Archive for April, 2016

Tennis: Grigor Dimitrov Reaches ATP Istanbul Final

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov proceeded to the final of the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open tennis tournament after defeating Ivo Karlovic from Croatia on Saturday.

The second-seeded Dimitrov scored a 7-6(0) 7-6(2) win over third seed Karlovic and will meet the winner of the semi-final match between Federico Delbonis or Diego Schwartzman in the final, which starts at 5 pm Sofia time (1400 GMT) on Sunday.

The Bulgarian tennis player had scored two victories over Delbonis in as many matches.

Sunday’s match will be the eighth ATP World Tour final for Dimitrov and his second final in 2016.



May Brings Voting for Small Business Book Awards

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

vote box

The month of May is almost bursting with great small business events. There’s an expo in Atlanta plus other great events in New York City, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Miami.

But before you do any of that stuff, why not take a minute to pop over to the Small Business Book Awards page and vote for your favorite book or small business resource. Only about a week and a half remains. See details below.

Then go and explore all the small business events on the list below to see what they have to offer.  For a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Small Business Book Awards - Voting Begins April 28!Small Business Book Awards – Voting Begins April 28!
May 11, 2016, Online

Voting for Small Business Book Awards begins on April 28, 2016 and runs through May 11, 2016 11:59 am PT. Voting is fast and easy. Once the voting period begins, simply visit the Business Book Awards site and click the red vote button. You can also visit on the “Categories” tab and select the categories you’d like to see. Then simply place your votes for the books you would like to see win!

Small Business Market ExpoSmall Business Market Expo
May 21, 2016, Atlanta, Ga.

Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with small businesses, market your organization and tap into a network of entrepreneurs, service providers, financial organizations, business coaches, and franchises.
Discount Code
VIP (25% off)

DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year AwardDREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award
June 14, 2016, Washington, D.C.

The DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Sam’s Club®, celebrates the success of small business and honors its contributions to America’s economic growth. The Small Business of the Year, 7 regional finalists, and 100 Blue Ribbon winners will be honored on June 14 during America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. There are two ways to participate: 1. Nominate a local small business that’s making a big impact in its community. 2. Apply directly if you are a small business that’s committed to your community, employees, and customers.

More Events

More Contests

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

Vote Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “May Brings Voting for Small Business Book Awards” was first published on Small Business Trends


10 Tips for Online and Content Marketing

Saturday, April 30th, 2016


Marketing a business online is no simple task. There’s a lot that goes into it. And members of our small business community have plenty of experience dealing with online and content marketing. Here are some of their top tips for online and content marketing.

Top Tips for Online and Content Marketing

Focus on Epic Content

You’ve probably heard the popular saying that content is king. But that’s not necessarily the case, if you’re talking about creating short, generalized content. Instead, John Jantsch recommends in this Duct Tape Marketing post that you focus on creating content that is long and useful and epic.

Make Your Website a Better Salesperson

Your website can be a major factor when it comes to making sales. So you need to make it really work for you. Here, Joe Peters shares some tips for making your website a better salesperson in the Cirrus Insight blog.

Learn About Marketing Automation

There are plenty of different ways you can automate your marketing efforts to save time and make them more effective. Brent Csutoras shares some thoughts in this Search Engine Land post and Marketing Nerds podcast with James Loomstein. The BizSugar community also comments further on the post here.

Utilize Dynamic Remarketing

Remarketing campaigns can be incredibly effective when it comes to attracting customers who have previously bought from you or at least visited your site. And it’s not just for ecommerce businesses anymore either — as Laura Collins explains in this Marketing Land post.

Don’t Overlook the Power of Social Media

You’ve already heard about how businesses can use social media to interact with customers. But you might not be grasping just how big of a boost social media can provide. Mandy Edwards makes the case for social media marketing in this SteamFeed post.

Use the Crystal Effect to Unlock New Content Ideas

Coming up with a constant stream of ideas is essential to any good content marketing plan. To unlock all of those new content ideas, Jason Quey recommends using the crystal effect in this post on the blog. And BizSugar members share their thoughts on the post here.

