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If you sell on eBay, you could soon be in for a better experience thanks to a new partnership with Sellbrite. And that’s not the only announcement from the past week that could positively impact small businesses. Freshbooks also unveiled a new user interface that should make the platform easier to use.
There are even more small business headlines from the past week included below in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.Small Business Operations eBay and Sellbrite Partner to Offer Sellers Better Online Selling Experience
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) recently announced a new partnership this time with Sellbrite, a multi-channel ecommerce inventory and order management solution provider, to offer eBay sellers another free service and better online selling experience across multiple channels.Freshbooks New User Interface Makes Small Business Accounting ‘Ridiculously Easy,’ Company Says
FreshBooks, the cloud accounting software designed for service-based small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, today announced the launch of an entirely rebuilt user interface (UI) designed to make managing invoices, clients and expenses faster and easier. The platform is also expanding its ecosystem of integrations and adding companies such as Google, GoDaddy and Apple.Tesla Hackers Prove the Importance of Product Testing (Watch)
With great technology comes great responsibility. That’s what Tesla and other high-tech car companies are learning now that they’re working on creating autonomous vehicles and other technologically advanced driving features. A group of hackers recently tested whether or not they could access into Tesla vehicles from miles away — and they were successful.Riot Launches Introducing Open Source Encrypted Collaboration for Business
The ability to securely communicate in real-time is a key feature of today’s collaborative work environment. Riot, a secure messaging solution designed to bring online collaborations into a single space, has just launched promising to make this as simple and effortless as possible.Live Chat Returns to Groove Through Olark Partnership
Help desk software provider Groove just announced a partnership with Olark to offer a live chat app to its small business customers. Now, instead of switching between two apps to deliver customer service, the integration creates an all-in-one help desk and live chat solution. This is not the first time Groove has included live chat as part of its product lineup.Marketing Tips Chipotle Still Trying to Recover From Norovirus and E. Coli Outbreaks (Watch)
Chipotle is still trying to bounce back after those norovirus and E. coli outbreaks that hurt the company’s sales over the past year. So far, the company has given away free burritos, started a rewards program and even offered free drinks to students after classes. But none of those efforts have been able to get the food chain’s sales back to where they were.Employment These Jobs at Small Businesses Are the Least In Demand
Data recently surfaced about which jobs and positions at small businesses across the U.S. are in high demand. Small businesses have added tremendous amounts of help in the transportation and material moving categories in the last few years. But it seems automation of a lot of small business operations have led to a decline in the demand for the people that used to fill those jobs.More Small Businesses to Offer Retirement Plans Thanks to Obamacare, says Nationwide
For years, businesses have offered healthcare benefits to recruit and retain talent. But the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has lessened the appeal of such benefits. As a result, small businesses are now focusing on retirement benefits, a new study has found.Finance BizEquity Partners with Equifax in a Bid to Democratize Business Valuations
What is your business worth? Do you have any idea? BizEquity, an online provider of business valuation big data, recently announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Equifax (NYSE: EFX), an information solutions and global insights provider, to help answer this very question.Is the IRS Targeting Small Businesses? Yep, Says One Expert
The “random” audits of small businesses and their owners’ tax returns by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to find unreported income has left the small business taxpaying community feeling like they are being picked on and unduly forced to go “through the wringer.”Retail Trends H&M Ignores Underserved Market by Pulling Plus Size Clothing from Stores (Watch)
Popular retail chain H&M has reportedly removed all plus size clothing from its stores in New York City. A representative for the company explained that the stores simply don’t have enough room for those clothing options anymore since they’ve added new product lines like home goods and beauty supplies.Small Biz Spotlight Spotlight: Organize-It Sells Everything You Need to Organize Your Closet
Closet organization isn’t most people’s idea of a fun activity. But that’s why so many consumers need assistance in that area. Shoppers in Michigan and online can find some of the essential products they might need to organize their closets and other spaces in their homes at Organize-It.Social Media Watch Out! YouTube Calls On Users to Help Enforce Community Guidelines
YouTube is encouraging and “empowering” its users to “flag” content that does not meet the site’s community guidelines, while also offering more transparency on how its flagging feature works.20 Things You Should Know About New 140 Second Video on Vine And Twitter
