Starting a Business in 2020: What to Know

In this video, Foundr CEO Nathan Chan, the CEO of Foundr gives a brief introduction to his TOP 5 most profitable online business ideas for 2020. First, use current skills you have and sell it as a service If you are a designer, a videographer, a copywriter, a nutritional advisor etc.: go on to one of the many freelance sites out there and sell yourself. Start a side hustle. Ask yourself what are the skills you have and then go out and sell those skills as a service. Sell your skills to businesses. You can also teach the skills you have. Online courses are becoming increasingly popular.

How Technology Can Help You Tackle Personal Finances



Money management is complicated. Our lives are very busy, and it’s hard to have the time, energy and knowledge to keep on top of every dollar we spend and invest. You become a much smarter consumer, however, when you can keep track of these items. You certainly want to know how much money you are making, where and how you are spending and saving, and ultimately what and with whom to invest.

Thankfully, modern technology offers opportunities to learn about money and the economy, and how to stay on top of your personal needs as they change. There are many ways to use technology today to learn more about investing and budgeting, and to understand ways to save and earn for your future.

Educational Videos

One great way to become a more knowledgeable money manager is to learn from one or more of the companies that produce free educational videos, like this Youtube channel from Fisher Investments, to give consumers more information and know-how to help towards your personal financial success. There are videos of this sort available from many sources, and they offer an incredible resource to enable you to become better educated and to learn from those in the know. Do your own research, watch tutorials, and listen to podcasts to gain financial literacy. Understanding market trends and volatility allows you to have the information, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions.

Software Programs and Apps

A critical aspect of managing your cash flow is your ability to plan and organize. Many software programs and apps are available to help you manage your money. Using technology resources can make establishing and maintaining a personal budget easier, faster and more accurate. Cumulatively, these tools offer insight into your spending habits, send warnings as you near your budget boundaries, remind you when payments are due, and more.

With the wealth of technology available today, everyone can find a way to become more financially savvy, and to have programs at their fingertips to help with their financial journey. Look for online resources and technology tools to help you to do your job better. And of course, if the task gets overwhelming or these tools just aren’t enough, you can always reach out to a financial adviser for further assistance.



Business Activity: US

Economies, businesses, GDP, revenue – all encountering a reduced pace of movement.  America seems to be faring somewhat better – thankfully not yet feeling the impact of the interest rate cuts from central banks.  According to figures from the US Commerce Department however, concerns over international trade issues are undermining business activity in the nation.

According to a recent WSJ article however:

“a private survey of business activity separately indicated a slight uptick in U.S. business activity in October, up from earlier lows.”

Still, even though there are real concerns for a recession, other data is indicating that America’s economy is faring well, “reflect[ing] economic strength.”

In addition, last month unemployment fell to a 50 year low and there was a hike in retail sales more than anyone anticipated in August.  According to BCA Research Chief US Investment Strategist Doug Peta:

“While the survey data have been steadily disappointing expectations, hard data have been a source of positive surprises. The labor market remains vibrant enough to exert downward pressure on the unemployment rate, and services continue to expand despite the contraction in manufacturing, both here and abroad. The expansion has slowed, but it’s not finished yet.”

Consumer Views on US Economy

America’s economy is currently not in as poor state as some of the commentators are suggesting. When one looks at numbers of hiring, wage increase, and consumer spending the situation is far from bleak. In fact hourly wages increased.

According to the government’s job report at the beginning of this month, employers in America are actually adding jobs.  True, it’s at a lower pace (hiring at 130,000 jobs in August), but it is still happening.   Unemployment figures remained stagnant (as for the last 3 months) at 3.7 percent.   This is almost the lowest number for unemployment in 50 years.  Plus, the longer the good unemployment rate continues, the better for employees as bosses may have to adjust how they work to ensure longer-term growth.  In other words, they will have to provide better packages for workers and invest in training, equipment etc.

Average hourly wages increased by 11 cents last month which marked a 3.2 percent escalation from 2018 figures. Indeed, according to PNC chief economist Gus Faucher:

“With slower, but still-solid job gains and good wage growth, households will continue to spend. The U.S. economy should avoid recession.”

US consumerism is looking good also.  The highest jump in consumer spending in five years was witnessed in the 2019 April-June quarter.  July looked good as well.

Bolstering Entrepreneurs

New business individuals and those wanting to become successful entrepreneurs often need a bit of a boost as they begin to navigate their way in their industry. It’s not easy breaking into it.  Here, we look at some of the recent endeavors that have been engineered by politicians and those who have been through the same thing of getting started and maintaining a new business

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recent proposed legislation to allocate $7 billion in federal grants to aid entrepreneurs in minority groups looking to start their businesses.  Her idea is to administer the program by a newly created department – of Economic Development – which would replace the current Commerce Department. If created this agency would take on the work of both the Patent and Trademark Office and the Small Business Administration.  And it would develop into a Small Business Equity Fund which would be in charge of enforcing conflict of interest rules, assembling information on outcomes, etc.

