Archive for March, 2017

PES President Stanishev: No Pressure From Brussels for Coalition Between BSP, GERB

Friday, March 31st, 2017

”There is no pressure from Brussels for a coalition between the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and GERB”, President of the Party of the European Socialists (PES) and former BSP leader and prime minister Sergei Stanishev said Friday, talking to reporters before the meeting of BSP’s National Council which analyses the results of the March 26 early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria. “I spoke with BSP leader Kornelia Ninova two days ago and told her no such pressure exists, least all from the PES,” Stanishev said, according to BNR.

Stanishev speculated that it will be a problem for the European People’s Party (EPP), as well as for the Social Democrats in Europe, participation in the ruling coalition in Bulgaria of the United Patriots. He said that this happens in “a European context where the extreme nationalists are waging a political battle in France and Germany, and GERB’s possible coalescing with the United Patriots will raise a number of questions before the EPP”.

“It is important for the governance to be pro-European and I think that GERB have difficulties in this respect,” Stanishev said.

For him a coalition between GERB and BSP “is not an option”.

Stanishev does not think that the BSP should participate in a grand coalition. “The BSP is justified to feel self-confident and expect a strong representation in Parliament,” Stanishev added.

The PES President that the expectation were for an even stronger election result. “For me it is important that in the next months the BSP shows initiative and a leading role in the formation of the European agenda in Bulgaria,” Stanishev said.


How Has Obamacare Affected Your Small Business? (POLL)

Friday, March 31st, 2017

 How Has Obamacare Affected Your Small Business To Date?

It looks like, intentions aside, small businesses will be stuck with Obamacare for a while yet.

After failure to get enough votes in the U.S. House to repeal and replace the legislation, the Trump administration worked to reassure business leaders last week.

But for now, Obamacare stays. So what we’d like to ask the small business community is this …

How Has Obamacare Affected Your Small Business To Date?

To be sure there have been winners and losers, and different sized companies have probably felt the impact to varying degrees. So if you had to give your personal story and that of your business, what would you say?

You could say it has affected your small business:

Very positively: I have been able to provide benefits for myself and my employees that I was not able to provide before.

Somewhat positively: I have been able to save somewhat on benefits for myself and my employees compared to before Obamacare.

Not Much: My business hasn’t been affected at all since I already had a package in place that has remained unchanged or the number of employees in my business falls below the number requiring mandatory coverage.

Somewhat negatively: I either had insurance coverage in place for my employees and am now paying more, have been forced to supply insurance that is now cutting into my profits or am paying penalties for not providing.

Very negatively: The cost of the insurance mandate has severely cut into my business revenue to the point that I am now looking at closing my doors.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Obama Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How Has Obamacare Affected Your Small Business? (POLL)” was first published on Small Business Trends


First Tourists Arrive to Bulgaria Black Sea Coast

Friday, March 31st, 2017

The tourist season on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast has opened with the arrival of the first 167 holidaymakers at Burgas Airport, according to BNR.

They are from Israel and will spend their vacation at Sunny Beach resort. This year Burgas Airport has introduced extra security measures. They are particularly tight for passengers coming from Israel. Except for gambling tourism Israeli nationals come to visit cultural and historical sites in the hinterland.


What Are Second Screen Stats and What Do They Mean to Your Business?

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Second Screen Stats Show That Use Keeps Rising -- How Your Small Business Can Take Advantage

More than 70 percent of adults surf the web on their phones while they watch TV.

They’re looking at sites they see in commercials. And they’re definitely reading and commenting on social media. You can assume they’re also doing other things like looking up actors’ previous roles, sports stats, etc.

This happens so often a term has evolved to describe the people who exhibit this behavior: second screen audiences.

Second Screen Stats

New data from eMarketer indicates that this phenomenon is growing rapidly. Exactly 74.1 percent of adults this year will surf the web on their phone while they watch TV. Data suggests this figure will increase to 79 percent next year.  Just three years ago, just over half of all adults would go on the web on their phones while they watched television.

This increase in second screen use is not limited to smartphones, either. The eMarketer data shows that desktop and laptop use by adults watching TV at the same time continues to go up. The same can be said for tablet use.

