Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

10 Ways to Cut Business Travel Costs (Video)

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Even in our hyper-connected video conferencing world, there’s still a lot of value in meeting face-to face.

Unfortunately, face-to-face meetings often require business travel. What’s the problem? The cost of flights, hotels and everything else you need on the road is rising and it’s often small businesses that bear the brunt of that burden.

So, what’s a small business to do? Why, look for ways to save money on business travel of course!

How to Cut Business Travel Costs

If you Google “cut business travel costs,” you’ll find tons of advice (the count’s at 8,710,000 results at the time of this writing). But some tricks pay off better than others and those are the tips that are gathered for you in the video above.

These aren’t your parent’s cost cutting tips (though one does involve coupons). These tricks require savvy — maybe even a little chutzpah. But don’t let that frighten you off. Each tip is straightforward and can be used by anyone to lower the costs of business travel.

The tips here are broken down into sections:

Saving Money on Your Flight

The key points here are to do some research ahead of time, travel light and expand your airline options. A little planning and flexibility can go a long way towards saving you money.

Saving Money on Your Hotel

This section focuses on cutting your travel costs without having to resort to sub-par lodging. Coupons lead the way followed by the most daring, yet potentially fruitful, trick for saving you money.

Saving Money on Transportation and Food

Finally, you can take aim at the costs of ground transportation and dining, two necessities when you’re on the road.

These Tips Only Work if You Use Them

While it’s important to watch the video, it’s even more important to use the tips! And if you do, be sure to share how it went in the comments section below.

Good luck and, safe travels!

Make sure to also check out the full list of 25 Ways to Save Money on Business Travel.

Airport, Thumb DownHail TaxiJudgesSteakFriendsBuffetFlight AttendantBusTravel SiteUsing Phone Photos via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Ways to Cut Business Travel Costs (Video)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Samsung Notebook 7 Spin Seems Pricey for Business But May Be Good for Road Warriors

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin Pricey for Business But Maybe Good for Road Warriors

Samsung’s new laptop/tablet hybrid may be the best option for full time digital nomads and entrepreneurs living out of their suitcase. Or you may just be a techie that wants the option of a standard laptop combined with the convenience of a tablet.

If you fall in these specific categories, you will appreciate the Notebook 7 Spin’s ability to house all of your work/play desires in one device.

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin Details

Design

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin - Design

At first glance, it looks like a standard 15-inch laptop. But, as its name implies, the hinge system allows it to spin backwards, 360 degrees, into a touchscreen tablet. This feature lets you stop at any point while you are using the computer for viewing and operating options.

While the single hinge is intended to make it easy to transform it back and forth from laptop to tablet as needed, the silver chassis with rounded edges makes it an attractive looking device too.

Power and Storage

Power comes from an Intel Core i7 with options of 12GB and 16GB. The 1 Terabyte hard drive and 128GB solid state drive places the Spin amongst the upper tier of hybrid devices.

Ports
Samsung Notebook 7 Spin - Ports

The Notebook 7 comes with just about every port you will need, including: Ethernet, HDMI, SD card and three USB ports — one of which is 3.0.

What Makes it Unique?

Currently the market has many 360 degree hinged transformers, but Samsung (KRX:005930) understands that in order to disrupt the market new features are king.

An HDR filter is one of the tech tools that sets the Spin apart from its competition. The “High Dynamic Range” mode lets you view content with greater clarity and contrast format, and the addition of the Nvidia 940MX graphics chip enhances those HD capabilities giving your presentation — or the latest video game — new life.

Faster charging is another touted feature. In only 20 minutes, you can get up to two hours of power, and if you want 100 percent, you can achieve that in 90 minutes, the company claims.

Price

Power users are likely to think the convenience, power and functionality of this new device are well worth the $1,099.99 price tag. The Notebook 7 Spin can literally let you replace your tablet and desktop, which is what many of these users are looking for in their computing device.

