Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling Help Differentiate Your Offerings

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling Help Differentiate Your OfferingsThe 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling: How to Communicate Customer Value and Differentiate From Competitors was written for the modern sales professional who can’t rely on slick sales presentations or pricing discounts to get the sale. In a world where customers (and competitors) have access to more options than ever, these old-school tactics won’t work. There is always a competitor that will beat you on price or features. The one thing that will distinguish your business is value. The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling shows readers how they can maximize their value so they can get the sale.

What is The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling About?

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling was written to help sales professionals shift their orientation from features to client value.

Sales professionals have been taught that clients focus on features. As a result, businesses have focused on elaborate sales presentations and slick advertisements that detail how their products’ features are better, faster or cheaper. While this tactic can still work, it’s working less and less. Why? The marketplace is getting more crowded. There are more competitors than ever. These competitors are able to duplicate your services and products at an incredible rate.

The customer has changed too. Customers take a more proactive role in the selling process. They can research your business and competitors within seconds. This gives customers a lot of leverage.

This leaves businesses only one key asset to win their customer’s money, value.

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling helps readers understand how they can maximize that value through five simple principles. These principles are shared through the fictional story of Mary Minor, a sales professional who is facing a crisis. Mary was a sales superstar until she transitioned into a new industry. Because of her declining performance, Mary was given an ultimatum: Do better or lose your job in 60 days. Mary Minor turns to her father, a veteran sales professional, for help. Mary’s father responds with a book (“The Book of Reminders”) containing his collected wisdom. Mary uses the book and her father’s instructions to turn her career around. From that point, she becomes unstoppable, ending up in a role better than she could have imagined.

Author Mark Holmes is a sales trainer, sales coach and President of Consultant Board, Inc. with expertise in B2B sales. Holmes has worked in several positions at the executive level in several roles but ultimately decided to start his own sales consulting and training company. From that point, he has never looked back.

What Was Best About The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling?

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling revolves around a central concept to which sales professionals pay lip service but fail to follow through on. That concept is “value”. Sales professionals assume that customers will see the value of their products or services if they simply demonstrate it. Try again! The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling uses a simple story to dismantle these assumptions. In its place, the book offers a simple, but powerful, set of core principles to help sales professionals.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling is great at outlining the principles behind a values-focused sales approach. It presents a relatable and engaging story. The story, however, only focuses on one of Mary Minor’s sales victories. Mary Minor was required to get sales from three companies. The book only talks about the first company. Did she encounter any new problems in her career? The book ends on a “happily ever after” note, but it also leaves out some details about the struggles Mary faced on the road to final success.

Why Read The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling?

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling is especially recommended for B2B sales professionals but the overall principles apply to any person or business needing to sell a product, idea or anything else. The book features a story of a B2B salesperson but the principles are broad enough to cover every sales situation.

Even though readers might suspect how the fictional story of Mary Minor will end, the book is still an engaging read because of the lessons. Mary Minor becomes a different salesperson because of the lessons she learns. And readers in turn learn from her experience. These lessons are very simple (i.e. “Ask your customers questions”) but feature a slight nuance based on the author’s expertise. Holmes shares the kinds of questions a sales professional should ask and then demonstrates how the process would look through the fictional story of Mary Minor.

This article, “The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling Help Differentiate Your Offerings” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Learn How to Close Deals Faster at This Upcoming Webinar

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Actionable Tips for Marketing Webinars

So you’ve arranged a deal with a new client. Now what?

Closing big deals is an important part of running a business. But it’s easier said than done. There are a lot of potential roadblocks that can get in the way. So you need to find ways to speed up the process wherever possible.

An upcoming webinar, sponsored by DocuSign, aims to help you do just that. Make it Rain Money: How to Close Deals Faster and Speed Up Collections is scheduled for January 17. You can learn more about the event and how to sign up in the Featured Events Section.

And that’s just one of the upcoming webinars and events that could help your small business grow in 2018. Check out even more opportunities in the list below.

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



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Make it Rain Money: How to Close Deals Faster and Speed Up CollectionsMake it Rain Money: How to Close Deals Faster and Speed Up Collections
January 17, 2018, Online

Would you like to bring revenue in the door faster? Do you want every edge possible to get paid fast? In this webinar, learn how other small businesses are eliminating their pain points in the contract and invoicing process, through use of electronic signature and invoicing apps. You’ll hear the results of exclusive DocuSign research about where other small businesses encounter the biggest challenges, and how to solve them. Today’s tools minimize manual steps and mistakes. Digital automation streamlines activities, tracks status and follows up for you — freeing up staff for other activities. Register today!

And most importantly, these tools get you paid faster, improving your cash flow.

At the end of this webinar, you’ll walk away with concrete tips for how to get contracts signed and invoices paid — much faster. Plus, you get access to DocuSign research and two concise whitepapers with insights and actionable ideas for how to improve YOUR company’s systems. So you get paid faster.

Sponsored by DocuSign.


