Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

This Small Business in Canada Has a Very Unique Job Offer and Recruitment Approach

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

This Small Business in Canada Has Included a Very Unique Fringe Benefit to Its Job Offer and Recruitment Approach

Small business owners are trying just about everything to try to recruit new talent these days from flexible hours to 401 Ks. But what about offering something just a little less conventional.

Well, an “established” small business, the Farmer’s Daughter Country Market, located on the tiny Canadian island of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, late last month posted a Facebook advertisement seeking to recruit employees. The Farmer’s Daughter job advert promised successful applicants would get not only a job, but also a free two acre piece of land with the deal. Yep, free land!

Free Land Fringe Benefit

New trends in job recruitment have been emerging again lately with Generation Z, for example, being more attracted to careers that offer generous pay and better benefits — much like their parents’ generation. By comparison, Millennials are more attracted to trendy office perks like free gym memberships and Friday cocktails then just a good salary.

But against the backdrop of these trends, the Farmer’s Daughter Country Market is offering something truly unique.

The Canadian small business, which has been operating in the area for nearly 25 years, says it can offer job applicants not only free land.

“We can’t give you big money, but we can give you an awesome life,” says the ad for the market located in the little village of Whycocomagh. Apparently, this is an area surrounded by beautiful mountains and the shining Bras d’Or Lake where kayaks and canoes outnumber motorboats.

The company notes on its Facebook ad that it is rich in jobs, land and potential. The ad further explains that the market is looking to recruit anyone who wants to live a simpler life, close to nature, in an area that still believes in community meals and weekly jam sessions.

“We are looking for people who are environmentally conscious, want to be part of a community and will see our business not as you work for us, but we all work together to create something to be proud of. If you take pride in being friendly, helpful and positive, and have skills in the food industry or customer service, then you are who we are looking for,” the job ad explained.

But There’s a Catch…

If you are someone looking to escape the rat race, this might just be the job for you. But there’s a catch. Apart from the wages being low, the Farmer’s Daughter says the job applicant will need to stay in the job for five years before they officially own the land.

“If you decide this opportunity might fit your dreams and goals for a close to nature and community focused life, then we are willing to offer you two acres of woodland where you can immediately set up your tiny house or quaint cabin,” reads the ad. “Plus give you access to our farmland and other resources we have available. If you are still working with us after five years and we all still like each other after that time, then the land is yours for the cost of migrating it out and putting it in your name.”

Despite these preconditions, lots of folks seem ready to drop everything and relocate to rural Nova Scotia for the opportunity. The market’s owners Sandee Maclean and Heather Coulombe told CBC News, Canada they’ve been overwhelmed by the response to the advert. More than 3,000 people from around the world have contacted them about the job. The pair explained they decided to advertise the job on Facebook because they had already hired all the locals qualified and in need of work.

After choosing the first three hires earlier this month, Coulombe says she’s happy to be welcoming the first family, a young couple — Kerry and Brett Walkins — and their two young children. The two other families include a single mom and her 10-year-old daughter, and another young couple who plan to use their land to grow organic produce to sell at the market.

“I’m really excited they’re here. It’s new beginnings for us, and growth for us and the community,” Coulombe said.

It goes to show that offering truly unique job perks a bit different an out off the ordinary can have a tremendous impact on your business’s recruitment success. And it also may be instrumental in attracting the employees you truly want ti fill positions at your company.

Image: Farmer’s Daughter/Facebook

This article, “This Small Business in Canada Has a Very Unique Job Offer and Recruitment Approach” was first published on Small Business Trends


The Lesson of The 4G Mobile Revolution? Keep an Eye Out for Change, Disruption and Regulation

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

The Lesson of The 4G Mobile Revolution? Keep an Eye Out for Change, Disruption, and Regulation“Do not let your business become the next Nokia mobile phone.”
– – “The 4G Mobile Revolution: Creation, Innovation, and Transformation at EE

Joint ventures are unique, but the joint venture that created EE was special. This venture represented more than just the joining of two businesses looking for more market share. This joint venture would herald the arrival of 4G Internet service in the UK. Thousands of employees and millions of dollars were on the line as EE embarked with a strategy that required near flawless execution.

The rewards were immense, but so was the risk of failure.

What is The 4G Mobile Revolution About?

The 4G Mobile Revolution: Creation, Innovation and Transformation at EE is a story and almost play-by-play look at the merging of the UK’s biggest mobile and telecommunications brands, Orange and T-Mobile. The book details what leadership planned, the actions that were taken, and the results. Along the way, the former CEO and Communications Director who wrote the book, share advice on how to manage disruption that impacts your whole business.

As the book shares, technology has (and will continue to) impact every business on the planet. As a result, businesses can’t be content to leave “tech stuff” to the IT department alone. They need to be ready.Those businesses that are complacent about technology are the ones that will fail.

To give a specific example, the book highlights Nokia. Nokia, a mobile and telecommunications company, was the leader in the early 90s that lost market share to competitors like Apple and Google. The ironic thing is that Nokia was a pioneer in the industry. The company was so far ahead that they didn’t see the iPhone, which completely revolutionized the mobile industry. Nokia still hasn’t recovered its market share.

This focus on technology doesn’t mean that your business should beef up its own technology efforts exclusively and nothing else. Instead, The 4G Mobile Revolution argues that business leaders also need to change how they think about business. Business owners need to rethink how they deal with customers, competitors, regulators and their employees. Business owners should be taking proactive steps toward technology and business, experimenting and innovating while keeping an eye on the future.

As The 4G Mobile Revolution points out, you never know “… which companies are around the corner …”.

Co-authors Olaf Swantee and Stuart Jackson are former executives at EE.

Swantee, originally part of Orange, was CEO from the Orange-T-mobile merger that became EE in 2010. His background includes extensive work experience — for instance work at several tech companies, including Compaq and HP.

Jackson was a former Communications Director, also an employee from Orange, who assisted in the transition to EE. He is the founder of UP Communications and VP of Communications for Nisan Europe.

What Was Best About The 4G Mobile Revolution?

The best part of The 4G Mobile Revolution is the behind-the-scenes perspective. Swantee and Jackson were former employees of EE and draw on that experience to provide a wealth of insight. Their advice goes beyond EE’s particular situation and speaks to the future of almost all industries. All businesses will need to reconsider how they deal with an uncertain future. The book focuses on a single (and powerful) story but comes with insight that apply to any business.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

The 4G Mobile Revolution is a great case study of a company that was able to pull off something that makes business headlines. If you’ve ever read an article about a business merger and wondered what was going on in the CEO’s head, this book will help. That being said, this singular focus on a company in one point of time makes it hard to generalize. More strategies could be explicitly drawn out of the book to provide more guidance to business owners.

Why Read The 4G Mobile Revolution?

The 4G Mobile Revolution provides an insider’s look at the future of business: lots of change, disruption and regulation. The book provides EE’s response to this from the perspectives of a CEO and Communications Director. The book is aimed at C-suite executives, but it offers general advice for any business leader wanting to improve the long-term business prospects in the long term. The book’s focus of capitalizing on an uncertain future rather than cowering before it, is a positive message for business owners to hear. If you ever wonder what goes through a CEO’s mind while planning a joint venture (or are planning something similar, The 4G Mobile Revolution will provide an interesting case study.

This article, “The Lesson of The 4G Mobile Revolution? Keep an Eye Out for Change, Disruption and Regulation” was first published on Small Business Trends


Join Ramon Ray and Citrix ShareFile for Events September 27 and 29

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Want to learn to use technology to remain smart and competitive?

Then join Ramon Ray and Citrix ShareFile for two upcoming events in Denver, Colorado, September 27 and Austin, Texas September 29.

The one-night interactive presentations both entitled “10 Ways Growing Companies Use Technology to Stay Smart and Competitive” are designed to impart insights.

Some of those shared insights will include how to use technology to save time and money and to increase productivity. See more specific details in the Featured Events section 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

September 27, 2016, Denver, Colorado, USA

Join Citrix ShareFile and Ramon Ray, best-selling author and technology expert for a one-night interactive presentation on “10 Ways Growing Companies Use Technology to Stay Smart and Competitive.”

September 29, 2016, Austin, Texas/USA

Join Citrix ShareFile and Ramon Ray, best-selling author and technology expert for a one-night interactive presentation on “10 Ways Growing Companies Use Technology to Stay Smart and Competitive.”

LeadpagesLeadpages’ Converted 2016
October 18, 2016, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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, CA

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, NY

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.

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt TrainingLean Six Sigma Green Belt Training
November 07, 2016, New York, New York

This ?five-day ?program ?is ?a ?highly ?interactive ?training ?course ?in ?lean ?Six ?Sigma ?tools ?and ?methodology. ?You will learn how to apply ?Lean ?Six ?Sigma ?tools ?and ?methods to improve key business processes.Follow Us: @Vectorint
Discount Code
GBIL2016 (10%)

November 14, 2016, Scottsdale, AZ

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 Events

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

Event Microphone via Shutterstock>

This article, “Join Ramon Ray and Citrix ShareFile for Events September 27 and 29” was first published on Small Business Trends


10 Tips to Prepare Your Business for the Future

Saturday, September 24th, 2016


Even if you have a successful business today, there’s no guarantee of that success continuing into the future. You need to continually update your practices and keep up with trends in order to stay successful going forward. Here are some tips from members of our small business community for ensuring future business success.

Use These Tech Trends to Get Your Business Out of a Rut

Every small business experiences down times. But the constantly changing tech tools available to you can potentially help you break out of those ruts. In this post at Hellbound Bloggers, Pradeep Kumar shares some current tech trends you can use to break your small business out of a rut.

Know These Three Things About the Future of Content Marketing

Content marketing is constantly changing. So you need to keep up with the trends if you want your content to continue making an impact going forward. This post by Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media includes some things you should know about the future of content marketing. And you can also see what BizSugar members had to say about the post here.

Keep Your Mobile Workforce Data Secure

Today’s technology allows more workers than ever to go mobile. But when you have a mobile workforce, you need to make sure that all your sensitive business data is secure. That’s why this Biz Epic post by Tara Miller includes some tips for keeping your mobile workforce data secure.

Consider These Things Before Implementing CRM Software

CRM software can be helpful and even essential when it comes to growing your business. But you need to choose the best possible option in order to get all of the benefits. Here, Jennifer Boyd of the Acumium blog shares some things you should consider before implementing a CRM software for your business.

Get More Done and Be More Productive

The more productive you’re able to be for your business, the more you’ll be able to grow and improve your business going forward. This Success Harbor post by George Meszaros includes some tips for getting more done. And members of the BizSugar community comment on the post as well.

Create Smart Succession Planning for Your Leadership Pipeline

Strong leadership can make a huge difference for any business. But if you have a sizable team, you likely can’t take on all of the leadership roles yourself. That’s where succession planning comes in. Brad Callahan goes into more detail in this Marketing Innovators post.

Start a Blog for Your Business

If you haven’t started a blog for your small business at this point, you probably don’t think it would provide many benefits. But it could be time to rethink that, according to this CorpNet post by Nicki Escudero. She lists some of the reasons your small business needs a blog.

Attract More Visitors to Your B2B Blog

Even B2B businesses can potentially benefit from blogging. But you need a strategy to really attract visitors. This Basic Blog Tips post by Ahmad Raza includes some unique tips for getting B2B blog visitors. And BizSugar members chime in with input on the post too.

Find Your Story, Seinfeld Style

There are so many platforms and outlets for small businesses to share stories and content online. But you need to actually find a compelling story in order to really make an impact. Of course, there’s always a way to find a story worth telling, as this Media Shower post by Judah Fund illustrates.

AMP Up Your Content With Tips from Google

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project has the potential to help businesses get their websites and online content more easily found by mobile consumers. And Google recently shared some tips for businesses, broken down in this Search Engine Journal post by Matt Southern.

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:

Future Concept Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Tips to Prepare Your Business for the Future” was first published on Small Business Trends


How to Build Your Own Yoga Business

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

How to Build Your Own Yoga Business

For over a thousand years, yoga has been celebrated as one of the globe’s most effective methods of spiritual release. Yoga promotes both physical and mental strength, offers a great workout and helps practitioners get in tune with their bodies. Bearing all that in mind, it’s little wonder yoga is so popular.

More than one in 10 Americans regularly do yoga. Meanwhile, around 44 percent of adults have reportedly considered giving yoga classes a try — and an estimated 80 million Americans say they’ll likely take yoga up at some point in the next twelve months. Overall, the country’s yoga industry is worth around $16 billion per year, and offers plenty of fantastic opportunities for aspiring small business owners.

Kick starting a successful yoga business may be a bit more complicated than mastering the Crow Pose. It takes a lot of research and dedication in order to find your place in the industry. But so long as you’re willing to put in a bit of work, there’s no reason you can’t succeed.

Starting Your Own Yoga Business

To help you get started building your new yoga business, here are a few crucial tips:

Get Certified

First thing’s first: if you want to start your own yoga business, you’ll need to get fully certified from a Yoga Alliance affiliated institution. The Yoga Alliance is the organization that oversees industry standards across the country — and although it’s not technically mandatory for a yoga instructor or school to get certified by the group, it will go a long way in helping your new business to establish some brand trust.

By completing training with a Registered Yoga School, you’ll not only gain an internationally-recognized credential, but you’ll also gain access to the body’s marketing tools, workshops and advocacy alerts. You can either obtain an individual or institutional certification from the Yoga Alliance — depending upon what type of yoga business you’d like to run.

Get a Plan

After you’ve obtained certification, it’s time to think about the type of business you’re going to start. You might want to run classes out of multiple studios as an independent contractor, work with clients one-on-one or even start your very own yoga studio. All of the above could be done on either a part-time or full-time basis. But once you’ve decided, the type of yoga business you’re going to build will be the cornerstone of your business plan.

As with any business plan, you’re going to need to work out fairly detailed cash projections based on the type of business you are starting, area demographics and the resources you will need to deploy in order to manage your business effectively. If you are attempting to launch your own yoga studio, you’ll inherently be forced to take quite a few overheads into the equation, and will most likely need to apply for a loan or funding.

How to Build Your Own Yoga Business - Get a Yoga Studio Business Plan

It is usually worth checking out The U.S. Small Business Administration website, which offers a free service to help out with business plans and loan advice.

Get the Right Location

It doesn’t matter whether you’re attempting to run a few part-time classes or open the country’s biggest yoga studio. Either way, you should give location a whole lot of thought. You should always start by conducting market research to better understand your ideal client base. Get an idea for which demographics will account for the bulk of your footfall, and then figure out where a high concentration of those people are regularly found. It’s worth bearing in mind that accessibility and convenience are important to regular yogis, and so you should try to find somewhere readily accessible by car, public transport and by foot.

How to Build Your Own Yoga Business - Get the Right Location

Studio costs are generally dominated by area rental rates or real estate prices — so if you’re on a tight budget, a bustling downtown location might be hard to snag. Likewise, larger, more established gyms may charge independent yoga instructors more in order to use their premises to conduct classes. In order to minimize overhead and maximize profits, do your research and be prepared to compromise on one or two aspects of your wish list.

Get Insured

If you want to build a successful yoga business, you will need to get insurance. Even if you’re simply instructing the odd class or clients on a freelance basis, it is advisable you obtain professional liability insurance. This will protect you in case any of your clients develop muscle, joint or back injuries as a result of your class and blame you.

You’ll also want to have professional liability insurance if you are planning to start up your own yoga studio. Yet in addition, you must also obtain general liability insurance, property and contents insurance. If you are taking on staff, you must ensure your policies cover trained staff — and depending upon your insurance provider, each employee may need to fill certain requirements. When in doubt, you should always shop around before committing to a policy, and you should always seek legal advice to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.

Get Social

Once you’ve gotten insured, certified and fully funded, it’s time to think about building your clientele. As with all small businesses, social media and digital marketing are crucial to the survival of any aspiring yoga business. It’s important to seek out and engage with would-be clients online. That being said, you definitely shouldn’t take old-fashioned marketing methods for granted.

One of the best places to pick up business will be to catch people in coffee shops, at the gym or in other athletic settings. Hand out fliers, offer start up discounts and never forget that word-of-mouth is your best friend. Get creative, know your audience and reach out to aspiring yoga practitioners wherever possible.

So long as you’re willing to put in a bit of work, there’s no reason you can’t succeed as a yoga instructor or studio owner. But don’t forget that no two businesses are alike, and you very well may run into a few unforeseen challenges along the way. When you hit those challenges, just remember to practice what you preach, and try your best to stay spiritually balanced.

Yoga Studio, Yoga MatsEmpty Yoga Studio Photos via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Build Your Own Yoga Business” was first published on Small Business Trends


Good for the Money: How Bob Benmosche Saved AIG From Itself

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Good for the Money: How Bob Benmosche Saved AIG From ItselfBob Benmosche was retired in Croatia when he got a call to help AIG. It wasn’t just any call. It was a call to help a company that had received unprecedented millions from the government to survive. It was a call to help a company whose employees faced death threats and a board mired in red tape. It was a nightmare. At the end of the story, though, Ben Benmosche would see to it that this company got their happy ending.

In between the first phone call Bob Benmosche received and the end was a heck of a story.

What is Good for the Money About?

“I don’t liquidate things. I build them.”
– – Bob Benmosche

Good for the Money is the story of AIG told from one of its CEOs who managed AIG in one of its most troubling times. This was the time of the “housing crisis” when ill-advised loans went into default putting the insurance company in ruins. Under normal circumstances, the US government would not have intervened but AIG’s business was critical to the economy. So, the government stepped in, serving as a lender to the company.

The chaotic environment that Bob Benmosche faced was evident if you looked at the number of CEOs before him, five in five years.

Benmosche wasn’t your ordinary CEO, though. He was a straight talker who didn’t hesitate to drop a curse word into a business conversation. Several times in the book, Benmosche told people (government officials, the board, etc.) where they could go and what they could do. He also wasn’t someone who would sugarcoat things to make you feel better.

But, Benmosche was also a person who stood up for the everyday person. He joined AIG because he believed in the company and wanted to help taxpayers get their money back. He saw in AIG an opportunity for American workers to prove they could get the job done.

He did it his way.

In what seemed like a miracle, Benmosche embarked on a journey that included plenty of air miles logged, battles with self-seeking board members, government questioning, intense media scrutiny and a struggle with personal illness on the way to achieving something that everyone thought was impossible.

Benmosche was the president of AIG for five years after working in various industries including MetLife, Arthur D. Little, and Information Science. He died of lung cancer in 2015.

Author Peter Marks is a theater critic for The Washington Post. His co-author is Valerie Hendy, an executive in AIG’s Corporate Citizenship department.

What Was Best About Good for the Money?

The best part of Good for the Money is the uncompromising, raw honesty that Benmosche brings to the book. Benmosche is frank about the situation he walked into, his approach to leadership and his own personal life. This approach provides readers with a unique look at the AIG crisis from the inside and a glimpse of business leadership under pressure. Because Benmosche is so honest, he provides access that many readers often don’t get in business biographies.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

Good for the Money is a great story about a guy who proves Washington wrong by believing in himself and his team. That being said, the book delves rather deeply into the confusing waters of finance with talk about derivatives and other complex terms. A glossary or short introduction into this world might have helped those who aren’t familiar with these subjects.

That being said, the story is so powerful that you can still understand without fully grasping the finance or insurance industry.

Why Read Good for the Money?

If you have ever wondered what it felt like to work in AIG during the infamous crisis, Good for the Money will provide an excellent view into that world at that time. Benmosche details a little about the history of AIG, how it grew to its massive size, and what it did to get out of the pit that it fell into.

Good for the Money is also good for any executive-level manager or business owner. The situation Benmosche faced was high pressure. Benmosche isn’t afraid to share what worked and what didn’t. This unique look at leadership under pressure can offer a lot of insights small business owners who are facing tough decisions, especially situations that involve money.

This article, “Good for the Money: How Bob Benmosche Saved AIG From Itself” was first published on Small Business Trends


Vegetarians Want a Choice, Is In-N-Out Burger Listening? (Watch)

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

If you’re a vegetarian, there probably isn’t much you can eat at an In-N-Out Burger. You can order some fries or a burger without the meat, which would basically be just some cheese, lettuce and tomato on a bun. But that’s about it.

Now, a group called the Good Food Institute and some vegetarian supporters are trying to change that. Thousands of people have signed a petition on calling for In-N-Out to add veggie burgers to its menu.

Popular fast food chains like Burger King, Taco Bell and Wendy’s already offer some vegetarian options. So In-N-Out wouldn’t be the first.

This also isn’t likely the first time In-N-Out has considered adding veggie burgers or some kind of vegetarian option to its menu, since this isn’t even the first petition of its kind that has circulated online. So it’s possible that the restaurant chain did some research and simply decided the cost wouldn’t be worth it.

Pay Attention to Customer Requests, Even if You Can’t Fulfill Them

But when people care enough about something to send a petition, it’s usually something that the involved business should at least look into. In-N-Out may find that there are more vegetarians in its potential market than before. Or it might again find that the cost would be too high.

It’s the same in your small business. You may not be able to act on every customer complaint or suggestion, but at least you should be paying attention.

Image: Newsy

This article, “Vegetarians Want a Choice, Is In-N-Out Burger Listening? (Watch)” was first published on Small Business Trends


In the News: eBay Announces New Partnership, Freshbooks Unveils Updated UI

Friday, September 23rd, 2016


If you sell on eBay, you could soon be in for a better experience thanks to a new partnership with Sellbrite. And that’s not the only announcement from the past week that could positively impact small businesses. Freshbooks also unveiled a new user interface that should make the platform easier to use.

There are even more small business headlines from the past week included below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Small Business Operations

eBay and Sellbrite Partner to Offer Sellers Better Online Selling Experience

eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) recently announced a new partnership this time with Sellbrite, a multi-channel ecommerce inventory and order management solution provider, to offer eBay sellers another free service and better online selling experience across multiple channels.

Freshbooks New User Interface Makes Small Business Accounting ‘Ridiculously Easy,’ Company Says

FreshBooks, the cloud accounting software designed for service-based small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, today announced the launch of an entirely rebuilt user interface (UI) designed to make managing invoices, clients and expenses faster and easier. The platform is also expanding its ecosystem of integrations and adding companies such as Google, GoDaddy and Apple.

Tesla Hackers Prove the Importance of Product Testing (Watch)

With great technology comes great responsibility. That’s what Tesla and other high-tech car companies are learning now that they’re working on creating autonomous vehicles and other technologically advanced driving features. A group of hackers recently tested whether or not they could access into Tesla vehicles from miles away — and they were successful.

Riot Launches Introducing Open Source Encrypted Collaboration for Business

The ability to securely communicate in real-time is a key feature of today’s collaborative work environment. Riot, a secure messaging solution designed to bring online collaborations into a single space, has just launched promising to make this as simple and effortless as possible.

Live Chat Returns to Groove Through Olark Partnership

Help desk software provider Groove just announced a partnership with Olark to offer a live chat app to its small business customers. Now, instead of switching between two apps to deliver customer service, the integration creates an all-in-one help desk and live chat solution. This is not the first time Groove has included live chat as part of its product lineup.

Marketing Tips

Chipotle Still Trying to Recover From Norovirus and E. Coli Outbreaks (Watch)

Chipotle is still trying to bounce back after those norovirus and E. coli outbreaks that hurt the company’s sales over the past year. So far, the company has given away free burritos, started a rewards program and even offered free drinks to students after classes. But none of those efforts have been able to get the food chain’s sales back to where they were.


These Jobs at Small Businesses Are the Least In Demand

Data recently surfaced about which jobs and positions at small businesses across the U.S. are in high demand. Small businesses have added tremendous amounts of help in the transportation and material moving categories in the last few years. But it seems automation of a lot of small business operations have led to a decline in the demand for the people that used to fill those jobs.

More Small Businesses to Offer Retirement Plans Thanks to Obamacare, says Nationwide

For years, businesses have offered healthcare benefits to recruit and retain talent. But the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has lessened the appeal of such benefits. As a result, small businesses are now focusing on retirement benefits, a new study has found.


BizEquity Partners with Equifax in a Bid to Democratize Business Valuations

What is your business worth? Do you have any idea? BizEquity, an online provider of business valuation big data, recently announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Equifax (NYSE: EFX), an information solutions and global insights provider, to help answer this very question.

Is the IRS Targeting Small Businesses? Yep, Says One Expert

The “random” audits of small businesses and their owners’ tax returns by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to find unreported income has left the small business taxpaying community feeling like they are being picked on and unduly forced to go “through the wringer.”

Retail Trends

H&M Ignores Underserved Market by Pulling Plus Size Clothing from Stores (Watch)

Popular retail chain H&M has reportedly removed all plus size clothing from its stores in New York City. A representative for the company explained that the stores simply don’t have enough room for those clothing options anymore since they’ve added new product lines like home goods and beauty supplies.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Organize-It Sells Everything You Need to Organize Your Closet

Closet organization isn’t most people’s idea of a fun activity. But that’s why so many consumers need assistance in that area. Shoppers in Michigan and online can find some of the essential products they might need to organize their closets and other spaces in their homes at Organize-It.

Social Media

Watch Out! YouTube Calls On Users to Help Enforce Community Guidelines

YouTube is encouraging and “empowering” its users to “flag” content that does not meet the site’s community guidelines, while also offering more transparency on how its flagging feature works.

20 Things You Should Know About New 140 Second Video on Vine And Twitter

While companies better known for online video have been duking it out for supremacy in the field, Twitter and Vine have been quietly innovating. Earlier this summer, Twitter announced extended lengths of Vine and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) video uploads to 140 seconds. Here are a few things you should know about the increased video length.


SCORE and Sam’s Club Announce 2016 American Small Business Championship $25K Grand Prize Winner

SCORE, a nonprofit organization that provides mentorship and education to small business owners, and Sam’s Club, the nationwide wholesaler club which also serves many small businesses, recently announced the winners, or Champions, as they call them, of the 2016 American Small Business Championship.

How Startup Investors Can Take Advantage of the International Entrepreneur Rule

The Obama Administration has proposed amending the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations (PDF) to allow select foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the United States for a period of two years to build their companies here.

Technology Trends

Need High End Photography for Business? Details of Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 Emerge

Image capturing technology has evolved so much, near professional grade solutions are readily available on smartphones. But no matter how good the technology is on a mobile device, standalone cameras are still the way to go if you really want full professional grade features.

Microsoft Making a Little Brexit of Its Own

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has announced plans to shut down Skype’s London offices. Up to 400 staff members could be made redundant as part of the move, which will see Skype abandon its three-floor building in Holborn in line with a wider restructuring exercise that will also impact freemium enterprise network Yammer.

Weebly 4 Brings Websites, eCommerce, Email Marketing Together to Focus on Business Growth

DIY website builder Weebly today announced a new version of its platform, Weebly 4, that expands the focus beyond websites and ecommerce and adds a marketing element: email. Weebly 4 builds on the previous version, Carbon, by pairing the ecommerce engine with email marketing that creates campaigns on the fly based on customer actions.

10 Features of Apple’s iOS 10 Small Businesses Need to Know About

The new iOS 10 by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been described by the company as its biggest release yet, and as an operating system with more personal, powerful and playful features. The good thing for small business owners is that the new features would seem to drastically enhance the way you can run your business on your iPhone or iPad.

Is the Mobile App Already Dead? comScore Says We’re Nearing “Peak App” (INFOGRAPHIC)

Barring Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and other hugely successful names, many apps are actually rarely used or even downloaded by mobile device owners. Yet many businesses spend considerable time and resources creating apps to engage customers.

What is AMP and Does Your Small Business Site Need It?

The number of mobile only Internet users in the US exceeded desktop in 2014, and the gap is getting wider. This particular trend hasn’t escaped the notice of Google and Twitter, leading the companies to create the Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP project to make mobile pages much faster.

Image: Small Business Trends

This article, “In the News: eBay Announces New Partnership, Freshbooks Unveils Updated UI” was first published on Small Business Trends


Which Social Media Site Do You Use Most for Business? [POLL]

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

This week, we want to know what social media site you're spending the most time on for your business. Check back for your most popular social media sites.

Social media has become a bigger part of a lot of small business’s marketing and customer engagement strategy since its infancy.

Quick question: Does anyone remember creating a MySpace page to promote their company? Sure, some — musicians, mostly — still use that platform but there are so many more popular options these days. And each one presents unique opportunities to reach an audience in a unique way.

Want to reach the general population? You’re probably using Facebook. Talking to your small business owner contemporaries? That sounds like a job for LinkedIn. Looking to be part of a national movement? A tweet with the right #hashtag gets you involved.

So, this week, we want to know …

Which social media site do you use most for business?

What Are Your Most Popular Social Media Sites?

We’re giving you a choice of the big ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.

Let us know which platform is open most on your phone or occupying a tab most often in your web browser. In the comments section below, tell us why.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Which Social Media Site Do You Use Most for Business? [POLL]” was first published on Small Business Trends


Jody Glidden of Introhive: Relationship Intelligence Automation is Key to CRM Adoption and Success

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Traditionally sales folks have had a love-hate relationship with CRM applications, meaning they love to hate them. Mainly because they feel they don’t get enough out of them for the amount of time they spend putting information into it.  But now, thanks to machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation, CRM is now starting to provide them with real benefits … and real reasons not to hate it as much.

Jody Glidden, CEO and co-founder of Introhive, a SaaS-based platform which brings relationship intelligence into CRM with data automation and sales acceleration, shares how machine learning and automation now makes CRM more appealing to sales professionals.  Below is an edited transcript of the conversation. To hear the full conversation please click the embedded player below.

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Jody Glidden of Introhive: Business Relationship Intelligence Automation is Key to CRM Adoption and SuccessSmall Business Trends: So from a sales person’s perspective has there been any real benefit to using a CRM system. Because a lot of them felt a bit like it was more of a management system; being able to have the managers see what you’re doing as opposed to giving some real tangible benefits to them using the CRM system.

Jody Glidden: Yeah I think that’s exactly right. When we started to talk to a lot of people out there and try to find out why people were putting their data in the CRM I think part of the reason they were doing it is because they didn’t see any major benefit to them. It was more of a system a log for management. And so they ended up letting it not have all the interesting information which kind of snowball.

Small Business Trends: But when you think about modern CRM in things like helping get and collect a lot of information and making it available to the sales rep it seems like maybe now we’re at a point in time that the sales rep will finally be able to get something out of it that will help them build relationships.

Jody Glidden: What we found is that if you’re asking people to input their contacts and keep those contacts up to date, input their activities, input their post-meeting, put all their action items in there,and so on. It actually adds up to a lot of administrative time. And so nobody is actually doing that. If you apply machine learning to that we can actually automate almost all of it actually. And then the great thing about it is not only are you taking that work away so people could go do something more fun, but in reality you have a lot more selling time and actually do some productive stuff.

The other interesting thing is that you log into the CRM and get more valuable information. I now know somebody else may have touched my customer or that the customer just moved to a new position. And now maybe I should reach out to them again. When you automate your CRM all of the sudden it becomes valuable and it’s not just the system to report to your manager.

Small Business Trends: So we talk automating your CRM is automating the information it comes into the CRM and becomes actionable without the rep having to do so much to find possible insights that make it easier for them to interact?

Jody Glidden: If you think of the way people used to measure CRM adoption it was by how many times people log in. That to me is not really CRM adoption because you didn’t buy it so the people would have a place to log in. You bought your CRM so that data would be logged and that insights could be gained.

So you automate getting all the data in and automate getting the insights out at just the right time. You can do that then it really doesn’t matter how often they login. You’re actually getting the value that you purchased CRM for in the first place.

Small Business Trends: Talk a little bit about what Introhive does in order to help the sales folks find the benefit of using their CRM application.

Jody Glidden:  Introhive bolts onto your existing CRM. And all of the sudden kind of takes all of the work away. It can automate getting all of your contacts in, getting your notes in and all the logs of who’s touching your customer, the meetings, the emails, the action items. Figuring out when people change jobs and all those sorts of things. It does all of that administrative stuff for you. The other thing it’s doing is watching patterns in your meetings, your email reach and all the things you do and it’s bringing all of the actionable insights to you so it can tell you, for example, if you have a meeting with somebody, all of the pertinent information; what’s been touching my customer, what’s latest news, all things you’d hope your people are getting to prepare for the customer but probably are not. This can actually do all of that for you; to get all the stuff that’s interesting.

Small Business Trends: So the bottom line is there’s it looks like there’s a lot of data that’s floating around that could be used to help sales reps better interact and find better interaction opportunities more meaningful themes that they could use that could help them connect with customers. The idea is to get that kind of information into the CRM system so that these folks can use it.

Jody Glidden: Yeah that’s right. All of the stuff that you’re doing via e-mail, via social via phone, face to face, all of the systems that they’re using to touch the customers interact with those customers. A very small fraction of that stuff is actually getting logged. And I one of our customers joked that there were two kinds of employees. They have the people that will actually log everything and that was kind of a bad thing because you’re spending so many hours of their week actually doing that, and then they had people that weren’t doing it and that was a bad thing as well. All of this information really does need to get logged, but doesn’t need to be logged by humans.

The other thing is there’s a bunch of other information aside from that you want your employees to be up to speed on. Things like the latest news, the opportunities that are going on, cross-sell opportunities, buying history; do they have unpaid invoices. Things that you would like to hear your people know before they step into the room. You can actually systematize the process and get people “smart” before you walk in.

Right now I think everybody has the top 5 percent of their sales reps and they wonder what makes those people special; They tend to be more prepared. They look all of these things up before they get to the customer, they don’t just walk in the room. And if you can pull all of that information to them, do the work for them (the research) then you can bring everybody up a little bit more to the same level.

Small Business Trends: So it’s basically being able to provide those insights at the right time – in the process of them building relationship or throughout the customer journey – is critically important. But you don’t want the sales rep to spend either too much time trying to gather that information and then trying to analyze it, and you don’t want them not doing trying to do it at all. So that’s where the automation part comes into the relationship intelligence automation.

Jody Glidden: Machines are much better at this kind of stuff than we are because they can look through huge amounts of data and find just the stuff that is really interesting. Rather than have me go through all of the e-mail exchanges and meetings and try to analyze who in my company for example has the best relationship with my client because maybe I want to bring a colleague to the meeting. This system can actually tell you that in an instant, and about cross-sell opportunities. You’re looking at sort of a quick snapshot of suggestions. It’s all the stuff after really hours of research that are compiled into a two-minute summary.

Small Business Trends: The benefit for the sales rep is now they have a good reason to want to use the CRM system because now it’s actually providing them the intelligence they can use in a way they can take advantage of quickly. But on the flip side there’s a huge benefit for the sales management and the organization because now they’re actually getting that data in from the sales rep. But in addition to that from other data sources that give them an even better picture of what’s going on with an account, what’s going on with opportunities. And then they can prepare and leverage their resources more effectively by having that kind of information.

Jody Glidden: Sales management can actually get all the reports they want. If they can have all of the communications that happened all the way along an opportunity for example which before people are relying on people tagging the right things to the right places. The sales person is actually getting the right information to make them more effective in the meeting or on a call. And then even marketing becomes more effective because right now what keeps happening is sales just keeps asking marketing for more leads but part of the reason they need so many more of leads is because they’re not necessarily taking advantage of leads that they’re given. You can drive up that win rate or the amount of leads that move forward then you’d need fewer of them.

Small Business Trends: So the bottom line is this is a win-win-win. A win on the sales reps side is now they they actually do have a damn reason to use their CRM him because not only are they feeding it but they’re actually getting fed. And then on the sales management side they’re getting more accurate real time information on what’s going on with deals and in the pipeline and accounts so they can plan more effectively. And then overall the you hopefully having better performing sales folks, there’s also a win for the customer or the prospect because now those interactions are going to be much more tailored and much more precise to the needs of the actual person. So it’s not a whole bunch of fishing expedition. It’s not a whole bunch of ridiculous talk. It’s actually targeted based on analysis of the information and providing better information going back out to the prospect or to the customer.

Jody Glidden: Yeah that’s exactly right. I think it’s similar to what happened in online advertising about 10 years ago when relevance because I think people don’t feel like they’re being inconvenienced so much during the process. I don’t mind having a conversation with somebody who is you know smart about my needs and actually can provide helpful information. What I find less helpful is when people haven’t spent the time to have a meaningful conversation.

This article, “Jody Glidden of Introhive: Relationship Intelligence Automation is Key to CRM Adoption and Success” was first published on Small Business Trends