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If you want your small business to be part of creating radical change in your industry, then you might be interested in a few upcoming small business events.
First, the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco on October 31 is a week of keynote talks, interactive workshops, mentoring, bootcamps, tours and more. The event brings together bootstrapped startups, government agencies, civic organizations and more who are looking to make change in different industries.
In addition, NextCon16 in Scottsdale on November 14 is an event that aims to help entrepreneurs walk away with actionable insights about how to take their businesses to the next level.
You can see even more information about these events, along with others that might be of interest to your small business, in the featured events section below.
To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.Featured Events, Contests and Awards
Lean Startup Conference
October 31, 2016, San Francisco, Calif.
A gathering of thousands of thought leaders at Pier 27 for a week of keynote talks, interactive workshops, speed mentoring, industry dinners, bootcamps, and startup tours at the scenic edge of San Francisco. The conference unites intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs from government agencies, international conglomerates, boot-strapped startups, and civic organizations in their mission to create radical change in their industries.
Influencer Marketing Days
November 14, 2016, New York, N.Y.
Influencer Marketing Days is a unique conference dedicated to all things influencer marketing. The event is for marketing professionals responsible for their company’s influencer marketing strategy, campaign development, and relationship management. Whether you already run influencer marketing campaigns or you’re investigating ways to leverage this powerful type of marketing, Influencer Marketing Days will equip, educate, and inspire you to make the most of your efforts.
SBTIMD15 (Register today with code SBTIMD15 and you’ll keep 15% off of two-day passes!)
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training
November 07, 2016, New York, N.Y.
This ?five-day ?program ?is ?a ?highly ?interactive ?training ?course ?in ?lean ?Six ?Sigma ?tools ?and ?methodology. ?You will learn how to apply ?Lean ?Six ?Sigma ?tools ?and ?methods to improve key business processes.Follow Us: @Vectorint
November 14, 2016, Scottsdale, Ariz.
No matter your industry, company size or role, you can take advantage of the fresh perspectives, creative strategies and expert advice shared at NextCon. You will walk away with actionable insight to take your business to the next level and gain the insight and inspiration to make an impact.
Ignition Future of Digital
December 05, 2016, New York, N.Y.
At IGNITION you’ll get a new understanding of the transformations taking place in the digital world. Join 700 senior executives working in technology, media, entertainment, investment, and finance in staying on top of today’s most innovative ideas. The conference is one of the fastest-growing digital-media companies in the world, and hosted by Henry Blodget, Business Insider’s Editor-in-Chief and CEO.
May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.
Secret Knock is going to be the single greatest event for the top entrepreneurs and action-takers in the world to connect, share ideas, and help take each other to the next level. Each of the attendees have believed in themselves enough to get to where they are, and they are not stopping now. Secure your application for one of the few spots left at the Secret Knock.More Events
Conference photo via Shutterstocl
This article, "Lean Startup Conference, NextCon Event Loom on the Horizon" was first published on Small Business Trends
Efficiency is an important part of running a small business. When you have fewer resources than large companies, you need to be able to get more done with less. There are ways to increase efficiency in all areas of your business, as members of our small business community have learned. See some of their top tips in the list below.Learn the Power of Personal Branding
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, it’s not enough to simply brand your business. You also need to consider your own personal branding. You can learn a bit about personal branding from the experts included in this post by Dipti Parmar on Preceptist .Get Stuff Done With Productivity Tools
Want to get more done in less time? There are plenty of different productivity tools out there that entrepreneurs can benefit from. Some small business experts shared their favorites in this post on Tina’s Blog. We were thrilled to have Small Business Trends’ publisher and CEO Anita Campbell included.Network a Conference Like a Jedi
When attending conferences for your business, networking is a must. And if you really want to help your business, you need to learn how to network like a Jedi, which you can do with the tips in this Content Marketing Institute post by Aaron Orendorff. You can also see discussion surrounding the post over on BizSugar.Protect Your Business from Phishing Scams
Phishing scams can really harm small businesses. But if you know how to protect your business and data, you can really decrease your chances of seeing any negative impact. This post by Ramon Ray of SmallBizTechnology includes some tips to help your small business avoid phishing scams.Use These Tools to Guide the Blogging Process
Blogging isn’t as simple as just jotting down a few thoughts and hitting publish. You need a strategy and a lot of help if you want your blog to be effective. Luckily, there are plenty of blogging tools available to help you create your own blogging process, as Neil Patel shares in this post.Scope Out Your Competition With These Sneaky Strategies
Keeping an eye on the competition is essential if you want your business to be competitive. And there are some simple ways you can do just that, as outlined in this Small Business Marketing Tools post by Kevin Bartley. The BizSugar community also shares thoughts on the post.Develop and Fulfill Your Philosophy for Top-Notch Web Content
Your idea of the perfect web content strategy isn’t likely to look the same as anyone else’s. And no other strategy is likely to work perfectly for your business. But you can develop your own philosophy and use it to make the best web content possible, as Neletha Skelton details in this Media Shower post.Get the Benefits of a Responsive Website
If you don’t already have a website that is responsive, you should probably consider the potential benefits of doing so. In this post, Steven Werley explains some of the key reasons small businesses should have responsive websites.Use Integrations to Increase Productivity
Since there are so many different business tools out there, choosing tools that can easily integrate with other tools can greatly increase your productivity. In this Duct Tape Marketing post and podcast, John Jantsch discusses integrations with Wade Foster. And BizSugar members talk about the post further too.Add These Filters to Your Interview Process
If you want your business to be successful, you need to hire the best people. And that means you need to develop an interview process that is most likely to bring you those perfect candidates. This CorpNet post by Jeanne Grunert goes over some key parts of the hiring and interview process.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Productivity photo via shutterstock
You don’t have to be an adult to start your own business. In fact, there are many different business opportunities that teens can use to get their entrepreneurial journeys started. Here are 50 business opportunities for teens.Business Ideas for Teens Academic Tutor
For students that excel in certain subjects, you can offer assistance to other students that need help in that area by starting a business as an academic tutor.SAT/College Prep Tutor
Or you can get even more specific about your tutoring services and focus specifically on helping students and college applicants prepare for the SATs or other standardized tests.Child Care
Babysitting and child care services are popular ways for young people to make some extra money. You can accept jobs that don’t conflict with your school schedule or other activities.Handmade Shop Owner
If you have any art or craft skills, you can open your own shop selling handmade goods to people online on sites like Etsy.Craft Fair Vendor
Or you could sell your items to customers in person at local craft fairs or other events that promote handmade vendors.Social Media Influencer
For those who are skilled with social media, you can build up a following and then work with brands as an influencer to promote various products and services.YouTube Personality
YouTube is also a popular platform for entrepreneurs. You can start your own channel and then earn revenue through advertising shares as you gain followers and views.Podcaster
If you’re more inclined to create audio content, you can start your own podcast and then earn money through advertisers on your podcast or website.Blogger
Blogging is also a viable business opportunity for people of all ages. You can start your own blog about a subject you’re interested in and then earn money through ads, product sales, affiliate links or other methods.Cake Decorator
