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Video: Dickey's CEO honored to win Fast Casual Top 100 - Wed, 2016-05-25 10:10
Roland Dickey Jr., CEO of Dickey's Barbecue Pits, which topped this year's list of the Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers, gives an acceptance speech at Sunday's gala in Chicago.

"Best Gelato in America" Now Available for Franchising

QSR Magazine - Wed, 2016-05-25 09:53
Image Caption: Image Credit: Morano Gelato has two shops in New England, looking for more.Exclusive Brief: 0

Morano Gelato, called “the best gelato in America” by Forbes, announced the launch of its franchise system. Morano Gelato is seeking franchisees to serve its products nationwide, modeled after the success of the company’s New England shops. 

Chains: Morano Gelato

Mission Possible

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2016-05-25 09:36
Hospitality Veteran Larry Broughton Leverages Experience On TV Reality Series

How To Create a QR Code For Your Small Business

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2016-05-25 09:30

The demise of the QR (Quick Response) code has been predicted for some time, but this technology is thriving, especially outside of the U.S.

What Is A QR Code?

Originally designed for the automotive industry in Japan, a QR code uses numeric, alphanumeric and byte/binary encoding modes to store data that can be easily accessed with your smartphone, tablet or PC.  Unlike a traditional barcode which stores limited data, a QR code has a lot more information.

This odd looking image has now evolved to provide a wide range of services, and many countries in Asia it is the go to technology for quickly connecting users to information and services. In China QR codes are used to make payments offline, sharing a password protected Wi-Fi network, transferring money, sharing contact information, logging in to a website and much more.

QR Code Benefits

One of the greatest selling points of QR codes is the ease in which it quickly engages users.

Scan this QR code with your smartphone to see where it takes you.

This QR code was generated in less than a minute, which when scanned takes you to the Like Facebook page of Small Business Trends. This is a simple example how it can be used to interact with your audience with a proven, cost effective and efficient technology. And for small businesses, cheap and efficient is always a great thing.

How to Create a QR Code

The process is so easy, you will be wondering why you didn’t use it sooner. After you create your first code, you will be looking for new and innovative ways to deploy the QR codes so you can connect with your customers in the physical and digital world.

Step One

Find a QR code Generator. Here are five you can use right away. You can use the traditional links, as well as the QR codes, which were put on here to highlight how easy it was to create them.

QR Code Generator





Step Two

Create, design and link the code. It can be linked to any URL, including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media outlets for immediate access to the content you want your customers to see.

There are two types of QR codes, static and dynamic. A static code is fixed, meaning the data that is stored in it cannot be changed. On the other hand, a dynamic QR code can be edited any time.

You can get really creative when you create a QR code and add color, your company logo and even animation.

Step Three

Test the QR code. You want to make sure the code is working, and it sends you to the right destination. This is especially important if you use a static code, because you cannot edit it.

Step Four

Track how your QR code is performing. You can now analyze the performance of the codes you create by monitoring how much traffic is coming from them, as well as what actions users are taking once they arrive at your website or other destination.

Step Five

Make your QR code accessible to everyone. If you require a special scanner or app, you will greatly limit the number of people that will follow through. Make it app-agnostic so anyone can scan your QR code with their mobile device. After all access is the ultimate goal, and you don’t want to drive people away by making it unnecessarily complicated.

Who is Using QR Codes?

It will be much easier to answer who isn’t.  For large enterprises with a global presence, they have seen how hundreds of millions of people in other countries use it every day. But for some reason, it is not translating in the U.S. with the same enthusiasm.

The not so creative ways marketers and developers have used the technology here might be one of the biggest reason, which hopefully will change as word gets around of how everyone else is using it. However, companies such as American Airlines, BestBuy, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated and many others are using it as part of their overall marketing strategies to engage with their customers in several ways, including for the Online-To-Offline (O2O) commerce that is gaining traction.

