Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

The Power of Testimonial Videos for Amazon Product Pages

Monday, October 16th, 2017

The Impact of Ecommerce Testimonial Videos

If you’re not including testimonial videos on your ecommerce product pages, especially on Amazon, you could be missing out on a lot of sales.

Small Business Trends caught up with Frank Morelli of Gen Video at the recent Influencer Marketing Days conference in New York City’s Times Square. Morelli is an Account Executive with Gen Video, an influencer marketing platform that helps ecommerce businesses integrate video content from influencers right on their shopping and product pages. The company also has a special relationship with Amazon that could help small businesses selling on the huge ecommerce site.

During the conversation, Morelli shared some thoughts about the importance of using video content on product pages, and how using video from influencers can be a great way to set your brand apart.

The Impact of Ecommerce Testimonial Videos

He said, “It’s a lot easier to connect with someone who’s just like you and I and who has built a following from the ground up than it is to connect with a brand who’s this huge household name and you’re not sure if you trust their word or not.”

Of course, a lot of businesses already understand the power of using influencer marketing in their social media or content marketing strategies. But Gen Video focuses more on integrating that content into actual ecommerce stores. This is a concept that you can apply to your own hosted website or even popular ecommerce platforms like Amazon. In fact, Gen Video is a programming partner with Amazon. So the company can help brands get video content from influencers up on product pages easily.

Basically, having video content that explains something about the product and offers a third party’s perspective about it can help convince some of those potential buyers who might be on the fence about hitting that buy button. Video is already a very popular format for online marketers. But using it in this way can help businesses impact the opinions of the people who are really close to making a purchase.

Morelli said, “Video in general is an extremely important process in terms of educating consumers. And when you’re able to place video on a product page it kind of completes that cycle. And when you’re working with influencers on different social platforms it’s kind of providing a content story for them as they’re going through that purchase funnel.”

This article, “The Power of Testimonial Videos for Amazon Product Pages” was first published on Small Business Trends


Trump Executive Order on Health Insurance Aimed Directly at Small Business

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Trump Executive Order on Health Insurance Aimed Directly at Small Business

Obamacare still hasn’t been repealed. And the chances it happens before the end of the year seem unlikely.

Executive Order on Health Insurance

However, last week President Donald Trump performed a bit of an end-around on the stifling healthcare bill by signing an executive order aimed specifically at providing small businesses some relief — and more affordable health insurance options.

In a ceremony at the Oval Office, Trump signed an executive order that does a few things to directly impact small businesses.

Association Health Plans (AHPs)

The order directs the secretaries of the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury to re-establish health care associations, or association health plans (AHPs).

The groups that typically would buy an AHP are trade organizations or other business groups, though Trump’s executive order does allow for the creation of new groups to purchase insurance.

“We aim to allow more small businesses to form associations to buy affordable and competitive health insurance,” Trump said. “This would open additional options for employers to purchase the health plans their workers want.”

Trump also specifically directed Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to work toward making these associations available to small businesses and their employees across state lines. This falls back on a campaign promise Trump repeatedly made to “erase the lines” that prevented health insurance companies from operating much the same way auto insurers do.

“The competition will be staggering,” Trump added. “This will allow thousands of small business employers to have the same purchasing power as large employers to get more affordable and generous insurance options for their workers.”

Conceivably, this would allow small businesses across the country in the same line of work to band together to purchase health insurance with the same leverage as a larger company would.

A written statement from The White House states: “By potentially making it easier for employers to band together, workers could have access to a broader range of insurance options at lower rates in the large group market. Employers participating in an AHP cannot exclude any employee from joining the plan and cannot develop premiums based on health conditions.”

The President says these healthcare associations were in place for small businesses prior to Obamacare being signed into law. They quickly became unaffordable to many who were enrolled, specifically the small businesses that benefited from them.

“People had plans that worked and they were suddenly cut off,” Trump said.

This part of the executive order is being received well by some business organizations already. The International Franchise Association was in attendance at the signing of the executive order. The IFA is an example of such an association.

IFA President and CEO Robert Cresanti said, “President Trump’s move to improve association health plans is a step toward ensuring a competitive market that would demand flexibility and affordability for small business owners. We look forward to working with the Administration to implement this important policy.

Karen Kerrigan, the president and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, says she hopes to work with Trump administration officials to finally make HRAs purchasable by small business owners, too.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs)

The executive order signed on Oct. 12 also calls for the creation of Health Reimbursement Arrangements. These would allow small business owners to reimburse their employees for their healthcare expenses.

Specifically, these expenses include the co-payments and deductibles that an employee would have to pay out-of-pocket for their healthcare.

