10 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know
By Rieva Lesonsky
1. The Future of Commerce
According to Mozu.com, a cloud commerce platform, retailers around the world are preparing for a tectonic shift in commerce strategy. Omni-channel is yesterday’s model. Unified commerce is tomorrow’s.
2. Does Your Breakroom Need a Makeover?
If you have more than 10 employees you can win a breakroom makeover from Staples Business Advantage woth $40,000. Just SMBs will state their case state for a facelift via the inaugural Ultimate Breakroom Makeover contest by Staples Business Advantage.
Think you don’t need a breakroom? Think again. According to the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index, 45% of employees eat lunch at their desks and nearly 40% say an open and collaborative environment leads to a positive work culture.
You can enter the contest by submitting a short essay by June 6, 2016 at 5pm ET to explaining why your breakroom needs a makeover and what features you’d like to see in a new breakroom. A panel of judges will select five finalists based on the following criteria:
- Originality and creativity of desired, revamped features
- Most deserving of a makeover
- Productivity boosts included in the submission
The five entries with the highest scores will be posted online on July 1 so the public can vote to help determine the grand prize winner, which will be announced in early August.
3. People-Based Advertising
According to our regular contributor Matt Zajechowski from Digital Third Coast, “Digital advertising is at a crossroads, and marketers who embrace and adapt to a rapidly evolving media landscape are in the best position to engage customers and make the most of their ad budgets.”
Signal and Econsultancy surveyed brand marketers and agency media buyers to better understand the impact and future of addressable media within their organizations. This new approach to digital media lets advertisers target real people in real-time using first-party data, rather than cookies.
Matt and Signal took the gathered data and created a visual guide for marketers. They discovered advertisers are ready to increase their investment in addressable media—83% of media buyers using addressable media reported superior performance compared to traditional display ads with 63% of advertisers reporting improved click-through-rates and 60% higher conversion rates. Addressable media allowed advertisers to target digital ads with more precision and relevancy than traditional display ads.
You can get your free copy here.
4. What Will You Do with Your Tax Refunds?
Balboa Capital, a leading small business loan provider and equipment financing company, conducted a “Tax Time” survey of small business owners to gauge their perceptions of the economy and find out what they plan to do with their tax refunds.
Key findings of the “Tax Time” survey:
- 76% reported moderate to significant revenue increases in Q1
- 79% expect the U.S. economy to grow during the first half of 2016
Of those who’ve completed their taxes:
- 14% received a refund and 56% did not receive a refund
- The business owners who received tax refunds plan to spend it on equipment/technology acquisition, debt consolidation, expansion initiatives, and/or increased employee hiring.
5. Payment Solutions
TD Bank Merchant Solutions recently introduced its Clover Site of products, featuring all-in-one payment terminals designed to help small businesses manage their operations through custom hardware, software and merchant services. The Clover product portfolio is powered by First Data.
The Clover Suite includes tools enabling business owners to accept payments, manage inventory, track employee time, schedules and transactions, and identify marketing opportunities through insights on best-selling items and customer loyalty.
Key features include:
- Payment options including traditional debit or credit cards, EMV chip cards, gift cards, mobile payments, contactless payments and more
- Data protection through tokenization and encryption for more secure payments
- Customer loyalty programs that are easy to implement and maintain
- Efficient cloud-based management tools to simplify day-to-day processes, including reporting, scheduling and inventory tracking
- Customizable design with access to over 150 apps to streamline business processes at the sales counter, on a tablet or with a mobile device
6. Small Business Owners Less Optimistic
According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index for the second quarter of 2016, entrepreneurs are slightly less optimistic than they were in Q1. Check out the details below.
7. Tools for Startup Success
Startup entrepreneurs need to take advantage of technology made especially for them, to help with their time management, increase productivity and stick to their budgets. The Neat Company says these five apps will help you do just that:
- Asana: a project management app that lets technology be the taskmaster by letting your team create and assign tasks and make comments and updates, so you stay out of your inbox and focused on the task at hand
- NeatCloud: the online cloud service provided by The Neat Company works with its line of innovative scanners and smart organization technology to keep your business’ paper and digital files organized and accessible anytime, anywhere. Plus, it integrates with a number of 3rd-party applications like tax software and contact organizers to give your team a single, seamless smart organization solution
- Evernote: allows you to collect projects, lists, web clippings and store them in a secure, collaborative hub to share with your team and inspire creative collaboration
- Speedify: intelligently combines mobile data and Wi-Fi, providing you with fast, unbreakable connectivity whenever you’re on the go. You can download a client presentation from your smartphone in lightning speed, successfully download important business documents from your cloud provider and ultimately make your smartphone more powerful.
- Tripit: a travel app that lets you create a master itinerary of your trip, keep it all in one place on your smartphone or computer, and share the itinerary with your team so everyone is informed of one another’s whereabouts.
8. Marketplace for Small Businesses Selling Educational Products
If you sell educational products, there’s a new online marketplace where you can sell your wares. Educents, founded by Kate Whiting and Kaitlyn Trabucco, is a new seller platform, specific to educational products. Educents makes it easier for small businesses and publishers to offer their educational products to consumers and for educators and parents to find new and innovative learning products and lesson plan ideas.
9. Free CRM for Mid-size Businesses
ProsperWorks, a cloud-based, zero-input CRM solution, recently announced it will offer mid-size businesses six months of free access when they switch from their current enterprise agreements to Google Apps this year. As part of the Recommended for Google Apps for Work Program, ProsperWorks’ CRM solution seamlessly integrates with the entire Google Apps ecosystem and provides a unified user experience right from Gmail.
By providing mid-sized businesses with additional cost savings for a more frictionless move to the cloud, ProsperWorks aims to unlock the power of Google Apps for Work to help teams streamline collaboration, establish an automated and repeatable sales process, and optimize workflow. In addition to the extension of Google’s program, which can save businesses up to 70% by switching from a current enterprise agreement to Google Apps, the offer has expanded to include companies with as few as 100 employees to as many as 3,000. New Google Apps customers will receive 33% off of ProsperWorks with an 18-month annual contract.
As part of the Recommended for Google Apps for Work Program, ProsperWorks CRM will be offering businesses six months of free access starting immediately if they switch from their enterprise agreements to Google Apps.
Some program features include:
- ProsperWorks CRM automates data entry, organizes sales leads, and seamlessly integrates with the entire Google Apps Ecosystem
- With ProsperWorks, people can identify, track, and optimize sales contacts and opportunities right from Gmail, see when emails are opened and viewed as well as receive task reminders for optimal follow-up times
- ProsperWorks’ Chrome Extensionis easy to install and sales teams can also access ProsperWorks’ Android app on the go
Go here for more information.
10. Facebook & Staples Team Up
Staples recently announced it has enabled Facebook Messenger on its mobile website, enabling you to use Messenger while shopping. The process is simple: m.Staples customers just need to sign up to connect on Messenger and while shopping you’ll be able to chat with sales specialists and customer service reps when you need help. Eventually these features will be available to tablet and desktop users.