What Small Businesses Need to Know
By: Danielle Fallon-O'Leary, US Chamber
The U.S. economy has shrunk for two quarters in a row, according to recent data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The advance estimate shows that real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by an annual rate of 0.9% in Q2 2022, following a decrease of 1.6% in Q1 2022.
With two straight quarters of economic decline, small business owners may worry about whether the U.S. is experiencing (or headed toward) a recession. While we cannot yet say with certainty whether our nation is facing a recession, small business owners will still want to monitor economic activity and prepare for the worst-case scenario.
What defines a recession?According to Curtis Dubay, Chief Economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whether we are in a recession “is a more difficult question to answer than usual.”
The typical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of the economy shrinking. However, decreasing GDP isn’t the only determining factor.
“Other key economic data matter, too [...] like income, job growth, consumer spending, and manufacturing output,” Dubay explained. “In normal times, if the economy is contracting, all these important economic indicators are falling too. However, we are not in normal economic times, so the typical pattern may not hold.”
Dubay noted that many of these additional economic indicators are holding steady, despite falling GDP:
“It would be difficult to call a period where this continues a recession, even if the economy meets the technical definition of one,” he added.
Reading the signs of recessionEven if we can’t conclusively say the economy is in a true recession right now, a second straight quarter of declining GDP may signal a slowdown in economic momentum. Q1 2022’s supply chain issues, along with trade imbalances and decreases in inventories, began the trend. As Q3 2022 gets underway, ongoing inflation and spiking Federal Reserve interest rates could push the economy closer to a true recession.
Dubay added that regardless of whether a recession occurs, consumers and businesses are still feeling the impact of an uncertain economy — and many are taking action accordingly.
“Consumer sentiment about the economy … is lower than even during the first few months of COVID in mid-2020,” he said. “Similarly, business confidence is down sharply, and businesses are cutting back on investment.”
How to prepare for a potential recessionAs risks of an economic downturn increase, small businesses should prepare accordingly. Here are some tips to recession-proof your business and withstand any economy:
While small businesses would be wise to recession-proof their operations, they can also plan ahead for brighter days, said Dubay.
“Inflation will come down and conditions will feel more like normal, probably within a few years. At that point, the economy is poised to grow strongly,” Dubay explained. “It would be helpful to be ready to enjoy that coming boom period, so as not to miss out on it at the beginning.”
CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.
To stay on top of all the news impacting your small business, go here for all of our latest small business news and updates.
CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.
Richmond, Ind. – For the second year in a row, the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce finds itself in the Indiana top ten list among its peers. This time, it placed sixth in the state.
The Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA) presents the Chamber of the Year award at its annual conference. Chambers reaching a certain score when evaluated by out-of-state judges make it into the list of finalists. There were nine finalists this year. Ultimately, Zionsville took home the top prize.
“It is such an honor to be recognized at the state level for the work of our Chamber here in Wayne County,” said President and CEO Melissa Vance. “When there are 154 Chambers in Indiana, to be ranked sixth is a big deal. We have a great team working alongside an outstanding board and community partners,” she added.
Last year, the Chamber was in the top ten and Vance was among four finalists for Chamber Executive of the Year. She will, however, be quick to say these recognitions are not their “why” – they are simply a result of serving their mission. The success of member businesses and growth of the community remain the focus of the organization.
“It is clear that together we can make meaningful impact!” Vance concluded.
The Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce is your link to the Wayne County community!
We exist to foster an attractive, welcoming community that is rich in enterprise and growing in population and prosperity.
We Promote, Lead, Unite and Serve our members, our businesses and our communities (PLUS) through:
Incorporated in 1915, ICEA stands firm on a solid foundation for developing a strong network of professionals leading local chambers across Indiana. ICEA membership has become synonymous with access to a network of experienced Chamber executives with exposure to emerging trends and usable ideas on every facet of chamber of commerce management.
By Lindsey McClain, Chamber Intern
The origins of Phillips Tube Group can be traced all the way back to 1967, when the late Ralph Phillips opened his machine shop in Shelby, Ohio. From there he grew his business, adding new locations, new contracts and a streamlined way of producing products. He saw a need for the work he did and he used this to create a highly profitable family business—and a true family business it was, with his daughter Angela Phillips learning the ropes since she was just thirteen years old.
Highly engineered steel tubes are the central products that Phillips Tube Group provides. These highly formed tubes are used for automotive parts, HVAC systems, appliances, construction work, and so much more. Although everything produced is purchased for further manufacturing, Phillips Tube Group ensures that quality and care are put into every product. This is why a number of household names continue to trust them for their parts. They work with names such as: Whirlpool, Lenox, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Toyota, and Nissan. Phillips Tube Group has become a household name for steel tubing and is now the largest manufacturer of heat exchanger tubes in the household market. Even today under new guidance their customer satisfaction continues to shine through.
