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85 Percent of Small Businesses Set to Invest More in SaaS (Infographic)

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2016-07-28 08:30

Just a couple of years ago, businesses looked at Software as a Service (SaaS) with some apprehension primarily because of security risks. A lot has changed since then. Today more than 85 percent of small business executives are willing to invest more in SaaS solutions over the next five years, according to research by Intuit.

What’s led to this change? Shifts in technology, particularly mobile devices and reliance on digital, says Gartner.

The tech research giant even predicts that by 2020, about a quarter of organizations in emerging regions will be running their core CRM systems via SaaS. That’s a 10 percent increase over 2012.

The data has been compiled and analyzed by software company Better Buys in its 2016 Report on the State of SaaS.

SAAS Industry Trends – Key Highlights of the 2016 Report on the State of SaaS

The report provides some interesting insights on SaaS adoption by small businesses. Here are a few important takeaways:

  • About 64 percent of small and medium-sized businesses rely on cloud-based technology to drive growth and boost workflow efficiency, finds cloud computing services company BCSG.
  • SaaS is expected to grow to $12 billion in 2016, and jump to $16 billion in 2017, and continue to grow year over year to an estimated $55 billion by 2026.
  • About 90 percent of mobile data traffic will be generated by cloud solutions by 2019.
  • Nearly half (43 percent) of small business owners use mobile as the primary devices for running their operations.
How a Small Business Can Benefit from SaaS

A large number of small businesses are opting for SaaS to automate everyday tasks and optimize important workflows. It’s not difficult to understand why. The best thing about SaaS is that it makes it easier for companies to add and access information whenever and wherever they want.

What also works in favor of SaaS is the flexibility small businesses get out of using it. Instead of investing in expensive IT infrastructure, small companies need to just pay for an ongoing subscription. For cash-strapped businesses, this translates into savings.

“Budgets are being decreased and the business units are already going out and buying SaaS without talking to the IT departments about it. They’re finding that they get more choice, they get it faster, they get it with less hassle — it’s instant gratification if you will,” Gartner VP and fellow Daryl Plummer tells ZDNet.

It’s an interesting time for small businesses to take advantage of advanced SaaS solutions. There are many SaaS startups offering great solutions to help businesses navigate today’s social marketplace.

With so many choices available, small businesses should focus on identifying solutions that work best for them.

Check out this infographic from Better Buys:

Images: BetterBuys

This article, "85 Percent of Small Businesses Set to Invest More in SaaS (Infographic)" was first published on Small Business Trends

13 Independent Donut Shop Alternatives to Dunkin’ Donuts

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2016-07-28 07:30

Despite the popularity of donut shop chains like Dunkin’ Donuts, there are plenty of successful donut shops that are thriving in today’s market. In fact, artisan donut shops, which offer specialty confections like cereal or bacon covered donuts, are beginning to gain more popularity in a number of different markets.

If you’re interested in breaking into the artisan donut market but need some inspiration, here are independent donut stores that are already experiencing big success.

Independent Donut Stores Making it Big The Salty Donut

This Miami based artisan donut shop specializes in chef-made, small-batch craft donuts. Some of the flavors on the menu include maple bacon, guava + cheese and even spiked donut holes. The team makes everything in house using high quality ingredients. And The Salty Donut even features rotating coffees with different flavor profiles.

Dougnut Lounge

Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Doughnut Lounge offers a variety of classic donut varieties, along with signature items that come with unique toppings or ingredients. And then there are the “noduts,” which are savory menu items that include donuts along with plenty of other ingredients that make them more like a full meal than a snack. For example, the Glazed & Gravy donut features a glazed donut smothered in gravy and topped with a fried egg. The business also has a selection of cocktails for customers to pair with their donuts.

Grace Street

This shop that features Korean specialties like Hodduk, a dough pocket filled with melted brown sugar and other specialty ingredients, along with shaved snow, a type of frozen dessert. Based in New York City, Grace Street isn’t what you’d think of as a traditional donut shop. But the shop has lots of positive reviews from people who are rethinking the entire concept of donuts.

