Archive for February, 2017

GoDaddy Sends Small Business WordPress Developers Back to School — Sort Of

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Stumped by WordPress? Need some extra help fine-tuning your site? The new GoDaddy WordPress educational content offers small business users some help.

GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY), a leading web host and domain name registrar, has entered into partnerships with and WP Elevation to offer web developers and designers free WordPress educational content. provides online and live training for open source Content Management Systems (CMS) worldwide while WP Elevation claims to be the world’s biggest business community for WordPress consultants.

Free GoDaddy WordPress Educational Content

GoDaddy’s says it hopes the partnership with WP Elevation provides WordPress developers with free training on business communication, practices and workflow. The companies will provide that training through monthly webinars, videos and content.

GoDaddy and OSTraining are also rolling out a jointly-sponsored 40-episode series of WordPress Training videos for beginner WordPress developers. Topics range from creating a staging site for development and testing to navigating the WordPress dashboard.

“One of the biggest challenges for web pros servicing multiple clients is the time and money spent on administrative tasks,” GoDaddy’s SVP of Hosting Raghu Murthi said in a press release. “These educational resources help web pros work smarter and provide outstanding service and support to their clients.”

GoDaddy says other resources will complement GoDaddy’s Pro Program. Pro Program members get immediate access to the content made available by the partnership as well as additional tools that can help them manage client’s accounts, the company says.

“We’re very proud to be partnering with GoDaddy to help web pros better serve their clients,” said WP Elevation co-founder Troy Dean in a prepared statement. “I’ve been very impressed with the improvements GoDaddy continue to make to the Pro Program and the whole team at WP Elevation is excited to be bringing some of our best training and education to the GoDaddy community.”

Other enticements GoDaddy is offering with the deal include WordPress site management tools to assist with ongoing maintenance, access to 24/7 expert technical support, access to rewards programs, expert level support, and more.

Image: GoDaddy

This article, “GoDaddy Sends Small Business WordPress Developers Back to School — Sort Of” was first published on Small Business Trends


Wendy’s Automates the Food Ordering Process (Watch)

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Wendy’s is the latest fast food chain to automate the ordering process. The restaurant announced this week that it will add self-order kiosks to about 1,000 of its restaurants by the end of the year. McDonald’s and Panera Bread also have similar features.

This move, of course, makes some workers nervous about job loss in the fast food industry. But the restaurant claims that it should improve productivity by allowing more workers to focus on actually making the food.

In addition, a consulting firm that does research in the foodservice industry has found that younger consumers actually prefer automated ordering over dealing with an actual cashier. So this may just be the way that all restaurants are headed eventually anyway.

Sometimes It’s Adapt or Die…

It’s important for restaurants and all different types of businesses to keep an eye on trends like this. It’s possible that automation and different tech innovations could make restaurants like Wendy’s and McDonald’s stand out. And those that don’t adapt may be left behind.

…But Not Always

This doesn’t mean, however, that businesses should jump on every single trend right away. Kiosks that don’t work properly or that customers don’t actually want could hurt these early adopters. But if they’ve done the research and come up with a system that will actually work for their specific customers, it’s likely to be a move in the right direction.

Wendy’s Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Wendy’s Automates the Food Ordering Process (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends


Saudi Aramco in $7bn Malaysian refining push

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Processing hub deal with Petronas underlines effort to secure Asian growth

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

According to the Insights Team at Bing Ads “Search is literally breaking out of the box” as marketing is no longer just about the 4Ps anymore: Price, Product, Promotion and Placement. To explain this, the team put together an infographic (PDF) that highlights Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) vision for the future of search, the new 3Ps of marketing and how you can prepare your business for the change.

The Future of Search

According to the infographic, “search” will become more personal and predictive since people prefer personalized experiences. The team states that about 145 million people actively use the intelligent virtual assistant Cortana to store personal information, reminders and contacts among other things and as of now, the personal assistant has been asked over 17 billion plus questions since its launch.

The infographic further states that 75 percent of online customers get frustrated when content appears that has nothing to do with their experiences. And this simply means that accurate personal and predictive searches will get more popular in days to come. As a business, you should, therefore, start investing more in learning your customers’ needs other than reacting to their requests.

You should also consider investing in chatbots since 50 percent of customers would like to make a purchase via message.

Essentially, to be a successful business in the future you need to think of “search” throughout a customer’s journey, use the power of search data outside your campaigns as well as create personal experiences by leveraging targeting features such as demographic targeting and remarketing.