If you want to start a creative business or work with food, you can offer your services as a cake decorator for events, bakeries or other customers.Car Washing Service
You can also start a mobile car washing service where you visit clients to wash and detail their vehicles.House Cleaner
Or you can build up a base of clients through word of mouth and offer house cleaning services on a regular basis.Laundry Service
You can even get more specific with your services and offer to do laundry for your local clients.Errand Service
You can also offer a variety of different errand services to local customers, including picking up groceries, dry cleaning and more.Inventor
People of all ages can invent new products. If you have a great idea for a new invention as a teen, you can build a prototype yourself or work with businesses or mentors to find a way to get it produced.Lawn Care
Lawn care is a pretty easy and straightforward business to start. If you have transportation and equipment, you can build a client base of local homeowners in your area.Dog Walking
Or you could focus on gaining local clients who are also pet owners and offering dog walking services on a daily or weekly basis.Housesitting
You can also offer housesitting services to homeowners who need someone to look after their homes while they travel.Gift Wrapping Service
During the holidays or other popular gift giving occasions, you can offer gift wrapping services to gift givers who don’t want to wrap their own items.Tech Support
If you’re fairly competent with computers or technology, you can start a tech support business where customers can call or chat with you to get help solving their tech issues.Computer Setup Service
You can also start a business that’s specifically geared toward helping people who recently bought new computers or devices and need help getting them set up.Technology Tutor
Or you can focus more on teaching clients how to set up their devices or solve other tech issues on their own by starting a business as a tech tutor.Online Graphics Seller
If you have some design skills, you can create your own printable or online graphics and sell them to customers as downloadable files online.Clothing Designer
You can also potentially channel your design skills into creating your own clothing line and selling pieces online or in local boutiques.T-shirt Designer
Or you can keep it simple and create your own designs to include on t-shirts and then get them printed to sell online or in stores.Greeting Card Maker
If your creativity is suited more toward creating your own paper goods, you can also design your own line of greeting cards to sell.Recycling Service
For those who want to start an environmentally friendly business, you can start a service where you pick up recyclables and take them to the proper facilities.Party Entertainer
If you want to start a business where you work mainly at special events, you can start a business as an entertainer such as a juggler, balloon artist, mime or even magician that entertains people at events.Musician
Or if you’re musically inclined, you can start a business with a band or as an individual musician who plays at weddings or events.Custom Portrait Artist
For those who are more visually focused artists, you can offer your services to people who want custom portraits of their families, pets or other subjects.Pet Photographer
You can also start a photography business that specifically caters to pet owners who want photo portraits of their furry friends.Event Photogapher
Or you can offer your photography services at weddings or special events.Farmer’s Market Vendor
If you have the space and the ability to grow food in your home or garden, you can start a booth at your local farmer’s market to sell those home grown food items.Delivery Service
You can also start a delivery service business where you deliver items to different locations on behalf of your customers as long as you have a reliable form of transportation.Packing Service
Starting a full moving service might not be super realistic for a teenager. But you can start a business that helps people pack up their items before moving in order to make some extra cash.Co-working Service
Coworking services have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. And they can even be useful for young entrepreneurs. So you can start your own business by opening a coworking space for other teen entrepreneurs.Graphic Designer
If you have some basic design skills, you can start your own graphic design business where you help clients by designing logos and other branding elements.Web Designer
Or you can help them put together websites by starting a business as a web designer.Ecommerce Reseller
Entrepreneurs of all ages can easily open ecommerce stores. So you can purchase items and then sell them at a profit on platforms like eBay.Proofreader
You can offer editing or proofreading services to businesses, authors or individuals who need help perfecting their copy.Videographer
If you have the right equipment and skills you can also offer your services as a videographer for local businesses or events.Gift Basket Service
You can also fairly easily put together and sell gift baskets for holidays or other special occasions.Scrapbooker
For those who enjoy putting together scrapbooks, you can build a business by offering custom scrapbooking services to people who want to preserve their memories in a special way without doing the work themselves.Snow Removal
If you want to earn some extra cash during the winter months, you can offer to shovel snow for local homeowners for a small fee.Leaf Removal
And during the fall, you can offer leaf removal services to those who don’t want to rake their yards on their own.Garage Sale Organizer
Garage sales can be a great way to earn some extra cash. You can host your own to get rid of unwanted items or even help others who don’t want to put together and run their own sales.Holiday Decorator
During the holidays, you can offer services to put up lights and other decorations and adornments.Personal Shopper
For those who enjoy shopping, you can build a business as a personal shopper and help others pick out the best items for them.Pet Cleanup Service
It may not be glamorous work, but pet cleanup is a service that’s really in demand. So you can build a client base in your area and offer those services regularly.Zine Publisher
If you want to share creative work, from visual art and photography to fiction and poetry, you can start your own zine and sell it to customers at events or online.
In his new book about conversations at work, author Rob Kendall makes a very important observation. In school, we aren’t taught how to converse with people. We are taught to give speeches. We are supposed to listen, but there is little discussion or training on how to converse with people. As we move from the classroom into the workforce, we often take the negative patterns that come from our lack of training in basic conversation.
When we use those negative communication patterns (like blaming, name-calling, “the silent treatment”, etc.), chaos ensues.What is Workstorming About?
Workstorming: Why Conversations at Work Go Wrong and How to Fix Them is about healthy communication in the workplace, the kind of communication that gets things done. The problem is that many businesses don’t actively foster environments where that can happen because they run on the assumption employees already know how to communicate. The book’s core message outlines three key essential elements to fixing that problem.
The first aspect of the book’s message is simply being aware of our communication at work. If we’re honest, most communication at work is mindless, routine or done while multi-tasking. This kind of communication stems from a negative coping strategy of dealing with workplace stress, according to Workstorming. We communicate, but we don’t take the time to really understand the situation until a misunderstanding happens. As a result, our negative communication patterns continue until a major problem happens.
The second aspect is implementing change. Once we become more aware of how mindless we are in work conversations, we need to do something about it! That’s easier said than done, however. When coworkers are in a meeting that breaks down into an argument, it’s the ideal time to bring awareness of this downward spiral to the group’s attention. Sadly, it’s also the very time when we are least receptive to the need for better attention in our work conversations..
The third aspect is establishing boundaries before you communicate. As the book suggests, be proactive and upfront with your communication. If you’re a business manager having a meeting, let the meeting participants know what decisions will be made and who will have the final say. Don’t have a meeting where the decision-making process is solely up to you, but employees are led to believe they are offering vital input.
Miscommunication hurts and it backfires, so it’s to our advantage to do what we can to fix it beforehand.
The author brings plenty of experience to the table from communicating successfully in a variety situations. Kendall is a communications coach whose professional career included working at the age 18 helping amputees in India, assisting with operations at the 2012 Olympics in London, and working in over 24 countries.What Was Best About Workstorming?
