Small Business Accelerator: Biz Tips & Trends News Highlights

By at 1 September, 2017, 11:15 pm

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

Hurricane Harvey Resources

For the most up-to-date information on recovery and assistance for small businesses impacted by Harvey, visit SBA’s web portal on disaster loans and other information here.

Marketing, Branding and Sales

The Psychology of Design: Why Your Business Must Understand How Design Influences Customer Behavior, crowdSPRING. “Science has proven that people respond differently to shapes, colors, patterns, and other design elements. The good news is that you don’t need a degree in psychology to leverage good design practices in your own business or when you’re creating designs for someone else.”

The New Size is Custom: How Retailers are Using Personalization to Win Customer Loyalty, Forbes. “With a growing demand for customization in consumer products, the simple fact is that we’re no longer forced to buy an off-the-shelf product that isn’t quite right. Add to that the rise in e-commerce competition and peer-to-peer portals offering authentic, tailor-made experiences, and the future of retail is evolving.”

8 Principles for Keeping Customers with You for Life, Startups Professionals. “The customer experience is really your brand, since that is what customers remember and communicate to others, rather than your marketing. Thus the real challenge in building your brand is building the level of engagement and delivery of your team.”

How the Smartest Companies Use Twitter (and No, it’s Not for Sales), Inc. “By using Twitter to keep building connections, you can get your content in front of bigger audiences exponentially. You get it to 40 people, then some of them share it with their connections, and so on.”

What Volkswagon Can Teach Small Business about Nostalgia Marketing, Small Biz Trends. “Volkswagen is bringing back its iconic Microbus, becoming the latest in a long line of brands to utilize the power of nostalgia to sell a brand new product. And this particular re-issue could teach your small business a thing or two about nostalgia in marketing.


Build an Authentic Brand to Increase Your Bottom Line

September 7, 1:00 p.m. ET

Presented by SCORE

Branding isn’t a ‘nice-to-have,’ but a ‘must-have’ to be competitive in today’s market. Don’t get jaded by get-rich-quick-schemes and fly-by-night tactics that promise overnight results. True branding is strategic, authentic, and it impacts every facet of your business.

During this webinar with Senior Brand Advisor, Steven Picanza, you’ll learn about branding trends including:

• How messaging and your brand’s story will impact your bottom line over bland creative

• Why your sales funnel will either make or break your brand (and what you can do to make sure you’re not missing out)

• How to make sure your brand and culture build equity and revenue even when you’re not in the room or in the conversation

Register here.

Operations and Management

These Small Business Trends are Defining 2017, Entrepreneur.  “These four trends [predicted in early 2017] look like they’re here to stay. Small business owners who find it hard to sort the real advice from the wishful thinking should take notice.”

Privacy in the Workplace: What Small Business Needs to Know, SBE Council/Barbara Weltman. “How much can or should an employer intrude on employees’ personal activities? With technology, such as GPS, employer-provided cell phones, and company computers, employers have the ability to monitor employees’ phone calls, email, online searches, and even their whereabouts. The question is should employers monitor activities, and what limitations does the law impose?

How Does Your Business Compare with Others, Forbes. “Sageworks recently conducted a financial statement analysis of privately held companies in six industries that are common small businesses in communities across the U.S.”

Should Your Small Business Accept Bitcoin? Business News Daily. “Though primarily used in online stores, bitcoin is quickly gaining wide popularity amongst brick-and-mortar shops, food establishments, service-based businesses and even car dealerships. Big-name companies that currently accept bitcoin include Overstock and Virgin Galactic.”

5 Reasons Every Small Business Owner Seeks a Mentor, Startup Professionals. “As a new business owner, you don’t have to take any advice you hear, but failing to listen and learn from someone’s prior experience can cost you a fortune.”


10 Principles for Surviving New Business Challenges, Startup Professionals. “As the economy flourishes after some tough economic times, more and more people seem to be turning to entrepreneurship as an alternative to traditional employment. It is not for everyone, as the entrepreneur’s path is fraught with challenges.”

These Women Entrepreneurs Created a Fake Mail Co-Founder to Dodge Startup Sexism, Fast Company. “Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer faced a lot of sexism and condescension when they launched their e-commerce marketplace for weird art–that is until they introduced an imaginary cofounder named Keith.”

With Grace and Grit: A Guide to Sticking it Out for Entrepreneurs, Goalcast. “Starting and running a business takes a ridiculous amount of effort, and if you aren’t constantly worried about your sanity, you probably aren’t doing it right. But! That doesn’t mean that you need to lose your mind, your money, and your time just because you want to be an entrepreneur.”

What “Second Movers” Can Learn from Lyft and Uber, Entrepreneur. “The recent developments at Uber, leading to CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation, have given Lyft, the No. 2 ride-sharing company, exactly the kind of opportunity it needs to carve out a larger piece of the pie. By treating drivers well, Lyft is moving to capitalize on this opportunity.”

The Small Business Market and Other Interesting Stuff

Small Business Owners Getting Older and Not Planning to Fully Retire, Small Business Labs. “…57% of small business owners are over the age 60, up from just 38% a decade ago. In general, small business owners are not the retiring type. They found average small business owner with plans to retire is planning on retiring at age 67. But 7 in 10 of those plan to work at least part-time after their “official” retirement.”

Drone Sales Taking Off, Small Business Labs. “Over 3 million drones are expected to be sold in the U.S. 2017, with 4.45 million forecast to be sold in 2018.”

The Economy and Policy

U.S. Consumer Confidence Improves Again in August, AP. “American consumers give today’s economy the highest grade in more than 16 years. The Conference Board said Tuesday that consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions hit the highest level this month since July 2001.”

GDP Growth Revised Up In the Second Quarter 2017, SBE Council. “There were two pieces of good news that bumped growth up from an original estimate of 2.6 percent to 3.0 percent. First, personal consumption expenditures moved up from 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent. Second, nonresidential fixed private investment (that is, business investment), saw growth revised from 5.2 percent to 6.9 percent.”

Why Wages Have Lost Ground in the 21st Century, ZeroHedge. “Faced with zero pricing power and higher costs, employers either add hours to existing employees’ schedules or hire no-benefit part-time employees. This is the reality for most small businesses. The problem with stagnant wages is our socio-economic system requires ever-higher incomes to function.”

Success and Inspiration

How Two Texans Made Buc-ee’s Convenience Stores a Phenomenon, Forbes.  “The quiet success of Buc-ee’s–Forbes estimates that the privately held company had revenue last year of $275 million–is based on several shrewd decisions. Owners Arch Aplin III and Don Wasek have targeted an affluent market segment–they don’t discount, and they don’t allow commercial trucks at their gas pumps….The main attraction…the toilets.”

Here’s What Warren Buffet and Five Other Billionaires Were Like as Kids, CNBC. “Steve Jobs wasn’t born on a stage in a black turtleneck and jeans presenting the next innovation from Apple. And little Jeff Bezos didn’t hope to run an e-commerce company one day. So where did they start? Here’s what Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were doing and dreaming of being when they were kids.”

Why Your Words Have More Impact on People Around You Than You Think, Inc.  “If appreciation is so important, you would think that most leaders are adequately expressing it. But the truth is they’re not.”

Brendan Burchard’s High Performance Habits, Success. “After studying the research on more than 2 million people, the best-selling author shares the secrets behind improving every aspect of your life.”

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