business

19 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know

Programs and Initiatives

1—Getting Back to Business 

Visa recently announced its global commitment to help 50 million small businesses move to digital in the middle of the economic impact of COVID-19. Visa has developed a range of locally designed programs to help small businesses get back to business:

Helping Black women-owned businesses

Visa launched a program to award $100k in grants for U.S.-based Black women-owned small businesses, extending its partnership with IFundWomen.

The number of startups founded by Black women has more than doubled since 2016, yet they represent just 0.06% of the $424.7 billion in total tech venture funding raised since 2009.

The program, which launched in June, will award 10 $10k grants to help Black women entrepreneurs secure funding needed to run and grow their businesses. Grant recipients will be supported after they receive the funding—through mentoring with private coaches, educational resources, connection with a network of female business owners and an annual IFW membership.

This builds off Visa’s commitment to support the Black community in America, and its ongoing She’s Next initiative supporting women entrepreneurs across the globe. Together Visa and IFW already awarded grants to women-owned businesses affected by COVID, with plans to expand globally in the coming months.

There’s more information about the grants here.

Helping small businesses become digital-first

The Hubs provide tools, partner offers and information on how to start, run and grow digital-first small businesses. The key is to deploy easy-to-adopt touchless payment technology rapidly and at scale.

Visa street teams are visiting merchants to provide “back to business” kits with new point-of-sale materials, branding, educational resources and special offers. The program kicked off in the 50 largest U.S. cities and will expand globally.

They’re working with a range of partners to increase the number of locations where consumers can tap their contactless card or mobile phone.

Incentivizing neighborhood support encouraging consumers to shop local.

The Visa Back to Business Project, an online tool that connects local residents with open businesses, is now live in New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and the U.S

Introducing the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute to help address underlying problems and provide insights for SMB growth and close racial/gender gaps through policy.

Key projects in the next six months will address topics including post-crisis recovery and resilience, urban mobility, closing equality opportunity gaps and insights into the gig economy.

 

2—New Ways to Support Black-Owned Businesses

Guest post by Jewel Burks, Head of Google for Startups, U.S.
Excerpted from a blog post on Google. Read the whole post here.

While working as an Entrepreneur-in-residence at Google from 2014 to 2016, I traveled across the country to help enhance the online presence of hundreds of Black owned businesses. As a Black woman, entrepreneur and Googler, supporting Black-owned businesses and Black founders is my passion.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a surge in online searches for Black-owned businesses. It’s been inspiring to witness so many people look for ways to invest in the Black community. Now, we’re announcing three new ways to help support Black business owners.

[Now], merchants in the U.S. with a verified Business Profile on Google can add a Black-owned business attribute to their profile, making it easier for customers to find and support them. As part of our $300 million commitment to support underrepresented entrepreneurs, we’re also integrating the attribute into the digital skills training programs we offer Black business owners through Grow with Google Digital Coaches. And through Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders, we’re starting our work with the first cohort of 12 startups.

Making Search and Maps more inclusive: With this attribute, our goal is to make Search and Maps more inclusive and help support Black-owned businesses when they need it most.

To help get the word out about the new Black-owned attribute, we’ve partnered with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC). With 145 Black Chambers of Commerce and 326,000 members across the country, USBC provides leadership and advocacy to empower Black business owners through resources and initiatives. Together, Google and USBC will provide training for Black-owned businesses to enhance their presence on Google through the use of digital tools like Google My Business and Google Analytics. Our hope is that by partnering with USBC, we can help more businesses connect with their community and customers.

Reaching more businesses with digital skills training: We’re also adding the Black-owned business attribute to the training curriculum offered through the Grow with Google Digital Coaches program. [In June] we announced a commitment to train more than 50,000 Black owned small businesses.

Introducing the first class of Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders: Through Google for Startups, we’re also expanding ways to support Black entrepreneurs who are using technology to address so many of today’s biggest challenges. We’re announcing the inaugural class of the Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders with 12 high potential Seed to Series A tech startups based in the U.S.

Starting next month, these 12 founders will receive training and support from Google and industry experts on technical challenges, business growth, and outside investment opportunities to help them reach the next level.

