small businesses

9 Things Small Businesses Need to Know


1—New CRM Solution Crafted Especially for Small Businesses

Zoho Corporation, just launched a new pipeline-centric CRM software designed specifically for small and micro business owners. Bigin by Zoho CRM is a simple solution that helps small businesses keep track of customers and improve customer relationships—and you don’t have to worry about high costs or complicated features.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities and with business owners struggling more than ever right now, our goal is to bring world-class customer relationship management technology to every sized business at an extremely affordable price,” says Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist at Zoho. “We created Bigin to help small businesses achieve maximum growth with a minimal learning curve. Using the product, small businesses are able to stop relying on dozens of spreadsheets to manage customer activities and instead move to a CRM that is easy to use and allows them to focus on growing and building strong customer relationships.”

Bigin is a pipeline-centric CRM solution designed expressly for small businesses that don’t need an elaborate, end-to-end CRM. Once you grow and outgrow Bigin, you can seamlessly upgrade to Zoho CRM.


Effortless onboarding: You can get up and running in 30 minutes or less through effortless on-boarding.

It’s customizable:: You have the option to create multiple pipelines with fully customizable stages, so you can run distinct customer operations inside the CRM.

Built-in telephony: Making and receiving calls anytime, anywhere is made possible through Bigin’s built-in telephony, which lets users choose from a range of popular providers in the Zoho Phonebridge marketplace. With integrated telephony, Bigin pulls all the necessary information so that uses can have well-informed calls with customers and prospects.

Workflow Automation: The easy-to-create automated workflows helps sales reps drastically reduce time spent on repetitive manual tasks.

Real-time notifications and analytics: Real-time notifications from prospects are delivered inside the CRM. Plus, the app’s analytics dashboards, including charts and KPIs, help you make smarter decisions based on data and up-to-date key performance metrics.

Fully mobile: Manage emails, stay updated with your pipeline, and access key business information in real time with Bigin’s mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.

Affordability: Bigin only costs $7/user/month, billed annually.

Ideal Users:  Bigin is not only a great solution for small and micro businesses but is ideal for freelancers and people who want to manage their personal business pipelines online.

If you need a larger CRM platform, check out Zoho CRM.


2—Q1 Snapshot of Businesses for Sale

In the last quarter of 2019 business transactions were up 2.3% compared to 2018 and for the first 63 days of 2020 all indicators pointed to 2020 continuing on that positive track, according to BizBuySell’s Q1 Insight Report.

And then the global pandemic came to light. By the end of March the number of reported sold businesses dipped 43% year-over-year. Whether these deals were delayed or simply not yet reported as brokers scrambled to put their own business plans in place remains to be seen.

Overall, there was an 11% dip in Q1 transactions versus the year prior, down to 2,225 from 2,504. However, there is a bright spot—the financial performance of sold businesses increased y/o/y, with median cash flow up 10.9% to $129,548 and median revenue up 11.1% to  $600,000. These higher financials resulted in higher sale prices, which grew 11.1% to $250,000.

Another positive is the Small Business Administration Debt Relief Program—where the SBA will pay the first six principal and interest payments on behalf of the borrower for SBA 7a loans. This payment is made as a subsidy and not a deferment (meaning there is no obligation for repayment) and is eligible for all existing 7a loans and new 7a loans closing between March 27th and September 27th, 2020.

For business buyers, the SBA Debt Relief Program translates to six months of zero cost P&I. BizBuySell says if you “factor in historically low interest rates, you have acquisition costs considerably lower than even three months ago. A buyer that gets approved for a SBA 7a acquisition loan that closes before September 27th can receive this limited time and significant benefit.”

Of course, most business revenues took a hit. According to BizBuySell’s April 2nd survey of business owners, 78% reported a decline in customer demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, 38% experienced a disruption in their supply chain, and 68% expect a return to pre-pandemic levels within a year.


3—Cyberthreats on the Rise

If you sell online you need to be concerned about cyberthreats and hackers. In its new annual report SiteLock found quiet website attacks are on the rise. This means SMBs may not even know they’ve been breached until it’s too late. In fact, says the report, hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are turning to methods that can go undetected and deliver the biggest payout, leaving SMBs high and dry.

