Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Catalog Provides Small Businesses with Branded Photography Service

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Startup Offering Professionally Branded Photos for Small Business at Budget Prices

Place the right image on your site, and it will get the attention of your visitors. Branded professional photos will do that better than stock images, which is what Catalog has managed to do for $20 per photo.

According to the company, the $20 price tag is much lower than the hundreds of dollars creative agencies charge per image. At this price point, small businesses will be able to afford custom, professional quality images to post on their website, blog and social media.

Having branded photos is one way you can differentiate your small online business from the competition. The Catalog platform brings all of the moving pieces together so you can control and manage the creative process to capture the perfect image.

This includes handling the content creators, logistics, and usage rights along with legal and compliance.

In an emailed press release to Small Business Trends, the CEO and Co-Founder of Catalog, Patrick Ip, explained why the company was founded. He said, “We founded Catalog to enable more companies to tell their stories and compete with industry giants, while also supporting the extremely talented people who create the visual content.”

The New Catalog Platform

Catalog says, “The current model for producing custom images that are high quality and on-brand is broken… because the networks used for this are slow, expensive, and have logistical hurdles.”

Using automation, Catalog has made the production of custom visual content more efficient from start to finish, which is why it only charges $20 per photo.

An artificial intelligence (AI) is used to find creators which meet the needs of a particular brand and the AI then handles the logistics and negotiations. Custom visuals are then produced which are on-brand and accurate to the specifications of the customer.

Once a customer accepts an image, the AI analyzes the content and the customer’s brand guidelines for future images. Working with the creators, Catalog proactively produces visuals customers can pick and choose from a library of custom high-quality content already on-brand.

Startup Offering Professionally Branded Photos for Small Business at Budget Prices

This very approach was used to complete projects for National Geographic, Sony Music, OmniCharge, Pioneer, Patchology, and other customers. The acceptance rate of projects without a reshoot by these customers was 99%.

When it comes to content creators, Catalog says it pays an average of more than 40% to the talent compared to the competition. Additionally, it ensures continuous bookings with 3-6 additional deals per month so they have a stable workflow.

Importance of Branded Photos

Images portray more information quickly. And when you pair a relevant image with your content, your audience will remember more of the information long after they see it.

That is why it is important to create the right images because there is a clear difference between stock images and custom photos created for the products, services, and content on your site.

A custom made image specifically created for you will convey the exact message you want to impart. This will help you engage with your audience, sell your products, get the right attention, and deliver the right look for your brand.

Image: Catalog

This article, “Catalog Provides Small Businesses with Branded Photography Service” was first published on Small Business Trends


Adobe Acrobat AC Gives Small Businesses the Ability to Share and Edit PDFs

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Adobe Acrobat DC Lets You to Rethink What's Possible with a PDF

The all-new Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) Acrobat DC has been designed with a central document hub and connected mobile apps to make PDFs accessible and shareable across devices and platforms.

Users can now create, share and interact with PDFs. Documents can be reviewed and revised with touch-enabled editing on mobile devices and Adobe Sensei AI integration automates repetitive tasks to save time.

One of the benefits of using Portable Document Format (PDF) for small businesses is it can be accessed independent of software, hardware, or operating system. As an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), PDF is a reliable format for presenting and exchanging documents.

Adobe invented the PDF in 1991 and it has been implementing the latest technologies in the format for the past 25+ years. The new features in Adobe Acrobat DC take into account today’s mobile and connected workforce.

Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president, and general manager, Digital Media, Adobe, explained these very features in the press release. Lamkin said, “With this powerful release, we’ve created a modern PDF platform that enables people to scan, sign, edit, share and review content quickly and easily wherever work takes them.”

The New Adobe Acrobat DC

The new share and review service will allow you to share your documents and gather feedbacks from reviewers across any device.

From now on, your PDF files will no longer be a static document. Not only will you be able to keep track of any number of reviewers and set automatic reminders to keep approvals on schedule, your audience can also interact with the PDFs.

They can comment and get resolved feedback within the PDF. This means not having to go back and forth with other communication apps/or emails.

When it comes to editing, Adobe says you can edit PDFs from your Android or iOS tablets with the same functionality as on your desktops.


