Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Small Business Loan Application Approvals Up Across the Board

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Biz2Credit Lending Index November 2017: 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.

Biz2Credit Lending Index November 2017

The approval rates for small businesses was at 25.1 percent at big banks, while institutional lenders reported 64.1 percent, both new highs for November. As for small banks, there was also a rise of one-tenth of one percent to 49 percent from the 48.9 percent of October.

Key economic indicators, as well as optimism with President Trump’s tax reform plan, deregulation in the banking industry, and higher interest rates, are in part responsible for the uptick in small business lending.

In addressing some of the reasoning behind the higher numbers, Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora, said in a press release, “The Federal Reserve has increased interest rates from their historic lows, and regulation of the banking industry is subsiding under Trump. Banks both large and small are more likely to lend under the current atmosphere.”

The Biz2Credit Small Business Index is based on primary data which is submitted by more than 1,000 small business owners who have applied for loans on Biz2Credit’s online lending platform. This platform connects business borrowers and lenders, which gives the data that comes from the index an added level of reliability and immediacy for its monthly reports. The company analyzes loan requests ranging from $25,000 to $3 million.

Other Lenders

The November index also reported alternative lenders saw an increase of one-tenth of one percent. For this particular segment, it was a great improvement because alternative lenders have experienced consecutive declines lasting more than one year. November’s number was 56.9 percent compared to October’s 56.8 percent.

For credit unions, also going through record lows in October, the approval rate was 40.3 percent for November — also an increase.

Take Away for Small Businesses

Whether you are just starting out or an established small business owner, this is a good time to start thinking about getting a loan. According to Arora, there is pent-up demand for small business credit in the marketplace. He goes on to say, businesses can take advantage of the current environment because it is less challenging to secure funding.

Biz2Credit Lending Index November 2017: Small Business Loan Application Approvals Up Across the BoardImages: Biz2Credit.com

This article, “Small Business Loan Application Approvals Up Across the Board” was first published on Small Business Trends

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

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Following Hashtags on Instagram is Now Possible

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. This will make it possible to find and connect with the many different communities and interests on the platform.

The ability to identify what is on Instagram using hashtags is more important now because the number of users is increasing at a very rapid rate. As of September 2017, Instagram had 800 monthly and 500 million daily active users. Going through all of those users without using hashtags can be a never-ending endeavor. From now on, when any one of them creates or shares something, the hashtags they use can be searched and followed.

How Do You Follow a Hashtag?

According to the blog announcing the new feature, following a hashtag is the same as following a friend on Instagram. Once you find the right hashtag, open the page and tap on the follow button.

Whenever they post anything with the hashtag, you will receive top posts from them in your feed as well as the latest stories in your stories bar. Unfollowing is just as easy. All you do is tap the unfollow button. 

Following Hashtags on Instagram is Now Possible

Using Hashtags for Your Small Business

If you don’t know what a hashtag is, it is basically a label to identify the content posted on social media sites. You can create hashtags for the products, services, videos, images and more your business provides so your customers can find them easily.

When you create a hashtag, make it your own brand so other people will start using it. This drives more people to your page and gives your company more recognition. And don’t forget to include it on all of your digital and physical properties. This includes email, website, other social media pages, your physical store and even the bumper of your car.

Once you create your hashtag, don’t forget to track the performance so you can improve or replicate it for future promotions.

Images: Instagram

This article, “How Does Following Hashtags on Instragram Change Your Social Media Strategy?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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25 Winter Business Ideas

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

25 Winter Business Ideas

Winter can be a great time to start a business. The holiday season and changing temperatures can put customers in a spending mood. So if you’re looking to start a new business this season, here are 25 different business ideas that are perfect for the winter months.

Winter Business Ideas

Snow Removal Service

As the snow falls, homeowners will need to remove it from their walkways. So you can offer to remove it for them in exchange for a small fee.

Christmas Tree Farm

If you have a fair amount of land to work with, you can grow pine trees and let customers visit to pick out the perfect Christmas tree for their homes.

Holiday Pop-up Shop

Since people do so much more shopping during the holiday season than they do throughout the rest of the year, it’s the perfect time to open up a temporary pop-up retail store.

Gift Wrapping Service

You could also set up shop in a busy shopping area and offer to gift wrap purchases for customers.

Custom Ornament Sales

One popular item that customers tend to purchase mainly in the winter is the holiday ornament. You can offer your own unique version and even customize it for each person.

