Archive for November, 2017

Why Your Small Business Should Adopt New Technology Bit by Bit

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

The Odds of Success With Small Businesses Technology Implementation Go up With a Bit-By-Bit Approach

There are tons of tech tools out there that can help your small business. But adopting all of that new technology at once can be overwhelming and potentially lead to a loss of productivity. Instead, it can be more beneficial to take small steps.

Small Business Trends caught up with Rebekah King, director of marketing systems for Cox Automotive at Salesforce’s recent Dreamforce event in San Francisco. Cox Automotive is a company that helps dealers and other automotive businesses digitize their marketing and sales processes. So King is uniquely familiar with how technology can help businesses of all sizes. But just because technology can be helpful doesn’t mean you should just adopt every tech tool out there right away.

In fact, King says that Cox Automotive’s strategy is more about taking small steps. And she thinks it’s a model that can work really well for companies of all sizes, no matter how big the vision might be.

Step-By-Step Technology Implementation

King said, “We may have a big vision about unifying our client experience. But we get there through putting one foot in front of the other in a very small and practical way. And one day you’ll look up after doing that and see that you’ve put together a whole program that is really moving your business forward but you didn’t spend seven months figuring it out or two years formulating the strategy. You just spent three weeks on that one piece.”

So for small businesses looking to shape a tech adoption strategy, King’s advice is to choose one small thing to focus on. Then make that small change and execute it fully before moving onto the next thing.

King added, “The very practical thing is to just take one piece of the functionality you want to be able to do. If you want to do lead nurturing — lead nurturing is a huge end-to-end vision. So just start with one part of that.”

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This article, “Why Your Small Business Should Adopt New Technology Bit by Bit” was first published on Small Business Trends

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How to Start a Retail Business

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

So, you want to start a retail business? Perhaps you’ve cottoned on to the success of online sellers and want to start your own e-commerce site, or maybe you’ve always dreamt of owning your own store? Whatever your reasons, the dream of starting a retail business can soon become a reality, but it is a tough market to crack.

There’s no denying that running a business is hard work, especially in the beginning. The decisions you make now will determine the future success and profitability of your business, after all. With the right planning and research, however, the ultimate payoff will be worth your while. So, here are five tips for building a retail business from scratch.

 Decide What to Sell

Before you start building your retail business, you need to decide what you’re going to sell. Perhaps you’ve already figured this out, but if not, now’s the time to decide. Most retail outlets (both online and offline) sell products sourced from manufacturers, but you may decide to create your own. If so, it’s a good idea to look at your hobbies, interests and skillset when making this decision.

Play to Your Strengths

If you’re good at crafts, you might want to start a website from which you sell gifts. If you’re into books, perhaps your aim is to open up an independent bookstore. Whatever you decide, it’s a good idea to choose something you’re knowledgeable about, as knowing your product will allow you to make better business decisions down the line. 

Assess the Market and Competition

Once you’ve decided what to sell, you need to assess the market and figure out if there is demand for what you’re selling. If there is, then great, but it probably means there are other businesses already meeting that demand. If so, you will need to think about what makes your business stand out from the competition.

If you’re planning to sell online, look at the online market for your product and figure out how you could offer a better service. Acquire data through research hubs, trade journals and magazines to help you understand your market. You will need this information to write your business plan.

Decide Where to Sell

Before you write a business plan, you also need to decide where you will sell your products. You may wish to start out on an online selling platform like eBay, Amazon or Etsy, or launch your own e-commerce site. If you’re hoping to open a store, you will need to research rental space where you can sell your products. Don’t worry about finding space for your stock straight away, as you can always use a business storage unit until you’re ready to upgrade to a larger premises.

Write a Business Plan

The next step is to write a business plan showcasing your market research and business concept. Depending on the type of business you are hoping to launch, you may need to show this document to potential partners or investors who will help to fund your business idea, so you will need to research how to write a business plan.

 

If you’re going out on your own, you may need to show your plan to banks or other lenders. Plus, it’s a great working document that you can update according to your projections, sales and profits. 

 

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Archaeologists May Have Discovered Ancient Thracian, Roman Town Scaptopara, Precursor of Bulgaria’s Blagoevgrad

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a large town from the time of the Roman Empire hypothesizing that it might be the Ancient Thracian and Roman settlement of Scaptopara, the predecessor of today’s city of Blagoevgrad in Southwest Bulgaria, whose name is known from a stone inscription of a petition by the locals to Roman Emperor Gordian III.

Learn more HERE!

*Content provided by ArchaeologyinBulgaria.com.

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Oil output cuts to be extended throughout 2018

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Biggest producers seek to reduce stockpiles and keep prices above $60 a barrel

Small Business Trends Magazine’s Planning Edition Helps You Map Your Company’s Future

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

It’s natural this time of year to think about the past and plan for the future.

That’s why we’re releasing the Planning edition of Small Business Trends magazine today. Inside, you’ll see the gamut of advice from small business experts on subjects of vital importance to companies like yours and their future.

