Archive for February, 2014

Week in Review, March 1

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Repsol to end dispute with Argentina; Weibo eyes up to $8bn valuation; Qantas to shed 5,000 jobs as losses hit A$252m; RSA calls for cash

Top News: A Study Says 98 Percent of Mobile Malware Targets Android

Friday, February 28th, 2014

reading a tablet

Small business owners need information to stay competitive. But following the latest updates even in your industry can be tough with everything else on your plate.

The Small Business Trends editorial team wraps it all up and puts it in one place for your benefit.

Mobile

Your Android phone could be a target. A report from Kaspersky Labs says 98 percent of mobile malware now targets the Android operating system. It’s not too surprising given Android’s popularity, but how safe is your mobile technology now?

Huawei launches five new devices. The China-based company is now targeting the U.S. market. And with their low price, they might appeal to budget conscious small business owners. Here’s an overview of the five latest devices and a look at when U.S. business owners might be able to  get a hold of some.

Welcome to the future of business cards. TouchBase Technologies imagines a business card with conductive ink. Tap the card on a contact’s smartphone and your information is instantly transferred.

Web

It’s crowdsourcing on your own domain. Sure, Indigogo and Kickstarter give you the ability to quickly and easily raise funds for your startup. But CrowdtiltOpen offers something more — a chance to add your own branding.

Grand St. could be a new place for tech hardware startups. If your new small business isn’t a website but instead a “leather organizer that can charge your smartphone” or an “iOS enabled guitar,” you may want to try this. You can sell consumer ready, beta test a new product or take preorders.

Microsoft OneDrive is finally here. And it turns out it’s much more than just a name change. The newly branded Microsoft cloud storage service has a few new surprises for users. Lets have a look at what you get with your OneDrive account.

This Chrome feature will warn you of malware. Too bad some feel it may already look a bit like a malware trick. A box appears on your screen when Chrome detects a change in your settings. But some users say this is exactly the kind of thing Google tells people to look out for.

Social Media

LinkedIn will soon open its publishing platform. Last week the social network for professionals announced a new publishing option had been opened to about 25,000 members. And many more will be given access soon, the company says. Posts you create will appear in your LinkedIn profile, but could eventually have much greater influence.

Social media customer care. Businesses of all sizes are taking social media more seriously. Nowhere is this more clear than in the expansion of companies like Brand Embassy. Social media monitoring comes in all shapes and sizes. But this is one of the latest.

This service is for social media management. Socialbakers has raised $26 million to further improve its offerings. But so far components include analytics, management of social channels, social media listening and more. There are also a number of resources and social media marketing reports for various countries.

This Pinterest marketing tool listens to your brand. Discover, from Pinterest analytics and social marketing company Tailwind, has some features that could give insight. They include monitoring the number of followers, repins, likes and comments.

This report says Facebook ads encourage “fake” clicks. The idea is that users paid to add “likes” to specific accounts with a fake profile also “like” other accounts too to disguise their activities. The easiest of these to find would be accounts that show up in Facebook ads.

Policy

U.S. House passes important smartphone bill. The proposed legislation would allow you to “unlock” your smartphone once your contract expires. The bill must still be passed in the Senate and could face further amendment. But some say the ban on “bulk unlocking” remains business unfriendly.

This program funds exporters. Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship believe the State Trade and Export Promotion Program is a necessity. The pilot program gave grants to small businesses seeking global markets and some want it renewed.

More funds for Score are possible. If U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) has his way, SCORE could receive $10.5 million by 2015. The organization offers free mentoring to small businesses from an estimated 11,000 volunteers.

Tech

3D Printshow gives glimpse of business uses. There seems to be a lot of excitement over 3D printing these days and the implications for small business and entrepreneurship seem clear. This event gives an even broader perspective of possible business uses for the technology.

Advice & Resources

Entrepreneurs are optimistic people. Now there’s data to back that up. Despite all the complaints about the economy, a recent survey shows entrepreneurs remain pretty positive. Small Business Trends Publisher Anita Campbell reports.

Plan for the worst. It could take you 1000 days to see your income rise again after starting a new business. It may not be the kind of uplifting talk you expect from entrepreneurs, but it is a realistic expectation. If you plan to quit your job to start a business, say goodbye to that steady paycheck for a while.

Services

How to automate the hiring of new staff. This article gives you a walk-through of software designed to automate the hiring process. You can maintain a career portal where perspective employees can apply. You can also keep track of those applications once received.

Reading Photo via Shutterstock

The post Top News: A Study Says 98 Percent of Mobile Malware Targets Android appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Small-cap Week, March 1

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Heritage concludes Nigerian tax rebate talks; Digital Barriers losses increase 40%; Speedy Hire draws line under Gulf issues; W Resources completes tungsten plant

Sage Launches Subscription Invoicing Aimed At Small Business Customers

Friday, February 28th, 2014

small business invoicing

One of the biggest challenges and frustrations of running a small business is getting paid. Now Sage has announced a new monthly subscription-based invoicing service. Called Sage One Invoicing and costing $9 a month, it is targeting small businesses as its core customers.

