17 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know
1—Popular Apps are Leaking Data
After extensive testing NowSecure will be issuing a global warning to the millions of mobile app consumers and businesses to temporarily stop using top business retail and e-commerce apps. Millions of users operate under the false assumption that the apps on their phones are safe, when in fact rigorous tests have revealed that 92% of online retail apps and 82% of brick and mortar retail apps actively leak sensitive consumer data. Leaked data includes credit card info, name, username, email, phone number, geolocation, account numbers, device ID, and device serial numbers.
Check out their infographic below for more information.
2—Remote Work in Increasing Demand
More than 1 in 4 U.S. knowledge workers have quit a job because the company didn’t offer flexible or remote work options, according to The Remote Work Report by Zapier.
In an economy with record low unemployment where small businesses are competing against corporate Goliaths for talent, it’s important for small business owners to know the kind of perks employees are after.
Zapier— the leading automation app for small businesses — is one of the first and largest companies to have an entirely remote workforce. They employ nearly 300 people in 27 countries. The company recently commissioned a survey of U.S. knowledge workers by The Harris Poll to get a detailed look at remote work.
The top 10 reasons people want to work remotely extends beyond work-life balance. Nearly 1 in 4 people want to work remotely because it’s environmentally friendly and almost 1 in 5 say it’s because they want to spend more time with their pets.
If companies want productive employees, they should let them work from home: 42% of employees believe they are most productive working from home, while 32% say they get more done in an office.
Women value working from home more but are less likely to have that option: Women are more likely than men to say the option to work remotely is one of the work perks they would most prefer to be offered by an employer (62% vs. 53%) yet, despite this, there are significant gender disparities for work from home options. 40% of female employees say they don’t work remotely because their company doesn’t allow it compared to just 25% of men.
The majority of workers believe the traditional workplace will be obsolete by 2030, with most positions done remotely: 66% of knowledge workers believe the traditional office setting will be obsolete for most roles within the next decade.
3—The Importance of Yelp
Most consumers use Yelp—90% of buyers report they’ve checked a business’ review on Yelp before making a purchase decision. That means that a bad Yelp review can either make or break your business. In fact, a Harvard Business Review report says each increase in a business’ star rating correlates to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
So how do you boost your Yelp rating?
- Complete your profile
- A complete Yelp profile is a key component of success. Think of it as your website, it’s one of the very first interactions that a potential customer has with your business.
- Mention Yelp to Your Loyal Customer
- If you have a business with foot traffic or customers you regularly interact with, have your front staff mention that Yelp reviews are greatly appreciated. Phrases like, “Thanks for coming in, and check us out on Yelp!” and “Have you seen our page on Yelp?” can be worked into normal interactions and can help drive traffic and attention to your Yelp page.
- Include a Link to Your Yelp Page Everywhere
- This is an incredibly simple way to draw attention to your Yelp page and encourage reviews without explicitly asking for them. Add a Yelp icon link to your website, share it on your social media channels, and include it in your company email signature with a phrase like, “Check us out on Yelp!”.
- Request a “Find Us on Yelp” Sticker—Or Make s Sign of Your Own:
- Yelp issues stickers to select businesses to help draw customers back to the site. These are often given out to established businesses with a number of positive reviews, but it’s worth asking— you never know! Another option is to make your own, original sign.
- Do NOT Buy Reviews
- Buying positive reviews may seem like the easy way out, but it can reap more consequences than benefits. First, customers will notice that the reviews are fake. It’s not hard to see a correlation in reviews and the fact that they aren’t genuine. But it’s also a violation of Yelp guidelines.
4—Most Small Businesses Believe They are a Likely Target for Cybercrimes
A new survey released by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) shows most small businesses believe they are a target of cybercriminals, highlighting the growing awareness about the threat of a cyberattack. The Zogby Analytics reveals 88% of small businesses believe they are at least a “somewhat likely” target for cybercriminals, including 46% who believe they are a “very likely” target.
Released during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), the survey shows that with small businesses more aware of a data breach threat, many are responding with strong cybersecurity measures: 46% of surveyed businesses feel “very prepared” to respond quickly and appropriately to limit the impact of a data breach or cybersecurity incident, were they to happen today. And 58% say they have a response plan they can immediately put into action while 36% say they would be able to fully operate without computers following a breach. Take a look at the full survey results.
“Cybersecurity remains a serious threat for businesses and consumers alike, so it is encouraging to see more businesses educating themselves about cybersecurity,” says Daniel Eliot, NCSA’s director of education & strategic initiatives. “As a result, they are learning they are not immune to attacks—as many small businesses once believed—and are learning to better protect themselves and their most important assets.”