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)

Image: Bing

This article, “Virtual Assistants and Connected Devices Direct the Future of Search (Infographic)” was first published on Small Business Trends


BP and Shell moves point to oil industry recovery

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

UK group raises growth forecasts as Anglo-Dutch rival gives go-ahead to Gulf project

47 Percent of Small Business Owners Approve of Trump, Survey Says

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

47 Percent of Small Business Owners Approve of Trump, Survey Says

It’s only been a little over a month since Donald Trump was sworn in as President and a new survey by BizBuySell, one of the largest online business-for-sale marketplaces, reveals that almost half of the small business community approves the Trump presidency.

Almost Half of Small Business Owners Approve of Trump

According to the BizBuySell survey, which polled more than 650 small business owners and prospective buyers to determine the approval of Trump’s presidency since he took office in January, 47 percent of business owners said they approve how the president is handling his job as president thus far. However, 30 percent of the business owners said they disapprove, while 23 percent had no opinion.

The top three issues small business owners said they would like President Trump to address were tax reform (44 percent), Healthcare (43 percent) and jobs (30 percent). In calling for tax reforms, 78 percent of small business owners said there are currently too many regulations on small businesses. Other reports actually indicate that business leaders were thrilled with the President’s recent signing of an Executive Order directing that for every small-business regulation promulgated, two shall be identified for elimination.

Small Business Owners Favor Obamacare Repeal

When it comes to healthcare, 60 percent of business owners said they are in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare, which they feel places undue “economic burden” on them. However, on this issue of repealing Obamacare, it is emerging that small businesses may have to wait a little while longer as the technicalities of repealing the ACA are smoothed out.

On jobs, a whopping 67 percent of small business owners said they are in favor of the President renegotiating trade deals (i.e. NAFTA), but surprisingly 48 percent also said they are in favor of a federal minimum wage increase despite business leaders in general opposing the idea. Additionally, 49 percent of business owners said they approval dismantling of the contentious Dodd-Frank Act that places regulation of the financial industry in the hands of the government, claiming it limits lending.

Small Business Buyers Favor Minimum Wage Raise

On the other hand, 41 percent of perspective small business buyers said they approve President Trump, and 60 percent of them added they approve repealing Obamacare. However, the small business buyers differed with business owners in that the majority said they want the President to prioritize healthcare above tax reform. And surprisingly 58 percent of the buyers are also in favor of raising the federal minimum wage.

Donald Trump Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “47 Percent of Small Business Owners Approve of Trump, Survey Says” was first published on Small Business Trends


If Switching Energy Suppliers Is So Easy, Why Don’t More Small Businesses Do It?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Sponsored Post

If Switching Energy Suppliers Is So Easy, Why Don’t More Small Businesses Do It?

The next time you get an offer to choose an energy supplier, don’t be so quick to toss it. Throwing these offers away without taking a close look at them may be like receiving an envelope of money and tossing it because you don’t feel like going to the bank to make a deposit.

Sure. You’re busy growing your business. But don’t forget. Profit isn’t just increasing the money coming into your business. It’s reducing the money you shell out. But millions of small business owners don’t take advantage of this low-risk budgeting strategy.

This article will discuss the most common reasons small business owners don’t change energy suppliers. It will also share some tips on how to start exploring how you can reduce your energy budget to help decrease your overall monthly business expenses.

Fears That Keep Small Business Owners Stuck Paying Too Much for Energy

“I didn’t know I had a choice of energy suppliers.”

Not every state has the option for choosing an energy supplier. The electricity market started opening to competition in the late 1990s when the Federal Regulatory Commission issued order 888. That required utilities to provide open access nondiscriminatory transmission services to independent producers. There are 17 states (as of this writing) that offer a competitive energy market. So residents have a choice of gas and electricity suppliers for consumers and small businesses. That means that even if you’re a home-based business, you can take advantage by choosing an energy supplier and plan that best fits your needs.

The first thing to do is to see if your state is open to competition and what energy choices are available to you. The American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers has an updated list of states and energy options.

If Switching Energy Suppliers Is So Easy, Why Don’t More Small Businesses Do It?

(Source: Constellation Energy)

“I don’t want to give up what’s familiar and get hit with hidden charges to make up for the lower cost.”

