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Impact Reports

4 Insights About Military-connected Businesses in 2022

In honor of Veterans Day and Military Family Month, Hello Alice conducted a survey to understand the challenges and needs of military-connected small business owners.  Among the 1,000,000+ small businesses spanning all industries, demographics, and locations in the Hello Alice community, more than 90,000 military-connected owners come to Hello Alice for support, funding opportunities, and resources.  This temperature check captures their unique challenges including accessing and building credit, securing financing, and dealing with the rising costs of marketing. These responses highlight our need to offer more opportunities, solutions, and educational resources to better help serve the entrepreneurs who’ve proudly served our country. Hello Alice is committed to getting these vital resources into the hands of our military-connected communities. Here are some key takeaways about military-connected small business owners in 2022: 1) Military-connected Business Owners Struggle With Raising Capital Raising capital ranks as the number one challenge for military-connected small business owners for the third year running. More than two-thirds of military-connected owners have applied for a traditional bank loan in the last 5 years, and 43% have been denied — significantly higher than the 34% denial rate for non-military owners. 2) Optimism Is Greater Than Among Non-military Owners An overwhelming 87% of military-connected owners currently express confidence that their business will stay afloat (compared to 84% of non-military owners). The overall outlook has improved significantly over the last year. In fact, the portion of military-connected owners who say their business is steady has increased more than 10% QoQ and increased 24% from 2021. 3) Difficulties With Marketing Are Ballooning The portion of military owners ranking marketing as their top challenge has nearly doubled since 2020, and nearly 60% of owners struggling with marketing cite expanding search presence and paid advertising as obstacles.  Military-connected owners were also more likely to cite difficulties with social media and remarketing. The portion of military-connected businesses ranking social media as an obstacle is 38% higher than the portion of non-military businesses. 4) Building Credit Remains an Obstacle When it comes to raising capital, 63% of military-connected owners said building credit is an obstacle — nearly 22 percentage points higher than non-military owners! Almost half (48%) of military-connected owners claimed to have a personal credit card application denied in the last five years, and 33% have had a business credit card application denied. Increasing access to credit would have profound benefits for the military-connected community. According to survey data, 90% of military owners without business credit believe a business credit card would impact their business in a positive way.  Specifically: 54% said they would use the card to cover unexpected expenses 53% said they would use it to pursue new opportunities 51% said it would allow their business to grow more quickly. Partner Spotlight Bunker Labs provides community, programs, and courses to help military veterans and military spouses start and grow successful businesses.  Signature programs include: Veterans in Residence — An early-stage business incubator CEOcircle — A year-long program that builds a brain-trust of peers Ambassador Program — A dynamic program connecting military community business owners in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem More Resources Interested in learning more about military-connected business owners? Download the full Hello Alice report here. Is your company or organization interested in supporting this important work? Or gaining insights about your community of business owners? If so, please reach out to [email protected] Finally, for media inquiries or interview requests, please contact [email protected]
Nov 8, 2022 • 2 min read
Impact Reports