The best part of Workstorming is the rather simple but intuitive message that the book focuses on. Kendall directs the reader’s attention to the tiny details that we all know in hindsight (like knowing when an argument escalates and how it feels after an argument), but we fail to acknowledge. If your workplace continues to have the same negative patterns in conversation (which the book identifies), this book provides examples of how to turn that conversation around and how to fix that conversation in the future.What Could Have Been Done Differently
Workstorming has a lot of helpful (and again, intuitive) information that can help improve business communication. The one area where it could provide additional information is in the area of adapting the techniques to more difficult situations. The book provides some decent examples of the power of agendas (intentional or unintentional) to sabotage a conversation. What might be helpful is some additional information on what to do next. For example, how do you deal with a business leader who consistently engages in negative communication?Why Read Workstorming?
Whether involving supervisors, employees or both, if you’ve noticed that workplace arguments have started to impact productivity and teamwork, Workstorming might be a book you want to add to your to-read list. The book breaks down the simple negative communication patterns behind many workplace communication failures and redirects readers to a simple method of awareness and proactive preparation. If you have ever wondered what simple steps you can do to help your business conversations move into a higher level of productivity, this book will start you in the right direction.
This article, "How to Conquer Communication Chaos by Workstorming" was first published on Small Business Trends
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be in the middle of a real NBA game, you’re in luck – sort of. Beginning October 27, the league is broadcasting at least one game per week using virtual reality technology. That makes it the first major sports league to have regularly scheduled VR broadcasts.
At first, the games will only be available to Samsung VR users. But they’ll be available to users of other devices later in the season.
In addition, you have to be an NBA League Pass subscriber to get access to the VR feed. But the first game being broadcast between the Sacramento Kings and the San Antonio Spurs comes during the League Pass free trial period. So anyone with a Samsung Gear VR can see what the feed is like free of charge.
There currently aren’t too many people who own VR devices. But it’s certainly an area that’s experiencing growth. And by getting involved with this growing trend early, the NBA can potentially gain some fans, or at least turn some casual fans into League Pass subscribers. It can also allow the league to work out any potential bugs early, instead of leaving it until more consumers have experienced VR and expect a seamless experience.The Business Benefits of Early Tech Adoption
It’s not always beneficial for companies to be the first to jump into using a new type of technology. But in some cases, it does make sense to get involved early. The NBA might just reap the business benefits of early tech adoption for years to come.
Lebron James Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "NBA Jumps On the Virtual Reality Bandwagon Early (Watch)" was first published on Small Business Trends
Managing your small business website can be a complicated process. But this week, several companies including GoDaddy, Google and Wix announced new tools to help make managing websites easier, even while on the go. You can read about these updates and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.Technology Trends GoDaddy Says Its Latest Feature Will Make it Much Easier to Launch Your WordPress Site
WordPress is used by 26.9 percent of all the websites in the world, and GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY) just announced a new service called WordPress Website that will make launching more of those websites on WordPress even easier. The New GoDaddy WordPress Website Wizard GoDaddy said this will be the easiest way for small businesses to build their own WordPress website.Google Releases Tool Kit to Speed Up Your Mobile Small Business Site
Simply having your website load on mobile devices is no longer enough. Mobile sites have to also be fast, interactive and relevant. With this realization, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) recently announced a mobile web speed toolkit that should help all publishers build a faster mobile web experience.Newest Wix App And OS Enable Small Business Owners to Manage Websites on Mobile
Managing a website has gotten easier with mobile, but the new Wix (NASDAQ:WIX) app has gone a step further. You can now manage, create and market your small business anytime and anywhere on your mobile device. This means being able to interact with your customers in real-time to provide superior customer service.5 New iOS Dropbox Features Let You Work from Wherever
A new version of the Dropbox iOS app is now up for grabs in the App Store. The app includes five new features that are designed to make working with files on iPad or iPhone a breeze. This update quickly follows the July launch of new features for Dropbox Enterprise and Dropbox Business administrators.First National Drone Delivery Service Launched — in Rwanda
Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Friday launched the world’s first national drone delivery service at a ceremony in Kigali. This comes at a time when U.S. regulatory agencies are yet to clear any kind of commercial drone delivery service here in this country.Shutterstock Officially Launches Editor With Four New Features to Make Design Easier for Small Business Owners
The Shutterstock image editor launches this week with four new features to make design easier for small business owners and marketers. Stock images can provide an easy way for businesses to add interesting visuals to websites, content marketing and even ads. But personalizing and sharing those images can sometimes be a bit of a hassle.HP Elite x3 Phablet May Be Pricey for Budget Conscious Small Businesses
The HP Elite x3 phablet is one device that functions as two. While it has features that back up that claim, the $799 price tag may be a bit much for some small businesses. The new x3 phablet is part of HP’s continuing effort to blur the lines between mobile and desktop computing with modular designs.Brother Introduces More INKvestment All-in-One Printers for the Home Office
If you’re looking for a new all-in-one printer for your home office, you just got a few new options. Brother (TYO:6448) just introduced a new line of all-in-one devices that are designed specifically for small businesses as part of its INKvestment line of printers.Economy Trump Assembles Small Business Advisory Panel – Identifies 5 Issues
Presidential candidate Donald Trump announced the formation of a Small Business Advisory Panel this week. The panel, consisting of 17 business leaders, says it will give advice on small business issues. According to the announcement on the Trump website: “The Council is geographically, gender and ethnically diverse. It represents a cross section of the Small Business Community.Small Business Lending From Big Banks Hits All Time High in September, Biz2Credit Says
Loan approval rates at big banks and institutional lenders improved to all-time highs in September 2016. That’s according to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Approval rates at small banks, alternative lenders and credit unions, however, saw a decline.Marketing Tips Starbucks Demonstrates Influencer Marketing with YouTube Star Coffee Taste Test
As social media continues to infiltrate virtually every aspect of daily life, global brands are bending over backwards to gain easy publicity by converting the web’s biggest influencers into de facto representatives — and no one is doing that better than Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX).Tiger Woods Reboots Career Launching TGR Ventures Brand
Tiger Woods has one of the most recognizable personal brands in the world. But now, as health and personal problems have caused him to fall off the top golfer slot, he’s launching a business brand apart from his personal brand. Called “TGR Ventures,” the new brand has a logo with three tiger stripes forming the shape of a W.Retail Trends A Third of U.S. Merchants Now Accept Chip Cards, Says U.S. Payments Forum
An increasing number of businesses are switching to chip cards, but at a slower pace. That’s according to the U.S. Payments Forum’s fall 2016 market snapshot. The report has found approximately a third of U.S. merchants now accept chip-based credit and debit cards. The U.S.The Marijuana Industry is Booming – Even Without Banks (Watch)