WEBINAR: 5 Trends that Will Drive Your Profitability and Growth in 2018WEBINAR: 5 Trends that Will Drive Your Profitability and Growth in 2018
January 24, 2018, Online

Customer habits and perceptions are rapidly evolving as new technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things go mainstream. New opportunities are opening up – but at the same time businesses of all sizes are under intense pressure to meet changing customer expectations. In this webinar on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 2:00 pm ET, you will learn five key trends that will drive profitability and growth in 2018, if businesses quickly leverage them and adapt to them, including: The Automation Revolution, Rise of Amazon, Expectations, The Instant Customer Service Trend, The DIY Dichotomy, Always-On Operations. Get ahead of the curve and lead in your marketplace, by understanding how to use these trends for growth and profit. Register today!


LEAP HR: Retail Conference, Nashville 2018LEAP HR: Retail Conference, Nashville 2018
February 27, 2018, Nashville, Tenn.

LEAP HR: Retail 2018 will once again dig deeper into the innovative people leaps helping digital-native and established retailers succeed in a rapidly transforming industry. With new speakers, fresh case studies, and a pre-conference ‘Boot Camp’ day dedicated to what the next-generation retail workforce really looks like, LEAP HR Retail 2018 remains the unique opportunity for senior people leaders in this industry to really challenge and get creative around how we do HR in retail.


More Events

More Contests

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

Photo Via Shutterstock

This article, “Learn How to Close Deals Faster at This Upcoming Webinar” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

10 Lessons to Learn So You Make Fewer Business Mistakes

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

5 Big Small Business Mistakes -- And How to Correct Them

Making mistakes is part of running a business. But some mistakes can be avoided if you’re willing to learn from others who have been there before, like members of the online small business community. Here are some lessons you can learn based on mistakes other entrepreneurs have made through the years.

Improve Your Data Quality Metrics

Whether you use data for recruiting or any other aspect of running your business, the quality of those metrics can be just as important as the quantity. In this Jobscience post, Joel Dipietro offers three ways you can improve your own data quality.

Avoid These Email and Social Media Marketing Pitfalls

Email and social media have been popular marketing techniques for years, meaning businesses have had plenty of time to make mistakes with these methods. If you want to avoid some of the most common pitfalls, check out this Basic Blog Tips post by Kevin Ocasio.

Learn the New Rules of Writing for the Web

Lots of entrepreneurs who have strong writing skills still don’t understand how to put together content for the web. There’s a new set of rules you need to abide by, as Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media explains. BizSugar members also shared commentary on the post.

Use These Local Search Tactics Your Competitors Aren’t Using

Lots of local businesses tend to use the same marketing methods as their competitors. But it’s hard to stand out that way. Instead, take a look at the local search tactics listed in a recent Search Engine Land post by Sherry Bonelli for some more original ideas.

Don’t Forget the Little Things When Testing

Running tests can help you gain valuable insights about your target customers. And you don’t have to get very complicated with your testing in order to benefit your business. In this Target Marketing post, Chuck McLeester discusses the importance of details when it comes to testing.

Keep an Eye on These Social Media Trends for 2018

It’s easy to fall into a rut when it comes to social media marketing. You might have found some tactics have worked for your business in the past. But that doesn’t mean they’ll continue to be effective as trends change. To keep up, see some of the upcoming social media trends in this Prepare 1 post by Blair Evan Ball.

Monitor These Web Design Trends

By that same token, it’s also important to keep an eye on trends in web design so you can update your own site accordingly. Learn some of the biggest trends for 2018 in a decent Crowdspring post by Amanda Bowman.

Help Your SEO Strategy by Avoiding These Website Mistakes

SEO is constantly changing. So it can be easy for entrepreneurs to make missteps in their own websites that can negatively impact search engine rankings. To avoid some of the biggest pitfalls, check out the advice from Neil Patel here.

Don’t Hire SEO Experts Who Tell You These Five Things

In order to help your SEO strategy, you might even consider hiring an SEO expert. But beware! Some SEO strategists are better than others. There are five claims in particular you should treat with extreme skepticism, according to Hilary Young in a recent Digital Success Post. You can also see what members of the BizSugar community had to say about the post.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Lots of businesses use social media. But it can be easy to just go through the motions rather than having a plan that’s actually effective. Instead, learn how to use social media in a way that actually benefits your business in this Noobpreneur post by Ivan Widjaya.

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

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Lessons to Learn So You Make Fewer Business Mistakes” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Are You Using the Most Popular Workplace Apps of 2017 in Your Business?

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

These Were the Most Popular Business Apps in 2017Zapier just released its annual report identifying the most popular and fastest growing apps in the workplace. The Best of 2017: 30 Web Apps and Software Trends That Ruled the Workplace includes a few new apps, but you will easily recognize many of them.

List of Most Popular Business Apps in 2017

Zapier listed the most popular business apps in 2017 using three categories: fastest-growing, new apps and all-stars. This includes tried and true apps such as spreadsheet, email and communications, as well as collaboration, social media and web creation tools for today’s digital workforce.

If you have a small business, keeping track of what technologies are available in the market place allows you to future proof your company. By identifying applications relevant to your industry and making them part of your operations, your business can be more efficient and keep competition at bay.

Zapier analyzed more than 900 apps in over 50 categories and the companies that use them to come up with the 30 apps for 2017. The list is also an indicator as to what will be trending in 2018, just as the 2016 report predicted top apps for 2017.

This year, the increased number of apps moving to the web have taken up more space on the list. It is being driven by remote work, collaboration and better access. According to Matthew Guay, senior editor and writer at Zapier, who authored the report, “Every business today relies on software to operate smoothly. Increasingly, these tools have moved to the web, allowing everyone to work from anywhere.”

