Archive for November, 2018

Poland’s coal town shows climate change challenges

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Katowice is hosting biggest UN global warming summit since signing of Paris accord

Top Stories: Etsy Businesses Contribute $4.7B, 31% of Entrepreneurs Concerned about Healthcare

Friday, November 30th, 2018

According to a recent report on handmade commerce, Etsy sellers are contributing $4.7 billion to the American economy right now.

The report, on the surface, shows two positive signs. First, consumer spending is presumably strong. Second, there’s a thirst for quality handmade goods, which are most often made by small business entrepreneurs. This is only one of several stories important to small business retailers and others this week.

To see what other stories are making headlines with small business owners and other entrepreneurs, check out our full news roundup below.

Retail Trends

8 Big Predictions for the 2018 Holiday SHIPPING Season

Americans are set to spend big this holiday season. In fact, numbers from Adobe Analytics report the online spend alone will reach $124.1 billion to overshadow brick and mortar sales. What’s more, Deloitte reports that people will spend $525 on gifts representing a bump of 20% from $430 in 2017. 2018 Holiday Shipping Season Small Business Trends talked with Georgianna W.


Zoho Adds AI and Analytics for Small Business with CRM Plus

Zoho has recently released the latest addition to its customer experience CRM platform offering the one-two punch of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. Zoho CRM Plus lets small businesses without big IT budgets compete with the bigger players by letting different departments like customer support, marketing, sales and operations work together.


31% of Businesses List Healthcare as Top Issue for New Congress

A new poll sees healthcare as the top issue for small businesses as the new Congress takes shape after the midterm elections. The numbers come from a recent poll conducted by The Small Business Roundtable, a small business and entrepreneur organization dedicated to the advancement of this critical aspect of the American economy.


Hiring 3.8% Higher than October 2017 but Leveling, LinkedIn Reports

The monthly LinkedIn Workforce Report for October 2018 revealed gross hiring in the US was up 3.8%, higher than for the same period the previous year. With seasonally adjusted national hiring down only 0.3% from September to October 2018, the job market is still very strong.


Switching  to an Open Office May Make 1 in 8 of your Employees Consider Quitting, Survey Says

Believe it or not, the open office concept was being used before the cubicle in the early 20th century. What we’ve learned since that time is there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to office space, which is what a survey commissioned by ROOM reveals.

Social Media

Pew Research Provides Important Data for Small Businesses about Marketing on YouTube

Data from a new Pew Research Center survey reveals YouTube has become a valuable resource for Americans. The research contains some valuable insights for small businesses now using the platform as a marketing channel. Users are turning to YouTube for how to videos, product information, children’s content and even news.

New Looping Video App Planned from the Creator of Vine, Could Your Business Benefit?

For the millions of fans who regularly watched and loved its quirky videos, the sudden shut down of the Vine app in October 2016 came as a bitter blow. If you happen to be one of those fans or one of the creators who made those videos, there is good news because the co-founder of Vine, Dom Hofmann, is bringing the app back with a new name: byte.


1  in 7 Americans Think They Are Sitting on a Game Changing Business Idea, Survey Says

How confident are American entrepreneurs about their business idea? A Northwestern Mutual survey carried out by OnePoll reveals one in seven think their idea is so strong it could change the world and have a dramatic impact in the chosen industry. This level of confidence is commendable and even necessary in order to persevere and make your dreams come true.

Technology Trends

PayPal Acquires Hyperwallet with Focus on Ecommerce Businesses

PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) recently completed the acquisition of Vancouver-based global payout platform Hyperwallet Systems for approximately $400 million USD.

Companies Adopt Ride Sharing – But Not Room Sharing – in Business Travel Policies

Services provided by the sharing economy have increased adoption rates for shared transportation during business trips. But according to a new survey from Chrome River, the adoption rate for shared accommodation hasn’t reached the same levels. Instead of using Airbnb, HomeAway, or VRBO, business travelers are still opting to stay in hotels for their accommodations.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Top Stories: Etsy Businesses Contribute $4.7B, 31% of Entrepreneurs Concerned about Healthcare” was first published on Small Business Trends


Glut worries drive oil towards worst month in a decade

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2018 Spending Up 6% Over Last Year, 5% for Small Businesses

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2018 Results Up 6% Over Last Year

Early shopping results from First Data’s Holiday Insights Dashboard have revealed overall spending was up 6.1% for Thanksgiving- Black Friday year over year with a 5.3% growth for small businesses over the same period.

Black Friday 2018 Results

This does not reflect the results for the entire shopping season, but so far things are looking good for retailers. If the early results manage to hold, they might surpass the 2017 numbers after all the shopping days have been calculated. In 2017, First Data’s report for that year’s total holiday shopping season was up by 6.2% from 2016.