Ways You Can Use QR Codes

Once you create a QR code, you can get very creative with them. A South Korean grocery store placed a stand in a subway station with QR codes of the items it sells. All customers had to do is scan the code and purchase their groceries, which according to the company makes the deliveries the same day. This is just one example, here are some additional ways you can use it:

  • Direct customers to your digital presence
  • A discount code
  • Link to Google Maps
  • Link it to your app
  • Place in a takeout menu so customers can place an order right away
  • Act like a URL on a direct response advertisement
  • Add it to business cards so the contact information can be downloaded instantly

The ubiquity of mobile devices has made product information one of the most important factors for consumers looking to purchase an item. A recent Shotfarm survey revealed 95 percent of its more than 1,500 respondents saw it as a, “Very important part of their decision making process.” And almost half, or 42 percent said poor information was responsible for them returning their online purchase.

With QR codes, you can offer information on any product or service you provide and make it accessible right away. It is easy, cheap and worth trying if you are a small business.

Do you plan to create a QR code for your small business?  Do you have a QR code in operation?  Let our readers hear about your experiences and thoughts in comments below!

QR Code Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How To Create a QR Code For Your Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

Reeling in business with sustainable seafood

Nation's Restaurant News - Wed, 2016-05-25 09:10
Aquaculture can help operators offer consumers premium fish, sustainable resources.

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Spotlight: Bamboo Watches Australia Keeps Time While Saving the Planet

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2016-05-25 08:30

Innovative business owners are constantly finding new ways to use eco-friendly materials in various products. Bamboo Watches Australia is just one example. The Australian based company uses, you guessed it, bamboo to make quality watches. Read more about the company and its story in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What Bamboo Watches Australia Does

Sells Australian made bamboo watches.

Business Niche

Creating an eco-friendly product.

How the Business Got Started

Because of a connection through Kickstarter.

Ricky Zurvas, owner of Bamboo Watches Australia told Small Business Trends, “I discovered a small Aussie brand through Kickstarter that was launching a range of Bamboo Watches and Sunglasses. I had never seen a unique product made out of bamboo and knew the product was validated because how successful the campaign ended. I could see this was a great product to sell as it was eco-friendly and made out of bamboo. I decided to reach out to the brand owners and launch a store selling bamboo watches. I plan to branch out into other related eco-friendly and sustainable accessories in the future.”

Biggest Win

Launching a successful affiliate program with social media influencers.

Zurvas says, “This low cost tactic has grew our traffic and sales combined with other traffic strategies.”

Lesson Learned

Email marketing is important.

Zurvas explains, “One of the biggest mistakes I made was not building a email list as soon as possible. If I could start over, one of the first tasks on my to-do list would have been to create a email campaign. If you’re not building a list you’re losing sales!”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Social media influencers.

Zurvas says, “Most of our traffic comes from social media influences. I would invest heavily in this area and go for the much larger accounts to drive more traffic and sales.”

Favorite Communication Tool


Zurvas explains, “I’m constantly in contact with my supplier and our most effective communication is a mobile instant messenger whatsapp. Highly recommend it for no cost team communication tool!”

Favorite Quote

“It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time” -Mark Cuban

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Bamboo Watches Australia, Second Image: Bol Varga, owner of Bamb-u

This article, "Spotlight: Bamboo Watches Australia Keeps Time While Saving the Planet" was first published on Small Business Trends

UK production rises 16% in April on strong exports

AutoNews - Wed, 2016-05-25 07:54
UK car production rose 16 percent in April, boosted by strong overseas demand. The SMMT industry group said the numbers support its opposition to a so-called "Brexit."
Categories: Latest News

Does an LLC Protect Your Personal Assets?

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2016-05-25 07:30

When planning to start up a new business, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make will be how you should register your company.

A vast majority of small business owners are keen to operate their new company with the freedom of a sole proprietorship — but worry about personal asset protection should their new startup run aground. That’s why one of our readers asked us about limited liability companies (LLCs) and the legal protections they can offer.

In most cases, these protections are extensive.

