Archive for August, 2013

Improve Your Skills and Network at One of These Events

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Welcome to our latest curated list of events, contests and awards for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs and growing companies. To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Manta #SmallBizLove Photo ContestManta #SmallBizLove Photo Contest
August 31, 2013, Online

This contest highlights small businesses and helps them to show off their amazing products, services and happy customers all with a chance to win $10K. The contest is open this year to small business owners and their consumers.

At the end of the contest, one photo will be chosen as the $10K Grand Prize winner.

Hashtag: #SmallBizLove


Small Business Influencer Awards 2013
September 9, 2013, Online
Small Business Influencer Awards 2013

The 2013 Small Business Influencer Awards recognize the apps, organizations and people who have a strong impact on small businesses in North America. Now its 3rd year, the Awards are a coveted recognition for those who serve small businesses.  Check to see who’s already been nominated, and nominate yourself, or someone or some organization or app you admire.   No fee to enter.

Twitter hashtag: #SMBinfluencer.

NOMINATE


WomanCon 2013WomanCon 2013
September 25, 2013, New York, NY

This conference brings together amazing women entrepreneurs, both on and off the stage. Hear real behind-the-scenes stories of success including JJ Ramberg, Sarah Endline, Janine Popick, and Pamela O’Hara. Expert keynotes and panel discussions include: Getting Funding for Growth with Kay Koplovitz & Peggy Wallace, Turning Ideas into Companies with Yao Huang, 5 Strategies for a Stronger Brand with Julie Cottineau, and a journalist panel on Pitching the Media. SEATING IS LIMITED.
Discount Code
SBTRENDS ($50 off)


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This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

The post Improve Your Skills and Network at One of These Events appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Catch Up With Our Latest Small Business News Recap

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Mobile woman staying up to day

We understand running your business may take 40, 50 or 60 hours a week — and then some. To save your valuable time, the Small Business Trends editorial team has gathered this recap of key stories not to miss this week.

Acquisitions & Startups That Help Small Business

DocStoc acquires BestVendor. Docstoc’s acquisition of BestVendor this week for an undisclosed sum adds software recommendations to the other online business resources the company already offers. Check out the full range of services now available.

Tawki can change your approach to video. A startup plans to take a one-click approach to production. Tawki will create simple video from a single keyword. You can even customize with added clips, photos, music and voice-overs.

Cyberwars Continue

The New York Times was hacked. Or rather, the domain name was hacked and pointed to a hacker’s servers.  One of the world’s most famous brands was brought down with a crafty phishing ploy.  To safeguard your business website, read these 2 tips to make sure your employees avoid similar mistakes.

Taxes & Revenue

Uncle Sam thinks you’re holding out. The IRS has been sending notices to small businesses. The concern is over those reporting higher than average credit card sales.  But wait!  They’re reporting HIGHER sales — what’s wrong with that?  You’d think the IRS would be ecstatic. Well, the government suspects small businesses of under-reporting cash. But we point out an alternate explanation.

Number of businesses up – but revenue is down. Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University Scott Shane shares numbers suggesting the profitability of American businesses is down. We’ve got the details.

Patch website closures raise questions about online business model. Whether you’re creating a hyperlocal news site or a niche community, the issue is the same. Bringing in revenue is what will keep your business going. The question is whether online advertising or some other means is best.

Tools & Services

iWork is working in beta. At least for some people. Some are panning this as “too little too late” from Apple and a pale imitation of Google Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive storage services. But Apple is reported to be limiting the beta use due to overwhelming response.

Gather data for your business – there’s an app for thatWhether it’s information on a competitor or on how stores are displaying your product, there’s a now an app for gathering all this stuff. Field Agent lets you pay ordinary people to gather your business intelligence at a very low price.

Shutterstock and Facebook team up. The new arrangement allows advertisers on Facebook to use professional licensed photos from Shutterstock in their ads at no extra charge. Even better, you can source them from directly in the Facebook ad panel. Best of all for small business owners who want to see other entrepreneurs treated fairly, Shutterstock points out that the individual photographers will get paid a royalty when their images are used.  Yep, even if you get the image for “free,” you are supporting the photographer.

Have you ever considered a TV in your business?  Or maybe you already have television(s) in your workplace.  Television is not just an expense.  In many businesses (restaurants, bars, fitness centers) it can actually drive sales up, by attracting customers, and keeping them longer and buying more.  Oh, and as long as it’s strictly for business purposes, the monthly cable service likely qualifies as a tax deduction, says tax expert Barbara Weltman.  You may be able to expense or depreciate the cost of the hardware, too. We’ve got the low-down.