If you want a different configuration, you can get a $999 version that comes with 12 GB of RAM and no SSD, with everything else being the same.

A 13″ screen version is also available for $799 with a 1080p display, Core i5-6200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD.

Do You Really Need All The Features of the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin?

The Samsung Notebook 7 Spin may be overkill for the average business user who isn’t interested in all the bells and whistles — many connected with leisure use. And the price range is certainly much higher than other options that offer everyday needs in a single device.

If you don’t need to have one device to act as both a laptop and a tablet you are better off going with a single-use product that is more suited to your lifestyle. The market currently offers other alternatives with more streamlined options: allowing you to pay only for what you need.

Samsung Range

You can find an array of choices within the Samsung family alone — from notebooks and tablets to full-scale laptops.

When it comes to notebooks you can expect price points from $399 for the 11.6” Notebook M to $849 for the 15.6” Notebook 5.

If you are considering the portability and functionality of a tablet, the Galaxy series offers its mid-range Android-based versions.

The Galaxy Tab, a 9.6” 16GB model with standard features, is sold for an average price of $169 depending where you get it. It is an entry-level tablet so you will be limited as to what you can do with it. The largest tablet, size wise, is the Galaxy View at a whopping 18.4 inches and comes with an accompanying curved stand and a modest mid $300 price range.

At the high-end of the Galaxy tablet range is the TabPro S, which is considered one of the best tablets in the industry. And at $749, you get a 12″ display and 128GB of storage along with other specs.

Conclusion

The Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is not for everyone, but there is a market for these type of powerful 2-in-1 computers, the Microsoft Surface is proof of that.

The question is will Samsung make any headway in a segment that is getting more crowed by the day?

Images: Samsung

This article, “Samsung Notebook 7 Spin Seems Pricey for Business But May Be Good for Road Warriors” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Capital One Announces Spark 401k, a Low-Cost, Digitally-Managed Option for Small Businesses

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

spark 401k capital one

Capital One recently announced the launch of a new retirement savings product designed expressly for small business.

The product, Spark 401k, provides low-cost, digitally-managed 401(k)s targeted specifically to companies with one to 100 employees, the company says. It utilizes exchange-traded funds (ETFs), a type of index fund, as the investment instrument.

According to an official release, Spark 401k offers the same benefits available to larger companies, including the ability to build a retirement nest egg with tax-deferred dollars, reduce business taxes and recruit and incentivize employees.

The new product is also designed with digital technology in mind and for small business owners presents a “streamlined, digital experience to easily determine which plan best suits their needs,” the release says.

Even though small business owners can benefit from establishing a 401(k) plan, the latest Spark Business Barometer, a survey that measures small business sentiment and related trends, found that only 13 percent of companies currently have such plans in place. That represents a drop of 50 percent from Q4 2014, the survey says.

The reason? Most consider the option too “expensive, burdensome or complicated,” said Stuart Robertson, president of Capital One Advisors 401k services, the group that manages the plans, in a prepared statement. He added that Capital One created Spark 401k to address the problem and “make retirement planning easier and more accessible for small businesses.”

Breaking Down the Spark 401k Plans

Spark 401k provides three types of 401(k) plan:

  • Safe Harbor — allowing business owners and key employees to contribute the maximum amount to their accounts;
  • Owner-only Business — used mainly for Sole Proprietors, S Corp, LLC, C Corp or other owner-only businesses seeking to maximize their personal contributions;
  • Businesses with Employees — allowing eligible employees to contribute to their 401(k) tax-deferred and set the amount they want to defer. Spark 401k deducts the amount each month from their paycheck automatically.

Spark 401k oversees each plan’s investment fiduciary responsibilities for no additional cost, says the announcement.

Capital One is discounting Spark 401k Safe Harbor plans for a limited time, to encourage small business owners to begin reaping the benefits of offering a 401(k) plan to their employees. Those who purchase a plan by August 29 will save $200 on set-up costs. Plans purchased between August 30 and September 14 will see a $100 reduction in those costs.