Cuatro Perspectivas Sobre Los Emprendedores Hispanos en 2022

En celebración del Mes de la Herencia Hispana, Hello Alice realizó una encuesta para investigar las dificultades y los triunfos que enfrenta la comunidad de pequeñas empresas hispanas. La encuesta se realizó en asociación con Square, que ayuda a millones de vendedores a operar sus empresas con herramientas que incluyen desde un procesamiento seguro de tarjetas de crédito hasta soluciones de punto de venta, la Cámara de Comercio Hispana de los Estados Unidos (United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, USHCC) y la Red de Acción Empresarial Latina (Latino Business Action Network, LBAN). Hello Alice revisó las respuestas de la encuesta de más de 2,700 propietarios de pequeñas empresas y comparó esta información con su comunidad general de más de un millón de emprendedores. El informe también recopila historias de emprendedores hispanos para capturar sus necesidades y enfoques únicos para operar sus empresas. En este informe, explicamos cuatro perspectivas clave y recomendamos soluciones para servicios comerciales empresariales, socios de ecosistemas y propietarios de pequeñas empresas individuales en búsqueda de negocios para todos. Perspectiva clave n.º 1: La inflación impulsa la demanda de capital adicional Cuando se los encuestó sobre sus mayores dificultades comerciales, más comúnmente los propietarios hispanos mencionaron dos áreas relacionadas: obtener capital (30%) y hacer crecer su empresa (24%). Los resultados de nuestra encuesta señalan a la inflación como una clara causa: El 89% de los propietarios hispanos informan que, actualmente, la inflación está afectando su empresa: cuatro puntos porcentuales más que los propietarios no hispanos.El 70% de los propietarios hispanos informan que los impactos inflacionarios son peores que hace seis meses atrás.El 43% de todos los propietarios hispanos que tienen dificultades con el crecimiento nos informaron que tenían problemas para obtener materia prima o inventario en la economía actual. Gran parte de esta dificultad refleja la necesidad de mayor alfabetización y educación financiera: El 86% de los propietarios hispanos nos informaron que su principal dificultad para acceder a capital era encontrar oportunidades de financiación.El 43% de los propietarios hispanos buscan oportunidades de generación de crédito.El 29% de los propietarios hispanos han rechazado una tarjeta de crédito comercial en los últimos cinco años.El 35% de los propietarios hispanos han rechazado una tarjeta de crédito personal en los últimos cinco años.El 29% de los propietarios hispanos planifican solicitar financiación en 2022, una cifra notablemente menor que el 36% de los propietarios no hispanos que planifican hacer lo mismo. Estos hechos indican la necesidad de recursos adicionales para educar y conectar a los propietarios de pequeñas empresas hispanas con oportunidades de financiación disponibles. Ampliar el acceso a subsidios, préstamos, tarjetas de crédito y otros componentes del continuo de capital es una manera de abordar las mayores dificultades de los propietarios hispanos de forma inmediata y de eliminar su único mayor obstáculo para el crecimiento. Perspectiva clave n.º 2: El panorama comercial de 2023 depende de la adquisición y la contratación de clientes En total, el 81% de los propietarios hispanos informan que confían en que su empresa crecerá en 2023, lo que está a la par de las respuestas de la comunidad general de pequeñas empresas. Sin embargo, cuando le preguntamos a la comunidad de pequeñas empresas de Hello Alice qué factores determinarán principalmente su posible éxito, los propietarios hispanos apuntaron sólidamente hacia dos categorías: adquirir clientes nuevos y contratar a un equipo. Los propietarios hispanos mencionaron que adquirir clientes nuevos (33%) era un factor determinante casi tan a menudo como la capacidad para obtener financiación (35%). Cuando se les preguntó qué dificultaba la contratación: El 68% de los propietarios hispanos informan que tienen problemas para encontrar y reclutar candidatos.El 34% de los propietarios hispanos tienen dificultades para determinar un salario y beneficios competitivos.El 27% de los propietarios hispanos tienen problemas para encontrar ayuda a tiempo parcial. Sin soluciones para superar las dificultades para adquirir clientes y contratar a trabajadores, podemos esperar un panorama comercial de 2023 desalentador para los propietarios hispanos. Perspectiva clave n.º 3: Los propietarios hispanos ven el marketing como una dificultad y una oportunidad En relación con su enfoque en la adquisición de clientes, hay más probabilidades de que los propietarios hispanos mencionen que el marketing es una dificultad considerable en comparación con la población general (11% frente a 7.6%). En particular, los propietarios hispanos identifican dos posibles áreas de crecimiento relacionadas con el marketing: Al 57% de los propietarios hispanos les interesa un plan de marketing para enfocarse en la publicidad pagada.Al 54% de los propietarios hispanos les interesa un plan de marketing para enfocarse en las redes sociales. Brindar herramientas y educación para ayudar a los propietarios hispanos a optimizar su inversión digital contribuirá en gran medida a cumplir los objetivos relacionados con la adquisición y la retención de clientes. Además, obtener capital adicional les permitiría a estos propietarios invertir plenamente en áreas de oportunidad. Perspectiva clave n.