

Soon you will be able to track which search queries were used over time and compared to the previous year. And you’ll be able to see if users saw your business on Search or Maps and whether they saw it on a desktop or mobile device.

Why are we excited? Because information is power. Knowing what people are searching for and how they search for it will help you create a better website, more meaningful posts and help you focus your marketing efforts better. And that means more business.

Community Feed

In the Explore tab on Google Maps a new “Community Feed” is being added. Right on your listing, users can find photos, posts and reviews added by “local experts”, people you follow and bars/restaurants.

Want another reason to post regularly on your GMB listing? The more often you publish a post or add new content to your profile, the more likely you will appear in people’s Community Feed

Why are we excited? Any way that you can get in front of your customer, the better. And the Community Feed could get you in front of a lot more of them.

Excited About These New Features in Google My Business?

You should be! These new features promise to put your business listing in local Google Search and Maps in front of more and more customers and prospective customers.

Too much? We get it. You’re busy running a business and don’t have enough time to fully leverage the power of Google My Business.

We can help! (949) Local Internet Marketing has been helping local businesses optimize their GMB listings before there was GMB (remember Google Places?). We offer flexible programs that promise great ROI. Learn more by visiting Contact (949) Local today for a free GMB Audit of your listing.

COVID-19: How Does a Small Business Owner Deal With the Psychological Trauma?

Many small business owners have been frustrated by the federal government’s implantation of Trillions of dollars for the small businesss:

At the end of another day, for me and other business owners, the demands on retaining employees, customers and vendors is paramount!

Lord, how hard do we work in these uncertain times? How do we take care of others? How do we take care of ourselves?

How do we take care of ourselves and our businesses?

Since the COVID-19 lockdown went into effect I have worked from home almost exclusively. Sometimes I have felt like I’m on an island, alone and frankly, afraid.

Not a good place to be psychologically. I know this and will not allow a “novel coronavirus” derail everything I’ve built for the past ten years. Daily routines were radically altered so here are a few things I have done to keep myself off the COVID-19 island.

  • Take a deep breath! Yes, this present reality SUCKS! Breathe! You are alive. And Life is Good!;
  • Take a walk. Walk around the neighborhood. A park or beach (if open). Move your body. Release some endorphins. You’ll feel better.
  • Call your kids, siblings, parents, grandparents. It may come as a welcome surprise that you are reaching out during a typically busy business day. Remember to tell them, “I love you!”.
  • Exercise. It’s been on your annual New Year’s Resolution for years: “losing weight and gaining strength” only to have the daily “life (business) as usual” pull us away from our goals. What better time to do it than now?
    • Toward that, the OC Fitness Coach will give you an easy workout program based upon your physical condition and equipment you have (if any). And, it’s FREE. (next excuse?).
  • Love one another.
    • Everyone is stressed.
      • Immediate family members have seen WAY more of us than typical. (Editor’s note: Keep it up post COVID).
      • Employees (current, furloughed, etc.) are anxious. Keep them in the loop! Call, text, email them. Let them know what’s going on with the business. And how are they doing?
      • Customers & Clients are dealing with this too. More on this later.
  • Talk to other business owners and/or their employees (social distancing appreciated).
    • How are they? How can you help them? (Nothing helps self healing than healing others);
    • There’s lots of business networking groups that are still meeting virtually. The Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce‘s weekly Daybreakers networking breakfast had over 50 local business leaders online. That’s not far off from the pre-lockdown days when we met at the High Park Tap House.
  • Do the things for your business and relationships you never have had time for:
    • Internet Search:
      • While we are trying to flatten the curve on COVID-19, your local customers are still searching for your services. And, more than ever, you need to be highly visible to them in their search results on Google when they query your most relevant keywords.
    • Social Media:
      • Get on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter. etc. Get your followers engaged. A sale or discount isn’t going to cut it just now. Instead,
        • Display staff photos, stories of employee challenges and how they are overcoming them, your own personal story. People are hurting now. They can relate to others hurting also.
    • Email
      • Personal emails to your best customers. Not an email blast, rather direct from you to them, personally. Short and sweet. Again…”How are you? Your family? Your staff? Your friends?…”. How can you help them?
      • Email blasts. What are your hours currently? What discounts or specials are you offering? Share short stories of staff or other customers.
    • An adult beverage
      • At the end of another long and stressful day, there’s nothing like the “old stand-by” to take a bit of the edge off. A nice glass of wine can really help. But remember, you have to work again tomorrow so don’t get a headache. Order some “No Headache Wine” from local King Frosch Wines

We are not on an island! You are not alone! I have many business associates (friends) going through the same thing, and so do you. Keeping in constant contact with your employees, customers and associates helps them and you

Stay “Top of Mind”

Do you have other tactics or strategies you have found that help you through the psychological effects of the COVID-19 Lockdown? I would appreciate hearing about them!

Hang in there everyone. We’re doing great, together!