You can learn more about the options available by visiting the Spark 401k website.

This article, “Capital One Announces Spark 401k, a Low-Cost, Digitally-Managed Option for Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Instead of Surviving Business Disruption, Consider Reinvention

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

reinvention bookAs a small business owner, you’ve probably heard the call for all businesses to innovate in order to survive. You might have been inspired by innovative startups that were able to successfully challenge centuries-old businesses. Likewise, you might have read about centuries-old businesses who redefined their approach to business to thrive.

Then you wondered, “How do I innovate like that with my current budget and resources?”

Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption provides that answer for you by focusing on the essential ingredients that are needed to begin innovating and continue it through your entire business.

What is Reinvention About?

Like other books on business innovation, Reinvention makes the case for continuous innovation and flexible business strategy to survive in today’s business world. Unlike those books, however, Reinvention focuses on the essential qualities (not specific tools) that are part of innovation. In other words, the book doesn’t tell you what to innovate. The book provides the mindset of an innovative company at its most basic user-friendly level.

To be even more specific, Reinvention provides a specific tools (Reinvention Formula and Reinvention Agility Matrix) for diagnosing the type and ability to do successful innovation. This formula is given as a set of factors to consider before your business tries out that new innovation. All you have to do is plug in the factors surrounding innovation into the formula and you can get a relatively good feeling about where you might go next. Readers can continue to check their results against the results of the Reinvention Formula to see how they are progressing.

Reinvention, however, doesn’t just focus on business innovation. It also uniquely focuses on individual career innovation. The book argues that the workers of the future need to focus on adaptability, reinvention and continuous learning in a method similar to business. Like businesses, job seekers will face an uncertain future filled with competition and change. Building the habit now of learning and adapting is the key to evolving with the future, rather than passively becoming a victim.

Co-authors of Reinvention Kate Sweetman and Shane Cragun are also principals of Sweetman Cragun, a global advisory firm specializing in business innovation. Both also have extensive experience completing projects on every continent (except Antarctica) and working with clients from a variety of fields (NASA, governments, etc.)

What Was Best About Reinvention?

The best part of Reinvention is its unique approach to the topic of innovation. Most business advice focuses predominantly on the technical aspects of innovation at the expense of the mindset behind that innovation. This approach expands the conversation from questions like “What new app are you creating?” to “How can we transform the resources we have to successfully amaze our customers?” What’s more, the book examines achievements ranging from Thomas Edison’s light bulb to one of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s most well-known speeches, demonstrating the applicability of the book’s perspective across different industries.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Reinvention does an incredible job of expanding the perspective of innovation beyond the way it is traditionally discussed, but it could be improved by showing a business using each of its tools from beginning to end. Reinvention provides many case studies, but these case studies highlight only parts of its overall philosophy.

Why Read Reinvention?

If you are interested in innovation but don’t know where to start, Reinvention will provide the conceptual tools and case studies to radically expand your perspective. Using a simple formula, the book helps business owners of all types figure out their readiness for innovation and how to use that assessment to make competitive and strategic innovation.

Job seekers will also find this book extremely helpful because it reinforces the interdependence of jobs in the future. On one side, the book presents a chaotic future with industries being replaced and re-engineered rapidly. On the other hand, the book offers proactive solutions for dealing with that future. Those solutions involve creating workers who are ready to work in businesses that are able to deal with an uncertain future. To summarize, job seekers can learn skills to prepare for the future. And businesses can learn how to make those future skills work for them.

This article, “Instead of Surviving Business Disruption, Consider Reinvention” was first published on Small Business Trends

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What Can Luke Skywalker Teach You About Content Marketing? Well, Nothing But …

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

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What can galactic hero Luke Skywalker teach you about content marketing? OK, nothing really. Come on. He’s a fictional character.

But actor Mark Hamill, who has played the iconic characters for four of the popular movies in the Star Wars franchise thus far, will be a keynote speaker at Content Marketing World 2016 in Cleveland in September. So if you happen to be passing through the star system and have the time, you may want to hop into your X-Wing, landspeeder or Corellian cruiser and check out the event.