What Are People Searching For While Watching TV?

A long time ago there was a push to connect the web and TV directly. Now, however, thanks to the emergence of second screen audiences, they are. Though that connection is more indirect than what might have been originally envisioned.

More people are searching for and talking about the things they see on TV than ever before.

The eMarketer data shows that 31 percent of second screen audiences are browsing the web for content related to what they’re watching. Only back in 2014, that number was just 23 percent.

Nineteen percent of people are using their second screen to have social conversations related to what they’re watching. That’s up 2 percent from 2014.

For brands and companies that take advantage of this phenomenon, it’s really a form of social media newsjacking. That’s where businesses get involved in conversations revolving around current events.

What Your Small Business Can Do to Reach Second Screen Audiences

Twitter’s content manager Marissa Window writes on the Business for Twitter blog that people conversing about their TV viewing like to see brands interact.

She writes:

“Fans on Twitter like seeing brands join the conversation with relevant content or deals, and the same can be said about ads — 42 percent more time is spent looking at Twitter Ads relevant to surrounding content.”

So, align your social media strategy to talk to this crowd. Think about the shows and events on TV that tend to get people talking.

In entertainment, you know the Twitter and Facebook feeds light up when it’s Oscars night. And in sports, big games like the Super Bowl, March Madness and other championships bring out sports fans and their opinions.

One area where you might want to shy away from is politics, however. There, you risk alienating half your audience with just one post.

Think about the audience that’s most attracted to your business and brand. Find their social media conversations and join in. Reality shows are great examples. They’re often business-based and have loyal followers who like to chat online while they’re watching.

For example, a small restaurant might want to join in the conversation on #TopChef while a boutique clothing store would seek to talk to audiences tweeting about #ProjectRunway.

Guys on Phones Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What Are Second Screen Stats and What Do They Mean to Your Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends


3 Trends That Will Help You Boost Mobile User Experience

Friday, March 31st, 2017

3 Trends That Will Help You Boost Mobile User Experience

Successful online marketers are always on their toes. They constantly adapt to new trends and technology to have an edge over their competition.

Do you think you have what it takes to join their ranks? Then you should always think and act fast.

For example, remember when Google announced that more searches now occur on mobile devices than on computers? That was two years ago. And yet, a lot of website owners and bloggers still don’t have a mobile marketing strategy in place.

By now, it’s clear that mobile is the future of digital marketing. With technologies like VR and live video streaming, users are growing more concerned over mobile experience. In fact, 57 percent of them will refuse to recommend a business if it has a subpar mobile site.

Boosting Your Site’s Mobile User Experience

Don’t worry — you can still catch up by taking advantage of the latest trends in the mobile space. You can start with the following:

Creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Email marketing has been one of the cornerstones of digital marketing ever since the beginning. This time, evidence suggests that you should start optimizing emails for mobile users.

According to statistics, people now read emails longer on smartphones. It’s also predicted that, by 2018, 80 percent of users will use email services exclusively through a mobile device.

For starters, implementing a responsive email design is a great way to boost the mobile experience of your subscribers. Considering that platforms like Pagemodo, iContact or MailChimp already offer a number of responsive templates for emails. Then it should be easy to check this off your list.

Just remember to optimize every single detail for mobile screens. Buttons, for example, must be large and easy to tap. The content must also be presented in a long-scrolling format, which allows mobile users to simply swipe up to read the entire email.

Below are some additional tips on how to create mobile-friendly emails:

  • Compress images to reduce loading time. Remember that some mobile users still use 3G or slower connections, so try to avoid using high-resolution images.
  • Make fonts larger. To compensate for the smaller display of mobile devices, try to set your font size to 13 or 14 pixels.
  • Make sure CTAs are text-based. If you use an image as your CTA (Call to Action), there’s a chance that users won’t even see it.
  • Shorten your subject lines. To ensure good readability, avoid using long subject lines that needlessly take a lot of space.

Engaging Mobile Users via Video

Video content is long considered as the most effective in terms of engagement. Users love videos so much that email subject lines with the word “video” get 65 percent more click-throughs.