The marijuana industry is booming in states like Colorado, where recreational use is legal. And as more states consider legalizing marijuana use, the industry is likely to continue growing. But jumping into this booming industry isn’t easy. Since marijuana use is still illegal on a federal level, banks are wary of working with marijuana companies.BigCommerce, Magenta, Prestahop Sellers Can Now Promote Products on Google Shopping
Google Shopping has announced a new partnership with three major ecommerce platforms — BigCommerce, Magenta and Prestahop — to allow sellers on these platforms to easily promote their products via the Google Shopping service this holiday season, and beyond.Small Biz Spotlight Spotlight: Primaseller is a Swiss Army Knife for Small Retailers
There’s a lot that goes into running an online retail business. And all of those tools and resources can be costly and complicated for small businesses. But that’s exactly what Primaseller is trying to simplify. The company provides a number of different solutions for retail businesses, online and offline.Small Business Operations SimpleBusiness Gives Small Companies Buying Power of Large Firms
SimpleBusiness is a brand new community that offers small businesses discounts and best pricing on many of the products and services you purchase regularly. Founded by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh, the duo behind Young Entrepreneur Council, SimpleBusiness aims to help small businesses get the same type of buying power that large firms and corporations enjoy.Social Media Don’t Be Fooled, Facebook Privacy Hoax is Again Making the Rounds
By now, you must have come across the copyright and privacy notices that have been making rounds on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). If you haven’t, then you probably have intelligent friends that are not easily fooled. The dreaded paragraph-long Facebook privacy hoax is not entirely new as some have been circulating on the social media site for years now.That’s Pintastic! Pinterest Crosses 150 Million Monthly Users
Pinterest has surpassed 150 million monthly active users, with more than 75 billion ideas shared. That’s a 50 percent increase from last year when it crossed 100 million monthly users. But more than the big milestone, the company is excited about the diverse group of people using the site.New Facebook Events App Could Also Be Helpful for Marketing, Appointments
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) recently launched an all new app that’s solely dedicated to events. The standalone app, creatively named ‘Events from Facebook,’ is designed for events seekers — and business people in a way. The app is available in iOS for U.S. users and will soon be available on Android too.Mobile Technology Acer Liquid Jade Primo Demonstrates Trend of Business Phones to Replace your PC
As phablets look to replace PCs altogether, cost is becoming a barrier for small businesses with limited budgets. The Acer Liquid Jade Primo is a more affordable option than the HP Elite x3, which has powerful features but comes in at $800. However, the Jade Primo doesn’t sacrifice on the specs and it has features that more than meet the use cases for small business.$50 Amazon Phone Makes It Easy to Go Mobile — But With Lots of Ads and Clutter
The number one seller in the unlocked cell phones category on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is the $50 Blu R1 HD, which is sold out as of this posting. This is an Amazon phone made by Blu, a US based company that offers the phone for $100, but with Amazon Prime you only pay half the price. For this subsidy, Amazon has tweaked the operating system to load the entire suite of Amazon apps.
This article, "GoDaddy, Google, Wix Announce New Tools for Business Websites" was first published on Small Business Trends
Mobile marketing is much more than optimizing emails to look good on smartphones. The kind of data consumers provide just by using their mobile phones in the normal course of their lives can provide valuable context and lead to ways to create more valuable relationships with them.
Sameer Patel, CEO of Kahuna, makers of a mobile marketing/communications platform, shares how modern mobile marketing platforms can ingest signals coming from consumer devices and turn them into opportunities to engage them in a more personalized way in order optimize conversion opportunities – and extend customer relationships. He also shares how turning perishable inventories (goods, services, time, distance, etc) into timely offers can maximize profit margins, and why cross-channel communication goes beyond multichannel to increase the likelihood of meaningful engagement with today’s more sophisticated consumers.
Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. To see the full interview click on the video below. To hear the audio click the embedded player.
* * * * *
Small Business Trends: Give us some of your personal background.
Sameer Patel: I have been in enterprise software for about 20 years. And prior to that I was at SAP for four years. I joined SAP to help build out their presence in collaboration software and took that product to many millions of users.
I had a fantastic team at SAP and then moved on to another fantastic team at Kahuna, looking to bring an entirely new face to what marketing should mean to the modern marketer.
Small Business Trends: So talk about mobile marketing. How does it differ from just two years ago?
Sameer Patel: What you want to do is start really with the consumer. Our customers’ consumer because that’s what matters the most. What’s great about being in this business is that we’re all consumers. We’re all users of the product. We’ve all gotten fantastic offers and we’ve all gotten really bad offers.
If you look back five years look at the availability of real time interaction and engagement that all of us expect from the systems and people that we engage with. You’re in a place where there’s a wildly different expectation of how fast systems should be able to ingest data and make sense of it, and actually allow the conversations to happen in real time. That same consumer is expecting that brands are going to engage with them also come with the same level of sophistication when they want to engage with them, and respect the pace at which they want to adopt new technologies.
Now the conversation around email and mobile is interesting because it usually leads you to think about how you want to engage with brands on a mobile phone. How do you receive offers? How do you receive notifications and push messages? The more important, more interesting part that’s missed out is what the mobile phone tells you about the consumer without them actually doing anything. That’s the power of mobile. That’s 10x compared to just the convenience of a brand reaching you on the mobile phone.
Where you go, your availability and your ability to opt in; and your inclination to opt in on a mobile phone for what you get back in return (in the sense location awareness for example) has allowed us to completely rethink how we might engage with brands. Different conversations from the way you engage with them. This is about richer data sets that come from new delivery mechanisms. Today its email tomorrow’s bots. It’s SMS. It’s beacons on and on and on. It’s the ingesting of new signals. That’s what makes this wildly exciting.
Small Business Trends: How does Kahuna help with the challenge of interacting at the right time?
Sameer Patel: I think we have never ever before been in a position where we could truly capitalize on the notion of perishable inventory. It could literally be perishable inventory like an airline ticket or groceries. But any e-commerce inventory to some degree, or perishable in that it’s costing expense and shelf space. So if I’m about to offload it to an overstock facility in five days which means I’m going to have to sell it to them at 90 percent discounts, what can I do in a 48 hour window to make 40, 50, 60 percent margins on that? Let’s start there.
There is no facility, in my opinion, that has existed in the last 10 years, seven years, six years, five years, until the time that we live in now where real-time data technologies can begin to ingest at scale. Kahuna can ingest events within five seconds. And the way I look to talk to our team about it is the analogy I play in my own life because of the kinds of things we do at Kahuna because of the real time data infrastructure that sits underneath what we do when you apply things like machine learning to real time data.
My personal use case I’m actually pretty possessive about can come to life. I leave my house at 4:55 every morning to get to Starbucks by 5:01 – a six minute walk from my house. If I turn right from my house I get to Starbucks in six minutes. If I go left 15 minutes I can get to Peet’s. What is it that Starbucks can do to make me raise my bill from one dollar and ninety cents which is all I pay, to a $4 drink. Between what the phone knows and what the Starbucks app knows, there’s six minutes to really put something in front of me that could change my mind about what I buy and increase my ticket price? What could Peet’s do to make sure that I don’t turn right and I turn left?