Despite small businesses’ increased knowledge about cybersecurity, devastating data breaches are not unheard of: 28% of survey respondents have experienced an official data breach within the past 12 months. As a result, 37% of those suffered a financial loss, 25% filed for bankruptcy and 10% went out of business.
Other survey highlights include:
- Larger companies are better prepared for a cyber breach: 73% of businesses with 251-500 employees have a response plan that they can immediately put into action and 44% would be able to fully operate without computers (for companies with 1-10 employees the respective numbers are 37% and 26%).
- 51% of small business decision makers believes that smartphones pose just as much cyber risk to their organization as computers do, while an additional third (31%) believe they pose more risk.
- 63% have a clearly articulated process for employees to report potential cyberthreats to leadership, and 73% have a clearly articulated business process that outlines how employees should securely dispose of equipment and data.
- 41% of businesses back up their business data on a daily basis while 21% do it multiple times per day.
The National Cyber Security Alliance encourages all businesses to implement a cybersecurity program based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework:
- Identifyand understand which business assets (“digital crown jewels”) others want
- Learn how to protectthose assets
- Detectwhen something has gone wrong
- Respondquickly to minimize impact and implement an action plan
- Learn what resources are needed to recoverafter a breach
5—Excelling at Excel
Sometimes Excel seems too good to be true. There are a number of different ways a business can utilize Excel to their advantage, however many businesses aren’t aware of the many ways that this super-tool can help them in their day-to-day needs.
From accounting and invoicing help to scheduling and inventory management, this visual guide provides tips and tricks for businesses to use Excel to its full potential:
Check out the infographic below from Headway Capital.
6—Americans Value a Diverse Workforce
Randstad US recently released U.S. data from the global quarterly Randstad Workmonitor Mobility Index, which includes sentiments from American workers related to the idea of working abroad and about cultural diversity in their current workplaces.
According to the data, Americans are in favor of culturally diverse workplaces, with 81% saying they like working with people from other cultures. More than two-thirds of U.S. employees also feel that it’s good their employers hire foreign workers, provided the role can’t be filled by candidates from the domestic talent pool.
“Our findings indicate a majority of Americans are open-minded about working alongside immigrant workers, especially if the skills in demand require looking outside of the U.S. workforce. They appear to recognize the importance of U.S. companies staying competitive in a global marketplace and realize that a diverse workforce is a key driver for business sustainability,” says Jim Link, chief human resources officer, Randstad US.
The survey also shows most Americans are willing to move abroad for the right work reasons, preferably to an English-speaking country.
- 51% of U.S. workers say if their employer asked them to, they’d be willing to relocate abroad in order to keep their job
- 64% say they would consider emigrating if it would improve their work-life balance
- 66% are willing to emigrate for a substantially higher salary
- 58% are willing to emigrate for a more meaningful career.
- S. workers named the U.K., Canada and Australia as the top three destinations they’d prefer to relocate to if their job required it.
To learn more about the findings, get more insights and download a copy of the Q3 2019 Workmonitor report here.
7—Fighting Porch Pirates
This is the time of year more packages tend to disappear off front porches. New data from Clutch shows 51% of online shoppers did not receive at least one package they ordered online in the past six months, 32% say their last undelivered package was lost in the mail, and 16% say the package was stolen after delivery. Can you fight the porch pirates? Here are some facts:
- 51% of online shoppers haven’t received at least one package they ordered in the past six months. Most respondents say their packages were lost in the mail (32%). Consumers have certain rights regarding lost mail, but it depends on the delivery carrier and if insurance on the package was purchased.
- 16% of online shoppers have not received a package in the past six months because it was stolen, while another 29% aren’t sure why their package wasn’t delivered.
- As package theft increases, consumers should analyze the security of where their packages are left—57% say their packages are typically left in an outdoors, unsecured area, such as a front porch, after delivery.
- Secure package pick-up kiosks can provide a safer alternative if consumers are afraid of package theft at their home. The most popular type of kiosk is FedEx’s Ship&Get (20%), though Clutch believes Amazon Locker (13%) may be more popular than the survey suggests.
You can read more here.
8—Gender Pay Gap
The gender gap unfortunately is still with us. Did you know pilots have the highest pay gap? Take a look at the chart below and you can see the gender gap by state.
And check out this article from HavenLife on the 10 jobs with the largest and smallest gender pay gaps.