The scanning capability has been improved with an all-new Acrobat Reader mobile app and Adobe Scan. When you are working on your mobile device, you can now scan business cards in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish in addition to English.

When you are scanning business cards, for example, Adobe Sensei recognizes contact information and creates new contacts in your smartphone or tablet, even with multiple cards at the same time.

If the document is a form which needs to be filled out, Sensei analyzes it and recognizes the field type, size, and position. All you have to do is tap and type the content without having to change tools manually or align text in field boxes.

After you fill out the form and you are ready to sign the document, Adobe Sign allows you to sign from anywhere because it is built into the new Acrobat DC and Acrobat Reader.

Adobe Acrobat DC Lets You to Rethink What's Possible with a PDF

You can start using the new tools on the new Adobe Acrobat DC now with a subscription to Acrobat DC. If you subscribe to the All Apps plan of Adobe Creative Cloud you automatically get Adobe Acrobat DC.

Image: Adobe

This article, “Adobe Acrobat AC Gives Small Businesses the Ability to Share and Edit PDFs” was first published on Small Business Trends


Is the Fat Lady Singing for Your Business?

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Fat Lady Sings Business Cartoon

The trick to this one is you have to know the idiom “it’s not over until the fat lady sings.” I feel like that’s still fairly common, maybe not as prevalent as previous decades, but still in the lexicon I think.

I do worry that as I get older my references and word choice seem dated. I also worry that I’m not tapping into current comedy norms. I also worry that my art style will seem old fashioned.

But this cartoon still works right? Right?

I worry a lot.

This article, “Is the Fat Lady Singing for Your Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends


3 Reasons to Say No to Freelance Work

Friday, October 19th, 2018

When to Say No to Freelance Work

As a freelancer, it’s hard to turn down work. We feel like we need to take on everything that comes our way because what if we don’t get another chance?

When to Say No to Freelance Work

Someday, though, you’ll reach a point where you do need to turn down work. Here are three signs that it’s time to turn down freelance work:

1. You’re Not Being Paid Enough

When I first started freelancing, I accepted low pay. That’s just the way it has to be sometimes. However, as you gain experience and build your portfolio, your earnings increase. If someone is trying to lowball you, it’s time to say no.

I turn down freelance work if it looks like it’s going to be a lot of effort for small pay. When I talk to potential clients, I can get an idea of what it’ll be like to work with them. In some cases, I’ve found that, even if they’re paying a high amount, it’s still not worth it to work with them.

That’s right. Being paid enough isn’t just about the dollar amount and whether it’s reflective of the market rate or your skill. It’s also about what you have to put up with. One of the reasons I haven’t done any editing work, regardless of what I’m offered, is that I don’t like it. Almost any amount isn’t enough for me to do certain types of freelance work — or work with certain clients.

2. Work is Taking Over Your Life

Sometimes you turn down freelance work because you’ve just got too much of it. At one time, because I hated to say no, I had so much work I was barely sleeping. And I certainly wasn’t doing anything enjoyable. My health and relationships suffered as a result.

Be realistic. What’s enough? And are there ways to say no to work while still making more money?

I started dropping the lower-paying clients from the roster as I quoted higher prices to new clients. This allowed me to make more money while working less. I also began putting some time into my own projects and websites to generate more long-term income. This meant that I could say no to freelance work and still make enough money to live in comfort with my son.

Stop and think about how much your work is taking over your life, and learn to say no. After all, the point of freelancing is that the lifestyle is supposed to give you more freedom — not chain you to your computer with a ton of work all the time.

3. You Don’t Feel the Project

I’ve been approached numerous times to write term papers for college students. I’ve been offered large amounts of money for these papers. However, I turn down these projects because I’m ethically opposed to them.

In the past, I’ve decided to turn down freelance work that doesn’t align with my values or that I’ve felt is ethically gray.

Really think about what you value, and what you’re willing to do. You might have a different set of values than I do, and that’s fine. The reality is that you need to decide for yourself where the line is. If something is over that line, turn it down.

It’s rarely easy to turn down freelance work, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.

Republished by permission. Original here

This article, “3 Reasons to Say No to Freelance Work” was first published on Small Business Trends


SAP Concur Builds Community for Small Businesses

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

SAP Concur

SAP is a well-known software organization known to corporate clients and IT specialists in the C-suite. Now, a new community is being built that leverages the company’s considerable resources to help small businesses take advantage of what SAP has to offer.