In my current role as the Head of Google for Startups in the U.S., I have the privilege of continuing to work with Black entrepreneurs. [These new updates] updates are a part of our company-wide effort to support Black-owned businesses through products and meaningful partnerships. It’s my hope that this attribute and Google’s tools and training can serve as additional resources for Black-owned businesses and the people who support them.

 

3—Amazon Highlights Success for SMBs

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) just published the 2020 Small and Medium Business (SMB) Impact Report, highlighting how the company benefits SMBs, including more than 2 million independent sellers, authors, content creators, delivery providers, developers and IT solution providers in the U.S. Despite the impact COVID-19 has had on many small businesses, American SMBs working with Amazon have been able to thrive and grow.

Amazon provides small business owners, startups, and entrepreneurs with tools and opportunities to succeed – whether selling their products online, running delivery and logistics companies, using the cloud to launch and scale their businesses, creating voice apps, or publishing their own books.

Findings

American SMBs selling in Amazon’s stores are growing. In the 12 months ending on May 31, 2020:

  • American SMB sellers sold more than 3.4 billion products, up from 2.7 billion year-over-year, and averaged 6,500 products sold per minute.
  • On average, these SMB sellers each had over $160,000 in sales, up y-o-y from approximately $100,000.
  • The number of American SMB sellers that surpassed $1 million in sales grew by more than 20%—more than 3,700 surpassed $1 million in sales for the first time.
  • American SMB sales from business customers on Amazon Business were over $7 billion.
  • SMBs selling on the Amazon.com U.S. store support an estimated 1.1 million jobs, up from 830,000 in 2019.

Amazon delivery and logistics businesses are creating jobs

  • There are now more than 1,000 Amazon Delivery Service Partner businesses in the U.S., employing more than 82,000 drivers.
  • S. line haul service providers that move Amazon packages between fulfillment centers and to and from air hubs employ more than 13,000 drivers, up from 3,700 in 2018.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) enables authors to self-publish and distribute their books to millions of readers around the world

  • In the twelve months ending May 31, 2020, worldwide authors earned more than $319 million from the KDP Select Global Fund, totaling more than $1.28 billion since the launch of Kindle Unlimited.
  • Thousands of independent authors have earned more than $50,000, with more than one thousand surpassing $100,000 in royalties.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is helping hundreds of thousands of SMB customers, startups and partners around the world launch and scale their businesses

  • Since June 2019, Amazon has provided more than $1 billion in AWS credits to help startups accelerate their growth and development, up from $500 million in 2018.
  • AWS Activate has provided hundreds of thousands of startups with a host of benefits, including AWS credits, technical support and training.

Alexa enables SMB builders, developers and entrepreneurs around the world to innovate and create voice-first customer experiences

  • There are now more than 700,000 developers building for Alexa, and more than 100,000 Alexa skills have been built with the Alexa Skills kit.
  • Today, worldwide customers have hundreds of millions of Alexa devices, including more than 100,000 smart home products that can be controlled with Alexa from more than 9,500 unique brands.

Amazon also recently revealed the top 10 states with the most SMBs selling in Amazon’s stores per capita, and the top 10 states with the fastest growing SMBs selling in Amazon’s stores.

To help small businesses navigate this difficult time, Amazon provides an overview of practical resources, tools, and opportunities to partner with the company here.

 

4—New Program Offering Seller Financing to Entrepreneurs

eBay and LendingPoint will launch a new program giving eBay sellers in the U.S. access to funding to help grow and sustain their businesses. The program, eBay Seller Capital powered by LendingPoint, is compatible with payments managed by eBay and will unlock opportunities for individuals and businesses to obtain financing, providing eligible sellers with a fast, flexible and transparent funding experience.

“We’re committed to empowering entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality, and we are continuing to partner with our sellers to provide them with the tools they need to thrive,” says Alyssa Cutright, Vice President of Global Payments at eBay. “We’re excited to make flexible financing options available that are integrated with our new payments experience. The program with LendingPoint will enable critical funding opportunities for eBay sellers, especially during this time of economic uncertainty.”