Hamill will be joined by some more terrestrial guests — like Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs;  Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which puts on the event; and Rand Fishkin, SEO wizard at SEO MOZ.

See more details and other events 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

Content Marketing World 2016Content Marketing World 2016
September 6, 2016, Cleveland, Ohio

Content Marketing World is the one event where you can learn and network with the best and the brightest in the content marketing industry. You will leave with all the materials you need to take a content marketing strategy back to your team – and – to implement a content marketing plan that will grow your business and inspire your audience.


TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016
September 12, 2016, San Francisco, Calif.

TechCrunch Disrupt is the world’s leading authority in debuting revolutionary startups, introducing game-changing technologies and discussing what’s top of mind for the tech industry’s key innovators. Disrupt gathers the best and brightest entrepreneurs, investors, hackers, and tech fans for on-stage interviews, the Startup Battlefield competition, a 24-hour Hackathon, Startup Alley, Hardware Alley, and After Parties.


MozConMozCon
September 12, 2016, Seattle, Wash.

Three days of forward-thinking, actionable sessions in SEO, social media, community building, content marketing, brand development, CRO, the mobile landscape, analytics, and more. MozCon speakers share next-level advice on everything from building a loyal community to making data-driven decisions in your marketing.


LeadpagesLeadpages’ Converted 2016
October 18, 2016, Minneapolis, Minn.

Converted 2016 will be an immersive experience taking place over two action-packed days in Minneapolis. We’ll share data-driven, practical tactics that will make a difference in the way you grow your business.

Discount Code
biztrends ($100)


Lean Startup ConferenceLean Startup Conference
October 31, 2016, San Francisco, Calif.

A gathering of thousands of thought leaders at Pier 27 for a week of keynote talks, interactive workshops, speed mentoring, industry dinners, bootcamps, and startup tours at the scenic edge of San Francisco. The conference unites intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs from government agencies, international conglomerates, boot-strapped startups, and civic organizations in their mission to create radical change in their industries.


Influencer Marketing DaysInfluencer Marketing Days
November 14, 2016, New York, N.Y.

Influencer Marketing Days is a unique conference dedicated to all things influencer marketing. The event is for marketing professionals responsible for their company’s influencer marketing strategy, campaign development, and relationship management. Whether you already run influencer marketing campaigns or you’re investigating ways to leverage this powerful type of marketing, Influencer Marketing Days will equip, educate, and inspire you to make the most of your efforts.


NextCon16NextCon16
November 14, 2016, Scottsdale, Ariz.

No matter your industry, company size or role, you can take advantage of the fresh perspectives, creative strategies and expert advice shared at NextCon. You will walk away with actionable insight to take your business to the next level and gain the insight and inspiration to make an impact.


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.

Skywalker Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What Can Luke Skywalker Teach You About Content Marketing? Well, Nothing But …” was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Tips to Build an Effective Online Marketing Strategy

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

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There are so many different ways to market a business online these days. But luckily, you don’t need to try all of them in order to find out what works. Members of our small business community have already done some of the legwork for you. Here are some of their top tips for developing an effective online marketing strategy.

Increase Website Traffic and Get Better Leads

Getting traffic to your website only really helps your business if you’re able to convert some leads. But there are some simple methods you can use to increase your web traffic while also converting leads, as Christopher Uschan outlines in this Acumium blog post.

Create an Insta Worthy Account

Instagram is becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool for businesses. But you need to really focus on creating an account that’s worthy of the platform if you want to get good results. Here, Kayla Wilkinson shares some tips for using Instagram on the Inkhouse Inklings Blog.

Follow These Social Media Rules of Thumb

Social media marketing isn’t an exact science. But there are some general rules that you can follow to make your business accounts more effective. Here, Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media shares some social media rules of thumb. And the BizSugar community chimes in with some thoughts here.

