Small Business Newsletter - Entrepreneur's Edge
BizGrow Conference
July 16th
The BizGrow Conference is a free groundbreaking event designed to connect existing and potential small business owners with free legal and business training technical support.

BizGrow will feature a large team of pro bono attorneys and business executives from Boston's top law firms and companies who will be joining forces to support entrepreneurs with big dreams and limited resources. Join us for:

  • free one-on-one legal consultations of particular interest to small business owners, including entity formation, tax, intellectual property, employment, leases and contracts.
  • Volunteer attorneys will lead workshops on topics such as forming an LLC, doing business online, and food labeling.
  • Executives will lead workshops on topics such as business planning, insurance, and lending.

Business owners will have the chance to register for free one-on-one legal consultations and business workshops. Business owners who are interested in receiving ongoing legal assistance may be referred to law firms for pro bono support.

Register now for this free event. For more information please email .
2020 E-Commerce Outlook
2 020 E-Commerce Outlook
Let's be clear - E-commerce is here to stay and as small business owners you need to get on board NOW. Look at these statistics and how fast they are growing. Reach out to Valley Community Developments Small Business Program and get some resources to help you stay ahead of the curve.

The year is half over and almost any business forecast made early in 2020 is hopelessly out of date. Last February, eMarketer forecast retail sales in 2020 would grow 2.8% to $5.6 trillion. Then the coronavirus pandemic descended upon us and  eMarketer revised its projections  to a 10.5% decline in total U.S. retail sales to $4.9 trillion, which includes a 14% decrease in brick-and-mortar store sales offset by an 18% rise in e-commerce sales.

It would have been impossible for small business owners to prepare for this scenario, but now that we’re living through it, we should be a little better prepared for the rest of the year. In their  US Ecommerce 2020  report eMarketer features new “predictions that reflect the impact of the public health crisis and consider which trends are here to stay.”

Some of their key points:

There’s been a surge in what eMarketer calls click-and-collect, which is buy online, pickup curbside. This lets consumers make an immediate purchase (as if they were shopping in-store) and get their merchandise with minimum contact. They expect click-and-collect e-commerce sales to hit $58.5 billion this year, up from their original projection of 38.6% growth.

The  18% growth for e-commerce sales “reflects a notable increase in both the number of digital buyers and the average spending per buyer.” This is driven, in part, by consumers new to shopping online, “including 12.2% growth for those ages 65 and older.”

Overall, e-commerce sales should reach $709.8 billion, and comprise 14.5% of total U.S. retail sales, which eMarketer says is “both an all-time high and the biggest share increase in a single year.”

The fastest-growing e-commerce categories prior to the onset of COVID-19 were food/beverage and health/personal care/beauty. Now eMarketer has increased their forecast for food and beverage sales from 23.4% to 58.5% and health, personal care and beauty sales from 16.6% to 32.4%.

Some consumers will certainly shop in-store, but eMarketer expects “certain behaviors like click-and-collect and curbside pickup” to persist be part of a “long-term trajectory of e-commerce growth.”

Webinars and Resources
The Western Mass Technical Assistance Collaboration ( WMTAC ), including Valley Community Development ( VCDC ) , Franklin County Community Development (FCCDC), Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) Common Capital, SCORE, and Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE), have collaborated to create a higher degree of efficiency, education and value for small business clients. Our relationships foster co-sponsored workshops, client referrals, and joint trainings. Reach out to any of these organizations for help with your small business and be sure to review all the resources that we have created.

Visit our website for a continually-updated list of grants, both local and national, for small businesses.
Ask for Help - We are here for you
Valley Community Development's Small Business program offers all business services at no cost. Simply reach out to Dee Dice our Small Business Coordinator to set up an appointment or ask a few questions. Email her at or call and leave a message 413.586.5855 x230
Worth Referencing
MSBDC provides free and confidential one-to-one business advice to prospective and existing small businesses. They provide a wide variety of business training programs.
Franklin County CDC is a resource to help start or grow your business at any stage. Counsel, Capital and Connections is their motto. They offer a free monthly 1.5 hr workshop on the first Wednesday of each month.
Common Capital offers small business technical assistance for their borrowers.Their online workshops and Facebook live trainings are open to the public.
Hi lltown Community Development assists Hilltown residents by addressing economic, housing, educational, social and community needs while preserving rural character.