Where to Get Ideas, Small Businesses are Optimistic, 5 Marketing Tools You Might be Overlooking and Other Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky

27 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know

We’ll be back with more Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know January 6th. Happy holidays!


1—The Ideas Report

WeTransfer, a suite of tools for creative work recently released its 2nd annual Ideas Report, a survey of 20,000 creatives exploring the evolution of how, when and where ideas come about. I love the insights here, which talks about  how ideas are developed, where people find inspiration, and what detracts from their potential for new ideas. Some key takeaways:

  • Collaboration doesn’t necessarily lead to creativity, and companies need to do a better job facilitating the creative process.
  • When it comes to shaping an idea, 78% say they decide on their own whether an idea is good or not.
  • Only 18% ask family, friends or colleagues to help them decide if an idea is worth following through on. And more than one-third of people choose to go with their gut
  • When asked what gets in the way of having ideas, about half the people said “my job”


Small Business Sentiment

2—Small Business Snapshot

Bank of America just released its fall 2019 Small Business Owner Snapshot.

Top findings:

  • Business growth indicators remain strong: Confidence in the national economy was slightly down from last fall, but revenue projections and expansion plans are at four-year highs among U.S. entrepreneurs. Plans to hire are holding steady amid a tight labor market.
  • Shifting economic concerns: Health care costs and the political environment are the top two issues of greatest concern this fall. Rising concerns include: Uneasiness around consumer spending, strength of the U.S. dollar and corporate tax rates.
  • More business owners are being impacted by U.S. trade policies: There has been a steady increase in the number of business owners impacted by U.S. trade tariffs and policy over the past 12 months. The areas of greatest impact have been on the higher costs of goods and supplies, and the need to increase customer pricing.
  • Holiday season perspectives: The biggest challenge for business owners this holiday season will be balancing personal and work commitments. Top ways they’re coping with holiday stress are by taking extra steps toward self-care and/or planning a vacation. The thing business owners are most looking forward to this holiday season is spending time with family and friends.


3—Small Business Owners Feel More Confident

Small Business confidence is up and pessimism about the economy is down, according to the Vistage November Small Business CEO Survey. In fact, 28% of respondents expecting economic conditions to improve in the year ahead. The survey also found that investment and hiring plans are improving, with 39% of leaders planning to make more investments in their business (compared to 33% last month) and increased planned hiring was reported by 60% of respondents (up 5% from last month).

You can read more about it here.


4—Small Business Confidence is Up

According to the latest CNBC, SurveyMonkey survey of small businesses:

  • Small Business Confidence moves higher on trade optimism with a surprise spike in tech optimism:
    • The Small Business Confidence Index jumped to 59 in Q4 (from 57 in Q3).
    • The percentage of small business owners who expect trade policy to have positive effects on their business rose to 24% in Q4
    • The number of small business owners who expect technological change will have positive effects on their business jumped to 48% in Q4, up from 41% in Q3.
  • Acquiring new customers, controlling costs and the employee skills gap are top three concerns for small business owners:
    • When asked to rank the top three challenges facing their businesses in 2020, small business owners cited “acquiring new customers” (31%), “controlling costs” (24%), and “finding qualified employees” (18%).
    • 20% of small business owners say they have open positions that they have not been able to fill up in at least three months
    • To attract talent to their hard-to-fill positions, 60% say they’ve offered higher wages and 29% have offered benefits beyond what has typically been offered in the past.
    • In addition, the number of small business owners offering to help pay off student loans for new hires jumped from 12% to 19% year-over-year. The number of small business owners considering candidates with criminal records for the first time jumped from 12% to 17% year-over-year.


5—Women in the Workforce

The 2019 Women in the Independent Workforce Report from FreshBooks shows 1 in 3 women entrepreneurs launched their own businesses, partly due to gender discrimination they experienced while in the workplace.

FreshBooks says this may lead to a future rise in the number of women-owned businesses as  gender discrimination may drive more women to become business owners.

However, even after striking out on their own, women entrepreneurs still face some gender discrimination. The report found there’s an earnings gap of 17 % for women entrepreneurs in knowledge-based industries, compared to men doing the same work.