Solve Your Email Marketing Challenges With These Tools

Email is a great way to market to and communicate with customers. But you’ll likely need some of the tools outlined in this Exit Bee post by Vanhishikha Bhargava in order to really get the most out of your email marketing strategy.

Make More of Your Content

When you’re utilizing content marketing, you need to be very intentional when it comes to planning, creating and sharing that content. Here, Nick Davies shares some ways that you can make the most of your content in the Pretty Pragmatic blog.

Use Kindness to Make Your Content More Successful

When creating content for your business, you have to consider many different factors. You want it to be relevant and valuable. But you can also use kindness to really make your content stand out, as Sara Wachter-Boettcher explains in this Content Marketing Institute post. You can also see conversation surrounding the post over on BizSugar.

Don’t Believe These Misconceptions About Remote Workers

Businesses today don’t necessarily need teams that all work out of the same office all the time. Whether you’re considering hiring some outside marketing help or just letting your team telecommute from time to time, you might have some misconceptions about remote workers, like the ones outlined in this Redbooth post by Lisette Sutherland.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:

Online Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Tips for Online and Content Marketing” was first published on Small Business Trends


Bulgarian Govt Debt Rises to EUR 13.35 B at End-March

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Bulgaria’s government debt increased to EUR 13.35 B at the end of March, compared with EUR 11.60 B a month earlier, according to data from the Finance Ministry.

The increaseof EUR 1.75 B in nominal terms reflected the issuing of a EUR 1.994 B dual-tranche bond on March 14. The deal comprised a EUR 1.144 B seven-year tranche and a EUR 850 M 12-year tranche.

The transaction increased the government’s foreign debt to EUR 9.86 B at end-March from EUR 7.89 B at the end of the previous month, figures show.

Domestic government debt totalled EUR 3.49 B at end-March, a decrease compared with EUR 3.70 B at the end of February.

The government debt-to-GDP ratio was 29.3% at the end of March, compared with 25.7% a month earlier.

Eurobonds issued in international capital markets made up about 57% of total government debt at the end of March, followed by government securities issued on the domestic market (26%) and loans (17%).

By end-March government guaranteed debt totalled EUR 287.3 M in nominal terms, including domestic government guarantees of EUR 31.8 M.

In nominal terms, debt decreased by EUR 17.6 M compared to end-February as a result of disbursements of external government debt, the Finance Ministry said in a monthly debt bulletin for March.


Onewheel Skateboard Replaces Hoverboard in Weird Toy Category

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

onewheel skateboard

There are some really weird products out there. But if you think that toys like the trendy “hoverboard” are as weird as it gets — you’re wrong. A new toy item that has recently hit the shelves is adding a whole new level of weird to the boardsport category.

Onewheel Skateboard, Weird Or Trendy?

Onewheel is a skateboard-type item. But as the name suggests –- there’s only one wheel. It’s a rather large wheel that sits at the very center of the board and even comes up above the board itself in the middle. It uses inertial sensors and a hub motor to balance the board around the one wheel in the center. And like hoverboards, it’s completely handsfree.

However, unlike hoverboards, you ride it facing sideways the way you would a skateboard. So, you just lean forward if you want the board to move forward. You move back if you want the board to stop. And you press with your heels or toes if you want the board to turn.

There’s also a mobile app, available for both Android and iPhone, which you can use to monitor your Onewheel and even customize parts of the handling experience to really fit with your particular riding style. For example, you can set your Onewheel to Extreme mode if you want to go a little faster. It also has LED lighting controls and battery status updates.

The Onewheel skateboard certainly seems to fit into the growing category of weird products. And while being weird can definitely help a business grab a customer’s attention, it’s not necessarily a recipe for success on its own. There have been plenty of weird products that have succeeded, and even more that have failed.