Leading Trends with The Most Popular Business Apps in 2017

According to the report, the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI), new designs and automation have been responsible for creating easier and better user experience in apps. This has resulted in apps that are improving functions to convert leads into sales, send email and nurture customer relationships.

When it comes to data, the apps are also better at gathering, streamlining and making sense of the information. The fastest growing social media apps were the ones designed to gather data directly from ads and convert it to leads.

Collaborative and email apps were also in the list as both tools have become invaluable to meet the needs of today’s workforce and the way they communicate and work.

Here are the top apps in their respective categories.

Fastest Growing Apps

These Were the Most Popular Business Apps in 2017 - Fastest Growing Apps in 2017

Top New Apps

These Were the Most Popular Business Apps in 2017 - Top New Apps in 2017

All-Star Apps

These Were the Most Popular Business Apps in 2017 - Top Apps in 2017

Zapier has an automation tool integrated with more than 900 apps. The solution the company provides allows more than two million registered users across many industries to automate their workflow. Some of the apps include Facebook Lead Ads, Slack, Quickbooks, Google Sheets, Google Docs and many others.

Images: Zapier

This article, “Are You Using the Most Popular Workplace Apps of 2017 in Your Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

The Inspiration Code Helps Leaders Make an Impact

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

The Inspiration Code Helps Leaders Make an ImpactAre you seeking to inspire in the workplace? Do you want a team who is ready to go the extra mile for you? The Inspiration Code: How the Best Leaders Energize People Every Day may be of interest to you. Written by leadership coach and communication expert Kristi Hedges, the book helps readers unlock the “code” behind inspirational leaders like Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, or Oprah Winfrey.

What is The Inspiration Code About?

How do you keep your team inspired? Many leaders answer this question with things like retreats, keynote speakers, pizza parties or “Employee of the Month” parking spaces. While these external things may temporary boost in motivation, they don’t lead to inspiration.

The Inspiration Code advocates a different approach. Inspiration, the book claims, is an internal job.

Facilitating inspiration in the workplace isn’t a matter of picking the right trophy or retreat. It’s about creating an environment where inspirational moments can happen.

Hedges places her focus on the definition of inspiration itself. Inspiration, she believes, always starts with a conversation. As she describes in the book:

“…When I look back, every major move I’ve made has been preceded by an inspiring conversation.”

During an inspirational conversation, something big happens. A person accepts an invitation to move beyond their comfort zone.

Hedges continues:

“The person getting inspired has to become aware of a better possibility. That’s how the process starts.”

How do you start an inspirational conversation? The book has a very specific answer for that, the “Inspire Path.” The Inspire Path is a communication model consisting of four specific qualities. Leaders who embody these qualities, in words and action, increase their chances of reaching (and inspiring) others.

Hedges is an ICF-credentialed leadership coach, keynote speaker and member of the Georgetown University teaching faculty. Hedges started out in the technology and communications industry, opening one of the first tech communications firms in the Washington DC area. Currently, she is the Principal at the Hedges Company and a founding partner at Element North, a leadership development company. She also serves as a regular contributor to Forbes and other publications on leadership and communication.

What Was Best About The Inspiration Code?

The best part of The Inspiration Code is the concrete approach Hedges applies to an abstract topic, “inspiration”. As she describes in the book, leaders are desperate for strategies to inspire their workforce. These leaders know an inspired workforce is a productive workforce now and in the future. Despite this need, there is no defined path to building an inspirational leader. That’s where The Inspiration Code comes in. It provides an easy-to-use framework to help those aspiring to move closer to their goal of becoming inspiring leaders.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

The Inspiration Code is filled with practical advice on integrating inspiring conversations into your leadership. For some leaders, this may be all that is needed. For others, more detail on skill development would be helpful. The book needs more information about the journey to becoming an inspirational leader for those who are not sure where they fall on the “inspiring leader” scale.

Why Read The Inspiration Code?

The Inspiration Code is a high-energy book designed for leaders who want to make an impact. It is about the dynamics of communication, not the mechanics.  This is about communication on a deeper and more impactful level. The Inspiration Code is about something deeper.

The book takes the vague concept of “inspiration” and applies a concrete framework. This allows leaders to become more intentional in their communication with others. As Hedges points out, inspiration is not a random gift bestowed on lucky leaders. It is a specific set of core skills that anyone can work on. If you (or a leader that you know) wants to refine the impact of their communication, this book may be of help.

This article, “The Inspiration Code Helps Leaders Make an Impact” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

(POLL) Is Your Company Hosting a Holiday Party This Year?

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Is the office party really a thing of Christmas past?

Employees don’t look forward to the holiday office party the way they once may have. In fact, data from Randstad US found that just one-third of all employees look forward to an office party the most this time of year.

Instead, they want time away from work entirely, not to spend down time with their co-workers. You can certainly understand the need to be away from people at work for a while. You know how certain people get at the office Christmas party.

With more companies relying on remote workers, a traditional office holiday party may seem a bit foreign now. For some companies that lean heavily on remote workers, it’s next to impossible to host such a party.

However, there are some signs that the office party isn’t going away entirely. Recently, Spotify and LinkedIn combined forces to promote a Christmas music playlist to keep the parties that are happening … well, happening. And Slack just launched a Secret Santa app to put a fun spin on a classic game that many people loathe.