º 4: Los propietarios buscan soluciones de software para abordar las dificultades operativas Alrededor de la mitad (48%) de todos los propietarios de empresas de Hello Alice informan que siempre están buscando soluciones de última tecnología para su empresa, y otro 48% informa que está abierto a soluciones de nueva tecnología, pero solo si mejora los procesos de manera considerable. En particular, los propietarios expresaron el deseo de contar con herramientas que maximicen la eficiencia. Por ejemplo, casi el 22% de los propietarios que tienen dificultades con las operaciones diarias afirmaron que programar y administrar el tiempo era un obstáculo, una consecuencia del tiempo y los recursos limitados de los propietarios. Estos sentimientos respecto del software son constantes en toda la comunidad de pequeñas empresas en general, incluidos tanto los propietarios de pequeñas empresas hispanas como los de pequeñas empresas no hispanas. Encontrar maneras de conectar a los propietarios de pequeñas empresas de forma proactiva con las herramientas correctas en el momento adecuado puede ayudarlos a maximizar la eficiencia y a acelerar el crecimiento a corto y largo plazo. Recursos para propietarios de empresas hispanas: Para todos los propietarios de pequeñas empresas hispanas que lo necesiten, recomendamos las siguientes soluciones para abordar las dificultades documentadas en este informe: Oportunidades de acceso a subsidios, préstamos y créditos Busque subsidios, préstamos y otras opciones de financiación y obtenga el capital que los emprendedores hispanos necesitan para hacer crecer sus empresas. El Centro de Financiación para Pequeñas Empresas de Hello Alice ofrece aplicaciones sencillas y recomendaciones personalizadas. Módulos de capacitación virtual completos Hitos de Hello Alice analiza las dificultades comerciales más frecuentes de los propietarios hispanos: recaudación de fondos, marketing y contratación en guías paso a paso para ayudar a su empresa a alcanzar su máximo potencial. Con el apoyo del programa USHCC Navigates Small Business, una gran cantidad de módulos de capacitación virtual están disponibles en inglés y español. Comprensión de su modelo comercial: Inglés | EspañolEsquema de su modelo comercial: Inglés | EspañolCreación de su declaración de visión: Inglés | EspañolElección de su estructura comercial: Inglés | EspañolCreación de un informe de análisis competitivo: Inglés | EspañolRedacción de un plan comercial tradicional: Inglés | EspañolObtención de un número de identificación del empleador (EIN): Inglés | Español Domine y optimice sus habilidades de software con apoyo bilingüe, cortesía de Square El software puede tener una curva de aprendizaje. El Centro de Recursos Comerciales de Town Square de Square, disponible en inglés y español, ofrece investigaciones acreditadas y guías prácticas para ayudar a los propietarios hispanos a aprovechar al máximo sus soluciones digitales. Además, la Comunidad de Vendedores de Square (también disponible en inglés y español) les permite a los propietarios hispanos acceder a conocimientos entre pares y a la resolución de problemas. Obtenga asesoramiento comercial bilingüe gratis Los asesores comerciales bilingües están esperando a ayudarlo a progresar: servicios gratuitos impulsados por la Administración de Pequeñas Empresas (Small Business Administration, SBA) y Hello Alice, que recibirá a través de USHCC Navigates. Programe su cita gratis hoy. Más recursos y contexto Consulte y descargue el informe de impacto completo para propietarios de pequeñas empresas hispanas. Acerca de Hello Alice Empresa de propiedad latina fundada por Carolyn Rodz y Elizabeth Gore, Hello Alice (helloalice.com) es una plataforma multicanal gratuita que ayuda a las empresas a crecer. Creemos que todos pueden tener su empresa al ofrecer acceso a todos los propietarios, incluidas mujeres, personas de color, personas relacionadas con el ejército, miembros de la comunidad LGBTQ+, personas con discapacidades y todo estadounidense con espíritu emprendedor. Acerca de Square Square ayuda a los vendedores a operar y hacer crecer sus empresas con mayor facilidad con su ecosistema integrado de soluciones de comercio. Square ofrece software creado para fines específicos para realizar operaciones complejas de restaurantes, venta minorista y servicios profesionales, herramientas de comercio electrónico versátiles, servicios financieros integrados y productos bancarios, funcionalidades de comprar ahora y pagar más tarde a través de Afterpay, administración de personal y funciones de nómina, y muchas opciones más: todo esto funciona en conjunto para ahorrarles tiempo y esfuerzo a los vendedores. Millones de vendedores de todo el mundo confían en Square para potenciar su empresa y para que los ayude a progresar en la economía. Square es parte de Block, Inc. (cotiza en la Bolsa de Nueva York), una empresa de tecnología mundial con un enfoque en servicios financieros. Para obtener más información, visite www.squareup.com. Acerca de la Cámara de Comercio Hispana de los Estados Unidos La Cámara de Comercio Hispana de los Estados Unidos (USHCC) promueve activamente el crecimiento, el desarrollo y los intereses económicos de cinco millones de empresas de propietarios hispanos que, en conjunto, contribuyen con más de $800,000 millones a la economía estadounidense todos los años. La USHCC es el grupo de defensa de pequeñas empresas más grande de los Estados Unidos y representa a más de 260 cámaras locales y asociaciones comerciales de todo el país, y se asocia con cientos de corporaciones estadounidenses importantes. Para obtener más información, visite ushcc.com. Síganos en Twitter: @USHCC. Acerca de la Red de Acción Empresarial Latina La LBAN es una empresa sin fines de lucro dinámica con sede en Silicon Valley, que tiene la gran misión de fortalecer la economía de los Estados Unidos al fomentar el espíritu emprendedor latino en todo el país. Nos asociamos a Stanford University a través de la Iniciativa de Espíritu Emprendedor Latino de Stanford (Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, SLEI) que recibe apoyo conjunto. Además de impulsar el Programa de Escalamiento Comercial de Educación e Investigación de la SLEI, la LBAN se centra en crear un ecosistema nacional para los propietarios de empresas latinas. Obtenga más información en lban.us.
Oct 5, 2022 • 6 min read
Impact Reports

