New laws will be a challenge to area’s small businesses

Businesses will need to adjust to new laws in addition to a changing economic landscape as they make efforts to grow in 2019, according to three local business leaders.

North San Diego Business Chamber members were asked to identify the challenges and opportunities they anticipate this year, said President and CEO Debra Rosen. The three most common themes were human capital, technology plus taxes and regulations.

Rosen said the new employment laws will have the biggest impact on small businesses. Of these, she said the more important ones are a mandate for sexual and anti-harassment training for all businesses with five or more employees and a new contractor classification law.

“The sexual/anti-harassment training can be costly for small business in several ways,” she said, citing the cost of providing training and risk associated with non-compliance. To help its members with this, the Rancho Bernardo-based chamber will be offering them discounted training workshops through the labor law firm Littler.

The new contractor laws will impact companies that use outside contractors for services, she said, adding non-compliance can be extremely expensive for businesses. A chamber workshop will be held to explain the changes and risk associated with being out of compliance.

“With so many generations in the workforce today, businesses might want to look at their organization to make sure (their) goals and vision are all aligned with the future of our workforce,” Rosen said. “Human capital always seems to be one of the biggest challenges we hear about from our members.”

She added, “Technology continues to change at an incredible speed. It is important that businesses leverage technology to stay competitive in the market and strengthen their communication programs to stay in touch with their customers.”

Other keys for business survival and growth are diversification and providing relevant services to customers, Rosen said.

“To stay competitive a business or organization needs to re-evaluate their programs and at times re-invent themselves as the economy and technology waits for no one,” she said.

The same advice applies to the chamber too and Rosen said it will continue being a resource to its members by providing them with programs and benefits that are of interest to 75 percent or more of its membership.

Providing relevant programing to its members is also a key concern of the Poway Chamber of Commerce, according to Executive Director Ed Franklin.

Read more of this San Diego Union-Tribune article by Elizabeth Marie Himchack by clicking here.