Federal Donuts

Featuring donuts, coffee and chicken, Federal Donuts has a few locations throughout Philadelphia. The menu includes interesting donut varieties like churro and guava poppy. Or you can even pair your donuts with a side of fried chicken or even a flavored chicken sandwich.

Peter Pan Donuts

This bakery was established in Brooklyn more than 62 years ago. Since then, the shop has cultivated a dedicated customer base and evolved into a specialty donut shop featuring menu items like French toast cake and s’mores donuts. Peter Pan Donuts also features coffee and classic doughnut and pastry flavors.

Dynamo Donut + Coffee

This San Francisco based donut and coffee shop includes specialty donut flavors like chocolate rose, black pepper glaze and lemon thyme. With locations in San Francisco’s mission and marina districts, Dynamo Donut + Coffee uses seasonal, local and organic ingredients wherever possible. And the team handmakes each batch right at the mission location.

World’s Best Donuts

In Grand Marais, Minnesota, World’s Best Donuts offers a variety of cake donuts in different flavors, including the classics and special flavors like maple swirl. Started in 1969, the business also offers it’s own famous creation called the Skizzle, which is like an oversized but thin fried donut.

Bloom Bake Shop

Bloom Bake Shop is a vegan and gluten free dessert shop in Middleton, Wisconsin. The shop features donuts, cinnamon rolls, whoopee pies and even homemade pop tarts, along with a selection of biscuit sandwiches and coffee. The shop’s menu changes daily. But all selections are available in vegan and gluten free varieties.

The Morning Call Coffee Stand

For more than 140 years, The Morning Call Coffee Stand has been serving coffee and beignets, or “French market donuts” to New Orleans and the surrounding communities. Mostly known for its French drip coffee, the business has also amassed a large following of pastry fans who enjoy a different take on donuts.

Union Square Donuts

Union Square Donuts is a shop that specializes in handmade donuts in Somerville, Massachusetts. The shop offers premium donut flavors like maple bacon and brown butter hazlenut crunch, along with some classic flavors and even vegan varieties.

The Donut Man

Located in Glendora, California, The Donut Man features gourmet menu items like its gourmet cream cheese and raspberry topped donuts and orange frosted cake donuts. The shop also features seasonal flavors like fresh strawberry and pumpkin.

Primo’s Donuts

Since 1956, the Primo family has run Primo’s Donuts in Los Angeles. Featuring menu items that include classic donut flavors along with specialty items like bacon crunch donuts and bars and devil’s food donuts. The family owned establishment makes fresh batches of donuts daily.

Firecakes

This Chicago based shop features specialty donut flavors like maple glazed pineapple and bacon, peanut butter cup and malted milk ball. Firecakes also sells seasonal specialties and ice cream donut sandwiches.

Box of donuts Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "13 Independent Donut Shop Alternatives to Dunkin’ Donuts" was first published on Small Business Trends

How Will Investors Exit Their Crowdfunding Investments?

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

Investors can now buy equity in private companies through online platforms, which has led people eager to invest in startups to consider purchasing shares through these portals. But before people become invested in equity, they should think about how they will get their money out. We don’t yet have an efficient secondary market for private company shares.

The Challenge of Exiting Crowdfunding Investments

Business angels and venture capitalists usually achieve liquidity when the companies they finance are acquired or go public. But it’s not likely that most investors in crowdfunding portals will achieve liquidity that way. Most of the companies raising money through these platforms aren’t the type to go public or be acquired.

Moreover, crowdfunding will lead to a smaller fraction of private companies having these types of exits. Crowdfunding will increase directly the number of young companies getting financed, but won’t influence the number of IPOs or acquisitions very much at all. If crowdfunding leads more companies to receive investment, but doesn’t alter the number experiencing an IPO or acquisition, it will exacerbate the startup investment liquidity problem.