4 Insights About Hispanic Entrepreneurs in 2022

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Hello Alice conducted a survey investigating the challenges and triumphs faced by Hispanic entrepreneurs. The survey was conducted in partnership with Square, which helps millions of sellers run their business with tools ranging from secure credit card processing to point of sale solutions, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), and the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN). Hello Alice reviewed survey responses from more than 2,700 small business owners and compared this information to its overall community of more than one million entrepreneurs. The report also compiles stories from Hispanic entrepreneurs to capture their needs and unique approaches to running their businesses. In this report, we elaborate on four key insights and recommend solutions for enterprise business services, ecosystem partners, and individual small business owners in pursuit of business for all.  Key Insight #1: Inflation Drives Demand for Additional Capital Among Hispanic Entrepreneurs When surveyed on their greatest business challenges, Hispanic owners most commonly cited two related areas: raising capital (30%) and growing my business (24%). Our survey results point to inflation as a clear culprit: 89% of Hispanic owners say that inflation is currently impacting their business — four percentage points higher than among non-Hispanic owners 70% of Hispanic owners say inflationary impacts are worse than six months ago43% of all Hispanic owners struggling with growth told us they are having trouble either obtaining raw materials or inventory in the current economy  Much of this difficulty reflects a need for greater financial literacy and education: 86% of Hispanic owners told us their primary difficulty in accessing capital is finding funding opportunities43% of Hispanic owners are searching for credit-building opportunities29% of Hispanic owners have been rejected for a business credit card in the last five years35% of Hispanic owners have been rejected for a personal credit card in the last five years29% of Hispanic owners plan to apply for financing in 2022 — notably lower than the 36% of non-Hispanic owners who plan to do the same These facts signal a need for additional resources to educate and connect Hispanic small business owners with available funding opportunities. Expanding access to grants, loans, credit cards, and other components of the capital continuum is one way to immediately address Hispanic owners’ biggest challenges and remove their single greatest barrier to growth. Key Insight #2: For Hispanic Entrepreneurs, 2023 Business Outlook Hinges on Customer Acquisition and Hiring In total, 81% of Hispanic owners say they’re confident their business will grow in 2023, which is on par with responses from the overall small business community. However, when we asked the Hello Alice small business community what factors will most determine their potential success, Hispanic owners over-indexed in two categories: acquiring new customers and hiring a team.  Hispanic owners cited acquiring new customers (33%) as a determining factor nearly as often as the ability to secure funding (35%). When asked what makes hiring difficult: 68% of Hispanic owners say they’re having trouble finding and recruiting candidates 34% of Hispanic owners are struggling to determine competitive pay and benefits27% of Hispanic owners are having trouble finding part-time help Without solutions to overcome challenges in acquiring customers and hiring workers, we can expect Hispanic owners to revise their 2023 business outlook for the worse. Key Insight #3: Hispanic Entrepreneurs See Marketing as a Challenge and Opportunity Related to their focus on customer acquisition, Hispanic owners are more likely than the overall population to cite marketing as a significant challenge (11% vs 7.6%). In particular, Hispanic owners identify two potential growth areas for marketing: 57% of Hispanic owners concerned with marketing plan to focus on paid advertising54% of Hispanic owners concerned with marketing plan to focus on social media Providing tools and education to help Hispanic owners optimize their digital spend will go a long way toward achieving goals around customer acquisition and retention. Additionally, securing additional capital would allow these owners to fully invest in areas of opportunity. Key Insight #4: Owners Seek Software Solutions to Address Operational Challenges About half (48%) of all Hello Alice business owners say they are always on the lookout for the latest technology solutions for their business, and another 48% say they are open to new technology solutions — but only if it significantly improves processes.  In particular, owners expressed a desire for tools that maximize efficiency. For example, nearly 22% of owners struggling with day-to-day operations stated scheduling and managing time as an obstacle, a consequence of owners’ limited time and resources.  These sentiments around software are consistent across the small business community as a whole, including both Hispanic and non-Hispanic small business owners. Finding ways to proactively connect small business owners with the right tools at the right time can help them maximize efficiency and accelerate both short- and long-term growth.  Resources for Hispanic Business Owners: To all Hispanic small business owners in need, we recommend the following solutions to address the challenges documented in this report: Access Grants, Loans, and Credit Opportunities Search for grants, loans, and other financing options and get the capital Hispanic entrepreneurs need to grow their businesses. The Hello Alice Small Business Funding Center offers easy applications and personalized recommendations. Complete Virtual Training Modules Hello Alice Milestones break down Hispanic owners’ most common business challenges — fundraising, marketing, and hiring — into step-by-step guides to help your business reach its full potential. With support provided by the USHCC Navigates Small Business program, a growing number of virtual training modules are available in both English and Spanish. Understand Your Business Model: English | EspañolMap Your Business Model: English | EspañolCreate Your Vision Statement: English | EspañolChoose Your Business Structure: English | EspañolCreate a Competitive Analysis Report: English | EspañolWrite a Traditional Business Plan: English | EspañolGet an EIN: English | Español Master and Optimize Your Software Skills with Bilingual Support, Courtesy of Square Software can have a learning curve. Available in both English and Spanish, Square’s Town Square Business Resource Center offers authoritative research and how-to guides to help Hispanic owners get the most out of their digital solutions. Additionally, Square’s Seller Community (also available in English and Spanish) allows Hispanic owners to access peer-to-peer knowledge and troubleshooting.  Get Free, Bilingual Business Counseling Bilingual Business Counselors are waiting to help you thrive — complimentary services powered by SBA and Hello Alice, brought to you by the USHCC Navigates. Make your free appointment today. More Resources & Context View and Download the Full Hispanic Small Business Owner Impact Report About Hello Alice A Latina-owned company founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, Hello Alice (helloalice.com) is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses grow. We believe in business for all by providing access to all owners, including women, people of color, military-connected individuals, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, and every American with an entrepreneurial spirit.  About Square Square helps sellers more easily run and grow their businesses with its integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions. Square offers purpose-built software to run complex restaurant, retail, and professional services operations, versatile e-commerce tools, embedded financial services and banking products, buy now, pay later functionality through Afterpay, staff management and payroll capabilities, and much more – all of which work together to save sellers time and effort. Millions of sellers across the globe trust Square to power their business and help them thrive in the economy. Square is part of Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ), a global technology company with a focus on financial services. For more information, visit www.squareup.com. About the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) actively promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of five million Hispanic-owned businesses that, combined, contribute over $800 billion to the American economy every year. The USHCC is America's largest small business advocacy group, representing more than 260 local chambers and business associations nationwide, and partners with hundreds of major American corporations. For more information, please visit ushcc.com. Follow us on Twitter @USHCC. About the Latino Business Action Network LBAN is a dynamic nonprofit based in Silicon Valley with a big mission to strengthen the U.S. economy by empowering Latino entrepreneurship across the country. We partner with Stanford University through the jointly supported Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI). In addition to driving SLE-Research, SLEI-Education Business Scaling Program, LBAN focuses on building a national ecosystem for Latino business owners.  Learn more at lban.us. For more small business tips and inspiration, create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Oct 5, 2022 • 5 min read
Impact Reports