While companies better known for online video have been duking it out for supremacy in the field, Twitter and Vine have been quietly innovating. Earlier this summer, Twitter announced extended lengths of Vine and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) video uploads to 140 seconds. Here are a few things you should know about the increased video length.Startup SCORE and Sam’s Club Announce 2016 American Small Business Championship $25K Grand Prize Winner
SCORE, a nonprofit organization that provides mentorship and education to small business owners, and Sam’s Club, the nationwide wholesaler club which also serves many small businesses, recently announced the winners, or Champions, as they call them, of the 2016 American Small Business Championship.How Startup Investors Can Take Advantage of the International Entrepreneur Rule
The Obama Administration has proposed amending the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations (PDF) to allow select foreign entrepreneurs to stay in the United States for a period of two years to build their companies here.Technology Trends Need High End Photography for Business? Details of Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 Emerge
Image capturing technology has evolved so much, near professional grade solutions are readily available on smartphones. But no matter how good the technology is on a mobile device, standalone cameras are still the way to go if you really want full professional grade features.Microsoft Making a Little Brexit of Its Own
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has announced plans to shut down Skype’s London offices. Up to 400 staff members could be made redundant as part of the move, which will see Skype abandon its three-floor building in Holborn in line with a wider restructuring exercise that will also impact freemium enterprise network Yammer.Weebly 4 Brings Websites, eCommerce, Email Marketing Together to Focus on Business Growth
DIY website builder Weebly today announced a new version of its platform, Weebly 4, that expands the focus beyond websites and ecommerce and adds a marketing element: email. Weebly 4 builds on the previous version, Carbon, by pairing the ecommerce engine with email marketing that creates campaigns on the fly based on customer actions.10 Features of Apple’s iOS 10 Small Businesses Need to Know About
The new iOS 10 by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been described by the company as its biggest release yet, and as an operating system with more personal, powerful and playful features. The good thing for small business owners is that the new features would seem to drastically enhance the way you can run your business on your iPhone or iPad.Is the Mobile App Already Dead? comScore Says We’re Nearing “Peak App” (INFOGRAPHIC)
Barring Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and other hugely successful names, many apps are actually rarely used or even downloaded by mobile device owners. Yet many businesses spend considerable time and resources creating apps to engage customers.What is AMP and Does Your Small Business Site Need It?
The number of mobile only Internet users in the US exceeded desktop in 2014, and the gap is getting wider. This particular trend hasn’t escaped the notice of Google and Twitter, leading the companies to create the Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP project to make mobile pages much faster.
Image: Small Business Trends
This article, "In the News: eBay Announces New Partnership, Freshbooks Unveils Updated UI" was first published on Small Business Trends
Social media has become a bigger part of a lot of small business’s marketing and customer engagement strategy since its infancy.
Quick question: Does anyone remember creating a MySpace page to promote their company? Sure, some — musicians, mostly — still use that platform but there are so many more popular options these days. And each one presents unique opportunities to reach an audience in a unique way.
Want to reach the general population? You’re probably using Facebook. Talking to your small business owner contemporaries? That sounds like a job for LinkedIn. Looking to be part of a national movement? A tweet with the right #hashtag gets you involved.
So, this week, we want to know …
Which social media site do you use most for business?What Are Your Most Popular Social Media Sites?
We’re giving you a choice of the big ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.
Let us know which platform is open most on your phone or occupying a tab most often in your web browser. In the comments section below, tell us why.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Social Media Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Which Social Media Site Do You Use Most for Business? [POLL]" was first published on Small Business Trends
McDonald's has opened a McCafe in Paris that doesn't resemble the typical fast food franchise: it's modeled after a boutique coffee shop with an open kitchen and cafe-style tables that can seat up to 30 patrons. The McCafe doesn't have the bright M logo on the outside; it has a pared down, black exterior with a clean interior to resemble that of any Starbucks branch.
Traditionally sales folks have had a love-hate relationship with CRM applications, meaning they love to hate them. Mainly because they feel they don’t get enough out of them for the amount of time they spend putting information into it. But now, thanks to machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation, CRM is now starting to provide them with real benefits … and real reasons not to hate it as much.