Small Business Trends spoke with Christal Bemont, senior vice president and general manager of Global Small and Medium Business Sales at SAP Concur about this big opportunity for smaller companies and how it will further level the playing field between the corporate Goliaths and the small business Davids.

SAP Concur Targets Small Business Market

Bemont was a keynote speaker at the recent B2SMB Global Conference and started our conversation by talking about the beginnings of this new push.

“When SAP acquired Concur about 4 years ago, one of the reasons for the acquisition is that Concur was really solid in the SMB space.  So, Concur has been able to bring a unique perspective to SAP for small businesses.”

Relationships Change Between Large and Small Businesses

She went on to describe how one of the first things she noticed was a changing relationship between the bigger players with deep pockets and their smaller cousins.

“I noticed the tide was turning with small to medium sized businesses, where their athleticism innovation and entrepreneurial spirit could be huge assets that larger companies are in need of,” she said adding that she saw a possibility to leverage the power of SAP for this small business market.

SAP Eliminates Obstacles Between Large and Small Business

There were of course some obstacles like the diminished buying power and access to information for these smaller firms. Noting that technology smoothed some of these differences over, Bemont saw that a “community” focus could speed things up even further.

She saw SAP’s role as three pronged: to help small businesses grow and thrive, avoid risk and be as financially strong as they could.

Company Places Services Under One Roof

The idea was to bring a group of small businesses under one roof so they had a combined buying power,  access and the disposition of larger Fortune 100 companies worldwide. There was one final piece missing and when Bemont asked herself a question, the community took shape.

“What if the power of SAP was aligned with this smaller end of the market?”

The new community that sprang from that was about more than just networking although that traditional aspect still holds a valued slot.

Offers Access to Resources

It was also about giving small business access to resources they might not otherwise have a chance at. Some of the mechanics are about using SAP Concur as a fulcrum between different sized companies.

Bemont explains:

“I think there’s something equally as powerful as technology” she says. “Think about some of the biggest areas for costs like employee benefits and overhead. There’s no reason why we can’t get our largest customers to bring exclusive offers in areas like this and others to this SMB space via SAP.”

Leveraging these different sized businesses relationships is one central aspect.

Drawing on SAP’s long bench to bring thought leadership and significant insights to this community is another focus.

“Providing these kinds of insights is about helping small businesses to see what’s possible,” Bemont says. “A big secondary part of this is helping businesses as they grow.”

These kind of interactions are designed to help small businesses anticipate what might be around the corner, again leveraging SAP’s experience.

Corrals Information

Beyond the technology this software giant can supply, the idea behind this new community is to help smaller business corral information, leverage it to mitigate risk and help them make better choices. In a word, SAP Concur wants to bolster this emerging community with the one/two punch of technical solutions, practical advice and mutually beneficial deals.

“The conversations that we have today are certainly around helping organizations take cost out of the business,” Bemont says.

Small Business Trends CEO and Publisher, Anita Campbell, attended the conference and contributed to this piece.

Image: SAP Concur

This article, “SAP Concur Builds Community for Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends


Hughes Network Systems Offers Cyber Security Platform for Small Business and Franchises

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

HughesON Secure Connectivity Services Offers a One-Stop Cyber Security Platform for Small Business and Franchises

Hughes Network Systems, LLC has introduced a new user-friendly network cybersecurity firewall solution for small businesses with more than one website. The new HughesON Secure Connectivity Services offers a plug-and-play router and is optimized for network security regardless of the broadband connection the small business uses.

Mike Tippets, vice president of Enterprise Marketing for Hughes Network Systems, says HughesON was designed to patch a vulnerable spot.

Sweet Spot

“Small businesses fall into a sweet spot for hackers because they typically have more digital assets to target than an individual consumer but have less security than a larger enterprise,” Tippet tells Small Business Trends. “According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 71 percent of breach victims are small businesses.”

HughesON also has a number of other features that allow smaller cybersecurity budgets to get enterprise grade coverage. It has 24/7 support which is great for small business owners who would rather leave catching online crooks to the pros while they chase profits and an optional 4G backup.