5 Insights About Small Business Credit Usage in 2022

Small business owners look to credit cards as an engine for growth and protection against unexpected costs, according to new data from Hello Alice.  Hello Alice conducted a survey of more than 5,000 small business owners to better understand their credit needs and experiences. The results show that owners with personal and business credit cards heavily rely on them to operate and grow their businesses. Conversely, owners without access to credit believe a business credit card would help them operate, stabilize, and grow their firms.  Here are some key insights about small business credit usage in 2022: 1) Small Business Owners Rely on Personal Credit for Funding Currently, 73% of small business owners surveyed have a personal credit card. The majority (61%) of these owners use this personal credit card to fund their business — not simply for emergencies. In fact, nearly three-quarters of those who use their personal credit card to fund their business are using it at least monthly. Among those surveyed, the most common uses for personal credit cards include: to meet day-to-day operating expenses (63%)to expand the business and pursue new opportunities (50%)to replace and/or repair large, long-lasting business assets (38%).  Even so, accessing this credit has not come easy to all small business owners. Nearly 45% of those surveyed have claimed they have had a personal credit card application denied within the last five years. Of those who have a personal card, 41% have a total credit limit of under $3,000. These relatively low credit limits lessen the card’s utility for owners looking to cover large expenses or pursue areas of expansion. 2) Few Owners Make Use of Business Credit Surprisingly, 80% of owners claimed they either do not have a business credit score or they do not know their business credit score. Only 20% of owners currently have a business credit card, and nearly half (42%) of those business card holders have had it for less than a year.  As with personal credit cards, respondents told us they use business credit cards to operate, grow, and replace/repair capital assets. The difference emerges in how often owners use business credit: Nearly 50% of owners are using their business credit cards once a week or more to fund their business. Business credit cards also carry higher spending power, with only 30% of respondents reporting business credit limits of less than $5,000, compared to 52% of those with a personal card. 3) Despite Barriers, Demand for Business Credit is High In total, 90% of small business owners without business credit believe a business credit card would impact their business in a positive way.  Asked how a business credit card would specifically impact their business: 59% believe it would help cover unexpected expenses59% believe it would allow them to pursue new opportunities52% believe it would accelerate growth47% believe they would be more optimistic about the future of the business. Currently, only 25% of respondents have ever applied for a business credit card, and 85% of those applications were denied.  This modest application rate and high denial for business credit correlate with obstacles to obtaining personal credit. For example, 42% of owners reported a personal credit score less than 620, and 45% have had at least one personal credit card application denied in the last five years. 4) Owners Want Resources to Improve Their Credit According to our survey, 88% of small business owners want to improve either their personal or business credit or both, and 70% are interested in educational content on this topic.  Additionally, owners are already pursuing many strategies to improve their credit, including: paying bills on time (76%)disputing credit report errors (38%)using a secure credit card in hopes of improving credit (25%)requesting higher credit limits (22%)  5) Access to Personal and Business Credit is Not Equitable Crucially, access to credit varies widely across demographics.  For example, Black small business owners are much more likely to lack both a personal and business credit card (31%) compared to their white counterparts (12%). Less than half the portion of Black owners has a business credit card than the portion of white owners. Black owners also have a much higher rate of denial for both types of cards.  Education and technical assistance will be key to reversing this trend, and a resounding 93% of Black small business owners surveyed want to improve their credit.  More Resources Interested in learning more about small business credit access? Download the full report here. Is your company or organization interested in supporting this important work? Or gaining insights about your community of business owners? If so, please reach out to [email protected] Finally, for media inquiries or interview requests, please contact [email protected]
Aug 16, 2022 • 3 min read
Small Business Economy 2022 Insights
Impact Reports

6 Insights About the Small Business Economy in 2022

Small business owners are responding to record inflation with leaner operations and creative business strategies, according to a new survey from Hello Alice. The survey results reveal some key takeaways about the small business economy in 2022. In December 2021, Hello Alice conducted a similar survey to gauge owner outlook heading into the new year. This July 2022 follow-up survey measures changing attitudes among owners as inflation, supply chain troubles, the pandemic, and other economic conditions have evolved. These latest results show that small business owners continue to display resilience and resourcefulness even as certain challenges intensify. Here are some key takeaways on the small business economy in 2022: 1. Despite headwinds, small business owners are still hopeful that their business will grow in 2022. Overall sentiment has declined significantly since the initial survey, in which nearly 80% of owners expected growth. Nearly five times as many owners expect their business to perform worse this year compared to our first survey. Even so, the outlook is net positive, with a majority (52%) of small business owners believing their business will grow in 2022.  2. Inflation strongly outpaces COVID worries as the top challenge for small business owners. In total, 71% of owners surveyed believe the effects of inflation have worsened since the start of 2022. Taken at the height of the Omicron wave of the pandemic, the initial survey found that inflation concerns were essentially tied with COVID-related challenges as the greatest challenge facing small business owners. Six months later, 33% of respondents ranked inflation as the number one challenge they expect to face during the remainder of 2022 — nearly double the second-highest ranked challenge, which still remains the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners cited increased cost of goods and services as the most common effect of inflation. In addition, nearly a quarter (23%) of owners specifically mentioned gas and travel as other significant impacts of inflation. 3. Small business owners are most worried about retaining and acquiring customers. Two-thirds of owners (66%) are concerned about losing customers due to decreased consumer spending and 58% are worried they will not be able to acquire new customers due to price increases. In addition, other inflation concerns identified in the survey include: Reduced profit margins (48%)Supply chain shortages (44%)Not being able to acquire new customers due to reduced marketing (40%)Not being able to meet customer demand (34%)Not being able to keep the same business hours due to staffing shortages (21%)None of the above (5%) 4. The impacts of inflation vary based on industry. How owners rate various inflation impacts varies based on industry.  For example: The Retail, Food and Beverage, and Manufacturing industries all highly over-index on concern for supply chain shortagesPersonal Services and Food and Beverage businesses are significantly more likely to report not being able to keep the same business hours due to staffing shortagesPersonal Services and Food and Beverage businesses are also the most likely to be planning to hire for the remainder of the yearFood and Beverage businesses reported the most difficulty finding qualified candidates  5. Small business owners are pivoting and adapting to run leaner businesses. Owners have taken various measures to combat inflation, including:  delaying or canceling planned purchases (41%) reducing supplies and material availability (39%)owners working more hours themselves (73%)delaying or canceling hiring plans (33%) Inflation is shifting overall business strategy, too. Nearly 40% of surveyed owners said inflation caused them to pivot or diversify their business to focus on a new product or service offering. In fact, when asked what the single most effective strategy for combating inflation impacts, 28% of owners responded “adjusting product/service offerings.” The right combination of these strategies appears to help manage the effects of inflation. For example, 48% of small business owners surveyed are worried that inflation will result in reduced profit margins. Interestingly, this concern has decreased 25% since the start of 2022, suggesting that owners’ inflation strategies are working.  6. Small business owners are canceling or delaying their plans to hire. Labor also remains a persistent and major concern. As previously mentioned, 33% of owners have delayed or canceled hiring plans when attempting to manage inflation.  This datapoint closely aligns with previous data. Heading into 2022, 55% of owners planned to hire, yet our most recent survey found only 19% have been actively hiring in 2022 and only 28% definitely plan to hire in the remainder of the year.   Those still looking to hire face an uphill battle. In total, 74% of surveyed owners said they are struggling to find qualified candidates — a 21% increase from the beginning of the year. More Resources Interested in learning more about the small business economy in 2022? Download the full report here. Is your company or organization interested in supporting this important work? Or gaining insights about your community of business owners? If so, please reach out to [email protected] Finally, for media inquiries or interview requests, please contact [email protected]
Jul 20, 2022 • 3 min read
Impact Reports

