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Baltimore police set up barricade during hostage situation at fast-food restaurant

Topix - Sun, 2016-07-17 16:28

Police are saying that several people inside of a Burger King in Baltimore, Maryland are being held against their will by a suspected rapist, who is armed with a gun. According to a report from WBAL-TV , Police spotted the suspected rapist around 11 a.m. Sunday morning and the person took off in a car.

Categories: Today's Food News

See Sir Richard Branson, Gwyneth Paltrow at Sage 2016 in Chicago

Small Business Trends - Sat, 2016-07-16 13:30

He is, for many, the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.

Beginning his career as a magazine publisher at the age of 16, he eventually founded a mail-order record business, later to become a chain of record stores.

His business ventures  have since expanded into airlines, mobile communications and eventually even space tourism, all under the well-respected Virgin brand.

Sir Richard Branson will be just one of a star studded group of guest speakers to address attendees of Sage 2016 July 25 through July 28 in Chicago. Other speakers at the event will include actresses and  entrepreneurs Gwyneth Paltrow and Zooey Deschanel, “Shark Tank” stars and entrepreneurs Robert Herjavec and Daymond John and actor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher.

For more details, a full list of events or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Sage Summit 2016
July 25, 2016, Chicago, Illinois

Sage Summit is a one-of-a-kind learning, training, and networking event. Hear from celebrity speakers and dynamic thought leaders. Get hands-on product training and one-on-one mentoring. Then rock out to The Killers! Hear from keynote speaker Sir Richard Branson, a man who has created a magnetic brand umbrella that powers the success of his many businesses with a thoughtful mix of adventure, philanthropy, irreverence and entrepreneurship. In a passion-filled keynote address he joins Sage CEO Stephen Kelly, another serial entrepreneur and champion of small businesses everywhere.

#BlogHer16 Conference
August 4, 2016, Los Angeles, California

Join an exhilarating mix of content creators, social media stars, entrepreneurs, top brands, activists and fans at #BlogHer16! You’ll experience inspiring keynotes, up-to-the-minute educational tracks, and of course, fabulous opportunities to network with YOUR community!

Small Business Market Expo & Job Fair
August 27, 2016, Atlanta, Georgia

Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with small businesses, market your organization and tap into a network of entrepreneurs, service providers, financial organizations, business coaches, and franchises.
Discount Code
VIP (25% off)

Content Marketing World 2016
September 6, 2016, Cleveland, Ohio

Content Marketing World is the one event where you can learn and network with the best and the brightest in the content marketing industry. You will leave with all the materials you need to take a content marketing strategy back to your team – and – to implement a content marketing plan that will grow your business and inspire your audience.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016
September 12, 2016, San Francisco, California

TechCrunch Disrupt is the world’s leading authority in debuting revolutionary startups, introducing game-changing technologies and discussing what’s top of mind for the tech industry’s key innovators. Disrupt gathers the best and brightest entrepreneurs, investors, hackers, and tech fans for on-stage interviews, the Startup Battlefield competition, a 24-hour Hackathon, Startup Alley, Hardware Alley, and After Parties.

September 12, 2016, Seattle, Washington

Three days of forward-thinking, actionable sessions in SEO, social media, community building, content marketing, brand development, CRO, the mobile landscape, analytics, and more. MozCon speakers share next-level advice on everything from building a loyal community to making data-driven decisions in your marketing.

Lean Startup Conference
October 31, 2016, San Francisco, California

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.

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.

Gwyneth Paltrow Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "See Sir Richard Branson, Gwyneth Paltrow at Sage 2016 in Chicago" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Unsuspected Secrets for Growing Your Business to Ridiculous Success

Small Business Trends - Sat, 2016-07-16 12:00

Once you’ve started your business and got all the basics covered, you still need to work to constantly improve. Whether you need a little push when it comes to finances, marketing or time management, there are some unsuspected secrets out there for growing your business to ridiculous success. Check out the tips from members of our small business community below.

Find Out How Lenders View Your Tax Returns

Tax returns are part of most loan applications. But what exactly are those lenders looking for? In this Fundera Ledger post, Gretchen Schmid provides an in-depth look at how lenders view tax returns. You can also check out the discussion surrounding the post over on BizSugar.

Use These Project Management Tools to Support Your Team

Managing projects requires more than just staying on top of emails from team members. With the help of some actual project management tools and processes, you can actually support your team and their projects. Sebastien Boyer outlines some of those tools and techniques in this Nutcache post.