Incidentally, 51 percent of all video plays happen on mobile devices. So if you want to improve your site’s mobile experience, you need to diversify your content strategy and start thinking about video content.

Apart from using tools like Animatron to create professional-looking explainer videos, you should also consider launching live streams with platforms like Facebook Live, and Periscope.

Not only are live videos easier to make, they are also great for winning more views on social media. Studies show that users spend triple the time watching live videos compared to regular videos.

Here are some ideas for your first live video:

  • Interview a social media influencer
  • Have a live Q&A or webinar session and interact with your audience via comments
  • Invite your social media followers to a corporate event
  • Show a random video of your neighbor’s pet (social media users love animals)

Turn Your Site into a Progressive Web App

Lastly, another trend you should watch out for is the emergence of progressive web apps or PWAs. These are websites that can deliver app-like experiences to mobile users. They are fast, have offline capabilities, and are specifically optimized for touch-based interactions.

Some of the common features of PWAs include:

  • Push notifications,
  • Home screen shortcut,
  • Quick load times even through 3G connections,
  • 100 percent mobile responsive.

Since Google is all about user experience, they cover several case studies on brands that utilize PWAs.

Unfortunately, developing a PWA is not a DIY project you can do overnight. It is a significant investment that can prepare your brand for the future of mobile marketing.

To help point you in the right direction, Here is an infographic by Zeolearn that explains how PWAs work:

3 Trends That Will Help You Boost Mobile User Experience

Ultimately, it all boils down to user experience and how your brand can make a lasting impact in your audience’s lives. The strategies highlighted above helped you plan your mobile marketing campaign this 2017. What you need now is diligence, patience and relentlessness when it comes to executing these strategies.

Phone User Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “3 Trends That Will Help You Boost Mobile User Experience” was first published on Small Business Trends


Interior Ministry Deports More Foreign Nationals Than it Detains

Friday, March 31st, 2017

767 illegally residing third-country nationals have been deported from Bulgaria in the period from the beginning of 2017 until the end of March, Interior Ministry data show, quoted by BNR.

Most of them have been returned to their country of origin under voluntary repatriation programmes.

Over the same period a little over 607 persons have been detained while trying to cross the border into or out of the country.

53 people have been handed over to other EU member countries following readmission procedures under the Dublin Regulation, statistics indicate. 


Antitrust Watchdog Detects Conscious Parallelism Rather than Cartel in Fuel Market

Friday, March 31st, 2017

“There is conscious parallelism rather than a cartel in fuel trade,” Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) Yulia Nenkova told journalists on Friday, according to BTA.

In October 2016, the CPC launched a check into the operation of six fuel retail chains on suspicion of a price cartel. “All parties concerned were given a hearing at an open CPC meeting and the allegation of a fuel cartel was not proven,” Nenkova said. Her Commission found that the companies exchanged information and did not form a cartel.

The CPC ordered Lukoil Bulgaria EOOD, Eko Bulgaria EAD, Shell Bulgaria EAD, OMV Bulgaria OOD, NIS Petrol EOOD and Petrol AD to take measures to restrict business information by means of internal procedures. The CPC wants the six companies to prohibit contacts and information exchange with competitor companies and their employees; to prohibit contacts between the employees of own and competitor filling stations; and to prohibit the discussion, obtaining or providing of business information within the Bulgarian Petroleum and Gas Association. The CPC wants the employees who do not comply with the requirement to respect the confidentiality of business information to be dismissed for breach of discipline.

The Commission did not specify how they will enforce compliance with these requirements.

Acting on an alert from the prosecuting magistracy, the CPC is investigating Vesselin Mareshki’s VM Petroleum company, which is selling fuels some 0.30 leva/litre cheaper than its competitors, for price dumping.


German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble Says EU to Take Tough Stance in Brexit Talks

Friday, March 31st, 2017

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a German newspaper the European Union should take a tough stance in negotiations with Britain over its exit from the bloc after more than 40 years of membership, Reuters reported.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday formally notified Brussels of Britain’s intention to quit the EU, triggering two years of talks to negotiate the terms of the divorce.

