By Rieva Lesonsky
1—20 Ways to Market Your Small Business
From the startup capital to the sweat equity to the countless hours you’ve spent toiling away by yourself, you’ve invested a lot in your small business. Because you’ve put so much of yourself, your time and your money into your business, there’s too much on the line to let it simply wither and die. You want to succeed, not just survive. That means you have to be bold about marketing your small business. No matter how great your products or services may be, it won’t do you any good if no one knows about them. Before you can tell your customers how you beat the competition, you have to let them know you exist. Check out the infographic below from BestCustomFlags for some great marketing ideas.
2—10 Ways to Build Leadership Credibility
Credibility is one of the most important traits to be in possession of, when in a leadership role. Leaders who lead with credibility are not only respected and honored but also gain followers with relative ease, be it an organizational environment or political.
At the same time, credibility is not the easiest things to build and can take quite a bit of effort and a lot of time. But once achieved, the credible leader is able to set their own standards and pace of things which the others tend to follow with relative ease.
Below are some of the ways the credibility can be built and exercised from Zoe Talent Solutions.
3—What Would You Rather Have Hacked?
Strange question I know. But Cyclonis, a data management and security company that makes the Cyclonis Password Manager, surveyed Americans on their password habits and found that 83% of people use the same password for multiple sites. (That’s a no-no, folks.)
Cyclonis asked consumers to rank which online services they use would they least want hacked.
- Online banking
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter)
- Online dating profile
- Adult Website/search history
- Personal email
- Work email
Cyclonis says, “Unfortunately, the password habits of consumers revealed in the survey show that there’s a good chance many of these services of theirs will be hacked at some point.”
Some other key highlights:
- 34% admit to using their pets’ names to come up with their passwords. Other popular sources included simple number combinations, birthdays, favorite school mascots, and names and numbers of favorite athletes
- 11% say they “never, ever” change their passwords
- 28% say they forget their passwords and have to reset them 10 or more times a year
4—Bargain vs. Value—What Do Consumers Care More About?
What do consumers look for when shopping? Do they want discounts or quality goods? , what are our strategies and intentions when we shop looking for discounts in 2018?
AVYA Skincare took a look and found:
- Consumers cared least about quality when shopping for manicures, pedicures, tattoos,bikini waxing and other beauty services
- Consumers cared most about quality when shopping for condoms, car repairs, electrical repairs and other professional services related to their health and wellbeing
- Consumers bargain shopped most for clothes, cars, toilet paper and smartphones
Surprisingly, income was not a main factor when looking at consumer preferences for both quality goods and bargains.
Take a look at the infographic below for more information.
5—The Importance and Use of Social Media
Hootsuite recently released its annual Social Media Barometer Report, a global survey on the importance and use of social media within small, medium and enterprise organizations across industries.
Examining data from more than 9,000 responses across 19 countries, the report shows social media is a critical platform for global businesses to maintain their competitive advantage, particularly as social media’s use grows beyond marketing to drive value across the organization.
Key findings of the research include:
- 87% agree social media is important to staying competitive
- 80% say social media is more important to their businesses and customers than it was last year
- 67% agree social media will increasingly contribute to their company’s bottom line, with more than 54% of organizations noting social has moved outside the marketing team.
- Despite the expanded use across the organizations, 58% of respondents still find it difficult to evaluate whether their social media campaigns are working, while 50% struggle with understanding and interpreting social data
- Uses of social:
- 90% of organizations use social to build brand awareness
- 77% manage their brand reputation
- 71% for building & managing an engaged community
- 61% to increase lead conversions and sales
- 50% to gain market and customer insights
- 47% for delivering customer service
- 35% to attract job applicants
- 22% to identify crisis and manage communications
You can access the full global report here. To help CMOs, executives and social leaders with the challenges they face, Hootsuite will host its Future of Social events in Toronto, San Francisco, New York, Mexico City, London, Sydney, and Singapore in October and November 2018. The events will be live streamed and then available for replay in early 2019. Find more details here.
6—5 Actions to Increase Leadership Diversity
Guest post by Lauren Herring, CEO of IMPACT Group and author of This Side Up! A Simple Guide to Your Successful Relocation.
Gender parity doesn’t happen on its own. It takes a conscious effort and steadfast commitment to change the lack of diverse talent within your upper tiers. Now more than ever women are ready for their rightful seat at the proverbial table. Here are 5 steps organizations can do to balance the gender scales.