Residents of Maine are used to small businesses; they are one of the driving forces of the economy.   They all began modestly also; a struggling individual trying to make money from an idea.  But now there is something to really help them.  Startup Maine is an organization and an event (that was held in Portland last week) on teaching would be entrepreneurs how to make themselves attractive to investors; how to begin a crowdfunding campaign; to create a company that makes a profit; to develop a firm that serves a community, etc. Startup Maine tries to network entrepreneurs with business investors and people who have had experience in this area.

In Louisville, a group has gotten together to facilitate women in their work toward becoming business leaders. Cliff Elgin Insurance created Network of Entrepreneurial Women nearly a decade ago. According to one of his clients Lynn Cooper:

“He saw a need for creating a group of women that could work together and help each other and network. [Being a female entrepreneur back then was very hard and] “When I first started going about five or six years ago it was a lot of men in suits and it was very intimidating.”

Today the organization focuses on networking and helping the entrepreneur individually, also trying to help them find a work-home balance. Members meet once a month.

A Thriving US Economy

America’s economy is thriving. Or so the numbers tell us.  Here we take a look at some of the figuresthat help us feel optimistic for the future of the US economy.

  1. In Q1 2019, there was an annual growth of3.2 percent.
  2. At the start of Q2 2019, the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent(lowest it has been in the last five decades).  
  3. Real wagesof the average Joe in the street increased by 3.2 percent(first time in over 10 years).
  4. Inflationis lower than the 2 percent target at 1.6 percent.
  5. 5.4m+ new jobshave been added since January 2017.

According toYum Brands CEO Greg Creed:

“Obviously the US economy is in pretty good shape. But I also do think that there is some sort of bifurcation going on in the marketplace. There are certainly people making a lot of money, there are certainly people for whom value will remain incredibly important.” 

Although it should also be noted that prices are rising. In the restaurant industry – often in line with the increase in labor costs due to the law on the escalated minimum wage – the large chains are elevating their prices likewise.

More generally, prices are rising in the restaurant industry as labor costs increase with higher minimum wages and a more competitive labor market. McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Chipotle all mentioned raising prices in the most recent quarter during calls with investors.   At the same time, the middle class is becoming smaller.  The Pew Research Centerfound 50 percent of Americans to be in the middle class; quite a drop from the 61 percent figure of 1971.  

There is still of course the quite dramatic gap between top and bottom earners vis-Ă -vis income increase.  In 2017 the bottom fifth of the population witnessed a very minor increase (2.7 percent belowpre-recession figures) in their income whereas the top fifth enjoyed a much higher one (8.7 percent higherthan pre-recession figures).

Automobile Industries and America

automobile industry

We often hear about US industries that choose to go abroadperhaps looking for cheaper labor, but what about the firms which are now choosing a return to American soil?  Here we take a look at ones from the automobile industry.

The Groupe PSA (French multinational automobile manufacturer of cars including Citroen, Peugeot, Vauxhall) is planning a comeback of its Peugeot brand.  Back in 2016 the firm started working on a 10-year plan to create its presence in North America.  In 2018 it offered a car-sharing service in Washington, DC.  

Within the same industry the Chinese wish to make a presence in America too.  The problem there of course is the ongoing US-China Trade war and the US’s increasing vigilance vis-Ă -vis Chinese technology.  Despite this, Americans are really starting to favor electric vehicles with government policy promoting eco-friendly cars.  according to GAC Motor President, Yu Jun, the firm’s “ultimate objective is to build the company into a world class brand and a global player,” which would obviously benefit from the creation of a presence in the US.  

Yun really believes that the his brand will ultimately win over the Americans despite the politically-economic issues.  Indeed, the company’s Entranze electric concept car was unveiled in Detroit at January’s North American International Auto Show held in Detroit and received well. Entering the US market in 2015, Yu pointed outat the show that the firm has since “been making steady progress” in the US market.

Then there is Volkswagen. supporting approximately 16,400 jobs in Tennessee via the Chattanooga assembly plant and other impacts, a substantial amount of revenue is being generated from the firm.  for example, in 2017 Tennessee took around $73.8m in state and local taxes.  It was good for Volkswagen too since its economic output in Tennessee was approximately $8.56 billion in 2017.  

So for automobile industry workers, the US economy is really working!