The report also found:

  • 61% said they feel they need to work harder than self-employed men to succeed
  • 25% of women entrepreneurs across the U.S. said they believe they need to charge less than self-employed men to attract and retain clients
  • 55% of women left their traditional jobs because they believed they could advance their careers faster on their own.

But there are upsides for women who have chosen self-employment:

  • Now that they work for themselves, 73% of U.S. women entrepreneurs say they have better work-life balance
  • 68% say they earn the same or more money than before
  • 59% say they have less stress
  • 58% say they’re healthier

The Gender Entrepreneurship Gap could close within the next 5 years

The data suggests 40% of aspiring entrepreneurs today are women, and that within the next five years, we may see somewhere between 10 to 12 million women join the independent workforce.


Holiday Reports

6—Online Shopping Trends

Holiday Online Shopping Trends 2019 from Episerver shows:

  • 21% of consumers don’t start holiday shopping until December 1-15 versus any other two-week period.
  • 46% of shoppers have failed to complete a purchase online because there were too many options to choose from.
  • 76% of online shoppers saying they are persuaded from making a purchase if content is incorrect or incomplete.
  • Apparel is the category most often researched in-store (25%) before making a purchase online.


7—Holiday Shopping Trends

Fluent, a performance marketing company, conducted a post-Black Friday/Cyber Monday survey to uncover the most significant shopping trends this season:

  • 42% of consumers haven’t started their holiday shopping yet
  • 44% of consumers who shopped on Cyber Monday did so on retailers’ websites, compared to 39% on Amazon
  • 37% of consumers spent more than they were planning to on Black Friday
  • 18% of consumers who shopped on Black Friday bought something on Instagram, 11% on Facebook
  • 62% of consumers who shopped on Black Friday went in-store
  • Free shipping was the #1 factor when making a purchase on Cyber Monday (36%)

Bloomreach, a digital commerce experience company, also compiled real-time shopping data from Black Friday to discover:

  • Socks were in high demand on Black Friday
    • Most searched items: Socks, TVs, down jackets, Vans, Christmas tree
    • Most purchased items: Socks, flannel pajamas, jeans, holiday cards, wireless earbuds
  • Harry Potter > Star Wars
    • Despite Baby Yoda buzz, Harry Potter’s brand is more popular than Star Wars’
  • Xbox is waning in popularity
    • Nintendo Switch and PS4 are in the top 100 searched items, Xbox isn’t
  • Apple Watch is the top tech product
    • The Apple Watch is the most searched for tech product, followed by AirPods


8—Holiday Identity Theft

Generali Global Assistance, a developer of a proprietary and innovative identity and digital protection platform, just announced the findings of its third-annual holiday shopper survey which identifies holiday shopping trends and consumer sentiment on the identity theft risks holiday shopping poses.

The survey shows customers who indicated they would be concerned about doing business with a retailer if they experienced a breach has decreased. This year, 79% of shoppers are concerned about purchasing from retailers who experienced a data breach in the past compared to 83% last year, highlighting a potential trend of consumer apathy toward data breaches. According to 61% of respondents, retailers can look to alleviate consumer concerns by offering identity protection services – up 6% from the year prior.

This year, Americans will be splitting their shopping via online and physical channels with 65% indicating they would purchase online via a retailer’s website and 63% indicated they would do their shopping at a brick and mortar store. Ordering online via mobile app (33%) and online ordering with in-store pick up (18%) were also popular among shoppers this year. Whether it’s brick-and-mortar or online, 67% of holiday shoppers plan to shop at 2-5 stores, with another 25% saying they will go to more than six stores this holiday season.

When it comes to identity theft, data breaches to online merchants (47%) were still the biggest threat in shoppers’ minds. Even after the high-profile breaches of credit card providers that occurred this past year, only 37% of consumers indicated that they felt a breach of their card provider was the greatest threat. 30% believed brick-and-mortar point-of-sale systems were the biggest threat to their identity (up 5% last year), while 25% felt physical identity theft by either break-in or pickpocket was the greatest threat.

When asked how many credit cards they would use when doing their holiday shopping this year, 39% of shoppers indicated they would use more than one card. When asked why, 35% indicated they wanted to earn points or miles, 32% wanted to spread the cost among multiple cards, and 30% wanted to take advantage of retailer-specific deals.