“LendingPoint’s purpose is to accelerate and democratize commerce,” says Tom Burnside, CEO and cofounder of LendingPoint. “We are thrilled to be able to use the data and technology we have built into our platform to help eBay sellers achieve their dreams. eBay sellers are some of the world’s most dynamic ecommerce players and our Loan Operating System will help them access the financial tools they need to achieve even greater success with their businesses.”

eBay sellers who work with LendingPoint in the pilot program can obtain quick decisions and access to installment loans. This program will be offered with flexible terms of up to 48 months to allow sellers to choose the best option for their specific budget needs, and lower repayment plans as part of the longer terms. LendingPoint will not charge origination fees or early payback fees. In the future, through this partnership, eBay and LendingPoint aim to expand their offering to provide eBay sellers with more tools to help run their businesses.

eBay Seller Capital powered by LendingPoint is rolling out now as a pilot program with select sellers and will be available to all eligible sellers in the U.S. later this year. During the initial launch, eligible sellers may receive up to $25,000 in funding in as little as one business day.

 

5—New Credit Card Program and QuickBooks Integration

Center, a technology company helping businesses manage and optimize spend, just launched two new product offerings: the Center®Corporate Credit Card powered by Mastercard® and the QuickBooks Online Connector. As part of Center’s complete real-time expense management solution, these new features enable finance teams to access working capital, speed up expense deployments, and improve accounting accuracy.

“In the current economic downturn, it’s become more critical than ever for organizations to have accurate, real-time financial data,” says Naveen Singh, Center co-founder and CEO. “The new features, CenterCard Credit and the QuickBooks Online Connector, in combination with Center Expense software, help organizations gain immediate visibility into business expenses to effectively manage cash flow, control costs, and invest in resources.”

Center® Corporate Credit Card Powered by Mastercard®

The Center® Corporate Credit Card program, issued by Comdata, Inc., comes bundled with the powerful Center Expense software, which helps businesses manage and track spend from the point of purchase through review, approval, and reporting. It includes simple but flexible card administration to set spend limits and expense policies. Organizations using CenterCard and Center Expense reduce time spent tracking receipts, manually auditing expenses, reconciling card statements, processing accruals, and updating the general ledger by 70 percent or more.

QuickBooks Online Connector

Center now offers direct integration with QuickBooks® Online, the leading accounting software for SMBs. Center customers use the QuickBooks Connector to set up their expense software in minutes and automatically sync expense data to QuickBooks, eliminating the manual data entry and accounting errors that occur even with traditional expense management software. The QuickBooks Online Connector, which enables increased visibility and controls over employee expenses, is available to all Center customers at no additional charge.

For more information on the new credit offering, QuickBooks Online integration or to request a demo, visit getcenter.com.

Apply Now

 

6—Entrepreneurs Wanted: Walmart’s 7th Annual Open Call for U.S.-Manufactured Products

The application process for Walmart’s 7th annual Open Call is open. They’re inviting entrepreneurs who want to get their U.S.-manufactured products on Walmart’s shelves to apply for the opportunity to meet with Walmart buyers on October 1, 2020 via virtual pitch meetings.

The deadline to apply to participate in this year’s Open Call for U.S.-manufactured products is August 10.  The application and additional information about the event are available via Walmart-jump.com.

The event, scheduled for October 1, kicks off Walmart’s celebration of U.S. Manufacturing Month and will include similar programming to previous years.  In addition to one-on-one pitch meetings with Walmart buyers, participants will have an opportunity to hear directly from Walmart executives and learn from company leaders during smaller breakout sessions designed to inform, empower and encourage supplier-hopefuls.

Apply for Open Call today.

 

7—The Big Find Returns to QVC and HSN

The Big Find®, an international search to discover entrepreneurs with the next big brand or unique product returns to QVC US and HSN.

The Big Find pitch panel experience has been reimagined as an entirely virtual event to allow for safe and convenient engagement between vendors and QVC and HSN judges. The first step in the process is for entrepreneurs and inventors to complete an application that includes a video submission on their product or product lines through August 19.