Trump says these HRAs would benefit the two-thirds of small business employees who do not receive health insurance coverage through work. Those employees not getting health insurance through work are forced either pay for Obamacare through the exchanges or pay the individual penalty.

Kerrigan applauded the executive order signed last week, specifically on HRAs and short-term insurance.

In a written statement, Kerrigan said, “The various measures in the executive order address the different needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners, and we especially applaud efforts to expand health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) and allow for short-term insurance. These measures can provide more flexibility, and directly empower entrepreneurs and individuals in their health care decision-making based on their financial resources and health coverage needs.”

Short-term Limited Duration Insurance (STLDI)

Trump’s action last week also called for the creation of short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI) plans.

These plans are suited for people between jobs, who have limited options available through the ongoing Obamacare exchanges or who missed enrollment periods and need a short-term health insurance plan.

Kerrigan added that STLDI plans address the changing look of the American workforce and the needs of entrepreneurs. She said, “Our regulatory systems need to allow for how people currently work, and how they will work. As they cycle between full-time jobs and gig work, more affordable and flexible health coverage is desirable. This is a vital option for startups and the newly self-employed.”

Image: The White House/Twitter

This article, “Trump Executive Order on Health Insurance Aimed Directly at Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends


Latino Owned Small Businesses See Revenues Up 26 Percent But Credit Scores Falling

Monday, October 16th, 2017

2017 Biz2Credit Latino Small Business Credit Study: Latino Owned Small Businesses See Revenues Up 26% But Credit Scores Falling

Latino owned businesses are rising on the tide of the improved national economy with improved revenues. However, they need to leverage business credit better to keep their credit scores from dipping.

2017 Biz2Credit Latino Small Business Credit Study

Last year’s falling Latino credit scores (down from 595 to 592) were in contrast to the higher revenues for 2016 (averaging $258,702). These were the big takeaways from the annual Biz2Credit Latino Small Business Credit Study.

The study also found there were some common industries where Latino business ownership seemed concentrated. These were services, retail, construction, food services and accommodation as well as transportation and warehousing. The states leading in loan applications from Latino businesses included California just over 25 percent and Texas at 20.4 percent.

Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit, told Small Business Trends there was a reason for the credit drop beyond the payment history.

“Latinos have not had great access to business credit, thus they leverage their personal credit. They may be putting costs on credit cards that come with higher interest rates than loans,” he said.  “The problem is that once you go about 50 percent utilization, your credit score drops — even if you are paying on time.”

Latinos own over four million businesses now in the U.S., according to the report. They contribute over $668 billion to the American economy every year according to the U.S. Latino Chamber of Commerce.  Arora says having Latinos apply through traditional business credit channels is important.

“A lot of Latino-owned businesses are in construction and transportation/logistics, and retail food businesses.  The key is Latino-owned businesses need to apply for more formal business credit. Construction and retail are not traditionally funded by banks, and many of the business owners do not have a lot of experience in dealing with formal business credit,” he said.

The study looked at 2000 Latino owned businesses and 25,000 other companies with less than 250 employees and annual revenues less than $10 million.

Business Owners Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Latino Owned Small Businesses See Revenues Up 26 Percent But Credit Scores Falling” was first published on Small Business Trends


How to Comply with the Not-Yet-Repealed ACA Healthcare Law

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Sponsored Post

4 ACA Reporting Tips Every Small Business Needs to Know

The latest attempt to repeal Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has failed. On July 28, 2017, the “Skinny Repeal,” which promised to eliminate the individual and small business mandates of Obamacare, was unsuccessful.

However, the new administration has vowed to continue working on the issue of healthcare. Whether new legislation will be introduced before the end of 2017, or what the fate of any such legislation would be, is hard to judge.

One thing is clear — Obamacare is still legally the law of the land as of this writing. The law applies to employers with 50 or more full-time employees (as this is defined under the Affordable Care Act).

Unless and until the legislation is officially changed, employers are required to comply with the law, including employee tracking and reporting requirements, and it’s more likely than not those tracking and reporting requirements will continue for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it’s a good time for a refresher about the requirements for employers under the ACA law.

5 ACA Reporting Tips Every Small Business Needs to Know

Which Employers Are Subject to ACA Reporting?

Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must provide benefits under the ACA or face a fine.

To determine whether you have 50 full-time equivalent employees as required under the ACA law, you have to follow a formula.  According to the IRS, “To determine its workforce size for a year, an employer adds its total number of full-time employees for each month of the prior calendar year to the total number of full-time equivalent employees for each calendar month of the prior calendar year and divides that total number by 12.”

See the formula on this page to calculate the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) for a month.

