Here’s What 11 Successful Entrepreneurs Do Every Day


©iStock/donskarpo

Success is a habit—and like all good habits, you have to work hard to achieve and maintain it.  We [Rieva Lesonsky for Bank of America] talked to 11 small business owners, including Laurel Delaney, about the daily habits they believe contribute most to their success. From exercise to quiet time to diligently tracking sales in QuickBooks, here’s what some successful entrepreneurs do every day.

Reading about other business owners’ daily success rituals is inspiring—but as Delaney says, “We cannot replicate business success by copying another business owner’s daily rituals—we need to cultivate our own.” 

Dive deep into what accomplished entrepreneurs do daily to foster entrepreneurial success.

What Entrepreneurs Need to Know about the Google March 2019 Core Update

One survey found that 58 percent of respondents were negatively impacted with a drop in SEO ranking. Here are your options.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Just when you think you’ve got SEO figured out, Google comes out with a new algorithm update. The latest one isn’t as much of an overhaul as the company’s past updates, but it is important to address its new factors — otherwise, you risk a drop in your search engine ranking. Something to note: Primary factors that impacted ranking changes with this rollout were content-specific rather than technical, which makes adjustments easier.

While data is still coming in on the full impact of the core update, a survey conducted by Search Engine Roundtable found that 58 percent of respondents were negatively impacted via a drop in ranking. A portion of these respondents had also been negatively impacted by the prior update, and 44 percent of them have still not recovered from that ranking drop. Whether you were a winner or a loser in the March 2019 core update, there are actions to take to recover or maintain your SEO ranking.

User Signals

User experience is the primary focus of this update. Google continues to refine its search results for queries to ensure that the results meet the searcher’s needs. One of the key SEO measures used by the updated algorithm is bounce rates. Sites that improved their SEO ranking after the update had an average on-site visitor time that was 26 percent higher than those that had lowered SEO rankings. They also had lower bounce rates than sites that had a drop in SEO rankings.

The best way to improve user signals on your site is to directly answer their query. To test your effectiveness on this issue, determine what users mean when they make search queries relevant to your business. Next, review your existing content to determine if it answers a user’s question or deviates from the topic, and adjust or create additional content to fill in gaps or improve clarity. Finally, consider adding sections that concisely answer the query, then direct the searcher to additional internal content for more information on their search.

Trust and Branding

Google now appears to favor websites that have a high level of trust, especially those that deliver information on sensitive “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) topics. While these topics have been a focus of special attention by Google, especially regarding queries about health, finance and safety, the new algorithm applies this a bit differently. Now, the preferential treatment is extended to sites with a strong brand profile and broad topical focus.

If your site delivers specific, high-quality and reliable information on a broad range of topics, such as insurance, education, wellness and more, you could benefit from the YMYL boost by using keywords that will drive searches to your site and keep them there.

Best Content

When it comes to SEO, content is still king. Sites with lower-quality content were hit hard by the update, experiencing a significant drop in their ratings. Poor content isn’t just about the quality of the content, but also when it was published. Sites that haven’t been updated or have had sporadic updates in the past are considered lower-quality content as far as the algorithm is concerned. In contrast, sites with an active publishing schedule did well, especially when coupled with quality content that kept visitors on their sites.

This information reinforces that quality is more important than quantity, but it should also serve as a wake-up call that you need consistent, fresh content to maximize your SEO ranking. Many entrepreneurs struggle with providing updated content to their site, but there are a variety of automated tools that can help you schedule and manage this process.

Don’t Forget 

While the new algorithm has targeted user signals branding, trust and best content, don’t ignore other issues that continue to impact your SEO rankings. ClickMatix, a Melbourne-based digital marketing agency, created an infographic detailing additional SEO activities that entrepreneurs should focus on in 2019, including:

  • Linkless Mentions. These are mentions occur when your blog, customer review, product or service is mentioned by name but without the accompanying link back to your site.
  • Voice Search Optimization. The focus on keyword phrases that support audio searches using phones or voice-activated assistants.
  • Natural Link Building. This tried and true method will still be in play, but the links must now be meaningful to the searcher to support SEO rankings.
  • Technical SEO. While the new algorithm was not focused on this issue, Google does notice if there are problems so your coding needs to be up to date.
  • On-Page Optimization. Beyond great content, each page of your site needs to deliver the best user experience possible.
  • Local Optimization. This topic is especially important for entrepreneurs with a local or regional customer base. You can take advantage of tools like Google My Business to drive local SEO rankings.

Bottom Line

The rollout of Google’s March 2019 core update has left many entrepreneurs scrambling to recapture their high SEO rankings. Fortunately, to recover from a lower ranking or ensure continued SEO success, the fixes are fairly straightforward. The key is to blend this new focus with trending SEO-critical tasks to achieve the best results.

All Entrepreneurs Have 2 Opposing Mindsets. Which Is Right for You?

Gerard Adams sits down with author and speaker John C. Maxwell to discussing his consistent career of lifting up entrepreneurs.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this video, Leaders Create Leaders series creator Gerard Adams speaks to John C. Maxwell about his inspiration. Maxwell’s books were some of the first, entrepreneurial books Adams read, and in discussing his work, Maxwell talks about how his books are meant to increase the value of current leaders. From there, his readers can influence other leaders. 

Maxwell explains to Gerard his goal was to speak about the two opposing sides of success — having faith in your endeavors and wanting to give up. It’s important to recognize both and know when to embrace one side over the other. 

Click the video to hear more from Gerard Adams and John C. Maxwell’s discussion. 

Related: How Open Relationships and Psychedelics Have Shaped This Entrepreneur’s Mindset

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Click here to become a part of this growing video network.

See more episodes of Leaders Create Leaders Season 1 and 2 on Gerard Adam’s YouTube channel

Turning Small Indian Firms into Global Entrepreneurs


©iStock/credit unknown

Many home-grown Indian manufacturers and sellers are profiting from the business models and facilitation offered by India-focused multinationals such as Walmart and Amazon.  Mumbai-based Indo Count Industries is one of them — considered the fastest-growing suppliers of home textiles in the US and European markets.

Walmart, with its sourcing model, and Amazon, by offering a Global Selling Programme, are raising the aspirational bar on small Indian businesses, elevating them to earn the coveted tag of ‘global entrepreneurs’.

Additional points highlighted in the article below:

  • Walmart sets up global sourcing centre in Bengaluru that sources India-made products for catering to 14 foreign markets; it procures over 95 per cent of the goods sold in Best Price stores from local companies.
  • Amazon takes ‘Make in India’ to the world, bolstered by its Global Selling Programme; it is empowering sellers from small towns in India by scaling up their businesses and leveraging the digital economy.

Read more about how Walmart and Amazon are turning small Indian firms into global entrepreneurs.

Connecting with Investors, the AI Revolution, 4 Personas of Female Entrepreneurs and Other Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know

business

18 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know

By Rieva Lesonsky

1—What to Know Before You Buy a Website

Buying an existing website can get your business off to a great start, since it likely comes with a name and a following. If you’re lucky, it will also already have a strong backlink profile making it more popular and authoritative than if you built a site from scratch. This all helps you earn money from the website.

But, before actually taking the plunge and deciding to buy a site, there are 10 important things you need to factor in. Once you have clarified all these details, you’ll have the information you need to decide.

Check out the infographic from StartBloggingOnline outlining the data you need to know before buying a website.

