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KFC is launching a chicken sandwich into space

Topix - Sun, 2017-06-18 08:35

Of all the things that have been sent into space - saxophones, sea urchin sperm, a sound recording of laughter - this has to be the most palatable. Far from just a bit of Photoshop, KFC says that they're 'actually building' the space vessel needed to send a Zinger out there within the week.

Categories: Today's Food News

How depressing is space privatization? KFC is sending a chicken sandwich to space

Topix - Sun, 2017-06-18 04:31

Space: the final frontier of capitalism. Obama's pro-space privatization policies ushered in a new commercial space race, epitomized by the bloom in government-contracted private spaceflight companies like SpaceX and Orbital ATK.

Categories: Today's Food News

Mercedes orders up more light trucks for U.S.

AutoNews - Sun, 2017-06-18 01:01
Mercedes leaders say the increase could move the brand closer to a 50-50 sales mix of cars and light trucks for the year, and get inventory more in line with consumer demand.
Categories: Latest News

Hyundai Kona subcompact crossover will start in a hole

AutoNews - Sun, 2017-06-18 01:01
Hyundai's U.S. dealers are getting something they desperately want and need, a new subcompact crossover. That's the good news.
Categories: Latest News

Honda's Civic Type R will get more variants to sustain sales

AutoNews - Sun, 2017-06-18 01:01
Honda is following the playbook of brands such as Porsche and Chevy that use countless iterations and special editions of a single model to juice sales.
Categories: Latest News

Improve Team Speed With Help From This Upcoming Webinar

Small Business Trends - Sat, 2017-06-17 13:30

How is your team speed?

Whether you’re working with just a handful of people or multiple departments, the speed at which your team is able to complete tasks can make a big impact on the success of your business. And there are plenty of tools and processes you can put in place to support those improvements.

If you’re interested in learning more about improving team speed and efficiency, an upcoming webinar may be able to help. Give Your Team What it Needs for Speed is scheduled for June 29. Learn more about the webinar and more in the Featured Events section. Then check out even more upcoming small business events in the list below.

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

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Twitter Chat: “Voices of Small Business: How Business Owners are Confronting Today’s Challenges”
June 21, 2017, Online, Twitter

Join us on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm ET under the hashtag #MetLifeSmallBiz to explore how small business owners are navigating the current economic climate as well as their outlook on hiring and future business conditions. Spotlight findings will be shared by Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends (@SmallBizTrends), and MetLife (@MetLife) from the new MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, including commentary from real business owners. Join in the discussion to receive actionable insights that will help you manage your businesses for success.

Twitter Chat: “Get Inspired in Your Business”
June 28, 2017, Online, Twitter

Are you ready for the Microsoft Inspire event? The company’s annual partner conference is only a couple weeks away! Join Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, and Small Business expert Gene Marks on June 28, 2017 at 3pm ET (12pm PT) under the hashtag #MSBizTips for a preview of what’s coming down the pipeline for small businesses from Microsoft, and discover what you can expect to learn from the conference.

WEBINAR: Give Your Team What it Needs for Speed
June 29, 2017, Online

The right technology tools and resources can help your team respond to—and stay ahead of—your competition and the market. Whether you have two employees or 100, you can always ramp up team speed. From improving processes and decision-making to boosting collaboration and providing your team with the technology and tools it needs, this webinar will explore the ways in which team speed can be leveraged as a critical competitive edge. Our panel of entrepreneurs and experts will engage in a lively, informed and interactive discussion about how you make your team more nimble and agile—and boost productivity and profits as a result. Our Panelists include Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, Gene Marks, owner and operator of the Marks Group, and Ramon Ray, Small Business Evangelist at Infusionsoft, publisher of Smart Hustle magazine, and Technology Evangelist at SmallBizTechnology.

Rule Breaker Awards 2017
June 30, 2017, Online

Entrepreneurs don’t play by the rules. Why should you be judged by them? The Rule Breaker Awards will honor and celebrate those entrepreneurs who have succeeded by doing it their way. Some have created whole new industries; others have revolutionized industries that have existed for hundreds of years. Nominations end June 30, 2017. Nominate an entrepreneur today!

Rule Breaker Awards Ceremony
October 24, 2017, Scottsdale, Ariz.

On October 24, 2017 at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Rule Breaker Awards will honor and celebrate those entrepreneurs who have succeeded by doing it their way in a ceremony featuring the Rule Breaker of the Year and Rule Breaker Award winners.