Jody Glidden, CEO and co-founder of Introhive, a SaaS-based platform which brings relationship intelligence into CRM with data automation and sales acceleration, shares how machine learning and automation now makes CRM more appealing to sales professionals. Below is an edited transcript of the conversation. To hear the full conversation please click the embedded player below.
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Small Business Trends: So from a sales person’s perspective has there been any real benefit to using a CRM system. Because a lot of them felt a bit like it was more of a management system; being able to have the managers see what you’re doing as opposed to giving some real tangible benefits to them using the CRM system.
Jody Glidden: Yeah I think that’s exactly right. When we started to talk to a lot of people out there and try to find out why people were putting their data in the CRM I think part of the reason they were doing it is because they didn’t see any major benefit to them. It was more of a system a log for management. And so they ended up letting it not have all the interesting information which kind of snowball.
Small Business Trends: But when you think about modern CRM in things like helping get and collect a lot of information and making it available to the sales rep it seems like maybe now we’re at a point in time that the sales rep will finally be able to get something out of it that will help them build relationships.
Jody Glidden: What we found is that if you’re asking people to input their contacts and keep those contacts up to date, input their activities, input their post-meeting, put all their action items in there,and so on. It actually adds up to a lot of administrative time. And so nobody is actually doing that. If you apply machine learning to that we can actually automate almost all of it actually. And then the great thing about it is not only are you taking that work away so people could go do something more fun, but in reality you have a lot more selling time and actually do some productive stuff.
The other interesting thing is that you log into the CRM and get more valuable information. I now know somebody else may have touched my customer or that the customer just moved to a new position. And now maybe I should reach out to them again. When you automate your CRM all of the sudden it becomes valuable and it’s not just the system to report to your manager.
Small Business Trends: So we talk automating your CRM is automating the information it comes into the CRM and becomes actionable without the rep having to do so much to find possible insights that make it easier for them to interact?
Jody Glidden: If you think of the way people used to measure CRM adoption it was by how many times people log in. That to me is not really CRM adoption because you didn’t buy it so the people would have a place to log in. You bought your CRM so that data would be logged and that insights could be gained.
So you automate getting all the data in and automate getting the insights out at just the right time. You can do that then it really doesn’t matter how often they login. You’re actually getting the value that you purchased CRM for in the first place.
Small Business Trends: Talk a little bit about what Introhive does in order to help the sales folks find the benefit of using their CRM application.
Jody Glidden: Introhive bolts onto your existing CRM. And all of the sudden kind of takes all of the work away. It can automate getting all of your contacts in, getting your notes in and all the logs of who’s touching your customer, the meetings, the emails, the action items. Figuring out when people change jobs and all those sorts of things. It does all of that administrative stuff for you. The other thing it’s doing is watching patterns in your meetings, your email reach and all the things you do and it’s bringing all of the actionable insights to you so it can tell you, for example, if you have a meeting with somebody, all of the pertinent information; what’s been touching my customer, what’s latest news, all things you’d hope your people are getting to prepare for the customer but probably are not. This can actually do all of that for you; to get all the stuff that’s interesting.
Small Business Trends: So the bottom line is there’s it looks like there’s a lot of data that’s floating around that could be used to help sales reps better interact and find better interaction opportunities more meaningful themes that they could use that could help them connect with customers. The idea is to get that kind of information into the CRM system so that these folks can use it.
Jody Glidden: Yeah that’s right. All of the stuff that you’re doing via e-mail, via social via phone, face to face, all of the systems that they’re using to touch the customers interact with those customers. A very small fraction of that stuff is actually getting logged. And I one of our customers joked that there were two kinds of employees. They have the people that will actually log everything and that was kind of a bad thing because you’re spending so many hours of their week actually doing that, and then they had people that weren’t doing it and that was a bad thing as well. All of this information really does need to get logged, but doesn’t need to be logged by humans.