Gift Basket Service

You could also start a business where you make unique gift baskets and deliver them to gift recipients throughout the holidays.

Ice Rink

If you have enough space to work with, you can set up an ice rink and let people visit in exchange for a small fee.

Sleigh Ride Service

Another fun business idea, you can offer winter themed sleigh rides around parks or downtown areas.

Hot Beverage Stand

Coffee carts are always popular, but winter can also be a great time to sell other hot beverages like tea and hot chocolate near parks or shopping areas.

Towing Service

A towing service can do a lot of business in the winter, helping drivers who get stuck in snowbanks or slide on ice.

Home Winterization Service

You can also help homeowners who want to prepare their houses for winter by insulating, closing any gaps in windows or using other winterization techniques.

Chimney Sweep Service

Homeowners also tend to use their fireplaces quite a bit in the winter months. So it can be a great time to get into the chimney sweeping business.

Wreath Sales

Another festive product you can sell, offer natural wreaths made out of evergreen branches or make them out of craft supplies so customers can keep them for more than just one season.

Holiday Decorating Service

Some people want their homes to look festive for the holidays but don’t want to actually do any decorating themselves. So you can start a business where you arrange holiday decorations for those clients.

Ski Destination Vacation Rentals

If you’re interested in a winter tourism business, you can start a small resort or even rent out a home or room near a ski destination on platforms like Airbnb.

Winter Sports Instruction

If you’re skilled at any winter sports like skiing or hockey, you could also offer instruction services centered around those activities.

Winter Sports Equipment Rentals

Or you could set up shop near ski slopes or ice rinks to rent out equipment like ice skates, skis or snowboards.

Holiday Cookie Sales

Bakers, the holiday season is a great time to start a business focused on festive cookies and other desserts.

Greeting Card Sales

It’s also a great time to sell holiday cards and similar festive paper goods.

Knit Accessories Sales

If you’re a good knitter or crocheter, you can use your skills to make hats, scarves and other accessories to sell.

Errand Service for Seniors

Snow and ice can make running errands in the winter somewhat dangerous, especially for seniors. So you can start an errand services aimed at helping those customers with daily tasks through the winter months.

Party Planning Service

If you’re interested in starting a party planning business, you can focus specifically on holiday parties for large groups or corporations.

Personal Gift Shopping Service

You can also show off your shopping skills during the winter months by starting a personal shopping service focused specifically on holiday gift shoppers.

Furnace Repair Service

HVAC professionals that focus on furnace repair can also be especially popular during the winter months as homeowners experience heating issues.

Personal Training Service

January is the most popular time of the year for people to start a new workout routine. So while it’s possible to run a personal training business throughout the year, winter is the perfect time to get started.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “25 Winter Business Ideas” was first published on Small Business Trends

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

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Intuit Acquires Tsheets, an Employee Time Tracking Solution Provider, 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.

Intuit Acquires Tsheets

Small businesses that use the QuickBooks platform will now have a single, seamless solution to track their time, streamline their invoicing and simplify paying their workers with confidence.

The QuickBooks platform is a popular small business ecosystem that automates and simplifies key business tasks, such as payroll, invoicing and payments. With more than 12,000 customers already using QuickBooks, Intuit says bringing Tsheets on board will benefit millions of small businesses and self-employed people.

“This acquisition will unlock critical upstream data that will allow us to create frictionless experiences that remove work, make it easier to get paid, and provide valuable insights into the health of our users’ businesses,” Alex Chriss, Senior Vice President, chief product and platform officer for Intuit’s Small Business and Self-Employed Group, said in a statement.

TSheets Product Benefits Set to Improve

TSheets currently serves over 35,000 customers, overseeing 500,000 workers managed through its platform. The time tracking app automates much of the time sheet process, making life simpler for contract employees, or staffers who have to track how much time they spend on any given project.

“With this transaction, we will work together [with Intuit] to vastly improve the customer experience and product benefits of the TSheets and QuickBooks integration,” said Matt Rissell, co-founder and CEO of TSheets, which has its headquarters in Eagle, Idaho.

The deal is expected to finalize by the end of Q2 2018. Once it closes, Time Capture, a TSheets feature, will become a new offering within Intuit’s Small Business offering. Rissell will assume leadership role reporting to Chriss.

“We are excited for what this [acquisition] means for customers, as we continue to champion their cause and provide them with the real business insights they need to thrive,” Rissell added.