Strategic and institutional investors might someday become buyers of crowdfunding shares, David Freedman and Matthew Nutting argue in their book “Equity Crowdfunding for Investors: A Guide to the Risks, Returns, Regulations, Funding Portals, Due Diligence, and Deal Terms.” But, these investors aren’t going to do much to make a market for those shares initially. Strategic and institutional investors focus their financing activity on the highest performing fraction of businesses backed by angels and other early investors in private companies. They aren’t likely to be interested in the shares of most companies that raise money through equity crowdfunding.

Other individual investors might want to buy these shares, Freedman and Nutting explain. But that won’t happen while the startups are still selling shares through crowdfunding. Just as people don’t buy previously lived-in homes while builders are still offering brand new dwellings, investors won’t buy shares from others when they can purchase them from the companies themselves.

More importantly, for these shares to really trade between investors, we need a secondary market where buyers and sellers come together. The intermediaries that currently match buyers and sellers for private company shares probably won’t create these secondary markets. The currently market-making entities typically seek the approval of the companies that issue the shares before accepting transactions, making them a better fit for selling employees’ shares than investors’ equity. In addition, these transactions are labor-intensive, which will deter most entities from making markets for small lots.

Then there is the information problem. Potential buyers will have a difficult time getting accurate data on the private companies they are considering buying. No analysts cover these companies or provide reports about them. Few of the businesses have audited financial statements to provide to potential investors.

Before investing in private companies, investors should consider how they will liquidate their holdings in the future. Right now it’s possible to buy shares in private companies quite efficiently. But it’s not yet possible to sell those same shares easily.

Exit Sign Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How Will Investors Exit Their Crowdfunding Investments?" was first published on Small Business Trends

HFF Closes $112.5 Million Sale Of The Envoy Hotel, A Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel

Hotel Interactive - Thu, 2016-07-28 05:43
BOSTON-–Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF) announced today that it has closed the $112.5 million sale of The Envoy Hotel, an iconic, ...

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts Debuts 15th Hotel In Texas With The Grand Opening Of Sheraton Georgetown Texas

Hotel Interactive - Thu, 2016-07-28 05:30
GEORGETOWN, TX--Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), today announced the opening of the Sheraton ...

Hospitality Ventures Management Group Acquires Marriott And Embassy Suites Winston-Salem

Hotel Interactive - Thu, 2016-07-28 05:25
ATLANTA-–Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG), an Atlanta-based, private hotel ownership and management company, today announced it has acquired two downtown Winston ...

Getting Big Returns on Medium Posts

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2016-07-28 05:00

At a time when organic reach is declining (or dead) on many social networks, Medium is a shining beacon of hope if you’re feeling like your great content is going unnoticed and unloved.

One great thing about Medium is that it’s about the value of your ideas. It’s not just another place where the biggest names and celebrities dominate.

Even if you aren’t a top influencer with a gazillion followers, or if your niche is small, your Medium story can get tons of views and green hearts (the Recommend button). It’s doable.

I’ve already showed you WHY Medium publishing is such a powerful lever for content marketers. Today I’m going to show you HOW to make sure your content on Medium performs at an awesome level.

I’ve been experimenting with Medium for a while, and I think I’ve cracked the code. Here are my best seven tips to optimize your Medium posts and get them to go hot.

Medium Publishing Tips 1. Include A Powerful Image

A compelling image at the top of your content can help draw more readers into your post. Add an image immediately after your headline to guarantee it will appear as part of your teaser on mobile news feeds, like this:

Visuals increase engagement, whether it’s on Medium or any other platform. Unless you include an image in your Medium post, your teaser will just be a few words (usually just the opening sentence of your post), which means fewer clicks and fewer readers.

Always try to include a great, eye-catching visual. The right image can help convey what your article is about and entice many more people to click on the Read More link.

2. Pay To Promote

 

You can run ads on Facebook and Twitter to promote your Medium posts. With just $50 as a catalyst, you can give your content a little inaugural push, to help it get to 200 hearts within 24 hours.

I’ve found that if you’re able to cross a 200-heart threshold within a day, there’s a great chance your article will start trending and be pushed out to users by the platform’s content recommendation article. Your pageviews will skyrocket.