Manage Your Time Spent on Business Emails

Managing email can be a huge time suck for business owners. But some have found a good system for managing inboxes without requiring a big time commitment. Let Small Business Trends know all about your own email habits in the poll included in this post by Joshua Sophy.

Learn About Display Targeting

When it comes to online advertising, the way you target your ads can make a huge difference in the success of your campaigns. Display targeting can be effective, but only when used correctly. This post by Zoe Liang of Reef Digital includes information on different types of targeting and how to get the most out of your ad dollars.

Consider Hiring Temporary Employees

If your business is growing and you need some help getting everything done, but not necessarily on a long-term basis, you might consider looking into temporary employees. This CorpNet post by Rieva Lesonsky includes some tips for bringing on temporary help. And BizSugar members share thoughts on the subject here.

Keep an Eye Out for These Things When Hiring a Business Coach

A business coach or mentor can really help you take your business to the next level. But you need to know what to look for to make sure that your business coach is going to be a good fit. Stephen Moyers shares some tips for finding a great business coach in the SPINX Digital Blog.

Get More Online Reviews

You can only tell people how great your business is so many times. Sometimes, they just won’t hear the message unless it comes from someone else. That’s why getting positive online reviews is so important. Here, Aaron Weiche of GetFiveStars shares some tactics for getting more online reviews.

Understand What Good Customer Service Means

Providing good customer service isn’t just about making service staff members available. You also need to actually build relationships with customers, as Tony Paull of Tony Paull Consulting discusses in this post. The BizSugar community also discusses the post here.

Create “Big” Content

Just writing simple content for your business can only get you so far. If you want to take your content to the next level, you need to work on longer, more involved content. John Stevens of the Ahrefs blog shares how to write big content, even for non-writers.

Overcome These Mobile SEO Challenges

Marketing to mobile consumers is no longer optional. But that means you need to SEO specifically for mobile devices. In this Search Engine Journal post, Shane Barker outlines some common mobile SEO challenges that businesses face along with some solutions.

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:

Secret Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Unsuspected Secrets for Growing Your Business to Ridiculous Success" was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Start Your Own Bubble Tea Business

Small Business Trends - Sat, 2016-07-16 09:00

Bubble tea shops have increased wildly in popularity with visits to such businesses jumping by as much as 192 percent in 2015 according to data collected by Foursquare. Franchises for coffee and tea abound. But just like starting your own coffee shop, starting your own bubble tea business is a real option. Here’s what you need to get started.

Steps for Opening a Bubble Tea Business Design Your Store

There’s no secret formula for a successful bubble tea shop. So you can customize it to your unique business needs. When designing your store, choose a space to set up your kitchen area and customer facing counter. You might also consider setting up some seating areas or space for customers to really customize their beverages. You can also decorate the space in a unique way that really helps set your business apart.

Pick the Perfect Location

The actual location of your store is also incredibly important. If you can choose a storefront in a high traffic area, you’ll improve your chances of attracting customers, especially early on. Or if you want to keep your startup costs low, you can consider a more non-traditional location like a truck, cart or kiosk at a mall or school. No matter what format you choose, you’ll want to make sure that your location is easy for customers to find and convenient.

Consider the Competition

Another thing to consider, both in terms of your location and your offerings, is the competition. Bubble tea is a growing niche. But it still tends to be more popular in cities like New York and Los Angeles. In those locations, you’re likely to have some competition. And in less populated areas, you’re likely to have less competition. But you may have to work harder to get people interested in what you have to offer. Just do some research on the customer base and try to find a way to make you business stand out if necessary.

Invest in Equipment

You’ll need some pretty specific equipment if you want to serve specialized beverages like bubble tea in different varieties. There are special shakers and sealers that you can get to create a more professional product. And you’ll also need a heat source like a gas stove or electric induction heater. Smaller pieces of equipment like stirrers, tea jubs, sugar dispensers, cups and straws are also necessary. And of course you’ll need a point of sale system to actually run your operation.

Develop Your Menu

While bubble tea is a fairly specific niche, there are still plenty of different flavors and varieties to choose from. So before actually opening your new business to customers, you have to think about what you want your menu to include. You can offer milk teas, fruit flavored teas or a combination of different types. And you can use different flavors to really set your business apart and attract curious customers.

Source Your Ingredients

Once you have all the necessary equipment in place, you’ll need to consider the ingredients you wish to use when creating your bubble tea. Since bubble tea originated in Taiwan, many of the ingredients can also be sourced from there. Do some research on suppliers that fit with your budget but also provide quality ingredients for your menu. You’ll likely need to source different flavored syrups, tapioca, pearls, cream and other mix-ins. Then you’ll also need some basic ingredients like milk, sugar and tea.