Image: Tsheets

This article, “Intuit Will Acquire Employee Time Tracking Software Tsheets for $340 million” was first published on Small Business Trends

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

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

This Handheld Device From Telemedicine Solution Provider Tyto Care Could Prevent a Cold and Flu Outbreak at Your Small 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.

Tyto Care is one company that is part of the growing telemedicine field, a concept that allows doctors and care providers to use telecommunications devices to provide clinical health care remotely. So instead of having to actually make an appointment and drive to a doctor’s office, you could video chat with a provider to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan.

But until recently, this concept was mainly just a way for patients and doctors to communicate if a physical appointment wasn’t possible. There wasn’t really a way for doctors to take vitals and do an actual examination. That’s where Tyto Care comes in. The company has a couple of different products that allow patients to easily collect this information, which can then be sent directly to a care provider.

Currently, the company has two main options. There’s a device meant for individuals who receive care from telemedicine provider and one that’s meant for organizations with multiple patients, so it could work for a business with a large campus that includes a health clinic. Right now, Tyto Care works directly with telemedicine providers, who can then provide patients with these devices.

How Telemedicine Solution Benefits Small Businesses

For small businesses, this concept could be a game changer. Receiving medical care in the traditional sense isn’t always convenient for entrepreneurs or their employees, especially if they’re worried about time away from their businesses. So the ability to communicate quickly and efficiently with care providers could lead to quicker diagnoses and better care — which means less chance of major outbreaks.

Tyto Care CEO Dedi Gilad said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “Whether you have a small business or a large business, telehealth as a concept can offer a great way to save on healthcare costs and brings ease of access to improve healthcare to employees.”

Image: Tytocare.com

This article, “Tyto Care Brings Medical Visit to You Without Taking Time Away from Your Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Create Dynamic Pages with Wix Code, and More, No Coding 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.

Wix Code Advanced Development Capabilities

The all-in-one, drag-and-drop Wix Code development environment was introduced in beta version back in July this year to allow you to build the exact website or web applications you envision for your business. You needed to apply to use it in beta, but now Wix Code is out of beta and open to everyone.

“Wix Code provides an all-in-one platform, hosted in the secure Wix cloud, that allows users to spend their time creating, rather than on complicated setup and maintenance,” Wix said in a statement. “These capabilities are coupled with the Wix OS backend to manage all operational aspects of a business, blog, portfolio and more.”

Wix is already well-known for offering a useful website building tool for small businesses and solopreneurs. Some 100 million registered users, including entrepreneurs, small business owners and artists around the world, use Wix to create their websites using its signature drag-and-drop capabilities.

The newly launched Wix Code brings more functionality and introduces some new features, including Database Collections and Dynamic Pages.

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Wix Code Development Features

Content Database

According to the Israel-based web development company, Database Collections allows you to manage all of your website’s content in one place. You can collect and store text, images, numbers, documents, user info and more in a database. You’ll be able to use it anywhere on your website.

Dynamic Pages With Wix Code

Dynamic Pages, on the other hand, allows you to generate one single design style that will adapt itself to each item (row) on your list once you’ve collected your content in your database. This allows you to create an infinite number of new pages — without having to duplicate them, says Wix. Each page (generated automatically) will have a custom URL and unique content.

Custom Forms, Multiple Uses

Other features include Custom Forms allowing you to create application forms, review sections, quizzes and more without writing a single line of code. Developers using Wix Code also have access to the Wix OS infrastructure empowering you to extend a website’s functionality with JavaScript and APIs.

Ready to Build Stunning Websites Using Wix Code?

To activate Wix Code, just go to the Wix Editor, click Tools, then Developer Tools. Tada! You’re in. The serverless development environment requires no setup.

“By using Wix Code, we will save about 50 percent off the time it would typically take to build on other platforms — but often more,” one Wix Code user, Andreas Kviby, is quoted as saying on the official Wix Blog. “It is amazing when you can create client apps in days instead of weeks. For designers who are not coders, they can now take some code and extend sites for clients in no time.”

Image: Wix.com

This article, “Wix Code Introduces Dynamic Web Design for Business – No Tech Knowledge Required” was first published on Small Business Trends

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

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Dialpad Free is a Free Small Business Phone System for Companies With 5 Employees or Less

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.

Dialpad says this is the first time a free business phone system has been offered in the history of telephony without a trial period or having to upgrade. And with Dialpad Free, up to five employees can be dialed by name or by extension from a single office number.