Sales World 2017
November 08, 2017, Online

Sales World 2017 takes place November 8th to 9th, 2017, Online; Live and On Demand. It is the largest Sales Industry Event in the World and will be attended by over 10,000 Sales Professionals. It’s the one sales event you can’t afford to miss!

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 – Digital Marketing Conference
November 14, 2017, Online

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference takes place November 14th to 16th, 2017. Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools.

More Events More Contests

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

This article, "Improve Team Speed With Help From This Upcoming Webinar" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Future

Small Business Trends - Sat, 2017-06-17 12:00

As you build a small business, it’s important to consider the present. But you also need to think about the future. There are ways you can ensure your business is able to grow and scale over time.

To make sure your business is prepared for all tomorrow holds, take a look at these tips from members of the online small business community.

Build a Scalable Business

If you want your business to succeed well into the future, you need to build a business that’s scalable. You can put systems in place to easily adjust as your business grows, as this Process Street post by Benjamin Brandall explains.

Learn the Costs of Incorporating Your Business

Incorporating your small business can be a helpful and sometimes even essential step as your business grows. But there are costs involved, and they vary by state. So Nellie Akalp of CorpNet lists all the potential costs for each state in this post.

Become Business Agile

As your business grows, it can be a struggle to make changes if you’re too set in your ways. But if your business is agile, those changes can make growing a bit easier. This Biz Epic post by Ivan Widjaya includes some explanation and an infographic about the benefits of having an agile business.

Decide if Crowdfunding is Right for Your Business

Having some extra funding for your small business can go a long way toward building for the future. But you need to get the right type of funding. To determine if crowdfunding is right for your business, read this post by Cate Costa. Then see what BizSugar members have to say about the post here.

Use a Content Audit to Grow Your Business

For businesses that use content marketing, not just any content will be able to help your business grow. And a content audit can help you weed out the helpful content from the rest. Marcia Riefer Johnston elaborates in this Content Marketing Institute post.

Solve Your Customer Retention Problem

If you want your business to have any kind of sustainable success, you need to be able to keep your existing customers, as well as gain new ones. To solve any customer retention issues your business might have, check out this Kissmetrics post by Parker Davis.

Switch Your Blog to Https Without Losing Social Proof

For the businesses and bloggers that want to enjoy the increased security and other features of switching to Https, the prospect of losing social proof on your old blog posts can potentially hold you back. But Adrian Jock shares an easy way you can make the switch without losing that social proof. And BizSugar members comment on the post here.

Don’t Wing Campaign Development

Your company’s marketing campaigns can make or break your opportunities for growth. So you don’t want to leave them to chance. In this Target Marketing post, Kevin Joyce shares six steps to a flawless rollout for your next campaign.

Make Your Mobile Site Load Faster

Having a mobile site will be a must for businesses of the future. But you also need it to be as functional as a regular website, meaning you need it to load quickly. In this post, Neil Patel shares some tips you can use to make your mobile website load faster.

Learn Lessons from the World’s Best Brands

If you want your business to stick around for the long haul, it can be a good idea to take cues from other businesses that have done the same. Here are some lessons from the world’s best brands provided by Ross Kimbarovsky on the crowdSPRING blog. You can also see what BizSugar members are saying about the post here.

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

The Future photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Future" was first published on Small Business Trends

Take Your Business to the Next Level with Marketing Automation Software

Small Business Trends - Sat, 2017-06-17 09:30

Marketing your small business, whether online or off, is a time intensive process. As your business grows, managing lead capture, nurturing, converting and relationship management become too big to handle manually, which is why small business owners turn to marketing automation software to manage the load.

In general, automation brings many benefits to your small business including:

  • Speed;
  • Lower costs; and
  • Time savings.

However, because the promotion, selling, and relationship management processes involve so many steps, many of which are repeated for each customer, marketing is particularly suited to automation. And that’s where marketing automation software comes in.

Marketing Automation Software

Happily, there are many marketing automation software options for small businesses. These solutions can handle a few, or all types, of automated marketing techniques. In other words, they include various automation features such as:

  • Forms and landing pages,
  • Automated email campaigns,
  • Trigger emails based on set or custom rules,
  • Built-in eCommerce functionality or integration with eCommerce platforms;
  • Lead scoring,
  • Built-in CRM or CRM integration,
  • Smarter segmentation and
  • Website behavior tracking.

Note: Not all solutions offer every feature.