Selected candidates will be invited to pitch their products virtually in September via videoconference to a panel of QVC and HSN judges, including merchandising executives, program hosts, and brand founders from established QVC and HSN brands. The judges will interview candidates to learn more about their brand story, background on the product or invention and what makes the product interesting or relevant. If an entrepreneur or vendor is identified as a ‘Big Ticket’ recipient, she or he will be invited to continue the product discovery process with QVC or HSN which includes meetings with merchandising teams and a robust quality assurance process before the brand is chosen to launch on-air and on-line across all platforms.

This year’s search has been expanded to nine categories: apparel, jewelry, accessories, footwear, beauty, home décor, home innovation, electronics and culinary.

QVC and HSN have further deepened their support of small businesses this year through Qurate Retail’s Small Business Spotlight initiative, in collaboration with the NRF Foundation. Through this initiative, QVC and HSN have provided a visibility platform and a mentorship program to approximately 20 small businesses across the country.

In addition, the companies are launching a new phase of the Small Business Spotlight to highlight Black-owned small businesses across their on-air and digital platforms as well as Black-owned brands that are current QVC and HSN vendors.

To learn more about The Big Find, on QVC.com and HSN.com.

 

Events

8—Resources for Small Businesses

Small Business Playbook: The Path Forward,  from CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, will take place on Wednesday, August 12th from 1-4pm ET.

This virtual summit, featuring some well-known and inspirational voices in business, will provide vital resources to small business owners. Led by CNBC anchors and reporters, the conference will offer audience members practical and interactive seminars on specific issues vital to small business owners in a COVID-19 environment.

Featured speakers include:

  • Margaret Anadu, Head of Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs
  • Tamika Catchings,Vice President of Basketball Operations, WNBA’s Indiana Fever
  • Jesse Itzler,Serial Entrepreneur/Bestselling Author; Founder, Marquis Jet and Zico Coconut Water
  • Orvin Kimbrough, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Midwest Bankcentre
  • Quentin Messer, Chief Executive Officer, New Orleans Business Alliance
  • Kevin O’Leary, Co-Host, “Shark Tank”; Chairman, O’Shares ETFs
  • Sheryl Sandberg,Chief Operations Officer, Facebook
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, Chief Executive Officer, Vayner Media
  • Holly Wade, Director of Research and Policy Analysis, National Federation of Independent Business
  • Andrew Zimmern, James Beard Award-winning Chef and Bestselling Author; Host, MSNBC’s “What’s Eating America”; Founder, Independent Restaurant Coalition

Topics: re-evaluating business models and staying financially afloat during the economic downturn; keeping customers engaged through new marketing strategies; examining your inner-narrative and overcoming adversity; and preparing your business and employees to resume operations post-pandemic.

The event will also explore what the path forward will look like post-crisis, leveraging the latest data and hearing from top civic and elected leaders.

Content from the conference will be made available throughout CNBC’s Business Day programming and CNBC Digital before, during and after the event.

Join Small Business Playbook: The Path Forward conversations on social media using #CNBCSmallBiz, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For additional details and to register to attend, click here.

 

9—B2B Next 2020: Accelerate Change and Embrace the Ecommerce Challenge

Registration for B2B Next, a leading event in B2B ecommerce, to be held virtually September 29-30, 2020, is now open.

“We see the seismic change that manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers are experiencing now in their ecommerce business,” says Andy Hoar, cofounder of B2B Next and CEO of Paradigm B2B. “B2B Next has the guidance they need now and the insider view on future opportunities in a radically-transformed environment.”

Keynote speakers including WW. Grainger CEO and chairman Donald D.G. Macpherson, Graybar CEO Kathy Mazzarella, Dawn Foods CEO Carrie Jones-Barber and PPG executive Tim Knavish will share strategic thinking on the forces pushing B2B companies in new directions and how they must respond.

More than 70 of the country’s most influential B2B ecommerce executives will offer advice and best practices on the biggest issues facing B2B ecommerce professionals now. Case studies, workshops, and interactive panels will feature:

  • New proprietary research on the state of B2B e-commerce and where it’s headed
  • Analysis of what the new B2B buyer demands online
  • Data and perspective on why online B2B marketplaces are exploding
  • How ecommerce technology investment will shift in response to new business priorities

The 2,000 industry professionals expected to gather virtually at B2B Next will also share experience and perspective on the future of B2B’s $1.3 trillion digital global marketplace—what existing trends could be accelerated, what new ideas will evolve into trends and what new needs could become opportunities.