2—How to be Pitch Perfect

For even the most stoic entrepreneur, facing a panel of potential investors can be like walking onto the set of Dragon’s Den. But a new study, co-authored by Cass Business School academic Dr. Ruben van Werven, suggests there are ways to connect with even the most imposing investors.

The study analyzed the language used by entrepreneurs at an Amsterdam-based business incubator and determined four interconnected language strategies found in the most influential pitches.

Let the audience complete the picture of the future: The study found entrepreneurs who successfully influenced their audience often implied a point without actually making it when talking about the future; they encouraged their audience to fill in the blanks.

“The audience becomes engaged, they start becoming a part of the argument, they actually even complete it, so they’re more likely to be convinced by it,” Dr. van Werven says.

He continues, “Entrepreneurs would say ‘In my market, globally, $90 billion is earned every single year’ and that’s all they said. In itself that doesn’t mean anything and has no implications for the success of their business, but what they’re hoping is investors would think ‘Wow, that’s a big number. If this company is going to do well they might become very profitable’.”

Present the imagined future as a reality: The study found entrepreneurs whose pitches are well received by investors most often present their ideas as if they already exist, even when the venture is only in the idea phase. The researchers’ findings suggest that by presenting an idea or venture in the present tense entrepreneurs take away its sense of novelty and remove the audience’s impression that it is yet to exist.

“In our paper,” Dr. van Werven says, “we call it a logical time gap, which basically refers to the idea that if someone pitches an idea to you and you start thinking about how it plays out in the future, then these things don’t match because you don’t know what the future looks like. But if you talk about the future in terms of the present, both the evidence and the claim are in the same time and space. This can make the audience feel more secure—it helps them imagine that the idea being pitched is real.”

Dr. van Werven says these first two strategies are important when pitching an idea because they help entrepreneurs sell something that does not actually exist. But to avoid being perceived as vague, influential entrepreneurs also incorporate a clear understanding of the current situation into their pitches and back them up with data, as detailed in the third and fourth linguistic strategies.

Be explicit about the current situation: Most of the entrepreneurs studied made explicit claims about the present state of their target market and established links between their idea and its benefits for that market. Dr. van Werven says presenting information about the current state of affairs shows knowledge and expertise and increases the chances of the idea resonating with the audience. “If you’re really clear and explicit about the market, the customers and any current problems or gaps then your audience will believe that you’re an expert and that you’ve got it covered.”

Support your idea with data: All the influential pitches analyzed in the study used selective data to support their arguments, and often changed the data they selected to support their idea more favorably.

Dr. van Werven says, “For example, a gaming entrepreneur one week said there were 300 million gamers like the ones he meant to address, then the next week he said there were 1.2 billion of them. These numbers were both taken from research reports but, in the second instance, he picked the data that made his argument most convincing.”

According to Dr. van Werven the language strategies outlined in the study could be used by anyone pitching a new project, whether an entrepreneur pursuing investment, a manager proposing a new product, or an architect selling a new design, the language used when pitching the idea can be key to success.

He says, “It’s important to note that none of these strategies are about lying—it’s just imagining that things that are yet to happen are already real and then being selective in the data you use to support your points.”

3—The AI Revolution

The world of artificial intelligence is a fascinating one, filled with promise for small businesses. What may have once seemed like science fiction is reality, impacting all of us.

Check out these stats and the infographic below from techjury:

  • By 2025, the global AI market will likely hit nearly $60 billion; in 2016 it was $1.4 billion
  • Global GDP will grow by $15.7 trillion by 2030 thanks to AI
  • AI can increase business productivity by 40%
  • AI startups grew 14 times over the last two decades
  • Investment in AI startups grew 6 times since 2000
  • Already 77% of the devices we use feature some kind of AI
  • Cyborg technology will help us overcome physical and cognitive impairments
  • Google analysts believe that in 2020, robots will be smart enough to mimic complex human behavior like jokes and flirting

4—SMBs Will Leave MSPs Over Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity demands of SMBs have become both a major risk and revenue opportunity to managed service providers (MSPs). This, according to research conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Continuum®, the proactive platform that integrates intelligent software with expert services for MSPs to scale dynamically and protect their clients.

Underserved and Unprepared: The State of SMB Cyber Security in 2019 draws on data collected in 2019 from  SMBs across the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Belgium. In addition to the risks for MSPs, the report also highlights the significant revenue opportunity for providers that deliver the cybersecurity services and solutions SMBs need to protect their businesses.

Vanson Bourne’s research in the U.S. found MSPs are at risk of losing their SMB clients if they don’t provide competitive, comprehensive solutions to them. In fact, 89% of SMBs surveyed would consider hiring a new MSP if they offered the right cybersecurity solution, and 24% has already changed MSPs in the aftermath of a cyberattack.

To make matters more challenging for MSPs, the report indicates clients will hold providers accountable for security issues even if their MSP is not currently providing them with cybersecurity solutions. Three in four SMBs that do not currently outsource cybersecurity would still hold their providers accountable in the event of a cyberattack

MSPs that attempt to compete on price are likely to find this will not be enough to retain clients who are concerned about cybersecurity, since SMBs planning to change providers are willing to pay 24% more on average for the right cybersecurity offering and 47% would pay at least 20% more for the right cybersecurity solution from a new provider.

“We have seen first-hand the number-one reason MSPs lose business today is over concerns about cybersecurity, and this data now proves it,” says Michael George, CEO, Continuum. Providers across North America and Europe should heed the clear warning presented by these findings. Businesses expect to be protected by their MSPs and are ready to pay more for that protection—whether from their existing MSP, or by switching to a provider that promises a better solution.”

While this research highlights the risks for MSPs that don’t meet the security demands of SMBs, it also paints an optimistic picture for those MSPs that do offer and sell effective cybersecurity services. SMBs recognize the need for cybersecurity and are ready to work with and invest more with MSPs to get the right levels of protection: 77% of SMBs anticipate at least half of their cybersecurity needs will be outsourced in the next five years, and 78% are planning to invest more in cybersecurity in the next 12 months. What’s more, SMBs say they are willing to pay 27% more, on average, than they currently pay for the right cybersecurity offering.

“SMBs are not just looking for cybersecurity protections, they are ready to invest more to protect their businesses,” says Brian Downey, Senior Director, Security Product Management at Continuum. “It’s clear from the report there is an economic opportunity for MSPs that get cybersecurity right, as they stand to not only win business from providers that don’t, but also increase their revenue streams from their SMB clients and have a better chance of retaining their existing client base. If MSPs can deliver the right cybersecurity solutions to their end-clients, they will hold the competitive advantage in the SMB market.”

Underserved and Unprepared: The State of SMB Cyber Security in 2019 is available here for download.

5—New Credit Card with Benefits

Bank of America just released a new business credit card, the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards credit card. It gives cardholders the flexibility to choose how they earn and redeem rewards to align with their changing business priorities and needs.

Highlights of the card

Entrepreneurs will be able to choose how they earn their 3% cash back from one of six popular spending categories: gas stations (the default selection), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services. Clients will earn 2% cash back on dining and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Business Advantage Relationship Rewards members will receive an additional credit card rewards bonus of 25%- 75% on every purchase. This means the cash back reward on the 3% choice category could go up to 5.25%; the 2% reward on dining could go up to 3.5%, and the unlimited 1% reward for all other purchases could go up to 1.75%.

