Small Business

The Salute offers a procurement matchmaker event connecting small business contractors with state, federal and private procurement officials.  The Salute also features a lively exhibitor area and is topped off by the annual awards ceremony where we announce and recognize winners of the Small Business Week awards including Small Business Person of the Year, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, Veteran Owned Business of the Year, Minority Owned Business of the year and more.

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​Quick Facts about Small Business in SC:

  • More than 727,000 people in SC work for small businesses.
  • Over 50 percent of South Carolina Chamber of Commerce members are small businesses
  • South Carolina small businesses represent 97 percent of all employers and employ 48.4 percent of the private-sector labor force
  • Almost 400,000 small businesses are currently operating in South Carolina
  • Small Business employment by county:
    • Greenville
      • Number of Small Business Employees: 33,938
      • % of all workers: 10.99%
    • Charleston
      • Number of Small Business Employees: 33,229
      • % of all workers: 10.76%
    • Richland
      • Number of Small Business Employees: 25,311
      • % of all workers: 8.20%

The 2016 Small Business & Entrepreneurship Guide is a NEW publication from the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and is focused on the small business and entrepreneurial community of South Carolina. Email Kate Bondurant for your copy today!

 


Tax policy is critical to existing businesses and potential companies deciding to locate or expand in South Carolina. Decisions are based largely on competitiveness, predictability and sustainability.

South Carolina manufacturers currently pay the highest industrial property taxes in the country, while all other business properties pay the 7th highest property taxes.

The South Carolina Chamber Supports

  • Modernizing the state's tax code to reflect a strategy that is competitive and supports a long-term vision of growth and prosperity
  • Finding a solution to prevent the continued transfer of the property tax burden to businesses, particularly small businesses
  • Reforming the business license fee structure so rates are competitive, allowing companies to grow       

Health Care Costs
Energy and Environmental Issues
Federal Matters
Economic Development


Small Business Council

The South Carolina Chamber’s Small Business Council educates small businesses on issues impacting their bottom line, while the Chamber advocates for them at the State House.

South Carolina Department of Commerce Small Business Guide

The South Carolina Department of Commerce provides resources for small businesses in numerous categories and organized by the county in which your business is located. Explore the small business resources today.

Hal Stevenson, chair of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council and owner of Grace Outdoor, discusses why South Carolina needs to reform its business license fee system.

 

 

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20 money-saving tips that every small business owner should know

This article is from the Colonial Life Small Business Blog

As a small business owner, you’ll be only too aware that running a business is expensive – the day-to-day costs, the odd unexpected cost that crops up; it all mounts up. And that’s before you look at the costs involved with trying to grow your business.

One way to decrease costs is by looking at your day-to-day functions and asking if you could make small changes that would give you incremental savings. After all, every penny counts. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Environmental savings

Being more environmentally friendly doesn’t have to mean wholesale changes. Even the little things can increase your eco-credentials while saving money. With US small businesses spending more than $60 billion a year on energy 1, simple changes can lead to considerable reductions. And by looking again at reducing the amount of waste produced, your bottom line gets a boost along with your carbon footprint.

Things to try:

  • Turn off your computer when you leave. It costs around $71 a year 2 to have one computer on for 24 hours - even leaving the monitor on in idle soon adds up. You can more than halve this by choosing ‘shut down’ at 5pm.
  • Paper doesn’t grow on trees. Well, technically it does, but with over half of the 6,000 sheets printed each year going to waste, it makes sound sense to have a clear printing policy in place. Encouraging staff to read documents on screen or online, or changing your printer and photocopier default settings to double-sided are also handy ways to cut costs.
  • Take a look at the financing options available to help fund energy efficient equipment and facilities. Search for ‘Financing Energy Efficiency Projects’ on www.business.gov.
  • On a smaller scale, why not introduce a ‘switch it off’ campaign at work with posters or stickers placed in key areas, such as the printer, photocopier or even by the stock room light switch. For free, downloadable posters, visit the Carbon Trust’s website.

Contract savings

In our personal lives we are always told to shop around to get the best deal on insurance and utilities, and the same is true for businesses.

Things to try:

  • Make a note on your calendar to show when existing contracts are due to end. Add a reminder at least a month before the expiry date so you’ll have time to search the market.
  • Make a note of how long your notice period is - it’s usually between 28 and 120 days. If you miss it, your contract will automatically roll-over.

Office savings

Whether it’s stationary, furniture, marketing tools or software, there’s always something that needs to be bought or replaced. But that doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune...