Key highlights:

  • Websites experience an average of 94 attacks per day per site (up 52% from the year before!).
  • 12.8 million sites on the internet are currently infected with malware
  • Malware stats by sites impacted:
    • Quiet malware:
      • 65% of infected sites had at least 1 backdoor (50% last year)
      • 48% of infected sites had at least 1 filehacker (47% last year)
    • Noisy malware:
      • 6% of infected sites had at least 1 defacement file (15% last year)
      • 5% of infected sites had at least 1 SEO spam file (18% last year)
      • 1% of infected sites had at least 1 cryptominer (2% last year)

With stats like this, it is crucial you take steps to protect your website—or it could cost you your business.


4—Navigating Through Transformation

Tune in on Thursday, May 21 at 5 pm ET and learn how SMBs can “navigate the new normal through transformation.” The session, hosted by John Caplan, President of North America & Europe at, can be accessed at’s LinkedIn live. It is the first of Caplan’s Transformer Talks and will feature Hunter Walk.


5—Virtual Summer Camp for Teens

Give your teens a Global Entrepreneurship Experience by “sending” them to this virtual one-week summer camp from Rutgers University.

They’ll have the chance to:

  • Learn from startup experts and top entrepreneurs
  • Participate in discussions on business-related topics
  • Improve your team building/project management skills
  • Collaborate and create a concept pitch presentation
  • Network with like-minded students worldwide

And learn about:

  • Teamwork + Leadership
  • Communication skills
  • Design + Innovation
  • Marketing + Research
  • STEM + Sustainability
  • Career exploration
  • Etiquette + Networking
  • Agility + Resiliency
  • Social Media Branding

They can attend either:

July 13-17. From 9 am – 4 pm [4 Sections: PT; ET; Europe/ME; Asia]

July 20–24 From 9 am – 4 pm [4 Sections: PT; ET; Europe/ME; Asia]

You can register here. Use code “Rieva” and get 10% off if you sign up by end of day Monday, the 25th.


6—Online Checkout Made Easy

More and more customers have been shopping online since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. That’s why owners of brick-and-mortar operations have had to bring their business online. But that doesn’t necessarily mean opening an e-commerce store.

To help you conduct online transactions, Square introduced Square Online Checkout, an online checkout link or button that allows businesses to accept payments without having to build an online store.

Square Online Checkout quickly generates a checkout link or button for goods, services, memberships, and more. You can post the link anywhere online—using email, text messaging, on your  existing website, or on your social media channels.

How to Use Square Online Checkout:

Once you’ve created a checkout link or button, you can share it on whichever channels you choose.

On social media: A checkout link can be added to your Instagram bio, in a direct message, or within a Facebook post. This allows you to sell featured items, services, or provide a way for supporters to donate via your social media channels.

Over email: If you announce a new product or service in an email campaign or e-newsletter, embed a checkout button to allow customers to purchase the offering directly from their inbox.

Through an existing website: If you have an existing website or blog, you can easily add a link or checkout button for seamless online purchases. Some benefits of Square Online Checkout:

  • Easy to create: To create a Square Online Checkout link, just give the product or service you want to accept payment for a name and a price.
  • Shareable link or button: Turn almost anywhere online into a new sales channel. Bring e-commerce to a social media post, email, website, blog, portfolio, and more.
  • Beyond selling: Accept donations and membership dues either as a one-time payment or set up recurring payments.
  • Hassle-free transactions: No special apps to download. Simple checkout means customers only have to enter three pieces of info to complete a purchase. Accept all major credit cards and debit cards, plus Apple Pay and Google Pay for an even more streamlined checkout experience.
  • No monthly fees: Pay only when you make a sale — just 9% + 30¢ per transaction.

How to get started

You can create a link to start selling in seconds.

  1. Create a link for any goods or services you want to accept payment for.
  2. Give the link a name and a price.
  3. Share the link by pasting it into an email, social post, Instagram bio, text message, etc. Or save the link as a button and put it on a website, blog, portfolio etc.
  4. Customers click the link and get taken to a simple checkout page requiring only three pieces of information—name, email, payment details.

All customers have to do is click the link, then enter their payment info. And just like that,  you’re paid—fast.