There is a misconception that if you switch energy suppliers you are somehow giving up what you know for something that is unfamiliar and uncertain. In reality, the fact that you can choose an energy supplier gives you control by allowing you to compare rates.

Here are a couple of tips to help you avoid any minefields in the process:

  • To avoid any hidden charges, do your due diligence. Review the contract terms for any energy supplier before choosing. Here’s a helpful tip.
  • Make sure that the supplier can offer the term you desire to lock in the rates to avoid any surprises.

“Switching isn’t worth the hassle or the uncertainty.”

Assuming that you’re now open to the idea of switching, your next obstacle is wondering if it will be worth the effort. But you can see it at the end of each month. A plan that is a few pennies less may seem like small change, but when your monthly usage increases, you’ll notice a difference.

“If I switch and the power goes out, I’ll get no power and no customer service support.”

In short, this is a myth. Regardless of the supplier you select, your energy is delivered by your existing utility via the same established infrastructure; gas pipes, electrical lines, etc. When you switch, no one is going to come to your office and dig up one set of lines and replace it with another. When the power goes out, the utility handles getting it turned back on. If you have a question about the rate you’re paying or your enrollment, the supplier, like Constellation, would help you.

Your utility is responsible for providing the same level of service for all of their energy customers. Your local utilities maintain the delivery infrastructure, including wires, poles, transformers, and pipes regardless of which energy supplier you buy your energy supply from.  And the energy supplier is responsible for the energy cost portion of your bill.

Like any company, some suppliers offer better customer support than others. When you shop around for a new energy supplier, look for things like the ability to reach them by phone, email and online chat, and bilingual support for Spanish-speaking customers.

Are You Ready to See if You Can Lower Your Energy Costs Now?

As a small business owner, the name of the game is to increase cash flow. Sure, you can increase revenues by getting more customers, but there’s something else you can do right away that’s 100 percent under your control. You can look for an energy plan that fits your business’ needs. In the past, the only way you could control your utility costs was to change your behavior and upgrade your equipment. Today, you also have the option of switching your energy supplier.

Switching your energy supplier offers a slew of benefits to your small business:

  1. Control Your Costs. Energy competition increases choice and that means that suppliers have to compete for your business. This motivates them to keep costs competitive and the level of service high.
  2. Predictable Budget. Today, energy suppliers offer a variety of plans designed to help small businesses manage and hold their costs in check using fixed-rate plans where you can lock in the rate for a set period of time.
  3. Access to renewable energy options. If your business has made a commitment to explore renewable energy options, you’ll find that competing energy suppliers will have those options available, where your local utility may not.
  4. Control. Of course, the biggest benefit is control. Now you can control your energy experience. The best way for energy suppliers to compete for your business is by increasing their quality of service, support and attention to their customers. This puts you in the driver’s seat like never before.

If you like the idea of increasing your cash flow by controlling your monthly energy costs but are still feeling overwhelmed by the alternatives, reach out to Constellation and open up the conversation. Remember, we want your business, and you’ll find that we have as much to gain as you do by helping you. For example, with Constellation you can check out the solutions for small business. And if you have questions, just click on the “Chat with Us” option in the menu, and we will walk you through the process.

Building a successful business isn’t just about home runs. It’s about small incremental improvements implemented on a regular basis. If growing the top line of your P&L has been slow and frustrating, maybe it’s time to put some focus on your bottom line.

Power Meter Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “If Switching Energy Suppliers Is So Easy, Why Don’t More Small Businesses Do It?” was first published on Small Business Trends


Sacred Language of My Predecessors: An Exhibition on Croatian-Bulgarian Parallels

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

An exhibition about Croatia and Bulgaria will be opened next Monday in Sofia, revealing little-known aspects of ties between the two peoples during the 19th and 20th century.

Sacred Language of My Predecessors: Croatian-Bulgarian Parallels is named after a verse by iconic Bulgarian novelist, poet and playwright Ivan Vazov, who shaped the nascent Bulgarian literature in throughout the better part of the 19th century. (Elsewhere the verse is sometimes translated as “sacred language of my forefathers.”)

The event is dedicated to the 25th anniversary since Croatia gained international recognition. It was also quarter of a century ago that Sofia and Zagreb established diplomatic relations.

“The exhibition is an attempt at showing the strength and diversity of ties between the Croatian and Bulgarian peoples through history in its different aspects: culture, education, science, literature, healthcare, art, horticulture, etc.,” the Croatian Embassy has said.