Train and Hire Employees

Your employees often serve as the face of your business. But they’re also responsible for crafting the beverages that you sell to consumers. So you need to be sure to hire people who are capable of learning the recipes and providing great service. And then you need to provide all the right training so that your team understands what all is involved in making bubble tea beverages that are up to your high standards.

Secure Any Necessary Permits

Since you’ll be serving a prepared food product, it’s likely that you’ll need some inspections, licenses and permits to do business in the area of your choice. Check with your state and local governments to see what is required of restaurants and coffee shops. And you’ll likely need to go through those same processes in order to get your bubble tea business off the ground.

Market Your New Business

Once you’ve got all of the above issues taken care of, it’s time to actually open your business. Even if you’ve developed a great menu and set up shop in a high traffic location, you’ll still probably need to do some marketing. Consider having a grand opening event or doing some local advertising to draw interest. Starting an online presence, at least with your own website and Facebook page, may also be worthwhile.

Bubble Tea Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How to Start Your Own Bubble Tea Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

When the Pressure’s On, Turn Stress Into Personal Excellence

Small Business Trends - Sat, 2016-07-16 07:00

All of us recognize that we have pressure in our lives. There are plenty of resources (to-do lists, productivity apps, Gantt charts, Post-It Notes, etc.) to deal with that. There are certain times, however, when we need a new level of productivity, when we need to perform in a situation where the stakes are higher than usual (like a high-stakes presentation or interview with an influencer).

Louis S. Csoka’s, When the Pressure’s On is about training for those times before they happen.

What is When the Pressure’s On About?

As a guy who has experienced high-pressure environments (West Point graduate and instructor, U.S. Army officer, Vietnam War veteran, C-level executive in a billion-dollar company), Csoka noticed that Olympic athletes and business people often experience the same kind of pressure to perform. Both are required to demonstrate their value through numbers. Both face an incredibly competitive landscape.

This led Csoka on a journey into the world of peak performance. He wanted to know how athletes were able to perform at such levels, given the super-competitive landscape they faced day in and day out. He wanted to help leaders of all types (particularly business leaders) be able to apply the lessons and insight he gained from those peak performers. This book, the US Military Academy’s Performance Enhancement Center, and a world-recognized mental performance training institute (known as Peak Performance Center) were the result.

At its core, the book focuses on a “5-Point Plan” which highlights five key areas that Csoka feels are important for top performance. His goal is not to provide another “goal-setting” book, but to detail how to improve performance overall. He does this by adding new dimensions to the goal-setting steps (visualization, imagery, etc.) which he asserts are based on research into the neuroplasticity of the brain. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change itself based on the environment and the thoughts we give it. By changing how we think and improving the settings in which we think (aka our health), Csoka believes we can reach the highest levels of our performance, no matter what they are.

Csoka is a retired U.S. Army Colonel, instructor, consultant, former human resources executive and founder of Apex Performance. He graduated from West Point, earned a Ph.D. and served as Army officer in Vietnam and other areas.

In addition to all this, Csoka developed the Performance Enhancement Center, a center based on his ideas of peak performance. He went on to develop a similar world-renown Peak Performance Center. He is currently serving as the founder of Apex Performance  and on various boards and organizations.

What Was Best About When the Pressure’s On?

The best part of When the Pressure’s On is the simple way Csoka is able to contribute value to the “goal-setting” conversation that business leaders and others have had for years. Csoka’s advice is actually very simple, but it taps into a deeper insight because of his background. Csoka researched the psychology of the brain, but also saw that research put into practice in his own life, at the U.S. Military Academy, and while observing high-performing athletes.

In short, Csoka knows exactly where to pinpoint his content to make a strong and helpful impact.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

While this book does an absolutely incredible job of detailing peak performance under pressure, it surprisingly lacks concrete examples of business people who implemented the “5-Point Plan” from start to finish (and the result). The book is more of a guide to the top highlights and insights that worked for people who Csoka worked with or who came to his center. More attention to a variety of businesses and individuals might open up the spectrum of people who feel inspired by this book.

Why Read When the Pressure’s On?

When the Pressure’s On is an awesome read for any person who feels the need to perform well under extremely stressful conditions (which is really just about everyone these days). It is particularly well suited for executive leaders and sales people who feel even more pressure to “show the numbers” (demonstrate their value to a company) on a regular basis. The book provides the missing link between goal-setting and consistent goal achievement that is critical in that kind of high-pressure environment.

This article, "When the Pressure’s On, Turn Stress Into Personal Excellence" was first published on Small Business Trends

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