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GE to Sell Restaurant Financing Assets

QSR Magazine - Tue, 2016-06-28 10:20
Image Caption: Image Credit: Selling bulk of GE Capital's assets to three separate buyers.Exclusive Brief: 0

GE entered into separate agreements with three buyers to sell the bulk of GE Capital’s U.S. restaurant franchise financing assets. The combined transactions represent ending net investment (ENI) of approximately $1.4 billion as of first quarter 2016 and are collectively expected to release approximately $0.2 billion of capital to GE. The transactions are expected to close in the third quarter this year.

TacoTime Debuts Chicken Jicama Burrito for Summer

QSR Magazine - Tue, 2016-06-28 10:05
Image Caption: Image Credit: TacoTime introduces new burrito, featuring a jicama crunch.Exclusive Brief: 0

TacoTime incorporates jicama, a vegetable that is growing in popularity, into its latest limited-time offer, the Chicken Jicama Burrito, available June 29 through August 30.

The Chicken Jicama Burrito features crunchy jicama, homemade salsa fresca, black beans, crisp baby leaf spinach, and all-white meat chicken, topped with a creamy poblano sauce and wrapped in a warm home-style tortilla.

Chains: TacoTime

12 Ways Founders Can Best Emphasize the Importance of Play at Work

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2016-06-28 09:30

Entrepreneurs can often be so focused on making the company culture fun and lighthearted, that employees don’t understand the importance of productivity. That’s why we asked 12 founders from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) how they make their expectations clear without damping the mood.

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

Play at Work 1. Create Different Spaces for Work, Focus and Fun

“Creating different spaces within your office demonstrates the various needs of your company. Having a comfortable work station is table stakes. Create another location for the team to have fun. A bar or ping pong table works, it just depends on your company culture. And finally, create quiet spaces for focus. These three spaces will make it clear that you value fun and productivity.” ~ Aaron SchwartzModify Watches

2. Schedule Team Bonding Outside of Work Time

“A fun and lighthearted company culture can improve productivity — the key is to foster that culture during times that don’t impact productivity. Create a shared space where everyone can eat lunch together, schedule happy hours, or organize a softball or bowling team. Figure out ways to get employees to bond outside of the conference room.” ~ Chuck CohnVarsity Tutors

3. Turn Productivity Into a Game

“When there’s a lot of work to be done I use games to keep motivated with my team. Asana, for example, uses flying unicorns on screen when we complete a task. In my office each writing task has a Post-it note and when five are done, we celebrate. Find a way to gamify accomplishing tasks or projects and then take the time to have fun. I’ll finish an article today just to get that last Post-it note!” ~ Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

4. Focus on Results, Not the Hours

“I’ve seen many entrepreneurs worry about the hours their employees work. They stress over employees coming in late or taking breaks. But ultimately, we all care about the results. By setting concrete goals and focusing on the results, you can provide employees with greater autonomy in how and when they do their work — which means more productive employees and more breaks for fun activities.” ~ Bhavin ParikhMagoosh Inc

5. Set an Example

“I believe very strongly that at the core of a highly productive company culture is happiness. Employees who have fun and are happy work harder. They come in earlier and stay later, and are ready to overcome obstacles and confront challenges. Having fun things to do like ping pong and video games is great, but ultimately the company culture is set by founder(s). You need to set the example.” ~ Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

6. Schedule Time for Fun

“While my team does enjoy a fun environment daily, I also make sure to schedule in time for fun during the week. I think it’s beyond important to have a team that not only works well together, but knows each other and enjoys being together. That’s why I’ll always add team-building fun activities into our workweek, such as trivia. The hour or so spent on fun is well worth the investment.” ~ Elle KaplanLexION Capital

7. Focus on Teamwork

“When you allow your employees to get up from their desks, meet with their fellow co-workers, talk openly and discuss ideas, and work in teams as opposed to alone, the entire culture of your company gets a boost in happiness, fun, and most of all, productivity. Allowing your team to make groups of their own choice accentuates accountability, but also allows employees to enjoy themselves.” ~ Miles JenningsRecruiter.com

8. Start With Hiring

“It’s so important to the culture of any workplace that the people there love what they do. Whenever I can, I choose the person who is clearly fascinated by instead of just talented at what they do. This attitude brings a very different feeling to the office, and works to create a much more fun and engaged atmosphere. People who are happy when they are productive tend to be both, most of the time.” ~ Adam SteeleLoganix

9. Learn From Past Mistakes

“Early on, my co-founder (David Mainiero) and I would work ourselves to the bone: 120 hours a week, no vacations, no days off. Month after month. Levity and fun were in short supply. Our work culture was so brutal that David landed in the hospital. I show our new employees this picture so they understand the importance of maintaining balance.” ~ Joel ButterlyInGenius Prep

