Archive for February, 2018

Top Business Stories: Teens Lose Interest in Facebook, Customers Gripe About Chatbots

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

10 Facebook Business Page Tips that Will Keep You From Screwing Up Your Marketing Efforts (Video)

Top news this week revolved around trends impacting two of the most important tools around these days for business.

A new study found that Facebook’s hold on the younger online generations is loose, at best. This is something to consider for your future marketing efforts.

Speaking of the future … chatbots are more accessible for small businesses than ever before but that doesn’t always mean your customers are going to like using them.

Learn what huge recent surveys say about Facebook and chatbots — and how they could both affect your business in this week’s small business news and information roundup.

Top Tech News

Attention Marketers: Less than Half of Teens Will Use Facebook This Year

If your small business relies on marketing to teenagers, you may want to think of any strategy that avoids Facebook (NASDAQ: FB). According to new eMarketer research, this will be the first year that less than half of internet users between the ages of 12 and 17 will use Facebook. That figure doesn’t mean the social media site is dead by any stretch of the imagination.

Facebook Giving Businesses the Ability to Post to Crisis Response

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has announced businesses and organizations can now post on its Community Help feature, designed to make it easier to ask for and give help during a crisis. Facebook Community Help for Businesses By enabling businesses to post on Community Help will assist firms in providing critical information and services for people when they need it the most.

59 Percent of Online Customers Say Chatbots are Slow in Resolving Their Problems

PointSource has released a survey which looks to find common ground between consumers and artificial intelligence (AI), more specifically chatbots. And in the process, the company has found out some of the pet peeves or frustrations people are experiencing with chatbots. To date, Chatbots have become the most popular AI application.

1 in 5 Businesses Will Abandon Their Mobile App by 2019

Businesses big and small often struggle to find a useful purpose for their mobile apps. This is especially frustrating because developing and updating an app so it remains at least somewhat functional requires more than a nominal investment. Well, it appears that businesses are finally realizing this and many will give up on their apps in the next year or two.

20% of All Searches are Made with Voice (INFOGRAPHIC)

A new and very interactive infographic by Adzooma takes a look at how online advertising will be trending in 2018. And one of the data points is the growth of voice search, which now makes up 20 percent of inquiries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices.

More Tech Trends

Small Businesses in Dallas and Waco, Texas Will See New AT&T Mobile 5G This Year

This is the year 12 lucky cities in the US will experience standards-based mobile 5G from AT&T (NYSE: T), making it the first carrier in the country to do so. AT&T 5G Rollout Cities The announcement comes just two months after AT&T carried out its first fixed wireless trial at Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco.

How to Use Technology to Take Charge of Your Business Meetings

Meetings pose an ongoing challenge for business leaders. The goal is to lead meetings more efficiently. However, that’s easier said then done. Although they’re a necessary part of effective communication and collaboration, meetings can easily become a drudgery for attendees. For years, interoffice meetings meant handing out a paper-based agenda.

2 out of 3 Service Contractors Won’t Get Hired if They’re Not Tech Savvy

Being tech-savvy is fundamental to functioning in today’s highly connected world. A new survey commissioned by Verizon Telematics and carried out by KRC Research highlights the extent of this example as it reveals 2 out of 3 customers said they would not hire a service contractor who is not tech-savvy.

7 Ways A Cloud Based Virtual Assistant Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur

Did you know that more than half of Americans want their own personal AI assistant, and why not? Having a cloud-based virtual assistant to hand your tasks off to is like a dream; your own guy or girl Friday that can handle everything from scheduling to research, project management, and even sales. Happily, with the rise of cloud based virtual assistants, this dream is coming true.

Economy

Only 9% of Small Business Owners Expect to Cut Staff Due to Automation

The new National Small Business Association (NSBA) and ZipRecruiter Report reveals only nine percent of small business owners expect to cut staff due to automation. More significantly, 24 percent said they would need more employees, while the majority, or 67 percent, said they would need the same number of workers.

Small Toy Companies Thrive While Toys R Us Announces Store Closings

Toys ‘R’ Us is slated to close 180 stores across the US as the 115th North American International Toy Fair got underway in NYC. But the market is rewarding nimble small businesses creating new toys faster than large established corporations. Fox Business reports Toys ‘R’ Us hopes to restructure and recover after the company filed for bankruptcy.

48% of Business Owners Who Want to Sell Have No Exit Strategy

Having an exit strategy when you start a business makes it that much easier to execute rational and informed decisions when you want to get out. But the UBS (NYSE: UBS) Q1 Investor Watch Report, “Who’s the boss?” reveals 48 percent of business owners don’t have a formal exit strategy.