View the full agenda, complete speakers list, and registration information.

 

The Best

10—Best Small Cities to Start a Small Businesses

Ready to start a small business? Have you considered moving to a new city to do so? If that sounds intriguing to you, you would naturally want to choose a city that was small-business startup friendly. Go.Verizon.com just released its 3rd-annual Best Small Cities for Small Businesses report in.

They gathered data from small cities and ranked them based on seven metrics:

  • Education level of local workforce
  • Average commute times
  • Income per capita
  • Broadband access
  • Availability of SBA loans
  • Number of non-farm businesses
  • Overall tax friendliness

The top 10 cities are the list are:

  1. Cheyenne, Wyoming
  2. Casper, Wyoming
  3. Grand Forks, North Dakota
  4. Missoula, Montana
  5. Bismarck, North Dakota
  6. Great Falls, Montana
  7. Manhattan, Kansas
  8. Portland, Maine
  9. Logan, Utah
  10. Grand Island, Nebraska

Get the details on all top 50 small cities here.

 

11—50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies

The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), in collaboration with American Express,  recently released its 13th annual ranking of the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies. The companies on this year’s list span a range of industries. From January to December of 2019, the 50 Fastest generated a combined $3.8 billion in revenue and collectively employed more than 17,000 people.

All eligible companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula, combining percentage and absolute growth. To qualify for the ranking, businesses are required to be privately held, woman-owned or -led, and have reached annual revenues of at least $500,000 as of 2015 and every subsequent year. Applicants are not required to be WPO members.

More about this year’s 50 Fastest:

  • Average honoree age: 50
  • Provide health insurance: 94%
  • Started with their own funds: 74%
  • Do business globally: 56%
  • Do business with the government: 68%

You can find out more about all 50 businesses here.

 

Cool Tools

12—New Free Email Plan

AWeber, a leading provider of powerfully-simple email marketing solutions for small businesses, today introduced AWeber Free—a new free plan designed to help small business owners connect with their audiences and grow their businesses without cost.

The company says the decision to add a free pricing option comes as small businesses continue to face challenges posed by COVID-19. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll, 71% of small business owners are concerned about financial hardships due to prolonged closures, while 67% are concerned about low business demand.

“Small businesses are facing real challenges in today’s world, and we knew we could play a part to help them ensure their business’ future,” says Tom Kulzer, Founder & CEO of AWeber. “Our mission has always been to deliver powerfully-simple email marketing software that does 90% of the work for our customers, so they can focus on their passions and grow their businesses. That’s why we’re so excited to give small business owners the ability to overcome these obstacles by helping them connect with their audiences via email marketing, free of charge.”

AWeber Free delivers industry-leading capabilities at no cost for up to 500 subscribers, without any time restriction. Additionally, the free plan’s features set includes full access to AWeber’s Customer Solutions team, email automation capabilities, and full-use of content creation tools. AWeber Free also allows unlimited users per account, free migration services from other email marketing tools, and access and use of AWeber’s integration library.

Learn more about AWeber’s email marketing plans by visiting their pricing page, or sign up today.

 

13—QuickBooks Launches a  New Business Bank Account

Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) just announced QuickBooks Cash, a business bank account that earns high-yield interest, which, when used with the QuickBooks suite of business services, takes the complexity—and latency—out of managing finances for small business owners.

QuickBooks Cash has no account opening fees, maintenance fees, minimum balances, overdraft fees, or other recurring fees. Including a machine-learning powered finance planner, QuickBooks Cash helps small businesses plan for the future by making 90-day cash flow projections, including predictions on when invoices are likely to be paid.

The QuickBooks Cash business bank account with debit card adds banking capabilities to QuickBooks’ business offerings. When combined with QuickBooks’ other business tools, including Payments, Payroll and accounting, QuickBooks Cash enables complete cash flow management in one place, eliminating the need to switch back and forth between banks and other solution providers. The QuickBooks Cash with debit card is now available to eligible QuickBooks customers. Apply now.