What Type of Reporting Is Required?

The ACA requires employers subject to the law to complete forms 1095-C along with the 1094-C transmittal sheet. The forms are intended to confirm full-time and full-time equivalent employees are getting minimum essential care under the law.

There is a reporting requirement for sending 1095-C and 1094-C transmittals to the IRS. Under the law, employers are required to send 1095-C to all employees to provide information on their healthcare coverage. Form 1094-C is sent only to the IRS as a cover sheet for the 1095-C forms filed with the agency.

Specifically, Form 1095-C provides information about the type of healthcare provided to your employees, as well as information on whether employees might be eligible for a premium tax credit. The form also provides relevant information about periods employees may have gone without required health coverage.

Form 1094-C is a cover sheet providing additional information to the IRS, including the name of the employer, number of employees and the number of 1095-C forms sent to employees and the IRS.

If you file electronically, you get more time to file than you do if you file by paper.

What Are the Deadlines for Filing?

Deadlines for filing these forms in 2017 were actually moved up earlier than in 2016. The move caused considerable confusion in the small business community as many small businesses were unaware of the change.

For 2018, the deadlines are:

  • January 31, 2018 — Send Form 1095 copies to recipients/employees
  • February 28, 2018 — Paper filing of 1095s (and 1094 transmittals) to IRS
  • March 31, 2018 — E-filing of 1095s (and 1094 transmittals) to IRS

What Are the Penalties for Missing Filing Deadlines?

Employers missing the filing deadlines with the IRS for forms 1094-C and 1095-C or who file forms containing inaccurate information could face penalties of up to $260 per filing. Employers could also face a fine of $260 per filing for failure to distribute forms to employees or file with the IRS.

Employers with more than 250 full-time or full-time equivalent employees are required to file electronically by the IRS, rather than by paper.

What is Employer Shared Responsibility?

Under the ACA, employers with 50 or more full-time employees (or full-time equivalents) are required to provide sufficient and affordable healthcare coverage to those employees. The Employer Shared Responsibility provision also requires employers to communicate key details of health insurance coverage to the IRS, including verification that the “minimum essential coverage” (MEC) is being met.  Employers that fail to meet these requirements face a Shared Responsibility Payment ranging from $2,000-$3,000 for every full-time and full-time equivalent employee not covered.


This gives you a quick overview of some of the major requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  There are many more nuances and details that employers need to comply with, as well.

Even a full repeal of the ACA may not eliminate the IRS reporting requirement. Though some lawmakers continue to press for full repeal and replacement, any new plan may still carry a tax-related component (e.g., tax subsidies or tax breaks) that could require some level of IRS reporting.

At this point, businesses cannot count on the requirement being eliminated entirely. In fact, any new legislation may add to the burden, if tracking and reporting requirements change significantly.

Learn more here about ACA reporting requirements from business compliance firm ComplyRight. Or download the printable simplified ACA primer (PDF) from, a ComplyRight brand.

Healthcare Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Comply with the Not-Yet-Repealed ACA Healthcare Law” was first published on Small Business Trends


13 Credit Card Readers for Your Small Retail Business

Monday, October 16th, 2017

13 Credit Card Readers for Your Small Retail Business

Society is increasingly becoming cashless. As plastic continues to replace cash, it’s imperative small businesses keep up with modern payment demands and have card readers at hand to enable customers to pay by card from any location.

Retail Credit Card Readers

If you’re unsure what card readers there are available, take a look at the following 13 credit card readers for your small retail business.

Square Reader

Small retail businesses can accept credit, debit and contactless payments anywhere with the Square Reader. Simply plug the reader into devices with Apple Pay and Android Pay and you’ll be able to accept payments via chip and PIN cards from customers anywhere.

Glover Go

In 2016, First Data announced its new credit card reader was joining the marketplace, Glover Go. Working with the Clover Go app for Android and iOS, small retailers plug the EMV-enabled reader into their smartphone or tablet and accept payment via cards.

Freshbooks Card Reader

In December 2015, the popular cloud accounting company Freshbooks announced it was launching a credit card reader. Equipped with dual chip-and-swipe technology so it’s able to accept the magnetic stripe cards, as well as the new EMV chip cards, the Freshbooks Card Reader can accept payment from virtually any credit card.

Etsy Sell on Card Reader

Etsy might be a fundamentally online retail brand but the company recognizes the need for consumers to buy products face-to-face. Consequently, the popular ecommerce site launched its Sell on Etsy Card Reader. The card scanner plugs into a mobile device and provides merchants with another point-of-sale solution for when they sell at craft fairs and other physical locations.