How it works

Cardholders can easily change the 3% choice category for future purchases once each calendar month in their Mobile Banking app or Online Banking.

Cardholders can view a snapshot of prior spending in each 3% category to choose the right option for their spending habits.

Card benefits

Clients can earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, then will be able to earn an unlimited 1% thereafter.

Cardholders can redeem their cash rewards for any amount and at any time as a statement credit, or into an eligible Bank of America deposit account, a Merrill Cash Management Account® (CMA®) or Working Capital Management Account® (WCMA®).

Cash rewards don’t expire.

The card has no annual fee.

Eligible existing Business Advantage Cash Rewards clients (cardholders in good standing, who held the card prior to April 8) can upgrade to the new Cash Rewards program by calling the phone number listed on the back of their card.

Earn even more with Business Advantage Relationship Rewards

The Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program provides a way for Bank of America small business clients to earn even more, with up to a 75% rewards bonus on every purchase.

Eligible Bank of America and Merrill small business clients may enroll in the Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program at no cost. To qualify, clients need an active eligible Bank of America business checking account and a 3-month average, combined daily balance of at least $20,000 in qualifying Bank of America business deposit accounts and/or Merrill business investment accounts. There are no fees to join or participate in Relationship Rewards.

There are three tiers in the Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program. A client’s tier is based on the 3-month average combined balances in their qualifying Bank of America business deposit and/or Merrill business investment accounts. Once a client is enrolled in the program, they will be moved up automatically when their business balances qualify them for the next rewards tier.

Cash Rewards card bonuses for Business Advantage Relationship Rewards members are 25% (Gold tier), 50% (Platinum tier) and 75% (Platinum Honors tier). Business Advantage Relationship Rewards members will earn up to 5.25% cash back on purchases in their Cash Rewards choice category, up to 3.5% on dining and up to 1.75% on all other purchases.

Clients interested in enrolling or learning more about Relationship Rewards may visit a Bank of America financial center, call (888) 287-4637 or click here.

Check the infographic below for more information.

6—Overtime Pay Rules Changing?

With the unveiling of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime pay requirements, businesses are rushing to stay on top of any upcoming changes in the event of a Final Rule. Over one million new workers stand to be made eligible for overtime pay with the proposed regulations, raising the overtime salary threshold from under $24,000 to under $35,000—which has some employers rattled.

The potential impacts on employee compensation, corporate policies, and business costs would be substantial—but there’s no need to panic. Businesses can still manage high profile changes in legislation with these five best practices worth implementing now from Lakshmi Raj, cofounder and Co-CEO of Replicon:

  1. Stay ahead of the curve by analyzing the changes in detail. Know who’s affected and come up with a plan of action.
    2. Open communication lines with everyone—both those affected and those who will remain the same. Stay transparent.
    3. Understand how your employees spend working hours by tracking their time—including exempt workers. This provides a wealth of information to help ease the transition and stay informed moving forward.
  2. Define employee roles based on the actual duties performed: Do your company’s definitions of salaried and exempt make sense as they stand now?
  3. Embrace change management and ease the way with designated compliance gatekeepers.

7—Are IoT Devices a Threat to Your Business?

According to a recent survey, smart speakers aka digital assistants were one of this year’s most wanted tech gifts. Many employees returned to work last January with their new devices in tow—not thinking twice about hooking their IoT gadgets to the company Wi-Fi—unknowingly causing potential liabilities for their organization.
According to research from GetApp Lab:

  • 58% of small businesses do not have a BYOD policy.
  • When active, smart speakers record everything spoken in their presence it puts businesses and their proprietary information at risk
  • Smart TVs in boardrooms can employ ACR (automatic content recognition) leading to excessive data collection
  • Smartwatches and wearables can leave a company vulnerable to location exposure and data leakage

Gartner predicts 80% of computing tasks will take place on mobile devices by 2020. In a future where smart devices will be ubiquitous, Get App Lab’s content analyst Zach Capers delves into the vulnerabilities that smart devices pose to SMBs, and how to best develop risk mitigation plans. Take a look at Zach’s forecasts for IoT and BYOD.

8—4 Personas of Female Entrepreneurs

In an effort to better understand the evolving face of female entrepreneurship, Northwestern Mutual conducted research for the report, The W Suite: The Four Personas of Female Entrepreneurship, to enhance its client service offerings in the industry.

Today, businesses owned and operated by women no longer fit into a single mold. Motivated and informed, women are starting companies at higher rates than ever before, with the number of women-owned businesses increasing by 45% from 2007 to 2016.

Four main personas emerged from the findings of the report with varying attributes and aspirations among female entrepreneurs: Dreamers and Doers, Family Legacy Entrepreneurs, Passionistas and Lemonaders. They are defined as follows:

Dreamers & Doers are drawn to the attractiveness of an idea; they see possibilities in the market they want to expand upon. This persona mainly consists of Caucasian women, who are also more likely to be single and unrestricted by family responsibilities. Dreamers & Doers also tend to be older.

Family Legacy Entrepreneurs have inherited the business or want to provide employment to family members. Asian and Hispanic respondents have close family ties and thus are more likely to run a family legacy business. These women are also more likely to be married and caring for family members.

Passionistas do what they want, where they want. They are not necessarily focused on business growth but ultimately aim to support the lifestyles they desire. This persona is predominantly Caucasian women, and many are likely to be caring for family members. These women tend to have created their business as a way to achieve a better work-life balance.

Lemonaders created their businesses out of necessity, many saying they could not find quality employment or were unemployed when they first started. Entrepreneurship was a viable option for them, and some of their companies grew to a substantial size. These entrepreneurs are often women of color and younger than other female business owners.

The study also found women with successful businesses, making over $1 million in revenue per year, were more likely to have created a financial plan with the help of an advisor. Women entrepreneurs in general were more likely to have met with a financial advisor than men, showing their willingness to take the preparatory steps when launching their companies.

Further underpinning the trend, female entrepreneurs were almost 10% more likely to revisit their financial plan regularly, noting that active, ongoing planning was very important in order to achieve their business goals. Since many female entrepreneurs are supporting family members, they find it important to create a safety net and insure the companies they have created. Actively financially planning helps them create the security they need and combine their personal goals with their business objectives.

Working with a trusted financial advisor can help start successful businesses and keep them generating revenue for years to come. Covering budgeting, insurance needs and much more, a professional’s help can be the difference in creating a profitable enterprise.

Other key survey findings

  • Women are more likely to start companies that make a social impact (43%) than men (33%).
  • Women are less likely to be the ultimate decision maker in their investment decisions (51%) compared to men (59%).
  • More likely to have immigrated, Latina entrepreneurs were more likely to perceive themselves as creative, willing to take risks and open to new ideas.
  • Female entrepreneurs are more likely to let employees have flexible schedules (37%) compared to male entrepreneurs (31%).

 

9—Are You Charging for Your Mobile App?

Double the number of small businesses with more than 50 employees charge for apps compared to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, according to a new survey from Visual Objects, a portfolio website that showcases work from top creative firms from around the world.

Of small businesses with more than 50 employees 63% charge for their app, while only 35% of companies with fewer than 50 employees do. This means 42% of small businesses with mobile apps monetize their app by charging users.