You’ll want to target your ads to people who have Medium accounts, because targeting people who aren’t on Medium is a complete waste of money if your only goal is to get hearts.

Once your post starts trending, more and more people will start seeing it, reading it and hearting it. You want to achieve this Medium Virtuous Cycle and ride your unicorn post as long as you can.

3. Submit Your Article To Medium Publications

 

Why go it alone? Ask a Medium publication owner to add your article to their publication.

Getting your article featured in a publication will grow your reach beyond just your followers to reach however many followers that publication has. Getting featured in a really big publication can give you a huge boost – some Medium publications have more than 100,000 followers.

My Medium publication, All Things Marketing & Entrepreneurship, has nearly 10,000 followers – it’s already the largest marketing publication on the platform! So someone who is new to Medium and who has a small following could ask me to feature a post in my channel, which would open that person to a brand new and much larger audience. (Interested in contributing? Shoot me a note on Twitter.)

4. Delete & Repost Your Articles

 

Not every Medium article you post will be a blockbuster. However, if you really believe your article should have done well, but it didn’t get reads and hearts for whatever reason, you absolutely can delete it and republish it.

Give your content a third chance (the first chance being wherever it initially published, and its second being its first incarnation on Medium) if it has less than 1,000 views and 50 hearts. Try again.

There is a bit of randomness to success on Medium. Some if has to do with publishing at the right time when people are active, creating a snowball of people recommending your post.

Just because your content underperformed twice doesn’t mean it will suffer the same outcome every time. Hopefully the third time is the charm. If you try more than 3 times, make sure you change the title and image because at some point, trying the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result becomes a bit insane. Also, wait at least a month or two between tries so as not to drive your followers crazy.

5. Build Your Twitter and Facebook Fans

Medium automatically syncs your followers to match your Twitter and Facebook followers. So you need to get more readers into your personal funnel.

Everything you’re doing to grow your Twitter and Facebook following will ultimately help you on Medium (just as, in turn, everything you do on Medium will help grow your Twitter following and Facebook fans). Even if just 1 in 10 people have an account, that will still help.

6. Follow People Who Engage With Your Content

This one is so simple. Whenever people engage with your content, whether it’s through a recommendation or a comment, follow them back, which will result in them seeing a notification that you’ve followed them.

They’ve indicated they are interested in what you’re writing about. So keep them engaged! Strike while your content is still fresh in their mind.

The odds are pretty good that the people who have engaged with your posts will follow you back. Usually about a quarter of the people I’ve followed have followed me back.

7. Post On a Regular Schedule

You can’t just set up a Medium account, post the occasional article, and expect to gain any real traction. You’ll have to work at it. That means regularly posting interesting content.

I’ve been publishing two or three articles every week for about six months and the results have been pretty remarkable. My posts are generating anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 views per month, and I’m picking up a couple thousand new followers per week, which means future stories are increasingly more likely to be successful.

What’s most amazing is that none of what I’m publishing is original content! It was all posted on other sites first. All the reads are incremental, meaning these people would have otherwise never read my posts.

Optimizing for Medium in a Nutshell

So that’s how you optimize for Medium, guys:

  • Use a great image.
  • Spend a few bucks on social ads to give your post a little push.
  • Work with Medium publications for more exposure.
  • Kill under performing posts and bring them back.
  • Add more Twitter and Facebook followers.
  • Follow people who like your posts.
  • Post regularly.

Go forth and get more out of your content. Go forth and conquer Medium! (and while you’re at it, follow me on Medium!)

Images via WordStream

This article, "Getting Big Returns on Medium Posts" was first published on Small Business Trends

Immigration officers arrest fast-food staff

Topix - Thu, 2016-07-28 04:45

The Home Office said 35 people from Albania, Brazil, Nepal and Egypt were arrested for immigration offences at Byron restaurants across London. It added the operation was carried out with the "full co-operation" of Byron earlier this month.

Categories: Today's Food News

Top Franchise Opportunities Award Winners Selected for July by 10 Best...