We are at a moment in time where the applicability of real time technology can enable such delivery of offers and information in the array of time.
Small Business Trends: How important is acting in near real time today? In seemingly only having split seconds to connect?
Sameer Patel: Actually I think it’s probably a little easier than that to be honest.
You’ve known me for a long time. I’m not I’m not a speeds and feeds guy; faster is not always better. I think we can get to a place where we can do two things. One is respect the pace at which the brand believes that they want to have their customers move from channel to channel. There are certain brands that may say 50 percent of my customers who truly want e-mail 80 percent of the time, and mobile 20 percent – or 10 percent mobile and 10 percent SMS. We as an industry have to begin to respect that pace at which the consumer wants to move and traverse that journey.
The second is to understand what those windows are for you. If it is 5 p.m. and there’s a red eye that will pretty much go down to the value of zero by say midnight tonight. You can understand what the value of that is. If you are selling excess inventory of hotel rooms at a certain point this evening the value of the room is going to be worth zero.
We have to let brands adapt to that. And this is why I think some of the narratives in the industry when we’re thinking about modern marketing is almost insulting to the brand. When you read about email is dead and it’s all real time, it’s not all real time. It’s absolutely unrealistic. And it’s not how brands want to work. Right time matters.
If you want to go back into a history of marketing automation 15 years ago you had systems built for email . They were called marketing automation but it was nothing more than email delivery systems. Today you’re seeing a lot of vendors also start to look at the equivalent of that in the mobile world and say they’ll give you mobile marketing automation.
We’re saying be able to bring on dynamic delivery mechanisms. Because today it’s mobile, next year you know it’s going to be bots. And it’s going to be beacons after that and who else knows what. We have to be able to decouple that. One of the reasons why I took the role is if you look at the work the founders of this company have done for the first two years it was really building that real time data engine on which you could then apply machine learning concepts to be able to make sense of what you’re doing.
We have that capability now to have plumbing that sits underneath multiple delivery mechanisms and we can add and remove delivery mechanisms. That to me is respecting the pace at which consumers want to move their journey and not throwing them a one size fits all technology. I think the market generally is at a place where we’re doing some fun stuff with multichannel, but again multichannel means I’m going to blast Brent exactly the same message on every channel. We’re saying cross-channel, which means if I learn something about Brent that makes me much smarter because of a gesture on a mobile phone, why can’t the email to him that goes out on the weekend use that to become smarter. And as a consumer that is that is your expectation. That’s my expectation when I engage with a brand.
Small Business Trends: Are a lot of your customers thinking like this? Do they need guidance?
Sameer Patel: Someone made a really astute comment to me over lunch today and said we’ve been talking and hoping for cross-channel for a really long time. And it’s true because when I go and talk to customers, none of them are shocked with the notion of cross-channel. They just don’t believe it’s here because they’ve been told a story for many years. And we’ve got some of the leading brands out there are using the products like Hotel Tonight using it, and a bunch of customers using it where they understand that mobile has to be an equal citizen to email. So that you can allow customers to adjust and when chatbots become big, and that also has to be an equal citizen. But you can’t jam any of these individual delivery mechanisms down the consumer’s throat. That’s unacceptable.
Small Business Trends: And you can’t just use these new channels to deliver the same old thing over and over again to them.
Sameer Patel: I think the customer is saying I’ve turned on all sorts of opt-in facilities on my phone. I’m leaving bread crumbs everywhere I go. The jokes on you if you can’t adapt to that and serve me in a more palatable way. So it’s really exciting that I think we’re at a place where you know if you have not built a real time data infrastructure from the ground up this is not something you can just peanut butter on top of an old architecture. This has to be the core of what you’re doing; you can re-architect this stuff.
And so that was one of the most exciting things to me when I joined Kahuna because it’s just about making something that’s fantastic even better.
This article, "Sameer Patel of Kahuna: Modern Mobile Marketing Provides Realtime Link between Insights and Interaction" was first published on Small Business Trends
There was a time when there were only about three ways a customer could connect with your small business.
These were simpler times. They had to visit your shop. Or they could phone you but if it was long-distance, it would have been a big deal. And then there was the mail.
Those options still exist, for better or worse, but customers now have scads more ways of engaging your company and they take advantage of them all. Some communication channels get more use than others and those are the ones small businesses need to keep an eye on. If you don’t monitor them, you risk driving your customer experience into the ground. That’s why this week, we want to know …How Do Customers Prefer to Contact Your Business?
The old-school methods of communication are options, here. So, too, are newer means of communication. These are the ones that connect you with your customers at all hours of the day and night.
Pick one of the options below.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Woman on Telephone Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "How Do Customers Prefer to Contact Your Business? [POLL]" was first published on Small Business Trends
The new HP (NYSE:HPQ) Elite x3 is a full featured phablet with a hefty price tag, and for small businesses that can afford it, the Lap Dock is the perfect accessory to make it a complete system.
Businesses now want a mobile device that can handle Microsoft’s Office applications just like a desktop, HP seems to be betting. They want their employees to have all the tools they need when they are outside of the office, which is what the HP Elite x3 delivers. But when they get back, it is important to seamlessly connect to peripherals that let these devices to continue functioning like a desktop. The Lap Dock makes that possible for the x3 with a very slim form factor device.
At first glance the Lap Dock looks like a regular laptop, but it is far from that. It is solely designed to extend the capability of the x3, and essentially has no guts. That means no processor, hard drive, RAM, etc.
When you open the device, you get a nearly borderless 12.5-inch diagonal LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) display, a backlit spill-resistant keyboard with drain and a large touchpad. It delivers the audio with integrated Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers, noise canceling microphones and stereo headphone jack.
The ports and connectors include micro HDMI, 1 USB Type-C for data and charging, 2 USB Type-C for data and power in/out. The whole thing is powered by a 4-cell 46W/hr battery that is powerful enough to charge the x3 when you run out of juice.
Pairing the x3 and Lap Dock is made possible with Miracast and WiGig technologies. All you have to do is place the phablet next to the dock, and you are ready to go. Continuum and HP Workspace take care of everything else.
The Lap Dock will be available November 14, 2016 for $599. So, with the HP Elite x3 starting at $799, price will clearly be the biggest barrier for budget conscious small businesses.
This article, "This Laptop Deck Turns the HP Elite x3 into a PC and Phablet in One" was first published on Small Business Trends
A new version of the Dropbox iOS app is now up for grabs in the App Store.
The app includes five new features that are designed to make working with files on iPad or iPhone a breeze.