Management & Strategy

Wanted: workers with skills. A recent survey says one problem still dwarfs all others for small business owners when it comes to hiring and managing employees. And it isn’t how much time they’re spending on Facebook. Rieva Lesonsky explains what may be a surprising statistic.

Indian etailer focuses on a niche. To see success in India’s burgeoning eCommerce market, startup Kobster took a simple approach. Pick one niche market with definite growth potential, in this case office supplies. Sramana Mitra, founder of One Million by One Million, has more.

Mobile & Social Media

Budget friendly iPhone coming. Apple is planning a September 10 announcement. And industry sources indicate it could include news of a new cheaper model of the iconic smartphone. Photos that may show the new device are now online.

Take your hotspot with you. Staying connected with your business when traveling can be a trick. But no more with mobile hotspot Globalgig. TJ McCue has a review of the device for everyone.

Your Facebook post has a 5 hour shelf-life. Wisemetrics research says Facebook posts receive the majority of comments, shares, and likes within that first five hours. But there’s lots more data about timing — and how to post your updates at the optimal time, to get the most engagement.

Mobile woman photo, Shutterstock

The post Catch Up With Our Latest Small Business News Recap appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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McCain Slams Obama, Demands Tougher Action on Assad

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Senator John McCain has described US President Barack Obama’s planned military strike against Syria is “cosmetic,” stating the country’s failure to help Syrian rebels is “shameful.”

“The president apparently wants to have a kind of a cosmetic strike, launch a few missiles and then say ‘Well, we responded’,” McCain said during an interview with Jay Leno on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

“To our everlasting shame, not one single weapon from the USA has reached the hands of Gen. Idris and the Free Syrian Army,” McCain said. “That is shameful, in my view.”

If he were president, McCain said he would bomb the regime’s runways to prevent military aircraft from taking off, create a safe zone and get weapons “to the people who are fighting and dying as we speak,” NBC News reported, as cited by UPI.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee acknowledged that there was little public appetite for U.S. military involvement, but said “the option of doing nothing, in my view, is even worse.”

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Syrian PM Says Army Ready to Respond to Strike

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi has declared that his country’s army is ready for potential foreign strikes against it and has its “finger on the trigger,”

“The Syrian army is fully ready, its finger on the trigger to face any challenge or scenario that they want to carry out,” he said in a written statement aired on television, according to international media.

On Saturday, UN weapons inspectors crossed into neighbouring Lebanon after four days of inspections in Syria, including investigations of what happened in the Damascus suburbs on August 21.

US President Barack Obama has said he is considering military action against Syria based on intelligence reports.

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What is Glogging? Well, You May Soon Be Doing It

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

google glasses

Google Glass is Google’s computer that looks vaguely like eyeglasses.  Although there are no lenses in Google Glass, they remind you of an eyeglass frame (see above). Glass is currently experimental. Plans are being made to launch Glass to the public in 2014 — but some say it could happen in late 2013.

While Google Glass puts the Internet and many computer and smartphone features right in front of your face, it also can help you enhance certain business and marketing practices. That’s where the practice of Glogging comes in.

What is Glogging?

Glogging is the act of blogging or vlogging (video blogging) using Google Glass as a camera.  Think Glass + blogging = glogging.

With traditional vlogging, bloggers might carrying around a video camera to document their experiences, speaking into it all the while. Viewers of vlogs can feel like they are in the room with the blogger. It’s like a documentary.

With glogging, you get an even more personalized perspective.  Viewers literally can see what the blogger sees.   They see it as if through the blogger’s eyes. After all, the camera lens in Google Glass is right next to the blogger’s eye, perched on his or her head like eyeglasses.

Glogging puts viewers not just into the room, but into the blogger’s shoes, as this perspective shows:

google glass taking video

Google Glasses Recording

How Does Glogging Work?

When someone has Google Glass on, using either a button or voice command, the user can take photos or shoot video.  A tiny screen image appears above the eye, showing what the camera lens sees.

Glass users can look at what is in front of them. Or they can glance up and to the right slightly, to see what is on the little screen (see below).

google glass video

Google Glass Video Screen Photo via Google

One useful feature of Google Glass is its integration with Google+, Google’s social network.

Images or video footage taken using Glass is automatically added to the user’s private Google+ photo section. You can then choose to share the media or post to other sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Or you can embed the images or video into a longer blog post.

Glogging can even be live. Instead of completing a video, uploading it to Google+, and then sharing it, you could launch an instant Google+ Hangout right from Glass. Then you can share what you’re seeing live, as and when you’re seeing it.

How Can You Use Glogging For Business?