PR Web - Thu, 2016-07-28 03:30

10 Best Franchise has released the following winners of its new Top Franchise Opportunities Award: H&R Block, Hardee's and Circle K. These successful chains provide great products and make...

(PRWeb July 20, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/best-franchise/best-franchise/prweb13564467.htm

Philly Pretzel Factory Celebrates National Hot Dog Day with $1 Pretzel...

PR Web - Thu, 2016-07-28 03:30

150-Plus Participating Locations to Offer Discounted Pretzel Dogs on July 23, 2016

(PRWeb July 20, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/phillypretzel/nationalhotdogday/prweb13557076.htm

Ziggi's Coffee Announces Franchise Opportunity; Encourages Others...

PR Web - Thu, 2016-07-28 03:30

Family-owned and operated company invites individuals to become a part of the growing success of the brand by franchising its unique drive-thru and coffeehouse concepts

(PRWeb July 20, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/ZiggisCoffee/Franchise/prweb13561016.htm

KWKW 1330 AM/ESPN Deportes Named the Official Flagship Spanish Radio...

PR Web - Thu, 2016-07-28 03:30

The Los Angeles Rams have reached an exclusive rights agreement selecting KWKW 1330 AM/ESPN Deportes as their official Spanish language flagship radio station, the team announced today.

(PRWeb July 20, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/07/prweb13562984.htm

Buffalo Wings & Rings Celebrates Increase in Revenue, Franchise...

PR Web - Thu, 2016-07-28 03:30

Leading Sports Restaurant Franchise Is On Pace For Another Record-Breaking Year

(PRWeb July 20, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/buffalowings/franchise/prweb13565212.htm

Sir Grout of Scottsdale Has Changed Its Name to Sir Grout of Phoenix...

PR Web - Thu, 2016-07-28 03:30

This new name better represents service coverage of Phoenix, Arizona and its surrounding areas.

(PRWeb July 19, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/phoenix/groutrestoration/prweb13520484.htm

7.27.16: Tesla vs. Consumer Reports

Topix - Thu, 2016-07-28 02:37

On today's show, taking a critical look at the Tesla's autopilot feature with Consumer Reports, a look back at when we first heard about robots making delicious hamburgers, Sean Hurley does a dramatic [robotic] reading of a job posting at the robot hamburger restaurant, and we listen in to Peter Biello's conversation with author, illustrator, and banjo player Marek Bennett. So far, several agencies are investigating the crash that involved the Tesla electric car, - but it's a product review magazine that's making a direct call for Tesla to make changes to its autopilot system.

Categories: Today's Food News

19 quarters and counting: How Captain D's keeps increasing sales

FastCasual.com - Thu, 2016-07-28 00:00
Listening, according to the brand's head chef, Jason Henderson, has been key to the chain's re-emergence as a growing force in the restaurant industry.

'In-car commerce' functions recommended for E-ZPass

Topix - Wed, 2016-07-27 22:08

BOSTON >> As Massachusetts moves towards all-electronic tolling on the Massachusetts Turnpike, the Pioneer Institute is urging the state to look into expanding the use of tolling transponders to pay for parking and retail. In a white paper released on Wednesday, Pioneer researchers suggest that the E-Z Pass transponders already in many cars could be used to pay for parking, car washes, drive-thru fast food and other "in-car commerce."

Categories: Today's Food News

Taco Bell is using Cheetos to unleash a wild new weapon in the fast-food wars

Topix - Wed, 2016-07-27 19:58

Beefy Cheddar Cheetos Crunchwrap Sliders and Supreme Cheetos Crunchwrap Sliders. However, this would be the first time that Cheetos make an appearance on Taco Bell's US menu.

Categories: Today's Food News

Police hold one suspect in Burger King robbery

Topix - Wed, 2016-07-27 17:47

Police said that at around 7.20 p.m. three armed men entered the fast-food outlet and announced a hold-up. The 27 year old manager, an 18 year old security guard, and another employee were forced to hand over the business place's sales of $8,000.

Categories: Today's Food News