This update quickly follows the July launch of new features for Dropbox Enterprise and Dropbox Business administrators. In August, Dropbox entered the team collaboration market, launching the open beta of Dropbox Paper.A Peek at the Latest Version of the iOS Dropbox App
The new features now give you the ability to:Digitally Sign PDFs
The process of signing and returning a PDF can be painstaking. Normally, you would have to print the PDF, sign, scan and then fax or email it back. However, with the new app, you can now sign PDFs-in-app. You can also add text to other fields in the PDF. This makes the process of sending PDFs back and forth a lot easier and faster.Share Dropbox files in iMessage
You can now collaborate with your teammates without leaving the messages app. The iMessage extension allows you to quickly find and share photos, documents and files in-line with your conversation. You no longer have to switch back and forth between apps.Create and View Files Without Unlocking your Phone
Wish to quickly view files without having to unlock your phone? This is now all possible thanks to a Dropbox widget. Adding it to the lock screen allows you to create shortcuts to the most commonly used workflows.View Changes to Files in Realtime
Besides being able to view files without unlocking your phone, the Dropbox iOS app also notifies you when someone saves a new version of the file you’re viewing. Reload it with a tap to see the changes.
Given that staying in sync with your team across shared files can be tricky, this is a most welcome change. And it’s one that many business people who are always on the go will appreciate.Enjoy Split Screen Support
Dropbox says that it will be adding split-screen support in the coming weeks. This should ideally allow you to work within Dropbox and other apps simultaneously. Now though, the new Dropbox iOS app supports picture-in-picture. The function allows you to watch a video from your Dropbox while working in another app on your iPad.
Image: App Store
This article, "5 New iOS Dropbox Features Let You Work from Wherever" was first published on Small Business Trends
Founded by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh, the duo behind Young Entrepreneur Council, SimpleBusiness aims to help small businesses get the same type of buying power that large firms and corporations enjoy. Since those large companies often benefit from volume discounts and preferred pricing, it’s difficult for small businesses to get the best rates without the size and leverage of larger businesses.Small Businesses Can Leverage Purchasing Power, SimpleBusiness Claims
But by bringing all those small businesses together, SimpleBusiness says it can level the playing field. Small businesses that join the SimpleBusiness community enjoy exclusive rates on things like business travel, printing and even shipping and fulfillment services, the company says.
This video shares more:
Currently, SimpleBusiness offers members up to 60 percent off hotels and car rentals, up to 40 percent off tech products, up to 30 percent off marketing tools and services, and even discounts on things like workspace and payroll services. Some of the big name vendors that SimpleBusiness works with include QuickBooks, Budget, Xerox, HubSpot, AT&T and Staples. The group also plans to add new member benefits as times goes on.
To get involved, you can purchase a membership on the group’s website. The current annual rate is $200 for a limited time, though you can lock in that rate moving forward. In addition to the member rates on business products and services, members also get a full-time Business Services Concierge team to help you find the right benefits for your needs and budget, the company says.
This article, "SimpleBusiness Gives Small Companies Buying Power of Large Firms" was first published on Small Business Trends
If you’ve ever had an airline lose or delay your luggage, you know how much of a hassle it can be. And if you had to pay extra fees to bring that luggage with you in the first place, then you’ve likely experienced even more frustration. But that experience might be getting a bit less frustrating for consumers — though the specifics are still murky.
The Obama administration just announced a new rule that would require airlines to refund baggage fees if a passenger’s belongings are “substantially delayed.” Currently, there’s not a strict definition of what that means. And there’s also not a specific date where this new rule is set to go into effect either.
Rules and regulations like this one are generally intended to protect consumers. But they aren’t always fun for businesses to deal with. It’s up to businesses of all sizes to make their voices heard, but also to consider the customer experience.The Importance of Customer Experience
Regardless of the exact rules and regulations in place, businesses need to try to provide a positive experience for customers. And sometimes sacrifices are necessary in order to keep customers happy, even if that means refunding a fee or putting in some extra work.
Luggage Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "New Airline Baggage Regulations Highlight Importance of Customer Experience (Watch)" was first published on Small Business Trends
When it comes to software engineers and developers, small businesses clearly need them in droves but the searches aren’t always that fruitful. Or their choices are just wrong from the get-go.
The latest data dispatch from Indeed.com shows that small business owners are posting listings for “software engineers/developers” there at incredible rates compared to other tech jobs. For every million job postings in this category, more than 10,000 of them are for software engineers.
The story is not one-sided, however, according to Indeed.com’s senior vice president of engineering, Doug Gray. It’s not just that small businesses all desperately need more software engineers ad can’t find them. According to Gray, another huge problem is that, when people do get hired. they often end up being the wrong fit for the job.
“For non-tech companies the stakes are high to hire the best tech talent, and it’s even harder to assess who is good and who is not,” Gray says. “The hiring manager is typically not a technologist so they can be at a disadvantage for hiring the best people. As an SMB, you really need an engineer who understands your business and the specific needs of your customer base.”
The data also reveals that it’s not just software engineers that are in-demand and hard to find. Of the same batch of postings in tech jobs at Indeed, more than 4,000 of every million are for Java developers and engineers. More than 2,000 postings are looking for a mobile engineer or developer, too.
Others that Indeed has identified as hard to fill tech jobs for small businesses include fullstack engineers and developers, DevOps engineers, UI/UX developers, data scientists, backend engineers and software architects.
It seems it always bears repeating. Especially with hard to fill tech jobs where small businesses have proven to be at a disadvantage in hiring, having a detailed job description for hard-to-find talent is imperative.
This article, "Small Businesses Having Trouble Filling These Tech Jobs Most" was first published on Small Business Trends
The Shutterstock image editor launches this week with four new features to make design easier for small business owners and marketers. Stock images can provide an easy way for businesses to add interesting visuals to websites, content marketing and even ads. But personalizing and sharing those images can sometimes be a bit of a hassle.New Version of Shutterstock Image Editor Launches
Shutterstock announced some updates to its Shutterstock Editor, which officially launched out of beta on October 20. The new features allow users to more easily edit and share images directly from Shutterstock.
With the new features, you can:
Shutterstock’s Senior Director of Product, Hila Dar explained the changes in an email to Small Business Trends, “For the first time, users have an end-to-end online design solution within Shutterstock. Editor’s expanded functionality now features professionally designed templates and the ability to upload branded content such as a company logo or business image, save designs for editing later and publish finished designs to social networks from within the application, all while taking advantage of Shutterstock’s extensive collection of over 100 million images.”
Visual content has become increasingly important for businesses, especially with the growing popularity of social and content marketing. But for those small businesses that don’t have enough time or resources to dedicate to a full design program or staff, these new features offer an alternative that doesn’t require a lot of time or extra resources.
Dar says, “Editor is a simple online app designed to help busy small business owners take full advantage of Shutterstock’s collection to create visually compelling content for their business, ultimately spending less time trying to design and more time doing everything else.”