The Holiday Insights Dashboard from First Data will track holiday spending trends across the US in real-time until January 3. According to the company, the data will reflect actual transactions from millions of merchants nationwide.

The dashboard provides a daily ranking of the most active sub-sectors including dining, services, hotel/travel/leisure, grocery and food stores, and more.

This type of data is valuable for businesses of all sizes so they can identify trends and get ready for future holiday shopping seasons. Glenn Fodor, Senior Vice President and Head of First Data Insights, explains this very point in a press release.

Fodor says, “Using our data platform, First Data provides a view into spending trends across payment types and industry verticals, allowing us to deliver real-time data that helps our clients and partners drive top and bottom line results.”

The dashboard is part of First Data’s Quarterly SpendTrend Report: 3Q18 (PDF) which looks at the year over year growth of rates in retail spend across segments, channels, cities and regions in the US. The analysis of the data comes from card-based payments derived from same-store-sales activity. The company then compares this with previous data on a year over year basis for season-to-date trends.

In addition to the 6.1% increase in overall spending and 5.3% small business year over year growth, the dashboard also tracked a 6.4% increase in retail spending specifically for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Third Quarter Results

The total spend in the third quarter of 2018 is up by 4.9%. The growth was delivered by brick and mortar outlets which saw a 4.5% increase and eCommerce at 5.7%, slightly down from the second quarter.

Overall, eCommerce delivered 33% of the total spend for the quarter up 3%, but the segment has been growing faster than brick and mortar outlets for several quarters now.

The Consolidation of Data

First Data currently serves around 6 million business locations and 4,000 financial institutions in more than 100 countries around the world. The company processes more than 3,000 transactions per second totaling $2.4 trillion per year.

This generates a massive amount of data. By consolidating the data and making these transactions available to the public, Firs Data provides insights into consumer spending.

And as more small businesses market their products online, they can identify trends and shopping behaviors from around the world to look for new opportunities.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2018 Spending Up 6% Over Last Year, 5% for Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends


US oil production surges to new record

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Data come as Opec weighs output cuts to end price slump

IC — Pennon, Greggs, Thomas Cook

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Companies analysis from our sister publication

Oil’s plunge poses quandary for investors

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Upcoming Opec meeting holds key to solving price decline puzzle

Top Energy Draining Devices in Your Home Office

Friday, November 30th, 2018

What Devices Use the Most Electricity in Your Home Office?

Working from the comfort of a home office comes with many cost-cutting benefits to a small business, the biggest being the lack of a costly and time-consuming commute to work. However, there are expenses associated with running a home office, with energy costs being a leading overhead.

What Devices Use the Most Electricity

If you want to make your home office more energy efficient and reduce your energy bills, identify the top energy draining devices to start.

Your Computer

When it comes to energy draining devices in a home office, computers top the list! You might not think that leaving your computer on overnight or over the weekend would eat into your energy consumption, but it does. Since computer monitors use approximately 100 watts per day, simply switching off your computer will help you save on your home office’s energy bill.

Besides turning off PCs, you may want to trade in an energy-draining desktop computer for a laptop computer, which consumes significantly less energy than a desktop.


Sufficient lighting is vital in a home office so you don’t strain your eyes and can remain focused, alert and productive. However, lighting your home office might be costing you more in energy than you think.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2017 the residential and commercial sectors used around 273 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity for lighting alone, equating to around 10% of the total energy consumed for both sectors.

To reduce the amount of energy the lighting in your home office consumes, switch to more energy-efficient forms of lighting. Of course, natural daylight is by far the cheapest (it’s free!) and healthiest way to light up a home office.

However when natural daylight is not an option, choose incandescent bulbs, which are energy efficient and typically last between 700 and 1000 hours. Halogen bulbs can also save you energy, being 25% more efficient and lasting up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

It’s also a good idea to place timers around your home office, which can be programmed to come on and switch off at certain times of the day, meaning lights aren’t left on and using electricity when nobody is in the office.

Occupancy sensors work in a similar way, only coming on when movement is detected so lights are not left on unnecessarily.


Your home office printer could be costing you more than you think too. This essential piece of office equipment is one of those energy draining devices which tend to go overlooked. Make sure your printer isn’t adding unnecessarily to your energy bill by opting for a printer with an ENERGY STAR certification label. Printers with an ENERGY STAR certification meet federal agency standards ensuring such equipment is operating at maximum efficiency.

It is also advisable to choose a printer with sleep and automatic shut-off modes, so it’s not using energy when it’s not being used.


Home offices require heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Consequently, thermostats can be one of the biggest energy draining devices in a home office.