4 Insights About LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs in 2022

This June, Hello Alice celebrates Pride Month by examining the challenges and triumphs faced by a growing segment of the small business community: LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. Hello Alice reviewed anonymous data from more than 44,600 small business owners who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and compared this information to responses from our overall community of more than 800,000 entrepreneurs. Published in partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), StartOut, and Mastercard, this research also compiles testimonials from LGBTQ+ owners from the Hello Alice small business community. In this report, we elaborate on four key insights and deliver actionable insights for enterprise business services, ecosystem partners, and individual small business owners in pursuit of business for all.  1. Capital Access Remains LGBTQ+ Owners’ Greatest Challenge The single biggest challenge for LGBTQ+ owners is access to capital. In fact, funding came in as the top challenge for the third year in a row. As a result, LGBTQ+ owners are less optimistic than their peers: 82% of LGBTQ+ owners said access to capital is limiting their ability to manage day-to-day operations93% said it’s limiting their growth potential Both figures are above-average rates compared to the overall small business population. Mirroring a heightened need for capital, LGBTQ+ owners reported higher-than-average interest in financing: 56% of LGBTQ+ owners reported that they applied for financing in the last 12 months72% of LGBTQ+ owners plan to apply for financing in 2022 Even so, the majority of LGBTQ+ owners are unsure where or how to secure necessary business capital. In fact, lenders can still legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs in more than half of U.S. states — a potential barrier for many LGBTQ+ business owners. 2. Inflation and Hiring Are Limiting Growth Small business concerns around inflation and labor are only accelerating: 78% of LGBTQ+ owners said inflation impacts are worse than six months ago64% of LGBTQ+ owners said the labor market has grown tighter in the last six months 3. LGBTQ+ Owners Focus on Marketing According to our surveys, LGBTQ+ owners devote outsized budget and attention to marketing, particularly digital marketing via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat. In fact, 73% of LGBTQ+ owners reported using more than one social platform to market their business compared to only 57% of other small businesses. That said, LGBTQ+ owners have limited resources to devote to paid advertising. Developing strategies that maximize organic marketing reach is more essential than ever to help bring in business. 4. Community Is Both a Strength and Challenge Finally, LGBTQ+ business owners are more likely to integrate community impact as a core part of their business. Examples of community impact include: a focus on sustainable solutionscreating jobs for underserved communitiessupporting local suppliers However, isolation and lack of support are growing problems. More than 7% of owners cited the lack of a support network as their top challenge in 2022 — triple the rate measured during 2020. Where LGBTQ+ Business Owners Can Find Support More than anything else, LGBTQ+ owners need funding to fuel their businesses. To all LGBTQ+ small business owners in need, we recommend the following actions for immediate relief:  Visit the Hello Alice Small Business Funding Center Search for grants, loans, and other financing options and get the capital you need to grow your businesses. The Hello Alice Small Business Funding Center offers personalized recommendations and one easy application. Complete Education Milestones Hello Alice Milestones break down essential business topics like fundraising, marketing, and branding into step-by-step guides to help you level up your operations.  Become a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise The NGLCC is the exclusive, third-party certification body that verifies that eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBTQ+ individuals. Increase your visibility to consumers and help support the NGLCC’s political advocacy on the behalf of the LGBTQ+ business community. Join the StartOut Founders Program StartOut is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization founded in 2009 that focuses on supporting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and startup founders. They provide direct individual support through community events, one-on-one mentorship, one-on-one office hours with experts, a 6-month accelerator program, and investor connections.  More Resources & Context View and Download the Full LGBTQ+ Small Business Owner Impact Report About Hello Alice Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. With a community of more than 800,000 business owners in all 50 states, Hello Alice is building the largest network of owners in the country. Further, Hello Alice tracks data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions looking to serve small and medium business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. A Latina- owned company founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners, including women, people of color, military-connected individuals, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, and every American with an entrepreneurial spirit. For more small business tips and inspiration, create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jun 29, 2022 • 3 min read
Impact Reports