When you incorporate an LLC, you are creating a new legal entity that it completely separate from you and other company shareholders. Consequently, each LLC member enjoys what’s called limited liability. That means if the LLC ends up falling flat, gets sued or files for bankruptcy, the personal assets of each LLC member should be protected from getting seized in order to satisfy those company debts.

Personal Asset Protection

Personal bank accounts, homes or various other assets are typically protected. Likewise, the assets of an LLC cannot normally be used in order to satisfy the personal debts of an LLC member.

The only loss an LLC owner will likely face in the event of bankruptcy should be their capital contribution to the business. That being said, there are a couple of caveats. As with other incorporation types, an LLC owner may face some form of personal liability if they have personally guaranteed a particular company debt.

One way creditors can breach the wall between your company and your personal assets is called “piercing the corporate veil”. This usually happens when an LLC member has co-mingled their personal assets with company assets, committed fraud or failed to contribute sufficient assets to their company in the first place. The protection of your personal assets may also be rendered void if you have transferred personal property to your LLC in order to evade creditors. This practice is called “fraudulent conveyance”.

That being said, an LLC generally offers a fantastic level of personal asset protection – even if that company ends up buried in debt. So long as you tread carefully and keep your finances firmly separate from that of your company, you should be relatively safe.

LLC Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Does an LLC Protect Your Personal Assets?" was first published on Small Business Trends

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Signs Radisson Blu In Mexico; Continues Latin American Expansion

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2016-05-25 07:07
MINNEAPOLIS-–Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel groups has announced the signing of an agreement ...

Microsoft ELECOM Patent Partnership Focused on Tech Accessories

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2016-05-25 06:30

The litigations in the tech world regarding intellectual property have been well documented. This has led companies to be more thorough with their due diligence before they decide to use a particular technology. This includes entering into partnerships with patent holders to avoid any conflict down the line, which is what Microsoft has done with ELECOM, a manufacturer of peripherals and accessories for personal computers and digital equipment for the home and small businesses based in Japan.

Microsoft ELECOM Patent Partnership

In addressing the new patent collaboration between both companies, Nick Psyhogeos, president of Microsoft Technology Licensing, said, “This partnership is an example of how the mutually respectful and beneficial exchange of technology can empower businesses and consumers to achieve more.”

Under the agreement announced by Microsoft, it would have access to the range of products ELECOM manufactures. Two products that were mentioned by the software giant are network attached storage (NAS) and tablets, which highlights the future of computing in the home and workplace.

As more of the things we use become connected, tablets and NAS will be an integral part of this ecosystem. If you are a small business, you can set up all of your IT needs with a cloud configuration that only needs tablets and NAS for all of your employees. Conversely, you can have a similar configuration in your home to record, access and control content using only these two devices.

However, ELECOM also has peripherals, I/O devices and PC accessories along with digital solutions of network products such as wireless LAN routers, a cloud service and an installation service for wireless LAN access points.

The Microsoft ELECOM patent partnership is looking ahead at the future of connectivity and the devices that will be needed to make that possible. Connecting users to devices seamlessly will be essential for software companies such as Microsoft with hardware manufacturers. This licensing agreement gives businesses the assurance when they integrate the technology of both companies, they won’t have to worry about any compatibility issues.

Koji Kajiura, managing director, Products Development, ELECOM, said, “Collaborative licensing partnerships like this one improve the user experience for our customers by offering them more innovative and value-added products.”

The Microsoft IP licensing program has entered into more than 1,200 agreements since it was launched in 2003. To further bolster its position in this segment, it formed Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC in 2014 to acquire, manage and license Microsoft’s patent portfolio, ensuring intellectual properties will be protected and properly licensed.

Microsoft Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Microsoft ELECOM Patent Partnership Focused on Tech Accessories" was first published on Small Business Trends

Nine ABVI New Construction Projects Opened Or Signed In March & April

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2016-05-25 05:56
CLEVELAND–-Hoteliers continue to recognize Americas Best Value Inn’s exceptional opportunities for new builds, as newly constructed properties recently opened in Galveston, ...