Following her father’s passing, Angela Phillips took over as CEO in 2009. She knew a great deal about the business from her father and her time spent working there. This prior knowledge as well as her degree in economics has allowed her to be a key point of success for Phillips. Her main struggles as a new business owner came with navigating a global market and using trial and error to fill in the blanks. Another struggle for Angela was that she was now a leader in a male dominated field. While women make up 47% of the workforce, they only comprise about 30% of the manufacturing industry. She addresses this by encouraging more women to step into non-traditional roles, often opening up opportunities for women that weren't always considered. She says, “I am very pro women in the workplace, whether you are a plant manager or a sales rep.” She feels that this way of thinking and these initiatives modernizes them as a company. It has also granted them the title of the “largest, independent, woman-owned manufacturer of precision steel tube in the U.S.A” and the WBENC certification as a woman-owned business.
Since stepping into her position Angela has prioritized the expansion and reach of Phillips Tube Group. In October of 2020, she opened her 3rd location in Wayne County and quickly became a new and welcome part of the community. She has appreciated not only the monetary benefits offered to her by the county, but also the support she’s received. Angela has been proud of the flexibility her new team has shown in getting the building ready for business and has loved watching them rise to the occasion time and time again.
Phillips Tube Group has a lot to be proud of. The success of three locations along with nationally recognized products is no small feat. Despite this though, they never fail to show up for their own communities. Ralph was a huge proponent of giving back, calling it a “corporate responsibility.” This spirit of generosity thrives today as they continue to donate to and assist a number of local organizations and projects, many times anonymously. For Angela, and her mission at Phillips Tube Group, developing relationships and giving back to the community is important for the sake of themselves not for the popularity of the business.
Phillips Tube Group of Indian
401 Industrial Pkwy, Richmond, IN 47374
Written by Lindsey McClain, Chamber Intern
To outsiders, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County might just look like a jumble of kids playing and having fun, but really it is children who are being positively shaped by their experiences and interactions. Three priorities shape the mission of the Boys & Girls Club and act as the guiding principles of every program, activity, and project: academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character and citizenship. Through opportunities made at these clubs, children ages 6-18 learn how to socialize with others, how to take care of their bodies, and complete their homework. The staff see daily the impact they have not only on children’s lives, but also the community as a whole.
Alicia Painter has spent eleven years at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County, beginning first as a camp counselor and now serving as the CEO. She has moved up through nearly every position at the clubs which means she understands the ins and outs of the organization. Her passion growing up was to work with kids and become a teacher, but after seeing the work of the Boys and Girls Club, she became more involved with her community and the impact she can have. Alicia said she loves being able to “fulfill a community need” and there is no better place to achieve this than at the Boys & Girls Club. She’s proud of a lot of their accomplishments: coat drives, community events, affordable after-school programming, new locations, and so much more. For their club members especially, she loves that they have the chance to connect with kids from other schools and backgrounds. She wants her members to learn leadership, sportsmanship, and the importance of giving back to their community. These are skills her staff works on every day and principles she continues to see growing.
Membership to the Boys & Girls Club for one child is just $15 dollars a year. This makes it an accessible after-school program for low-income families, working parents, and those whose children love the club. With the $15 dollars, a child has access to after-school open programming until 6:30 PM. They will have the freedom to play or learn in their choice of the game room, gym, classroom, or library. They are also provided with an after-school snack, one on one tutoring, and access to a number of leadership-based groups. This same money also allows children to attend Club Fun in the summer, where members have access to all the usual activities and are provided a free lunch. In addition to this membership there are several additional programs that parents can choose from, as well as optional groups that members can join.
The Boys & Girls Club hosts a myriad of programs for every interest. The A.M. Powerup summer package is hosted every weekday at the Jeffers and McDaniel units, giving kids ages 6-10 their choice of Club Fit, Game Time, or STEAM. Club Fit is hosted in the unit gyms and focuses on physical activity and moving your body. It aligns with the club’s goals of fostering good sportsmanship, social skills, and the prioritization of healthy lifestyles. Game Time and STEAM are also popular options that give kids the ability to be creative and learn about the world around them. STEAM, especially, focuses on science, technology, and education. In this group, members conduct science experiments, use technology, and even learn about plants and animals. The Boys & Girls Club also makes a priority of getting kids outside and moving. Camp Guy is a summer program that does just this. Hosted on a private 168-acre camp, children spend most of their time outdoors, learning both new skills and new games. Because BGCWC serves such an extended age range of children, they all have differing developmental needs. Programs like Lead for children and teens 11+ have just as many engaging activities, without the weekly themes of the younger groups. The list of opportunities goes on and on with programs like Torch Club, Indiana Kids, Smart Kids, and Healthy Habits. Children learn skills like volunteering, fundraising, career development, and staying healthy. Their prevention programming efforts have been implemented in local school curriculum and made into a priority at their clubs.