In recent years, these weird products and services have included everything from potato greeting cards to eye massages. But one of the major factors that can separate the weird successes from the rest is whether these weird products also provide something that people can actually use. For example, the idea of an eye massage sounds strange, but it’s a thing that some people actually find to be useful or even necessary.

On the other hand, you have weird products that provide value simply in the form of novelty, like potato greeting cards. Sure, you can send regular old paper greeting cards. But where’s the fun in that? However, there’s a limit to how much people will pay just for that novelty.

And since Onewheel retails for $1,499, it’s likely that this product will need some broader appeal in order to succeed. In addition, the product has to compete with the growing popularity of hoverboards, as well as competing with cheaper products that do essentially the same things, like the regular old skateboard.

It’s still too early to say whether the Onewheel skateboard will be a big hit. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if it was, given the growing popularity of weird products and high-tech versions of classic items. But it has plenty of competition and other obstacles to overcome.

So what do you think? Is Onewheel here to stay or just a passing fad?

Image: Onewheel

This article, “Onewheel Skateboard Replaces Hoverboard in Weird Toy Category” was first published on Small Business Trends


Die Welt: Six EU States Urge Extension of Schengen Internal Border Controls  

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Austria, Belgium, Denmark France, Germany and Sweden have proposed to the European Commission to extend temporary controls at the internal borders of the Schengen Area to tackle migration flows more efficiently, Die Welt reported on Saturday.

The proposal has been made in a letter to the European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The six countries called on the Commission to propose to the European Council to permit to maintain or introduce controls at internal Schengen borders from May 13 for a period of six months, if EU member states believe such move was necessary, according to the German newspaper.

Eight of the 26member states of the Schengen Area have introduced border checks since last September, including Austria and Germany, to stem the flow of migrants. Under current rules, such border checks can be introduced only temporarily and can’t be extended beyond May 12, unless the European Commission finds that EU’s free-travel areais at risk because of a country’s failure to protect the area’s external borders.

The closure of the Western Balkan migration route to Germany and Sweden and the start of sending back migrants and refugees from Greece to Turkey under a deal between the EU and Ankara reached in March have significantly reduced the number of migrants reaching central and western Europe. Yet, the number of migrants arriving in Greece and Italy by sea has increased in the first four months of 2016, compared to a year earlier, according to data from the International Organisation for Migration.

Concerned by prospects of resumed migration pressure at its borders, Austria re-introduced checks on its border with Hungary earlier this week and said it would impose border checks at the Brenner Pass on its frontier with Italy by the end of May.



Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry Warns against Operating Drones above Sofia May 3-May 6

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry has warned against operating drones in the skies above Sofia and several adjacent areas next week to avoid collision with military aircraft flying low-altitude training missions in preparation for Army Day parade.

No unmanned aerial vehicles should be operated within the boundaries of Sofia, Vakarel, Dolni Pasarel, Breznik, Dragoman and Mirovyane from 9.00 am until 11.30 am and from 2.00 pm until 3.30 pm on May 3, 4,and 5, the Defence Ministry has said in a statement.

The ban will also apply from 9.00 am through 11.30 am on Army Day, May 6.




The Three Box Solution: Innovation in 3 Little Boxes

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

the three box solutionThe constant call to innovate can infuriate even the most tech-savvy business owner out there. Not only do businesses have to maintain an online presence. They are expected to constantly monitor the market and correctly use those insights to amaze, delight and capture their future customers (who are already inundated with other businesses trying to do the same).

As a business owner, how do you make sense of this? How do you balance the need to stay competitive now with the need to stay competitive in the future?

What The Three Box Solution is About

The Three Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation offers a surprisingly simple answer to business owners who are tired of the “You need to innovate” call — three boxes. These three boxes are a mental framework the book offers to help owners strategically manage innovation. The “three boxes” represent three separate but interconnected principles:

  • Box 1: Forget the past
  • Box 2: Manage the present
  • Box 3: Create the future

The Three Box Solution highlights companies that, like GE, were able to use the principles from the above framework to pivot their product-based business to a leading service powerhouse for a new market. The book also highlights companies who failed to use to use the three boxes correctly, like IBM. IBM became hyper-focused on their strengths while failing to adapt to the “weak signals” (the changes that could drastically change the future). As a result, they declined, while a little company named Microsoft began making history.