- Find your visionary leader.[So many companies say], “We’ll start a leadership development program when we are ready.” The truth is, no company is ever fully ready—especially without developed leaders. A visionary leader needs to put a stake in the ground and set stretch goals knowing it will require boldness. Sharing these goals with the company can be a challenge, but it needs to be proactively addressed. Break these goals down into milestones and building blocks that can be achieved over the course of a year.
- Share the current data.As a leader sets their visionary goals, they may fear they are alienating the existing majority within the company. It’s imperative to understand where your workforce is today. Analyze the demographics of your employees at different levels. This data tells a story. While 50% of your overall employees may be women, what’s that percentage at the top management levels? Sharing it throughout your company allows everyone to clearly see where the gaps are. This starts a rich and meaningful dialogue about what the impact is to the company if you don’t strive for gender balance.
Use this telling data as a springboard to motivate people to embrace the change initiatives, helping build grassroots support and achieve an organizational-wide mind shift. Accelerating the careers of all high potentials will take buy-in at all levels.
- Establish & celebrate early wins.Take time to celebrate milestones as you achieve them. As your female high potentials make small changes to their work style and take on stretch assignments, it’s empowering to recognize those small achievements. This reinforces the progress each person is making and gives senior leaders and executives an opportunity to see the diversity initiative in action. On the flip side, celebrating these wins reinforces to the company that you are committed to seeing the program succeed.
Another win worth noting- diversity initiatives are attractive to potential employees and customers. Find ways to celebrate efforts externally so candidates and future business partners recognize the strides you are taking to advance women leaders at your organization.
- Analyze organizational practices. Organizational practices can sometimes be a barrier for women’s advancement. Encourage companies to do a check: Where do you recruit? How diverse is your applicant pool? Are you attracting as many men as women? What are your interviewing practices?
Another area to analyze is your current employee development programs. Of the people who are enrolled in your highest leadership development program, what percentage of them are women? Determine if the criteria for those programs promotes career growth for women or prohibits it. This goes for your interviewing and hiring practices, committees, and stretch assignments. Gaining awareness of your current practices can unearth reg flags that previously went unnoticed or unaddressed.
- Institute manager involvement & executive sponsorship. Involving managers and executives in the development efforts increases the woman’s visibility. Line managers are an employee’s #1 advocate for future growth opportunities—yet can also be the #1 barrier. Connect both the female employee and her manager with a professional coach during your development program. This third-party coach will do wonders for opening up dialogue about the role of the manager in the woman’s career advancement.
If women don’t have relationships with various executives within their organization, they’re likely missing out on opportunities for growth. Executives are aware of opportunities for new departments, new roles, or new products; however, they are not always aware of the high potentials who could benefit from these opportunities. Being top of mind with an executive increases the chances of rising female leaders being tapped for that role or project.
Enhancing leadership diversity takes a bold commitment to dive in. Is this year the one you tap the diverse high potentials at your organization? Discover the difference an integrated Women in Leadership program can make among your ranks.
7—No Annual Fee Business Credit Card for Businesses
Discover recently announced the launch of the Discover it® Business credit card. The new card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, as well as free business and security features, all with no annual fee.
“The Discover it Business card is a smart, simple and rewarding credit card that puts all the features and benefits that Discover cardmembers love and rely on in the hands of business owners,” says Andrew Hopkins, senior vice president of marketing at Discover.
Business owners have a lot on their plates, and according to market research from Discover, one in four small business owners cite keeping track of expenses as a top worry or concern. The Discover it Business card makes it easy to download transactions directly into QuickBooks, Quicken and Excel. Plus, employers can get free employee cards with spending limits for each employee and the ability to earn rewards on all of their purchases.
The new card also makes it easy for business owners to be rewarded for their hard work. In addition to earning 1.5% cash back on all purchases, the Discover it Business card offers Cashback MatchTM—an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all cash back earned at the end of a cardmember’s first year.
The Discover it Business card includes all the features and benefits that Discover it cards are known for, including:
- Free Social Security number alerts: Cardmembers who activate will be alerted if Discover finds their Social Security number on any of thousands of risky websites
- Free FICO®Credit Scores
- No foreign transaction fees, and no late fee on the first late payment
- $0 fraud liability guarantee: Cardmembers are never held responsible for unauthorized purchases on their Discover card
- Freeze it®: Cardmembers can freeze their account in seconds using the Discover mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers
- 100% live, U.S.-based customer service available day or night
For more information about the Discover it Business card and to apply, go here.