Since it takes significant resources to successfully raise awareness about why an app is worth paying for amidst the array of free apps already available in app stores, small businesses with more employees have more opportunities to market their apps and motivate people to pay for them.

Small businesses prefer to monetize their apps through in-app purchases: Small businesses pursue two main types of app monetization: in-app purchases and subscriptions and paid downloads.

  • 34% of small businesses charge for in-app purchases or subscriptions, while 25% charge users a fee to download an app.

Apps can provide an additional channel of revenue for a business, but monetization can be difficult to implement. “It’s really hard to get people to pay for apps,” says Joana Kelly, chief operating officer of Small Planet. “There’s something about being asked to pay a dollar for an app that is this big barrier. If it’s free to download, then people are more willing to try the app out.”

There are five models of app monetization: free, freemium, subscription, paid, and paymium.

Although the free model doesn’t directly earn revenue, it can be one of the most rewarding methods if the app is popular enough to attract advertisers.

  • Nearly half of small businesses collect user data from apps: Nearly half of small businesses with apps collect their users’ data, including contact information (47%), location (46%), and payment details (35%). User data helps businesses improve their app services and provides important insights for advertisers.

While apps can make money through in-app advertisements, some small businesses do not believe in selling user information. “Offering ads inside the app puts us in a potential conflict of interest with our users,” says Omer Yarkowich, vice president of product and marketing at MyPermissions. “In a way, to optimize the revenue from the ads, we would need to leverage what we know of our users, and that goes against our values and mission statement.”

Small businesses can, instead, use data from their apps to analyze what customers value and want in their experience. User data is not only used to create targeted ads, but also to indicate where an app can grow.

You can read the full report here.

10—Do Your Remote Workers Pose a Security Threat?

Remote work is rapidly becoming commonplace, with nearly 70% of employees globally working remotely at least once a week. But are you confident about (or even aware of) the security risk these workers pose to your business?

According to a study from OpenVPN, 93% of organizations have a remote work security policy in place, and 90% offer security training for remote workers. Despite this security training, 36% of businesses have experienced a security incident because of a remote worker’s actions.

You—or your HR people need to be aware of and work to mitigate this through regular training

The infographic below from Open VPN explains more.

11—Talent Management Software Buyers Choose Cost Over Experience

Capterra, a leading online resource for business software buyers, released findings from its latest survey of SMB leaders across vertical markets to understand how they’re choosing talent management solutions and their implications on businesses. Capterra’s Talent Management Industry User Research Report shows price heavily impacts talent management solution decisions, surpassing ease of use as a key factor across SMBs. This focus on price creates a disconnect for small business leaders trying to choose the “right” software for their organization, as they’re using low price as the main driver when buying software.

“Understanding how buyers successfully leverage talent management solutions can help small business leaders make wise decisions based on their company’s size, resources, and software needs,” says Brian Westfall, principal analyst at Capterra and the survey’s lead analyst. “While low cost may seem like the most important aspect of software, choosing a solution solely based on price can create more issues than most SMBs are prepared to handle.”

Small businesses run the risk of choosing a system that doesn’t meet their needs, ignoring the potential costs associated with picking the “wrong” software and eventually creating the need to search for and implement new solutions. This lack of knowledge is reflected in one key survey finding: 45% of respondents spent more than what they expected, while another 45% spent less. For SMBs operating on razor-thin margins, any unnecessary use of budget or resources could be detrimental to the business overall.

Key findings:

  • Importance of price:Price has surpassed ease of use as the second most important factor behind functionality in talent management software purchase decisions for all SMBs and is the primary factor for the smallest SMBs.
  • Software search expectation vs. reality:45% of users took 10 months or more to research and choose their talent management software, despite only 18% expecting the search to take that long.
  • Key software features: Succession planning and 360-degree feedback are themost ignored talent management software features by those who have them, and the most desired by those who don’t.

SMBs can avoid making potentially harmful software purchase decisions, while keeping bottom-lines in check and by making careful technology choices—not just cost-conscious ones. Capterra’s survey offers key takeaways on this topic, exploring data on the shift in decision-making, tips for choosing the right solution, and the most important software features.

These additional key insights include:

Prioritizing price in talent management software selection: While budget-strapped SMBs are increasingly purchasing talent management software, price significantly impacts spending decisions—an issue that can cause talent management software implementation to backfire. The cost of choosing software that isn’t a fit for their organization or lacks the features necessary to meet HR needs could impact meeting business goals and retaining and gaining new talent.

The number of small businesses implementing talent management software has increased over the past ten years as vendors began creating products geared toward smaller buyers, focusing on affordability and ease of use.

Expectations vs. reality: Capterra’s survey found 80% of users are satisfied with their talent management software. Additional functionality correlates with additional cost, but a wide array of features is often necessary for talent management software. Although the smallest SMBs surveyed consider the price of software above functionality, cutting corners on functionality for a better price has led to dissatisfaction. In fact, 62% of talent management software users who switched talent management software providers did so due to lack of features.

Using talent management software effectively: For 60% of users, the search for talent management software took six months or less to complete from initial research to final purchase. For 45%, it took 10 months or more to research and choose a talent management software. This proves the importance of taking time to understand the company’s needs before beginning the search and using online reviews to identify the “right” option. Online reviews are important in the buyer’s journey for gaining information and understanding functionalities and choices.

Businesses use talent management software for core HR needs such as personnel tracking, time and attendance, payroll, and recruiting. HR personnel can spend as much as three-fourths of their time on these administrative tasks, so using software to automate this work is a top priority, as it frees up their time and energy to focus on strategy and employee experience—key to remaining competitive in the job market.

Small businesses today are forced to do more with less but opting for the less expensive software solution isn’t always the most effective option. For more information and tips for business leaders, view the full survey results in this blog post, Talent Management Industry User Research Report.

12—Apple to Launch Credit Card

Guest post by Ruomeng Wang, research and analysis manager, IHS Markit

Apple has partnered with Mastercard and Goldman Sachs to launch Apple Card this summer. Consumers can apply for the credit card through the Wallet App on their iPhones. Once they’ve been approved, customers will receive a physical card issued by Goldman Sachs. Payments will be processed by MasterCard.

Apple Card will be linked to Apple Pay, and customers will be able to use it for online, in-app and in-store purchases. The card offers 2% daily cash back, as well as 3% daily cash back on all purchases made directly with Apple, including at Apple Stores, on the App Store and for Apple services.

According to IHS Markit, the addressable devices for Apple Pay in the U.S. will increase to 175 million by the end of 2019.

The analysis: Apple Card will consolidate payments offerings, but challenges still lie ahead.

Apple Card will initially launch in the United States and will only be available to iPhone users who have enabled Apple Pay, so its adoption will largely rely on the Apple Pay customer base. The launch of Apple Card will help Apple Pay reach and acquire new customers, while offering additional payments flexibility for existing Apple Pay users.

To encourage customers to onboard, Apple Card offers the card with no annual fees, lower interest rates and other incentives. However, existing Apple Pay users are a group with high credit card penetration, so there will be challenges when it comes to convincing them to add another credit card without providing competitive incentives. Compared to other credit cards, Apple’s incentives are relatively limited. For instance, the Amazon Credit Card offers 5% cash back for Amazon products, along with a $50 gift card when people sign up.