Results also show that Millennials favor using multiple cards to earn points or miles while older generations preferred to spread the cost or take advantage of retailer-related rewards. As recent breaches have shown, having multiple credit cards to take advantage of miles or discounts can pose a major risk to a shopper’s identity.


9—5 Tools Your Marketing Might be Neglecting

Guest post by Dan Beltramo, CEO, Onclusive

A lot of what is tossed out on social media does little to help sell your products and services. The content is often viewed suspiciously by consumers who are far more sophisticated at spotting a disguised ad than you think they are. But when you have an especially good piece of content (say, a story written about you by a news organization) you want to amplify its reach as cost effectively as you can. Here are some tools to do that:

Employee advocacy: Your company is already doing this every time it sends out a link to an article and asks employees to share it on their social media accounts. This is the easiest, low cost way to amplify the impact of the story. There are, however, some limitations to employee advocacy as a marketing tactic. Notably, it smells a bit like YOU talking about YOURSELF again because many recipients may personally know the person posting the content. Scale and targeting are other challenges. Employee compliance can be a challenge, too, especially over time.

Content Marketing: The Content Marketing Institute defines its namesake concept as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” It’s a little wordy, but I’ll work with it since linking to their definition is a convenient example of content marketing itself. When done adroitly, content marketing is an effective search engine optimization (SEO) tool and can effectively build awareness and authority on a subject. It also ties in nicely to The Challenger Sale ethos of providing information, potentially provocative, to your prospective customer. I do want to emphasize a point captured by Oxford that content marketing “does not explicitly promote a brand.” This is the part that really helps content marketing escape with a lower BS Meter score than outright advertising.

Account Based Marketing: (ABM) is de rigueur in B2B marketing circles these days. In another example of content marketing, Marketo defines ABM as a “B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.” ABM is typically employed for heavily considered purchases of high-ticket items that have extended purchase cycles. As such, ABM marketing strategies are possibly the ideal place for amplified earned media (those stories written about you by others).

The people making these kinds of purchases need a lot of information over a long period of time and are often experts in their field. They only want to hear from YOU when they want to hear from YOU and they know that YOU will take their call at a moment’s notice. The rest of the time they want to amass information from a variety of sources that they trust.

Industry Analysts: By industry analysts, I mean the Gartners and Forresters of the world which pretty much exist to convey information about technical products in voices other than those of the producers of those products. They maintain Chinese walls of varying permeability between their editorial content and the consultative services they provide to the companies whose products they review. Many times, analyst relations programs are managed by the public relations team or a closely affiliated team. When companies are mentioned favorably in analyst reports, they almost reflexively invoke some form of earned media amplification and or ABM. Conveniently, the analyst companies are happy to license you their content precisely for such purposes.

Earned Media Amplification: With the right measurement systems, earned media amplification can be used to assign PR Attribution values to individual articles and PR campaigns then deliver that content to an audience of your choice. Often, this delivery is done via paid digital media or paid social media because they offer a good blend of scale and targeting precision. However, earned media can be amplified in numerous ways including company newsletters, email campaigns, corporate social media channels, and yes, employee advocacy programs.

The bottom line is that there are inexpensive channels to amplify your messages at scale with greater credibility than advertising—if you methodically put them to work.


10—Full-Time Remote Workers Struggle Most with Unplugging After Work Hours

Speaking of working remotely, according to a Remote.co survey of full-time remote workers, unplugging after work hours (40%) is the biggest pain point remote workers encounter working in their virtual environment. The survey found that other challenges for remote workers include dealing with non-work distractions (32%), developing strong relationships with co-workers (25%), loneliness (23%), troubleshooting technology problems (21%), and working across different time zones (19%).

“One of the biggest misconceptions about remote workers is that they’re not actually working, or that they’re less productive than their in-office counterparts,” says Sara Sutton, founder/CEO of Remote.co and FlexJobs. “As multiple studies confirm, though, remote workers tend to not only be more productive but also happier and more engaged at their jobs. Disconnecting from work when you have a home office can be difficult, though. Managers of remote workers need to really encourage their teams to develop healthy boundaries between home and office—and model that behavior for them as well.”

