Small Business Blog - daily small business software blog
:: 6 Ways to Come Back From the Pandemic With a Stronger Team
Working from home has accelerated innovative team-building trends. How to make traits like agility, collaboration, and candor a permanent part of our management process.
The future of work arrived out of nowhere, on the back of a once-in-a-century pandemic. Team dynamics got challenged as members dealt with illness, trauma, and crisis. We've all been forced to rapidly and radically adapt to new working norms. The Ferrazzi Greenlight Research Institute has spent more than 15 years studying high-performing teams, but I've never seen entrepreneurs rise to the occasion as they have this year. When the crisis subsides, the temptation will be to turn back that progress and retreat into old behaviors.
:: The Office Is Not Dead Yet. And Now is the Time to Get a Sweet Deal
Businesses now can negotiate for perks and concessions that were unheard of in the commercial real estate market just a few months ago.
Asking rent prices have yet to fall, which is typical in a down cycle as landlords try to hold out as long as possible, says CBRE chief economist Richard Barkham. At the same time, Barkham says, landlords are eager to fill space, so they're willing to offer a bevy of concessions to the right tenants, including rent-free periods, build-out expenses, and flexible lease terms.
:: How To Make Zoom Meetings Actually Enjoyable
Practice Your On-Camera Speaking Skills
Nothing is worse than having a boring presenter be it in person or on camera. Just like public speaking, presenting on camera is a learned skill anyone can achieve if they have the right guidance. Here are 10 tips to speaking on camera
Dress to Impress
Even though no one can see what you are wearing below the computer desk, you want to suit up.
Use the 8% Rule
As Michael, the CEO of Teambuilding explains Any Zoom meeting should have at least 8% of its time dedicated to non-meetings activities.
:: The Pandemic is Motivating 96% of New Entrepreneurs in 2020
Ninety-six percent of new entrepreneurs say the pandemic is motivating or giving them the motivation they needed to start their own business. This positive statistic comes from Azlo, a banking platform for small business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.
In mid-March 2020, Azlo witnessed an uptick in new accounts opening. Wanting to understand the reasons behind the boost in business, Azlo conducted a survey. ‘The COVID Economy’ report interviewed 1,000 of Azlos newest customers across the United States.
:: Behind the Wild and Sometimes Wacky Facemask Economy
The face-covering business went from zero to crazy money in five months, with manufacturers pivoting production lines and brands seizing the moment to advertise.
:: What Is The Best Small Business CRM For Gmail?
There are three types of CRMs that work with Gmail. Some - like Zoho , Sugar, Insightly and GoldMine - have their own, built-in email clients that can connect to Gmails server to send and receive messages. Others - such as Salesforce - will just quickly integrate with Gmail right out of the box via a plug-in and then synchronize messages back and forth. And then there are a few – like Copper and Streak - that work right inside of Gmail.
:: This Company Is Paying for Unemployed Americans to Train as Health Care Workers
Ankur Jains investment firm, Kairos, is funding training sessions and job placement for 10,000 workers.
:: 5 Deadly Sins That Can Wreck Your Franchise – and How to Avoid Them
The food and beverage industry is a tough game. Sixty percent of restaurants don’t make it past their first year, and 80 percent go out of business within five years. Those are hard odds.
Franchising takes some of the risks out of the equation by giving you a proven model to work with. But being a franchisor with a proven model under your arm does not mean you’re suddenly bulletproof or immune to the laws of economics. If you start making unforced errors, you are going to fail.
Here are the five reasons most people fail as the owner of a franchise. Avoid these deadly sins at all costs:
Sin 1: Financial complacency
Sin 2: Operational obtuseness
Sin 3: Poor hiring choices
Sin 4: Myopic risk management
Sin 5: Mediocre offerings
:: 5 Ways to Help Your Business Win in Times of Crisis
March 11, 2020 is a day destined for the history books: WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak a Pandemic. It was that day that, all around the world, leaders began scrambling, ripping through the pages of their crisis playbooks (or quickly creating them), searching for their pandemic play-by-play. Shortly after came the day the markets crashed on March 16, turning the crisis to both a health and economic calamity.
Though etched in our minds with great infamy, it’s days like these that I believe make true leaders. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t be the leaders we remember if it were not for the fiery trials that forged their legacies. This is true not only for politicians and activists, but also for business leaders. As president of The UPS Store, a business deemed essential throughout the pandemic, I’ve seen what works (and what does not) when leading through a crisis, and how leaders can turn even a global pandemic into an opportunity.