8—How To Launch A Business From Your College Dorm Room
Guest post by Adam Witty, CEO of Advantage|ForbesBooks, and co-author (with Rusty Shelton) of Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars of Thought Leadership to Make Competition Irrelevant. Witty started Advantage in 2005 in a spare bedroom of his home.
College students with entrepreneurial spirit may be eager for the day they can leave the confines of their cramped dorm rooms, move into a spacious office and launch the business of their dreams.
But why wait?
There are plenty of examples of college students who were still living in their dorms when they started what became very successful businesses. Just to name a few: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook; Michael Dell of Dell; Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy of Snapchat; and Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little of WordPress.
Here are some tips for college students who have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug:
Find a mentor. A good mentor, such as a professor or local business person, can provide valuable advice, help with networking and perhaps even be the inspiration behind the business you launch. [My] mentor was Pat Williams, a motivational speaker and senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Williams told me every motivational speaker needs a book, but most don’t have one. In cases where speakers did have a book, it was often self-published and of poor quality. Williams suggested I start a publishing company for people like him who could use the book as a marketing tool.
Think of yourself as a brand. College students are well aware of brands, such as Nike, Netflix, Apple and Starbucks, among others. They recognize and maybe even trust these brands, and naturally think in terms of the corporate brand for whatever business they want to launch. But beyond a company brand, it’s also valuable to promote your personal brand. Regardless of what service or product you plan to offer, it’s important for you to build your visibility and credibility in your field. This is especially true when you’re going up against established businesses that have years or decades head start on you in terms of brand awareness. This may be a challenge for a college student, but by getting yourself and your name in front of as many people as possible, you will be on your way to building trust with your intended clientele.
Make use of social media. If you’re worried about how to pay for next semester’s textbooks, it’s unlikely you have a massive marketing budget. What you do have, though, are social media accounts that cost you nothing. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram all can help you spread your message, build your authority and connect with potential customers or clients.
Even before you begin, whether you’re starting your business in a dorm room or an office park, you will want to know how you will measure your success. What metrics will you use? Will you set as a goal a certain number of leads each month? A certain number of sales or new clients? You have to know what success looks like and where you want to end up. If you don’t, how will you know you’re happy with the results?
9—Financial News for eBay Sellers
eBay and Square Capital recently announced a new partnership that will soon enable eBay’s sellers in the U.S. to access funding that can help them grow their businesses. While many small businesses still struggle to obtain the financing they need, Square Capital will provide eligible eBay sellers with a simple, seamless, and transparent funding experience.
Scott Cutler, senior vice president, Americas at eBay says, “eBay sellers in the U.S. will be able to apply for as little as $500 or as much as $100,000 to help with whatever their business needs might be—from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing.”
“Expanding access to capital, including to those who have been underserved when seeking funding, is core to Square’s purpose of economic empowerment,” adds Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital.
Access to capital is one of the biggest hurdles in making business growth a reality, with 70% of small businesses not receiving the funding they want. Loans through Square Capital have a simple loan application that takes only a few steps, removing the need to fill out long, often complicated forms. Additionally, funding is in the hands of approved customers quickly, in as little as one business day after submitting an application. This speed of funding supports the cash flow needs of small business owners and allows them to immediately put the funds to use and grow their business. Finally, the experience is transparent, as loan offers through Square Capital clearly detail the total borrowing cost, which, with timely payment, never changes for the life of the loan.
Select eBay customers will begin receiving email invitations to apply for a loan through Square Capital in the third quarter of 2018.
In other news, eBay is rolling out the ability to use Apple Pay as a form of payment. As eBay begins to manage payments on its Marketplace platform, Apple Pay, an easy, secure and private way to pay, will be among the first forms of payment offered in its new payments experience. Earlier this year, eBay announced it will manage the end-to-end payments flow on its platform to further simplify and improve the buying and selling experience. The company is on track to start managing payments on a limited scale in the U.S. early this fall, at which time buyers will be able to use Apple Pay to purchase items from sellers participating in the initial phase of the new payments experience. Using Apple Pay on Apple iOS and Safari, consumers will be able to check out on eBay via the app and mobile web.
10—5G Ultra Wideband
Everyone is buzzing about 5G these days. Check out this post to see what Verizon is offering.
11—New Podcast for Small Business
TD Bank just launched a new podcast for small businesses—Small Business Sound Off.
12—Scholarship for the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Ed tech startup SchoolApply just announced a new social initiative, the Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship, “to give back to the students we help serve and to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
The annual $30,000 scholarship will be given to a new or current student in an undergraduate or post-graduate program who has shown a commitment to fostering intercultural understanding and exchange and has a strong startup idea and business plan.