Glogging could be used for product reviews and demos.  Rather than a traditional overview or demo, with glogging you can deliver something that feels more spontaneous and puts the viewer “right there” like Andy Ihnatko did with this demo of Nokia’s new Lumia 1020 camera. In his video, you can clearly see the screen and how the demonstrator is working each of the camera’s functions.

If your company is releasing a new mobile app, for example, you could use glogging to easily show off all of the features without ever taking the camera off the phone screen. If you were filming a more traditional vlog with the camera pointed at you, you might have to turn the phone screen toward you to press buttons within the app.  And then you might have to turn the phone back toward the camera to show off the next screen.  It would not seem nearly as “in the moment” as with glogging.

Glogging can also be used for things like tours, such as this one of Disneyland.  Imagine doing a walk-through of your manufacturing facility, for prospective clients.  Or you could hold conversations with industry experts at a trade show or event.  You could even use glogging to give interactive presentations.

You can add text captions to a video, also.  For instance, you can add screen notes, or add a message to convert those viewing it into social followers.

google glass video add text

Google Glass “Add Text” Feature Video Still

Using Glass instead of a traditional camera gives you the ability to use both hands at all times rather than using one or both holding a camera. Viewers can see directly from the point of view of the glogger.  

That way the person filming can easily point things out and narrate. Best of all, it can make users feel more like a part of the experience rather than just a bystander, as this kind of shot shows:

google glasss voice command

Google Glass Voice Command Screen Photo via Google

Google Glass is currently experimental, but could be publicly available as early as the end of this year (2013) or in 2014.  It is slated to cost $1,500.  However, some experts suggest that based on the price of components and other factors, the price will be much lower by the time Google Glass becomes widely available.

google glasses

Google Glass Photo via Google

So while Glass is not available today for everyday consumers, that will change.  And when Google Glass does become widely available — which could be  within a few months — it could be worth a look for small businesses.

Start thinking now about how you could use Google Glass videos in your business.

First Google Glass image above via Shutterstock. Others via Google.

The post What is Glogging? Well, You May Soon Be Doing It appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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FBI Said to Increase Surveillance on Syrians in US

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

The FBI has increased its surveillance of Syrians inside the United States, according to current and former US officials.

FBI agents are expected to interview hundreds of Syrians in the coming days.

The move has been reportedly triggered by concerns that a military strike against the government of President Bashar al-Assad could lead to terrorist attacks in the US or against American allies and interests abroad.

The government has also taken the unusual step of warning federal agencies and private companies that American military action in Syria could spur cyberattacks, officials have said, according to The New York Times.

The paper says authorities are particularly concerned because Iran — one of Assad’s closest allies — has said there will be reprisals against Israel if the United States attacks Syria. The Iranians have also shown a willingness to sponsor terrorist attacks on American targets, according to the officials, speaking to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing operation.

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Bulgarian Ex-EU Commissioner’s Party to Elect New Leaders in September

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Bulgaria for Citizens, the party founded by former Bulgarian European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, is to elect its new leadership on September 21, it has been announced.

Bulgaria for Citizens’ leadership resigned collectively after the party failed to overcome the 4% election threshold and enter Parliament at the elections in May.

At its annual sitting on September 21, the party will also discuss its future within the recently established Reformist Bloc, a formation of mainly right-wing parties that strongly supports the ongoing anti-government protests in the country.

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Russia Says It Is ‘Working Hard’ to Prevent Strike on Syria

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

A Kremlin official has declared that Russia is focused on preventing any use of force against Syria.

“So far Russia is working hard to avoid any scenario involving the use of force with regard to Syria,” presidential aide Yury Ushakov has told reporters, as cited by RIA Novosti.

Ushakov said the United States has not handed Russia any “surveillance data” suggesting that Damascus has used chemical weapons, adding that Moscow does not believe claims that is had done so.

“They [Americans] are citing the secrecy of some information,” Ushakov said.

The Syria issue is not on the agenda of the G20 summit due to take place on September 5-6 in St. Petersburg but it is bound to be discussed on the sidelines, he said.

On Saturday, UN weapons inspectors crossed into neighbouring Lebanon after four days of inspections in Syria, including investigations of what happened in the Damascus suburbs on August 21.

US President Barack Obama has said he is considering military action against Syria based on intelligence reports.

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Arab Foreign Ministers to Hold Meeting on Syria Sunday

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

The Arab League’s deputy chief has announced that Arab Foreign Ministers are to hold a meeting on Sunday on the situation in Syria.

A routine meeting had been scheduled for Tuesday, but was advanced “in light of rapid developments in the Syria situation and based on the request of several Arab states,” Ahmed Ben Hell has said, according to international media.