Additional findings

About full-time remote workers:

  • The remote work lifestyle is extremely important to remote workers:
    • 83% say they couldn’t imagine returning to an on-site office.
    • 16% say that the remote work lifestyle is somewhat important to them.
    • Only 1% say it would not be a big deal to give it up.
  • Only 5% worry a lot that working remotely will negatively impact their career progression.

On the job as full-time remote workers:

  • 94% of remote workers work primarily from their home offices (vs co-working spaces, libraries, or coffee shops).
  • 46% never have to travel for work-related events, 32% travel 1-2 times a year, 13% travel 3-4 times a year, and 9% travel 5 times or more each year.
  • 59% say working from home is very or somewhat conducive to developing meaningful relationships with co-workers.
  • 13% of full-time remote workers plan to take more than four weeks of vacation this year.

Remote.co has also outlined seven strategies help remote workers unplug after working hours

  1. Set expectations regarding your availability.
    2. Schedule regular blocks of time away in your calendar.
    3. Have an accountability partner.
    4. Embrace your hobbies.
    5. Tackle your biggest or most urgent to-dos sans tech.
    6. Have a contingency plan in place.
    7. Focus on being present for those around you.


11—Flextime and Remote Working Become the ‘New Normal’ for Global Business

Speaking of remote working, the rise of cloud computing and teleconferencing represent both the biggest opportunity for growth as well as the most significant organizational challenge to companies around the world, according to new research from Condeco’s new research paper, The Modern Workplace 2019: People, places & technology.

Among the countries in the survey, remote working is particularly prevalent in Australia (45%) with the U.S. tied for second (43%). American businesses were least likely to offer flextime (49%).

In addition, 43% of U.S. businesses forecast they will allow more remote working in the next year while only 9% have indicated that they will offer less remote working, a clear indicator that remote working is a major trend in America. Already, 54% of U.S. companies offer remote working to increase employee retention, which showcases employees increasing demands to work from home.

Cloud computing in particular has made it possible for increasing numbers of employees to work remotely and flexibly—meaning that the central company workspace is rapidly becoming an administrative hub, rather than a traditional central focus where everyone gathers during set hours.

The demands of regulation and compliance are also adding to the burden felt by businesses as they face the future. Overall, respondents in the Condeco report say the biggest challenges facing their organizations in the next 12 months are digital transformation (37%) and the adoption of new technology (35%).

Welcome to the flexible working revolution

Almost half of global businesses surveyed (41%) say they already offer some degree of remote working, while 60% provide flextime opportunities, allowing employees to choose when to start and end their workday.

“The research clearly shows that businesses are in the process of transforming their workplaces digitally, which enables them to transform the way that they are used physically,” says Paul Statham, CEO of Condeco.

The end of meeting-room culture?

When employees do go into the office, it is most often for meetings with colleagues and customers. Yet the researchers discovered that finding, booking and using meeting rooms is a consistent point of organizational tension, even as more people are working remotely. Fewer than a quarter of those surveyed (23%) say that their employees have access to meeting rooms whenever they need them.

Only 31% currently use specialist meeting-room scheduling software to help make efficient use of their available space. Some of those surveyed believed that there was an opportunity to use artificial intelligence to book and use meeting rooms more effectively.


12—Email By the Generations

From baby boomers to Gen Z, marketers must break through to many different generations. But the same tactics won’t always resonate equally with every group, as each generation interacts with brands differently. The youngest is typically most interested in brands that provide unique user experience, lean into the digital age and are often socially driven.

In fact, when it comes to email marketing, Campaign Monitor found in its just-released Gen Z vs. Millennial Guide to Marketing that millennials receive more email and check email more often than their Gen Z counterparts. Millennials receive an average of 6-50 emails per day, while Gen Z receive only between 1-20 emails per day, and 90% of millennials check email at least once a day as compared to 81% of Gen Z. This means that a millennial’s inbox presents a more competitive landscape to marketers, while a Gen Zer’s email reading habits necessitate a more strategic cadence to land at the right time.