Adopt These Digital Marketing Strategies From Pokemon Go

Chances are, you’ve played or are at least aware of the augmented reality game that’s taking the mobile world by storm — Pokemon Go. But aside from being a fun and successful app, Pokemon Go can actually provide some useful digital marketing lessons to other businesses, as Jilesh Varma shares in this Blurbpoint post.

Don’t Build Your Whole Content Strategy on Rental Property

Social media and blogging platforms can be great for sharing content. But if you only rely on those platforms without having an actual site that you own and control completely, you could find your business in trouble if those platforms decide to make changes. Frank Strong of Sword and the Script explains more here.

Amplify Your Marketing Productivity With These Tools

When managing your marketing efforts, you can use a number of different tools to improve your results and efficiency. In this Duct Tape Marketing post, Joanne Torres shares some top marketing productivity tools. And BizSugar members also comment on the post here.

Use These Quick SEO Hacks for Newbies

SEO can be a complicated concept if you’re just getting started. But there are some simple things you can do to make the whole process of optimizing for search engines a bit easier. Here are some SEO hacks from Stephan Spencer on the Search Engine Land blog.

Use Small Data to Help Increase Sales

You hear a lot about big data these days. But small data can actually be quite helpful for businesses too. In this post, Neil Patel explains how you can use small data in your business to increase sales.

Launch Your Startup With an Infographic

Infographics can help you get messages across to online consumers in an interesting visual format. Here, Nick Bowersox shares some tips for using infographics in marketing efforts on the crowdSPRING blog. You can also see input from members of the BizSugar community here.

Create a SaaS Knowledge Base Your Customers Will Love

Technology has created plenty of opportunities for businesses to really personalize experiences for their customers. SaaS knowledge bases provide some of those opportunities when used effectively. In this Process Street post, Robin Singh shares how you can create a knowledge base your customers will love.

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:  sbtips@gmail.com

Online Marketing Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Tips to Build an Effective Online Marketing Strategy” was first published on Small Business Trends

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This Device Claims to Turn Your iPhone into a 360 Degree VR Camera

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

The Insta360 Nano Claims to Turn Your iPhone into a 360 Degree VR Camera

Expectations for virtual reality are obviously quite high. And those expectations among content creators have led companies to introduce products aimed at helping to create content in the new format. Creators of the Insta360 ha done this in a unique way.

While Arashi Vision, the company that makes the camera, has three different Insta360 versions, the one that’s been getting the most attention is the Insta360 Nano. The tiny 360 degree camera attached to your iPhone 6/6S and iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus taking VR photos and videos through the phone.

A 360-degree camera is key to capturing and rendering realistic VR scenes, so manufacturers are introducing novel ways to record the video with many different types of cameras.

Insta360 Nano Details

Advertised as the first 360-degree spherical iPhone video camera, and the smallest spherical camera in the world, the Nano is pretty small at only 0.8 inches x 1.2 inches x 4.3 inches. This makes it very portable, which can be an important feature when you are already carrying your smartphone. However, it also works as a standalone camera too, so if you don’t have an iPhone you can still use it to take pictures or record videos.Insta360 Nano 360 Degree VR Camera

The image quality is good according to the specs and some of the content the company has provided on YouTube. The camera has a 3040 x 1520 resolution for still pictures and 3040 x 1520 at 30 fps for moving images through its 210-degree dual fisheye lenses. All of these images are captured in a TF card that holds up to 64 GB. If you run out of space, you can download or live-stream the video and pictures on Facebook and YouTube.

The Insta360 Nano comes with a micro USB cable that lets you connect it to other devices in addition to iPhones, and the box doubles as cardboard virtual reality glasses.

In a hands-on review for Mashable, Jason Cipriani said, “The Insta360 Nano’s photo and video quality is one of the best I’ve personally used on a 360-degree camera.” But he did have some complaints when it came to some software glitches that resulted in random prompts in Chinese, and he added it was not always user friendly.