41% of Entrepreneurs Will Leave Their Small Business Behind in 5 Years

A staggering 41 percent of entrepreneurs will leave their small business behind in five years. This was the finding of a report by the global financial services firm UBS (NYSE: UBS), looking at business ownership and entrepreneurialism in modern America.

Employment

8 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from the Flu Pandemic

This year, the flu is more than just a nuisance: it’s killing unusually high numbers of people, many of whom had only mild symptoms at first. As of last week, more than 48 states were still reporting widespread cases of the flu, according to CBS News. Overall, this flu season may cost U.S. businesses as much as $21 billion, predicts consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Small Business Summit Lists Attracting and Retaining Employees Among Greatest Challenges

With a whopping 70 percent of small businesses struggling to find and retain skilled employees, attracting and retaining talent is the leading challenge small business owners face. This was the key takeaway at Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business Summit: The Big Power of Small Business.

Franchise

5 Ways Tax Reform is Helping Franchise Businesses

The recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could have a major impact on franchise businesses. The tax reform will likely lead to changes ranging from increased deductions to a more financially stable customer base. Ways Tax Reform Is Helping Franchises Here are a few of the specific ways this new legislation could help franchises.

Local Marketing

Want to Step Up to Your Biggest Small Business Challenge? Read This First

As a philanthropist and award winning television host of shows like Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Ty Pennington has a proven track record of motivating people. That’s why Small Business Trends was happy to interview him and learn what he thought was the biggest challenge facing a small business.

Management

Does the Small Construction Firm Waste Half The Day on Unproductive Activities?

More than half or 57 percent of the time on construction sites is spent on unproductive activities. This according to new infographics from Volvo titled, “Top Tech Trends to Boost Construction Productivity.” Construction Industry Ready for Technology Disruption As the data provided by Volvo points out, construction is one industry ripe for disruption with technology.

Marketing Tips

5 Tips for Differentiating Your Home Improvement Contracting Business

Getting a leg up on the competition in the home improvement business can be tough. Small Business Trends spoke with Dave Yoho, the Founder and President of Dave Yoho Associates, a consulting company that’s been representing small businesses since 1962.

Want People to Remember Your Ads? Be Funny, Clutch Says

The most memorable commercials are probably the ones that made you laugh. And a new survey from Clutch says 53 percent of consumers are just as likely to remember an ad if it is funny. Funny Ads Are More Memorable The Clutch report looks at what kind of ads consumers prefer across TV, online, social media and print.

Retail Trends

Style.me Gives Ecommerce Fashion Sellers Plugin to Offer 3D Fittings

Style.me just announced the availability of its 3D virtual fitting and styling technology for retailers and consumers for the North American market. You can now let your customers see how the clothes you sell online look on their personal avatars. 3D Virtual Styling in Action The patented technology by Style.me brings together 3D rendering and 4K video to accurately capture the garments.

Sales

The Hidden Mystery Behind Building Trust with Potential Customers

We don’t buy products, services or companies. Well, we do, but we buy them from people we trust. We all operate in competitive industries. Our prospects can find what we sell just about anywhere. So, how do they decide who they buy it from? They buy from the person they trust. Therefore, people buy from people – first.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Franchise Takes a Unique Approach to Dog Training

The pet industry is booming. But it’s not all about boutique grooming products or homemade treats. Service businesses like Zoom Room are also appealing to pet owners. The company takes a unique approach to dog training, focusing on training with dog owners and also giving the animals a place to exercise and socialize.

Small Business Operations

30+ Free SMB Resources for Growth and Innovation

Your business may be small now, but with the right technology, tools, and resources you can grow faster than ever. Here’s a collection of 30+ awesome, free resources to help and inspire your growing business. Growth Growth Kit (worksheet).

10 Tech-Centric Methods for Growing Your Business

You already know that technology can have a major impact on your business. But it’s finding the right technology to use that’s the real trick. For that, it can help to get some expertise from other successful business owners. Here’s what some members of the online small business community are saying about the tech tools they’ve used to grow their businesses.

Tools

2 New Tools from Vimeo Help Businesses Share Content with More Viewers

Two new distribution tools for social media from Vimeo will help creators streamline their workflow so they can be more efficient and reach a wider audience. New Vimeo Social Distribution Features Simulcast and Publish to Social bring other online channels into the Vimeo platform so creators can deliver their content without additional tools and compatibility issues.

Measure Your Business Networking with this Mobile App from BNI.com

The Networking Scorecard app from BNI.com encourages you to build your business networking skills by scoring the different actions you take to grow business relationships. BNI.com, the world’s largest networking organization, created the Networking Scorecard app with some gamification features.