The reasons for this seem to be pretty clear. According to the company, 57% of small businesses struggle to get paid quickly. About 71% of these businesses use Word or Excel to generate invoices. And 47% send their invoices in the mail.

So a more organized, more productive system is required. The new invoicing service is being promoted as a simple alternative to other billing methods.

small business invoicing

What Makes Sage Simpler?

Well, consider this scenario which is probably very common to many small business owners. You make your own invoices in Word or Excel. Then, you either email them or mail them.

Afterwards it becomes extremely difficult to track the status of those invoices. Which ones have been paid? Which ones are still unpaid? Which ones are partially paid? Keeping on top of it all is a huge challenge. How do you remember to re-invoice late payers?

With Sage, those challenges are eased considerably, the company says. Once you send out your invoices from Sage, the customer can pay directly from the invoice into Sage’s credit card service or Paypal. If the payment is late, Sage One will tell you so you can send the invoice out again. Partial payments are also tracked, the company says.

Another plus is that, being online, Sage can be accessed from any computer with an online connection. Out of the office? No problem. Just sign into your account from another computer to see all of your invoices.

An official announcement from the company has more.  Sage One Product Manager Mike Savory said:

“There are many choices in the market today for online invoicing solutions, but some are too complicated for a small business’ needs and others don’t offer enough functionality. Sage One Invoicing is just right for business owners who want to look professional, get paid faster, and get back to doing what they love.”

The post Sage Launches Subscription Invoicing Aimed At Small Business Customers appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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EPA stalls Alaska copper mine plans

Friday, February 28th, 2014

US environmental agency exercises little-used Clean Water Act powers to investigate how to protect an area rich in wild sockeye salmon

The pipeline sabotaged by arrogance

Friday, February 28th, 2014

John Dizard regards lessons from Keystone – do not treat distant local opposition as if it is an easily dispersed mob of peasants

Total to sell stake in Azeri gasfield

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The French major is in talks to sell its stake in the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan after it baulked at the enormous cost of the project

Government Contracting: How To Do Some Research Before Market Entry

Friday, February 28th, 2014

government contracting research

There is nothing worse than attending an event where a speaker will whet your appetite for a new market, then leave you hanging. At many small business conferences around the country, inevitably one of the speakers will bring up doing business with the government, and perhaps they will offer accurate advice, but not always.

There are many myths about doing business with the government, some perpetuated by those seeking to take advantage of novices, others simply out-dated, others still kept alive by those unwilling to understand how the market is changing. Many of those who write or speak are not B2G (business to government) experts and inadvertently include inaccurate information.

The federal government is the largest buyer of goods and services, buying virtually anything used in a business setting and more. They spend hundreds of billions annually. So on the surface, it is an attractive market.

However, there are hundreds of nuances and thousands of regulations, so before you get too excited, let’s do a reality check. Before entering the government contracting arena, a little research is in order. But where to start?

How To Do Government Contracting Research Before Market Entry

The first thing you need to ask yourself is, “Does the government buy what I sell?”

While the answer is usually yes, it is best to get a definitive answer. One place to start is the General Services Administration (GSA) website. Once there, look at the “Most Requested Links” and click on the “GSA eLibrary.”

This takes you into the eLibrary, where you can find not only whether or not the government buys what you sell, but who else is selling the same or similar products.

Next, type your query into the search box and then select one of the three options:

  • “all of the words”
  • “any of the words”
  • “exact phrase”

As an example, let’s say you sell office furniture. Type in “office furniture” and select “exact phrase” and click the “enter” key.

The page that comes up matches your phrase. For you, you are interested in the numbers of the left side of the page. These numbers are in red and they are under the word “Source.” Each number represents a GSA Schedule contract. The matches include:

  • Schedule 48 (Transportation, Delivery and Relocation)
  • Schedule 71 (Furniture)
  • Schedule 71 II K (Comprehensive Furniture Management Services)

You are looking for Schedule 71. So mouse over the red “71″ and you will find the full range of products and services the government purchases through Schedule 71, and it is extensive.

After scrolling through, go back to the top of the page and look for the red arrow next to “Download Contractors (Excel).” Click on this and it will take you to the “Download” page where you are then prompted to click the “Download” button.

This will download an Excel file that includes full company contact info, phone, email, company URL, DUNS, business status (various small business categories) and whether or not the company participates in a few state and local government programs.

This file tells you that there are 2,739 companies currently participating on GSA Schedule 71, trying to leverage this contract to sell to Uncle Sam. (I don’t show you this to scare you off, but to let you know that every niche in the federal market is highly competed.)

You’ve now done some government contracting research prior to market entry, and you now know what/who you’re up against. There are ways to enter this market and to win business – but as you can see, you cannot expect it to happen quickly.

Research Photo via Shutterstock

The post Government Contracting: How To Do Some Research Before Market Entry appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Boardroom trades March 1

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Latest directors’ deals at BAE, John Wood, Ocado and President Energy

Norway fund turns net seller of stocks

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The $840bn fund cut its exposure to equities significantly in the last three months of 2013, from 63.6 per cent to 61.7 per cent of assets

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