Things to try:

  • If you look in  the right places, you’ll find an incredible amount of free software online. Try Zoho if you’re looking for a customer relationship management system, or Turbocash as a free accountancy tool.
  • If you order sample packs of business cards you can often pick them up for free.  Try VistaPrint.com for 100 free business cards with only a small shipping and handling charge associated.
  • Repeat business is always valuable, so in return for this, why not ask if you’re eligible for a discount if you pay cash, pay early or buy in bulk. You might be surprised at just how many companies are receptive to this.
  • Sadly, more businesses fail than succeed. The silver lining from this for you is the opportunity to buy second-hand office furniture and equipment at a fraction of the original cost. Check eBay and Craigslist regularly.
  • Every business needs toilet roll and paper, but they can be expensive. See if you can join a small business consortium and potentially save a lot of money by bulk-buying together with your fellow business owners

Cash flow savings

If receiving late payments is a familiar situation that’s affecting your cashflow and causing you to incur fines, there are some tools out there that can help you.

Things to try:

  • Two invoicing tools that could help make your incoming payments clear are Invoice Machine and Hiveage. If you’re looking for more information on invoicing tools take a look at Mashable’s excellent blog post, but check the prices before you try as the blog post was written last year.
  • Take a long hard look at which of your customers are regular late-payers and ask yourself whether it’s worth the time and effort to keep them. Do they actually help with your profit given the man hours you spend chasing their payment?
  • This sounds like an obvious one, but setting up standing orders for regular bills can be a way of avoiding a late payment fee.
  • Be sure to double check all invoices – mistakes happen and you don’t want to be overcharged.

5 quick ways to save money in less than 5 minutes

  1. When the last person leaves the office, turn off the lights
  2. Download your bank’s business account cell phone app (most banks have them now). It’ll mean you can check your account on the go and could help you see any approaching overdraft fees.
  3. Have a jar on the photocopier and ask staff to put in 5 cents if they copy non-work items.
  4. Use energy efficient light bulbs – Non-fluorescent bulbs waste as much as $15 per kilowatt.
  5. Email invoices instead of posting them – this will also save you time!

Note: we don’t necessarily endorse all of the companies listed in this blog post; we just thought you’d find the links useful. It goes without saying that plenty of other businesses offer similar services, so always do your homework to make sure you get the right service for you and your company.

1 Source: The nation’s small businesses spend more than $60 billion a year on energy.
2 Source: http://www.contactme.com/blog/advice/how-do-small-businesses-waste-money/
3 Source http://www.contactme.com/blog/advice/how-do-small-businesses-waste-money/


 

Resources

The Manufacturing Institute, along with GE, Boeing, Lockhead Martin and others, launched a coalition, Get Skills to Work, looking to train military veterans for jobs in advanced manufacturing. Get Skills to Work is looking to initially help 15,000 veterans take their military experience and use it for manufacturing opportunities.Get Skills to Work - Manufacturers Target Vets
 

SCMinorityBusiness.net

SCMinorityBusiness.net houses a database providing access to statewide minority and woman-owned businesses. The site enables businesses to upload and search for RFPs for a variety of projects across South Carolina.

Video Library

Sure, lots of people know about Columbia Sportswear, and the commercials that made its former president, the uber-gruff Gert Boyle (in her TV spots, anyway) famous. But few know about her or Columbia’s remarkable small-business-to-giant-killer story, or that her favorite saying is, “early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” Oh yeah, and did you know that Columbia received an SBA-backed loan in 1970? Learn more about Gert in this short video, just one part of BusinessUSA’s extensive library of online videos and instructional tools.

Starting Your Business

Too many people try to start a small business without first developing a clear roadmap for the trip ahead, making success that much harder. Don’t be one of them! Nail the six steps to writing a solid business plan. Check out this step-by-step video for writing a business plan. Then visit BusinessUSA.


It's Tax Time

Money may make the world go around, but you still have to take care of your finances.  To help, here are some great year-end tax tips and provisions small businesses should look into, including:
•    Getting tax credit for health premiums paid on behalf of employees
•    Looking into energy investment tax credits
•    Starting a new 401k
Via Forbes magazine, here are 10 financial planning questions to ask your accountant that go well beyond basic tax planning.  Those include making sure you know the worth of your business to figuring out how much cash on hand you need for the months ahead. 
Don’t forget that charitable donations can also help your bottom line. Here are some great tips from the IRS on how to make the most of out of those contributions. 

 

U. S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION is helping S.C. businesses recover from Hurricane Matthew.  As of Dec. 1, 2016 here is a list of the Field Operations Recovery Centers that are open.