PCI Compliant Firewall

Another feature that stands out is the Payment Card Industry compliant firewall that stays connected to the Internet so small businesses accepting credit card payments are always covered. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is the benchmark for all businesses that take money through credit cards.

Another big bonus is how easy this firewall is to get going.  Tippets explains:

“The customer chooses the firewall model they wish to use and orders it by calling a Hughes Sales Representative,” he says. “ When the firewall arrives, the customer connects the appliance (similar to a consumer WAP), plugs it in and turns it on. Depending on the model, the unit is pre-configured or self-configures to be online in minutes.”

The HughesON SCS is specifically designed for SMBs with up to 50 websites. Tippets also says this product is especially suited for smaller franchises, restaurants and retail stores.

No Tech Know How

There’s no real tech know how needed here either. The product integrates seamlessly with existing frameworks.

“The setup is less complicated than a consumer-grade Wi-Fi access point.”

One of the other big pluses is the HughesON SCS can help any small business to modernize their existing business tools.

“Regardless of the industry, businesses that want to move into Cloud services for POS, Back Office functions and other applications will require a proven, secure connection option to the Internet,” Tippets says.

“We believe that the simplicity of this offering opens up connectivity to Cloud services for a broad group of business owners who previously hesitated to make the transition due to security concerns.”

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) offers broadband satellite technology for both the home and office. Their American headquarters are in Germantown, Maryland. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS) Visit and follow @HughesON on Twitter

Image: HughesON

This article, “Hughes Network Systems Offers Cyber Security Platform for Small Business and Franchises” was first published on Small Business Trends


TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Sponsored Post

TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion

Representation matters. That’s more than just a hypothesis; it’s the value proposition on which Karen Okonkwo and Joshua Kissi based their new business.

Karen and Joshua met through a friend, connecting easily as entrepreneurs and first-generation African immigrants. At the time, Karen ran a blog — among other things — and often lamented about how stock photography was stale and homogenous. Joshua, on the other hand, was a photographer and Creative Director. Wouldn’t it be great, they surmised, to create a stock photography site that offers more diverse images and changes the status quo? They both loved the idea but were at capacity, so they tabled it as a “coulda-woulda-shoulda.”

The tragic stories of two black men – Alton Sterling and Philando Castile – became an “aha” moment for Karen and Joshua: the only way to combat the devastating effects of systemic racism and racial profiling is to change the narrative around ethnic representation. And, thus, TONL was born.

We spoke to Karen and Joshua about how they’re revolutionizing the stock photography market with added color and perspective. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: How did you go about bringing this vision to life?

Karen Okonkwo (KO): We started by surveying as many people as we could — industry people, friends, whomever — to see if the idea was even viable. The general consensus was that the current stock photography wasn’t relatable. So once we had some real data to back this up, we went full throttle and gave ourselves a year to launch. We worked and planned like crazy, but it was hard since we lived on different coasts. Everything went down to the wire, but we pulled it off in the end.

Q: What’s been the response to TONL?

KO: It’s been received really well. We’re still in our infancy, of course, but we have a growing client list that includes Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller mom-and-pop operations. Above all else, we have a passionate community. We love seeing people get so excited about our work.

TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion

TONL Founders, Joshua Kissi and Karen Okonkwo

Q: What are your goals for TONL?

Joshua Kissi (JK): We want to bring a new standard to stock photography, to change the narrative for people of all categories. People and companies often talk about the importance of diversity, but they don’t always back it up with their actions. We want TONL to be a global image resource, and we hope to grow it as much as possible while still maintaining our authenticity. That means capturing as many different categories, perspectives, and nationalities as we can. Does that involve launching in multiple countries? Who knows. But these are some of the things we think about.

TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion

Source: TONL

Q: TONL’s growth has been fun to watch. Was this a factor in choosing Salesforce Essentials and CRM?

KO: Sales was definitely top of mind. We have East Coast and West Coast sales reps, so it was important to have a central place for them to track opportunities. I use Salesforce in my “other life” in medical sales, so I knew how it worked. Salesforce Essentials had just come out around the time we launched, and it seemed like a perfect fit for us since it’s designed to help small businesses grow. It had everything we needed, so it was an easy decision for us.