Other key marketing findings from Campaign Monitor’s survey include: 

  • Gen Z and millennials who make purchases based on emails are most likely to buy multiple times as opposed to making only one purchase, with millennials leading the pack. In fact, millennials most commonly reported making a purchase from marketing emails from the same brand two to five times (35%)
  • Millennials are more wary of making purchases based on social media than their Gen Z counterparts and are more wary of social media purchases than email-based purchases. 32% of millennials noted they’d never made a purchase based on social media, while 33% of Gen Z said they had made one purchase in the past month
  • Millennials and Gen Zers don’t want to hear from brands more than once a day. Rather, most of these subscribers prefer receiving your emails a couple of times a week, at 65% and 63% respectively


13—Wedding Professionals Small Business Study

WeddingWire, the largest and most trusted global wedding marketplace, just released its 2019 Small Business Study, a survey of thousands of local wedding professionals and small business owners from across the country.

Wedding Pros Commitment to Clients: Pros are committed to making each couple’s big day a success and often go above and beyond to do so. Over half of vendors say they have:

  • Calmed a bride/groom dealing with wedding stress (78%)
  • Offered a discount to a couple with a tight budget (75%)
  • Sacrificed time-off to help a couple in need (56%)
  • Additionally, 44% say that have provided services free of charge in dire circumstances

Relying on Their Squad: Pros rely on they social network for a wide range of support—both practical and emotional. Top ways that pros say they are supported are:

  • Informational support – advice, sharing tips, tools of the trade (70%)
  • Inspirational support -brainstorming new ideas, sharing creative inspiration (56%)
  • Esteem support – confidence and encouragement (50%)

Wedding Pros and Business: When it comes to work, pros say the aspects up their job most likely to cause stress are:

  • Finding New Business (49%)
  • Keeping Marketing Channels Up to Date (48%)
  • Achieving Work/Life Balance (47%)
    • Photographers were significantly more likely than other categories to agree ‘finding new customers’ is a challenge.
    • The second biggest stress-driver for caterers was managing part or full-time staff (43%)
    • Venue staff were most likely to acknowledge being burnt-out and fatigued (38%), while Officiants and DJs were least likely to say this.
    • During peak wedding season, 45% of pros say they feel “very” or “moderately” stressed during this time of year.

Communication with Clients: 60% of pros say email is the way they would prefer couples reach out to them initially for more information

  • 51% say they respond to an initial email inquiry within 2 hours (51%)
  • Another 10% say they typically respond within 3-5 hours, while 35% take somewhere between a half day to day
  • 53% include an attachment in their initial email inquiry response. Venues (76%) and Caterers (72%) are most likely to include attachments.

Pros have adapted to how they communicate with clients, with 77% saying they use text messaging to interact.

  • Pros are most likely to use texts to answer client questions (53%), facilitate meetings
  • (47%) or share updates on status of work (33%).

As a thank you 56% of pros send their client a gift either ‘always’ or ‘occasionally.’


Quick Clicks

14—Are You Ready for the Future of Finance?

Sage Intacct unveiled the next generation of cloud financial applications at its conference in Las Vegas in November. They also honored some of their customers.

Highlights of the meeting included:

  • Details on new Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities being embedded directly into the Sage Intacct Intelligent GL™
  • New integration between Sage Intacct and Sage People—bringing together Sage’s two midmarket native cloud solutions
  • New enhancements to Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning
  • Expanded pre-built report library and a new interactive visualization tool

You can read more here.

Sage just released Sage Intacct 2019 Release 4. It helps you save time and create more accurate financial forecasts. Learn more about the new release.


15—Marketing Tips

Mailchimp says 31% of small business owners say marketing is their biggest challenge. This marketing report they created will help you tackle those challenges—it’s filled with lots of useful stats, tips and ideas. One of my favorite pieces of advice from the report is that you can even learn from unsuccessful marketing campaigns. The idea is to discover new ideas and then, “test, learn, iterate and repeat.”


16—Do Millennials Value Meaningful Work?

Millennials now occupy a third of the American workforce, and their influence on workplace and career norms has been much discussed. We know they value informal culture, flexibility and progressive benefits. They’ve also proven to be a conscientious and outspoken generation, in tune with the world around them. To this point, we’re curious about millennials’ relationship with their work and career. Do millennials prioritize meaningful work? Are they willing to work more hours, for less money, to make a positive impact on the world?