“SchoolApply was founded on the principle that everyone deserves a great education, and that education spurs entrepreneurship and innovation. We believe the world can be made a better place by connecting budding entrepreneurs across cultures, countries, and geographies to develop new ideas and new technologies. We created the Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship to do our part in shaping the next generation of entrepreneurs,” says Daniel Bjarne, cofounder and CEO of SchoolApply.
The Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship applications will be open until October 1, 2018, and applicants must demonstrate:
- Their potential to contribute to society through their studies
- A strong commitment to career development
- A sincere interest in increasing intercultural understanding and exchange
- A strong business idea and implementation plan
Students can apply here.
13—Expand the Reach of Your Content
Hootsuite recently launched Boost, a new feature that allows customers to easily identify and promote top-performing Facebook content to reach new audiences.
14—Google Launches Tool for Veteran-Owned Businesses
Google has launched a new attribute that enables businesses to identify as “veteran-led” on their listings in Search and Maps. here. This is part of a larger announcement from Grow with Google (their initiative to help create opportunities for Americans) to support veterans through technology.
More than 2.5 million businesses in the U.S. are majority-owned by veterans says Sean O’Keefe, former Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, and Google Data Scientist.
As part of a broader effort to use technology to help the veteran community, Google is making it easier to identify your local business as veteran-led on Google Search and Maps. If your business is owned, led, or founded by a veteran, you can enable this “Veteran-Led” attribute through Google My Business, and it will appear on your Google listing alongside other details like “Has Wi-Fi” or “Outdoor Seating.” You can add the Veteran-Led attribute to your listing by following these steps.
You can learn more about what Google is doing via Grow with Google, including a new ability to search for jobs with an MOS code, here.
15—New App on Amazon’s Marketplace Appstore
Ecomdash, an e-commerce inventory management platform, is now available on Amazon’s Marketplace Appstore. Businesses that sell on Amazon can find ecomdash listed as a solution to help them manage inventory and orders, shipping, listing, and various ecommerce connections.
The Marketplace Appstore is a one-stop-shop where the small and medium-sized businesses that sell on Amazon can more easily discover quality applications to help them automate, manage and grow their business. Accessible from Seller Central, the Marketplace Appstore features applications created by Amazon and external developers that covers a range of functionalities across the selling lifecycle.
The Marketplace Appstore listing can now be found in the Seller Central portal. For more information, go here.
16—Streaming App for Businesses
Comcast Business today just launched the Xfinity Stream app for Comcast Business TV, a streaming video feature that lets employees and customers watch live TV on any device, anywhere in their business, and at no extra cost.
Xfinity Stream for Business is a streaming video feature that brings some of the best live entertainment on television straight to the computers, tablets and smartphones in your business. Customers and employees can access Xfinity Stream for Business through the Xfinity Stream app on smartphones and tablets, and via the Xfinity Stream portal on computers. Xfinity Stream for Business enables up to five users to stream content concurrently. Channel lineups at each location will vary based on the Comcast Business TV package selected, as well as the location of the business.
“Xfinity Stream for Business is a great solution for waiting rooms, employee break areas, lobbies and more,” says Jeremy Andreoli, executive director, Video Product, Strategy and Business Development, Comcast Business.
Available now for both new and existing customers, Xfinity Stream for Business is included at no additional cost to Comcast Business TV PrivateView customers with a Comcast Business Internet subscription. There’s more information here.
17—App Makes Micro-Influencer Marketing Accessible to Small Business
Influencers can make a big difference for businesses, but hiring them can be too expensive for small businesses. TribeFluence, a leading provider of Influencer Marketing solutions, just announced that Click & Clear Communications, a full-service ad agency in Los Angeles, will become the first authorized TribeFluence Marketing Platform provider in the U.S.
“The task of reaching a large number of social media personalities can prove challenging, according to company founder and CEO Johnny Viera. “TribeFluence has streamlined this process giving clients a more robust and cost-effective advertising mix that garners a higher rate of brand loyalty.”
TribeFluence is connecting brands with influencers and micro-influencers. Through their app TribeFluence can assign brand campaigns to hundreds of influencers with the click of a button. Furthermore, the app can give advertisers targeted reach to engage the most relevant audience for their initiatives.
The company cites a recent report that estimated micro-influencer marketing campaigns can see over 50% more engagement and drives more than 20 times of social media conversation than your typical celebrity driven, bloated campaign. Brands that utilize micro influencer marketing found it is five to six times more cost effective.