A special focus will be put on how ties developed over the past hundred years.

The organizers include Croatia’s Embassy in Bulgaria, the Sofia University, and the National and University Library in Zagreb seeking to “remind the Bulgarian public about the deep friendship and connections” between the two peoples.

Sacred Language of My Predecessors: Croatian-Bulgarian Parallels will be opened on March 06, 2017, at 2017, in the main foyer of the Sofia University, at 17:00 local time. A related literature exhibition can be viewed in the University library, staring 16:30 local time on the same day.




How to Get Started on Whatsapp

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

How to Get Started on Whatsapp

Whatsapp is on the move again. The platform recently followed Instagram in cloning one of rival Snapchat’s more popular features.

WhatsApp is a social messaging service that was acquired by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion in 2014. As of April 2016, more than a billion people were already using the instant messaging service around the world. And over 70 percent of them use the app to communicate on a daily basis.

In August 2016, Facebook changed its privacy policies to allow businesses to send messages to WhatsApp users, and this, of course, opened up a new marketing platform for small businesses as well. So, how can you tap into this marketing opportunity?

How to Get Started on Whatsapp

Download the App

You first have to download the app. You can search for the app on Google or Apple store or if you would like to use it on your Mac or Windows PC just head to and click the Download tab.

How to Get Started on Whatsapp - Download the App

Scan the QR Code

Once it has finished installing, the app will open in a separate window. You will then be prompted to use WhatsApp on your phone to scan this QR code.

How to Get Started on Whatsapp - Scan the QR Code

Open WhatsApp on your phone, go to Chats and then click the three dots on the right-hand side of your screen. Click “WhatsApp Web” and you will be taken to this Window:

How to Get Started on Whatsapp - Signing In

Click the + sign on the top right and scan the code on your PC. You will immediately be signed into your WhatsApp account.

However, you can also still access WhatsApp on your PC without downloading the app by going to and follow the same procedure as above.

With a striking resemblance to Snapchat’s Stories feature, WhatsApp’s recent update allows you to post videos, photos and GIF images that are only visible to your contacts for 24 hours.

The recent update coupled with the number of users already on the app provide small businesses with an opportunity to engage with their customers in a fast, efficient and cost effective manner.

You could also use the app for internal team communication, to offer customer support and for marketing and promotion of products.

WhatsApp Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Get Started on Whatsapp” was first published on Small Business Trends


79 Percent of Small Business Owners Remain Confident, Xero Report Says

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

The Make or Break 2017 report from Xero shows that both small business owners and accountants feel more confident about 2017 than 2016.

With unprecedented economic uncertainty in the US and UK, you would expect small businesses would be more pessimistic about the future. Yet, according to the second annual Make or Break 2017 report from Xero (NZE:XRO), small business owners are irrepressibly optimistic going into 2017. Both small business owners (79 percent) and accountants (84 percent) feel more confident about 2017 than 2016.

Make or Break 2017 Report from Xero: Highlights

The optimism was especially true for young businesses with 94 percent of one-year-old and 84 percent of two-year-old businesses saying that they felt more confident going into 2017 than they did in 2016. Over three quarters (79 percent) of small business owners professed confidence in their businesses’ survival in 2017. While nearly a fifth of businesses going through a tougher time said they expected 2017 to be a turnaround year for their business.

“I am encouraged that the second annual Make or Break report revealed that business owners are more optimistic than ever. Even when their key concern is potential economic uncertainty, the entrepreneurial spirit is one like I’ve never seen — it’s wonderful that this hasn’t been tempered but strengthened despite changes ahead.” Xero Americas president Keri Gohman said in a release introducing the report.

Even major regulatory issues seem not to dampen this optimism. For example, only 39 percent of small business owners in the U.S. believe that the Affordable Care Act will affect their business, according to the report.

What’s more, 29 percent of small business owners don’t believe that regulatory changes (ranging from employment regulations to wage compliance and immigration reform) will affect their businesses in any way.

On the other hand, U.S. accountants seem to be a lot more concerned with 60 percent believing that the Affordable Care Act will impact small businesses.

Xero took an online survey of 817 small business owners and accountants at companies with 20 employees or less in early 2017 in the U.S.  and U.K. to compile its second annual Make or Break report.

Image: Xero

This article, “79 Percent of Small Business Owners Remain Confident, Xero Report Says” was first published on Small Business Trends


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