7—New Security Solution for Small Businesses Group recently introduced a new, end-to-end  Cyber Security Solution providing small businesses with comprehensive mobile device protection and 24/7 access to security experts to safeguard their businesses against the threat of cyberattacks—which have an average cost of more than $2.65 million for small businesses.

Launched in partnership with SKOUT Cybersecurity and Lookout, the new security offering brings together the on-demand technical expertise of SKOUT’s 24/7 Cyber Security Operations Center with Lookout, the leader in mobile security which continuously monitors the security and health of mobile devices. The result is a comprehensive solution that combines both offense and defense to provide small businesses with total mobile security including identity protection and theft prevention.

“Theft of digital information has now surpassed physical theft. Yet, when cybersecurity incidents occur, small businesses typically don’t know who to call or where to get answers,” says Sharon Rowlands, CEO and president of Group. “By joining forces with SKOUT and Lookout, our Cyber Security Solution provides small businesses with a proactive approach to protecting their mobile platforms, while also offering 24/7 access to very best security experts—all in a single, end-to-end solution.” says the new Cyber Security Solution “effectively serves as the customer’s IT security team, for a fraction of the cost. This is crucial because hackers are targeting small and mid-sized businesses. Yet, unlike larger enterprises, most small businesses cannot afford to hire full-time cybersecurity experts. As a result, when small businesses experience a data breach or identity theft emergency, there is nowhere to turn—there is no cybersecurity 9-1-1 for them to call.”

Key features:

  • Cyber Security Operations Center: Get access to a 24/7 Cyber Security Operations Center staffed with trained security professionals capable of guiding small businesses through steps to remediate, prevent or investigate any security breaches or issues they may encounter.
  • Mobile App Security & Scanning: Secure smartphones and other mobile devices against mobile threats like malware, adware, and phishing, before they do harm.
  • Lost Device Location Services & Theft Protection: Get the easiest tools to find a lost or stolen phone, including email alerts with a photo and map if a thief tries to steal it.
  • Breach Reports: Identify breaches of any services connected to the apps you have installed and get timely alerts on corporate breaches that may affect you, as well as advice on simple steps to protect your personal information.
  • Safe Mobile Wi-Fi: Scan your current Wi-Fi network to establish whether anything on it poses a threat.
  • Mobile Phishing Protection: Surf the web and click confidently on links from Facebook, email, text messages and more.

The all-new Cyber Security Solution is priced at $49.90 per year with monthly pricing available.


8—Protect Your Skin to Avoid Cancer

As millions of Americans get ready to head outdoors and soak up the sunshine, there are some things you need to be aware of. Since May is skin cancer awareness month, this is an appropriate time to note that, according to the CDC, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America—yet a new study shows only 34% of Americans worry about getting it.

Advanced Dermatology recently surveyed over 2,000 Americans and also analyzed Google search trends data to learn which states are the most and least concerned about skin cancer.

Here’s what they found:

  • 40% of Americans say they rarely or never wear sunscreen and more than 70% only wear it in the summer.
  • Even more alarming, 77% say they only use sunscreen for certain activities on summer days.
  • 34% of Americans have gotten sunburned in the last year, yet 53% have never been checked for skin cancer by a professional.
  • People in 24 states (nearly half the country!), including Vermont, Idaho, Delaware and Montana aren’t really concerned about skin cancer—yet those states have high rates of skin cancer but average or low search volume for questions regarding skin cancer.

Learn more here.


9—Americans Without Health Care

Millions of Americans are unemployed—which means many may be without health insurance coverage. Harmony Healthcare IT recently analyzed health insurance data from every state and most populous metro areas to find out where the most uninsured Americans live.


  • Millennials are the demographic with the highest percentage of uninsured—more than 6 million millennials don’t have health insurance.
  • Among the top 17 states with the highest percentage of uninsured residents (10% or more), 11 are located in the South or the Southwest.
  • Texas is home to the highest percentage of uninsured residents with more than 5 million Texans or 18% of the population, uninsured.
  • States with the most insured residents: Massachusetts ranks #1 with only 3% of its population uninsured, followed by Vermont (4%), Hawaii (4%), Rhode Island (4%) and Minnesota (4%).

Small businesses stock photo by Jelena Zelen/Shutterstock