This week, we want to know if your company is following in this bah-humbug trend and forgoing an office holiday party. Are these surveys just capturing a bunch of Scrooges?

Let us know by answering the question below on whether or not your company is hosting a holiday party this year. Share more thoughts on this topic in the comments section below, too.

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

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “(POLL) Is Your Company Hosting a Holiday Party This Year?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

YouTube, Vine Making Headlines for Small Businesses

Friday, December 15th, 2017

50 YouTube Ideas for Beginners

Video has become a very powerful marketing avenue for businesses. And YouTube is at the forefront of that. So when the platform adds community features like it announced recently, it could provide a major boon for marketers.

And YouTube isn’t the only video platform out there for marketers. Vine was once a popular outlet for short video clips. And the once-defunct platform could be making a comeback according to a recent announcement.

You can read about these headlines and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Social Media

YouTube  Expands Community Features Allowing Businesses Greater Customer Engagement

YouTube recently announced that its “Community” feature will be available to creators with more than 10,000 subscribers. About a year ago, YouTube launched a “Community” feature that allowed the invited creators to connect with their audience in-between uploads with GIFs, text, pictures, polls and more.

Vine 2 Launch May Give New Opportunities for Marketing Your Business with Video

If you are still mourning the demise of Vine, the recent tweets from co-founder Dom Hofmann might put a smile on your face. His tweets are indicating he may be in the process of resurrecting the six second video platform — or a version of it. On November 30, Hofmann tweeted: i’m going to work on a follow-up to vine.

How Does Following Hashtags on Instragram Change Your Social Media Strategy?

You can now follow hashtags on Instagram. What exactly does that mean for the way you engage with your customers and track your social media marketing? Being able to follow hashtags is going to make it easier to identify and discover brands, images, videos, people and businesses on Instagram.

Economy

Small Businesses Add 50,000 Jobs in November

Small businesses are doing their part to contribute to record lows in unemployment and job creation. November 2017 ADP Small Business Report According to the latest ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) Employment Report for November, small businesses added 50,000 new jobs to the U.S. economy.

Only 47% of Small Business Owners Believe Tax Reform Will Help Them

Maybe it’s because lawmakers in Washington DC don’t know what will be in the final tax reform bill but only 47 percent of small business owners believe it’s going to benefit them. Paychex recently surveyed a group of small business owners to see how they feel about federal attempts to pass major tax reform legislation.

Ecommerce Sales to China Will Exceed $100 Billion by Close of 2017

Cross-border ecommerce sales into China are expected to reach more than $100 billion by the end of 2017, according to data from eMarketer. That’s a significant increase from the $78.5 billion in sales from 2016. These latest figures are part of a growing trend of importing to China, which could lead to plenty of potential opportunities for U.S. small businesses.

Employment

Tyto Care Brings  Medical Visit to You Without Taking Time Away from Your Business

A flu outbreak can bring your small business productivity to a standstill during a really important time of year. But new technology could provide ways for individuals and businesses to quickly identify illnesses and potentially avoid the spread of serious diseases.

63% of IT Pros Say They’re Underpaid, Are Your Employees Among Them?

Your small business’s IT pros probably think they’re underpaid, according to a recent study. And that could lead to them looking for other opportunities in the coming year. The 2018 IT Career Outlook report from IT network Spiceworks found that 63 percent of IT professionals believe they’re currently underpaid.

The  Pence Rule Will Not Protect Your Small Business, and Could Cause More Trouble

The rash of sexual harassment accusations across the country is raising a lot of questions. Claims are made and in a lot of cases, employers move swiftly with knee-jerk responses. Fire first, ask questions later. These claims are not limited to high-profile cases like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Judge Roy Moore and Sen. Al Franken. Small business may face this issue as well.

This Company Went Low-Tech to Fill a Hi-Tech Job

Technology has had a major impact on the recruiting and hiring process. But one tech company is bucking the trend and going low-tech with its hiring efforts — by using a simple sandwich board. Betabrand is an online crowdfunding platform that focuses on clothing designs. Clearly, it has the resources and tech knowledge to create a job posting.

Finance

Butcher Shop Startup Discovers Crowdfunding Magic Via Intuit

What startup entrepreneur hasn’t dreamed of borrowing Cinderella’s fairy godmother or Aladdin’s genie to make their every wish come true? While they weren’t necessarily wishing for it, that’s exactly what happened to Will and Erica Messmer of Jersey City, New Jersey. Before the couple got married earlier this year, they decided to pursue their dream of entrepreneurship.

Small Business Loan Application Approvals Up Across the Board

The Biz2Credit Small Business Index for November 2017 revealed an across-the-board increase in the business loan approval rates for bank and non-bank lenders. According to the study, there were record highs with every category of lenders, showing improvements for the month.

2018 Standard Mileage Rate Goes Up, IRS Announces

The IRS has released the 2018 standard mileage rate, and it reflects a slight increase over 2017’s rate.  The Internal Revenue Service also set the standard mileage rate for medical and moving purposes. Beginning January 1, 2018, the IRS standard mileage rate for cars, vans, pickups or panel trucks will be: 54.5 cents per mile driven for business, up 1 cent from 2017.