Insta360 Nano - Product Shot

At $219 on Amazon, the Insta360 Nano is competing with the likes of the Ricoh Theta S ($360), LG 360 Cam ($179) and Samsung Gear 360 ($373), so it is somewhere in the middle.

As VR adoption continues to grow, small businesses are finding innovative ways to use the technology and grow their business. Any company that uses regular videos to promote their business can use a 360-degree camera to let their customers experience that video from a new perspective.

Real estate companies, outdoor adventure guides, resorts and designers are just some of the industries that can use VR to increase their customer base.

Image: Insta360.com

This article, “This Device Claims to Turn Your iPhone into a 360 Degree VR Camera” was first published on Small Business Trends

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“Engage with Honor” Takes Leadership Lessons from Unlikely Experience

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Engage With Honor Book ReviewCould your leadership survive a crisis? If your company depended on one critical decision and only you could make it, would that decision be based on the bottom line or principle? These are questions that Lee Ellis, former Vietnam war fighter pilot and a five-year survivor of a prison war camp, struggled with on a daily basis. In his position, he grappled with and saw leadership at its best and its worst. That experience gave him a perspective that few people have survived to pass on.

What is Engage With Honor About?

Like Extreme Ownership, another book reviewed on Small Business Trends, Engage With Honor is about applying leadership lessons learned from the war, although from a slightly different perspective. Instead of focusing on what a leader does, this book focuses on who a leader is.

Ellis focuses on the need for a leader to consistently maintain his or her values as a daily practice to avoid going into a downward spiral of dishonor. Consistent practice of values by leaders is critical, because, as Ellis points out, anyone is capable of dishonorable behavior under the right conditions. Engage With Honor highlights several cases where this happens: Enron, government agencies like the EPA and IRS, the military, education and healthcare. The book sites cases of dishonor which were more than just sensational headlines on the late night news. They had real serious implications, costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

As a POW in Vietnam, Ellis came to the conclusion that good leadership is a consistent re-dedication to values no matter the circumstances. Some of his fellow co-prisoners abandoned the Military Code of Conduct under the crisis of being captured. Others like Vice Admiral Stockdale clung to the Military Code of Conduct even under the reality of torture and solitary confinement. Ellis argues that Vice Admiral Stockdale was able to maintain his beliefs because he was clear on his values and communicated those values in his own actions and words whether he was alone or with a group of prisoners. That tenacity to the “right thing to do no matter what” as a leader is what leaders need to say, do, and re-dedicate themselves to every day if they are leaders who make a difference.

Author Ellis is not only a former Air Force fighter pilot, flight commander and POW, but a recipient of numerous military awards including the Purple Heart and Legion of Meritand and is now a leadership consultant.

What Was Best About Engage With Honor?

Engage With Honor is a great leadership book because it strips leadership down to its barest essentials while also telling the haunting (and very real) tale of the author’s life in a Vietnam POW camp. The book doesn’t go into extreme detail, but Ellis provides enough substance to show readers that this was a truly hostile environment that could not break the spirit of someone dedicated to their values. Using the simple metaphor of this harrowing tale, Ellis demonstrates his model of leadership with clarity and simplicity.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

The focus of Engage With Honor is on fostering what Ellis calls “courageous accountability.” It points out the problems when people don’t engage in this kind of behavior (lying, cheating, stealing, etc.), but it doesn’t get bogged down into ethical dilemmas like whistleblowing. The book’s focus is on the principles that leaders (or really anyone) can follow, not the particular steps they should take

Why Read Engage With Honor?

If you are a business leader who was inspired by a book like “Extreme Ownership,” you will probably enjoy the insight and perspective of  Engage With Honor. It provides a different perspective, however. “Extreme Ownership” focuses on what leaders should do. “Engage with Honor” focuses on who they are.

In addition, if you are looking to develop or refresh your company’s leadership and ethics development, this book provides excellent and straightforward advice on what you might want to include in the program.