3 Emerging Small Business Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

Small and medium-sized businesses are doubling down on digital marketing platforms as a way to reach new audiences and grow their businesses, according to a new Hello Alice Research Report on digital marketing trends in 2022. Hello Alice surveyed a sample of the more than 800,000 small business owners on its platform. Our goal? To learn more about how small businesses are leveraging digital platforms for growth. The research focused on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat as the primary digital marketing platforms used by small businesses.  Among the SMBs surveyed, the majority of those currently leveraging digital marketing platforms have been in operation for less than five years. Additionally, most are businesses that sell products, particularly in the beauty and self-care industries, and are more likely to pursue digital marketing. Finally, most SMBs report using multiple platforms to reach their digital marketing goals.  When evaluating the underlying motivations of SMB digital marketing efforts, three key trends emerged. Key Trend #1: Affordability Is a Top Concern for Small Business Owners Choosing a Platform First, the majority of SMBs leveraging digital marketing platforms are new or emerging businesses that value affordability above all else. Facebook came first in terms of SMBs’ perceived value for their marketing dollar. That said, 45% of SMBs who use digital platforms don’t engage in any paid marketing, relying solely on organic efforts. In sum, SMBs said they find the most effective organic reach on: Facebook (68%)Instagram (66%)TikTok (51%) Key Trend #2: Creative Storytelling Is Key for Small Businesses Of course, storytelling is a highly effective marketing tool. However, this is especially true for small businesses seeking to forge a connection between consumers and their brand. In response, digital marketers are looking for easy-to-use features that enable dynamic storytelling in a variety of formats. Approximately two-thirds of small business owners said that TikTok helps them tell stories in a creative way (67%), outpacing established competitors including Instagram (65%), YouTube (58%), Facebook (55%), and Snapchat (51%). Key Trend #3: Platform Sentiments Are Shifting To date, small businesses see Facebook and Instagram as their go-to marketing platforms. In fact, a majority of SMBs credit their success on these platforms and growth in the form of: hiring new employeesopening new locationsreaching new audiences However, this is changing as Facebook usage declines and TikTok usage dramatically grows. Business owners are taking note. In turn, they are shifting their platform strategies to meet customers where they are. Unsurprisingly, word of mouth recommendations are driving this shift significantly. For example, 43% of small business owners are now likely to join TikTok because they’ve heard reports of efficacy from fellow business owners. By contrast, only 23% said the same about Facebook. These peer recommendations correspond with digital platforms that allow SMBs to introduce their brands and engage their audiences in more dynamic ways. Of the five major platforms, SMBs indicated that they are most excited about their growth potential on Instagram (72%) and TikTok (67%). How to Explain the Growing Popularity of TikTok Despite being the newest platform, TikTok overwhelmingly stands out as an emerging key player. SMBs said it was the platform they were most excited to use in the future. Among SMBs already on TikTok, 78% said they plan to increase their investment in the platform — the highest rate of all platforms surveyed. The survey asked SMBs what qualities and features they valued in various digital platforms. Key factors that set TikTok apart from competitors include: Ease of Use Of SMBs using TikTok, 81% said it was easy to use, and 73% said it was fun to use. Audience Reach & Engagement Interstingly, when ranking the most valuable aspects of using TikTok to promote their businesses, “reaching new audiences” came out on top, followed by the “ability to get discovered” and “reaching the right audience for the business.” Business Growth Notably, while 58% of SMBs using TikTok have been on the platform for less than six months, they're generating fast results. For instance, fifty-nine percent said TikTok helped grow revenue. Meanwhile, 42% said TikTok helped them safeguard their business against the impact of the pandemic. Finally, 32% said TikTok helped them raise capital. Interestingly, the most common reasons SMBs said they were not on TikTok were that it seems too complicated and that the platform has a narrow, youth-focused audience. This indicates a clear need for TikTok to better educate small businesses about its creative tools, ease of use, and broad audience reach. More Resources & Context View and Download the Full Digital Marketing Trends in 2022 Research Report About This Digital Marketing Trends 2022 Report & Surveys Hello Alice conducted three surveys ​​to better understand how Hello Alice SMBs use digital platforms to market their businesses. The first survey compared five platforms: FacebookInstagramTikTokYouTubeSnapchat We covered three broad categories: Platform UseImpact and ValueBusiness Objectives Data was collected about personal and business demographics as well. The second and third surveys focused more specifically on these three broad categories as related to users’ experiences with TikTok. About Hello Alice Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. With a community of more than 750,000 business owners in all 50 states, Hello Alice is building the largest network of owners in the country. Further, Hello Alice tracks data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions looking to serve small and medium business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. A Latina- owned company founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners, including: women, people of color, military-connected individuals, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, and every American with an entrepreneurial spirit. For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jun 16, 2022 • 4 min read
Impact Reports