“We want to keep the Brits close but there are no rights without obligations,” Schaeuble told the Friday edition of regional newspaper Osnabruecker Zeitung.

Schaeuble said the key task in Brexit talks was to minimize damage to both parties but he added that would be tough due to the many complicated issues involved and the two-year timeframe.

Britain will not maintain its current access to the European single market if it does not accept the rules associated with it, he said.
Schaeuble said the aim was not to punish Britain and Brexit would hurt Britain and all other countries in Europe anyway. “But it is of course important that we keep the rest of the EU together,” he said.

Schaeuble said EU member states should be prepared for Britain to try to play them off each other but warned that they needed to be united in talks with the London government.


Nearly 9 Percent of Small Businesses Suffered a Burglary or Theft Last Year

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Nearly 9 Percent of Small Businesses Suffered Commercial Burglaries or Thefts Last Year

If you haven’t taken adequate steps to protect your business from burglary or theft, now is the right time to rethink your strategy. According to new data by Chicago-based insurance agency Insureon, 8.8 percent of small businesses suffered a burglary of theft in 2016.

The survey further reveals a business owner might have to pay approximately $8,000 out of pocket for a burglary or theft incident. That’s a significant price to pay for any small business.

Businesses Reluctant to File for Insurance Claims

Other than burglary or theft, many small businesses also experienced client complaints or contract disputes (22.2 percent) and employee injury (10.6 percent), all incidents potentially resulting in costs that might have been covered by insurance.

It’s worth noting that 35.2 percent of businesses were hit by an incident that insurance might have covered. Surprisingly however, many small business owners like Dylan Gallagher, owner of tour company Orange Sky Adventures, aren’t filing claims.

“We had our van broken into by a robber the other day and I had two choices: pay the $300 bill myself or go through my insurance company,” says Gallagher. “I chose to pay the bill myself to avoid bureaucracy. Besides, I’d rather keep my insurance premiums low and just get on with business.”

Tip to Prevent Thefts

For businesses, it pays to boost security to prevent thefts or burglaries. Luckily, there are several budget-friendly options to choose from.

Take the dropcam for example. Considered one of the easiest entry-level solutions, dropcams are do-it-yourself devices that address small business needs.

Another tip is to train employees to keep an eye on customers.

For the study, Insureon surveyed 1,002 small business owners online.

Security Camera Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Nearly 9 Percent of Small Businesses Suffered a Burglary or Theft Last Year” was first published on Small Business Trends


Bulgarian Painter Iskren Iliev with Solo Exhibition ‘Dust and Dreams’

Friday, March 31st, 2017

On March, 30 the painter Iskren Iliev presented his solo exhibition Dust and Dreams among the archaeological remains of Sofia Roman amphitheatre ( Amphiteatrum Serdicense).

Lovers of art can see it from March 31 to April 30, 2017 in the gallery “Rimini” hotel “Arena di Serdica” street. Str.”Budapest” 2.

The place  for this exhibition was deliberately chosen by the curator Velina Ileva – sandy shades that dominate in the work of Iskren Iliev, together with strong contemporary figurative compositions in his paintings, intriguing corresponded with the ruins of a bygone era.

The focus of the artist is always on the imperishable in the perishable, the current moment  as eternity, containing within itself yesterday, today and tomorrow, in the hope that  each of us is leaving a trace behind and at the same time knowing that we are just a grain sandin the eternity clock of timelessness. And that’s why we’re so valuable.

The artist Iskren Iliev – is one of the brightest young Bulgarian artists abroad. Since 1996, he is living and working as an independent artist in Vienna, Austria.

The famous young Bulgarian Painter holds a Master Degree of Arts from the University of Applied Arts – Vienna, Specialisation in Painting - in the Class of Prof. Hutter. He is interested in the human being, relationships, deep emotions and honesty. He works preferentially in series, using a mixed technique on canvas. 

His large-size pictures and etchings are always ‘without title’, because for him every picture is presenting a process which should not be limited with barriers and titles.

Each of the single viewer should be able to discover something else in his pictures; pictures as snapshots of life which simply do not tell a story but offer incentives for interpretation and connections.

The exhibition will continue until April 30, 2017 More information


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