Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Two Twitter Chats on Tap for Week of February 20

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Want to learn how to grow your online business without attending any expensive conferences or taking time consuming courses?

Well, you’re in luck. Microsoft’s National Entrepreneurship Week is also coming up quickly. And the week long celebration includes a Twitter chat February 20 and more online and in-person events throughout the country.

And that’s not the only online event of the week. On February 22, Small Business Trends is hosting a FedEx sponsored Twitter chat where entrepreneurs can share tips and learn from one another, all on the subject of growing a small business.

You can read more about these events and more in the Featured Events section. Then check out even more upcoming events that could help you grow your small business in the list below.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Twitter Chat: How to Grow an Online BusinessTwitter Chat: Kicking off National Entrepreneurship Week
February 20, 2017, Online

Get ready for National Entrepreneurship Week with a Tweet chat! Get the latest on the week’s events, hear from a number of great entrepreneurs and community supporters such as Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends (@SmallBizTrends), Cindy Bates (@CindyBates) and Microsoft in Business (@MSFT_Business). Join in at #WinInBiz at 12:00PM EST.

Twitter Chat: How to Grow an Online BusinessTwitter Chat: How to Grow an Online Business
February 22, 2017, Online

Join in this Twitter chat at #Smallbizchat on Wednesday, February 22 from 8PM to 9PM EST to learn how to grow an online business. Chat discussion will include topics such as first steps, blogging and social media, promotion, online traffic, finances and seed funds and more. Sponsored by FedEx (#FedExGrant).

Microsoft National Entrepreneurship Week, List of EventsMicrosoft National Entrepreneurship Week, List of Events
February 25, 2017

Microsoft, in collaboration with others, are joining together to shine a spotlight on Entrepreneurs. Throughout the week, a variety of events, resources and offers are provided to help Entrepreneurs launch, grow and succeed. Join Microsoft and an extensive roster of community supporters and proud entrepreneurs nationwide as we celebrate the business ownership journey. You’ll find both in person and online events throughout the United States offered in our list of events.

National Entrepreneurship WeekNational Entrepreneurship Week
February 25, 2017

How are you celebrating National Entrepreneurship Week (NEW) Feb. 18-25? Post a description of what you have planned to to the right and we will feature it on our site.

LeadsCon Las Vegas 2017LeadsCon Las Vegas 2017
March 20, 2017, Las Vegas, Nev.

If finding, nurturing and converting quality leads are essential to your business’s growth and success, then LeadsCon is perfect for you. 5000+ people rely each year on LeadsCon (Las Vegas & New York) for unparalleled insights and access to marketing leaders. The opportunities to do business at LeadsCon Las Vegas are going to be greater than ever before – so don’t miss out on the connections and knowledge that will give you an advantage on the competition. Secure your spot at the premier gathering of performance marketers and lead gen professionals from around the world.

EntreLeadership 1-DayEntreLeadership 1-Day
April 11, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Grow yourself, your team & your profits! At EntreLeadership 1-Day, you will learn the six essentials of business: leadership, people, money, time, team, and higher calling. Dave Ramsey will be joined by business experts Chris Hogan & Christy Wright.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ10 ($10 off)

April 25, 2017, Phoenix, Ariz.

ICON17 is a 3-day conference for small business owners. It’s packed with inspiring keynote speakers, educational breakout sessions on modern business strategies, sales & marketing best practices, Infusionsoft product training, networking.

TECHSPO Toronto 2017TECHSPO Toronto 2017
May 18, 2017, Toronto, Ontario

TECHSPO Toronto 2017 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. TECHSPO Toronto brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Toronto 2017 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will be joining.

Secret KnockSecret Knock
May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Secret Knock is going to be the single greatest event for the top entrepreneurs and action-takers in the world to connect, share ideas, and help take each other to the next level. Each of the attendees have believed in themselves enough to get to where they are, and they are not stopping now. Secure your application for one of the few spots left at the Secret Knock.

Sales World 2017Sales World 2017
November 08, 2017, Online

Sales World 2017 takes place November 8th to 9th, 2017, Online; Live and On Demand. It is the largest Sales Industry Event in the World and will be attended by over 10,000 Sales Professionals. It’s the one sales event you can’t afford to miss!

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 – Digital Marketing Conference
November 14, 2017, Online

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference takes place November 14th to 16th, 2017. Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools.