Small office or home office workers and small businesses can take advantage of this offer to lower their monthly communications bill. As a free service, it has its limitations, but it is still a free service from a reliable company. According to Dialpad, more than 65 percent of the Fortune 500 are using its technology.

Dialpad is a pure-cloud communications company making it possible to be available on any device, anywhere. The platform it provides allows anyone in your small business to connect and work from anywhere with voice, video and messaging.

Dialpad co-founder Craig Walker said, in a press release announcing the new service, “We’re truly diminishing the need for businesses to use existing phone lines or to be limited to mobile phones, landlines or the need to list multiple phone numbers on their websites and business cards.”

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So What do You Get With Dialpad Free?

Here is the meat and bone of the service.

  • 100 outbound minutes per month
  • Unlimited inbound minutes
  • 100 inbound and outbound SMS messages
  • Free UberConference accounts for all 5 employees

In addition to these free services, you also get Dialpad’s list of calling features. This includes voicemail, call recording, HD calling, professional IVR with extension calling, video calling between Dialpad users, call recording and much more.

How Can You Get It?

If you want to use Dialpad Free, you have to sign up and download the Dialpad app onto your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Once you have it on your device, you use your broadband connection for the service.

The offer also includes a limited time deal to transfer your existing business phone number to Dialpad Free at no cost.

Cloud Communications for Small Businesses

As a pure cloud communications company, Dialpad offers small businesses the flexibility to work from anywhere without sacrificing functionality. Dialpad has native Single-Sign-On with Google G-Suite as well as integration with Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and LinkedIn.

With Dialpad, you can video conference with all of your employees whether they are working from home locally or in another country. Your employees can connect and collaborate with some of the most popular business applications using their preferred platform without any compatibility issues.

Walker added, “Any app-enabled device immediately becomes an extension of the business’ main number and can be using Dialpad Free within minutes.”

Images: Dialpad

This article, “New Dialpad Free Claims to Kill the Desk Phone But May Kill Your Business Phone Bill Too” was first published on Small Business Trends

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How to Use Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains to Innovate in Your Small Business

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

3 Ways Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Leads to Innovation for Small BusinessesBitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been in the news a lot in the recent months. This is mostly because of the record heights that crypto currencies and so-called crypto assets have reached, in terms of valuation and volume. Bitcoin recently breached the $12,000 price mark. While naysayers are predicting a crypto bubble, it seems there is no stopping startups from launching their tech-driven businesses via blockchain.

For businesses, these are exciting times, especially with the enhanced capabilities that fintech startups and service providers can offer, whether you are an enterprise seeking to optimize operations or a small business looking to expand.

Looking beyond the cryptocurrencies, however, what’s more important are the fundamental technologies that underpin these new asset classes, which are their respective blockchains. These are the secure, immutable and distributed cryptographic ledgers that serve as record-keeping mechanism for decentralized tech.

While many blockchain-based startups are focusing on consumer-facing applications, a good number will be useful in a business environment, catering to B2B, B2C and other such transactions.

How Blockchain Leads to Innovation

Here are a few notable ways blockchain-based technologies can help any business become more innovative.

Establish a Self-sovereign Identity

To date, establishing your business as a legal entity would require registering the business either as a proprietorship or as its own corporate entity. This will require “citizenship” in a certain country or sovereignty, which is managed by a government. Some communities would like the ability to establish an entity without having to rely on an external or centralized authority, however.

Here is where a startup called SelfKey will come in. The basic precept is that identity can be established through cryptographic means via blockchain. Users essentially tokenize their identities, paying KEY tokens to trusted notaries to authenticate and verify their identities. Such identification has privacy and granularity — meaning users can share only certain aspects of their information, and not the whole package.

The good thing with SelfKey is that it is valid both for individual users and for businesses seeking to establish their own identity without relying on a centralized authority.

“SelfKey has basic cap table management, and can provide basic corporate governance which allows the startup to do things that are currently burdensome such as opening a bank account,” wrote the founders on the SelfKey whitepaper. “When relying parties onboard a new company, KYC needs to be done not only on the specific company level but also for all significant shareholders at each ownership level above the entity until you reach the ultimate beneficial owners.”

Leverage Distributed Computing Across a Global Network

Cloud computing and virtualization are now mainstays for both small businesses and enterprises, due to their low cost of ownership, scalability and low barrier to entry. However, cloud computing platforms are still owned by centralized entities, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. An emerging technology from Golem leverages just about any computer across the world in a truly decentralized computing platform.

