Business in Arizona is in growth mode, from startups creating their space in the marketplace to established companies expanding their operations. It is also interesting to see new methodologies develop for raising capital to either start or grow a business. Crowdfunding was not part of the business lexicon a few years ago. The world of business, especially small business, changes quickly and it is important to keep your business and yourself agile.
The U.S. Small Business Administration‘s (SBA) loan program activity further confirms that small business is on the right track here in Arizona. The federal fiscal year (FY) begins on October 1 and ends September 30. From October 1, 2014, to June 9, 2015, SBA guaranteed 817 loans, or 110 more loans than the same period in FY2014. Perhaps the better part of the story is that the dollar amount increased 21.1 percent. On June 9, 2015, the loan dollar total was $407 million versus $335 million for the same period last year. Another good sign, 30 percent of the loans went to new business applicants, attesting to the appetite for entrepreneurship that characterizes our state.
Another important aspect for Arizona business is geography. Mexico imported about $240 billion in U.S. products and services last year. Exporting products or services will help grow your business because the majority of all consumers live outside the United States.
There are several areas a business owner must focus on in running a business of any size. In Business Magazine calls them “pillars” — those aspects of running a business that are basic to every company, no matter its product or service: leadership and management, sales, marketing, human resources, finance and accounting, and business planning. This issue’s cover story distills the expertise from leaders in these various fields to provide readers with tips on what is important to be mindful of to keep their business strong, growing and profitable.
Arizona’s greatest strength is its fertile startup landscape; in middle market firms, it ranks 47th out of the 50 states. Mike Saucier explores this situation — and the financial significance of the middle market — in this month’s “By the Numbers” feature. In an in-depth “Technology” feature, Eugene Chi takes a close look at three ways businesses can maximize technology’s capabilities to ensure increased productivity.
Also presented in this July issue is the 2015 edition of the In Business Magazine Top 50 Small Business Resources Guide, a listing of the top 50 companies focused on serving local small businesses and promoting their growth in our community.
I am pleased to participate with In Business Magazine in presenting this useful information that helps grow our business community. I hope you enjoy this small-business issue.
Robert J. Blaney
U.S. Small Business Administration, Arizona District
Robert Blaney has served as the district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration for the State of Arizona since 1998. His varied experience includes work as a federal agent, police officer, vice-president of an insurance brokerage and district director for the late Congressman Jack Kemp. He is a native of western New York and a graduate of the State University College of New York at Buffalo.