This article, "Shutterstock Officially Launches Editor With Four New Features to Make Design Easier for Small Business Owners" was first published on Small Business Trends
If you’re a healthcare professional or have an interest in working in the healthcare industry, there are plenty of different opportunities for you to start your own business. Some healthcare businesses require medical degrees while others have more specialized forms of training. There are also various certification requirements certain businesses. But for entrepreneurs who have the training, experience or aptitude, here are 50 different businesses you can start within the healthcare industry.Healthcare Business Ideas General Physician
When it comes to medical businesses, the first profession that comes to mind is a general doctor. Of course, you can work for a hospital or other medical facility. But you can also start your own practice or partnership if you want to have your own business.Physical Therapist
With the right education and training, you can also start your own physical therapy practice where you help people recover after injury and offer other physical therapy services.Dentist
Dental practices are often small, independent practices or partnerships. So that can be another very viable small business opportunity.Optometrist
Or you can opt to help people maintain proper eye care and provide other vision related services as an optometrist.Veterinarian
For those who would rather work with animals instead of people, starting a veterinary practice can be a viable business opportunity. But you do need a specialized degree in this field, of course.Chiropractor
Chiropractors offer a variety of different services from basic adjustments to various forms of spine therapy.Sleep Technician
Since many people experience issues with sleep, you can start a business that performs sleep tests and helps diagnose and treat patients experiencing some common sleep problems.ObGyn
For a focus more on women’s health and childbirth, you can train as an ObGyn and open a practice that might have a partnership with a local hospital for the actual deliveries.Dermatologist
Dermatologists diagnose and treat skin issues. So you can start a practice offering those services to local patients who need help in that area.Urgent Care Center Operator
Since many patients might need medical care without making an appointment days ahead of time but don’t necessarily want to visit an emergency room, urgent care facilities can offer simple medical tests, diagnosis and treatment to those patients.Pediatrician
If you specifically want to work with young patients, you can start your own practice as a pediatrician.Concierge Doctor
Concierge doctors work on retainer for specific patients or organizations and often travel to their patients to provide care.Doula
Doulas are professionals who provide various services to make the childbirth process easier and more comfortable for parents.Midwife
Or you could train as a midwife, which is a more medically focused position that provides assistance to women during, before and after the childbirth process.Herbalist
Herbal supplements and remedies can provide natural solutions to many different ailments. And you can build a business helping people get the herbal remedies that could benefit them.Acupuncturist
Acupuncture is another alternative health solution. With some training, you can offer acupuncture services out of your own clinic or spa type business.Massage Therapist
You can also get trained and certified as a massage therapist and start a business at your own location or even travel to work with clients.Psychiatrist
On the mental health side, you can train as a psychiatrist who can diagnose and treat mental conditions using a variety of methods, including medication.Psychologist
Psychologists do not prescribe medication to their patients. But they do help patients with a variety of mental health issues through other forms of therapy.Clinical Social Worker
Clinical social work is a specialty practice that also deals with the mental health field. You can have a practice that assesses, diagnoses and treats a variety of behavioral and mental health conditions.Mental Health Counselor
Counselors can also diagnose and treat a variety of mental health issues. But they also provide a variety of counseling services that often involve actually talking through problems.Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor
You can also offer a specialty type of counseling when it comes to mental health. Addiction can be a huge issue, so there’s plenty of opportunity to help people in that area through a counseling practice.Family Therapist
Or you could focus on providing therapy to families or couples that deal with a variety of issues including addiction or mental health ailments.Nutritionist
If you want to help people improve their nutritional intake and habits, you can build a business as a nutritionist.Supplement Manufacturer
You can also produce and sell your own line of nutritional supplements to stores or even online, though you need to be sure your products comply with government requirements.Independent Pharmacy Operator
Or you can sell supplements and medications from other providers out of your own independent retail pharmacy.Fertility Clinic Operator
Fertility clinics provide a number of different services for individuals and couples trying to conceive. If you have the training and resources, you can open your own clinic for this purpose.Blood Bank Operator
You can also start a blood or plasma bank that collects donations from people and distributes them to medical facilities when needed.Medical Equipment Manufacturer
Hospitals, doctors’ offices and other medical facilities need a huge variety of different supplies. So you can start a business that specializes in a certain type of medical supply and then sell items directly to those facilities.Health Blogger
If you’re knowledgeable about health related topics, you can start a blog or website aimed at offering advice or insights on certain areas of health or overall wellness.Health Related Show or YouTube Channel Producer
Likewise, you can start your own show or YouTube channel to share your health related insights with a more video focused audience.Health Podcaster
Or if audio is your format of choice, you can start a podcast related to health and wellness to share your insights.Medical Journal or Publication Publisher
You can also start an journal or print publication that publishes articles or other content from medical and wellness professionals.Wellness Coach
If you prefer working with people in more of a one-on-one setting, you can start a business as a wellness coach where you can provide advice and coaching on things like nutrition and fitness.Orthopedic Supply Store Operator
For those who want to start a retail type of business, you can open a store for orthopedic accessories and supplies for consumers.Medical Bookstore Owner
You can also open a bookstore, either in person or online, that specializes in selling medical and wellness related books and publications.Scrubs Retailer
Doctors, nurses and plenty of other medical professionals wear scrubs to work. So you can open a store that sells those items for medical professionals.Drug Testing Business
You can also open your own drug testing business that works with companies and organizations to test for things like alcohol and drug use.Medical Software Developer
Hospitals, doctors’ offices and other medical facilities all need various software programs to function. So you can create your own software program and sell it to those medical facilities.Medical Waste Disposal Provider
Medical waste is a huge issue for a lot of facilities. If you can recycle or dispose of the waste for those facilities, you can build an entire business around that service.Medical Cleaning Business
You can also offer a cleaning service that specifically works with medical facilities that need really extensive and specific cleaning services.Medical Coding Service
The medical industry has a lot of codes for different diagnosis, procedures and services. So you can build a business around coding information from various medical facilities.Medical Marijuana Business
Medical marijuana is becoming a big industry in a lot of states. If you have the proper licenses, you can start a business producing it or selling it to patients.Medical Transportation Provider
For people who need non-emergency transportation to medical appointments or facilities, you can start a service specifically to provide transportation to those patients.Home Healthcare Assistant
If you’re a healthcare professional, you can also provide in-home care to patients who need someone to look after them on a fairly regular basis.Health Fair Organizer
The medical industry provides a lot of potential networking and product showcasing opportunities. If you enjoy putting together events, you can organize health fairs for members of the industry or consumers who are interested in health and wellness events.Fitness Center Operator
For those who want to help others get in shape, you can open a fitness center that helps people create regular exercise routines through classes, exercise equipment or even personal training.Weight Loss Clinic Operator
Or you could focus specifically on consumers who want to lose weight, offering consulting services to help people with their diets and fitness activities.Childbirth Class Provider
You can also offer classes that teach expecting parents about the childbirth process or about helpful techniques like Lamaze.Natural Remedy Supplier
If you want to provide natural healthcare solutions to consumers, you can open your own store or supplier network that deals with natural remedies or solutions.
The HP Elite x3 phablet is one device that functions as two. While it has features that back up that claim, the $799 price tag may be a bit much for some small businesses.
The new x3 phablet is part of HP’s continuing effort to blur the lines between mobile and desktop computing with modular designs. Since the company split in two, there has been a concerted effort to revive its PC segment with some innovative devices.