“Small businesses face unique challenges in the management of their finances — too often, they have to track and manage their money inflows and outflows through multiple solutions, which can lead to increased fees and wasted time. Small businesses need an all-in-one banking platform that helps them holistically manage and plan their finances, affordably and efficiently,” says Rania Succar, Senior Vice President, QuickBooks Capital and Payments, Intuit.

QuickBooks Cash was created to provide a way to holistically manage finances in one place, allowing businesses to get their money fast, manage finances and leverage the built-in accounting for money in and out powered by QuickBooks.

With QuickBooks Cash, however, there is no balance requirement, the interest rate is 25 times higher than the industry average for checking accounts and money is ready when the business is, as all pieces are brought together within QuickBooks.

In addition to the debit card, QuickBooks Cash will include:

  • Envelopes: Envelope5 allow business owners to set aside money for specific planned or unexpected expenditures, helping ensure that their future spend is not accidentally used. This means small businesses can easily budget and directly partition funds into categories they will need to pay—for example, for quarterly taxes, employee bonuses or supplies or materials.
  • High-Yield Interest Rate: Small business banking accounts today offer zero to low interest rates yet come with fees and minimum balance requirements. QuickBooks Cash, on the other hand, will offer customers a high-yield interest rate of 1%—25 times higher than the average rate of .04%on all balances.
  • Free Instant Deposit: With free instant deposit for eligible users, small businesses no longer need to wait for incoming funds to clear when they’re processed through QuickBooks Payments. Instant deposit will provide immediate access to payments or money in the QuickBooks Cash account—for free.
  • Cash Flow Planner: Powered by machine learning, the Cash Flow Planner within QuickBooks Cash provides a full view of a business’s finances via a dashboard that indicates how much money is coming into the business and how much money is going out. This end-to-end look analyzes all financial inputs to predict a business’s cash flow needs over the next 90 days, proactively alerting business owners when a cash flow concern might arise and providing recommendations for navigating the challenge.
  • Bill Pay: With bill pay available in QuickBooks Online, small businesses will be able to schedule vendor payments and manage all their money-out transactions in one place. The transactions are recorded in QuickBooks, so their books are automatically reconciled.
  • Seamless QuickBooks Integrations: QuickBooks Cash seamlessly integrates across the QuickBooks Online platform, so small businesses can use the funds in their QuickBooks Cash account to accept payments and send invoices—all of which are automatically reconciled and accounted for in their QuickBooks file for a complete money-in and money-out view.

QuickBooks Cash better serves businesses in the new COVID-19 world, removing the need for business owners to go into a physical bank branch to establish an account and set up payments. Now, all of this can be done digitally on mobile or desktop, removing friction and manual paperwork from the process. With QuickBooks Cash, business owners need only to confirm some basic business and personal information from within their QuickBooks Online subscription — and in three easy steps, approved customers are set up, gaining immediate access to free ACH transfers, free instant deposit for eligible customers and a high-yield interest rate.

QuickBooks Cash, Debit Card, the Cash Flow Planner, and Envelopes will be rolled out over the next several weeks to QuickBooks customers. Go here to learn more.

 

14—Pitney Bowes and UPS Team To Offer New Savings To Businesses

Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI), a global technology company that provides commerce solutions in the areas of ecommerce, shipping, mailing and financial services, recently announced a new collaboration with UPS® which offers savings on UPS office shipping products, as part of its Digital Access Program.

The collaboration, which comes during Pitney Bowes’ 100th year, will bring businesses discounted UPS shipping rates—up to 62% off UPS 2nd Day Air® service* and up to 48% off UPS® Ground shipments—through its family of award-winning SendPro sending technologies. These include SendPro Online, SendPro C, SendPro +, SendPro Auto and the SendPro P-Series. With parcel shipping volume now reaching 13 billion in the United States, the relationship will help businesses drive down costs and generate savings.