The Three Box Solution points to the principle of nonlinear innovation as the key to success in a rapidly growing world. Business, as presented in this book, does not exist in a predictable world. Business owners have to become comfortable with managing the uncertainty of the future while maintaining the core and avoiding the mental traps of the past.

Vijay Govindarajan ( (@vgovindarajan) is an author and professor at Dartmouth College and a Harvard Business fellow. He began working at General Electric where he developed the concept of “reverse innovation.” One concept, $300 house, received an overwhelming amount of support and became a global initiative.

What Was Best About The Three Box Solution

The best part of the book is the breakdown of “Your business needs to innovate more” into realistic conceptual models. (This is in direct opposition to another book on innovation The Digital Transformation Playbook by David Rogers).

This breakdown is accompanied by Govindarajan’s insight into the nature of innovation. He repeatedly points out the bigger principles (like his emphasis on rapid low-risk experimentation) rather than getting bogged down in unnecessary details. This is needed for business owners who want to know the “Why?” behind nonlinear innovation.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

The downside to The Three Box Solution is the overemphasis on the “three box” solution as the solution for innovation. First, the book is enamored with its own procedure. Right from the beginning, the book discusses the mystical connections of the “three-box solution” without really taking the time to explain what should be in the three boxes.

Overall, the book is great and insights can be gleaned but readers may be left with “Well, how do I even start using the three box solution?”

Why Read The Three Box Solution

The Three Box Solution is good for business owners who have read a little bit about innovation and need some kind of guide forward to action. While the book doesn’t detail how to start using the “three-box solution”, it does provide detailed examples of activities that would fit into each box and by extension into your business.

This article, “The Three Box Solution: Innovation in 3 Little Boxes” was first published on Small Business Trends


Roaming Charges in EU Fall as of Saturday

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Roaming charges in the EU for making calls, sending SMS or surfing online fall on Saturday as a prelude to their abolition from the middle of next year.

As of 30 April 2016, users of mobile devices will only pay a small charge on top of their domestic prices: up to EUR 0.05 per minute of outgoing call made, EUR 0.02 per SMS sent, and EUR 0.05 per MB of data when travelling in the EU.

This maximum roaming charge is about 25% of the current roaming caps for calls made and data, and 33% of the current roaming cap for SMS.

These charges will apply until 15 June 2017, when Europeans will start  paying the same price irrespective of whether they use their mobile devices at home or somewhere else in the EU.

This is not only about Europeans saving money, this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market,”European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip commented in a statement.

Prices that consumers pay for roaming across calls, SMS and data have decreased by more than 80% when the EU first took action to tackle excessive roaming charges. Data roaming is now up to 91% cheaper compared to 2007, and the volume of the data roaming market has grown by 630%, according to European Commission data.


Bulgaria Earns Praise from Europol for Busting Workshop for Forged Euro Notes

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

An operation by the Bulgarian authorities that led to the dismantling of an illegal workshop for counterfeiting of 100 euro banknotes has drawn praise from Europol.

The authorities, in close cooperation with Europol, seized EUR 24,000 in counterfeit EUR 100 notes ready for distribution as well as engravings for fake notes amounting to more than EUR 500 000 during the operation conducted in the area of Pleven, in northern Bulgaria, last week. Three members of the organized crime group have been detained in police custody.

“This seizure of fake banknotes is one of Europe’s most significant in recent years on account of the quality of the forged notes detected in circulation in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain,” Europol said in a statement

Europol Director Rob Wainwright commented that the organized crime group had “huge production potential” both in terms of the volume of fake euro notes but also on account of their quality.

“I am pleased to see Bulgaria’s determined fight against organised crime and such operations are an important contribution to the protection of the euro,”Wainwright said in the statement.



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