PayPal Here

Wherever your business goes, your sales can go too with PayPal Here, PayPal’s credit card reader. PayPal Here claims to be one of the easiest ways for businesses to accept more forms of payment. PayPal charges a 2.7 percent fee per swipe transaction in the U.S.

iZettle Reader

iZettle enables small businesses to accept credit card and contactless payments, wherever and whenever. The credit card reader claims to accept payments 25 percent faster than the other mobile card readers on the market. No matter what card a customer uses, iZettle will deposit the funds of the sale into your account within 1 to 2 business days.

SumUp Air

The SumUp Air Card Reader has several unique features to consider. The reader processes payments within seconds, whether you are swiping a card in the store or on the go. Payments are received straight into your bank account, meaning you are never left waiting for your funds. The SumUp Card Reader costs a one-off fee of $69.


WePay provides merchants with a mobile card reader designed to integrate with your other business software.  And the EMV-certified card reader allows you to accept both chip and traditional magnetic stripe cards.

Pogo Card Reader

In 2016, PNC Bank introduced a mobile credit card reader named Pogo. This mobile card reader enables small businesses to accept credit card payments wherever they are, making it perfect for craft businesses, food truck operators and other microbusinesses that don’t operate from a fixed location.

WorldPay Mobile Card Machine

WorldPay provides businesses with a fast, reliable and secure device for taking card payments from customers. WorldPay’s mobile card machines accept all major credit and debit cards and serve customers within seconds with contactless technology. The company offers flexible pricing plans for its mobile card solutions, catering to your business’s individual payment requirements.


PayAnywhere accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and PayPal credit card payments, for a fee of 2.69 percent per swipe or tap. You can take payments from your customers and clients on the go. And PayAnywhere accepts magnetic stripe, EMV chip cards and contactless payments.

Intuit GoPayment

Intuit GoPayment works with the Android and BlackBerry operating systems and with iPhones and other Apple devices. Simply attach the card reader to a mobile device and accept card payments from customers anywhere. The card reader works with QuickBooks, meaning all transactions are synced with QuickBooks Desktop and Intuit Point of Sale products. This allows you to manage your small business’s transactions and finances with ease and efficiency.


ROAMPay allows you to convert your smartphone into a secure point of sale terminal. With the ROAMPay card reader, you can process electronic transactions quickly and over a secure network, regardless of the location of the customer.

Can you think of any credit card readers designed for making mobile payments missed here? If so, please share them in the comment section below!

Card Swiper Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “13 Credit Card Readers for Your Small Retail Business” was first published on Small Business Trends


U.S. Ranks 5th Among Cashless Countries, Is Your Business Ready for the Cashless Trend?

Monday, October 16th, 2017

U.S. Ranks 5th Among Cashless Countries -- 3 Credit Cards for Every American

Across the world, cashless culture is now the new normal and the United States is among the top countries to have embraced it.

Data shared by Forex bonus provider ForexBonuses shows there are nearly three credit cards for every person in the U.S. The country ranks fifth among cashless countries.

Potential for Rank Improvement

For years, credit cards have been a part of the American way of life. Yet the country lags behind Canada, Sweden, U.K. and France in cashless transactions. The reason? Possibly, the reluctance of some businesses in allowing customers to pay in plastic.

Because of this, 47 percent of U.S. payments are still made with cash. In comparison, 59 percent of all Swedish consumer transactions are completed through non-cash methods.

Cashless Countries Ahead of the U.S.

Thanks to the popularity of cashless payment methods, 47 percent of consumers in the U.K. are using alternative payments for most transactions. France has also adopted the cashless trend, with 39 percent of cards already having contactless technology.

But it’s Canada that’s leading this popular trend. There are two credit cards for every person living in the country, which explains the popularity of cashless payment.

Offer Cashless Options to Keep Up with Consumers

With some experts predicting completely cashless societies to emerge as soon as 2022, it’s important for businesses to prepare themselves.

Mobile payment platforms, for example, are expected to play a major role in future transactions. Businesses must understand how they can leverage these platforms to gain an edge.

Today, a large number of businesses still mostly or only accept cash. To stay relevant in the near-future, such businesses must rethink their strategies.

To learn more about cashless countries, check out the infographic below:

U.S. Ranks 5th Among Cashless Countries -- 3 Credit Cards for Every American.

Image: ForexBonuses

This article, “U.S. Ranks 5th Among Cashless Countries, Is Your Business Ready for the Cashless Trend?” was first published on Small Business Trends


10 Expert Tips for Using Microsoft Teams for Your Small Business

Monday, October 16th, 2017

10 Microsoft Teams Tips for Small Businesses

Microsoft Teams is a communication tool within Office 365 that gives small businesses a straightforward way to communicate and collaborate with employees. For those who haven’t used Microsoft Teams, it can help to get some valuable tips and insights from experts in order to make the most of it.