Make Deals for Your Business in Plain English with Outlaw

The newly launched Outlaw platform seeks to help small businesses close deals faster by simplifying contracts. Outlaw helps small businesses and contractors who frequently make and sign deals with clients for products or services, do business faster with more transparency.

Startup

What I Learned from My Immigrant Parents About Succeeding in Business

In the past year, there’s been a lot of conversation about immigrants. All this talk made me think about my parents, who emigrated from the Basque region of France and Spain and started small businesses here in the U.S. Growing up in Northern California, I was often embarrassed.

 

 

This article, “Top Business Stories: Teens Lose Interest in Facebook, Customers Gripe About Chatbots” was first published on Small Business Trends

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The week in energy: A new gas export hub?

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Egypt’s deal with Israel could help re-establish the country as an LNG exporter

She Means Business – What All Female Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Business Financing

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Sponsored Post

She Means Business - Business Financing for Female Entrepreneurs - Free Webinar

Are you a female entrepreneur facing the unique challenges many women-owned businesses share?

Of course, plenty of small businesses are already headed by women — and the number is growing. The disparity comes when comparing the amount of funding women run businesses receive compared to their male run counterparts, according to our friends at Biz2Credit.

To address this issue confronting many female entrepreneurs, join us for a special webinar on March 6, 2018. We’re going to put on our strategy hats and cover a variety of in-depth insights into what all women-owned businesses need to know to obtain the capital they deserve. More importantly, you’ll receive concrete tips for using current trends to drive more profitability, increase your business efficiency and grow sales.

Biz2Credit and Small Business Trends are excited to present our joint webinar, “She Means Business – What All Female Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Business Financing” on Tuesday, March 6th, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm (EST).

Webinar Details:

Who: Anita Campbell, founder and CEO of Small Business Trends; Rohit Arora, co-founder and CEO of Biz2Credit; Adrienne Garland, founder and CEO of She Leads Media

What: She Means Business – What All Female Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Business Financing

When: Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm Eastern time

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Reserve Your Spot!

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “She Means Business – What All Female Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Business Financing” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Investors Chronicle: Hotel Chocolat, AA, Glencore

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Companies analysis from our sister publication

Jon Lee of ProsperWorks: Automating CRM Data Entry Improves Impact of AI and Provides Better Insights

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

When many think about artificial intelligence (AI) today it’s usually centered around headline grabbing examples of it addressing the futuristic type issues and challenges. And because the media lens focuses on those “eye-catching” use cases, many small businesses don’t feel like AI is really something that they would benefit from.  But, according to Jon Lee, founder and CEO of CRM platform ProsperWorks, AI can help businesses of all sizes make better, more timely decisions that can help create more successful outcomes.

Better CRM Data Quality Improves AI and Analytics

Lee shares how automating the data entry process not only frees up sales professionals from having to enter and maintain contact and account records, but also provides CRM apps with the data it needs to feed AI and uncover important relationship-building insights.  Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.  To see the full interview watch the embedded video or click on the SoundCloud player.

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Jon Lee of ProsperWorks: Automating CRM Data Entry for Better Data Quality Improves AI and AnalyticsSmall Business Trends: I want to get a little view of your personal background and also give us like the 30,000 foot view of what ProsperWorks is and what you guys do.

Jon Lee:  I’ve been a career entrepreneur since 2005. Started my first company, a marketing automation software business. I bootstrapped it to 47 million in revenues and then sold it to a private equity consortium in a roll up of various advertising networks. Then I started a software company that built video games and AV testing software. And then we sold that company to Zynga. And then basically took a long hiatus and really questioned my meaning for life and realized that it’s to serve. I felt that the best way to do that was to help my fellow kind which is other entrepreneurs, other fast-growing businesses.

Every business struggles with building great relationships and ultimately monetizing those relationships. And so we focused on the CRM space but we did so and really positioned ourselves differently by focusing on G-Suite, which is formerly known as Google Apps. So ProsperWorks is the number one CRM for Google Apps and we are solving the biggest problem in CRM today, which is that there’s a lot of dirty data. It’s actually dirty data that causes more than 47% of CRM’s to fail according to Forester.

We automate data entry. Nobody likes data entry. It’s a huge waste of time. We estimate sales reps spend almost a day out of the entire week entering information. And for what reason? So CRM’s I think historically have largely been focused on backwards looking data. It’s an auditing mechanism for management to make sure that the team is ultimately working, right? The reality is that you want your team working, you don’t want them filling out data. That’s really where we come in and we really solve that problem.