The other thing is there’s a bunch of other information aside from that you want your employees to be up to speed on. Things like the latest news, the opportunities that are going on, cross-sell opportunities, buying history; do they have unpaid invoices. Things that you would like to hear your people know before they step into the room. You can actually systematize the process and get people “smart” before you walk in.
Right now I think everybody has the top 5 percent of their sales reps and they wonder what makes those people special; They tend to be more prepared. They look all of these things up before they get to the customer, they don’t just walk in the room. And if you can pull all of that information to them, do the work for them (the research) then you can bring everybody up a little bit more to the same level.
Small Business Trends: So it’s basically being able to provide those insights at the right time – in the process of them building relationship or throughout the customer journey – is critically important. But you don’t want the sales rep to spend either too much time trying to gather that information and then trying to analyze it, and you don’t want them not doing trying to do it at all. So that’s where the automation part comes into the relationship intelligence automation.
Jody Glidden: Machines are much better at this kind of stuff than we are because they can look through huge amounts of data and find just the stuff that is really interesting. Rather than have me go through all of the e-mail exchanges and meetings and try to analyze who in my company for example has the best relationship with my client because maybe I want to bring a colleague to the meeting. This system can actually tell you that in an instant, and about cross-sell opportunities. You’re looking at sort of a quick snapshot of suggestions. It’s all the stuff after really hours of research that are compiled into a two-minute summary.
Small Business Trends: The benefit for the sales rep is now they have a good reason to want to use the CRM system because now it’s actually providing them the intelligence they can use in a way they can take advantage of quickly. But on the flip side there’s a huge benefit for the sales management and the organization because now they’re actually getting that data in from the sales rep. But in addition to that from other data sources that give them an even better picture of what’s going on with an account, what’s going on with opportunities. And then they can prepare and leverage their resources more effectively by having that kind of information.
Jody Glidden: Sales management can actually get all the reports they want. If they can have all of the communications that happened all the way along an opportunity for example which before people are relying on people tagging the right things to the right places. The sales person is actually getting the right information to make them more effective in the meeting or on a call. And then even marketing becomes more effective because right now what keeps happening is sales just keeps asking marketing for more leads but part of the reason they need so many more of leads is because they’re not necessarily taking advantage of leads that they’re given. You can drive up that win rate or the amount of leads that move forward then you’d need fewer of them.
Small Business Trends: So the bottom line is this is a win-win-win. A win on the sales reps side is now they they actually do have a damn reason to use their CRM him because not only are they feeding it but they’re actually getting fed. And then on the sales management side they’re getting more accurate real time information on what’s going on with deals and in the pipeline and accounts so they can plan more effectively. And then overall the you hopefully having better performing sales folks, there’s also a win for the customer or the prospect because now those interactions are going to be much more tailored and much more precise to the needs of the actual person. So it’s not a whole bunch of fishing expedition. It’s not a whole bunch of ridiculous talk. It’s actually targeted based on analysis of the information and providing better information going back out to the prospect or to the customer.
Jody Glidden: Yeah that’s exactly right. I think it’s similar to what happened in online advertising about 10 years ago when relevance because I think people don’t feel like they’re being inconvenienced so much during the process. I don’t mind having a conversation with somebody who is you know smart about my needs and actually can provide helpful information. What I find less helpful is when people haven’t spent the time to have a meaningful conversation.
This article, "Jody Glidden of Introhive: Relationship Intelligence Automation is Key to CRM Adoption and Success" was first published on Small Business Trends
You’ve heard all the statistics right?
Ninety percent of startups fail.
Out of all the statistics we hear every day, this is the one that all entrepreneurs remember, isn’t it?
It’s something we all worry about.
One of the main reasons why businesses fail is because they lack the capital necessary to build their business. Simply put, they don’t have enough money to keep their businesses going.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re making the best uses of your resources. A large part of your success is dependent on your ability to save money.
In this post, you will learn some helpful tips that will help you save more money so you don’t become part of the 90 percent.Cost Savings Ideas for Entrepreneurs Take Care of Taxes
Entrepreneurs lose tons of money because they’re overpaying on their taxes. As a matter of fact, 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs are overpaying on their taxes. This is incredibly important. Managing your tax strategy the right way is essential to your efforts at saving money.