Security is a unique selling point for Apple Card: With comparatively limited incentives, Apple Card may turn to security and monitoring features, to add value and differentiate this card from others. Apple Card’s titanium version has no visible numbers, which protects the card from unwarranted use if it’s lost or stolen. Apple Card will also integrate with Apple Maps, providing users with more meaningful transaction details on their payment summaries. Such detail facilitates the monitoring of spending, allowing users to more easily track their purchasing activity.

Apple Card to strengthen Apple’s ecosystem

The current direction for payments and consumer banking companies is to move away from payments-only services. For example, Alipay, WeChat and other over-the-top (OTT) companies, as well as challenger banks Revolut and Monzo, are all looking at ways to diversify their services. Apple has adopted a different strategy, with payments focused on the Apple Card, which highlights Apple’s intention to strengthen its own ecosystem, instead of getting involved in wider financial service offerings.

 

13—Work Habits: How Does Your Industry Stack Up?

Is there a secret to productivity? Will drinking more coffee help you meet those looming deadlines? Does going to the gym hold the key to success? Do some parts of the country know the key to being more productive at work?

A new study by specialist insurer Hiscox is highlighting the most common habits by industry and how it connects to success and productivity.

Some highlights:

  • IT: 62% of IT employees go to the gym at least once a week; 11% go daily.
  • Architecture, Engineering and Building: 2 in 3 employees are caffeine-dependent, drinking at least one cup a day.
  • Legal: Legal professionals are the most rested with 34% of them sleeping an average of 7 hours on week nights.

Read more about this on their blog.

14—Do You Want to be a Real Estate Entrepreneur?

There’s no question there’s a lot of money to be made from investing in and managing real estate. Here’s a great infographic from Buttonwood Property Management, telling you what you need to know.

15—Social Media Users View Facebook Negatively but Still Use the Platform

Following the Cambridge Analytica data breach, 44% of social media users still have a negative opinion of Facebook, according to a new survey from The Manifest, a business news and how-to website.

In March 2018, news broke that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica acquired and used 50 million Facebook users’ personal data without their express permission. Facebook lost some consumer trust then, and it hasn’t gained it all back. However, that doesn’t mean the people are deterred from using the platform—just 37% use Facebook less often than they did before the data breach.

Older generations, who depend more on Facebook more than younger generations (who use a variety of platforms), were less likely to decrease their Facebook, compared to 41% of millennials, 37% of Generation Xers and 24% of baby boomers.

You can read the full report here.

Cool Tools

 

16—Keep Track of Project Profitability

QuickBooks now has a new job costing functionality that allows small businesses and their accounting partners to keep a near real-time eye on the profitability of individual projects.

Those in project-based businesses (construction, landscaping or interior design, etc.) understand how profitability can be difficult to manage, especially if job costs run over. And this happens often because these SMBs provide an estimate to their clients upfront, before they truly know the cost of labor, supplies and other expenses they may incur.

QuickBooks says its new job costing functionality and refreshed “Projects” tab provides a solution they know “customers are hungry for, as this update was highly requested from the QuickBooks current user base.”

You can read more about it here.

17—Save Time & Money with Your Own Color Label Printer

If you make a private label product, you can save time and money printing your own labels.  Primera’s LX500 Color Label Printer eliminates waste and lead times. Having your own label printer makes sure you don’t order (and pay for) more labels than you need—and there’s no waiting for delivery from an outside supplier.

The Primera LX500 lets you print text, graphics, color alerts, and logos on water-resistant material, along with high-resolution linear and 2D barcodes in seconds.

18—The Faster, Easier, and Less-Complicated Way to Create Images, Gifs, and Videos

GecoWeb Ltd., a Romania-based web designing and web development startup, recently launched Pixteller, an easy-to-use design and animation tool that enables anyone to create images, GIFs, and videos. Until now, creating animated content and designs for marketers, bloggers, and content creators has been hard—even for designers. Moreover, most of the animated content created has been recorded video. With PixTeller, users can animate a single element like a photo, text, shape, and illustrator in unlimited ways. You can create animated content for social media posts, digital ads, websites, blogs, banners, covers & headers, presentations, and more.

Creating graphics is a time-demanding process. And there’s been a lack of easy-to-use tools to make GIFs & short videos, forcing businesses to use on-demand services, which are manual and expensive.

“We designed the first Animation Editor in Cloud that allows you to create stunning animated designs, short videos, and GIFs, even if you have no design knowledge or the budget to hire someone else,” says Alex Roznovat, the Founder & CEO of PixTeller. “Because GIFs and videos are 6 times more likely to be liked, shared, retweeted than a photo on social media, PixTeller animated designs have become a gold mine and a game-changer for any content creator or online marketer, helping them to triple their conversion rates.”

Key features

  • AI & ML-based PixBot: Automatically create images & video layouts you can customize.
  • 1,340,000+ images: Pick any image template and personalize it
  • 216+ animations: Choose any pre-designed animated template and customize easily to create GIFs & videos
  • 1,50,000+ photos: Search & use beautiful, free photos and illustrations. You can upload your own photos.
  • 1,00,000+ shapes: Search the best shape that perfectly fits on your design
  • Gradient colors: Select from solid, linear, and radial gradients and create transparent backgrounds.
  • Animation timeline: Create quick animations using the PixTeller Editor Timeline.

PixTeller offers a commitment-free trial of the Design Editor. There are also video tutorials available on the website.

Business woman stock photo by g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

This Is What Separates Those Who Dream of Becoming Entrepreneurs From Those Who Actually Take the Leap, According to MIT Research


04/19/2019
What is the best retirement plan for a self-employed person? Which is the best retirement plan for a small business owner? More importantly, which is the right retirement plan for you – as a business owner and / or a self-employed individual? Choosing the best retirement plan for you and your personal financial goals will depend on a few factors. Those include how much you can save into a retirement plan, whether or not you have employees and when you are setting up the retirement plan. Is it during the tax year or when filing taxes? To name a few.

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04/17/2019
Here are 15 examples of great integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content, digital and website marketing, with traditional marketing methods like PR.

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04/15/2019
Here are three popular things that are actually not mandatory for all small businesses:

1. Aggressive Marketing

It is easy to go overboard with marketing. With so many tools available, your gut instinct is to try anything with the slightest potential. Even if you stand to lose money, you want the assurance of knowing you are doing everything you can to gain the interest of your target audience. And it is difficult to ignore a marketing tool that has worked marvelously for other small businesses. If they had to do it all over again, these businesses would likely spend 10% of their time developing their products or services and 90% marketing them.

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04/12/2019
So what sets those who actually take the plunge from those who only dream? What pushes a keen hobbyist or excellent amateur into actually becoming a business owner? A recent study of more than 400,000 people out of MIT came to decisive answer, and it is not the one you are probably expecting.

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04/10/2019
Many successful entrepreneurs were inspired to start their businesses after noticing a hole in the marketplace that needed to be filled, whether it was Bill Gates creating an operating system for home computers, Pierre Omidyar starting an online auction site, or Elon Musk building a reliable electric car.

But what happens when you want to jump feet first into a marketplace thats already crowded? We spoke to the entrepreneurs behind a wide-ranging group of successful companies in some of the most competitive digital spaces — from butchers to home brands to eco-friendly cleaning products — to get their insights into what makes a business that lasts.

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04/08/2019
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting their own business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being one they can run out of their own home. The good news: Starting a home-based business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard, as are a plethora of other low-cost ideas.