Take a step back
The lightning pace and innovation of technology in todays world has trained us to think that speedy decisions are good decisions.
:: How Small Businesses Can Preserve Company Culture During Dramatic Change
One of the primary appeals of the contemporary small business, in my opinion, is the family-centric culture that comes from a close-knit team. While in modern America, many may feel swallowed by corporations, the notoriety of the small business proves that people still find value in the intimate workplace.
Every industry across the globe has felt the staggering impacts of Covid-19, but small businesses were put under specific strain. Based on what I've seen, however, they have proved their undeniable resilience.
As a proud member of a small business myself, I have felt the social deprivation of working from home firsthand. Similar to my own experience, members of thousands of other small businesses who have worked alongside each other for lifetimes have had to adjust to maintaining an office culture from the comfort (or discomfort) of their home. While online interactions can never compare to the in-person experience, many small businesses, like my own, found that being apart actually meant working closer together than ever before.
:: How Small Businesses Can Prioritize Network Security In The Remote Work Era
Remote work was already on the rise before Covid-19 forced many employees to transition to working from home. Today, as many organizations continue to operate remotely due to the pandemic, how can business leaders address the array of security challenges their companies face?
Network security should be top of mind for businesses of all sizes across a variety of industries. While the list of companies experiencing major security breaches in recent years includes some well-known enterprises, addressing security threats is an especially hefty challenge for small businesses—particularly if those businesses lack the resources to implement strong controls and educate staff.
:: How SCORE Is Helping Small Businesses Through Their Resilience Hub
One of the most important organizations that has always helped small businesses is SCORE with its 300 chapters and over 10,000 volunteers. They are there to offer help when entrepreneurs want it. Now during the pandemic, their free assistance is needed more than ever.
SCORE has established a special Resilience Hub to let small business owners connect with a mentor and help them navigate to specific COVID resources, discounts, grants, training materials and guides for industries. This site includes how to access a network where people can learn from each other.
:: How to Craft An Elevator Pitch That Gives People Chills in Under 20 Seconds
How people usually do elevator pitches
Among those who put thought into their elevator pitches, there tends to be two basic formulas:
Formula A: Introduce oneself and the name of the company, then describe the product or service in the context of the customer or industry’s pain point. Then, at the end, make the ask.
Formula B: Identify the pain point before introducing oneself and the name of the company. Then describe the product or service, followed by the ask.
While I am adamant that the only hard and fast rule of communication is that there are no hard and fast rules, I favor Formula B. People are most likely to embrace a solution when it is provided within the context of a problem they care about solving. By starting with a pain point, the entrepreneur is speaking to what an uninformed audience cares about right away thus making sure that the first thing their audience hears has intrinsic value to them. This helps the audience become immediately invested in solving the problem, which helps the entrepreneur to build some momentum.
:: When Covid Upends Your Small Business
On March 16, Lisa Eskenazi Boyer was working up a sweat with her students one last time at her bustling Queens, New York, fitness studio. Covid-19 lockdown orders were about to take effect, and Simply Fit Astoria — along with all other local gyms — would have to close its doors later that night. She never expected it to be for good.....
:: 15 Steps to start a business from scratch with (almost) no money
Coming up with a business idea and starting a business can seem overwhelming and complicated. There are so many things you have to consider from coming up with an excellent idea to registering a company, all the way to business planning, fundraising and much more.
That is why we have put together this in-depth guide to take you by step by step through how you can start a business.
More info - https://entrepreneurhandbook.co.uk/starting-a-business/
:: When School Goes Virtual, Startups Step Into the Breach
With a chaotic and largely unsuccessful spring semester behind it, the country is getting ready for a school year unlike any other--and teachers, staff, and parents will need all the help they can get.
Education technology companies are well positioned to capitalize on the shift to remote learning.
:: Wear A Mask to Save Small Businesses
There is no easy way to say this: America’s small businesses are dying. Small businesses in some industries – retail, restaurant, travel, hospitality – can now be considered endangered species.
If you want to help them survive – if you want your own small business to survive – the most important thing you can do is simple: Wear a mask.
Wear a mask. It is not a political statement. It’s a way to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus, get this country reopened and save lives and businesses, especially small businesses.
Consider just a few statistics:
• Yelp reported 71,500 businesses that were listed on their site have closed for good since March 1.