The key is to make sure you’re taking advantage of every deduction you can. Also, you need to ensure that you’re complying with tax law. This is extremely important. The last thing you need is to get into trouble with the IRS. This could end up costing you tons of money.
The best thing to do is to seek the guidance of a tax professional who can give you the advice you need to make sure you’re lowering your tax liability and staying in compliance with the IRS. Sure, it may cost you money to hire a CPA, but it can keep you from losing even more money due to costly mistakes.Get Rid of Your Debt
What would things be like if you didn’t have to pay so many monthly bills? How would things be if you could free up that money and put it into your business?
Debt can suck up tons of money. That’s why it’s imperative that you eliminate as much debt as possible.
One of the best ways to deal with debt is to not have it in the first place. If it’s possible, you should try to bootstrap your business. This can help you avoid the burden that debt can be. If you can’t bootstrap your business, you might consider taking on an investor. Depending on your type of business, this might be a better alternative for gaining funding.
If you already have debt, there are some things you can do to reduce it.
One of the ways you can attack your debt is to find a way to make some money on the side. You are an entrepreneur, right? If you can find a way to make some extra money without taking up too much of your time, it can help you get rid of your debt.
You also want to create an effective budget for your business. When you have the right budget, it makes it easier to chip away at your debt while making sure that you’re still managing your other expenses.
Also, if you’re like 44 million other Americans, you probably have student loan debt. As you already know, student loan debt can be quite challenging for entrepreneurs. If you are trying to eliminate your student loan debt, you might want to consider refinancing or consolidating it.Stop Wasting Time
You’ve heard it said that “time is money,” right? Of course you have. It’s true. Every entrepreneur knows that every hour of their time is precious. That’s why you can’t afford to waste it.
Time management is a skill that will save you tons of money if you master it. Effective time management enables you to make sure that you’re always making the best use of your time.
One of the best ways to save time is to use tools that can make you more effective. Here’s a list of tools that can help make your life easier as an entrepreneur. These tools can help you save time and be more effective at carrying out your duties.
Clyde Kim, CEO of 2Crave knows the value of using tools to free up time.
“My business keeps me pretty busy all day and night, so having the right tools helps me automate many of the functions that would take up too much of my time. If you’re building a business, it’s essential that you’re making the best of your time and there are plenty of tools out there to help you manage your days more effectively.”
You also might want to consider outsourcing. Yes, I know it may be counterintuitive. After all, how can you save money by spending it?
However, it’s something you should consider if you want to maximize your earning potential. After all, the more time you are able to put into growing your business, the more money you will make, right? There are plenty of affordable ways to outsource. If you can find room in your budget, you should consider outsourcing some of the tasks that take up your time.Cover Yourself Legally
Saving money means taking proactive steps to make sure you don’t lose money. Many entrepreneurs shy away from dealing with the legal side of running a business. That’s a mistake.
It’s a mistake because you need to make sure you’re protecting your business and yourself. And there’s only one real way to do this. You’re going to have to hire an attorney. Yes, I know — nobody likes dealing with attorneys. But if you deal with a reputable attorney, you will be doing yourself a huge favor.
Corporate attorneys can bring tremendous benefits to your business. The advice of an experienced attorney can help you avoid making mistakes that could open you up to a lawsuit. It can also help you stay away from accidentally breaking the law.
Yes, you will have to spend some money. But avoiding costly mistakes is well worth the expense. It only takes one silly mistake to bankrupt a business.Choose the Right Suppliers
Supplier relationships are important. If your type of business requires you to purchase resources from various suppliers, you need to make sure that you’re buying from the right ones. Choosing the right suppliers isn’t always easy, but if you do it the right way, you can get better terms and better pricing.
Of course, it isn’t just about choosing the right supplier to work with. You also want to work on building positive relationships with your suppliers. Positive supplier relationships can result in better service and pricing. It’s a great way to make sure you’re saving money.Conclusion
If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to save money. The better you are at cutting costs and mitigating your expenses, the greater chance you have at succeeding.
If you implement the tips given in this article, you will be in a much better position to achieve your business goals.
Saving Money Photo via Shutterstock