10. Find a Great Co-Working Space

“When looking for new office space, we wanted to find a location that would be conducive to work-life balance.  t makes it easier to pull late nights in the office when there are events in the space, networking opportunities with peers, mentoring hours and lunch included.” ~ Jennifer MellonTrustify

11. Look for Skill in Applications and for Culture During Interviews

“Skill sets can be an important filter when hiring talent, but it’s the interview that allows you to find people who best match the culture of your company. Once you have a block of applicants whose skills are above a certain threshold, you can flesh out whether their work/play balance matches the company’s vision. ” ~Justin CookeEmpire Flippers

12. Hold Team Building Events

“To run a successful company, you need to do both at the same time. We just did an all-company hackathon that was 48 hours long and an enormous amount of projects were completed at an incredibly high caliber of work. It was fun and light-hearted because people had autonomy over what they wanted to do and who they wanted to work with. Having events like this help to bring the company together.” ~ Chris SavageWistia

Gaming at Work Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "12 Ways Founders Can Best Emphasize the Importance of Play at Work" was first published on Small Business Trends

Spotlight: Walmart Canada promotes COO to CEO

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2016-06-28 09:22

On August 15, Walmart Canada's COO Lee Tappenden will be promoted to the role of CEO.

read more

Dick's bids on 17 Sports Authority locations

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2016-06-28 09:03

Dick's Sporting Goods has submitted a bid for 17 Sports Authority stores, according to a person familiar with the matter.

read more

Best Buy tests in-home service

Store Front Talk Back - Tue, 2016-06-28 08:33

Best Buy is piloting a program that sends Geek Squad agents to customers' homes to consult on tech needs. The test business is one of several programs the electronics retailer is launching this year to grow sales and loyalty.

read more

Are Drones With a Smartwatch Controller the Next Trend?

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2016-06-28 08:30

Drone technology is advancing at such a fast pace, the potential applications are giving small businesses many opportunities to create new services or enhance their current offerings. The demand has resulted in more companies manufacturing drones, and increasingly they are going to Kickstarter and other crowd funding services to fund their ventures.

Although the Flypro XEagle drone campaign missed its $100,000 goal by a little over $2,300, the company is not giving up on its innovative smartwatch controlled drone, which will be available to customers in the near future.

Reactions have been mixed. For example, Jason Cipriani of Mashable, reports it took him time to get the hang of the Flypro XEagle’s controls.  And he reported both of his review versions of the  drone during testing — one by an angry bird ( a real one not  character out of the popular video game) and one after becoming hopelessly stuck in a tree. It should be noted, these were pre-production models, so by the time you are able to get one, all the bugs will probably will be fixed.

However, when the drone was working, Cipriani reported the auto-follow technology was impressive and the hands-free flight option along with its inexpensive price tag made it a worthwhile device for novice pilots or action sports enthusiasts. (By the way, the XEagle is going to be priced at $879, which is several hundred dollars lower than the most popular drone on the market, the DJI Phantom 4.)

XEagle Drone Uses a Smartwatch Controller

The XEagle uses a smartwatch as its controller and can follow you by syncing or locking on to the smartwatch conttroller with GPS. Integrating all of the functionalities on a watch had to be a challenge for the company, but the six buttons and the two dials have managed to do so, albeit on a unit that is pretty big.

Flypro calls the XEagle a crossover drone that has the traditional controller for capturing 4K images, but a smartwatch controller for hands-free flight.

The watch has a dial surrounding the display that controls the position of the drone, and the buttons on the side controls power, take-off, landing, circle mode activation, video capture, photography and follow function. Another dial adjust the altitude of the drone.

When the drone is in the air, the display on the watch lets you see everything you need to manage your flight with key pieces of information. These include altitude, radius of distance, battery power, remaining flight time, GPS signal indicator and the flight operation mode.

According to the company, you can get 22 minutes of flight time, but Cipriani stated in his review he was able to achieve 17 to 18 minutes. The company also says its drone can fly at a respectable 15 meters per second (33.5 mph) with maximum altitude of 5,000 meters or 3.1 miles.

In addition to the smartwatch, the professional XEagle package comes with a 2.4GHz remote controller with phone holder just in case you don’t want to use the watch. Some of the other specs include: a 4K camera, 3-axis brushless gimbal, dual GPS mode (GPS and Glonass), GPS signal protection, auto obstacle avoidance, 360 degree high-speed follow mode and more.

Business Application

There are many small outdoor adventure businesses that could use the Flypro XEagle drone to give their customers a video of their experience from a different vantage point. Whether it is skiing (water and snow), off road ATV, mountain climbing, kayaking or other activity, you can use the drone to provide another added value service to attract customers. Realtors, contractors, surveyors and security companies could also use drones to get a different perspective of the assets they control and improve their level of efficiency by monitoring more area in less time.

Do you run a small businesses that can use drones? If so, please let us know if the smartwatch control on the Flypro XEagle would be a feature you could use to deliver improved services to your customers.

Image: Flypro

This article, "Are Drones With a Smartwatch Controller the Next Trend?" was first published on Small Business Trends

The Whopper Air Freshener

Topix - Tue, 2016-06-28 08:25

Think of the Whopper Air Freshener as the 'reverse freshener'. When most people buy these things to get the fast food smell out of the car, Burger King Brazil would like to help you do the opposite; this freshener smells just like the burger that inspired it.

Categories: Today's Food News

10 Ways to Simplify Cloud Computing Adoption at Your Company

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2016-06-28 07:30

When it comes to cloud computer adoption, it turns out many small businesses still do things the old fashioned way.

A recent survey released by Brother International, a global supplier of office equipment, further highlights this trend.

According to the survey, 58 percent of small businesses’ regular work tasks require employees to be physically present in the office. This could mean it’s impractical for these small business employees to be away. Or, just as likely, it could mean they lack the technology that could make collaboration and access to company data from elsewhere possible.

The study also reveals that 91 percent have the standard office equipment — printer, scanner, copier or fax machine — and that 43 percent of this group use the printer in the office more than 10 times per day.

On the other hand, the survey also shows small businesses looking to the future. There’s more interest in providing technology that will allow a more mobile, more flexible workforce with the ability to share files and resources more easily.

For example, the survey shows that 21 percent of survey respondents plan to spend the biggest portion of their IT budget on cloud-based file sync and share technologies.

Another 28 percent say their IT expenditure will go toward the purchase of mobile devices to accommodate remote workers, the study says.

If you’re among these leaders interested in seeing how new technologies can benefit you and your business, pay attention.  Here are 10 ways to simplify cloud computing adoption at your company.

Cloud Computing Adoption Tips Understand Your Business Needs

Before you decide whether you need cloud computing for your business or not, you should take a closer look at your requirements.

To get the most value out of your IT investment, you should know areas where cloud can make a real difference. To give an example, you could opt for a cloud computing tool which will make onboarding easier for your new employees and reduce paperwork for the human resources team. On the other hand, your company may not need a solution that offers huge amounts of data storage or cloud-based collaboration tools.

Understand What Cloud Can Do For You

The next step is to evaluate cloud computing from your organization’s point of view.

Cloud computing provides a host of benefits to small businesses such as making large scale processing easier. It also improves flexibility by providing access to information across a multitude of platforms and devices. Suppose, for example, your business requires you and your employees to travel extensively while staying in touch or accessing files back at the office. In this case, cloud computing will make a lot of sense for you.

On the other hand, maybe your staff spends most of its time in the office handling walk-in customers. In this case, they may only need a way to backup customer information and other data to provide those services.

Choose the Most Appropriate Option

Once you have gathered enough information about cloud computing and how it can help your business, decide whether you need a public, private or hybrid cloud.

Each option comes with its own set of benefits and weaknesses. For example, public cloud is the more cost-effective option, but comes with greater security risks. Private clouds, on the other hand, are far more customizable but considerably more expensive than public clouds and are often used by larger enterprises rather than small businesses.

Take a Trial Run

Not completely sure about deploying cloud at your organization? Go for a trial run to get a good understanding of how it can benefit your business.

During the trial run, you will be able to observe the changes that cloud services can bring to your business. Many cloud computing tools have a 30-day free trial period, enough to give you a fair idea how the technology works and whether it will benefit your business.

Start on a Small Scale

It’s always a good idea to keep things simple when you have just started using a new technology. So go for a simple, uncomplicated cloud architecture that can help you get started.

You should get used to the basic cloud structure before scaling up.

Get Your Employees On Board

Adopting a new technology is an important change not only for your business but also for your employees. It is therefore essential that you address their questions and concerns before integrating a cloud solution into your operations.

You can hold meetings with the teams that will be impacted by the transition. Explain why you’re adopting the new cloud service and how you expect them to support the organizational change.

Learn From Other Businesses

An increasing number of small businesses are moving to the cloud today. Their needs maybe different than yours, but you can learn a lot of useful lessons from them for when your business adopts cloud technology.

It’s probably a good idea to network with other businesses to understand the challenges they faced when they moved to cloud. How is their experience now? Are they happy with the cloud services they have adopted? You can find answers to these questions when you reach out to them.

Evaluate the Vendors

A quick search on Google will tell you there are many cloud vendors vying for the attention of the small business market. Even big players like Microsoft and IBM are focusing on the small and medium sized business segment with some innovative cloud solutions. Keeping this in mind. It’s essential for you to evaluate the various options available to you.

When you are assessing your options, don’t focus only on pricing. Take other factors such as reliability, scalability and ongoing support into account.

Keep Future Business Needs in Mind

Your IT strategy should align with your future business needs. Of course, you can’t predict the future, but it’s always a good idea to ask yourself where you see your business in five years. Are you going to need more resources on the ground and in different locations? Do you expect your workforce to grow? Is remote working a distinct possibility?

One of the benefits of cloud services is their ability to scale as your business needs grow. Be sure the vendor or vendors you choose provide the capacity to support this future growth.

Ask Questions

Don’t shy away from asking questions about the solutions you are exploring for your organization. You should ask potential vendors how they will support you in case there’s a security breach of some sort. You may also want to ensure your data is not saved in a country where laws do not align with your business requirements.

A clear understanding of the cloud technology you plan to use can help your business in many different ways. You just need to plan properly and explore your options.

Cloud Tech Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Ways to Simplify Cloud Computing Adoption at Your Company" was first published on Small Business Trends

Meyer Jabara Hotels Taps Local Talent To Transform Cambria Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh-Downtown

Hotel Interactive - Tue, 2016-06-28 07:24
DANBURY, CT—Meyer Jabara Hotels (MJH) is reinvigorating the Pittsburgh Uptown neighborhood by investing $3 million in property renovations and hiring top local ...

The Hotel Group Welcomes Two New Executive Team Members

Hotel Interactive - Tue, 2016-06-28 07:23
EDMONDS, WA—The Hotel Group (THG) is proud to welcome Eric McCarthy as Vice President of Hotel Accounting and Don Haggerty as Vice ...

GE sells off restaurant assets of lending arm in massive 3-way deal

FastCasual.com - Tue, 2016-06-28 07:19
GE Capital U.S. is selling the bulk of its restaurant financing assets, which are worth about $1.4 billion.

How to Get Free Mobile Data with Aquto’s New Rewards Program

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2016-06-28 06:30

Do you run out of wireless data every other week or month? Sponsored data monetization and data rewards company Aquto is offering a mobile data rewards program for customers of communication service TextMe Inc., according to a recent report on TechCrunch

How to Get Free Mobile Data

The data rewards program allows you to earn more wireless data with major mobile phone carriers (US and international) over time for taking certain actions within the TextMe app, such as viewing partner ads, downloading their apps, shopping through their apps, signing up for trials or filling out surveys.

In exchange for taking a sponsored action, Aquto will reward you with free megabytes of data credited to your data cap. Aquto is able to award you the wireless data thanks to its innovative back-end service that connects and enables carriers to deliver and manage this data to individual users. This way it facilitates a value exchange between consumers, marketers and carriers via the data rewards program.

Wireless Data as a Currency

Consider a digital marketing agency. Through this data rewards program, the agency could entice prospects to view its client’s video advertisement (sponsored content) with both a 50 MB data reward for viewing the ad to its end, and a promise that the 30 MB stream won’t count against their data plan.

The agency that would have otherwise had to wait until a user is connected to WiFi and hope the user sees the video ad, doesn’t have to wait anymore. And users who would have had to pay data charges to be marketed to, now don’t have to pay any data charges. In fact, users are rewarded with more data for being marketed to. It’s a clever business model where everyone apparently wins.

Aquto helps mobile operators monetize advertising in this way. It has partnered with AT&T before to offer a Data Perks program built on the same model of rewarding sponsored actions and behaviors. However, according to TextMe’s Chief Revenue Officer Julien Decot and Aquto’s CEO Susie Kim Riley, “this is the first time wireless data has been used as currency in a messaging app,” reports TechCrunch.

TextMe’s Data Rewards Program

Many small businesses rely on a wireless network to go online and conduct business. For those business owners and solopreneurs who are often in need of more wireless data for mobile and would like to save some cash, they can download the free TextMe app for smartphones and tablets, and take advantage of the data rewards program to easily earn more data for business use.

Of course, the success of the TextMe data rewards program (as with similar data rewards initiatives) will also depend on just how much interaction the participating brands require. If it involves making a purchase or taking a lengthy survey, consumers might find the data ‘rewards’ less than enticing.

The interesting thing, though, as TechCrunch points out, is that it is now possible to work across multiple carriers instead of within a single carrier. That’s because accrued data is stored in the TextMe app and customers can transfer what they’ve earned within the app to their wireless account with another carrier.

Carriers participating in the TextMe data rewards program have not been officially named, but Aquto seems to have business arrangements with a number of leading carriers that are listed on its website, including AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Orange and PLDT. One would assume those are participating carriers.

That being said, more carrier participants are reportedly on the way — specifically for “a Latin American carrier footprint by the end of this summer,” according to Riley.

Image: Aquto

This article, "How to Get Free Mobile Data with Aquto’s New Rewards Program" was first published on Small Business Trends