By solving that data entry problem, that data cleanliness problem, we’re actually able to realize the revolution of CRM, which is that no longer are CRM’s just a backwards looking tool to see what happened in history, but actually can inform what you should do in the future. Using algorithms to basically interpret what was successful and what was correlated with success, verified causation, and then continually test that, we can actually recommend to customers what they should be doing. And ultimately automate that for our customers.

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Small Business Trends: Give me the distinction or the definition of dirty data and how it compares to incomplete date or out of date data?

Jon Lee:  Usually it’s incomplete data is the number one issue, right? You have a meeting, you have a series of meetings, you get caught up, you forget to update your CRM at the end of the week. You don’t remember something so you basically don’t enter the information or if you do, it’s not accurate. Another thing is you pay your reps and you pay your relationship managers where you yourself as a relationship manager your most valuable asset is your time. And so a lot of times you’ll just enter something within CRM just to be able to try to have really good hygiene but the reality is it’s a hard thing to do. It requires a lot of discipline. But why should you even have to do it?

We live in the cloud today. All of the applications we use to communicate with customers exist in the cloud. We can pull that in so that your data is relevant, it’s comprehensive, it’s fresh, and you can trust it. And that’s the number one thing, can you trust your data? If you can trust your data you can make data driven decisions as to how you start to optimize your sales process? Who are your best performing reps that your other reps can learn from? Why are you losing customers? Why are you winning customers? Answering these key strategic questions, they’re important for every business owner, for every functional leader that they need to have answers to.

Small Business Trends: Talk the effect of good, clean data on AI and how that could optimize the benefits that companies get?

Jon Lee: That’s right. An algorithm is only as good as the data that you put in it. If you have missing data, the algorithm can’t really interpret for that or error correct for that. And so you need not only clean data but you need lots of data. If you don’t have those then you either don’t have an answer or you have an answer that’s non-determinant. Your error bands basically cross each other and you can’t make a decision. I think that AI is going to completely revolutionize CRM and just relationship management in general is because it’s going to be able to identify all of the specific things that occur, find those correlations to success, validate causation, retest, and then ultimately be able to help inform what the next decision is. Be able to identify patterns in data that human beings otherwise can’t see, right? To be able to inform. How can you optimize your business process better? How can you do better on that next call? What are the key things said in the call that really convinced the buyer to move forward with your solution.

We live in an amazing world today where you can transcribe this entire conversation. You can analyze it against other conversations, pattern match it, and be able to figure out what are the key phrases. Those are things that folks are doing that’s really exciting and that’s really helping to promote what I call the augmented productivity economy. Which is that it’s focused on really helping humans build better relationships. And through better relationships you get better results both for your customer and for your company.

Small Business Trends: And how does clean data, and complete data, and timely data, how does that impact ability to get the right nugget at the right time when you can actually do something with it?

Jon Lee:  An example would be you walk into a meeting, ProsperWorks knows you have this calendar event. It’s automatically recalled all of the e-mails, all of the phone calls, it’s transcribed the voice, it’s got all of the customer service tickets, it’s entered my information from outside the web about this person’s interest. It pops up because it knows, hey it’s time for the meeting and you’ve just walked into the building. And it can provide you with this whole dossier so to speak of what’s going on. And then that makes you go into the meeting knowing exactly what the customer’s challenges are, where you last left off, what your next objective is, and so forth.

This article, “Jon Lee of ProsperWorks: Automating CRM Data Entry Improves Impact of AI and Provides Better Insights” was first published on Small Business Trends

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The Road Infrastructure Agency has Warned of Snow and Strong Winds from Sunday

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Snowfall and strong winds are expected next week. Colder weather will begin on Sunday. The forecast of the meteorologists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is for a significant decrease of the temperatures from the strong northeast wind, which increases the prerequisites for ice.

Blizzards and snowfalls are possible, warned the travel agency. From there, they advise drivers who are on their way to ride vehicles in winter conditions to be cautious and with reasonable speed and follow Traffic Police instructions. Blocking traffic by vehicles with non-fitting tires makes it difficult for snowmobiles to work and prevents all other drivers from traveling.

Approximately 3000 machines are ready to maintain the roads, the agency adds.

All citizens and transport companies can receive information about the current traffic situation from the free mobile application LIMA, lima.api.bg, the website of API – http://www.api.bg, and at any time of the day at 0700 130 20 in the RIA.

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South Africans are Fastest at Sales, What can You Learn for Your Sales Team

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

2017 Global Sales Performance Report from Pipedrive: The Best Salespeople are South African -- Americans Are Hardest Working

If sales is all about closing deals — and really, that’s what it boils down to — then South Africans make the best salespeople.

