NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?
1. Become a street vendor to get insight on what your customers want. The myriad of street fairs, festivals and other outdoor events at towns and cities across the country can provide small-business owners a good way to not only make sales and spread awareness of their businesses, but gain customer feedback on their products and services, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The rules to becoming a vendor are quite specific -- most events charge vendors a fee to participate; it will require working long hours (and don't even think about closing early); and parking tends to be far away from the fair itself, but several small-business owners told the Journal it was worth it.
2. Intuit's small business indexes show strong employment growth last month, but a decrease in revenue. Intuit's (INTU) June Small Business Index, a monthly report providing insight into employment and, more recently, revenue trends of U.S. businesses with fewer than 20 employees, shows that 70,000 new jobs were created in June. The data is based on approximately 80,000 small businesses customers of Intuit Online Payroll.Intuit's preliminary job figure for June was the strongest hiring growth seen by the sub-sector in three months. However, Intuit's new revenue index, launched in May, shows a different story. The revenue index indicates that small businesses overall saw revenue decline of 0.12% in May (the index trails the hiring index by a month). Broken down by specific sectors, the accommodation and food services, professional services and health care categories were among those to post declines, while construction and real estate were the only sectors to post revenue increases. Average monthly compensation rose by 0.5%, or $14, in June to $2,763 per month, compared to the revised May figure of $2,749 per month. Workers also worked slightly more hours during the month of June. "This month's employment figures are strong and indicate more progress to a full recovery than do the revenue figures," said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the indexes. "While the revenue figures are disappointing overall, the rise in revenue for the housing-related sectors has been a long time coming and is essential for the full recovery which still eludes us." "The rise in compensation and the hourly wage suggest that the labor market for the smallest firms is a bit firmer than it has been for several years," Woodward continued. "The low hiring rate, however, indicates that small business employees are not yet feeling too secure and are sticking with the jobs they have. When a full recovery is underway, the small business hiring rate will likely rise as big firms hire people away from small firms, but this is not yet happening." 3. These fast-food franchises stand out in a crowded franchise marketplace. QSR names this year's 10 best franchise deals from fast-food brands. The QSR report took into account "favorable sales-to-investment ratios, unique market niches, positive sales trends and formidable corporate support." Repeat honorees include Subway, Popeyes, Bojangles' and Saladworks, but companies like Moe's Southwest Grill and Smashburger are new to the rankings. Check out which other franchises made the list. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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