Learn more in this blog post from Olivet Nazarene University.


17—e-commerce Stats

I spend the better part of Sunday evening searching for stats for an article I was working on. So I love lists like this helpful one of e-commerce stats from Sleeknote. Check it out.


18—Is Business Travel Burning Out Your Employees?   

Burnout costs the nation’s employers about $323 billion per year—so you cannot afford to overlook any signs of burnout in your staff. And while so many think of business travel as a perk—it can be onerous and be a factor on the path to burnout. The Business Travel Burnout Report from NexTravel pinpoints the trouble spots that might lead to burnout, including physical health, relationships (23% had missed an important life moment because of work travel!), financial health (24% say their personal expenses increased due to biz travel) and loss of productivity.


19—New Web Series

GoDaddy recently launched its new web series Made in America, in collaboration with Communities Unlimited, to explore the journeys of entrepreneurs from underserved communities who have created their own paths while defying the odds stacked against them. The first season follows GoDaddy’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Scott Shigeoka, as he travels to Memphis to meet two local entrepreneurs.

The goal of the series is to raise awareness about the challenges of being an entrepreneur, showcase those that are successfully making their own way, and shine a light on how inclusive entrepreneurship can be an effective economic development strategy.


20—Virtual Assistants

Looking to hire a virtual assistant? Podia has a list of their top 10 virtual assistant services.


Cool Tools

21—Fast and Easy Digital Punch Card Loyalty Program 

Candybar is an easy to use digital loyalty rewards program for brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce stores, brands and agencies that want to create a loyalty program. The software lets customers track their loyalty program rewards or stamps through a dashboard that can run in any browser. No apps or downloads required.

Why use loyalty programs? Shoppers are more likely to return to online stores that offer perks and rewards. Technology Advice found that customers are up to 80% more likely to shop at stores that have loyalty programs. Additionally, brand advocates are estimated to spend 33% more, and up to 10x more (!) over time. If you don’t have a loyalty program right now, then you are missing out on a lot.

With Candybar, retailers can seamlessly reward customers who return to their online stores. Since the entire process is digital, retailers can track their number of regulars, identify brand advocates, collect contact information and track business data through an easy-to-use dashboard. Cashiers in brick and mortar stores can also clear rewards with just three taps, which is an advantage during peak hours.

Benefits for Shoppers and Retailers:

  • Traditionally, a loyalty punch card program requires customers to collect stamps. However, it can be frustrating when customers lose their cards or stamps. Candybar’s solution is a paperless digital rewards program that lets customers track their rewards through an online account instead of a physical card.
  • Aggregate Customer Feedback: Retailers can collect reviews and analyze the performance of their loyalty program through the behavior and feedback of international shoppers.
  • Reward expiring reminders: Increase customer retention by reminding shoppers to return to the online store and spend their rewards before they expire.
  • Collect unlimited stamps: Make customers happy by letting them collect unlimited stamps and redeem rewards. Happy customers will undoubtedly keep returning to your store and boost your sales. In the long-run, they might turn into brand advocates that will promote your program with their network.
  • Retailers can set up Candybar in under three minutes. They can sign up for a free account with no credit card or hidden costs for 30 days. Afterwards, they can choose their rewards and customize redemption tiers.


22—Online Video

Renderforest is an all in one branding platform that helps individuals and businesses create videos, animations, logos, and websites online. Renderforest has over 8 million users from 140 countries. They have transformed the video editor into an AI-based automated video maker which will generate a video by analyzing the user’s script in just 3 seconds.


23—Increase Your Twitter Followings

Check out this complete guide to getting more Twitter followers.


24—Passwordless Logins

LogMeIn Inc. recently announced the next major update to its recently released LastPass Identity solution that introduces new ways for an employee to access their work without needing to type a password.

Building on its industry-leading enterprise password management technology, LastPass Identity now delivers a complete passwordless login experience for employees across applications, VPNs and devices (PCs, Macs, Android & iOS mobile devices) through device-native biometric authentication, single sign-on and federated identity integrations, all while giving IT complete control over every access point.