For startups, we’ve got advice on the best parts of a winning business plan. You do have a business plan, right? Even if you own an established business but don’t have a plan in writing, now’s the time for one. The tips from expert Steven Scheck have businesses of the less and more established variety covered.

Stuck on writing a solid business plan? Check out the article inside from our reporter Rob Starr. He goes over the 10 steps you need to take to write a solid and effective business plan today.

Of course, there are business owners reading this right now and thinking about the business plan they once wrote but scrapped. Small business expert Melinda Emerson has some great advice on how to fix common mistakes that mar many business plans.

Narrowing focus a bit, our reporter Nash Riggins offers up tips for putting together your company’s marketing plan — a critical step. And Larry Alton goes over a change management plan and why your small business needs one.

And if you ever plan to walk away from your business in the distant future, planning for your own retirement as an entrepreneur is critical. After all, you don’t have an employer looking out for that part of your life!

There’s all this and a lot more planning advice in this edition of Small Business Trends magazine.

Be sure to download your FREE copy today!

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Small Business Trends Magazine’s Planning Edition Helps You Map Your Company’s Future” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Data from UK’s biggest water companies full of ‘basic errors’

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Thames Water singled out and put in lowest category by Ofwat

50 Small Business Export Ideas

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

50 Small Business Export Ideas

Small businesses make up nearly all of the U.S. exporting market. And international consumer markets like China’s growing middle class offer plenty of opportunities for even more small businesses to get in on the exporting game.

Small Business Export Ideas

If you’re interested in starting a business that exports products to other markets around the world, check out these 50 small business export ideas.

Vehicle Exports

The auto industry in the U.S. makes it a great area to focus an exporting business. You can work with manufacturers or even export used vehicles.

Auto Parts Exports

You could also focus your efforts on smaller products within the automotive niche like parts and tools.

Computer Exports

Computers and similar tech are also popular in markets around the world. So you could start an exporting business that focuses on computer parts and similar hardware.

Smartphone Exports

Or you could focus on smartphones and used mobile technology products.

Tech Accessory Exports

There’s also a huge assortment of tech accessories for smartphones and computers that you could export from the U.S.

Clothing Exports

There isn’t a ton of clothing manufacturing in the U.S. compared to some other countries. But you can still create a business that exports clothing from certain U.S. designers or even independent artisans.

Beauty Product Exports

You can also start a business that exports beauty products like cosmetics, hair care and skin care items.

Cotton Exports

Cotton is a popular export for U.S. businesses. You can ship the raw material to manufacturers in other countries that make clothing and textiles.

Art Exports

You could also start a business that focuses on exporting art to collectors around the world.

Collectible Exports

There are also a number of other niches that are popular with collectors around the world. So you could start a business with a very specific collectible product line that you ship out to those collectors.

Leather Goods Exports

Leather goods are also popular in markets around the world, making for great opportunities for exports.

Timber Exports

You can also start a business that exports raw wood material to companies that manufacture furniture and similar products.

Paper Exports

Or you could process that material further and then ship out raw paper materials to businesses that use it in various manufacturing processes.

Home Goods Exports

For those who want to ship products to actual consumers or retailers that sell to consumers, you could sell home decor or housewares.

Produce Exports

Farming or agriculture businesses can grow by exporting produce to various markets overseas.

Meat Exports

Beef and other meat products from U.S. farmers are also popular in markets around the world like China.

Seafood Exports

If you have a fishing business, you can also export those products to markets around the world that don’t have access to the same types of seafood.

Rice Exports

The U.S. recently struck a deal to export rice products to China. So this is another viable opportunity for U.S. food businesses.

Livestock Exports

For businesses that have the logistical ability to transport animals, you can export livestock to other countries in North America.

Animal Feed Exports

Animal feed is another potential area for farming and food businesses to consider.

Packaged Food and Beverage Exports

You can also actually package and brand food products and then sell them directly to consumers or retail outlets in other countries.

Pharmaceutical Exports

Though there are plenty of hoops to jump through when exporting pharmaceuticals, you can work with drug companies to arrange the export of various pharmaceuticals to medical suppliers in other countries.

Metal Exports

Various metals can also be popular for manufacturers and other types of businesses around the world.

Gem Exports

Or you could focus on a smaller niche and export gems to jewelers and similar businesses in other countries.

Machinery Exports

Machinery and factory equipment is another popular category for U.S. exporters.

Transportation Equipment Exports

You can also focus on equipment for transportation companies like aviation parts or equipment for railway systems.

Chemical Exports

Organic chemicals can also be popular with a variety of different organizations around the world.

Medical Equipment Exports

Or you could focus on providing medical equipment to facilities in other countries.

Electrical Equipment Exports

You can also build a business that exports electrical equipment to builders and businesses.

Coal Exports

Coal is still used by a lot of outlets as a power source. So you can potentially export the material to those outlets.

Plastic Exports

You can also export raw plastic material to manufacturers that use the material in various products.

Environmental Technology Exports

Or you can provide products or even services for companies that want equipment and expertise to improve their environmental initiatives.

Handmade Product Exports

Handmade products have become increasingly popular in markets around the world. So you can export your own handmade products or even arrange exports for other handmade businesses.