As the CEO, Alicia focuses heavily on professional development, team building, and staff communication. It is the reason why they can serve so many members all over the county. With five separate facilities and the many programs being offered, they need staff who are passionate about their work and dedicated to their duties. They need to know why they work there–why it is important to them. Because of this, monthly all staff meetings consist of “What is Your Why?”, a question that each staff member answers and shares with the group. This not only reminds other coworkers of their own reasons for working there, but also reminds themselves of the important work they’re doing. Additional training for staff’s physical, social, and emotional needs has also been implemented with a program called the Wellbeing Project. All of this is done to ensure that not only do the members have the best experience possible, with the most knowledgeable staff, but that also staff needs are met. One of the many stand out employees is Sam Reed, the education coordinator at the First Bank Unit of the Boys & Girls Club. She currently runs the STEAM program where she teaches and supervises science experiments, games, and projects. Sam loves working with kids and to her, it is what makes the job so special and rewarding. At the Boys & Girls Club, she believes it is the atmosphere and culture that is not like any other. She says, “I’ve never worked for an organization that was this community focused.”
The impact the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County has had on the community is far reaching. Their ability to partner with our schools and offer transportation from three school districts, as well as operate multiple club locations, has allowed them to impact more youth. Their goal is to continue this growth so that every parent and child can access the clubs. Guidance is important for the development of the community's children, and the Boys & Girls Clubs have been able to offer that through every stage of childhood. However, none of this would be possible without the help of determined staff, dedicated volunteers, and committed board and trustee members, who all believe in the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County.
Written by: Lindsey McClain, Chamber Intern
Kristin Wolfe shares two passions: owning a business and helping others get healthy. The former was accomplished in October of 2021, when she first opened the doors to the newly renovated space for Peak Nutrition–a health shop with products that taste deliciously like dessert. The latter has been accomplished every day since then–with her ability to share these beneficial drinks with the residents of Wayne County. Her products are made and approved by a company called HerbaLife Nutrition, a business that’s been thriving for over 42 years. The company has teams of 250+ staff scientists, many holding PHD’s, and 100+ doctors. One employee on their Nutrition Advisory Board, Lou Ignarro, even won the Nobel Prize in medicine. Kristin and her customers appreciate the care that goes into creating both safe and nutritionally balanced products. It’s really a wonder that such a wide selection of these sought after products are available right here in Wayne County.
Kristin first stumbled upon HerbaLife products after her daughter's wisdom teeth surgery. She couldn’t eat solid foods, and the shakes were recommended to help aid her recovery and boost her nutrition. When Kristin tried the shakes, she knew immediately how much she loved them and how much she wanted everyone to experience their benefits. It was Healthy Happys in Westfield that helped make this dream a reality, often mentoring Kristin and teaching her the continued processes of business ownership. Kristin said the hardest parts of her journey have been having a mentor so far away and trying to learn new marketing strategies on her own. She has made immense progress though, advertising Peak Nutrition on Facebook and Instagram and featuring weekly drinks, monthly specialty menus, and a number of weight loss challenges and groups.
Peak Nutrition has a number of products to choose from including protein bites, oatmeal, herbal teas, and even iced coffee. Some of her most popular items are energy bombs and protein shakes, which are more than just a sweet treat, but an entire meal wrapped into one thick and filling shake.They attract customers with flavors such as Jamaican’ Me Happy, Shark Bite, Peanut Butter Pie and Adventureful Girl Scout Cookie. Customers especially love their peanut butter banana and cookie dough varieties. Kristin swears by the products, particularly the nutritional shakes, which she says helped her to lose 15 pounds. She was ecstatic to find something that diminished her cravings and kept her full and satisfied for hours. She describes it as a “nutrient packed and healthy way to lose weight”. This is just part of the reason Kristin felt called to bring her products to Wayne County. She was also impressed by the incredible number of people who look towards these products to meet their athletic and fitness goals. The products are endorsed by Olympic athletes, weight loss specialists, and even consumed by the Notre Dame football team. With 24g of protein, 12 vitamins and minerals, and less than 300 calories, the shakes attract a wide range of customers with a number of health goals.
Kristin is most proud of accomplishing her dream of starting her own business, but she is rewarded everyday by the support she receives from Wayne County residents and regular customers. She hopes one day to open a second location and eventually make Peak Nutrition her full time job and retirement project. She says there’s nothing more unique than a “healthy smoothie shop that tastes like a cheat day.” Peak Nutrition offers products for every health goal, and it is supported by Kristin’s passion for her product offerings, the storefront, and her desire to help others lead healthier and happier lives.
US Chamber of Commerce
Job openings in March were more than 11.5 million. This is 205,000 more openings than in February and a record, dating back to 2000.
Why it matters: The worker shortage crisis is getting worse with employers struggling to fill open roles.
By the numbers:
Bottom line: Along with inflation, the ongoing worker shortage crisis is a big problem for the economy right now, which is why the Chamber launched the America Works initiative.
—Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
At the risk of sounding like Chicken Little (you know the one who runs around talking about the sky falling) the current global “go-ings on” are the closest we’ll ever get to advanced warning that cybersecurity is something every business needs to worry about. Big or small, selling globally or just in your tiny town, if you do anything online, your data is in (potential) jeopardy. Here are the things you need to do now. Seriously.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.