9—5 Tips That Will Unlock Your Online Portfolio Power
Guest post by Ram Kezel of Hostinger
If you want to sell your ideas and works, you have to present them in a noticeable way. An online portfolio can be a helpful tool that lets you present your works the way you want. It doesn’t matter who you are: if you follow these five tips, you will turn the power of an online portfolio in your favor.
#1 Tip: Turn Domain Into A Hook: Your portfolio website starts with a domain name. It’s the first thing that people will type in the address bar or will notice in search results. Don’t miss the chance to impress people before they even opened your page.
Your domain name choice can determine the perception of your work. If you put your name and/or surname into your domain, it looks direct and professional. It’s just like Sir Elton John did with eltonjohn.com. Or you can play with domain extensions and create more one-of-a-kind address like performance artist Marina Abramović with mai.art.
#2 Tip: Web Design Is Canvas Only: When working on a portfolio website design, think of it as a canvas. Your works and ideas are the main attraction. Avoid distracting people with chaotic design. You should create it in a light manner so your works would grab all the attention.
In a Forbes article content strategist Mario Medina says: “The concept of ‘clean’ design has been popular for years, but clean has recently reached new depths, with many sites bordering on minimalism.” Minimalism fits perfectly in portfolio cases. It puts your work in the spotlight.
#3 Tip: Serve Your Bests First: The phrase “Save the best for last” might work with desserts, but when creating a portfolio do the exact opposite. You worked a lot and therefore you improved. So present yourself in the best way right away. According to a User Experience Specialist Therese Fessenden study, 74% of the viewing time was spent in the first two screens.
If you put your works into the chronological order it might show your progress. But you can’t be sure rather people will scroll down till the end. This way there is a big chance that your best works can be left unseen. Random order is an even bigger gamble. Pick the works that make you proud and put them in the spotlight of your website.
#4 Tip: Better Load It Fast: You might have the most astonishing works but they are pointless if your website fails to load them. Balys Kriksciunas, CEO of webhosting company Hostinger suggests taking good care of pictures. He says, “You might want to show your work in the best possible quality. But remember that every big image adds up to your website load time. First of all, keep in mind the overall number of pictures. A few of the best ones can represent you better than the never-ending gallery of mediocre ones. And then reduce the size of your chosen pictures so they would load in a fast manner.”
#5 Tip: Leave Your Contacts: Your portfolio is a lovely thing to look at. But it’s not the main reason why it’s online. Your portfolio should grab people’s attention and generate orders and sales. So don’t forget to be visible for people and leave your contacts in a prominent place. To be one-step-further you should have a messaging feature on your website. This way people can connect to you directly from the website, without even opening the e-mail or calling the phone.
Your ideas are unique. Share them with the world. But do it in such a way that people would like to buy more of them. An attractive online portfolio can shape your image as an artist and boost your earnings with new orders. To unlock the power of the internet, follow these 5 tips and create a website that sells.
10—More Automated Features Improve Phone Service
CallJoy, an easy-to-use cloud-based phone agent just released a new version of its product, which provides small business owners with greater automation, customization and scalability to make their lives easier and businesses run more efficiently.
“Since we launched CallJoy in May, we’ve talked to thousands of small business owners about their needs, specifically, how CallJoy could be more helpful to them,” says Bob Summers, general manager of CallJoy. “We took their feedback and put it into our product. Now, CallJoy gives them even more time savings, business insights and control.”
According to New Voice Media, after one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again. But, conversely, American Express found that 70% of U.S. consumers say they’ve actually spent more money with a company that delivers great service. And since U.S. local businesses receive over 400 million calls per day, the consumer journey often starts on the phone line.
“When small businesses don’t deliver a delightful customer service experience via telephone, it’s not because they don’t want to please callers. Rather, it’s simply because they’re too busy serving in-person patrons and they can’t hire an employee whose sole responsibility is answering the phone,” Summers explains. “Calls go unanswered, conversations are rushed, and follow up details get lost in a pile of sticky notes.”
To ensure every caller is greeted quickly and professionally, CallJoy’s new version includes a more customizable and intelligent phone agent. You can control what the agent’s voice sounds like and exactly what it says to customers when they call. Then you can easily program your agent to route calls and answer common questions.
Let’s say someone calls a restaurant. The agent says, “In a few words, how can I help you?” The caller asks, “Do you allow dogs on your patio?” The agent responds, “Yes! We allow pups on our patio. Would you like to make a reservation?” If the customer wants to book a table, the agent texts the caller a URL to the restaurant’s third-party online reservation app.