That’s the analysis from new data produced by Pipedrive. The company found that South African salespeople close deals with potentials clients more often than their counterparts in other countries.

2017 Global Sales Performance Report from Pipedrive

Pipedrive analyzed 70,000 companies from 34 countries who use their sales management platform. And South Africans closed deals with more than 20 percent of their clients. Only the Irish and New Zealanders complete deals at rates more than 20 percent. Salespeople in the United States finished 19th among the 34 countries included in the data.

However, middle-of-the-pack results don’t mean American sales pros are any worse than South Africans. It’s just their jobs are different and require different skills.

For instance, American salespeople are 25th among 34 in the time it takes to close a deal. Brazilians are quickest to get customers to say yes. South Africans finished second, accounting for their overall best rating. For someone in the U.S., it normally takes more than 40 days to get a yes. Brazilians, South Africans and Israelis (third place in the race to ‘yes’) need less than 30 days.

“Closing well and closing fast are certainly very important skills in sales, in order to be successful. But equally, an ability to close really large and high-quality deals are just as significant,” says Pipedrive CEO and co-founder Timo Rein.

Rein suggests in an analysis of Pipedrive data on salespeople’s performance that American companies are looking to secure bigger deals and have more elaborate sales processes in place. Rein writes, “Brazilians might be faster to smaller deals while Americans or Germans might be slower to larger deals.”

So, what about those South Africans? What can any American salesperson learn from them?

Pipedrive says salespeople from that country aren’t fans of schmoozing, as it were. They get right to the point with their prospects.

“South Africans also have a reputation for directness and an aversion to small talk,” Rein writes. “They get to the point quickly. When it comes to the sales data, it does seem like South Africans understand the lay of the land far earlier in the sales process, that is, knowing when to ‘step on it, and also when to throw in the towel.”

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “South Africans are Fastest at Sales, What can You Learn for Your Sales Team” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Dutch Company Takeaway.com Buys BGMenu for EUR 10.5 Million

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

A new major player enters the food delivery sector in Bulgaria. Amsterdam-based Takeaway.com acquires “Hello Hungry”, the company behind the local market leader BGMenu, in a EUR 10.5 million deal. The Dutch group acquires 100% of the company, pays the cash and invests additional funds in Bulgaria and Romania.

Takeaway.com extends its presence in Eastern Europe after being a leader in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and Austria. In turn, BGMenu and the Romanian business of “Hello Hungry” – Oliviera, will continue to develop with their current management. The founders: the current majority shareholder Vladimir Davchev and the executive director Zornitsa Chugreeva will manage the new business of Takeaway.com in the region. 

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The Company of Elon Musk Launched a Global High-speed Internet Project (Video)

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

The construction of broadband internet, accessible from anywhere on the planet, is now a step closer. The billionaire Elon Musk’s visionary company, SpaceX, has successfully launched two satellites to launch Starlink’s project.

The global high-speed internet network will be completed with 11,000 satellites. More than four thousand must in in the orbit by 2024. The start of this endeavor was the successful launch of the Falcon-9 rocket from Vandenburg, California.

The Starlink project is a huge challenge for today’s telecommunications corporations and satellite manufacturers. The new network will allow direct connection to mobile devices as opposed to the current mass principle – to a terrestrial wireless signal distributor.

The planned life of future satellites is 7-9 years, each covering a 2,000-kilometer-wide land line. The first two launched today will run between 6 and 20 months. From a distance of 1125 kilometers, they will send broadband signals to six stationary and three mobile reception stations across the United States.

The impulses will last about 15 minutes and will be broadcast once a day. At the moment in the orbit there are under 1460 operating satellites and about 2,600 are out of service. Space’s optimistic scenario is to activate the network at 800 satellites, with the company does not have a specific time schedule.

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Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania are the Countries with the Lowest Minimum Wage in the EU

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

In January 2018, Bulgaria had the lowest minimum wage in the European Union, 261 euros, followed by Lithuania with 400 euros and Romania with 408 euros, according to Eurostat, published today.

In general, the minimum wage is less than 500 euros in the countries of the eastern part of the EU and over 1000 euro in the countries of the north-west of the Union. They are headed by Luxembourg with 1999 Euros per month, Ireland with 1614 Euros, Holland with 1578 Euros, Belgium with 1563 Euros and Germany and France with 1498 Euros.

EU countries with no minimum wage are Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden. Eurostat specifies that the EU’s largest minimum wage is nearly eight times bigger than the smallest.

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