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04/06/2019
Now, I do not want to burst any happy bubbles for those of you who are already treading the traditional pathway, but that traditional narrative no longer makes much sense, because over the past two decades, big corporations, big academia, and big corporatist government have rigged the business world so that the longer you wait to start your own company, the less likely you are to be successful.

Because of this, young entrepreneurs (Mil

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04/04/2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a bevy of changes that will affect the 2018 federal income tax returns of many small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. As tax return time approaches, here are the 10 changes that are most likely to affect your business or you as an owner.

1. New flat 21% tax rate for corporations
Before the TCJA, C corporations paid graduated federal income tax rates of 15%, 25%, 34%, and 35%. Personal service corporations (PSCs) paid a flat 35% rate. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA establishes a flat 21% corporate rate, and that beneficial rate applies to PSCs too. So the tax cost of doing business as a profitable C corporation is greatly reduced, and this favorable development will show up on 2018 corporate returns. Enjoy.

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04/02/2018
When done correctly, a tagline can become synonymous with a brand. A good tagline should communicate your companys message quickly and effectively, helping your target customers understand how you can help them in a way that’s easy to remember.

Since it is something that will likely appear in all of your companys marketing materials and may stick with you for years, your team should put a lot of care and consideration into crafting your tagline.

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03/29/2019
A business plan is a written description of your business future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.

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03/27/2019
Very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background. Here are four tips to ensure your small business is achieving profitable growth.

Most small business owners start their own business because they have a passion for something, a new idea, want to be their own boss or are seeking more financial stability and/or earning potential. However, very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background.

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03/25/2019
The standards for small business success have unquestionably gone up. Todays small businesses must do a lot more to stay competitive than their predecessors. Myriad businesses, however, take this notion a bit too far. Once they discover yet another resource or strategy with the potential to elevate their success, they jump all over it. This is partially due to the many online articles urging business leaders to devote more effort to virtually every element of their businesses.

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03/22/2019
Many small businesses start out with a single location or product offering and grow over time. Expanding your business is a good way to increase your long-term profitability and reach a wider audience.

But while growing your venture might be something you’d like to do eventually, now might not be the ideal time to dive in. Here are four reasons you might choose not to grow your business, and instead stick with the status quo.

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03/20/2019
Get out your pink paint. Or your coral, or yellow or teal. By the time you finish reading this column, you’re going to be painting one wall of your small business a color that will pop on Instagram.

Why? Because Instagram is today’s powerhouse social media site for consumer businesses. And if you give customers an inviting way to post to Instagram, they’ll advertise your business for free.

A few years ago, if you wanted to reach retail consumers, the social media site of choice was Facebook. While it may still work for reaching certain demographics, many consumers – especially female Millennials – love Instagram.

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03/18/2019
A new report is saying that almost half of people recently hired (41%) used an online job board to find work and 61% flagged automatic job alerts as helpful. What is more, a full 14% found their present job using social media. The findings from How Do People Find Jobs? published by the B2B research firm, Clutch, highlights how today’s candidates are connecting with small businesses and vice versa.

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03/15/2019
How did life lead you to entrepreneurship?

I have been in the technology industry for 25 years. I am a business-facing technologist, which basically means I have a background in finance and business. However, I stumbled into being a software engineer early on in my career. This resulted in a passion for data and solution creativity.After hitting the 20-year mark of working for enterprise-size organizations, I decided I needed a change. I experienced some life-threatening health challenges–all while taking care of my two sons with their own unique needs. A culmination of it all really made me stop and reflect on what I really wanted to do on a daily basis and the people I do it with.

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03/13/2019
Step 1: Set meaningful goals.
People do nott achieve goals unless the goals are meaningful to them. Sure, every seller has a quota for this year, but so what? If you want to maximize your motivation to achieve the goals, you must know why achieving it is important to you. To do that, go beyond your one-year quota-focused goal.

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03/11/2019
Are you making big changes to your small business?

Whether you’re entering a new market, eliminating services that your clients love but no longer work for you, or changing the structure of your business entirely, follow these three tips to shake up your small business without losing revenue or hurting your reputation.

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03/08/2019
Most working class Americans are employed by companies that either require or offer retirement savings options in the form of a 401(k), 403b), or pension plan. Because these contributions are automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck, saving for retirement tends to be a rather painless process. Over time, the cumulative effect of regular monthly contributions leads to a nice sized nest egg that can be used in the retirement years.

But for entrepreneurs, the story is a little different. With no steady paycheck or employer-sponsored plans, many of these hardworking individuals forgo retirement contributions.  And though it may not seem like a big deal in the early years, this misstep can prove to be dangerous and irresponsible as entrepreneurs age.

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03/06/2019
Crowdfunding has become a viable form for funding a venture, project, cause, event and much more. For small businesses looking to bypass traditional sources of financing such as bank loans, angel investing or venture capital, it is now a great option.

If you have been thinking about starting a campaign, it is important to note there are different types of crowdfunding. And this does not mean the platform or portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others.

The confusion stems from clumping crowdfunding under one umbrella, when in reality there are different types or models. Depending on your project, choosing the right model for your small business is critically important to ensure the success of your campaign.

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03/04/2019
Being a leader can be a difficult, and sometimes thankless, job. You work long hours, make tough decisions, and try your best to make your employees and your customers happy. But things don’t always work out the way you hope.

Every leader can use a bit of inspiration and humor every once in a while. Adding some fun to your day can make it all come together and, at the same time, perhaps even put a smile on your face.

The next time you feel down, here are 17 funny leadership quotes to perk you up.

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03/01/2019
Procrastination is an odd compulsion. Everyone has experienced it, but the underlying reasons can be tough to pin down.

After all, procrastination delays the very activities that bring people closer to their goals — whether that is building a thriving business or stronger triceps. So why do not humans just sprint toward that brighter, fitter future?

The science.
Scientific studies of procrastination have spiked over the past 20 years. Researchers once considered the issue a basic time-management problem, but they now view it as a complex and highly individual phenomena.  

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02/27/2019
Not every step you take to move your business forward will be a big one. But sometimes, even small steps can make a large impact on your future. Here are some recent tips and insights from members of the online small business community about big and small steps you can take to really make an impact on your business.

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02/25/2019
Like departments and agencies throughout government, the Air Force is tuning its acquisition methods to get closer the speed of technology, and will be holding its first live pitch day in March, with an available funding pool of $40 million.

The Air Forces Small Business Innovation Research program has issued a call to start-ups and small businesses—those with fewer than 500 employees—to offer pitches on innovative technologies for secure communications, down-range battlefield operations and digital technologies.

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02/22/2019
I am pleased to bring you my top five tricks for disconnecting – and at least temporarily escaping the job stress.

1. Make the business case.

Taking time to recharge is not just good for your mental and physical health — it is the smart thing to do for your business. Studies have shown that increased stress leads to reduced productivity, while decreased stress levels lead to increased productivity.

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02/20/2019
The benefit of working for a large company is gaining access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) – a critical tool that helps millions of workers save for retirement.

But if you are a small-business owner, you should know that you have several tax-advantaged savings plans at your disposal that allow you to sock away substantial funds for your golden years.

Better yet, the annual contribution limits for all of these plans increased in 2019, so now’s a better time than ever to start funding one.