Microsoft Teams Tips

Simona Millham is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and a trainer for IT learning platform CBT Nuggets. She shared some valuable tips for making the most of Microsoft Teams for small businesses in an email interview with Small Business Trends.

Minimize Email Communications

One of the biggest benefits of Microsoft Teams is that it lets businesses keep all of their communication organized in one place, rather than relying on long email chains that can easily get lost in the shuffle. So if you’re going to make the most of Microsoft Teams, use it instead of, not in addition to, email for internal communications.

Millham says, “If somebody sends an email to the team asking a relatively trivial question, and everybody responds, that generates an awful lot of email. Conversations are at the heart of Teams, making it easy to see threads at a glance, and quickly respond where relevant.”

Share Conversations with New Team Members

Microsoft Teams can also make onboarding new employees easier. When you make a new hire, or add an existing team member to a new project, you can share conversations from that thread or project with them so they can catch up easily, rather than forwarding them numerous emails or handing them cumbersome documents.

Stick with a Few Groups

Microsoft Teams allows you to designate different groups within your organization so that you can keep conversations with relevant team members. But don’t go overboard creating groups for every possible combination of employees right away. Consider who works together on projects most often and create only those groups that make sense so as not to overwhelm everyone with tons of options. You can always add more later.

Have a Goal for Each Group

If you’re struggling to determine what groups to start out with, consider what you want to achieve for each group. For example, you might want a group just for top-level management, which you’d turn to when making big strategic decisions. But you may also want groups just for specific purposes like IT support and social media marketing.

Add Groups as You Go

From there, you can always add groups as specific projects call for them. Say you’ve got a special client project that involves people from several departments who don’t normally work together. Create a group that’s just for that instance so those workers don’t have to communicate in a more general thread.

Set Up Audio Conferencing

Microsoft Teams also offers an audio conferencing feature so you can host voice meetings within specific groups or just with one or two team members. This can be an especially useful feature especially if you have some team members who work remotely. You can also use it to communicate with outside clients via a new guest access feature.

Create a Communication Strategy

Of course, Microsoft Teams isn’t the only Microsoft product that offers communication features like chat and audio calls. But Millham warns not to get too caught up in using every single option available. Instead, create a specific plan that outlines in which situations you’ll use Microsoft Teams for communication versus other platforms.

Millham explains, “I think one of the biggest challenges is helping business users to understand WHICH Microsoft Office 365 tool to use WHEN. There is overlap between the functionality of Teams, Yammer and Skype for Business which is really confusing for users, and they are likely to just default back to email without some guidance. So my recommendation is that the business takes some time to think through which tools will suit different parts of their organisation the best – and run some pilots with different groups of users – and then provide guidance and awareness to end users.”

Test Communication Strategies

As Millham mentioned, it can be beneficial to actually test out different communication strategies within your organization to see what works best for your specific team. For example, you might find that it makes sense to use Skype for client calls if most of your clients already have Skype IDs and don’t want to sign up for guest access with Microsoft Teams. But you could opt to keep all the internal calls within Teams for the sake of simplicity. Just stay open to employee input so you can optimize your plan to their needs.

Stay Up-to-Date with New Features

Microsoft Teams is constantly changing and adding new functionality that may benefit your team or change the way you use the platform. For example, Microsoft is currently in the process of integrating Skype for Business functionality into Teams. Millham recommends checking out Microsoft Teams documentation and practical guidance for more information and updates about any changes or new features.

Train Your Employees

It’s also important to make sure that your employees understand how to make the most of Microsoft Teams. And there are plenty of resources available for that purpose. CBT Nuggets provides one option for Microsoft Teams training.

Millham says, “For small business owners, it includes an overview of resources to consider when deploying Teams and encouraging user adoption. For employees, it covers how to use channels, conversations, meetings, file sharing, wikis and more.”

Image: Microsoft

This article, “10 Expert Tips for Using Microsoft Teams for Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends


How Your Small Business Can Profit from the 2017 Holiday Calendar

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Key Retail Holiday Season Dates For 2017

Santa has an extra gift for brick-and-mortar retailers this year: There are four Saturdays in December before Christmas, which hasn’t happened since 2012. The extra Saturday has the potential to be a windfall for retailers, since it gives customers more time to shop for gifts.

Key Retail Holiday Season Dates For 2017

Let’s take a look at ShopperTrak’s predictions for the 10 busiest retail shopping days of the holiday season. Overall, these 10 days are expected to account for between 40 percent and 45 percent of all holiday shopping visits.