“Golem connects computers in a peer-to-peer network, enabling both application owners and individual users (“requestors”) to rent resources of other users’ (“providers”) machines. These resources can be used to complete tasks requiring any amount of computation time and capacity,” states the Golem whitepaper.

One key aspect of Golem is monetization, which enables nodes to earn from participating in the network and contributing their processing cycles. While a cloud computing platform can potentially offer businesses some level of savings, a truly decentralized approach might offer more optimal performance-vs-cost, especially since business users are now directly paying the individual node owners. These transactions are done through smart contracts powered by Ethereum.

Manage Private Capitalization Tables and Profit from Secondary Markets

We mentioned capitalization tables under the self-sovereign identity aspect of Streamr. Another startup that focuses on this aspect of building a business is CapchainX, which is a blockchain startup that tokenizes capitalization tables.

“The Crypto token market is valuable because it accelerates liquidity in private markets,” writes Beryl Chavez-Li, founder and CEO of CapchainX. She adds that “[t]he solution for a responsible liquid secondary market is issuing tokens backed by real shares — Crypto Equity,” which is the main concept behind CapchainX.

The company will basically replace paper-based legal, regulatory and operational aspects of maintaining a capitalization table, which makes it easier for startups to manage their company’s shares. This can be particularly useful when accepting institutional funding, since share dilution can be complex to compute. According to Chavez-Li, this also opens up the potential for a secondary market, wherein shareholders can use the tokenized system to buy and sell shares, which can help both improve liquidity and bolster market value.

The Takeaway? Blockchain Technology is Flexible and Businesses Stand to Gain

While it is true that the recent run of coin sales and token sales might be akin to bubble-like growth, one cannot deny the importance that such blockchain-based startups are offering individual and business users alike: value from truly decentralized applications.

Blockchains also now cover a wide variety of industries from fintech to insurtech, edtech and more. This means there is only room for growth, and whether your business is directly dealing with blockchains or crypto assets or not, you will feel the impact one way or another.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Use Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains to Innovate in Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Awesome Insights from Top Business Leaders

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

10 Entrepreneurs Share Small Business Lessons For The 99%

Inbound marketing is an effective strategy when it comes to growing your small business. It helps you attract customers to your site by providing valuable content. From there, you can guide them through your buyer’s journey, eventually converting them into customers.

At the same time, inbound marketing establishes your business as a leader in your niche. More important, it doesn’t require a huge marketing budget or team.

But I’ve learned no matter how successful you become as a business professional, some things don’t change. Nothing beats getting personal advice from those that have insights into their profession that you may lack.

Ten Entrepreneurs Share Small Business Lessons

Here are tips shared by 10 successful entrepreneurs that will help you grow and keep your business afloat.

1. Protect Your Assets

Your email list is one of your most valuable assets when it comes to marketing. As such, Christa Rouse Bishop, lawyer and senior vice  president of communications for Cooperative Energy of Mississippi, encourages small business owners to be vigilant in protecting their computer systems. “If a computer system were to go down because of a virus … key files could be lost or stolen, which could then lead to legal action from clients, customers, and suppliers.”

2. Have Your Small Business Insured

At first, setting up a business insurance and continuity plan doesn’t seem important when you have a scrappy startup. You’re probably more like the Wolf of Wall Street trying to close deals, but insurance is needed for life’s many hiccups.

As a business owner, one of your primary goals is to build trust with your customers. Investing in small business insurance helps you become more credible in their eyes and will help your significant other sleep at night.

At the same time, it protects your business from the unexpected. Greg Reese, President of AmeriEstate Living Trusts, explains that a continuity plan keeps your business running should anything happen to you.

“Having a simple business continuity plan will allow you to choose and authorize a trustee to continue running your business [in case something happens to you],” he said. With these in place, there won’t be any need for lengthy (and expensive) court litigations. At the same time, it will give your family enough time to decide whether to continue your business or sell it.

3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile

One of the biggest inbound marketing mistakes small business owners make is not ensuring that their website is mobile friendly. In today’s competitive online landscape first impressions can make a website visitor bounce and leave your site.

“If your website doesn’t offer a smooth and pleasant experience on mobile screens, you’re missing opportunities,” Aaron Haynes, founder of Fenix Pro, said. “Running your website through Google’s mobile friendly test tool will help you fix any issues on your site and make it more mobile responsive.”

4. Get Ideas from Social Media Groups

Social media groups and social media platforms aren’t just for connecting and networking. They’re a treasure trove of content ideas you can use for a focus group when you have new ideas you want to validate.