Used Product Exports

You can also focus on selling a variety of different used or secondhand products to consumers in other countries.

Software Service Exports

If you have the ability to create software or cloud based services, you can focus on selling those products or services to users in other countries.

Financial Service Exports

It’s also possible to build a business around financial services that focuses on markets outside of the U.S.

Business Service Exports

Or you could provide services to other businesses and focus on working with companies in other countries.

Information Service Exports

Information service, like IT expertise or consulting, can also provide great business opportunities. And you can easily work with clients in outside the U.S. either by traveling or communicating mainly online.

Training Exports

You could also build a business centered around training for workers and companies in other countries.

Entertainment Exports

Since U.S. entertainment like music and movies tend to be popular in other countries as well, you can build an export business that brings those items to international consumers.

Construction Exports

You can also start a construction business that provides services in international markets.

Engineering Exports

Similarly, you can start an engineering business where you work with companies and organizations around the world.

Running an Export Warehouse

You might also consider starting a warehouse business where you store and arrange for the export of various products for other businesses.

Dropshipping Service

Or you could create a more all-encompassing service for ecommerce businesses by working as a dropshipping provider that covers all of the shipping and logistics for ecommerce businesses.

Export Brokerage

You could also start a business where you serve as a trade agent to help other small businesses manage their exports.

Customs Brokerage

Or you could focus more specifically on helping exporters with issues related to getting items through customs.

Export Consultant

It’s also possible to create a consultancy business that helps other businesses looking to break into the business of exporting.

Running an Export Directory

You could also start a business that lists various exporters in a directory format to help importers looking for specific products or services.

Export Marketing Service

For experienced marketers, you could start a marketing company that helps exporters market their products to their target customers outside the U.S.

Export Insurance Service

There are also a lot of insurance considerations for businesses that export. So you could start an agency that helps those businesses get the insurance they need to protect their assets.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “50 Small Business Export Ideas” was first published on Small Business Trends

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As bitcoin’s price passes $10,000, its rise seems unstoppable

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

MOST money these days is electronic—a series of ones and zeros on a computer. So it is rather neat that bitcoin, a privately created electronic currency, has lurched from $1,000 to above $10,000 this year (see chart), an epic journey to add an extra zero.

On the way, the currency has been controversial. Jamie Dimon, the boss of JPMorgan Chase, has called it a fraud. Nouriel Roubini, an economist, plumped for “gigantic speculative bubble”. Ordinary investors are being tempted into bitcoin by its rapid rise—a phenomenon dubbed FOMO (fear of missing out). Both the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, America’s largest futures market, and the NASDAQ stock exchange have seemingly added their imprimaturs by planning to offer bitcoin-futures contracts.

It is easy to muddle two separate issues. One is whether the “blockchain” technology that underpins bitcoin becomes more widely adopted. Blockchains, distributed ledgers that record transactions securely, may prove very useful in…Continue reading

The euro zone’s boom masks problems that will return to haunt it

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

“WHAT does not kill me makes me stronger,” wrote Nietzsche in “G?tzen-D?mmerung”, or “Twilight of the Idols”. Alternatively, it leaves the body dangerously weakened, as did the illnesses that plagued the German philosopher all his life. The euro area survived a hellish decade, and is now enjoying an unlikely boom. The OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, reckons that the euro zone will have grown faster in 2017 than America, Britain or Japan. But, sadly, although the currency bloc has undoubtedly proven more resilient than many economists expected, it is only a little better equipped to survive its next recession than it was the previous one.

Europe’s crisis was brutal. Euro-area GDP is roughly €1.4trn ($1.7trn)—an Italy, give or take—below the level it would have reached had it grown at 2% per year since 2007. Parts of the periphery have yet to regain the output levels they enjoyed a decade ago (see chart). The damage was exacerbated by deep flaws within Europe’s monetary union. Three shortcomings loomed particularly large. First, the union centralised money-creation but left national governments responsible for their own fiscal solvency. So markets came to understand that governments could no longer bail themselves out by printing money to pay off creditors. The risk of default made markets panic in response to bad news, pushing up…Continue reading

Digital news outlets are in for a reckoning

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

GREAT expectations attended digital journalism outfits. Firms such as BuzzFeed and Mashable were the hip kids destined to conquer the internet with their younger, advertiser-friendly audience, smart manipulation of social media and affinity for technology. They seemed able to generate massive web traffic and, with it, ad revenues. They saw the promise of video, predicting that advertising dollars spent on television would migrate online. Their investors, including Comcast, Disney and General Atlantic, an investment firm, saw the same, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars each into Vice Media, BuzzFeed and Vox (giving them valuations of $5.7bn, $1.7bn and over $1bn, respectively).

They have had successes. Some became ninjas in “SEO” long before most print journalists knew it stood for “search engine optimisation”. They introduced “clickbait” to the lexicon. Some, like BuzzFeed and Vice, worked out that fortunes were to be made in brand-supported viral hits—or “native advertising” that looks similar to the sites’…Continue reading

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