  1. Friday, Nov. 24
  2. Saturday, Dec. 23
  3. Saturday, Dec. 16
  4. Tuesday, Dec. 26
  5. Saturday, Nov. 25
  6. Friday, Dec. 22
  7. Saturday, Dec. 9
  8. Saturday, Dec. 2
  9. Saturday, Dec. 30
  10. Thursday, Dec. 21

Black Friday (Nov. 24) will continue to be the busiest shopping day of the year, ShopperTrak predicts, noting that even the trend of retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day hasn’t siphoned off significant Black Friday traffic so far.

However, 6 of the top 10 shopping days are Saturdays. Here’s a closer look:

  • Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25) is in the top five. Overall, ShopperTrak predicts, the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend will be a critical one for retailers.
  • Super Saturday (Dec. 23) falls so close to Christmas Day, increasing the urgency for last-minute shoppers.
  • December 16, the last Saturday before Super Saturday, attracts shoppers who don’t want to brave those last-minute crowds. December 9 and December 2 made the list as well.
  • December 30 is after Christmas, but still a critically important shopping day. Why? It’s a Saturday, a full shopping day before New Year’s Eve. Shoppers are still in a celebratory mood and ready to spend their Christmas loot.

How can you take advantage of the extra Saturday this holiday shopping season? Try these tips:

  • Start preparing now. Differentiate yourself from other brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retailers through your marketing and advertising. Plan your marketing campaign and create your marketing calendar. Build awareness of your store by reaching out to prospective customers early.
  • Plan for your hiring needs. You’ll need plenty of salespeople in store on those important Saturdays to help customers. Competition for seasonal employees is stiff, so if you haven’t already begun hiring, get moving!
  • Place your orders. Having a product in stock can make the difference between making the sale or losing it to a competitor or a website. Take advantage of your inventory management system to set up alerts when products are running low and place orders automatically.
  • Streamline your checkout process. No one likes to wait in line, so develop a plan for moving customers through the point of sale quickly. That might mean adding the option for mobile payment via tablet or smartphone.
  • Create a sense of urgency. You can spark excitement with special Saturday offers—or attract shoppers during slower days of the week by emphasizing the ease of shopping in a less crowded store.
  • Pace yourself. One more Saturday of holiday shopping means you and your staff will need more energy than usual this year. Plan for how you will stay energized and motivated—and how you’ll pump up your team.

December Calendar Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How Your Small Business Can Profit from the 2017 Holiday Calendar” was first published on Small Business Trends


Small Farmers Won’t Be Hurt by NAFTA Withdrawal, Commerce Secretary Assures

Monday, October 16th, 2017

The Impact of a NAFTA Withdrawal on Farmers

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dismissed concerns that withdrawing from NAFTA, the trade treaty between Mexico and Canada that President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened, would cripple American agriculture businesses.

The Impact of a NAFTA Withdrawal on Farmers

“As far as I can tell there is not a world oversupply of agricultural products,” Ross said during a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, calling the potential dangers of a NAFTA withdrawal to food producers an “empty threat.”

“Unless countries are going to be prepared to have their people go hungry or change their diets. I think it’s more of a threat to try to frighten the agricultural community,” he said.

Ross’s statements come as representatives from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. discuss potential terms for renegotiating the 23-year-old trade deal Trump has called one of the worst deals ever made.

Some of the strongest voices in agriculture and business expressed nervousness that Trump’s demands are designed to force Mexico and Canada to not accept terms of the renegotiation, pushing the U.S. to withdraw from the deal completely.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest agriculture association in the U.S., joined with Farmers for Free Trade to advocate for staying in NAFTA, arguing that without multi-lateral trade deals, other nations will work with each other and leave the U.S. on the outside.

“We can’t sit aside while other countries work out trade deals among themselves,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said during a conference call Tuesday.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue remained positive toward Trump’s plan for NAFTA this week, attempting to calm fears that the deal is certainly doomed.

“I think again some of these deals have lacked enforcement. So I think the president is sending a message. He’s serious about trade deficits. He’s serious about keeping jobs in the U.S.,” Perdue told Trish Regan on Fox Business’s The Intelligence Report.

Trump’s proposed objectives for the renegotiated deal include a changes to how NAFTA disputes are settled, a requirement that 50 percent of cars sold in the U.S. originate from the U.S., and a five year renewal period requiring each country to recommit to the deal every half decade.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Farmers Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Small Farmers Won’t Be Hurt by NAFTA Withdrawal, Commerce Secretary Assures” was first published on Small Business Trends


10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs offer a powerful service to the world. They take an idea that exists only in their heads and turn it into reality. In the daily grind of emails, phone calls, and to-do lists, this powerful vision can get lost.

