By Wendy Franco
Over the last few years, Reno’s economic landscape has witnessed exciting changes. Companies like Tesla and Switch are moving into the area, bringing new faces and opportunities to our city. Other companies have announced plans to add hundreds of jobs. Local businesses are becoming excited about the prospects for growth and optimistic about their future.
Likewise, small business owners in the region tell us they think this is a good time to grow, with the majority of small businesses planning to hire this year.
We’ve also seen the highest number of companies in four years expecting revenue and business growth, and clients are taking advantage of a strong lending environment to refinance. Bank of America has seen a 40 percent increase in loans year-over-year in northern Nevada since 2014, and this year is shaping up to be even stronger for lending to local small businesses due to regional factors positively impacting small business owners profitability.
As small business owners focus on growth, it’s important that they maintain a strong foundation for their company and employees. Too many times, I’ve seen small business owners forget about themselves and the needs of their employees as they concentrate on growing their company.
Small business owners wear many hats. They are often the manager, bookkeeper and sales person for their company. It’s important that owners find a balance in focusing on business growth and their own personal financial needs. Be smart about putting money aside for retirement and other personal investing opportunities. Taking care of yourself is as important as caring for your business.
Another important resource for small business owners to consider is the use of credit facilities to support their businesses, independent from their personal finances. If you are a new startup that may not yet qualify for traditional bank credit, we work with community based nonprofit lenders that offer technical business assistance and micro loans.
But the owner has one more responsibility: taking care of their employees. Finding top notch talent can be tough, especially if the small business has a specific niche requiring specialized skill sets. To retain these employees, we advise owners to consider providing wellness benefits like health insurance and financial incentives like direct deposit services and retirement plans. By enhancing employees’ lives through these types of incentives, it’s easier to ensure a strong company foundation, which will only encourage your company’s growth.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we look forward to seeing how the growing number of local companies helps Reno flourish.
Wendy Franco is a small business banker at Bank of America in Reno.