Green Business

12 Ways to Save on Electricity During the Holiday Season

With office parties to organize and gifts to send out to employees, clients and customers, things can get hectic for businesses during the holidays, as well as expensive. With a little bit of effort and know-how, one expense businesses can cut down and make savings on is electricity.

Local Marketing

ZipSprout Connects Small Businesses to Local Sponsorship Opportunities

Marketing and SEO matchmaking platform ZipSprout is introducing a new tool in 2018. The Sprout Seeker Tool aims to help local businesses automatically find the sponsorship opportunities in their area and most relevant to their target customers.

The A to Z of Attracting Last Minute Shoppers

Are you one of those people who had your holiday shopping done in September? Good for you, but most Americans are more like me: still scrambling for those final few gifts. In 2016, last-minute holiday shoppers pushed spending to new heights, and there’s no reason to think it won’t happen again this year.

89% Percent of Women, 79% of Men Will Shop In-Store This Year, Study Says

The news about the “Retail Apocalypse” is not encouraging, but Fundera has released a new infographic that should give retailers hope. Titled “Retail’s Not Dead,” the report on which the infographic is based says 89 percent of women and 79 percent of men intend to shop in-store for their holiday gifts.

Management

LinkedIn and Spotify Team Up On a Holiday Office Party Playlist With Plenty of Bublé

You can’t have a great party without an accompanying playlist. Putting one together is an art form in some circles. And it’s likely you’ll be attending or hosting at least one holiday party in the coming weeks. Most employees are actually starting to feel something short of dread when it comes to going to these parties anymore.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Major-Morris Law Helps Businesses Protect Intellectual Property

Businesses that have intellectual property need to prioritize protecting those items. Having an attorney that specializes in trademark and copyright issues can be a major benefit. Kimra Major-Morris, Esq. is the lawyer behind Major-Morris Law, LLC, a law firm that works with businesses on those issues.

Small Business Operations

Department of Labor Wants to Reverse Rule on Tip Sharing for Restaurant Servers

The Department of Labor recently proposed a reversal of part of its current tip regulations from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Currently, employees who make at least the federal minimum wage in regular hourly pay are ineligible to receive tips through a tip pooling system without a special tip credit.

Intuit Will Acquire Employee Time Tracking Software Tsheets for $340 million

Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), parent company of accounting software QuickBooks and TurboTax, has signed an agreement to acquire the time tracking and employee scheduling software company Tsheets for $340 million. The acquisition will reportedly make manual time tracking a thing of the past for small businesses, the self-employed, accountants and gig workers.

New  Dialpad Free Claims to Kill the Desk Phone But May Kill Your Business Phone Bill Too

Do you have a small business with five employees or less? Well, if you do, Dialpad has released a new service called Dialpad Free which will get rid of your phone bill. The company’s slogan says “Kill the Desk Phone,” but with this new service, it is striving to do the same with the phone bill.

1 in 4 Small Businesses Believe Their Payment System Can’t Handle a Holiday Rush

The holiday rush, while full of opportunities, also comes with plenty of challenges for businesses. Processing payments can be one of those challenges if you don’t have a reliable system in place to maximize all of that extra business. This is actually a pretty big problem for small businesses.

Startup

81% of  Millennials Say Business Success Means Having a Purpose, Even if it Costs Them Money

Millennials prioritize different things than past generations have when it comes to business success. In fact, 81 percent of them think that a business needs a genuine purpose that resonates with people in order to be successful, according to a recent survey from American Express and Kantar Futures.

Technology Trends

Can Microsoft’s Whiteboard App for Windows 10 Devices Help Your Team Collaborate?

Earlier this week, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) released a preview of the new Whiteboard app that basically allows you, together with your team, to collaborate on a “digital canvas that displays drawings, images as well as hand-written notes.

Wix Code Introduces Dynamic Web Design for Business – No Tech Knowledge Required

Website building platform Wix.com Ltd. (NASDAQ: WIX) has launched Wix Code, a web development solution that allows you to extend substantially the functionality of your Wix website. With Wix Code, you can enrich your website or web application with hundreds of design and website components without needing technical knowledge or coding — all from the visual elements of the Wix Editor.

Cortana Partners with Insteon on Smart Building Tech for the Home Office

Until recently, Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana has been limited to functions on your computer. The main rivals in the voice assistant arena can do a lot more than that, especially in your home office. Alexa can order supplies. Google can give you travel information. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) may be trying to catch up though.

Image: Shutterstock

This article, “YouTube, Vine Making Headlines for Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Marcus Lemonis: The Profit Isn’t About Small Business, It’s About How People Are Transformed By Opportunity

Friday, December 15th, 2017

One of the highlights of last week’s Xerocon event, put on by cloud accounting platform Xero, was meeting Marcus Lemonis – businessman, investor and star of CNBC’s The Profit. And before he took the stage for his conference ending keynote, I had the pleasure of sitting down with him for a great conversation. Marcus shares how the impetus for the show was more social experiment than small business, how vulnerability is key to business success and fixing people, and how he won’t do business with someone, even as a customer, unless he knows that they understand their business.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. To hear the full interview click on the video or embedded SoundCloud player below.

* * * * *

Brent Leary talks with the star of The Profit on CNBC, Marcus Lemonis, on how vulnerability is key to business success and making the most of opportunity.Small Business Trends: I know there’s probably a lot of people out there who already know who you are, but maybe we can get just an overview of your personal background.