  • When passwords are estimated to be the root cause of 80% of all data breaches and IT is spending approximately four hours per week on password management-related issues alone, it’s clear that passwords continue to be a source of many security risks and employee frustrations. Going passwordless with LastPass Identity introduces new ways for employees to securely log in to their work accounts and devices without a password in sight, thus eliminating many password-related risks, leading to higher security and employee productivity, while also freeing up resources for IT.

New updates designed to eliminate the need for passwords for end users include:

  • Workstation Login: Using the secure, device-native biometric authentication technology of LastPass MFA, Workstation Login enables employees to log into their PCs and Macs using only biometrics, without ever having to type a password.
  • Okta & Azure AD Federation: LastPass is expanding its portfolio of federated identity integrations to give IT teams greater flexibility to integrate LastPass into existing IT ecosystems to offer employees a passwordless experience, regardless of their current identity provider.


25—Help for Real Estate Professionals

Fiverr just launched a Real Estate store. The store houses all the services real estate agents and agencies need to market themselves and their listings (Logo Design, Business Cards, Web & Mobile Design, Social Media Design, Email Marketing, Photoshop Editing, Virtual Staging, 3D Floor Plans, Local Photography, Slideshows & Promo Videos). Here are some of the main points:

  • Real estate agents tend to operate as their own small businesses. Most of the time, they’re on their own when it comes to marketing, social media, events, etc. That said, appearance is everything.
  • Having an online presence that’s visibly appealing yet informative at the same time is crucial. Virtual tours, 3-D renderings, beautifully edited drone footage and more are table stakes nowadays.
  • Having that same presence on mobile is essential for engaging clients as so much of this activity happens on the go. In fact, 76% of buyers who used mobile searching found their home through a mobile application.
  • While digital assets are a necessity nowadays, old school methods of marketing houses have not died in real estate. Agents know that having physical assets such as flyers, brochures, posters, and yard signs are needed for in-person networking and staging open houses to ultimately close deals.


26—Access to Financial Services

PayActiv is the leading provider of affordable access to financial services, including earned wage access. The employee benefit allows users to access their earned but unpaid wages before payday, along with access to benefits like Uber, Amazon, savings and budgeting,  bill pay and discounts. PayActiv partners with nearly 1,000 employers of all sizes to provide its benefit and helps employees better manage their finances and avoid unnecessary fees like payday loans, late fees and overdraft charges. The membership fee for employees is only $5 per pay period if the service is used. There is no cost for the employer and employers see increased engagement, retention and recruitment among their employees. A recent survey found that more than 81% of respondents were more likely to stay in their role because of the PayActiv benefit.

The company has created a documentary—check it out.


27—Texting Job Candidates

Human Capital Management (HCM) company Paycor recently announced Candidate Texting, a new service integration into Paycor’s Applicant Tracking Solution (ATS) that enables instant communication with candidates through text messaging. Candidate Texting streamlines the recruiting process by connecting with top talent faster than email or voicemail, and improves the candidate experience by using today’s workforce’s preferred method of communication.

With low unemployment rates being able to quickly and effectively engage with potential job candidates is more important than ever. According to a LivePerson study, The Digital Lives of Millennials and Gen Z, there is an “overwhelming favoritism for messaging over phone calls.” In fact, when asked if they would keep the ability to make a phone call or send a text message, nearly 75% of U.S. respondents chose messaging.

Benefits of Paycor’s Candidate Texting:

  • Communicate Instantly: In today’s candidate-driven environment, employers using Candidate Texting can connect with candidates instantly.
  • Eliminate Emails and Phone Calls: Emails have the potential to get lost in spam and phone calls don’t always allow recruiters to identify themselves before a candidate picks up the phone. With Candidate Texting, recruiters won’t get stuck in a game of phone tag or fear their email overlooked or filtered into spam.
  • Strengthen the Talent Pipeline: Candidate Texting can strengthen the talent pipeline by enabling recruiters to reconnect with a previous candidate about a new role that just opened. It also enables text reminders about upcoming interviews and general information such as directions to the business for that interview.

Business stock photo by Standret/Shutterstock