More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

On Tap image by Shutterstock

This article, “Two Twitter Chats on Tap for Week of February 20” was first published on Small Business Trends


10 Ways to Wake Up a Tired Digital Marketing Approach

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Chances are, your business uses some kind of content marketing already. But there’s also a pretty good chance that other businesses in your niche use content marketing as well. So in order for your content to be effective, it needs to stand out in some way.

You can learn a lot about creating standout content and upgrading your other marketing efforts from members of our small business communities. Some of their top tips are included below.

Create Remarkable Content

Content can be a great way for you to show potential customers the value you can offer to them. But your competitors are likely to create content of their own as well. So you need to find a way to make yours stand out. This Be a Better Blogger post by Charles Bordet offers some tips for creating remarkable content.

Always Think About Conversion

You can write and create the greatest content in the world. But if you don’t keep conversions in mind when doing so, then it could all be for naught. Learn more about getting more clients and referrals through blogging in this Conversion Minded post by Sandra Clayton. You can also see commentary from members of the BizSugar community here.

Keep Millennial Customers in Mind

Millennials can be tricky targets for businesses looking to grow their base of customers. But if you can learn to attract this generation, you may be able to take your business to the next level. Lisa Andersen elaborates in her post on the Planday blog.

Find Your Audience on Social Media

Social media isn’t just a tool that can help you promote your business and communicate with customers. It can also be a powerful research tool. In this WANEntrepreneur post, Joan Herbert explains how businesses can use social media to research and find their ideal audiences.

Create Your Own Holiday

Holidays can be great tools for marketers. But it’s not just major ones like Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Lesser known holidays like Free Comic Book Day can also provide a lot of value to businesses, as Rick Verbanas details in his post on the Your Guerrilla Marketer blog.

Make Data Sexy

Whether it deals with your content marketing or other areas of your business, access to quality data can make a big difference for your small business. But it’s not always the most exciting. Learn more about making data sexy from John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing. Then check out BizSugar for more input on the post.

Create a Lead Generating Email Campaign

If you use email to communicate with customers, you can also use it as a way to generate new leads. In a SUCCESS Agency Blog post, Mary Blackiston goes over 11 steps you can take to create lead generating email campaigns.

Improve Conversions for Your PPC Campaigns

When using PPC campaigns to grow your business, it’s important to keep conversion rates in mind, since clicks alone aren’t likely to help your business as much as you’d like. You can read more about improving conversions for PPC campaigns in this Basic Blog Tips post by Shakir Hassan.

Stay Organized and Avoid Overwhelm

Between marketing and running every other aspect of your small business, it can bet a bit overwhelming. To stay organized and avoid overwhelm, check out the tips in a post by Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media. Then see what BizSugar members have to say here.

Find Your Best Content Opportunities

Content marketing isn’t just about creating great content. You also need to identify the best opportunities that will work for your business. In Marketing Land, Casie Gillette explains how you can find your best content opportunities using keyword SWOT analysis.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:

Tired image via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Ways to Wake Up a Tired Digital Marketing Approach” was first published on Small Business Trends


What is 5G and How Can It Help Your Business?

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

What is 5G and How Can It Help Your Business?

In this day and age, the success of a business can live or die based upon the reliability of its wireless service. It doesn’t matter whether you’re operating a bustling eCommerce business or a quiet corner grill.  In some way, shape or form, you’ve got to have a decent connectivity.

That’s why so many business owners are constantly begging service providers to roll out faster services. And earlier this month, AT&T answered those pleas with gusto by announcing plans to start rolling out a new 5G wireless service in select American cities.

Users may still be relatively in the dark about the arrival of 5G and what it means for their connectivity. But according to service providers, this next generation of wireless will be incredibly faster than what we’re all currently using.

The implications for small businesses will be pretty huge.

What is 5G?

First and foremost, what does 5G actually mean. The concept itself picks up directly where service providers left off with the latest and greatest 4G LTE, or “Long Term Evolution.”

Ever since wireless internet became available to the public, users have enjoyed substantial waves of upgrades that have been classed as generations in their own rite. According to AT&T, its latest generational service will offer speeds of up to 400 Mbps or higher with network upgrades, enabling speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second in select areas. As a point of reference, Verizon 4G LTE wireless broadband is able to handle download speeds of only between 5 and 12 Mbps — which is already 10 times faster than most 3G networks.

For reference, it’s currently believed that most 5G enabled devices will be able to use 3G and 4G networks, too.

How Does 5G Work?

In short 5G services will work in precisely the same way that 4G works. Anytime you try to call someone or send data, an electric signal is transmitted to the nearest cell tower with the help of a radio wave. The tower then bounces that wave through a network of towers until your message or content reaches its intended target.

The way 5G is different from the service you’re currently using is that, in order to be faster, those radio signals also need a much higher frequency. Where 4G currently occupies a frequency of up to 20MHz, experts speculate 5G networks will need to occupy frequencies closer to 6 GHz. That could make a nationwide rollout of 5G somewhat difficult, as higher frequencies aren’t able to travel as far, and so lots of multiple input and output antennas will be needed to boost 5G signals.

How Can 5G Help Small Business?

The introduction of 5G could have multiple practical applications for a wide range of businesses. Because it offers substantially faster download speeds, users will be able to download and upload Ultra HD and 3D video with greater ease — leaving room for dynamic new promotional activities.

Likewise, if your business relies heavily upon online sales, the sharing of documents or the performance of any other network related activities, faster speeds inherently mean things get done quicker. Those speeds should translate directly towards improving overall efficiency within a company’s processes — hopefully giving way to lower overhead and better bottom lines.

It’s worth pointing out that AT&T hasn’t yet given a date for when it will be rolling its new 5G service in the U.S. And when an initial testing of the technology happens, it will only be available in the cities of Austin and Indianapolis, according to AT&T. But other networks are already working on their own plans to launch competing services, and so it’s only a matter of time until 5G is widely available.

5G Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What is 5G and How Can It Help Your Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends


The Pie Life Provides a Recipe for Better Work-Life Balance

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

The Pie Life Provides a Recipe for Better Work-Life BalanceWork-life balance is a concept that always seems easier to think about than implement. Most, at some point in time, try to “balance” professional and personal lives to reach some invisible standard. Read articles about business executives and experts who juggle multiple jobs, a happy family, and a strong presence in the community. After secretly wishing you had their lives, you go back to your already time-squeezed lives and wonder, “Is work-life balance even for me?”

The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe For Success and Satisfaction argues that work-life balance can and should be for everyone.

What is The Pie Life About?

“This is the life you were meant to live. It’s the delicious and nurturing life that you deserve”
– – “The Pie Life”

The Pie Life focuses squarely on work-life balance from a woman’s perspective, although the principles can be applied to anyone. Author Samantha Ettus argues that finding a better work-life balance isn’t a matter of finding the right plan or program. It’s a matter of changing the script that there is a perfect work-life balance. Ettus believes that women, in particular, have been negatively impacted by this belief in a perfect work-life balance. Women are praised when they have it all together, the professional career and happy home, and shamed when they don’t. This shame comes from society and from the individual.

The Pie Life wants women to break free of that shame. The book begins emphatically by stating that women shouldn’t feel pressured to choose to work over family or vice-versa. They can have both. In fact, Ettus reasons, they should. A woman who decides to wait until her children reach a certain age can delay her career development when she is ready to enter the workforce. A woman who tries to overcompensate for her lack of quality time with family actually reinforces the underlying guilt.

Instead of all this pressure, Ettus is calling readers to step outside of that pressure and guilt by embracing four key principles:

  • Understand that work-life balance doesn’t have fixed lines.
  • Work-life balance is bigger than work and family. It’s about your whole life.
  • Develop lines of communication and support for emergencies.
  • Enjoy the time you can offer, whether it’s twenty minutes to two hours

Embracing this flexible concept of work-life balance is the key to actually embracing the messiness that is everyone’s reality.

Ettus, as it happens, is a work-life balance expert, author, and speaker who graduated with an MBA degree from Harvard and started in the media industry. After leaving the media, she developed a personal branding firm but quickly recognized that the quest for a fixed work-life balance wasn’t actually leading anywhere. Her new work to help people actually reach that ideal was a response.

What Was Best About The Pie Life?

The best part of The Pie Life is the way it totally upends the concepts of work-life balance — particularly that work-life balance is a fixed standard attainable by other people. In reality, we’re all struggling with work-life balance and Ettus shows that with examples from her own life and the lives of other professional women. She also points to the guilt that many professional women (and men) face while trying to balance family and work life away from home. This guilt, an important factor in work-life balance, isn’t discussed as much as it should.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

The Pie Life expands the work-life balance conversation beyond standards and into reality. The solution goes in the right direction but is still a little vague. The “pie”, suggested by the author, helps readers identify how they are spending their time but it doesn’t drill down to daily actions. To give an example, the book will help a reader identify the top “slices” that a reader wants to focus on, but it leaves the readers to prioritize what activities to do for that “slice”.

Why Read The Pie Life?

As shared above, The Pie Life is a flexible and more realistic approach to work-life balance. The book expands the definition from a fixed standard of “work hours” versus “non-work” into something more proactive. Work-life balance is how professional people balance everything in their lives from their child’s PTA meetings to the employee softball game to the doctor’s appointments. Understanding this new definition of work-life balance and breaking free of the guilt of the messiness of it all is the most powerful message of the book. If you are seeking a way to embrace (rather than run from) the messiness of work-life balance, The Pie Life can help you address the underlying guilt and develop a path toward a work-life balance that works for your life.

This article, “The Pie Life Provides a Recipe for Better Work-Life Balance” was first published on Small Business Trends


How Decreasing Oxygen Levels in the Ocean Could Impact Businesses (Watch)

Friday, February 17th, 2017

There’s a new problem facing the world’s ocean’s today — a loss of oxygen. And believe it or not, this too could have a big impact on some businesses, those dependent on the bounty of the sea.

Scientists have recently determined that global oxygen levels have dropped about 2 percent between 1960 and 2010. That might sound like a small number. But it actually represents a pretty significant change that could impact marine life as well as fisheries and other aquaculture businesses.

That figure represents a global average. So it’s not that every part of the ocean is seeing these significant changes. But in some areas, there are growing “dead zones,” which are areas with extremely low oxygen concentration where fish and basically any creatures that you can see with the naked eye can’t survive.

Impact on the Fishing Industry?

Many of these areas are concentrated in deep parts of the ocean as well. So the fisheries and other marine businesses that mainly deal with creatures that live close to the surface shouldn’t see any real impact yet. But the ocean is a delicate ecosystem. So if some creatures of the deep can’t survive due to lower oxygen levels, it could have a sort of domino effect and eventually impact those surface creatures as well.

Scientists attribute the lower oxygen levels to increasing ocean temperatures and less circulation of water. They also expect that the trend will continue. So we could see another decrease of between 1 and 7 percent by 2100.

Ocean Wave Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How Decreasing Oxygen Levels in the Ocean Could Impact Businesses (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends


New Features Unveiled by Quickbooks Online, Google Hangouts, Others

Friday, February 17th, 2017

There are countless online tools that you can use to grow your business. Quickbooks Online and Google Hangouts are two popular examples. And this week, small businesses that use those tools got some welcome news about new features.

You can read more about those upgrades and more small business headlines below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Small Business Operations

Quickbooks Adds Find-A-ProAdvisor, Other Features to Online Version

QuickBooks Online (aka QBO) was launched in 2001, and it took 15 years to achieve the first million subscriptions. Fortunately the next 500k took the company only one year. Intuit is doing something right, and one of those things is regular updates and upgrades to the platform.

Big Changes Come to Google Hangouts with Easier Group Chats, More Business Focus

Google is adapting the Hangouts messenger service to make it more suitable for business users. The tech giant has introduced a number of improvements with its latest update, including how users create group chats using the Google Chrome extension, Hangouts and Gmail.

Airbnb Launches Trips, Unleashes New Small Business Opportunities in Travel Industry

The online home-sharing network Airbnb is making good its promise to help guests “live there” with its newest product launch — Trips. But more importantly, the new platform offers opportunities for building travel related businesses in the gig economy with a variety of new services. “Until now, Airbnb has been about homes,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a press release.


Linda McMahon is Confirmed as Small Business Administration Head

Linda McMahon, the wrestling business entrepreneur turned billionaire, was confirmed today as the new Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.  She will become part of President Trump’s cabinet. McMahon’s confirmation passed by a vote of 81 to 19 in the U.S. Senate.

Small Businesses May Have to Wait on Obamacare Repeal

Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to implement a rapid repeal of the Affordable Care Act on his first day in the Oval Office.

Handmade Business

Etsy Introduces Seller Hub, Better Inventory Management

The Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) marketplace brings together millions of people from around the world who share the love for handmade items, vintage goods and craft supplies. Whether you are buying or selling, Etsy has created a platform that has continued to improve the experience for both parties since it was founded in 2005.

Marketing Tips

Verizon Shows Businesses How to Fight Back Against the Competition (Watch)

Verizon is fighting back against the competition — hard. The company just unveiled a new plan that it calls “Verizon Unlimited.” It includes — you guessed it — unlimited data, talk and text. The plan costs $80 per month for a single user and then $45 per month for additional users within a family plan.

Retail Trends

Arby’s is the Latest Business to Be a Victim of Data Breaches (Watch)

Cybersecurity is a major concern for businesses of all sizes. And those concerns come to the forefront when big businesses experience data breaches. The latest victim of this cybersecurity threat is Arby’s. The fast food chain says that the breach affected some of the company’s 1,000 corporate locations but no franchises.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza Stands Out in a Crowded Market

There’s no shortage of restaurants out there that serve pizza. So for one to really thrive in this crowded market, it has to stand out. 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza is one such restaurant that does so by offering a unique style and ingredients. You can read more about the restaurant and the story behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.


Splacer Aims to Become the Airbnb of Event Spaces

Web-based startup Splacer began with a simple idea. Urban areas are loaded with unique, attractive spaces that are both expensive to own and very often, underutilized. The solution offered by Israeli architect-entrepreneurs Lihi Gerstner and Adi Biran is a new Internet marketplace that enables owners of these spaces to connect with event planners for short-term rentals.

Social Media

Global Marketers: Facebook Lite App Hits 200 Million Users

When Facebook launched its Lite version in 2015, the goal was to make it more accessible in developing countries where internet connections are not optimal. Fast forward two years, and Facebook Lite has 200 million users — impressive no matter how you look at it.

Ways to Use Instagram Live for Your Small Business

If you’re not using Instagram Live for your small business yet, you’re missing out! Since its debut as a photo-sharing platform, Instagram has improved significantly, going from an unknown startup to a social media behemoth with more than 600 users as of December 2016.

Technology Trends

Cloud Adoption Is Up — But so Is Risk

An increasing number of small businesses are migrating to the cloud even as concerns over security persist. That’s according to Intel Security’s second annual cloud security report, “Building Trust in a Cloud Sky.” The report reveals 80 percent of organizations are currently following a “cloud first” strategy.

What Flying Driverless Cars in Dubai Can Teach You About Your Business (Watch)

If you still think we’re centuries away from seeing flying vehicles and driverless cars, then a new initiative in Dubai could soon prove you wrong. The city recently announced that people will be able to get around using unmanned aerial vehicles — otherwise known as drones — as early as this July. Each vehicle can fit one person of up to 220 pounds and a small suitcase.

Leaked: Images of Samsung Galaxy S8 Could Reveal Your New Business Phone?

It is that time of year again when Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is a couple of weeks away and the rumors, speculation and leaks start flying in earnest. And when it comes to smartphones at the MWC, it is Samsung’s playground, because Apple doesn’t launch any products there.

Samsung’s Chromebook Pro Gets You Doodling on Your Screen

Chromebooks are as basic as they get, and their utilitarian design doesn’t belie that fact. However, the new Chromebook Pro by Samsung is looking to shed that image, albeit at $549. Granted the price tag is a bit steep, but this is not your garden variety Chromebook. The first noticeable difference is a metal body that will be essential to manipulate the 2-in-1 design.

Alleged Spammer Fails in Suit Against Google for Site Delisting

A federal judge has sided with Google and dismissed a lawsuit filed by e-ventures Worldwide, a search engine optimization (SEO) company that claimed that its sites were wrongly removed from search results.

Chromebook Plus Offers Budget Version of Samsung’s New Computer Line

There is a new generation of Chrome operating system coming, and manufacturers are introducing new devices to take advantage. The Samsung Chromebook Plus is one of them, and at $449 the sticker shock will probably be something to get used to for Chrome users, but the features may win some over — including small business owners.

Image: Intuit

This article, “New Features Unveiled by Quickbooks Online, Google Hangouts, Others” was first published on Small Business Trends


Line-us Drawing Robot Provides New Tool to Commercial Artists, Designers

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Line-us Drawing Robot Provides New Tool to Commercial Artists, Designers

Art has always embraced technology, and artists have integrated it for millennia into their work to convey their message. The Microsoft Surface Studio is one end of the spectrum and Line-us, the little robot drawing arm, is another.

A Look at the Line-us Drawing Robot

Currently on a Kickstarter campaign, Line-us is created by Durrell Bishop and Robert Poll, and with 15 days to go, it has already surpassed its funding goal and sold out all of its promotional offers. So if you want one, you will have to wait until it is mass produced after the funders receive their units in October. But the device may have an appeal to some entrepreneurs too.

Line-us is an Internet connected arm that can draw and paint by mimicking what someone does on their smartphone or tablet in real-time. The USB powered arm connects to your device with an app, and you can use your finger, mouse or stylus to draw or write and it will copy your movements.

The connectivity extends the capability of Line-us for remote use, so an artist, graphic designer or commercial artist in another part of the world can deliver their work in hard copy instantly.

According to the creators, they want a community of users who will collect drawings through the app. But they also want DIYers to create their own version of Line-us because it has an interface that has been designed for this very reason. You can connect it with Scratch, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Python for different adaptations, whether it is for drawing, painting or something else entirely.

Line-us Drawing Robot Provides New Tool to Commercial Artists, Designers

So is this a toy or something that can have some real-world application for small businesses? You can always open a store full of these devices and have people come and draw on them, but beyond that we will have to wait and see what they can really do. But there is no denying they look fun, which might explain why they were snatched up right away.

Line-us Drawing Robot Provides New Tool to Commercial Artists, Designers

The suggested price for the Line-us is $124 if and when it becomes available commercially.

Images: Line-us/Kickstarter

This article, “Line-us Drawing Robot Provides New Tool to Commercial Artists, Designers” was first published on Small Business Trends


What Will New Labor Secretary Pick Alexander Acosta Mean to Small Business?

Friday, February 17th, 2017

What Will New Labor Secretary Pick Alexander Acosta Mean to Small Business?

President Donald Trump named Alexander Acosta, a former U.S. Attorney, to be the next Labor Secretary on Thursday. The pick has major implications for small business owners who face issues like a proposed new overtime regulation — currently on hold — and the minimum wage debate all in which the Department of Labor will doubtless play a role.

The announcement comes just hours after Trump’s first pick, CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder, withdrew his name from consideration for the Cabinet position.

Trump announced the pick from the White House at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

“He has had a tremendous career. He has been through Senate confirmation three times — did very, very well,” Trump said at the press conference.

Who is New Labor Secretary Pick Alexander Acosta?

Acosta is a departure from Puzder in many ways.

Where Puzder was expected to call on practical experience, Acosta will have to rely on legal experience as Labor Secretary.

He is currently the dean of the Florida International University College of Law.

Acosta is also not a stranger to Washington D.C. and does have vast experience in employment law.

He served as a law clerk to Samuel Alito, now a Supreme Court justice. In 2002, he was appointed as a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

After that, Acosta served as Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Dept. He was also U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Acosta is also the chairman of the board at U.S. Century Bank.

Maybe the biggest departure is the reaction to Trump’s pick for Labor Sectretary.

Alex Acosta is a great pick for Labor. He’s not a billionaire. Humble. Hard-working lawyer and Law School dean w/a squeaky clean reputation.

— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) February 16, 2017

Marco Rubio tells me Alexander Acosta is an “excellent pick” for Labor Secretary.

“Top notch. Anyone who votes against him is crazy.”

— Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski) February 16, 2017

It even brought out a good-natured remark from a now infamous White House correspondent.

I must say Secretary Acosta has a great ring to it.

— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) February 16, 2017

Of course, if it’s a Trump nomination, it won’t come without its critics.

Both the Acosta and Puzder picks demonstrate that Trump thinks he can keep winning union members while pummeling their unions.

— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 16, 2017

Small Business Implications

Labor laws were certainly in the news as the Obama administration was on its way out the door. And Trump has promised “big league” changes from the normal day-to-day.

Proposed regulations — like overtime rules, retirement fund mandates and increased minimum wage  — are all huge issues for small businesses. And all could have major implications for small business owners looking to expand by adding more help.