While you may be hesitant to try one because of either cost or learning curve, you should be aware that many marketing automation software vendors:

  • Charge based on use (number of customers, features used, etc.) so the cost scales, and is manageable, as you grow; and
  • Offer solid help as you learn to use their tool including free training, customer support representatives, comprehensive documentation and a supportive user community forum.

Are you considering marketing automation for your small business? If so, here’s a list of marketing automation software solutions to consider.

GetResponse

GetResponse calls itself the “all-in-one online marketing platform to grow your business” and a look down the features on their home page shows just how complete the software is.

While it’s one of the most affordable solutions on this list, GetResponse brings the same, if not more, of the features and functionality offered by the  more expensive solutions on this list. That said, the price does increase with use, but a small business should be able to handle the increase as it grows.

ActiveCampaign

Another affordable solution, ActiveCampaign, offers everything a small business needs to automate its marketing efforts including a robust, built-in CRM system.

GreenRope

Calling itself a “small business CRM”, GreenRope is almost a small business management suite. Starting with marketing automation, you’ll find website tracking, landing pages and more in this affordably-priced solution.

GreenRope also offers sales and operations functionality setting the tool apart.

Infusionsoft

One of the more well-known marketing automation software options, Infusionsoft offers everything your small business needs at a reasonable price. One feature that shows off the power of this solution is the flexibility of the campaign builder. This tool enables you to create elaborate workflows one time and then implement them again and again. These workflows can include many types of steps including eCommerce, appointments, behaviors and actions, webinar attendance and many more.

Additional Resources

HubSpot

The only tool on the list to offer a website builder, HubSpot aims to integrate your entire marketing effort in one place. One of the more powerful features of the tool is the ability to personalize your website with “smart content” based on a number of factors:

Additional Resources

Act-On

Act-On offers a robust marketing automation platform. The software offers automation workflows and triggers as well as website behavior tracking, integration with many popular CRM platforms, and more.

One of the more interesting, and useful, features of Act-On is it’s funnel reporting. By setting up a sales funnel, you can track the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts. Here’s a sample:

Additional Resources

Marketo

Marketo offers a powerful solution with many features. One thing that stood out however was their customized product bundling, an approach that may make the tool attractive for small businesses that want to dip their toe in the water.

Autopilot

One of the most interesting aspects of Autopilot is the number of integrations it enables you to use as part of your marketing automation workflows. For example, below you can see that the bottom right step sends an automated Slack message:

In addition, the vendor offers multi-channel marketing via emails, headsups (little pop-up notifications) SMS messages, and even postcards. Finally, the pricing for this solution is low and scales as your business grows.

Salesfusion

Salesfusion is a heavily-loaded marketing automation tool that can help you take your small business to a new level. One standout feature? It’s SEO audit feature that helps improve your search engine rankings.

SharpSpring

In addition to it’s marketing automation features, SharpSpring offers additional features including a blog builder and VisitorID tool which attempts to identify anonymous visitors to your website.

Also, the vendor enables you to use your buyer personas to automatically offer unique, targeted content by segmenting your customers based on how closely their profiles match.

Additional Resources

SALESmanago

While a look at SALESmanago‘s home page may make you run, don’t let the complexity of the vendor’s offerings chase you away. This solution literally has it all and, if that’s what you need, then it’s certainly worth a look.

Wrapping Up

No matter which marketing automation software solution you select, make sure you’re getting the most out of the tool. And remember, you can automate processes beyond marketing, too, so be sure to consider how leveraging other tools can help streamline your small business.

Automated Marketing Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Take Your Business to the Next Level with Marketing Automation Software" was first published on Small Business Trends

Leadership in Focus Gets You Ready to Get In Front of the Camera

Small Business Trends - Sat, 2017-06-17 07:00

Whether it’s a theater trailer on YouTube or an amateur video on Snapchat, the world of marketing is becoming more video-oriented. Experts suggest that video content will dominate the Internet within a few years. Because of that trend, business leaders may find themselves in front of the camera more often than they expected. Leadership in Focus: Bringing Out Your Best on Camera is about helping leaders jump ahead of the curve so they can make authentic and engaging videos when it’s time for the digital spotlight.

What is Leadership in Focus About?

As a small business owner, you might wonder why you would even consider a book like Leadership in Focus, which emphasizes helping executive leaders gain more confidence in front of the camera.

The answer is, you might find yourself in front of the camera as a leader.