“Access to multiple carriers is crucial for businesses looking for savings, and it’s a benefit we’ve offered our clients for many years. Teaming with UPS takes this to the next level and enables our clients to unlock discounts and eliminate surcharges through our SendPro family of products,” says Jason Dies, EVP and President Sending Technology Solutions, Pitney Bowes. “We’re proud of our strong partnership with UPS and delighted to be able to offer clients a way to save on their shipping spend.”

The program is a continuation of Pitney Bowes’ drive to deliver simplicity in sending. In addition to generating savings, clients benefit from a quick and easy onboarding experience, with fast, intuitive access to UPS’ services. This experience is facilitated by APIs included with SendPro that allow users to open a UPS account without leaving the SendPro platform and ensuring customers automatically receive their discounted rate. Users also have complete transparency into their shipping spend, with discounted rates while eliminating many common surcharges.

“Partnering with Pitney Bowes bolsters our Digital Access Program and extends our market leading logistics services to hundreds of thousands of businesses,” said Christy Parrish, Vice-President of Digital Access Acceleration, UPS. “We share with Pitney Bowes a firm commitment and dedication to supporting businesses of all sizes.”

Get more information.

*Rates are limited to shipping from the continental U.S. only. These rates and discounts exclude shipment origins from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska. Rates and any applicable discounts are subject to change at any time without notice

 

15—Womply Launches Womply Bills

Womply, a local commerce platform that provides apps, APIs, marketing, and financial tools to make local commerce happen, just launched Womply Bills—an effortless way for business owners to pay any bill with just a credit card, even where cards are not accepted.

Businesses continue to spend a significant amount of time and resources to pay important bills (like rent, utilities, and taxes) from vendors that often do not accept credit cards. Simultaneously, many businesses aren’t able to access capital when they need it most, because banks and other lenders fail to extend it during these unpredictable times. Womply Bills solves these problems by allowing businesses to use their existing credit cards to pay any business, ensuring their payments are made on time while preserving their cash on hand for any unforeseen emergencies.

Womply Bills is designed to alleviate pain points that have been exacerbated by the economic impact of Covid-19. According to The Washington Post, 97% of companies send and receive checks. Additionally, most businesses still pay at least 50% of their bills using paper checks, even though they lose anywhere from $4 to $20 to cut, mail, and process each paper check within their network.

“Despite the cost and grief, companies still have to use paper checks to pay their bills,” says Womply Founder Toby Scammell. “But, it doesn’t have to be so expensive, cumbersome, or time consuming. Womply Bills alleviates these pain points with an elegant solution that’s simple to use and benefits the business owner. Now, businesses can extend their cash, avoid costly cash advances, and better budget for expenses while saving time, gaining flexibility on due dates, and racking up credit card rewards, points, and cash back.”

Any U.S. business can use Womply Bills to pay practically any expense—from rent to mortgage payments, and utilities to taxes. Once a business signs up for Womply Bills, there’s a simple 3-step process to pay any bill:

  1. Make a payment: The business adds their credit card and identifies who they are paying, when the payment should be sent, and the amount of the payment.
  2. Womply charges the preferred card: A nominal 3% fee is added on top of the payment. Many business credit cards offer between 1.5% and 5% cash back, so the fee can be offset by the myriad advantages of credit card rewards.
  3. Womply sends the payment to the selected recipient: The payment is tracked end-to-end and delivered in as little as 7 business days.

“This pandemic has underscored the need for small business owners to have full control over their cash on hand,” says Scammell. “We’re proud to provide Womply Bills as another tool to help small businesses weather this storm and drive the American economy forward.”

Womply Bills is available now to try for free. Go here for more information and to sign up for free.

 

16—Telemedicine App Launches

Braidio recently released its first application –a telemedicine platform called MyHealth Concierge, which provides remote patient consultations and healthcare support via real time communications including live chat and video calls with your physician, nurse practitioner, or any healthcare provider. Braidio’s solutions can be white-labeled and quickly deployed in a matter of days, running over the highly secure network and cloud infrastructure of AT&T.

Rafael Solis, Bradio’s COO says telemedicine is the future of healthcare. You don’t need to live in a developing country to experience challenges in accessing a doctor or basic healthcare. Rural America is already experiencing this, as there has been a trend in the closure of hospitals and emergency centers, creating an environment where the nearest hospital or emergency room is many hours away.