And until a new Labor Secretary is in place, these issues will likely stay in limbo. That makes it nearly impossible for a small business to make any new moves.

The one positive to glean from this selection is Acosta’s legal background. Conceivably, any new labor regulations passed or repealed would have gone through a tighter wringer than, say, recently ill-fated executive orders which have run aground on legal complications.

Image: Florida International University

This article, “What Will New Labor Secretary Pick Alexander Acosta Mean to Small Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends


Etsy Studio Creates Online Marketplace for Craft Supplies

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Etsy Studio Creates Online Marketplace for Craft Supplies

A new platform will allow Etsy sellers too sell the supplies others use to create the products they in turn sell on the site.

Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) brings together 27.1 million active buyers with 1.7 million active sellers on a platform that had 40 million items for sale at last count. The site generated $2.39 billion in annual gross merchandise sales in 2015, and with the announcement of the new Etsy Studio, that number is very likely to see an uptick.

Etsy Studio

Etsy Studio is the first “market” the company has built from the ground up since its foundation. And it is exclusively designed for buying and selling the supplies its sellers use to create their unique products.

Etsy said it interviewed thousands of craft supply shoppers to create the perfect market place, one that inspires creation with the very supplies it sells. And with more than 11 years of experience in the industry, it can safely be said it is an authority on the subject. With this authority and an active customer base of almost 30 million, Etsy is well poised to tackle the close to $44 billion craft supply market in the US alone.

Etsy Studio Creates Online Marketplace for Craft Supplies

In creating the Etsy Studio, the company says it wanted to bring the same ease of use and fun to craft supply shopping as it did for selling and buying handmade items and vintage goods. In addition to the supplies, shoppers can find DIY projects and tutorials to improve their craft and learn new ones.

With Etsy Studio, sellers can reach a new audience with the paid advertising and marketing campaigns the platform will provide. Etsy announced it has developed a new suite of tools to address the specific needs of craft supply sales and management. This includes search features to simplify the discovery of items and make it easier to manage inventory. These new tools will be available in the coming weeks.

The fees on Etsy Studio will be the same as Etsy with a single 3.5 percent transaction fee, and it won’t cost you extra to list on Studio.

Etsy Studio will launch this spring, with no specific date announced by the company.

Images: Etsy

This article, “Etsy Studio Creates Online Marketplace for Craft Supplies” was first published on Small Business Trends


Airbnb Launches Trips, Unleashes New Small Business Opportunities in Travel Industry

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Newly Launched Airbnb Trips Unleashes New Small Business Opportunities in Travel Industry

The online home-sharing network Airbnb is making good its promise to help guests “live there” with its newest product launch — Trips. But more importantly, the new platform offers opportunities for building travel related businesses in the gig economy with a variety of new services.

“Until now, Airbnb has been about homes,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a press release. “Today, Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place. We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.”

Airbnb Trips

For now, Trips offers a variety of new features that may appeal to those interested in building businesses around hosting and acting as guide to visitors in their location.

One feature, Experiences, allows local entrepreneurs to create custom activities related to their interests. They can make money through the site by offering activities including anything from samurai swordplay workshops to morning surfing lessons. They can also use the service to offer guests deep insights into places and communities they might not have otherwise come across.

Besides Experiences, users can also make some money hosting an “Immersion.” Immersions are described as a way to give guests an in-depth look into the local scene.

Do you have extra space but no time to host? Well, Trips now makes it possible for you to get a local co-host. Your co-host can take care of logistics whenever you’re too busy to host or you are out of town.

Trips also offers the opportunity to sign up as a co-host and create a business by sending messages to those with space but no time to host announcing availability. Co-hosts also have the option of hosting for their community simply by creating a profile and listing a proposed fee.

Airbnb has also made a couple of significant changes to its mobile app. Users can now, for example, just send guests a photo of where a hidden key is located rather than telling them. This obviously makes it easier to communicate in situations where language is a barrier.

The new stats feature allows hosts to get richer details about what guests think of accommodations giving them better feedback on what they are doing well and where they may need improvement. The app also allows hosts to see individual ratings and read reviews for every trip.

Airbnb says it will continue to gradually release more features to more hosts in the weeks to come.

Image: Airbnb

This article, “Airbnb Launches Trips, Unleashes New Small Business Opportunities in Travel Industry” was first published on Small Business Trends