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02/18/2019

The beginning of the year is a great time to make resolutions for your small business. Whether you’re launching a new product or implementing a new technology, you are setting goals and working hard to achieve them. The New Year could also be the perfect time to fix internal issues that are holding you back from success. Below is a list of common business hurdles that arise in small business and how you can overcome them.

Hurdle #1: Trying to do everything yourself

There are a lot of tedious tasks involved in keeping a small business running smoothly – like running payroll, approving time off requests, and so on.

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02/15/2019
Rising interest rates and high levels of corporate debt have lots of investors concerned. Should small businesses be worried?

The majority of small businesses (in most industries) are able to pay their bills on time. According to Experian/Moodys Analytics Main Street Report, overall delinquencies for businesses with fewer than 100 employees were slightly down in the third quarter of 2018. Credit utilization rates were also down slightly.

At the same time, that same research has found that rates for delinquencies of 31 to 90 days rose slightly. While it is not yet a cause for concern, the report points out that the period of consistent declines in delinquency rates for small businesses may be near its end.

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02/13/2019
Owning or running a small business comes with a special set of challenges that larger companies do not face. Major national brands have a lot of advantages, with the biggest one being that a single misstep probably won’t derail a business.

That is not always true for owners of small businesses, where the distance between success and failure can be precarious. Sometimes seemingly small decisions can send a smaller company on a course that can’t be corrected.

In some cases, however, it is possible to plan ahead to avoid certain pitfalls.

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02/11/2019
As we welcome 2019, attention is shifting to what’s on the horizon for small businesses in the year ahead. The reality is that the nature of work is evolving. During my more than 25-year career, I have held a number of leadership positions. Early in my time in the health insurance industry, compensation reigned supreme among my employees, while health and wellness were perceived as a nice-to-have benefit.

Now, workplace norms are beginning to align more with employee wants and needs and new rules about conducting business are being established — particularly when it comes to employee health and wellness. I believe this shift, which I have witnessed within my own team, will continue to dominate work environments across the nation in the new year.

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02/08/2019
Establishing a strong social media presence can mean big business for your small business. But if you don’t have dedicated resources to devote to it, or you don’t have much time to spare, you might find it tough to gain traction. Use these nine social media tips to boost business and grow your brand.

Set Clear Goals

No matter how eager you are to start using social media for your business, take the time to set clear goals before you begin. Try setting SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely — to guide your social media strategy.

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02/06/2019
On one hand, year-on-year improvements are what makes companies great; on the other, firms can’t control many of the factors that dictate whether, say, revenue rises or not.

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02/04/2019
When Mandy Bass speaks to business leaders and professionals who want to improve sales, productivity, teamwork, customer satisfaction and profitability she consistently finds that they are working way too hard to achieve the results they seek. With that in mind, for the New Year she has compiled a list of seven small or low-cost things that could get small business owners, solopreneurs and sales professionals big results in 2019.

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02/01/2019
The 2018 holiday season is in the books, and small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) sold big on Amazon. In fact, SMBs had their best holiday shopping season ever.

The e-tail giant itself had a record-setting holiday season as well: More items were ordered worldwide on Amazon than ever before.

But it was not just corporations like LEGO that benefitted from all this shopping. More than 50 percent of all items sold came from small and medium-sized businesses.

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01/30/2019
A healthy economy means many small businesses are thriving — but they’re also having a hard time hanging onto employees. A good 24% of small businesses lost at least one employee in 2018, while 11% of small businesses lost 10% of their workforce, according to Bank of America. Not only that, but 58% of businesses had trouble finding qualified candidates for open roles, and 25% said it took more time to fill open positions in 2018 than it did in 2017.

And there lies the problem with a strong job market: When employment is plentiful, workers have more options to choose from, so getting them to join or stay with your team becomes more challenging for companies across the board, but particularly for small businesses with limited resources.

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9 freelancing jobs for aspiring entrepreneurs

Explore your options

Starting your own freelance career is an exciting thing. You will be able to do a lot more than you would if you were doing a normal 9-to-5 job. Working from home and being able to bring your work with you wherever you go is a great feeling. If you’re thinking of finally making a step towards a much needed career change, working freelancing jobs could be your best option.

9 freelancing jobs for aspiring entrepreneurs

You might be confused about potential freelancing jobs, since you are not yet experienced in many sectors. In order to help you out, here are some of the best jobs any new freelancer should consider:

  1. Blogging.
  2. Ghostwriting.
  3. Photography.
  4. Travel consultant.
  5. Social media marketing.
  6. Photo editor.
  7. Translations.
  8. Editing and proofreading.
  9. Video editing.

Any of these sound like they might be a good fit for you? Let’s dive in and take a closer look at each of these freelancing jobs.

1. Blogging

There are so many magazines, entertainment sites and other types of businesses that use blogging as a way of promoting its brand and getting more attention and followers. This is a great tactic to gain a bigger audience and also a great working experience for any new and inexperienced freelancers.

Apart from writing for clients, you can even start your own blog if you’re feeling a little more adventurous.

This will definitely take some more time to grow but you will be able to always write about topics that interest you and you will be able to make more money through advertising and affiliate links as you continue to grow.

Related: How to start a blog in 7 steps

2. Ghostwriting

A ghost writer can be used for anything from a memoir to a speech. You can start small with blogs posts or emails to build up your resume, then move onto larger projects.

Christopher K. Mercer, a freelance marketer and founder of Citatior notes:

“Ghostwriting can help teach you how to write anything from an article to a book. Not only will it be a valuable experience, but it will also pay well if you work with the right people. It is definitely a great job for any beginner freelance writer.”

If you’re looking for something relatively easy to help you get started and not have your name associated with certain topics or stories, these freelancing jobs can be a good option.

via GIPHY

3. Photography

If you have a good quality camera and enjoy taking pictures, you could start out with freelancing jobs as a photographer. Not only can you take pictures of various parts of the world if you travel a lot, but you can even sell your artistic pictures as stock photography and make a good income through them online.

Another option is wedding photography. You can take plenty of courses online and have friends help you practice and improve your skills.

Related: Selling photos online for beginners

4. Travel consultant

If you love traveling and have experience, freelancing jobs as a travel consultant could help you make some money while helping people have a great time on their vacation.

You would help people book flights, hotels, and plan activities — and stay under their budget. You can do this independently, but there are also plenty of companies online who are always on the lookout for experienced travelers for this job.

5. Social media marketing

Many businesses use social media to promote their products and services. No matter how big a company is, it is most likely that the person running it won’t have enough time to run all social media accounts themselves. Instead, they might hire people to do this job or use a service.

If you have some basic knowledge of how to run a social media account, you could very well apply for freelancing jobs for a smaller company.

This is a great job for you to begin with and it will help you gain enough experience in order to move upwards and work with more experienced and demanding companies.

6. Photo editor

Photoshop know-how can be a great asset if you’re looking to start your freelance career. You can take advantage of your skills and work as a photo editor online and edit pictures for social media profiles, influencers, businesses, blogs and more.

In general, photo editing can be quite time consuming, and many people might not have access to Photoshop or the skills to use it.

Former freelancer and designer for Online Writers Rating Miranda Long, notes,“Photo editing can be a great start for any creative person who wishes to improve their Photoshop skills and advance to other sectors such as graphic design in the near future”.

7. Translations

If you are bilingual, freelancing jobs as a translator can be a great option. Even if you haven’t finished school for it, there are online qualifications you can receive to help build your credibility.