As discussed above, the Internet will become an increasingly video-oriented place. This means the opportunities for business leaders to be in front of the camera will increase, whether it’s an employee orientation video, marketing video or public relations event.

For most small business owners, media training (which the author Vern Oakley has some issues with) isn’t an option. Preparation, however, is still needed because once the camera is on you, instincts take over. For many leaders, these instincts can make you appear formal, guarded and stiff. This is the exact opposite of how you want to appear.

Leadership in Focus was written to help leaders gain confidence so they can present their message with authenticity and transparency. That is the key point, not a list of speaking “to-do’s” that you might have learned from your communications course in college. Being authentic and transparent is important because, as a business owner, you are the face of the business.

As the face of the business, you are responsible for the message (what you say) and delivery (how you say it). While any leader can memorize the message and say it on camera, only a leader with good communication skills can deliver this message with the right amount of emotion to motivate people to action. Leadership in Focus offers several strategies to achieve this higher level of communication in case the opportunity to get in front of the camera ever presents itself.

Oakley aka “Business Artist” is an expert filmmaker, teacher, speaker and adjunct professor. Oakley founded his own production company, Tribe Pictures, which went on to win over 150 industry awards. Oakley’s projects have helped Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and various institutions. One notable project was the award-winning children’s TV series “Reading Rainbow”.

What Was Best About Leadership in Focus?

Leadership in Focus is different from other books in the speech and presentation category because of its hyper-specific topic and laid-back approach to giving speeches. Most “speech books for leaders” focus on static rules for communicating as a leader: Dress nicely. Keep it formal. Oakley counters this. His emphasis is on comfort and authenticity. He argues that comfort and authenticity deliver a more impactful message to the audience than formally sticking to a script.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Having a book with a limited perspective (video communication tips for business owners) can definitely have its downsides. Leadership In Focus observes how average small business owners won’t have easy access to a production team, makeup people or video editors. That said, the book’s unique advice on delivering a message with authenticity and conviction are helpful in almost every context where leadership needs to communicate.

Why Read Leadership in Focus?

Leadership In Focus is a book with a very specific purpose aimed at a very specific audience. If you happen to be a CEO or other executive who needs help feeling more comfortable in front of the camera, this book will definitely be for you. If you are not in this category, this book may still help you improve your confidence in front of the camera, something that every leader may have to face in a world increasingly depending on video messages. If you are looking for a book to help you address the delivery of a message using video, this book, written by an award-winning and experienced filmmaker, might provide the answer.

This article, "Leadership in Focus Gets You Ready to Get In Front of the Camera" was first published on Small Business Trends

Krystal Offers Week-Long Root Beer Float Deal

QSR Magazine - Mon, 2016-08-08 12:56
Image Caption: Image Credit: Krystal is offering $0.99 root beer floats for national holiday.Exclusive Brief: 0

The Krystal Company, the brand famous for its iconic square hamburgers, is celebrating National Root Beer Day all week. From August 8 through August 12, Krystal will offer its Root Beer floats at a special price of $0.99 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in participating locations.

The Krystal Float is made with a blend of cold and frosty Barq's Root Beer, plus a scoop of creamy Blue Bunny vanilla bean ice cream.

Chains: Krystal

Wendy’s Brings Back Baconator Fries

QSR Magazine - Mon, 2016-08-08 12:45
Image Caption: Image Credit: PR NewswireWendy's is bringing back the Baconator fries for a limited time.Exclusive Brief: 0

For nine years Wendy's has offered the Baconator, featuring two quarter-pound patties of 100 percent pure fresh beef, six strips of thick-cut Applewood-smoked bacon, three slices of cheese, and a bakery-style bun.

Chains: Wendy's

Burger King Debuts Whopperito, Burger-Burrito Mash-Up

QSR Magazine - Mon, 2016-08-08 12:32
Image Caption: Image Credit: Burger KingBurger King extends the Whopperito nationwide for a limited time.Exclusive Brief: 0

Burger King restaurants are introducing a Tex-Mex twist on its famous Whopper sandwich nationwide with its new Whopperito burger-burrito mash-up. After a local market debut that sparked widespread demand from guests, Burger King restaurants is now taking its Whopperito national at participating restaurants beginning August 15.

Chains: Burger King

Cott Corporation To Acquire S&D Coffee

QSR Magazine - Mon, 2016-08-08 10:55
S&D Coffee & Tee will be acquired by Cott beverage producers.Exclusive Brief: 0

S&D Coffee Inc. has accepted an offer made by the Cott Corporation to be acquired.