The X3 is part of that drive, and HP (NYSE:HPQ) has tried to push this mission forward by creating a portable device that is just as at home on the desk with additional components.HP Elite x3 phablet Specs
As its price should suggest, the X3 has premium hardware:
There is also a dock with two USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port that can be used for charging and a full-sized display port connector.
While these features are impressive, where the X3 shines is the utilities it comes with. It has Microsoft’s Continuum, Windows 10 Mobile, and HP’s Workspace that turn this phablet into a PC. You will be able to use Win32 apps on your phone, which can be invaluable for businesses that rely on these applications.
With Continuum, you can start a task anywhere and finish it at your desk without saving, syncing or restarting, by simply docking your HP Elite x3.
The HP Elite x3 is not cheap, and not many small businesses will be able to afford it, but for those that do, it takes the collaborative and remote workforce environment to a new level.
This article, "HP Elite x3 Phablet May Be Pricey for Budget Conscious Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends
An increasing number of businesses are switching to chip cards, but at a slower pace.
That’s according to the U.S. Payments Forum’s fall 2016 market snapshot. The report has found approximately a third of U.S. merchants now accept chip-based credit and debit cards.
The U.S. Payments Forum, earlier called the EMV Migration Forum, comprises banks, merchants and technology companies.Chip Cards Improve Payment Security
Chip cards are designed to make transactions safer. They are equipped with microprocessor chips that makes it difficult for hackers to steal account information.
Every time a chip card is used for payment, it creates a unique one-time transaction code. So even if hackers get hold of the code, they cannot use it because it doesn’t work a second time.
Payment security benefits are driving more consumers towards these new cards. Notably, about three quarters of American consumers have at least one chip card in their wallet.Why the Slow Progress on Chip Cards Acceptance?
Although many U.S. retailers are accepting chip-based cards today, the numbers are not growing as fast as expected.
The credit card industry is to blame, say experts. Some retailers can’t turn on their terminals to accept chip cards because they aren’t certified by the credit card industry.
“The merchants are definitely behind where we projected they would be at this time, but we recognize that they’ve had some unexpected complexities due to the unique requirements in the U.S. that didn’t exist in other markets,” Randy Vanderhoof, director of the U.S. Payments Forum, told NBC News.
But retailers that have upgraded to the terminals are seeing the results already.
According to Visa, retailers who are accepting chip cards saw a 47 percent decline in counterfeit card fraud in May 2016 compared to May 2015.
Chip Card Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "A Third of U.S. Merchants Now Accept Chip Cards, Says U.S. Payments Forum" was first published on Small Business Trends
The number one seller in the unlocked cell phones category on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is the $50 Blu R1 HD, which is sold out as of this posting.
This is an Amazon phone made by Blu, a US based company that offers the phone for $100, but with Amazon Prime you only pay half the price. For this subsidy, Amazon has tweaked the operating system to load the entire suite of Amazon apps. So if you don’t have a notification, you will see ads on your lock screen.
If you are a small business looking for a phone you can give to your entire staff, this may be an option. The ads don’t get in the way when the screen is active, because they only show up as notifications, just like any other message. As far as sending emails, texting and other communications, it has the necessary hardware to make it possible. This includes 3G/4G LTE bands to access the fastest networks and WiFi.50 Dollar Amazon Blu Smartphone Specs
By now you are probably wondering, what can you possibly get for $50? The answer is enough to let you carry out many of the functions of premium phones, albeit at different levels.
As far as the body and design, the device has a curved display with Gorilla Glass 3 and a metal trim.
In short, this $50 smartphone by all accounts it more than delivers when it comes to the communications functions. So the only question about whether this could make a good inexpensive business phone is whether you find Amazon apps and ads too distracting.
This article, "$50 Amazon Phone Makes It Easy to Go Mobile — But With Lots of Ads and Clutter" was first published on Small Business Trends
Few angel investors have investment theses, short summaries of the person’s strategy for what kinds of startups he or she will fund. Fewer still have these theses written down in a form that can be shared with others.
That’s a mistake. Angels should have clear, written investment theses. Having them imposes discipline on their investment selection and facilitates communication with entrepreneurs and other investors.
Venture capitalists all have investment theses, which they need to raise money from their limited partners. Because venture capitalists have a fiduciary duty to invest the LPs’ money in ways consistent with the approach they have outlined to their limited partners when obtaining capital, they need investment theses. The thesis allows the LPs to verify if the promised approach has been followed.
Because angels don’t raise money from others, they don’t have to have investment theses. But they should.What is an Investment Thesis?
An investment thesis is a roadmap for investing. It guides the investor towards the investments that fit their objectives. If you invest in start-ups, founders will pitch you for money. Without an investment thesis, you are likely to find it difficult to stay disciplined and concentrate on the start-ups that match your investment objectives. At a minimum, you will find it more difficult to decide which founders to talk to and what questions to ask them. For example, you don’t want to talk to medical device company founders if you only want to invest in companies in lightly regulated industries. And you don’t want to focus your due diligence on start-ups’ financial statements if you only want to invest in pre-revenue companies. Without an investment thesis, you are likely to waste a lot of time talking about the wrong things to the wrong people.Additional Benefits of an Investment Thesis
An investment thesis is also a clear indicator to start-up founders of whether you are the right investor for their companies. If the only thing founders know about you is the size of your net worth, they are going to ask you for money even when you are not going to give it to them. That’s a waste of their time and yours. Moreover, your investment thesis provides founders with insight into how you will work with them post investment, and what kind of information you will seek from them. This is also important in getting the right kind of founders to match up with.
A third benefit of having an investor thesis is better communication with co-investors. Deal flow is very important to the success of angel investors, and those deals often come from other angels, venture capitalists, accelerator directors — other early stage investors. People do not like to refer deals if the person receiving the referral isn’t interested. That makes the referrer feel like they are bothering the recipient and makes them look like they don’t know what they are doing to founders. Simply put, other investors will find it easier to make referrals to you if you have articulated your investment thesis to them.
While you don’t need an investment thesis to get the capital to invest in start-ups if you are an angel, you should have one. It will make you more disciplined in your approach to investment and allow you to communicate more efficiently with founders and co-investors.
Angel investor Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Why Angel Investors Should Have an Investment Thesis" was first published on Small Business Trends
Last, week Salesforce wrapped up its annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco where an overwhelming 170,000 attendees flooded the city for the event. While it may seem like the average tech conference gets bigger and flashier each year, it’s important to address the value and purpose of these conferences and how they will help actually meet business goals.Planning a Successful Business Conference
We created the below infographic to explore what makes a successful business conference, how these have evolved over time and why our very own NextCon can provide the purpose, perspectives and advice your business needs.
Take a look and we hope to see you in Scottsdale next month for NextCon16!
Republished by permission. Original here.
This article, "What Makes a Successful Business Conference? (Infographic)" was first published on Small Business Trends