• 80% of independent restaurants aren’t sure they’ll survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
:: Why School Openings Matter to Your Small Business
Unless Congress extends FFCRA past its December 31 deadline or increases the number of weeks past 12, many parents have used up this time anyway. You can not run your business without employees, and employees will find it very difficult to work without schools. And if they extend FFCRA leave, it may help your employees, but your business needs people to run.
:: 6 tips for starting a business during coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has placed tremendous stress on the American economy. More than 55 million Americans have filed for unemployment, and more than 100,000 small businesses have been permanently shuttered, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Though the news seems dire, these changing times could present an opportunity if you are a hopeful entrepreneur.
Whether you have been planning to start a business for years, you have been laid off and are looking for new opportunities or you are moving your existing business in a new direction, now might be the time to figure out how to start a business.
:: Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook Execs Face Congress: 9 Big Takeaways
The CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook faced the House Judiciary Committee virtually today, where they fielded questions about whether their respective tech companies take advantage of their dominant positions in the market to enhance their bottom lines.
Spoiler: They all said they do not.
Rep. Cicilline said House Judiciary will publish a report on the Antitrust Subcommittees finding, which will propose solutions. but his hearing has made one fact clear to me: These companies as they exist today have monopoly power. Some need to be broken up. All need to be properly regulated and held accountable, he concluded.
:: Small Business SEO: Seven Tips To Rank Your Website On Google
1. Develop a professional mobile-friendly business website.
Your website must be professional and should provide a rich experience and the feel of your brand to users. Here are a few tips to make your website professional and SEO-friendly:
• Use your business logo and branding on your website.
• Make sure your website is mobile-friendly (more than half of local searches are mobile searches)
• Your website should load in less than three seconds.
• Use a clean, minimal design, and avoid fancy styles.
• Your website must be well structured and easy to use.
Many business owners waste too much money creating a professional small business website. But there is no need to waste too much money on a business website. You can create a professional website for less than $500. So do not waste more money on website design, but invest that extra money in SEO.
2. Identify profitable keywords.
The success of an SEO campaign depends on the targeted keywords. Thats why you need to choose the right and profitable keywords for your small business. All keywords are not equal; some keywords could have high search volume but not profitability, while some could be profitable but have small volumes.
Also, focus on long-tail keywords because they are easy to rank and more profitable than short keywords. The profitability of a keyword depends on the nature of the keyword. For that, you need to understand the intent behind that keyword — why a user is searching that.
For example, when a person searches ice cream on Google, they want to know about ice cream, which means it has informational intent. But when a person searches for best choco-milk ice cream near me, the person wants to eat ice cream. This will be a profitable keyword for you to target.
3. Create a separate page for each product.
I found that many small businesses list all their products on one page like the homepage, but this is not a good practice. If you want to get more profit from your local SEO efforts, then you should create specific pages for each product. That way you can rank higher for each product page for multiple keywords.
For example, if you have a clothing store website, then you need to create separate pages for each product, such as one page for jeans and another for shirts. Also, you can create further subpages, such as jeans > men jeans > blue jeans. This can boost your rankings and revenue and reduce your efforts.
4. Use schema.
Structured data is helping Google better understand webpages. That’s why it can help you rank higher and get the advantage of other SERP features like featured snippets, knowledge graphs, etc. Product schema, local business, FAQ and others are must-use schema types for every business.
:: How Technology Enables Small Business
Small businesses are a cornerstone of the American economy, contributing $6 trillion in economic output and employing 85 million Americans. Unfortunately, small businesses are also heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with one in five closed either temporarily or permanently. With social distancing restrictions in place, small-business owners more than ever count on technology to reach consumers, market their products, and grow their business. Tech has been a critical lifeline for small businesses and consumers alike during the COVID-19 crisis.
Examining the use of digital platforms as a whole in the United States before the pandemic, the national small business survey finds that the use of digital platforms by small enterprises is ubiquitous:
84% of small enterprises are using at least one major digital platform to provide information to customers;
80% are using at least one major platform to show products and services, as well as to advertise;
79% are using digital tools to communicate with customers and suppliers; and
75% are using tech platforms for sales.
Now, during the pandemic, everything from the way consumers find and purchase products and services to the way small businesses market and ship their wares is enabled by technologies. As a McKinsey study found, the most effective way for small businesses to meet new hygiene and safety expectations is to design effective contactless experiences through adopting new technologies. For example, restaurants and retailers that have turned to digital capabilities and investments in technology fared far better since the pandemic began. In an SBE Council survey, around 76% of small businesses say that cloud services have been critical to the survival and operation of their business during COVID-19.
