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How to Create Powerful Presentations, Design Effective Email Marketing Campaigns, Network Better, Keep Your Data Secure and Other Things Entrepreneurs need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky

1—How to Keep Your Data Secure

There was a 64% increase in internet security breaches last year, so you’d think more businesses would be concerned about securing their data and have a cyber incident response plan in place. DHR International, a global executive search firm, believes “industry jargon and misinformation are the key reasons why organizations are not better prepared for a cyber breach.”

Check out the infographic below to see how your small business can improve your information security, and what to do if you experience a cyber breach.



2—Women Entrepreneurs Say They Can Have It All

The Small Business Growth survey from Bank of the West shows women entrepreneurs are more likely than men to report certain benefits of the small business owner lifestyle. In fact, 32% (vs. 22% of male business owners) say being able to “have it all”—both a rewarding career and a family life—is one of the best parts of being a small business owner. Women also are more likely than men to cite spending more time with their families (46% versus 36%) and connection with community (38% versus 27%) as some of the best parts of being a small business owner.

However, women are more likely than men to say the work-life juggle, particularly the competing demands on their time is a significant barrier to the growth of their companies (64% of women versus 55% of men).

See the infographic below for more information.



3— How to Create a Successful Email Campaign

Most small business owners know how important and effective email marketing can be—but are often underwhelmed by the results of their email marketing campaigns. The key, reports Matt Zajechowski of Digital Third Coast, “is to understand what your customers find to be engaging, and designing emails according to that information.”

Matt worked with Easy SMTP and computational neuroscience firm EyeQuant to evaluate a number of email campaigns to see how people experience emails. The campaigns were rated based on clarity, excitingness and an attention heat map.

Some of the main takeaways:

  • Use white space to steer the eye.
  • Narrow your options and focus your message.
  • Have a simple design, and contrasting call to actions.
  • Clean display is recommended for technical content.
  • Be mindful of colors and secondary elements in images.

You can see the results in the comprehensive graphic below.




4—Elevator Pitch Contest

Kabbage, a leading financial services data and technology platform, is holding a contest for entrepreneurs to have the opportunity to give an “Elevator Pitch” to entrepreneur and investor Lori Greiner. Of the five entrepreneurs who are selected to pitch, one finalist will win $10,000 and a private, one-hour business consultation with Greiner. Contest submissions are open now and you can enter until midnight on September 20, 2016.

If you’re not aware, Greiner has created more than 500 products and holds 120 U.S. and international patents. She is also the author of Invent It, Sell It, Bank It, a national bestseller.

In order to enter you need to create a short video of your best business growth idea and upload the video to Kabbage’s Facebook page. A panel of judges will select the qualifying finalists to deliver their best “Elevator Pitch” in person to Lori Greiner. Limit one entry per small business. The winner will be announced in early October.

Please visit the contest web page for full eligibility requirements, terms and conditions.


5—Achieving Small Business Success

As small business owners we constantly encounter new challenges. But it is how we deal with them that matter. Emergent Research recently took a look at how entrepreneurs define success at different stages of growth—and with Infusionsoft released a very interesting report, Defining and Achieving Small Business Success, you should take a look at.

Some key findings include:

  • 12% of small business want to build a large business with more than 50 employees
  • The top three challenges for small businesses are:
  • Finding time to get everything done
  • Finding and retaining qualified employees
  • Generating leads and turning them into customers
  • 2 top ways small businesses overcome challenges and achieve success are through technology and paid coaching.


6—Why You Need Strong Business Credit

Surprisingly 72% of business owners do not know what their business credit score is—and 60% do not even know where to find their business credit score. But knowing your score is essential to building and keeping a high business credit score.

Check out this ebook, Why Small Businesses Need Strong Business Credit, from Nav and Manta to learn more.


7—10 Keys to Better Networking

Guest post by Sharon Schweitzer, a cross-cultural and international business protocol & etiquette expert and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide.

  • Get Face Time: Even with LinkedIn, Alignable, FaceBook Liveand the latest social media platforms, face-to-face interaction is the key. Making a personal connection with eye contact, a bow, fist bump or handshake, and solid conversation is still the most powerful networking.
  • Use Conversation Starters: When starting conversations in networking scenarios, the key is to build rapport. Arrive prepared with a conversation startersuch as: Did you see that tweet? How do you know the host? Are you originally from here? Where was your last vacation? Where is your next vacation? Have you seen [insert movie title]? Avoid diving directly into a professional conversation. Ease from personal banter to questions about their
  • Remember the 80:20 Rule: When engaging in networking conversations, remember the 80:20 rule. Listen 80% of the time, ask questions 10%, and share your opinion 10%. Sound unfair? No, your counterpart will love everything they hear—themselves! Participate as an active listener.
  • Open & Close Conversations: Be prepared with questions about business if they ask about your business. Good questions include: How do you know the host?What attracted you to this industry? Tell me about your logo design? Before you leave a group, close conversations with I have enjoyed visiting with you. Thanks for your time, or, maybe I’ll see you next month, have a good evening. Personalize to your comfort level.
  • Be Authentic: Speak truthfully about yourself, what you want and where you plan to go. Use up-to-date professional photos on LinkedIn and social media. Responding to questions about what you want and who you are must align with your social media platforms, resume and recommendations.
  • Personalize Connection Invitations: Follow up with contacts and personalize invitations. For example, “A pleasure meeting you at the AMA lunch. You mentioned volunteer opportunities; I’m reaching out to connect and possibly set a date. Does September 14, 25 or 26 work?” “Thanks for your chamber presentation. Attached is a link to my latest article. Thanks for offering to share with your colleagues.”
  • Maximize Chambers of Commerce & Industry Leaders: Investigate your local chamber of commercefor opportunities to learn, grow and connect with other area businesses. Learn from industry experts. Reach out to thought leaders with lunch invitations and LinkedIn requests. Offer to write a book review and invite these leaders to speak to your industry group in return for an honorarium. A brilliant way to learn and connect with industry players.
  • Ace all Homework: Before attending networking events, research the individuals and companies attending. Be intentional with your networking goals and clear in what you are striving for in your connections.
  • Be Present: Playing Pokemon Gobetween conversations? Reverting to your phone when feeling uneasy? Each conversation is valuable personally and professionally—use the time wisely.
  • Share Substance: Follow up within two days of meeting a new contact and share something of substance. For example: link to an article of mutual interest. Keeps the focus from being purely transactional and show genuine interest. Enjoy your growing network.