Q: Why is it so important to celebrate diversity?

JK: There’s no downside to diversity. On an individual level, it empowers people to be themselves. On a business level, it helps companies tap into new markets and reach new audiences. The greatest contribution we can make through our platform of diverse stock photography is giving people a true sense of belonging. That’s what drives us.

TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion

Source: TONL

Q: The “Narratives” section of TONL’s website is fascinating. Why did you choose to include narratives from the models in your photos?

KO: We added the narratives to tell a different story than what’s oftentimes (falsely) portrayed in the media about certain ethnic groups. Black victims, more often than not, get reduced to criminals, which leads to racial profiling. We wanted to do something different and shed a brighter light on people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds in order to show the world that they, too, are just normal people — real people with real personalities. We wanted to give them a voice and let them be themselves.

Q: Is there one TONL image that outsells the rest?

KO: Yes, this one’s our bestseller:

TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion

Source: TONL

Q: You’re both entrepreneurs with successful launches under your belts. What advice do you have for someone thinking about starting a business?

KO: My advice is simple: know your “why.” Ideas come and go, but you have to know the reason you’ll get up to work on even your lowest days. If you’re working with someone else, your why’s have to be aligned. If one person views the startup as a business and the other person sees it as a passion project, you’ve got a situation where two people are working together with different why’s. The why – not the what – is most important.

TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion

Source: TONL

Check out TONL’s website to see how entrepreneurs Karen Okonkwo and Joshua Kissi are disrupting the stock photography market and affecting change.

Then download The Impact of Quality and Values Driven Business Report to gain insights from more than 1,500 business professionals on workplace equality and values driven leadership trends.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Photo via Salesforce

This article, “TONL Offers Diverse Stock Photos to Promote Inclusion” was first published on Small Business Trends


Two Fashion Entrepreneurs Turn Profits Into Social Change

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Two Fashion Entrepreneurs Turning Profits Into Social Change

Fashion isn’t just about creating attractive and trendy products. It can also serve as a vehicle for enacting positive change around the world. More and more fashion designers and entrepreneurs are adding a charitable or ethical component to their business model.

2 Examples of Turning Profits into Social Change

One example is Stacey Boyd, founder of luxury fashion and beauty brand Olivela.

When people shop with Olivela, which features items from some of the world’s most popular designers, 20 percent goes to causes that promote girls’ education. Cause partners organizations like CARE, Malala Fund, and Too Young To Wed.

Boyd decided to start the business after some world travels where she got to witness school conditions for girls in other countries firsthand.

She explained in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “The idea for Olivela came to me almost two years ago, when I flew to Kenya and Rwanda to celebrate what is known there as Malala Day, the birthday of 2014 Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, now 20 and studying at Oxford. Traveling with Malala, I met girls in makeshift primary schools in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, and in Mahama, another camp that provides safe haven to more than 50,000 Burundians, 4,000 of them unaccompanied minors. There is nothing starker than realizing that it’s a lottery when your child is born. That they’re just really lucky to be born in a place that has so much to offer. I knew then that we could unleash the equity in luxury shopping to yield benefit and opportunity for so many children around the globe.”

Boyd believes that this personal experience was essential for building the brand, since she’s able to convey her message in a way that’s really authentic.

She explains, “What drives our success at Olivela is authenticity and transparency. Customers and partners know immediately that we come from a place of pure passion with a true commitment to supporting the work that matters most to us. Anything short of that—shoehorning a “trendy” cause into a “hot” platform—can really confuse, or worse, alienate customers.”

And Boyd isn’t the only one who is trying to make change through fashion. Shannon Lohr, founder of Factory45, is actually working to change the entire landscape of the fashion industry.

Two Fashion Entrepreneurs Turning Profits Into Social Change

She said in an email to Small Business Trends, “Fashion is one of the most polluting industries on the planet and accounts for countless humanitarian issues, including modern-day slavery and child labor. Through Factory45, I aim to do my small part in bringing more sustainable and ethical fashion choices to consumers. If I can help conscious fashion brands launch and succeed, then that’s my personal way of combating fast fashion.”

To accomplish that goal, Factory45 serves as an online accelerator for sustainable fashion brands. The six month program helps entrepreneurs take their business from idea to launch, all with the idea that they’ll use ethical manufacturing and distribution practices, meaning they can create less waste and avoid relying on facilities that use child labor. The platform even helps designers source fabric, find manufacturers and raise money to fund sustainable production.

The idea for Factory45 came to Lohr after she launched her own clothing sustainable clothing brand and realized just how difficult all of those steps could be.

She says, “In 2011, I launched a sustainable fashion brand that became the highest-funded fashion project on Kickstarter at the time. It was featured in The New York Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and another notable press. But it took my then co-founder and I nearly two years to get to that point. We were committed to American-made and sustainable materials, but it was extremely difficult to get in the door with suppliers and manufacturers.”

Both of these companies exemplify a major shift in the fashion industry. So if you have a clothing line or are thinking about breaking into the industry, it could be worth exploring opportunities to give back in some way, either by donating a portion of profits or using ethical and sustainable techniques. These initiatives can help you stand out and make your brand more appealing to an increasingly large base of socially conscious shoppers.

Images: Olivela, Factory45 Facebook

This article, “Two Fashion Entrepreneurs Turn Profits Into Social Change” was first published on Small Business Trends


Internet and Social Media Use in U.S. Hasn’t Grown Since 2016, Report Says

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Social Media and Internet Use Statistics in America Haven't Grown Since 2016

After years of growth, a new analysis of Pew Research Center data has revealed internet, social media use, and device ownership in the U.S. have plateaued.

The report points out some segments have achieved near saturation points, which limits any more growth in the country. On the other hand, there are some segments which are still on the wrong side of the digital divide and not fully participating in what these technologies offer.

Social Media and Internet Use Statistics in America Haven't Grown Since 2016

This data is extremely important for small businesses on digital platforms who serve their communities. By identifying what technologies their population uses or doesn’t use, owners can fine-tune their marketing efforts to reach more people.

Paul Hitlin, senior researcher focusing on internet, science, and technology at Pew Research Center, who authored the report on the organization’s site points out a specific data point which highlights the need to know how people communicate.

Hitlin says, “While many long-standing measures of technology adoption have steadied the past two years, the ways that people get connected and use digital platforms are constantly shifting and evolving.”

He adds, “Pew Research Center surveys have shown that the number of people who are “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they own a smartphone but do not have traditional home broadband service – has grown from 12% in 2016 to 20% this year.”

For a small business in this type of community optimizing their website to be mobile friendly can deliver better engagement and higher conversion rates.

Here is how some of the data breaks down according to internet, social media, and device ownership.

Internet Use Statistics

The Pew Research Center started tracking internet usage by Americans in early 2000. At that time half of all adults were already online, and the number has now jumped to nine-in-ten American adults.

Young Americans between 18-29 years of age have the highest user rate at 98%. This is followed by those who are 30-49 at 97%, 50-64 at 87%, and 65+ at 66%.

When it comes to race there is little difference between whites, blacks, and Hispanics in 2018. This is also the case for gender.

The disparities start to show up when the data is compared based on income and education. Internet usage for those making less than $30K is at 81%, while people with income over $75K had a 98% rate.

The gap is much higher for those with less than a high school diploma and college graduates, which has a 32 percentage point difference. College graduates enjoy 97% and having less than high school graduation meant only 65% were online.

Social Media

The high growth rate in social media was part of a report in 2015, when the center said it was 10 times higher than in 2005. This in great contrast to what has taken place in those three years and especially in 2018.

The gaps in this segment are not as dramatic as internet usage, but they are still there. There are differences of less than 20% across race, gender, income, and education.

The biggest difference is the group of users who are over 65 years old. Only 34% of them use social media compared to 88% of those 18 to 29 years of age.

Device Ownership

Mobile phone ownership is divided into two segments, cellphones and smartphones. Ninety five Americans have a cellphone of some kind while it is only at 77% for smartphones.

When it comes to smartphones alone, again the gap is not that big between gender and race. But there is a considerable difference with age, income, and education.

The gap is especially high in the education data as only 57% those with less than high school graduation had a smartphone compared to 91% for a college graduate.

As to desktop/laptop computer ownership, the rate is at 73% for all Americans, with tablet computers at 53%.