“[Social media] groups are a constant source of new topic ideas,” explains Ken McDonald, Chief Growth Officer of TeamSnap. “By simply joining the conversation in several groups, you’ll see what common questions and topics that are relevant to your business.”

5. Simplify Things

When explaining your business to a potential customer, don’t assume that everyone understands your industry lingo. It’s essential you’re able to explain everything about your business and your products as simply as possible. Also make sure to lead with why your product matters and not what it does!

Ariel Chiu, Principal Planner of Wonderstruck Events, recommends writing your advertising copy so that a 10-year-old child can easily understand. This will force you to keep everything simple and free from jargon. “Ask yourself: ‘Would a fourth through ninth grader understand this content and be able to make a conversion decision upon completion?’ If the answer is no, then you need to simplify it.”

6. Don’t be Boring

The last thing you want is material that’s dry and feels like a standard commercial. Eduardo Perez, the founder of Easy Ukulele Songs, encourages small business owners to have fun and genuinely engage with potential customers. “This will increase the average time [spent], and ultimately, the conversions you’re able to capitalize on.”

7. Engage with Your Audience

Roy Surdej, President of Peaches Boutique, says engagement is critical to converting inbound marketing leads into customers. “You can’t just publish or post content and then just walk away,” he said. “If you do that, you’re missing prime opportunities to engage with your audience and convert them.”

8. Tap Into the Power of Influencers

According to Todd Tinker, founder of The Tinker Law Firm: “Most consumers are wired to trust recommendations from authority figures. This is why creating an influencer marketing campaign for your inbound marketing strategy is so effective.”

Reaching out to micro-influencers (influencers with 5,000 to 100,000 followers) is the best way to go. Additionally, Tinker suggests encouraging your customers to advocate for your brands online via social media is an easy way to activate micro influencers.

9. Reward Yourself

Even small business owners need a morale boost. Stefan Gleason, President of Money Metals Exchange, suggests rewarding yourself every now and then as one way to do this.

“Entrepreneurs seldom do this,” Gleason said. “This is why most fall far short of experiencing success and being able to realize their dream of a prosperous life resulting from their small business.”

10. Take Things One Day at a Time

Growing a business can seem time-consuming and overwhelming. If you’re not careful, you can suffer from burnout which will spell disaster for your business.

“The single most important takeaway is to pace yourself,” Adam Steele, founder of Loganix points out. “Don’t bite off too much. Be patient, be authentic, and just keep moving.” Soon, all your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Awesome Insights from Top Business Leaders” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Small Businesses Add 50,000 Jobs in November

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

November 2017 ADP Small Business Report Shows that Small Businesses Added 50,000 Jobs

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. That growth is slower than what small businesses contributed in October but is the second month in a row of growth.

In October, small businesses added 79,000 jobs but the month prior, they actually lost 7,000 jobs.

For the overall jobs report from ADP, there were 190,000 jobs added in November among all businesses. In October, that figure also showed faster growth when 235,000 new jobs were created in October.

Franchise businesses added 28,300 new jobs in November. That’s close to the job growth among franchise businesses shown the month prior. In October, franchise businesses added 30,600 jobs.

“The labor market continues to grow at a solid pace,” says Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute, in a company statement. “Notably, manufacturing added the most jobs the industry has seen all year. As the labor market continues to tighten and wages increase, it will become increasingly difficult for employers to attract and retain skilled talent.”

Companies with between 20 and 49 employees contributed the most job growth among small businesses in November. During the month, they created 36,000 new jobs, compared to 14,000 among companies with less than 20 employees.

And the 50,000 jobs created were spurred by service businesses. They created 55,000 jobs in November where goods-producing companies actually lost 5,000 jobs. Losses in goods producing small businesses were seen more among the smallest companies. They lost 3,000 jobs compared to the 2,000 lost by companies with more than 20 employees.

Among franchise businesses, restaurants added the most jobs in November, with 19,800 of the new jobs created. Auto parts stores and dealers added another 4,600 jobs in November.

The same trend is seen in the national employment report from ADP. Service businesses added 155,000 jobs in November, compared to 36,000 goods producing jobs. The number of construction jobs actually dropped  during November. There were 4,000 construction job losses nationally during the month.

November 2017 ADP Small Business Report Shows that Small Businesses Added 50,000 JobsImages: ADP

This article, “Small Businesses Add 50,000 Jobs in November” was first published on Small Business Trends

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