8—Small Businesses Using Apps in Record Numbers

A multi-country study released by Intuit (which focused on small businesses in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia) shows most small businesses around the world are using the cloud and relying on apps to run their businesses. The 2016 Appification of Small Business Report shows 64% of small businesses run in the cloud, 68% use apps and 66% use a smartphone. In addition, small businesses owners are experiencing the long-term effect of mobile and web-based apps on their bottom lines, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses.

The study also shows that while tech-savvy businesses are integrating apps in record numbers, they are also running into persistent barriers with existing apps. About two-in-five small businesses believe there are too many apps to choose from, 41% say they’re unsure of which apps are best suited for their businesses, and 39% are concerned with costs to integrate and train on apps. Complexity was an issue for 23%.

In the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia 68% of small businesses currently use mobile or web-based apps to help run their companies, eliminate administrative tasks and shift their focus to growing their businesses. A total of 82% the of small businesses that use apps use between one and six apps to run their businesses.


9—Small Business Optimism Improves

The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, conducted in July, shows small business owners are slightly more optimistic than they were in April’s survey. Small business owners also reported it was easier for them to obtain credit, with 36% saying that it was somewhat or very easy for their companies to obtain credit over the past 12 months—the highest reading on this measure since the 4th quarter of 2008. Most (60%) also said they cash flow was “very or somewhat good” in the past 12 months.

Small business payment trends: The business owners say the top two ways they accept payments are checks (90%) and cash (72%) Other top payment methods accepted include:

  • Mailed payment via printed check from a bill-pay service (53%)
  • Credit or debit card at point of sale terminal (42%)
  • Digitally, via Electronic Funds Transfer (42%)
  • Credit or debit card via a mobile point-of-sale terminal, such as Square Reader or PayPal Here (30%)

Similarly, when it comes to paying bills for their business, most small business owners pay by check, either in person or by mail (91%), by credit or debit card at a point of sale terminal (69%) or digitally via Electronic Funds Transfer (63%.) A majority (51%) say their systems are EMV chip-enabled, compared to 31% when the question was first asked a year ago.

Small business challenges: The most important challenges facing their business today are:

  • Attracting customers and finding new business as the top concern (14%)
  • Government regulations (12%)
  • The economy (12%)
  • Hiring and retaining quality staff (11%)


10—How to Create a Killer Presentation

There are days (weeks even) where I find myself living in PowerPoint hell. Over 30 million presentations are created every day (!!!), so if like me, you’d like to get smarter at this, check out this SlideShare or PDF from sales-i.


11—Millennials & Entrepreneurship

In its first-ever global study on the next generation of entrepreneurs, Sage found important insights into what influences Millennial behavior in areas such as attitudes towards work-life balance, technology adoption, social values and barriers. Sage says, “The data is clear—the next generation of business owners is optimistic about the future, but they need their governments to support small business and entrepreneurship in meaningful ways.”

Here are some statistics for millennial entrepreneurs in the U.S.:

  • 66% say they prioritize life over work, and the vast majority sacrifice profits over their own values and ethics
  • 65% say they’ll start more than one business during their lifetimes
  • 34% want to make their businesses huge and become famous entrepreneurs within the next five years

The findings also profiled different types of Millennial entrepreneurs according to their behaviors:

The Principled Planners: They’re methodical in their approach to work & enjoy carefully planning for success. They’re ambitious, never take anything at face value and always ask a lot of questions.

The Driven Techies: They love their work and can’t tolerate sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They trust in the power and efficiency of innovative technology to keep them one step ahead of the competition and strongly believe in its ability to accurately target their existing and future customers.

The Instinctive Explorers: This group is cavalier, but love the unknown and exploring uncharted territory. They trust their gut instincts and stick to their guns. A modern image is extremely important to them, as is leaving a legacy behind to be remembered by.

The Real Worlders: They’re resourceful, but rely on technology in order to succeed. They tend to alternate between going on gut instinct and taking a more methodical approach.

The Thrill-Seekers: This group is easily bored and always on the lookout for the next challenge. They don’t care about appearances. They work best around others and believe that making a social impact is overrated.

You can read the full report here.


12—New 401(k) Solution

Many small business owners don’t offer retirement plans to their employees, often because they think it will be too expensive and complicated—or that these plans are designed for larger companies. In the latest Spark Business Barometer, an ongoing survey measuring small business sentiment and related trends, only 13% of small businesses currently offer a retirement plan. This, despite the fact that offering a 401(k) is a great way to attract and retain staff.

Capital One’s Spark Business just launched Spark 401k, a set of low-cost, digitally managed 401(k)s designed specifically for companies with one to 100 employees.

To encourage small businesses owners to start offering a 401(k) Spark 401k is discounting Safe Harbor 401(k) plans, which are typically easier to manage than Traditional 401(k)s. Purchase a plan by September 14 and you can save $100. More information is available here.