Don’t let it.

Entrepreneurs are awesome, but sometimes they need a little inspiration to keep pursuing their goals.

This list of 10 books about successful entrepreneurs demonstrates that potential. The entrepreneurs on this page all came from humble beginnings but they were able to tap into their inner entrepreneur to create entrepreneurial magic. They used everyday items like hair products, hamburgers and perfumes to create a wonderful life for themselves, their families, and the world.

Inspirational Business Biographies

If you are ever in need of some entrepreneurial inspiration, take a peek at one (or more) books on this list. You won’t be the same after reading!

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - Miss Jessie's: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch -- NaturallyMiss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch — Naturally

by Miko Branch

Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch –Naturally is the story of the rise of Miss Jessie’s, a hair care product specifically designed for curly haired women.

Told from the perspective of founder Miko Branch, the book follows the journey of Miss Jessie’s from a household experiment into an award-winning, industry-changing brand that opened a whole new market.

Miss Jessies’s didn’t grow to its current level of success without inspiration from the original “Miss Jessie”, Miko and Titi Branch’s self-assured paternal grandmother who inspired her granddaughters with self-created hair products.

It was that spirit of independence and experimentation that led Miko and Titi Branch to create Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding after they launched their salon. It became an underground hit, eventually winning several awards.

The book follows along as the brand known as Miss Jessie’s moves from the website to its first retail outlet. From that point, a wild ride would ensue.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - PAPA: The Story of Papa John's PizzaPAPA: The Story of Papa John’s Pizza

by John H. Schnatter

You’ve heard of “Papa John’s”, the global, multi-million dollar pizza company, no doubt. You have probably also seen “Papa John” himself, John Schnatter, in a Superbowl ad or other commercial.

What you haven’t heard is the story of how Papa John became the brand that it is today. For that, readers can turn to the book written in Schnatter’s own words, PAPA: The Story of Papa John’s Pizza.

This book will follow the leap Schnatter took from his humble beginnings. (His business office was a broom closet and he had to sell his car to buy used pizza equipment.)

The book follows Schnatter’s triumphs, as well as his failures. It also details the core values that he adopted from his parents and how he integrated those values into a growing business.

Filled with colorful family photos and insightful advice, “PAPA” combines business advice and the memoir of a man who jumped on a dream and never let go.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - Dave's WayDave’s Way

by Dave Thomas

Another company that you might think you know all about is Wendy’s. You might also know the owner behind Wendy’s, Dave Thomas, as well as his daughter who serves as the store’s logo.

What you don’t know is how Wendy’s grew from one restaurant specializing in square hamburgers into the third largest restaurant brand on the planet.

Written in Thomas’s own words, Dave’s Way starts off following the founder’s early life, career and military service.

Using this as a starting point Thomas then shares the strategies and principles his business used to become a global brand. The last section ties the first two parts of the book together, sharing the wisdom Thomas has gathered along the way and his advice to business owners who want to carve out their own story based on the three principles that have guided his own success: hard work, humility, and integrity.

If you ever wondered how Wendy’s grew to the successful brand it is today, this book will give you a peek at the life and business strategy of the man behind the logo.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - Jo Malone: My StoryJo Malone: My Story

by Jo Malone

Jo Malone’s background was no blueprint for her multi-million dollar success. Her story started in one of Britain’s “council houses”, the United Kingdom’s version of public housing. Malone suffered in school because of dyslexia. Ultimately, she opted to drop out to take care of her mother after a stroke.

That’s just the beginning, though.

Malone always had a “nose” for scents and would often experiment creating different fragrances. She began a career path giving facials, but she did one thing that made her stand out.

She sent her clients some of her candles and other scented beauty items as a thank-you gift. Clients appreciated the gesture, but they liked the scents even better.

A new career began.

Jo Malone: My Story shares the story of how Malone rose to become a master perfumer and entrepreneur with no formal training, using only her nose. It also follows her story after a cancer diagnosis and her leaving of the perfume company she founded to start the second chapter in her life.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All AwayRay & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away

by Lisa Napoli

When the name Ray Kroc is mentioned, McDonald’s usually comes to mind. You may not have heard a lot about Kroc’s wife, Joan. But with Lisa Napoli’s book Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away, you will.

Joan Kroc (aka “St. Joan of the Arches”) became known for her numerous donations ranging in the millions, both to public causes (like alcoholism and nuclear disarmament) and to anonymous recipients.