Following the completion of the proposed transaction, S&D will be a subsidiary of Cott, still operating under the S&D Coffee & Tea name. Ron Hinson, at almost 38 years with the company, will remain president and CEO of S&D, and the management team will assume the same scope and responsibilities. Cott, a global, multi-beverage leader, will enable further development and acceleration of S&D’s business model.

Chains: S&D Coffee

Blaze Opens 150th Pizzeria at Disney World

QSR Magazine - Mon, 2016-08-08 10:28
Image Credit: Blaze PizzaBlaze opens its flagship location in Disney Springs.Exclusive Brief: 0

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a leading fast-casual artisanal pizza chain, has opened its new flagship restaurant in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. Known for its chef-driven recipes, the 150th Blaze restaurant debuts in an architecturally innovative structure that was designed specifically for this location.

Chains: Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza

Focus Brands Commits to Sourcing Cage-Free Eggs

QSR Magazine - Mon, 2016-08-08 09:17
Focus Brands will source only cage-free by 2026 for its franchises.Exclusive Brief: 0

In response to a growing consumer sentiment towards cage-free eggs and the adoption of this policy by several other food service companies, Focus Brands is joining forces with others in the industry and announcing its commitment to sourcing ingredients that contain only cage-free eggs. 

While not a large user of eggs or food items with egg as an ingredient, Focus Brands will work with its suppliers to ensure that all of its restaurant menu items will contain only cage free eggs by 2026. 

Chains: FOCUS BrandsCarvelCinnabonSchlotzsky'sMoe's Southwest GrillAuntie Anne'sMcAlister's Deli

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Hits 100-Store Milestone

QSR Magazine - Fri, 2016-08-05 12:30
Image Credit: Fuzzy's Taco ShopFuzzy's Taco Shop opens its 100th store in Oklahoma City.Exclusive Brief: 0

Fort Worth, Texas-based Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, the award-winning, Baja-style, fast-casual Mexican restaurant group, hit a milestone this week with the opening of its 100th restaurant. The 100th Fuzzy's Taco Shop is in Oklahoma City, making it the fifth Fuzzy's Taco Shop in Oklahoma, the third in Oklahoma City, and the first tenant to open in the brand new Chisholm Creek mixed-use development in northwest Oklahoma City. 

Chains: Fuzzy's Taco Shop

McDonald’s Olympic Kids To Walk in Opening Ceremony

QSR Magazine - Fri, 2016-08-05 11:57
McDonald's Olympic Kids will walk in the Parade of NationsExclusive Brief: 0

McDonald’s is honoring the spirit of friendship that is at the heart of the Olympic values by celebrating nearly 100 kids from around the world with a once-in-a-lifetime, and first-ever, opportunity to participate in an Opening Ceremony at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The McDonald’s Olympic Kids will walk in the Parade of Nations at Rio’s famed Maracanã Stadium in front of 80,000 live spectators and billions of television viewers worldwide. 

Chains: McDonald's

Get a Glimpse at Subway's Brand-New Logo, Branding

QSR Magazine - Fri, 2016-08-05 10:11
Image Caption: Subway's new symbol borrows its iconic arrows for a simpler design.Image Credit: SubwaySandwich chain reveals new logo and symbol as part of rebrand.Exclusive Brief: 0

Subway, the world’s largest sandwich chain, revealed a bold update to its iconic logo, along with a powerful new symbol. Consumers will catch a glimpse of the new logo in ads airing August 5.

Chains: Subway

McAlister’s Turns Cookies Blue for Autism Speaks

QSR Magazine - Fri, 2016-08-05 09:50
McAlister's is turning its sugar cookies blue for Autism Speaks.Exclusive Brief: 0

McAlister's Deli has announced its national partnership with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Throughout the month of August, McAlister’s will turn its famous sugar cookies blue, in support of the organization’s signature color. $0.75 from each cookie sold will support Autism Speaks’ mission of funding scientific research, increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorder, and advocating for the needs of people with autism and their families.

Chains: McAlister's Deli

Five Reasons Why Franchising Without a Franchise Consultant is Reckless

Franchise-Chat - Fri, 2015-03-27 22:00
Callum Floyd, Director of Franchize Consultants in New Zealand, explains five important reasons why a franchise development consultant is pivotal when franchising a business.
Categories: Latest News