On Tuesday, the Arab League accused the Syrian regime of carrying out chemical weapons attacks in Damascus suburbs last week, The Economic Times reminds.

On Saturday, UN weapons inspectors crossed into neighbouring Lebanon after four days of inspections in Syria, including investigations of what happened in the Damascus suburbs on August 21.

US President Barack Obama has said he is considering military action against Syria based on intelligence reports.

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“Promote Yourself” Holds Valuable Advice for Gen Y Job Seekers

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

gen y job seekersHas there ever been a time where a new generation was accepted into the world of work with open arms?

I’m not sure.  As I write this, I’m reflecting on Dan Schawbel’s latest book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success and channeling Archie Bunker’s rants to his “Meathead” son-in-law about how useless the new generation is.

It seems that nothing much has changed from the 1970′s until today.

A Case of Unrequited Love

Check out these stats about the relationships between Gen Y workers and their managers that I pulled out of my review copy:

  • 59% of Gen Y workers view their managers positively and believe they can offer experience.  49% feel their managers can offer wisdom and 33% feel that they have a willingness to mentor.
  • These managers, however, have an overall negative view of their Gen Y employees. 51% say they have unrealistic compensation expectations.  47% feel they have a poor work ethic and 46% say they are easily distracted.

Overall, not what I’d call a workplace environment of mutual regard.  But you already knew that.  What you may not have known is that despite our 7% unemployment rate, there are over 3 million jobs that go unfilled due to a lack of unqualified workers.

This is a big issue and not one that Schawbel solves in Promote Yourself.  What he does, however, is offer the reader the unique skills and strategies  they’ll need to get ahead (and get a job) today and for the rest of their careers.

I think he says it best here, on page two of the book:

So here’s the situation. The economy sucks, which leaves a lot of people afraid to quit their jobs because they won’t be able to find a new one. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy and a traditional college education isn’t the guarantee of future success that it once was.  The good news is that there are a lot of other ways to take control of your career without quitting your job, striking out on your own or burning your diploma.

Promote Yourself is a Manifesto of the Modern Workplace

I’ve known Dan Schawbel for a few years and one of the things I love about him is that he truly embodies an ideal persona of the Gen Y workforce. (Hey Dan, if you’re reading this, don’t let it go to your head).  In all of his books, he’s taken on the task of being the bridge to the generation gap.  What I’m trying to say is that Dan is especially skilled in speaking to both the young and the experienced audience in a way that helps them understand each other and work together.

Promote Yourself is a great example of exactly this.  Schawbel’s Gen Y Workplace Expectation Study is the foundation of this book.  It’s a result of Schawbel’s interviews with 79 employees from 69 global companies across a variety of industries that included Mariott, NBC, Universal, Dreamworks, GE, Cisco and many more.

Based on the results, he’s summarized the following 14 rules of today’s work environment and how to promote yourself by following them:

  1. Your job description is just the beginning.
  2. Your job is temporary.
  3. You’re going to need a lot of skills you probably don’t have right now.
  4. Your reputation is the single greatest asset you have.
  5. Your personal life is now public.
  6. You need to build a positive presence in new media.
  7. You’ll need to work with people from different generations.
  8. Your boss’s career comes first.
  9. The one with the most connections wins.
  10. Remember the rule of one.
  11. You are the future.
  12. Entrepreneurship is for everyone not just business owners.
  13. Hours are out, accomplishments are in.
  14. Your career is in your hands, not your employer’s.

This gives you the foundation for the entire book.  There are eleven chapters in the book and while they don’t share the names of the fourteen points, you’ll see the each chapter addresses these new rules and gives readers a lot of specific advice on how to navigate the workplace economy.

How Did Dan Get So Smart?

I met Dan when he was writing the Personal Branding Blog, a Forbes Magazine “Top Web Site for Your Career.”  He also published Personal Branding Magazine, for which I was a contributor.  So I’ve been watching him a long time.

Since then, he’s become the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He’s the author of Me 2.0 and has been featured in every business media property you can think of: Forbes, NBC, Time Warner and the rest of them.  Dan was also named to the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 list in 2010 and several other awards for young influencers too numerous to mention here.

The bottom line is that Dan has become the spokesperson for the Gen Y cohort and has built quite the career out of knowing, understanding and advising our next generation of leaders.

It’s Not Just for Gen Y

You might think this book is written for the Gen Y job seeker, and you would be right.  But I see this book as a valuable read for any small business owner.  Whether you are hiring full time employees or even freelancers or contractors, Promote Yourself will give you valuable insight into Gen Y workers.

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