Biz Tips & Trends News Highlights

By at 20 May, 2017, 8:59 am


The past week’s roundup of “How To” articles, educational resources and events, business news and success stories recommended by SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

Trends in the Economy & Market

Why Amazon is Leaving Legacy Retailers in the Dust, Knowledge @Wharton. “Amazon has expressed a mission to take over the retail world, and it seems to be working. While the company’s chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, was criticized years ago for plowing profits back into the digital platform, that strategy has given the company the ability to sell virtually anything that can be shipped anywhere.”

Small Business Optimism Remains Strong in the Second Quarter, SBE Council. “Small business optimism remained strong heading into the second quarter of 2017, according to the latest Gallup/Wells Fargo Small Business Index. While down slightly from a measure of 100 in the first quarter, the second quarter came in at a solid 95. Those are by far the strongest levels since the Great Recession, and are up compared to 64 a year ago.”

The Expanding High Skill Gig Economy, Small Business Labs. “More and more professions that require advanced degrees or highly specialized skills are joining the gig and/or on-demand economy.”

4 Trends Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of This Year, Small Biz Daily. “NPD Group has released its top ways for businesses to win customers this year, based on retail sales data and industry trends from the first quarter of 2017. They identified 10 trends, some of which seem especially suited for small businesses.”

Marketing & Branding

7 Tools To Revolutionize Your Small Business, Inc. “As we get a month into the second quarter of 2017, it may be a good time to review how you’re handling your small business’s marketing efforts. Here’s how.”

10 Places to Find Free Music for Your Videos, Small Business Trends. “Music is an essential element of any video. The right kind of music helps make a video more powerful, emotive and effective. The internet is home to a number of royalty-free music sources that enable users to download music to use for making videos.”

Top 21 Construction Marketing Ideas From the Pros, Fit Small Business. “In the construction industry, you’re constantly dealing with fluctuating costs, heavy competition, and cyclical demands. The best way to keep your business on solid footing is by continually building relationships with new clients – and the way to achieve this is through a multi-faceted marketing strategy.”

5 Marketing Strategies that Attract Milliennials, TechCo. “Millennials represent up to $200 billion a year target market. However, it can be difficult to get and hold the attention of the group through traditional marketing methods, largely because unlike previous generations, Millennials aren’t as likely to respond to traditional advertising tactics…”

What Email Offers Get the Best Response? SMB Forum. “Customers love getting deals and discounts — but keeping the details of those deals and discounts hidden may be the best way to get them to open your marketing emails, a new study reports.”

Operations & Management

The Global Cyber Attacks: A Critical Reminder for Small Businesses, SBE Council/Susan Solovic. “The recent cyber attacks around the globe are alarming, but many small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t believe it could happen to their firms.  The facts: small businesses are particularly vulnerable, and surviving a cyber attack is difficult and expensive.“ Here are steps you can take, to minimize the threat to your small business.

IRS: Home Office Deduction Often Overlooked by Small Business Owners, Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS reminds small business owners who work from a home office that there are two options for claiming the Home Office Deduction.

Taking Legal Action Over a Bad Online Review, SBE Council/Susan Solovic. “First, discovering the cause of problems gives you the power to prevent them from reoccurring. Second, people will post lies about your business and you need to be able to stop them and even sue for damages when it’s appropriate.”

How to Position Your Business to Be Acquired, Bplans. “Even if you aren’t planning to sell, building your business thoughtfully and with an eye toward making it highly acquirable is an effective way to build a healthy business.”

How to Enlist a Business Mentor, or Be One, Startup Musings. “Some people ask me about the difference between a coach and a mentor. In my view, coaches focus on bringing out the best in an individual’s generic skills, while a mentor adds the element of sharing information about the industry, company, or business unit that the mentor believes is relevant to the mentee. Good mentors also must be role models and advocates for the mentee.”

Access to Capital

So You Want to Equity Crowfund? A No BS Guide to Crowdfunding Your Business, Crowdfund Insider. “Is it possible to get a Regulation Crowdfunding offering up and launched in less than a month? Absolutely.”

As Regulation Crowdfunding Turns One, Progress for Women and Minority Entrepreneurs, Locavesting. “Regulation Crowdfunding went into effect on May 16, 2016, allowing for the first time all Americans to easily invest in small businesses through crowdfunding. To date, 317 companies have used the exemption, seeking just over $200 million in aggregate—or a total of $684,000 each, according to data from Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA).”

Are Accelerator Funds a Better Way for Angels to Invest? Small Business Trends. “In short, angels spend less time, invest at a lower price and get more diversification by investing in accelerator funds than by joining angel groups. Getting a more diversified portfolio at a lower price with less effort is a better way to invest in start-up companies.”

10 Small Business Must-Haves When Seeking SBA Backed Loans, Small Business Trends. “You can’t get a loan directly from the Small Business Administration (SBA). However, this government agency guarantees some loans will be repaid.” Here are some guidelines for preparing to obtain one of these loans.

Startups & Entrepreneurship

A Peek Into the World of Young Entrepreneurs, Knowledge @Wharton. Wall Street Journal reporter Alexandra Wolfe “follows the exploits of three promising young entrepreneurs who received $100,000 each to drop out of school and start a business through a program by billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook.” Read or listen to the interview here.

5 Lessons Learned Launching a Startup with No Plan, No Cash, and No MBA, Bplans. “I like jumping into both travel and business with both feet, and not too much forethought. But looking back over my years building and running a business, there are several things that would have saved me a lot of time, money, and heartache while helping the business perform much, much better.”

How to Launch Your Small Business Using the On-Demand Economy. Inc.Starting a small business is a dream for many people, but today, there’s no reason it can’t become a reality for you. You no longer need to jump through the many hoops of sales and marketing yourself, when you can start immediately by leveraging any number of on-demand platforms to do the heavy lifting for you.” 

50 Weekend Business Ideas, Small Business Trends.Want to start a business but don’t have the ability to dedicate a full-time schedule to it? Not to worry — there are plenty of business opportunities out there that you can work on just on the weekends.”

Policy & Politics

Congress Has an Opportunity to Cut Red Tape for Small Business, The Hill. “Government regulation consistently tops the list of challenges faced by small business owners and entrepreneurs, and elected officials on both sides of the political aisle constantly pledge to reduce red tape and bring more sense to the federal regulatory system…the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, which will do just that.“

Separating Fact from Fiction in the Regulatory Accountability Act, The Hill. “This week a Senate committee advanced a bill that would hold federal agencies more accountable and create a more transparent rulemaking process. For the last several months, activists have been asserting that regulatory reform provisions in the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) actually increase red tape, extend the time for issuing regulations by years and place the health of the nation at risk. These claims are not based in reality.” 

Inspiration & Success

The Inside Story Behind the Unlikely Rise of Airbnb, Knowledge @Wharton. “In 2007 Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were broke and looking to raise money to make their rent in San Francisco. They decided to rent out air mattresses in their apartment to attendees of a conference because all the hotels were booked. They called their service “Air Bed and Breakfast.” In a few years, this small experiment would create the hotel industry disruptor Airbnb.” Listen to the podcast, or read the interview with Leigh Gallagher, author of The Airbnb Story, here.

The Detroit Success Story Visible from Space, Politico.Detroit was bankrupt, and nearly half of its 88,000 streetlights were dark, victims of budget cuts and copper thieves. The pervasive and spreading darkness hurt businesses along major thoroughfares like Livernois Avenue, including the Avenue of Fashion where, over decades, furriers have given way to beauty salons.” But then came the new streetlights.

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