Marcus Lemonis: Well, just kind of going with that question or that comment alone, I always tell people in business that even if you think that people know who you are, it’s always good to introduce yourself again. Because there’s new players and so if you think about yourself as a business owner, you want to always be reintroducing yourself to somebody that may have forgotten, that may have been mad at you.

So I’m Marcus Lemonis and I am a … I don’t even know how I would describe myself. I would say I’m just a normal guy like everybody else that decided that small business was the most important thing in my life. And when we’re all growing up, our mothers will ask us, “What are you going to make of yourself? What are you going to do with yourself?” And I struggled for years to answer that question. And as I got a little bit older and I started to understand who I was, I realized that my purpose in life was to stick up for the little guy, and that was sort of me when I was younger.

I spend really the bulk of my time investing in small business. It is my hobby, it is my passion, it is the thing I love to do more than anything else. Yeah.

Small Business Trends: When did you decide that you wanted to go into the small business and help them out?

Marcus Lemonis: You know what? It really came right outside of the 2008, 2009 market collapse. We were all watching the news and it was … Fortune 100 companies and their stock is down, and the banks are closing. And I felt the news was very one-sided as it related to big business. And then nobody was talking about mainstream, and nobody was talking about small town businesses. And over 90% of this country is involved in small business, one way or the other, and I didn’t think anybody was talking about it. And I think it was in that moment where I said, “Somebody’s got to actually be a champion for this in a different way.”

The secret behind what I do today, and it’s something that I don’t talk about a lot, is that the reason I decided to do the show was one giant social experiment. It really isn’t about small business, it is about people and how business can transform, good or bad, people. And the social experiment … And I said when I got to 100 episodes I would talk about it a little more, I’m at 78. The social experiment really is how do people deal with opportunity. And how do they deal with their past and how does opportunity and their past sort of intersect.

You go into businesses today and they’ll all tell you, “I can’t get a loan and I can’t do this, and I can’t do that.” And it’s a little bit of … I don’t want to call it a sob story but I’ll call it a excuse. Right? And I buy off on these excuses because I make them the same way. And so what I wanted to do is really understand how people function. And if you’ve ever seen the show “The Profit”, it really is about people more than it’s about business.

Small Business Trends: Some of the really interesting episodes always have the family dynamic. So when you have business … It’s tough enough when you try to go into business, stay in a business, but how does the family dynamic play a role in the success? And how difficult is it to get the family dynamic back on track once it’s kind of gotten off track?

Marcus Lemonis: I’ve long told people that the reason that small businesses are largely family businesses, because there’s this weird kind of combination, is that when you and I or anybody else starts a small business, we don’t have any money. We can’t hire any employees so we’re asking our mom, our dad, our aunt, our uncle, our sister, our kids, “Hey. I need you to pitch in. You handle marketing. Your handle the inventory.” And by definition, it sort of becomes a family business, even if it’s a part-time job for most of the people that work there. And I think what ends up happening is … Families are interesting because whether anybody wants to admit it or not, there is still a pecking order in a family. Right? At least in my family, my mom’s in charge, there’s no question about it. There’s not any confusion about it-

Small Business Trends: Not up for debate or anything.

Marcus Lemonis: … But then you start getting brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, kids, son, and you have your life on the line on this business and not everybody’s necessarily performing. It’s very difficult to tell your son, your daughter or your wife, or your husband, “Hey. I think you need to go.”

Small Business Trends: But that’s the job that you kind of help them do.

Marcus Lemonis: That’s why I think people call me. I was laughing the other day, I said, “Do people call me because they want me to do the dirty work?” It’s like, “I really want my wife to be fired but I don’t want to do it, so you do it.” It’s like, “No. I’m not doing it.”

Small Business Trends: Well think about the joy of having them succeed after all the things they go through? How does that make you feel? I know it’s got to make them feel good, but how does it help make you feel?

Marcus Lemonis: Success for me in my journey is really about people’s personal transformation. And if they have personal transformation, the business usually will succeed. Most people, when they watch a television show about business investing, it’s like, “Okay. How much did you invest? How much money did we make? What was the return? What are the percentages?” And yeah, there’s a moment where that’s relevant, but the real moment is how do you take somebody who doesn’t have confidence in themselves, who doesn’t have a process in place, who doesn’t clearly see where they want to go but they have good ideas and get them to just discover themselves. In more cases than not, I’m not telling people what to do, I’m telling them how I want them to think differently. And then what they do with that is up to them, but it’s satisfying for me.

?

Small Business Trends: Are you surprised when you … They know your track record, they know you have this level of success. When you suggest things and recommend things and then they kind of fight you?

Marcus Lemonis: I’m not surprised and I’ll tell you why. If any of us had some guy come into their business after we’ve been in business for 15 years and tell us how wrong we were, that we’re doing something wrong, we wouldn’t be that crazy about it either, right? And so it’s very easy for all of us to sit and watch people who have taken a huge risk by making themselves vulnerable, putting themselves on television, having the error of their ways or the error of their character be exposed. And that’s why I’m usually a lot nicer about it, at least early on. Because I think to myself, if that was me I wouldn’t want somebody telling me how dumb I was.