:: The Ins And Outs Of The New Small Business Bankruptcy Option
You might have missed it amid all the goings-on since then, but in August 2019, a new law was passed that gives small businesses (and individuals/married couples) a new and simplified way to go through bankruptcy without needing to sell off their assets.
In other words, you can keep operating your business while going through and emerging from bankruptcy. And you can do it faster and cheaper than before.
The Small Business Reorganization Act added a new section to Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Subchapter V lets entities with debts below a threshold amount go through a streamlined court process, establishing and approving new repayment plans that creditors are required to accept (creditors get input, too, but this is limited and more streamlined as well). You don't have to sell off your assets as in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and you can keep operating without needing to meet the strict Chapter 13 requirements or suffering the prohibitive expense of a standard Chapter 11 process.
Your business might be in dire straits, but weathering this rough patch might mean a return to profitability.
:: Pricing Strategies for a Strong Bottom Line
A price strategy is every bit as important as what you have got to sell. After all, they dictate what you will charge for the goods and services you have on the market. In the end, getting these pricing strategies right is a bit of a balancing act. You will need to find that sweet spot between market demand and maximum profits.
1. Competition Based Pricing Strategy
If you are selling things that are similar, this is the pricing strategy your small business should be looking at. Here’s how competitive pricing works. First off, this works best for products rather than services. It works when the price for those products has reached a balancing point between your business and others.
This pricing strategy starts out using the going market rate to set a price.
2. Value-Based Pricing
Basically this is pricing based on what customers are willing to pay.
There are several steps to this pricing model. You need to do a bit of detective work here to find a competitive product. Next, you will need to list all the ways your product is different. Stress the financial value on these differences. This is a reasonable way to defend your pricing strategy.
:: 5 Smart Small-Business Moves to Make During COVID-19
1. Apply for a line of credit
2. Have cash on hand
3. Negotiate with your vendors
4. Be as adaptable as possible
5. Invest in safety
:: Small Business Administration will not name PPP borrowers
A small, overlooked federal agency is shouldering a massive relief effort for the nation's small businesses and their workers left reeling by the novel coronavirus. The U.S. Small Business Administration has committed to auditing every sizable emergency loan it approves, yet nearly two months since the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program was launched, the agency has yet to make public the recipients of taxpayer aid.
:: 6 Cybersecurity Must-Haves for Your Business
In the current environment, cybersecurity is essential for businesses of all sizes. Many small or medium-sized businesses find themselves without adequate cybersecurity, either as a result of believing that they don’t need it or simply overlooking it among the many demands that come with running a business.
1. Use protection against ransomware
2. Invest in employee security training
3. Adopt multifactor authentication
4. Use a Security Information and Event Management system
5. Implement effective systems for protecting and monitoring data
6. Have a plan for mobile device security
:: 75% of Consumers Plan to Support Small Businesses More Often
The survey shows that consumers have already been going out of their way to support small businesses. 86% of those surveyed say they have continued to support locally owned businesses during quarantine.
The research uncovers how consumers have been supporting local businesses during lockdown. For example, 77% said they have been participating in a virtual experience offered by a local business. 60% of consumers said they have been ordering more takeaways and deliveries from local restaurants.
:: Small-Biz Wish List: 5 Ways the PPP Could Change for the Better
Small businesses could soon see a rollback of several universally loathed measures attached to the original Paycheck Protection Program, the $669 billion loan and grant initiative aimed at helping small businesses keep employees on the payroll.
When the House convenes next Wednesday, it is expected to vote on the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, a standalone bill that would, among other things, lengthen the time businesses may spend the funds from their PPP loans. The bill would also eliminate the requirement that 75 percent of a loan's proceeds must be spent on employee pay and benefits. The measure was originally proposed on May 15 in the House by representatives Dean Phillips (D., Minn.) and Chip Roy (R., Texas).
:: How answering questions helps promote your business
The opportunities to answer questions for potential publication can come from various sources. Help a Reporter, known as HARO, matches journalists with sources for their stories. Quora allows users to answer any question posed by their community. And professional membership organizations offer business leaders the opportunity to share their insights in industry publications.
The opportunities to add your own insights are out there. But why would you, as a business owner, devote your time to answering these questions? What are the benefits?