In the future, Rafael believes we will see innovation going beyond just connecting to a virtual doctor, with the rise of integrated devices that will allow patients to take or monitor their own vitals, administer medications without a doctor or nurse, and much more.

 

17—New Mobile App Gives Businesses Quick Access to Client Communication Tools

Demandforce just released the Demandforce Mobile App, a new HIPAA-compliant app created to boost office efficiency and streamline communication with clients.

The app is designed to enhance the platform’s existing client communication and marketing automation features. With the app, businesses have access to key features of Demandforce, allowing them to:

  • View upcoming appointments and client details on the go
  • Receive instant notifications
  • Accept & confirm appointments
  • Text back and forth with clients from their business number
  • Send secure messages

“This launch is the culmination of our goal to keep businesses connected with clients from anywhere at any time, which has become especially important during this critical period,” says Hugh Mahoney, Sr. Director of Product Management at Demandforce. “With this new app, businesses can increase office efficiency and make communicating with clients quicker and more easily accessible.”

The Demandforce Mobile App is available to all medical, veterinary, and lifestyle Demandforce users at no additional cost and is available for immediate download on Google Play and the iOS App Store.

 

Quick Clicks

18—Noise Cancelling v Noise Isolating Headphones or Earbud—Which Is Better? Find out here.

 

 Guest Posts

19—How to Utilize Your Website to Sell Overseas

Guest post from the experts at Absolute Translations

Businesses have suffered tremendously during this pandemic; many have collapsed while others have managed to stay afloat, but they are now in desperate need of strategies to survive. Many have shifted their focus to expand globally. Having a functional website, with quick load times and easy navigation is vital but the most important factor is that it’s accessible from anywhere in the world. This simple aspect means you can promote and sell overseas, but to truly succeed in international sales, a wider strategy needs to be implemented.

Your business needs to be relevant to people all around the world and your website needs to be relevant for your target audience and the territory they are located in. The key to globalizing is localizing. To help you understand how to effectively set your website up for global success here are our five tips.

1—Local SEO: Selling overseas means you should consider local search engine optimization (SEO). Research and identify which search engines your overseas target market uses and the terms they frequently search for surrounding your industry. Most often, people do not search for the direct translation of the terms used by your English market. Search engines always crawl to produce results that best fit with the user. It is vital to analyze how international search engines produce their results and ensuring your copy is optimized for differing search terms such as ‘color or colour’. This will help you rank higher than your competitors and reach your new international audience. 

2—Translate: This might seem obvious, but some businesses assume their English website will work globally. According to HBR, 72.4% of consumers would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own native language. Once you have decided on the content to apply on your international sites, you can begin to translate. Some of the fastest-growing languages for business translations from English include Korean, Hebrew and Chinese, the wider audiences provide businesses with a large online presence overseas.

3—Domain extension: When shopping online, especially internationally, trust plays an important role. Websites that hold a .com domain is seen as trustworthy and reliable all around the world and it could be the difference to strengthen your international e-commerce strategy. The more you can do to show that you company is legitimate, better. You should also factor in loading times, tools such as this gauge the loading speed of your website around the world, be wise and choose your hosting company carefully.

4—Social media: Translating your website is one step but you need to also consider your other digital channels to ensure all content is consistent and relevant to overseas audiences. Some companies chose to create individual social media accounts for each territory you operate in, this allows a direct and personalized approach to each market. Pre-recorded campaigns can be adapted by adding in subtitles or voice overs, this will engage your new audience into a trusted relationship with your business. The use of different networks varies significantly from country to country, in some countries, YouTube is blocked and in others Twitter might be the most popular platform. Research will ensure that that you’re placing your time and budget in the most relevant social media networks.

5—Templates: A good tip is to avoid text embedded as a graphic. Web font services such a Google font replacement offers a simple way for businesses to use a range of fonts without embedding text as a graphic. Translating your website into other languages may leave the pages and boxes looking longer or shorter depending on the language used. The template of your website needs to be flexible enough, so it looks presentable, regardless of the language.

Business stock photo by Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock