small business

13 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky



1—10 Email Marketing Tips from the Beatles

Ok, this could be my favorite infographic of all time. The clever folks at SmartMail have linked email tips to Beatles’ songs. You can find more of their email marketing tips here. Take a look below.


2—How Well Do Your Know Your Budget?

Of course, all businesses need to prepare and follow a budget. But a new study from financial technology company Center reveals how antiquated the budgeting process is.

Based on the insights of business owners, CFOs and managers, 64% of companies still use manual, time-intensive tools like Excel spreadsheets and paper receipt collecting to track spending. Plus, over half of companies also set budgets once a year.

That generally means budgets are out-of-date in months, making them useless to the more agile businesses of today. Coupled with the absence of timely insights into spend, it becomes inherently difficult for businesses to track financial projections with any sort of accuracy.

Check out the infographic below for more information.


3—Who’s Shopping More This Holiday Season?

According to the ThinkNow Retail™ Report 2017, the latest research from ThinkNow Research, in partnership with the Jelena Group, 33% of Hispanics will be spending more this holiday season than last, due to a rise in their disposable income.

The study shows, when compared to 2016, Hispanics and African-Americans are feeling as or more optimistic about their abilities to spend.

“Hispanic consumers are shopping more this holiday season despite speculation of a depressed Hispanic shopping trend,” says Mario X. Carrasco, co-founder and principal of ThinkNow Research.

Jennifer Elena, founder of Jelena Group, says, “Hispanic consumers are becoming savvier across generations. Retailers need to recognize that Hispanics are shopping—and connecting with them is more important than ever. Think mobile first as Hispanics will make purchases from their smartphone to find better deals.”

Shift to shopping online accelerates

In 2016, 52% of all purchases made by Hispanic consumers were expected to be made at physical stores. In 2017, only 46% of all Hispanic holiday purchases are planned for physical stores. Online—specifically mobile—is gaining those purchases. And 62% of Hispanics who will be buying online will use their smartphones, which is significantly higher than the 50% Total Market average and 46% of non-Hispanic White online shoppers who intend to use their smart phones.

For additional insights, download the ThinkNow Retail™ Report 2017 here. And you can read more on their blog.


4—Social Selling

If your business isn’t using social media to sell—you should be. Data from a new report from Bambu by Sprout Social shows consumers are more open to being sold to on social networks—if the sales messages are delivered tactfully.

According to Shifting the Buyer’s Journey: How to Optimize for Social Selling:

  • 39% of consumers would rather hear from a company about their products/services for the first time via social media
  • Only 9% consumers prefer to hear from a company for the first time via phone—yet 56% have experienced that.
  • Millennials are 92% more likely than older generations to engage with salespeople on social
  • 35% are more likely to buy from a sales rep who shares industry news and helpful content on social
  • 22% say if a sales rep shares helpful content on social, they’d be more likely to follow that person
  • 43% are more likely to buy from someone who responds to questions on social.

Sales reps, however, are a little slow to pick up the trend—only 25% of consumers say a salesperson has reached out to them on social media.


5—Does Consumer-Generated-Content Boost Sales?

New research from Bazaarvoice shows visual consumer-generated content (CGC) can push consumers to purchase a particular product when they’re deciding between several brands. According to the survey, 85% of consumers use visual CGC in this way, and 51% believe online pictures and videos created by real people are helpful for everyday purchases, with 46% saying the same about major purchases that require a lot of consideration.

The Content Strategy for the Visual Consumer report shows:

  • 57% of shoppers have purchased a product they heard about on social media (74% of millennials have done this)
  • 65% of consumers trust a brand more if they link to social media posts from real customers
  • Visual CGC (20%) has now surpassed traditional word-of-mouth (19%) for making consumers confident in their purchases
  • 86% of shoppers trust the content more when it includes both visual content and ratings & reviews


6—Overcoming the New ‘FOMO’—Fear of Millennials in the Office  

Guest post by Eliot Burdett, CEO, Peak Sales Recruiting

Just when we figured out what SMH and ROTF meant, we heard the phrase FOMO and were back to square one. Thanks to Google, we could find out that it meant “fear of missing out.”

But, as the CEO of a company that helps world-class companies build their sales forces, we have learned, in some cases, FOMO actually means ‘Fear of Millennials in the Office.’

You must hand it to millennials, they are a clever bunch. In fact, they are more than clever.

The Forbes 2016 billionaires list  is littered with brilliant, young entrepreneurs such as Evan Spiegel (Snapchat), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Daniel Fine (Glass-U).

The impact of millennials on the global economy and the way our society interacts is undeniable. While the business community has learned to embrace them and their idiosyncrasies, some business leaders remain reticent when it comes to hiring millennials.

Whether these fears are real or imaged is no longer relevant because they are antiquated. With 83 million members, Generation Y now makes up the largest sector of the U.S. population and by 2025 will make up 75% of the workforce.

Several years ago, the knock of them was that they were ‘lazy’ and ‘spoiled.’ More recently, their loyalty has been called into question. And based on recent studies, the concern is not without merit.

Deloitte’s 2016 global millennials survey reached out to 7,700 millennials in 29 countries and found a staggering two-thirds of them plan to leave their current organizations by 2020.

The bottom line is—businesses must learn to hire high-performing millennials to succeed in a rapidly changing economy. To help you overcome FOMO, here are four questions to ask during the interview process:

1)  Have you ever been passed over for a promotion, how did you respond? Millennials are known as the “Trophy Generation.” They received plaques just for competing in the spelling bee, it did not matter if they won. A PWC study found that 41% of millennials want to be recognized monthly compared to just 30% from other generations. Lee Caraher, author of Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making It Work at Work, says, “This question will show you whether they understand that everyone can’t win in everything and how resilient they are.”

For all their strengths, millennials need to demonstrate they can overcome just as much adversity as the generations that preceded them.  This question will help you assess if the candidate has the intestinal fortitude to fight when the chips are down.

2)  What are your short and long-term career goals, and how do you plan on achieving them?  Gallup’s latest report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, reveals 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them, compared to 44% of Gen Xers and 41% of baby boomers. While previous generations primarily homed in on money, young candidates today want to know that there is career growth in their future. They want to know there is the chance to take on new and interesting projects that have a material impact on the company and its people.

By asking a career-focused question you can not only identify if the candidate has identified their career goals, but determine if they have been disciplined enough to invest the time and energy to map how these goals will be achieved. You can then compare these goals against your organization’s talent plan to see if there is alignment, thus reducing future turnover-rates.

3)  Would you rather work in the office or at home? Technological advancements—many developed by millennials—have given all of us more ability to work remotely than ever before. In fact, nearly 70% of millennials say an option to work remotely would increase their interest in a specific employer. Depending on your company culture and industry, working remotely may or may not be an option. However, this question is important to ask upfront to ensure each side understands the expectations of the role and the desires of the candidate moving forward.

4)  What kinds of sacrifices have you made to be successful? Please explain. Another stigma millennials face is they’re considered a coddled bunch who don’t understand work ethic. It is important to ask this question to determine if the candidate has the will to overcome adversity. Tom Alexander, CEO of PK4 Media, listed by Forbes as one of America’s fastest growing companies, recently said, “During an interview, we asked this question and one millennial candidate explained how for weeks she was unable to get time with her boss to pitch a groundbreaking idea. She overheard that the boss was coming into the office on Saturday, so she showed up bright and early. The boss was so impressed and ended up using the idea, which boosted profits and their working relationship improved ten-fold from that point forward.”

With an aging workforce and a scarcity of qualified talent, fear of millennials in the office is no longer an option. By asking the above interview questions you will reduce your hiring risk.


Quick Takes


7—Making Internal Communications a Priority

As important as good internal communications is to most businesses, a new report from Bambu, The New Internal Communications, internal comms is not often a priority for most companies.

The data shows 80% of employees want to be on top of company news, but about 25% don’t feel they’re kept in the loop enough by their employers. Millennials are the most frustrated demographic.

If you want your workers to spread the word about your company, you need to share it with them. Almost 40% say they’d be more likely to share company news on social media—if they knew about it.


8—Millennials & Investing

A report from LendEDU shows millennials aren’t investing in the stock market.

Some highlights of the study:

  • 41%of millennials invest in retirement through a savings account and not by investing in the market, which will cost them $3.46 million by the time of retirement
  • 60%of millennials will not invest in the market because they are afraid of losing money, but LendEDU’s Monte Carlo analysis found that you have at least a 98% chance of doubling your cash balance by investing in the stock market
  • 6%of millennials admit that they are afraid of the stock market

You can see the full report here.


9—Telling Visual Stories

If storytelling is part of your marketing strategy, be sure to check out the new Adobe Spark. The new premium features (you can still create web pages, videos and graphics for free) include branded templates, themes and surfaces. You can find out more here.


10—Financial Solutions for Small Businesses

PayPal has agreed to acquire Swift Financial, a provider of working capital solutions to small businesses in the U.S. For what that might mean for your business, read their blog.




11—Free Stock Photos

One of the questions I’m asked quite often is where small businesses can find affordable photos to use in their marketing materials. This new free stock photo platform for entrepreneurs is sure to help.

Burst says it built its photo library with modern business owners in mind, and they’re trying to cover keywords that are often hard to find in the public domain.  All images have been cleared for commercial use—meaning you can use them in your marketing campaigns or on your e-commerce websites.

The photos are stunning—this is such a valuable resource.


12—Unlimited Talk for Businesses

Verizon recently launched unlimited plans for its wireless customers, including, for the first time, the power of unlimited to business customers without line limitations. With Business Unlimited, offers businesses cost-effective flat monthly rates without having to manage voice and data usage by employees.

Verizon’s new Business Unlimited plans detailed here gives organizations more choices for creating “manageable, flexible and cost-effective solutions for keeping employees connected to customers and company resources, while allowing a simpler way to manage costs and data usage.” You also get a single monthly bill for all accounts on a given plan.


13—Cloud-Based Accounting Portal Launched

If you’re a customer of Right Networks, a leading provider of cloud-based accounting and business solutions for accounting professionals and SMBs, there’s a new portal now available (the My Account self-service user management portal), which enables you to more easily manage your account and user-level information.

My Account integrates all the key actions customers use daily to manage their accounts and users. The user interface provides a central portal for day-to-day task management, user setup, billing and invoicing, and easy client onboarding. Customers can also launch the Right Networks Cloud, access the helpdesk, and upload files directly to their account through My Account.

Other features include:

  • Easy client onboarding and user management
  • Support of business growth with accessible purchase options
  • Time savings with central task management
  • Prompt notifications on tasks and system updates

You can find information about pricing and available plans here.