The entire virtual customer service experience is professional and friendly, and best of all – doesn’t require any of the business owner or staff’s time. Plus, if dozens of callers dial a business at one time, CallJoy can scale to handle each caller simultaneously.
CallJoy was developed by a team within Area 120, Google’s internal incubator for experimental ideas, and is currently available in the U.S. To learn more about CallJoy, visit Google’s blog, The Keyword and sign up for a free 14-day trial at calljoy.com.
11—You Can Afford to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Splitit, a leading global monthly installment payments solution, partnered with Chili, the makers of the cult-favorite chiliPAD sleep system, allowing customers to pay for the brand’s products in interest- and fee-free monthly installment payments with instant approval.
Chili, a brand of Kryo Inc., is a sleep science product development company offering mattress heating and cooling systems that incorporate their unique patented “Chili Technology.” Their products have been endorsed by some of the biggest names in entertainment, sports, and health, including Dr. Breus, Oprah’s sleep coach, the U.S. Olympic women’s rowing team, and the Denver Broncos. Their products are designed to help those suffering from sleeping issues get a better night’s sleep.
Splitit’s solution will offer Chili’s customers an easy way to pay for purchases in monthly installment payments with instant approval. Splitit’s innovative technology requires no credit check, application, or registration, which results in a faster and more streamlined checkout in-store, online, or via mobile device.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with such an innovative and world-class brand that truly has the best interest of its customers at the heart of its solutions,” says Brad Paterson, Splitit’s CEO. “With the holiday season just around the corner, this partnership will allow consumers to acquire a good night’s sleep, every night, and to rest assured that they have optimally managed their cash flow.”
“Temperature change at night is scientifically proven to help drastically improve sleep quality, yet thousands of people still suffer with sleep issues every day,” says Chili e-commerce manager, Kate Albers. “We at Chili are very excited to be partnering with Splitit to make our products that much more accessible to those who need it. We look forward to working with Splitit to help customers fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and magically improve their lives.”
12—Introducing Catalogs for Small Businesses
WhatsApp just introduced catalogs on the WhatsApp Business app.
Businesses can use catalogs as a mobile storefront to showcase and share their goods so consumers can easily browse. And instead of viewing pages one at a time, customers can see their full catalog within WhatsApp. This makes business owners look more professional and keeps customers engaged in the chat without having to visit a website.
For each item in its catalog, a business can add information including price, description and product code. WhatsApp hosts these catalogs to save valuable storage space on the phones of both businesses and customers.
Creating a catalog with the WhatsApp Business app takes just a few simple steps. Watch this video to get started.
The catalog feature is available today to businesses using the WhatsApp Business app on both Android and iPhone in Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. It will be rolling out around the world soon.
13—What are People Learning?
Udemy just released a comprehensive report on what people are learning: Udemy 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report: The Skills of the Future
There’s a ton of data in the report that might be useful to you and your small business:
- How AI is shaping the future of work
- The latest learning trends & hottest skills based on what 40+ million people are learning on Udemy worldwide
- The top 10 trending tech skills, soft skills, and business skills in 2020
- The top 10 skills trending by role and industry in 2020
- 5 ways to reinvent learning & development to prepare your workforce for the skills of the future
How much will Americans be spending on Thanksgiving this year? The folks at LendEDU have calculated the costs off Thanksgiving.
Some of the key findings:
- The average American anticipates spending $186.05 on Thanksgiving in 2019. This figure is up from last year’s report ($175.65) and 2017’s ($165.14).
- 18% ($33.49) of that total spend will go towards travel, while the remaining 92% ($152.56) will go towards food and drink for the feast.
Be sure to check out the whole report.
15—Fliers Spread Germs
Reservations.com surveyed fliers and discovered close to 20% of passengers have flown on an airplane while sick, either knowingly or unknowingly. In better news, most people wash their hands after using the bathroom on the plane. only
You can read more about it here.
- Over 71% of consumers have made an online purchase after their typical bedtime, with nearly 3 in 4 making one from their beds
- Of those who shopped online in the past year, nearly 1 in 4 have regretted a late-night purchase
- Consumers have spent an average of $165 on late-night purchases—they’ve also incurred nearly $200 in debt in the past year
17—Are You Struggling to Fall Asleep?
Lots of us are. Nearly 1 in 3 of us find it difficult to fall asleep every night—only 8% cab always fall asleep when they want to. According to HealthySleep.org some of what’s keeping us up at night includes:
- More than 3 in 4 people say their productivity is negatively impacted by their difficulty falling asleep
- 91% of sleep issues are more likely to impact those living paycheck to paycheck