As thermostats control 60% of your energy bill, one of the easiest ways to save on energy in a home-working environment is to control your thermostat. Simply turning the thermostat down by 1 degree could reduce your heating bills by up to 10 percent.

You may want to consider making your home office high tech and advanced by using Google Home which works alongside other smart home devices such as the Nest Learning Thermostat. Hailed as the “brighter way to save energy”, this smart thermostat programs itself and uses WiFi to connect to your phone, adapting to your habits to control the temperature of your home office.

Tea Kettles and Coffee Machines

No office, homebased or otherwise, would be complete without a kettle or coffee machine to make the endless cups of coffee and tea fueling your productivity throughout the day. With the average kettle holding 1.5 pints and using approximately one unit to boil 12 pints of water, the savviest of small businesses are looking for ways to make these energy draining devices more energy-efficient.

One way to ensure your home office doesn’t spend surplus dollars making tea and coffee, is to opt for more eco-friendly appliances. For example, coffee makers with reusable filters or without the need for paper filters provide a more energy efficient cup of coffee.

When boiling water with a kettle, only boil the water you need rather than the full kettle. And opt for a kettle allowing you to select the temperature so can adjust it for maximum cost efficiency


If your home office set up includes a refrigerator, it is important to ensure your model of fridge is an energy efficient one. Opt for ENERGY STAR-qualified models to save money on this energy-zapping office appliance. ENERGY STAR-qualified models can save as much as 45% of the energy consumed by conventional refrigerators.

In addition to selecting an energy-efficient model, you should avoid wasting energy by leaving the refrigerator door open, since this causes the appliance to work overtime.

It is also important to maintain appliances like refrigerators regularly to ensure they are operating as they should and are not using surplus energy.

Follow these energy-saving strategies and you’ll soon start reaping the monetary benefits. Ensure the top energy draining devices in your home office are as efficient as they can be.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Top Energy Draining Devices in Your Home Office” was first published on Small Business Trends


Russian analysts: Nord Stream 2 is no commercial project

Friday, November 30th, 2018

As debate rages over the controversial pipeline, critics in Russia see it for what it is

Could Your Small Business Use an Autonomous, Wireless Underwater Drone?

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Check This Out! The First Autonomous and Wireless iBubble Underwater Drone

Over the past few years, there has been a rise in the use of drones for deliveries and other uses. Now, the first autonomous underwater drone has launched, opening a whole new world of possibilities.

Yep, that’s right! French start-up Notilo Plus recently announced the commercial launch of what it says is the world’s first fully wireless, autonomous and intelligent underwater drone named, iBubble.

“This novel remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was designed using Notilo Plus’ patented underwater localization technology, enabling subaquatic adventures without tethers,” said the French company in a statement. “It comes with an advanced AI system, offering total autonomy and self-learning capabilities.”

First Autonomous Underwater Drone, iBubble, Lunches

It might not be immediately obvious how underwater drones can be useful for small businesses, but some possibilities for small business uses include:

  • Underwater photography and filming,
  • Diving instruction,
  • Wildlife protection,
  • Search and rescue operations,
  • Naval or underwater infrastructure maintenance, and
  • Subsea patrolling.

Apparently, iBubble comes equipped with a state-of-the-art obstacle avoidance system, which allows it to smoothly follow a diver, while obtaining high quality images for personal or commercial use.

“It features real-time image recognition, a unique stabilization system as well as direct surface control, bringing outstanding performance to underwater imaging,” says Notilo Plus, an expert in intelligent underwater exploration.


Ready to Shoot Exceptional Underwater Images?

If you are an independent photographer or your business requires use of exceptional and unique photos, the autonomous underwater drone could be something to explore. It enables anyone to obtain underwater images of unparalleled quality, according to Notilo Plus.

Resorts, shipping markets and educational institutions might also find use for the submarine drone.

“iBubble can accompany divers for up to an hour and up to 197 feet depth, acting as their personal cameraman, enabling superior underwater imaging,” the Marseille-based company that specializes in developing intelligent, autonomous underwater systems notes.

Autonomous iBubble Underwater Drone Safe for the Environment

iBubble is reportedly also environmentally-conscious. It does not disturb the marine ecosystem thanks to its minimal noise emission levels and special obstacle avoidance capability, according to Notilo Plus.

“With the countless cutting edge technologies brought by the iBubble, coupled with its ability to bring exceptional pictures and video footage, this is a remarkable and versatile device for any diving activity,” Notilo Plus CEO, Nicolas Gambini, adds.

The first batches of iBubble drones will be delivered to the first customers from mid-November 2018. The autonomous underwater drone will retail at $4,099 on the company’s website.

Image: iBubble

This article, “Could Your Small Business Use an Autonomous, Wireless Underwater Drone?” was first published on Small Business Trends


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