Small Business Toolkit 2024

Recently the members of The Scout Guide Huntsville came together for a breakfast meeting to learn about what to expect as small business owners in our local community. TSG assembled local experts in the areas of business and financial strategy, law, H.R., marketing, and P.R. to share their thoughts on the best tools to employ in our changing environment. The setting was lovely (thank you Huntsville Botanical Garden!) and the conversation was lively.

Following are some of the key takeaways from the event that all local business owners can benefit from…

Business/Financial Overal Tips

Veronica Cram of InSight Strategic Solutions

  • Have cash on hand that is at least equal to two months of expenses – this helps lessen the pain when the “unexpected” happens.
  • Marketing spends are up!
  • Document your line in the sand up front.  Before hiring for a new role – what will you hold them accountable for? What is the absolute minimum performance you will accept?  Before hiring a new _____ (IT, marketing, virtual assisting) firm – what will you hold them accountable for? What is the absolute minimum performance you will accept?  What is your line in the sand with cash?  At what point must you make some hard decisions?
  • Labor is not going to return to pre-pandemic levels – you need to get creative. If the market can’t deliver what you need in one full time person, can you find two people that are part time, whose skills combined equal the one that you need?

Labor is not going to return to what it was. The availability we had at the cost we had it…those are the good ol days. Think critically about the skills and what you need and pay for those skills. Don’t wait for a Unicorn!

Veronica Cram, InSight Strategic Solutions

2024 Marketing Tips

Amy McWilliams, McWilliams Marketing and Megan Nivens-Tannett, Flourish Consulting

  • Authenticity is better than overly-produced content on social media.
  • It’s the beginning of the year. Review your marketing materials!
  • Stop boosting posts on social media. This is the least effective means of social media advertising.
  • Embrace AI and technology.
  • Focus on short-form video content.
  • Integrate online and offline marketing.
  • Take advantage of your community engagement.

Your social media messaging should be authentic, connecting and realistic. People are craving content that is authentic.

Your website is not for you, it is for your potential clients…Design it from their perspective.

Amy McWilliams, McWilliams Marketing

Embrace AI Technology…Especially in the nonprofit world or if you do not have a marketing person, it can at least help you get started… We should not be working harder, we should be working smarter.

Megan Nivens-Tannett, Flourish

Human Resources Tips

Casey Fritz, Rocket City HR

  • 1099 independent contracts vs W-2 employees–get it right.
  • Be careful classifying too many employees as exempt.
  • Is your employee handbook up to date?
  • Recruiting needs to be more sophistacted than “post and pray.”

It is important to understand who can be 1099 vs W2…1 in 5 people are going for gig employment and 33% of businesses use gig workers, 50% of Gen Z prefer freelancing.

Casey Fritz, Rocket City H.R.

Business Legal Tips

JoAnn Perez, Perez Law P.C.

  • Don’t be afraid of the new Corporate Transparency Act but do handle it this year.
  • Make sure you have an exit strategy in place before you decide to exit.

What is your business’ legacy?  Some people talk about wanting to pass their business on to future generations and others want to create generational wealth.  The thing about a legacy, you have to know what the end goal is…You have to have a plan, a long term plan.

JoAnn Perez, Perez Law, P.C.

There were lots of follow up questions and discussion at the event mostly centered around website design, AI and the CTA. If you have more questions for our experts, we encourage you to reach out and contact them directly.

Many thanks to our experts for the thought-provoking discussion. Veronica Cram of InSight Strategic Solutions, Amy McWilliams of McWilliams Marketing, Megan Nivens-Tannett of Flourish, Casey Fritz of Rocket City H.R., and JoAnn Perez of Perez Law, P.C.