This book is about the couple’s life together and the life of Joan after Ray Kroc’s death in 1984. Kroc was a former milkshake mixer salesman who wanted more.  He found that opportunity in McDonald’s turning a single restaurant into a billion-dollar franchise while married to his previous wife.

Joan was a musician who played the Hammond organ and who was also married when the two first met. A few years and two divorces later, Ray and Joan would emerge as the couple who controlled McDonald’s billions. Joan didn’t feel comfortable sitting around with all of that money. She gave it away, lots of it! Her efforts would make her one of the most powerful and generous philanthropists of the 21st century.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm - From ScratchLocally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm — From Scratch

by Lucie B. Amundsen

When someone tells their spouse or significant other they want to quit a full-time job and start an egg farm, you might expect that person to have a background in agriculture. Lucie’s husband didn’t.

He had only raised a few chickens in the backyard. None of those managed to lay a single egg.

Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm — from Scratch is the story of the Midwestern family who turned this weird dream into a reality.

The book follows the Amundsen family from its scramble to find over 2,000 chickens to the forging of Locally Laid, the pasture-raised and award-winning business they would create.

If you are ready to get inspired by a family who turned a wacky dream into a thriving business consistent with their values, Locally Laid is for you.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - Lilac Dreams: My Journey from a Sewer Drain to the BoardroomLilac Dreams: My Journey from a Sewer Drain to the Boardroom

by Bonnie Hathcock

Lilac Dreams: My Journey from a Sewer Drain to the Boardroom is about the need to appreciate your past in order to fully own your future. Bonnie Hathcock had reached the highest level at the C-suite level.

She was named “one of the most powerful women in HR” by Human Resource Executive magazine.

But she didn’t feel comfortable in her role. She felt like she didn’t belong. She had done everything a leader was supposed to do. She got the right degrees. She excelled at her work.

Finally, Hathcock realized she wasn’t comfortable with herself. She was still living out a narrative from her past. It was a narrative of pain, of hurt, of being abandoned by her father at three years old, and of being bullied in school.

Finally, one day, Hathcock decided to own her past, realizing it had made her the person she is today.

Lilac Dreams is the story of how Hathcock reached that realization and leveraged that insight to create a happier life.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership, and Success on Our Own TermsBeyond the Label: Women, Leadership, and Success on Our Own Terms

by Maureen Chiquet

As we grow up in the world, we are given labels. We adopt labels to describe ourselves. For the most part, this is healthful.

They help us create a sense of self. Labels can also hold us back.

We create rules for our labels. We start to put ourselves in a self-imposed box because of our labels.

Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership, and Success on Our Own Terms is about breaking out of that box to reach a new level in life.

Written by the former global CEO of the Chanel, a luxury fashion line, the book chronicles her transition from a shy literature major to the most powerful positions in the fashion brand.

It talks about the risks she and obstacles she faced when she decided to follow her own path. Her book serves as a guide for anyone, especially women, break free of their current situation by adopting a new label of their own choosing.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NikeShoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

by Phil Knight

It’s hard to imagine the world without Nike, but this global company has only been around for 53 years.

Before that, it was only the dream of Phil Knight after he graduated business school and was ready to invest $50 from his father into something new.

He was ready to start his own business.

That dream would eventually become a billion-dollar company.

There hasn’t been much written about the origin story and founder of Phil Knight.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike is that story, written from Phil Knight’s point of view.

The memoir shares his journey as a child through his development as the owner of a billion dollar brand. You’ll find humor, loss, competition, and wisdom, all wrapped up in a well-crafted and inspirational tale of a man who kept running to victory.

10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur - How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering LifeHow to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

by Lilly Singh

Lily Singh accomplished something by herself that businesses with hundreds of employees dream about. Singh became a global brand and she did it in less than 7 years.

Lily Singh started making YouTube videos while struggling with depression. She took on the username, “Superwoman” because she once held a belief as a child, that she wore an invisible “S” on her chest that allowed her to do anything.

She did everything on her channel from impersonations to more serious discussions about life, her Punjab heritage, and growing up as a young woman in the modern world.

Her YouTube videos started receiving millions (You heard right, millions!) of subscribers. Along the way, celebrities dropped by, Singh won numerous awards, appeared in music videos, took acting roles, and promoted a bracelet campaign for girls’ education in Kenya.

In other words, Singh became a “bawse,” someone who embraces life with all its challenges and uses it as an opportunity to uplift others. Her book, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life provides the basic “bawse” principles so others can achieve greater success on their own, no matter their situation.


Books Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Inspirational Business Biographies to Spark Your Inner Entrepreneur” was first published on Small Business Trends