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In 2013, the number of American businesses without employees per thousand people rose by 0.4 percent to hit a record of 72.72 non-employers for every thousand residents, Census Bureau data reveal. In the same year, average sales at these businesses nudged down by 0.2 percent — about $80 (in 2011 dollars) — to $44,357.
Are rising numbers of non-employers outstripping demand for what they have to sell? Census data from 1997 to 2013 suggest that might be the case.
Since 1997, the per capita number of American companies without employees has risen by 28.5 percent. Over the same period, the average sales at a non-employer business has declined by 16.6 percent when measured in inflation-adjusted terms. The correlation between the two numbers is -0.84 over the 17 year period when the data on the two are available. (A correlation of -1.00 means that two numbers move in exactly opposite directions.)
As the figure below shows, the per capita count of non-employers increased from 56.57 in 1997 to 72.72 in 2013. The number rose steadily between 1997 and 2007, when it hit 72.05. After falling to 70.22 in 2008 — its only recorded decline during this period — the rate rose slowly in each subsequent year. As the R-squared figure on the chart shows, the increase in the per capita number of employer businesses has been pretty close to linear.
Source: Created from data from the U.S. Census Bureau
While the pattern for sales at non-employer businesses is less linear — the trend has an R-squared of 0.84 — it has displayed a downward pattern over most of the 17 year period data are available, as the chart below shows. After peaking at $56,218 in 2000 (in 2011 dollars), the average sales at a non-employer declined to $44,001 in 2011.
Source: Created from data from the U.S. Census Bureau
The Census Bureau’s analysts think that most of non-employer businesses are part-time efforts pursued by self-employed people. They are generally very small, accounting for less than 4 percent of all business revenue, and only about 7 percent of all capital expenditures. And, by definition, they do not produce employment for others.
While non-employer firms serve an economic function, Americans are creating them faster than those businesses have things to sell. As a result, the small amount of revenue they generate is being spread across an increasing number of companies.
Entrepreneur Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Are Too Many People Starting a Non-Employer Business?" was first published on Small Business Trends
Networking has two purposes: (1) to get you your next job, and if that’s not right now, (2) to prepare for when you need to.
Networking is the most effective way to secure a job nowadays. Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads — human resources consultant to the largest companies in America — says that if you network your way into a company to the point that someone internal there delivers your résumé to the hiring manager, that delivery increases your chances 14-fold.
Networking is an art because it requires imagination. At the same time, it’s a science because it requires practical and systematic activity and good administrative and follow-up skills. In this article, networking refers to in-person interaction — not social networking, which is a chapter by itself and complementary to in-person networking.Improve Your Networking Skills
Networking is an indisputably critical part in the job hunt, and it’s easy to make mistakes. As we all know, the first impression is a lasting impression. When meeting a person for the first time, introduce yourself by name, shake hands, and be looking into the other person’s eyes.
Your elevator pitch is critical too: make it short, memorable, and intriguing. Let the other person ask follow-up questions — to a level of interest. Most people deliver a too-lengthy and way-too-detailed soliloquy about their professional past. How much appetite do you think the other person has for that? It’s better to talk about your future destination and not where you’ve been in the past.
The listener may be inclined to help you, but can’t do much about your past.
Networking is clearly about developing a professional relationship. The other person, too, knows one hand washes the other, so if he provides you with introductions and leads today, you could be doing the same for him in the future. Make sure, though, that during the dialogue you don’t make the other person uncomfortable.
Never put the other person in an awkward situation by complaining or creating a situation in which you’re seeking pity. Be positive, show energy, and, mostly, have a smile on your face. A smile means the same thing universally: it says without words that you enjoy the other person’s company, and it’s very inviting.
It’s a best practice to listen more than to talk to improve your networking skills. Once you feel the relationship seems positive, ask for the person’s business card. It’s likely that the person will ask for yours in turn.
Once you have the person’s contact information, follow up later that day or the next with a short e-mail. If both of you feel mutually beneficial, this paves the way for further communication and mutual assistance. It would be a mistake to think the other person could offer what you’re looking for — namely, a job.
But you never know whom that person knows or what leads and possible referrals you could get, and that’s ultimately what you’re after, of course.
Practice networking to improve your networking skills. It may not feel natural initially, but like other skills, the more you do it, the better you get at it. In fact, after a while, you may even actually enjoy simply getting to know new people.
Republished by permission. Original here.
Brain Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "How to Improve Your Networking Skills with Art and Science" was first published on Small Business Trends