Hilton Worldwide And P.T. Caterison Sukses Sign Management Agreement For First Hilton Branded Hotel In Bali, Indonesia

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2016-05-25 05:46
MCLEAN, VA--Hilton Worldwide today announced the signing of a management agreement with P.T. Caterison Sukses to manage and re-brand the Grand ...

Hersha Hospitality Trust Prices Public Offering Of 6.50% Series D Preferred Shares

Hotel Interactive - Wed, 2016-05-25 05:27
PHILADELPHIA--Hersha Hospitality Trust, a Maryland real estate investment trust (“Hersha”), today announced that it has priced a public offering of 7,000,000 ...

What’s the Best Length for Your Blog Posts?

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2016-05-25 05:00

The answer to this question might depend on who you ask. I recently sat in on a webinar by BuzzSumo Director Steve Rayson that discussed blog post length and the role it plays in SEO and user engagement, and there seems to be agreement about a few key truths. First and foremost, blog post length won’t matter if the quality is rubbish. Furthermore, whether or not long-form or short-form content performs well will depend on the intent behind the writing (i.e., B2B or B2C).

In theory, long-form content does better in search results for a few reasons: the longer the content, the more backlinks you can insert; search engines will be more likely to understand what the content topic is about; long-form content tends to be high quality. Again, these statements are theoretical, and only sometimes true.

BuzzSumo conducted a study that pulled several thousand articles from top performing websites (Inc., TechCrunch, etc.). By data, it showed that the longer the content was, the more shares it received. However, most of the top performing articles from these sites were actually short-form content. This seems to indicate that there’s a lot of low quality short-form content on the internet being cranked out like factory products.

In truth, creating short-form content at a high quality can be incredibly challenging and time consuming, but very effective at drawing user engagement. The reality is that reading behavior varies on an individual level. Sometimes users prefer a long, researched article over a short list of content, but users always prefer quality.

There isn’t an ideal, standard length for blog posts. The best thing you can do is take a good look at the content you’ve produced and see what has or hasn’t done well. Are your highest quality pieces short-form or long-form content? Do you get more user engagement from listicles and quizzes, or researched articles backed with data? Once you determine the kind of content your readers want from you, you can move forward with creating the kind of blog posts that are ideal for your goals.

Tape Measure Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "What’s the Best Length for Your Blog Posts?" was first published on Small Business Trends

AutoNews Now: When car-making meets ride-hailing

AutoNews - Wed, 2016-05-25 01:01
Car-making meets ride-hailing: GM, Toyota, VW hop in; Back-seat dummies; Dodge's new ad agency; F-150 recall; Elkann: No FCA deal to sell stake; Nissan Sentra Nismo, Titan spy shots.
Categories: Latest News

Big data: Can it help you build a better restaurant? - Tue, 2016-05-24 16:55
Big data can be a game-changer for restaurateurs, helping them understand the unseen drivers behind sales.

Women's Foodservice Forum Executive Summit

Nation's Restaurant News - Tue, 2016-05-24 15:31
Location Hilton Anatole Hotel 2201 N Stemmons Fwy Dallas, TX 75207 United States 32° 48' 0.0036" N, 96° 49' 45.3504" W See map: Google Maps

The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) 2016 Executive Summit is the industry's premier learning and development meeting for executives at the vice-president level and above. This year's event will take place in Dallas, TX July 25-27 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. The theme is "Thriving Executives who live it! - Sharing culture, strategy and talent best practices for more effective leadership."

Clear Springs Foods Announces New Director of Marketing

Nation's Restaurant News - Tue, 2016-05-24 15:11

Clear Springs Foods, Inc. announces that Jessica Henry has joined the company as Director of Marketing effective April 4, 2016. 

VP of Marketing Kurt Myers commented that:  “She will work closely with our sales team in developing products and customer promotions that drive increased value to our customers.  Jessica will also be responsible for crafting and executing a social media strategy and overall digital marketing platform that supports our foodservice and retail business.” 

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