And it’s funny because I love to compare our show to other shows where people invest in small businesses, and point out that you don’t have to tell somebody how dumb they are to get the point across. You don’t have to tell somebody that it’s the stupidest idea you’ve ever seen. You’re better off telling people, “Okay. Why did you have this idea? And why’d you think it was going to work? Ma’am I just have to tell you they’re not going to work. But I understand. But tell me why you did it?” And you’ve got to get inside their head to understand what their logic was. “Well, I really like music.” Okay, let’s keep going. And so for me, I think the key is how do you get people to actually think differently. That’s the key for me.

Small Business Trends: Let’s talk a little bit about technology and businesses, particularly small business. We’re at a small business technology conference. Do you see small businesses leveraging technology as well as they can?

Marcus Lemonis: I think that … I’ll include myself in this answer. I think that technology is an intimidating thing, and I think that in order for companies to be successful in selling their technology, they have to make the user friendliness of it and the humanity of it seem real.

We just had a brief conversation about this [Mevo] camera. I’m fascinated by it, I’m intimidated by it. I think when you’re talking about systems, and process, and technology, and accounting, you have to really make it seem simpler than it is. And more importantly, more affordable. So most small businesses do not venture into technology because they think I either A, can’t afford the initial investment or B, I can’t afford the recurring investment. And I think as entrepreneurs, all of us included, we have to make the technology, and the process of accounting, and systems seem manageable and affordable. And I think that’s why conferences like this do that is they’re trying to communicate to people that isn’t have to be … It isn’t all Dell, it isn’t all Oracle and it isn’t all Salesforce, which all usually equate to big capital expenditures, big monthly fees. There are systems and solutions for small businesses and if they want to become a big business, they better get after it.

Small Business Trends: You’re about to go on stage and speak to hundreds of small business advisors, accounting advisors, what do you plan to tell these folks?

Marcus Lemonis: Well I think the biggest advice that I would give small business advisors and accounting advisors is understand their audience, and get to know their clients better, and understand why their clients do what they do, and build a relationship with them. And we’ll talk about it during my presentation, but vulnerability for me is the absolute Holy Grail, key to fixing people. And if you’re selling a product or service and you’re really just selling the product or service, then I think your penetration success is going to be low. But if we can connect on a human level about our lives, about our hardships, about things that have happened to us … Just about anything.

What you’re essentially building is you’re building trust. And then once you build that trust, you’re saying, “Look man. I’m sorry to have to tell you this but you kind of don’t know your numbers, and there’s no system in place, and you have no strategy. And I really want you to be successful and I’m in this weird spot because we have a relationship and I have this product. So you tell me how you want this relationship to go. If you want me to just be your friend and that’s it, I’m open to that. If you want me to try to help you improve your business as your friend, I’m open to that as well.” And I think that that vulnerability, and that full disclosure, and that transparency would make me open up.

If you said to me, “I can help make your businesses better.” I’d be like, “All right. I don’t know everything.”

I think the last piece of advice that I would give people is small business owners don’t want to feel like they’re dumb, and they don’t want to feel insecure, and they don’t want to feel like they’ve made a bunch of mistakes. And so you have to go on this journey with them where they understand that every decision they made had a plus and a minus, and we’re going to celebrate the pluses and we’re going to learn from the minuses, and we’re not going to point out your frailties. If you can get on the level with them, then it changes. If you go in there like, “You don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t have this right and you don’t have that right.” It’s like, “Look. I don’t need to know that I’m in trouble, I knew I was in trouble before you came.” And so that’s I think the key. And that’s what I would tell anybody.

Small Business Trends: So what big companies that are doing things successfully in your mind are companies that small businesses should really look at, emulate and take lessons from?

Marcus Lemonis: Rather than picking a specific business, I’ll pick companies that understand two fundamental things. One, the importance of customer data, and how to accumulate it, and how to mine it, and how to use it, and how to understand it to improve your ROI on marketing, to improve the retention of those customers. But before any of that happens, you have to understand your business.

So many businesses fail to put their numbers, and their cash flow, and their balance sheet into systems where they truly have this dashboard. For me, financial statements are a necessary evil. You don’t go to the doctor without all sorts of information, and your doctor doesn’t give you a diagnosis without running a bunch of tests. And he doesn’t’ give you a new diet or a new regiment without having all the information. And I apply that to business. You can’t understand where to go in your business, who to hire, who to fire, what to do, how to change things, what to improve, how to change your prices, what products to drop, what products to launch. You don’t understand any of that if you don’t have the footprint of what your business is live. And so, I know people hate accounting, I really do. I know they hate it, but then you shouldn’t be in business. It really is one of those things where you’re just like, “I don’t like broccoli, but my mummy is making me eat it.” It’ll make you smarter. And if you own your company 100%, you’re obligated to yourself. If you have other investors, it’s a mandate. I won’t do business with people, not even as a customer. If I have a big retail business and there’s small businesses that sell products. Unless I know that they understand their business and they have the accounting systems in place. Because if I start doing business with you and I buy your product and I put it on my shelves, and then all of a sudden, you don’t have your act together and you go out of business, I’m in trouble.

This article, “Marcus Lemonis: The Profit Isn’t About Small Business, It’s About How People Are Transformed By Opportunity” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Fiverr Helping Small Business Social Media Marketers with Video Content Services

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Fiverr Video Services Helping Small Business Social Media Marketers with Ad Creation

If you’re looking to create video ads and marketing videos to promote your company, cost is probably just as important as what you’ll create.