Here are five ways that answering questions online can help promote your business.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
:: Small Business Guide to Video Marketing
The current global forecast estimates the average person will watch 100 minutes of online video each day in 2021. In fact, a survey of marketers reveals 88% of them say video marketing provides them with a positive Return on Investments (ROI). Furthermore, 92% of marketers say video is an important part of a marketing strategy. With 75 million Americans watching online videos every day, video marketing offers enticing opportunities for marketers to capitalize on the rise in popularity of online videos.
The good news is you don’t need much to get started. With a good camera or a decent smartphone, you too can make great videos for your business. Your marketing video can be used for your website or social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram; the sky is literally the limit. A caveat here is making a marketing video requires a bit of a learning curve. First, you will need to have the right amount of knowledge and tools to make a meaningful impact from your video marketing effort.
:: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Prepare for the Post-Coronavirus Business World
Social distancing. Telemedicine. Self-quarantine. These are all words that at the start of 2020 weren't part of our vocabulary, but several months into the new decade we are all hearing and using them daily. There is no denying that the coronavirus outbreak has dramatically changed just about every facet of just about every person’s life around the world.
From a business perspective, the stock market saw its largest one day loss and largest one day gain in history. The U.S. saw the largest job-loss report ever. We are in uncharted waters, and how long we will remain in them remains uncertain. However, there is one thing that we all know, and that is that this outbreak will change the lives of everyone for years or decades to come. Nearly 20 years after 9-11, enhanced airport security, no-fly lists and counterterrorism efforts are still the norm. The same will be true of the COVID-19 aftermath. Is your business ready for the five largest macro trends we are about to see?
1. The rise of enhanced websites and digital tools
2. Cybersecurity concerns take center stage
3. An increase in virtual meetings
4. Increased control in expenses
5. Even more remote employees
:: How Marketers Can Help Restore Consumer Confidence
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, consumer confidence has declined in all 50 states, according to ongoing research from Morning Consult. And we all know that consumer confidence is a critical component of economic growth. As businesses begin to reopen across America, they need to work hard to restore this critical sentiment. To that end, consumer confidence may well be the only marketing message that matters for some time to come.
As consumers weigh the pros and cons of carefully reemerging from quarantine, many marketers will need to make a point of reassuring them in their messaging. Here are four smart marketing approaches to consider as you seek to restore consumer confidence.
1. Reframe social distancing.
2. Acknowledge the struggle.
3. Build consumer trust.
4. Emphasize safety.
:: Why Did This 17-Year-Old Turn Down $8 Million for His Coronavirus-Tracking Website?
Seventeen-year-old Avi Schiffmann is an entrepreneur. But he is a different kind of entrepreneur. He’s not in it for the profits, fame and continued growth opportunities. At least, not right now.
Schiffmann, a high school teenager who lives in Washington State, has attracted worldwide attention through his amazing Survival Rate Calculator website, which tracks critical information related to the coronavirus outbreak. Since launching the site during the early stages of the pandemic, Schiffmann's web crawlers have been configured to pull in, parse and process real time data from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and other governmental websites and convert that data to show infections, deaths, recoveries and rates of change for all countries around the world. The site breaks down infections on user-friendly maps, provides health information and also attempts to calculate a survival rate of someone who contracts COVID-19, based on user-submitted health data of age, gender and other health factors.
Is the site popular? You bet. According to a profile of Schiffmann on Business Insider, the site attracts about 30 million visitors a day and 700 million total so far.
:: These Companies Found a New Niche in Coronavirus Disinfection
The pandemic is revealing to small businesses just how versatile they are. So: A home-decor company, a skirt designer, and a business that makes boots for horses all realize they can craft face masks. A manufacturer of pet supplements and a hot sauce company join myriad craft distilleries in production of hand sanitizers.
The task of disinfecting workplaces tainted by or vulnerable to coronavirus also has attracted a variety of unexpected entrants. At AK Wet Works, the partners set out at once to reengineer their dustless blasters to produce a cold vapor fog that can sterilize 20,000 square feet an hour. In 100 hours, they produced a working model and began converting all 10 of their machines.
Seeking validation for their plan, the founders reached out to FQE, a local chemical company with an EPA-approved coronavirus disinfectant, to create a blend for them. Thinking their idea might have legs outside the Houston-area market, they next approached MMLJ, the original blaster manufacturer, which agreed to mass-produce the modified parts and market them to its large client base. MMLJ is paying a royalty to AK Wet Works, Bland says.
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