At the beginning of your career, you might be able to start without qualifications. However, a degree and certifications will help you get more work, particularly if you want to work in a specific niche.

via GIPHY

8. Editing and proofreading

If you have a background in journalism or a similar field and don’t want to write, you can always work as an editor or proofreader for a blogger, magazine or company that needs such services. In general, most businesses that own their own blog, social media accounts or even email lists are in need of freelancers to proof their work, therefore this offers a lot of prospect and work opportunities.

9. Video editing

Freelancing Jobs EditingPhoto: Unsplash

With YouTube growing more and more every day, there are plenty of video creators who need someone to do editing for them.

As a video editor, you will have to devote some time in order to learn how to work with an editing program if you don’t have a background in video editing, as well as invest some money into getting one.

You can edit videos for platforms other than YouTube, like Facebook. Considering 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook per day, there will always be work for video editors.

Related: How to get started as a freelance videographer

Finding the right freelancing jobs

Whether you’re looking to work completely independently as a freelancer or do contract work with a company, there are quite a few options for beginners which will help you not only gain experience, but also work on something you enjoy while earning an income.

As a freelancer, you will have to remember that in order to have a stable income you will have to work hard to improve your skills and to also find the right job with the right clients.

It might take awhile for you to find that perfect job, so make sure you have planned in advance and don’t move too fast into your freelance career.

Editor’s note: If you’re going to break out as a freelancer, make sure you have the tools to stay organized. Microsoft Office 365 from GoDaddy will keep you on track with tools like Outlook so you can send professional emails and Microsoft Invoicing to ensure you get paid on time.

April 15 Is Almost Here! Here Are the 6 Tax-Filing Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask Tax Preparers Now.

Extensions? Home office? Automobiles? Inventory? Real estate deductions? Find out the new tax law affects your bottom line.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With the tax-filing deadline just days away, entrepreneurs would be wise to ask their tax preparers six key questions. Because the 2018 tax year is the first year the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has applied to returns, there are new forms, new rules, new elections and new software that can significantly impact your income.

Related: Finally, the Feds Are Cutting Startups Some Slack: Why the New Tax Law Is a Game-Changer

In short: This tax-filing season is a very different animal than previous ones because there are so many more decisions to make. So, be sure to ask your tax preparer’s advice on both the 2018 returns you’re filing now and the 2019 returns you’ll be preparing or next year.

And, while it may be too late to do a lot about your 2018 return, you can be ready for 2019 if you start preparing now, while your advisor’s information is still fresh on your mind. Here are the top six questions to ask your tax preparer:

1.Should I file an extension? 

With the new law impacting tax returns for the first time, filing for an extension is one of the best things you can do. There are new forms, elections and software to deal with; many things have changed; and it’s better to take your time this year. Example: Investment expenses are no longer deductible on a personal return.

2. Should I take a home office deduction? 

Also of note is the home office deduction; it’s a bigger deal this year because property taxes and state income taxes, combined, are limited to $10,000; and on top of that, you may not have enough deductions to rise above your standard deduction of $24,000 as a married couple filing jointly. So, the questions should be, first, What would the tax consequence be if I took “home office”? And, second, How do I do that?

Related: 6 Misunderstood Business Tax Deductions for Your 2018 Year-End Planning

3. As an owner, can I qualify for the 20 percent pass-through deduction?

This is a new 20 percent deduction on your net business income, and can significantly impact a small business. If your company is an S Corp, Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, you also need to ask whether you are a specialized service-trader business (lawyer, accountant, consultant).

If the answer is yes, there are income limitations for taking this deduction. For example, if your taxable income is over $157,500 as a single individual, or $315,000 as a couple, then your deduction could be limited.

4. As an owner, should I change from “Accrual” to “Cash” accounting?

If, in the past, your business’s gross income was more than $10 million, you could not use the cash method of accounting. As of the new law, the ceiling has been raised from $10 million to $25 million. Ask your tax preparer if you should change to a cash method.

Then, if you decide to make that change, know that there are elections to be made and forms to file. The cash method lets you pick up income only when it’s received, and take deductions only when they’re paid — versus the accrual basis of accounting, which recognizes income only when it’s earned and expenses only when they’re incurred. If the tax consequence of changing to a cash method is positive — which it is in most cases — ask your advisor, “What has to happen in order to do that?” 

5. As a retail owner, should I deduct my inventory for the end of 2018?

Prior to the 2018 tax year, retailers could deduct inventory only after it was sold. The 2018 tax year is the first for which a retail owner can deduct inventory when it’s bought, versus after it’s sold — for items costing less than $2,500.

Why is this important? Consider what happened when I talked about this tax change during a presentation to pharmacists: A participant later told us that his certified public accountant had told him he would owe $400,000 in taxes for 2018, which would put him out of business. After confirming with that CPA that he could deduct his 2018 inventory, even if it was not sold, his tax bill was reduced from $400,000 to $45,000! 

As a result, his business was saved, and he remained an important local retailer for those in need of medications. The takeaway: These tax decisions can really matter, not just for you, but for your customers and community.

6. As a real estate investor, do I take a lump sum bonus depreciation or spread it out?

This deduction can be significant, as of the new tax law. For example, a $100,000 investment in real estate in 2018 could produce as much as $150,000 of deduction. So, ask your tax preparer, “If I take the bonus depreciation, how will that affect my tax situation?”

Next ask: “If that depreciation creates a loss for, let’s say, my real estate activity, how can I offset other income with the real estate loss?” 

Overall, entrepreneurs must recognize that taxes are their single biggest expense, necessitating that they take the time to learn the most important questions to ask at tax time. The right questions can make a huge difference for an entrepreneur’s business, family and community. 

Related: How the New Tax Law Affects Your Real Estate Business

And although all these new questions, elections and forms will likely make tax prep more expensive than it was last year, ultimately entrepreneurs can save millions over their business’s lifetime by asking the right questions now. 

From Theranos Whistleblowers to Ethical Entrepreneurs


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Erika Cheung and Tyler Shultz’s actions led to the unveiling of one of Silicon Valley’s biggest scandals ever – Theranos.  Now they’re hoping to prevent it from happening again.

Erika Cheung is the former Theranos lab worker who tipped off the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to look into the company. Together with Tyler Shultz, the ex-research engineer who helped the Wall Street Journal find the truth, Cheung has launched the international organization Ethics in Entrepreneurship.

Learn more about their history and their new venture, ethics in entrepreneurship.

Women Entrepreneurs Are Lifting the Developing Economies


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The Asian Correspondent reports that although barriers facing women-owned SMEs are not dissimilar to those that male entrepreneurs face, there are significant gender differences in the reasons that women give for not scaling up — such as loans, innovation, expansion or exporting. These differences have policy implications for government and business stakeholders in understanding the enabling factors and barriers that women entrepreneurs face.

Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global™, a leading USA nonprofit which educates women entrepreneurs and business owners on how to go global believes that to succeed in today’s economic climate — and beyond — it’s more essential than ever for women business owners to be informed and inspired to grow global

Asian Correspondent goes on to say that having an entrepreneurial mindset plays a critical role when women SME owners decide not to apply for a loan, not export or not expand their business. The number one reason given for not exporting was that the owner was content with the current state of business. For not applying for a loan, it was an aversion to taking on any debt.

Read more about how female business owners face a unique set of challenges.