New Fiverr Video Services

Fiverr has just opened up a new featured section on its freelancer marketplace for pros who create live action videos, video explainers, and video ads.

This is a place to go to find the right pros at the right prices for your small business as it wades into video marketing. The launch of this section is the result of Fiverr purchasing Veed.me in June 2017. And for creators of these videos, this is a featured section of a major freelancer marketplace. If you’re not already using Fiverr, it may be a few more reasons to market your skills there.

The new services will give anyone looking for quality video production access to creators in the Fiverr Video & Animation category. The creators of Live Action Explainer Videos and Short Video Ads offer everything from commercials to intros, product descriptions, tutorials and much more.

Small businesses, marketers, influencers, vloggers, consumers and others can now purchase video easily. It can then be posted on websites and social media pages to differentiate the quality of the content. For individuals and business relying on their video to attract customers, professional grade video makes a lot of difference.

The value of using video was explained by the former CEO of Veed.me Yoav Hornung, who is now Video & Animation Category Manager at Fiverr in the press release. He said, “The ability of a business and a brand to visually tell its story to core audiences has never been more important.”

Fiverr is going to use some of the technology from Veed.me to deliver a more detailed set of video services. Content creators will have new pages for video, and marketers will be able to find them faster based on expertise, experience and customer ratings.

?

Live Action Explainers

With this service, you can order complete video production on-location shooting, professional actors, equipment, and more. Buyers can order product videos, on-location scripted videos and full-production commercials from the comfort of their home or office.

Short Video Ads

The Short Video Ads service provides videos for Facebook Ads, Instagram and Snapchat as well as six-second bumpers and pre-rolls for YouTube videos. This category is ideal for marketers running performance-based video marketing campaigns.

Video for the Small Business

Today’s consumers want to engage with the companies they do business with. It doesn’t matter whether they are a small mom and pop outfit or a large multinational. And video has become one of the best ways to make this possible.

When it comes to videos, 80 percent of customers prefer it over blogs. This also translates to more leads and sales, making it a much better marketing tool.

If you don’t have the time needed to make a video for your small business, the new services from Fiverr is a good place to start to see what is available to you.

Photo via Fiverr

This article, “Fiverr Helping Small Business Social Media Marketers with Video Content Services” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

The Power of Vulnerability Introduces a New Kind of Leadership

Friday, December 15th, 2017

The Power of Vulnerability - How to Take a Step Back and Still Lead Your Company

There’s an interesting new book for small business owners looking for fresh ideas on how to lead. Although it might sound counter-intuitive at first, The Power of Vulnerability makes a strong argument that effective leaders turn the reins over to their teams to strengthen their businesses.

The Power of Vulnerability

Make Room for Improvement

Small Business Trends spoke with Jeff Manchester who co-authored the book with Barry Kaplan. Manchester started the conversation stressing there’s always room for improvement at the top in any small business.

“I think there’s something that all leadership is in some ways missing. In every organization I go into there’s always an opportunity to deepen trust within the management team and the company itself,” he said.

Find The Personal Piece

Manchester, who has decades of experience as an entrepreneur and business adviser, says a big portion of the modern productivity puzzle is the “personal piece.” Unlocking latent potential in any company is about understanding people on a deep level. It’s a fresh perspective and just as important to a healthy bottom line as a good line of products.

“A small business can’t maximize performance until they find a way to deepen connections and alignments with the organization,” he said

Make Workers INpowered

The book outlines a plan to shift your small business culture. Manchester has worked with more than 1000 presidents and CEOs. He says the centerpiece of any new business culture should include the INpowering concept.

“This is about harnessing the power of what’s inside each of us. We all have a perspective that comes from factors like where we were brought up and our education, as well as the work and life experiences we’ve had ” he explained. Manchester says it’s important for small businesses to draw on this innovative reservoir in each team member.

One of the linchpins is creating an atmosphere where people feel safe to be authentic.

“INpowerment is that personal cultural connection that allows us to feel safe enough to share in our organization,” said Manchester.

Strive for Authenticity

Keeping things real is critical. A good business culture allows you to ask questions when you don’t have the answers and challenge the boss when you think it’s appropriate. Authenticity is about encouraging team members to be themselves.

Everything rests on a culture where team members and employees feel safe taking a risk. That’s were the other building block, vulnerability, comes in. Manchester says although it might seem at first being vulnerable is akin to weakness, that’s not the case.

“It’s about being able to show up and ask for help because you don’t have all the answers. Vulnerability is about being able to take the risk to challenge the boss or even put thoughts before the group,” Manchester says. “Teams have to be willing to take a risk.”

Gather the Ingredients

One of the other major ingredients that allows everything else to interact is a small business culture that rests on psychological safety. The Power of Vulnerability outlines the steps that are necessary to guarantee the atmosphere where a team’s potential builds on this idea.

Seek Psychological Safety

“Psychological safety is about being comfortable enough to share your thoughts and opinions and not be judged,” said Manchester.

Unlocking the power within each team member is the end goal that will benefit small business.

“If we begin to do that together as a team, we make the best decisions together as an organization,” he said.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Power of Vulnerability Introduces a New Kind of Leadership” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Search
Categories