This article, ““Engage with Honor” Takes Leadership Lessons from Unlikely Experience” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Keep an Eye Out for This New Edible Food Packaging (Watch)

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Food packaging is traditionally expensive, wasteful and bad for the environment. But what if there was a way to produce that packaging so that it’s actually cheaper, more sustainable and won’t lead to overflowing landfills?

The answer might be simpler than you’d think. Researchers are currently working to create packaging that consumers can just eat along with their food. The new edible packaging is made from milk proteins that have no taste. And if you don’t want to eat the packaging, it’s also biodegradable.

In addition, the U.S. already produces more milk than the population can consume. So this solution could actually solve multiple problems at once. And if those factors weren’t enough, it turns out that milk proteins actually keep out oxygen better than plastic packaging. So using it could mean that food would spoil slower than it does in the packaging we currently use.

Product Innovation Must Benefit Consumers to Be Successful

That last point is important, because if the only benefits were to the environment but not to consumers, the idea might not take off. However, this solution seems to be one that benefits all sides. So it shows just what type of innovation can be possible with some creative thinking and a willingness to try something completely different.

The new packaging isn’t likely to actually hit shelves for at least another three years. But the possibility could lead to some big things for food producers in the future.

Image: Newsy via American Chemical Society

This article, “Keep an Eye Out for This New Edible Food Packaging (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Top Stories: Pinterest, Kickstarter Reveal New Features

Friday, August 26th, 2016

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Pinterest has been adding new features to help businesses reach their target audiences in the platform. One of the most recent updates is a promoted video feature. And Pinterest isn’t the only online platform making changes. Crowdfunding site Kickstarter also added a follow feature, making it more social.

These updates and more are included below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Social Media

Pinterest Introduces Promoted Video, Three Other Platform Improvements

After testing with 12 early partners, including Lionsgate, bareMinerals and General Mills’ Old El Paso, Pinterest recently announced it is rolling out Promoted Videos (that is, video ads) in the U.S. and U.K., with featured Pins beneath.

Kickstarter Adds a Follow Feature, Makes the Funding Platform More Social

In news of interest to crowdfunding entrepreneurs, Kickstarter recently rolled out a new ‘Follow’ feature that allows users to follow creators directly and be first to find out when their next projects launch. Once you follow a Kickstarter creator, you’ll also be notified when they’ve backed a project that’s just getting off the ground, the crowdfunding company said.

How Snapchat’s New Acquisition Vurb Transforms Business Search

Snapchat is paying $110 million, with 75 percent in stock and 25 percent cash to acquire mobile contextual search engine Vurb. The deal also includes a $75 million retention bonus to keep Vurb founder and CEO Bobby Lo. Vurb touts itself as tool for helping consumers decide what to do and who they want to do it with.

Need to Share Some Content? Dlvr.it Provides Syndication Service

Dlvr.it provides brands, publishers and marketers with a way to syndicate content using their social media channels. Essentially, dlvr.it provides you with a simple way to curate content and automatically distribute it to preferred channels. The platform enables you to share content from RSS-enabled sites to social networks.

Management

Your Business Can Overcome Huge Obstacles – Just Like the Rio Olympics (Watch)

A few weeks ago, many experts expected the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio to be a disaster. Now that the games are over, it seems that those experts were mistaken. That’s not to say that there weren’t any issues. Aside from the green pool water and the now infamous Ryan Lochte incident, there were several smaller incidents that went mostly unnoticed.

Marketing Tips

Can Your Business Benefit from Influencer Marketing? Intellifluence Says Yes

Joe Sinkwitz left a comfortable, high-paying career as a marketing executive to found a startup, Intellifluence, a platform that helps brands partner with influencers. The reason: To give small businesses access to the same type of influencer marketing opportunities that were only available to large corporations.