5 Insights into Capital Access for Small Businesses in 2022

Small business owners need capital to survive and grow, but many face considerable barriers to accessing it. At Hello Alice, we recognize the need for equitable access across the capital continuum. We continue to prioritize connecting small business owners to the money needed to fund and grow your business. To that end, we surveyed owners to examine capital access for small businesses in 2022. In the spirit of equitable access, our latest survey report dives into the challenges, limitations, and opportunities of capital access for all owners, and especially women- and minority-owned businesses who comprise the majority of the Hello Alice community. Here are some key takeaways on capital access for small businesses in 2022 from this report: 1. Small business owners remain optimistic about growth in 2022, but lack of capital limits growth. Take, for examples, that 89% of small business owners claim access to capital is limiting their business growth potential. 2. Small business owners are relying on their personal savings. As many as 37% of small business owners report using their personal savings to fund their business. This shows they're deeply invested in the success of their business, but may have a limited runway without access to credit or flexibility. 3. Building business credit remains a challenge. Though 50% of owners have a personal credit score of 680 or better — strong enough to apply for most business credit cards — that score would still lock them out of a business loan (which typically require a score of 720 or better to qualify for). 4. Demand for business credit is strong, but barriers are amplified for minority-owned businesses. Notably, 49% of Black business owners who applied for financing in the last 12 months reported that none of their application was approved, compared to just 28% of white owners. A majority of owners (73%) say they’re interested in support to help them prepare to apply and successfully use business financing. 5. Demand for business credit is strong. As evidenced by 62% of small business owners planning to apply for financing in 2022. Of those, 84% want to expand their business, pursue new opportunities, or acquire business assets with this financing. More Resources  Interested in learning more about capital access for small businesses in 2022? Download the full report on capital access for small businesses here. Is your company or organization interested in supporting this important work? Or gaining insights about your community of business owners? If so, please reach out to [email protected] Finally, for media inquiries or interview requests, please contact [email protected]
May 10, 2022 • 2 min read
Impact Reports

What Do Small Business Owners Need in 2022?

To kick off the Year of Small Business, Hello Alice conducted a comprehensive survey to gauge owner outlook heading into 2022. Hello Alice proudly serves more than half a million small business owners nationwide. This survey captures their response to challenges such as inflation, supply chain disruptions, COVID-19, and hiring. Our insights capture the most pressing needs and challenges facing small business owners and reveal striking differences across industries and owner demographics. Here are some key takeaways from this report: Small business owners are overwhelmingly optimistic. Despite numerous challenges, 79% of owners expect their business to grow this year.  Inflation is the top-ranked challenge. Owners report they’re increasing prices, decreasing staff, and even taking out loans to stay afloat.Supply chain issues persist. 70% of owners believe supply chain challenges will continue to affect their business in some capacity. Responses varied by industry, with food and beverage owners disproportionately telling us the supply chain will have a “massive impact” on their business.Owners need capital to overcome unforeseen challenges. Access to capital remains a persistent obstacle, with 37% of owners reporting they were turned down for a business loan from traditional banks. Nearly half of owners said they need additional capital to cover essential operating expenses and cost of goods. Download the full Hello Alice report If your company or organization is interested in supporting this important work or gaining insights about your community of business owners, please reach out to [email protected] For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact [email protected]loalice.com.
Jan 19, 2022 • < 1 min read
Impact Reports

2021 Small Business Grants in Review

Undoubtedly, small business grants are one of the cornerstones of Hello Alice. We know that when it comes to small businesses, access to capital is vital for growth, expansion—and also survival. With that said, let's take a closer look at all of the 2021 small business grants we awarded this year. Together with our generous partners, we were able to support more small businesses than ever before. These grants helped small businesses to pivot or push forward in a particularly challenging year. Hello Alice 2021 Small Business Grants Stats To start, a total of 2,129 businesses and business support organizations were awarded Hello Alice grants this year. Altogether, our grants totaled up to $16,215,000 worth of funding in 2021. In addition, some recipients received mentorship connections offering invaluable insight and guidance. Throughout the year, several types of grants were awarded to applicants who met the determined criteria. Significantly, more than 92% of the applicants indicated that they needed these grants to survive. To demonstrate just a few ways our recipients were able to use these grants, they reported being able to: pay for wages, suppliers, or commercial spaceinnovate or produce new productsrevamp their business model during the shutdown Without a doubt, the impact of these grants is particularly meaningful amidst COVID-19 shutdowns. These timely set-backs crippled industries, froze supply chains, and caused staffing shortages. Worse yet, Black-owned businesses were hit the hardest by the COVID-19 shutdowns, declining by 41% since the lockdown.  2021 Small Business Grant Recipient Demographics Overall, nearly 30% of our 2021 grant recipients identified as Black or African American (27.2%). Following that, the other grantees were white (34.2%), Asian (18%), Hispanic or Latin/a/x (7.6%), multiracial (6.7%), Middle Eastern (2.8%) or other (0.7%).  This year, 52.7% of our grant recipients identify as female and 44.7% as male, with fifteen who were non-binary/non-conforming recipients and others who declined to identify. Grants were also awarded to veteran- and military family-operated businesses, as well as to LGBTQ+ and disabled small business owners. Further, as 2022 approaches, new funding opportunities for businesses of all sizes will become available that can support scaling your business, finding a mentor, and expanding your impact.  Full List of 2021 Grant Programs To learn more about each unique grant opportunity and their recipients, check out the full list and links below: Alibaba.com Grants Program AWS Round 1 AWS Round 2 BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Round 1 BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Round 2 BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Round 3 Diagio SIA eBay Up & Running Grants Round 1 eBay Up & Running Grants Round 2 DoorDash Local Restaurant Grants Round 1 DoorDash Local Restaurant Grants Round 2 KKR Small Business Builders Grant Round 1 KKR Small Business Builders Grant Round 2 KKR Small Business Builders Grant Round 3 KKR Small Business Builders Grant Round 4 KKR Small Business Builders Grant Round 5 KKR Small Business Builders Grant Round 6 PepsiCo-Stacy's Rise Project Ready to see your name among the list of recipients? Join Hello Alice for free today to be the first to hear about new grant opportunities. 
Dec 22, 2021 • 2 min read