You can get additional information on this report from the Pew Research Center data Fact Sheets page here.

Images via: Pew Research Center

This article, “Internet and Social Media Use in U.S. Hasn’t Grown Since 2016, Report Says” was first published on Small Business Trends


What Everyone Ought To Know About the Benefits Of Paying With Credit Cards

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Pay With Cash to Buy the Small Stuff

When you head to the cash register for a purchase under $10, do you reach for plastic to pay? According to a recent survey, nearly half of Americans prefer to pay with cash for low dollar transactions. While Greenbacks are a popular way to pay for many people, paying cash is rarely the best option. Let’s dive in and look at how people are paying today and if they can do better with alternative payment methods.

How Most People Pay

The new study from found that for purchases under $10, 45% of Americans prefer cash. Debit came in second with 30% and credit cards coming in third at 23%. The survey found that around the $25 price point users switch to credit cards to earn valuable cash back and travel rewards.

Respondents said that they find cash to be the easiest and quickest way to pay for small purchases and may be wary of adding credit card debt or piling on to existing balances. Younger millennials are the most likely to use credit for small purchases, so we may be on an upswing for cards on purchases under $10.

Avoiding credit card debt is a very good reason to skip credit cards. But beyond that, credit cards are by far the best way to pay for any transaction, no matter how small.

Why Credit Cards are the Best Payment Method for Any Purchase

When you pay cash and something goes wrong, the only recourse you have is getting a refund from the vendor. And that is if they are willing. You get a few more protections from your bank with debit cards, but there are some big risks with using a card tied to your checking account for any purchase. Credit cards give lots of benefits with few drawbacks.

As long as you pay them off in full every month, you’ll never pay any interest on a credit card. Cards also offer the best protection against fraud of any payment method. If a business doesn’t come through with its promises or any unauthorized activity shows up on your account, you have big protections and zero liability, respectively.

If your debit card number leaks and bad guys get ahold of your information, they can drain your bank account and it may take months to get your funds back if you can get them back at all. The protections from cash and debit are subpar compared to what you get from credit cards.

When Credit Cards Don’t Make Sense, Pay with Cash

There is one big “what if” when it comes to credit cards. You should know your spending and budgeting habits and make sure you can use credit cards responsibly. If you turn credit cards into new TVs, designer clothes, or anything else you can’t afford, the interest you’ll pay will probably cost you a lot more than the fraud protections are worth.

You may also notice that some merchants charge extra for using credit cards compared to a cash or debit price. It is up to you to decide if the additional fee is worth it. These extra fees used to be against the rules, but now businesses have free rein to charge extra to make up for any fees they have to pay for accepting credit.

Beware the Risks of Debit Cards

We already briefly touched on this, but it is so important to understand the risks of debit cards that it is we are going to look at an example of exactly what can happen if your debit card number leaks. Major breaches from companies like Target and Home Depot impacted millions of card numbers, so it is possible that your account numbers are in the crosshairs.

Let’s say you have a direct deposit in your checking account, which you use as your money hub for bills and other important payments. This may include your rent or mortgage, utilities, and other bills you can’t pay with a credit card.

If you used your debit card and it leaked, you may not know about it for months. But one day, you might log into your online banking and see a series of big unauthorized transactions. These often happen on Friday as hackers know direct deposits typically hit bank accounts on the last day of the week.

If you get hit with fraud on payday, the bad players could steal hundreds or thousands of dollars. That might leave you unable to pay your rent or mortgage. It could lead to missed or late payment fees from other billers. If you can’t pay a credit card, your credit score will suffer.

While banks do offer protections that will likely get your money back, it isn’t instant. With a credit card, those charges are just wiped from your statement and you never have to pay. With a debit card, you need to get the money back. That may take a while. Almost always longer than you have to pay your bills.

Think Hard about What You Carry in your Wallet

Don’t reach to cash or debit because it’s what you’ve always done or it’s what your parents taught you. Credit cards are the best way to pay in almost all scenarios. As long as you can avoid the big fees and won’t use those cards to get into debt, even small purchases should always be made with credit.

Republished by permission. Original here

This article, “What Everyone Ought To Know About the Benefits Of Paying With Credit Cards” was first published on Small Business Trends