What Sasquatch Can Teach You About Brand Excellence

ESPN The Magazine is essentially the print equivalent of a prime-time advertising slot for big brands. But in a publication driven predominantly by striking imagery and cool aesthetics, standing out from the crowd can be nigh unto impossible. That’s where it comes in handy to have constant access to an eight-foot, 374-pound model covered in hair.

Retail Trends

Shopkeep Boasts Simple, Inexpensive POS for Small Businesses

The Shopkeep app is an iPad point-of-sale (POS) system that claims to add simplicity and speed to sales functions SMBs need to effectively run and manage their operations. The company boasts a comprehensive iPad POS system for small business owners that seems to come fully loaded with all the big business features at a small business price.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: iMOBDEV Claims More Than 500 Customized Apps and Websites Worldwide

Mobile apps are becoming more and more popular for businesses in a variety of different industries. For those who want to look into getting their own mobile apps or even just building a more professional website, there’s iMOBDEV Technologies. The company prides itself on providing technologically advanced options for business websites and mobile apps.

Small Business Operations

Time Running Out to Take Advantage of Error in USPS Shipping Rates

The U.S. Postal Service is announcing yet another change in its shipping rates. This change affects companies that ship First-Class Mail Parcel Retail lightweight packages. These packages weigh between 1 and 3 ounces. The cost of shipping these packages beginning August 28 will be $2.62. That’s a 17-cent increase over the current rate of $2.45.

New Research Says Houseplants Can Make Businesses Safer (Watch)

Your business might soon be adding indoor plants to the list of necessary safety equipment needed around the office.

Mobile Technology

App or Credit? Why Cash May be Replaced by Mobile Payments

It is Monday morning in San Francisco, and you have just woken up late. To help in your rush to get to work on time, you use your favorite ride service app to pay for a driver to bring you to work. On the way to work, that pre-coffee, drowsy feeling starts to kick in, so you use your Starbucks app to order a coffee and a breakfast snack to get you through the morning.

Is Your Business App On Android? Here’s Why It Had Better Be

Planning a new app for your small business? Make sure you build it on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android, since that’s where you’re most likely to find your customers. According to a new Gartner report, Android is dominating the smartphone marketplace with a whopping 86.2 percent share in the second quarter of 2016.

Technology Trends

Has Fitbit Been Stealing Trade Secrets? Judge Says No (Watch)

The competition between wearable device companies Fitbit and Jawbone is heating up. Jawbone recently accused Fitbit of violating patents and poaching its employees in an effort to steal trade secrets. But the U.S. International Trade Commission just ruled that Fitbit didn’t misappropriate anything. The ruling is obviously good news for Fitbit, although Jawbone wants to review the ruling.

Kobo Provides eBook Alternative to Amazon

When considering the platform on which to publish your next ebook or from which to purchase your next business ebook or online magazine, it may be helpful to consider that Amazon is not your only option. Kobo is a Toronto-based company that has been providing an open platform as well as it’s own eReader platform, since 2009.

The Robocall Strike Force Teaches How to Go the Extra Mile for Customers (Watch)

Chances are, you’ve received one of those unsolicited robocalls or automated text messages at some point. And you probably haven’t been too happy about it either. But a new task force made up of some of the biggest names in tech is trying to put a stop to those unwanted calls and texts. Google, Apple, Verizon, Microsoft and more are all part of the Robocall Strike Force.

Want to be Productive? New ZEEQ “Smart Pillow” Analyzes Sleep Patterns

Artificial light, and now information and communications technologies are some of the factors responsible for people sleeping less, so it is fitting ZEEQ is using the same technology claiming to offer better quality sleep.

What Uber’s Self-Driving Car Tests Can Teach You About Offering New Services (Watch)

Uber is starting to test out its self-driving car service in Pittsburgh. And it’s doing it with real passengers in the vehicles. There will still be a driver in the front seat of each self-driving car with hands on the wheel in case they need to take over at any point. And an engineer will also be in the passenger seat to take notes.

Kickstarter Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Top Stories: Pinterest, Kickstarter Reveal New Features” was first published on Small Business Trends

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