Scott Bechtold Joins CloudJumper Team as Workspace as a Service Market Grows

Scott Bechtold Joins CloudJumper Team as Workspace as a Service Market Grows

CloudJumper, a Workspace as a Service (WaaS) platform, recently announced that IT veteran Scott Bechtold has joined the company as channel sales manager. He will be tasked with developing new channel partners throughout North America.

With 31 years of IT sales and management experience, Bechtold is no stranger to the industry. Before joining CloudJumper, he was CEO of Agility IT, a managed services partner (MSP) based in Atlanta, where he used CloudJumper’s WaaS solution with clients.

WaaS Defined

Webopedia defines WaaS as a cloud-based virtual desktop office environment that employees can access from anywhere at any time regardless of geographic location using their device of choice: desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

It gives employees the freedom to work remotely but provides them with an environment that appears and operates just like their physical office desktop.

BYOD, Telecommuting Trends Fuel Workspace as a Service Market Growth

WaaS technology adoption is growing due to increased demand for business mobility solutions, including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the rising telecommuting trend.

According to a report from Transparency Market Research, a research and consulting firm, the global WaaS market is projected to register a 12.10 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2015 and 2022.

The market, which had a valuation of $7.4 billion (USD) in 2014, is expected to rise to $18.37 billion by the end of 2022, the report said.

“This continued shift toward cloud-based workspaces is increasing demand among organizations that are making the switch to WaaS to improve business mobility,” the CloudJumper announcement said.

IT Companies Eye Market, Add WaaS to Service Roster

IT service providers, such as MSPs and telecom companies, already focused on becoming cloud-ready, are eyeing this emerging market and adding WaaS solutions to their service rosters.

“In the evolving managed services business, IT service providers are faced with new challenges on a regular basis, including the identification of simple yet profitable cloud solutions for business consumption,” said Max Pruger, chief sales officer, CloudJumper, in the announcement.

CloudJumper addresses this demand by providing a customizable white-label WaaS platform, called nWorkSpace, which it categorizes as a “comprehensive, yet easy to deploy, offering for IT service providers seeking fast entry into the WaaS market.”

The platform is intended for use by managed services providers, independent software vendors and telecommunications companies. It is designed for use with the Windows 8.1 operating system and comes equipped with more than 2,000 applications and plugins, including Microsoft Office 365.

Image: CloudJumper

This article, “Scott Bechtold Joins CloudJumper Team as Workspace as a Service Market Grows” was first published on Small Business Trends

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5 Little-Known Sales Skills that Entrepreneurs Should Master

5 Little-Known Entrepreneur Sales Skills

Aren’t you tired of the same old sales tips?

I can’t blame you. There’s so many different sales techniques that entrepreneurs can use to gain more business. It can be hard to determine which ones work the best.

I’ve written tons of posts giving sales advice myself. But you want something more, don’t you? If you’re like other entrepreneurs, you’re probably working every day to get better at selling and influencing.

The issue isn’t that the “same old sales tips” aren’t effective. If they weren’t, nobody would be sharing them. However, the real issue is that there’s more to it. There’s other techniques that you can master in order to become a better seller.

That’s what this post is about. If you put these lesser-known tips into action, you will find it easier to close more deals.

You’re welcome.

Make Them Talk Themselves Into Buying

Social labeling is a great technique because it’s a way to get the other person to convince themselves to do what you want. When you use this technique the right way, you will notice that more of your prospects will talk themselves into buying what you’re telling.

Social labeling involves expressing an observation about your prospect that is favorable to your position. This can be done multiple times in the conversation. This technique isn’t used only by salespeople, of course. You may also see it used by leaders, politicians, parents and other expert influencers.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you own a landscaping company and you’re trying to convince a prospect to become one of your customers. If you were to use social labeling, you might say something like

“I can tell that you’re the type who likes to make sure your lawn is always presentable.”

Pretty easy, right? Of course you don’t want to overdo this. If you don’t do this the right way, it’ll come off as awkward and manipulative. Also, you need to only make observations that you’re sincere about. Don’t use a label that clearly doesn’t fit the prospect. That’ll just make you look silly.

The Best Way to Lower Someone’s Guard

Want an easy way to quickly gain influence over someone? There’s a technique you can use to make your prospects feel more comfortable. If you do this right, your prospects will lower their guards. They will become far more likely to do business with you.

The mirroring technique is simple, but effective. It involves mimicking the mannerisms of the other person. It requires you to observe carefully how your prospect behaves so that you will know what behaviors to mimic.

There are three mannerisms you will want to mirror:

  • Tone of voice
  • Words and phrases they use
  • The speed with which they speak

The reason mirroring is so effective is because of humans’ tendency to be more favorably disposed towards others who are similar to themselves. When you mimic the behaviors of your prospects, they will subconsciously see you as more similar to themselves.

Of course, you want to be careful that you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to make it obvious that you’re mirroring the other person. That’ll turn them off quickly.

Know Why People Buy

You may not want to believe this, but I’m going to say it anyway: people buy for emotional reasons. Yes, it’s true. I don’t care what industry you’re in. I don’t care how analytical your customers like to think they are. Most of their buying decisions are tied to emotion.

Sales Guru Jeffery Gitomer says:

“The head is attached to the price, the heart is attached to the wallet. If you jerk on the heartstrings, the wallet comes popping out of the back pocket.”

It’s true. When you tap into your customer’s emotions, they will become far more likely to do business with you. That’s why you need to focus on your prospect’s passion.

What are your customers and prospects passionate about? Do you know?

See, here’s the thing. Most entrepreneurs are focused on their own passions. And they should be. A strong sense of purpose can drive you to success.

But your customers and prospects also have passions. When it comes to selling your products and services, you need to find out how they relate to what your prospects feel strongly about.

Lissette Palencia, founder of Sleeping Angels, knows exactly what her customers are passionate about. It’s their children.

Here’s what she has to say:

“We cater to parents with smaller children, so they feel quite strongly about making sure that their children are taken care of. When we empathize with their concerns, it gives them more faith in the fact that we can help them enrich their children’s lives. “

Makes sense, right?

Speak to what your prospect feels. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. Even if it’s just a small feeling, it’ll work. If you can find a sense of purpose in your prospect, that will help you influence them more effectively.

Entrepreneur Sales Skills That Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Tell Them They Can Say “No”

Believe it or not, one of the most persuasive sales techniques you can use is to remind your prospect that they can reject you. They have the power to make their own decision.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but keep reading!

When you remind the customer that they have the freedom to make their own choice, it will make them more likely to accept what you’re offering. There have been several studies where researchers have found that this technique actually doubled the chances of making the sale.

It might sound insane at first, but it actually makes sense when you think about it. When you acknowledge that the prospect has the power to chose, it makes them feel less pressure. They now remember that they are not obligated to make the purchase. It makes it easier to make the decision to start doing business with you.

Successful Selling Means Taking Care of Yourself

This is something that many people forget. They’re so focused on getting sales and focusing on their prospects that they forget to take care of themselves.

Selling is hard, isn’t it? It can involve tons of rejection.

It was Winston Churchill who said:

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

He couldn’t be more right. The thing is, if you’re going to be an effective salesperson, you have to make sure that you’re in the right mental and emotional state.

Dr. John Mullen, founder and head personal trainer at TrainingCor mainly helps his customers with their physical health. But, as a doctor, he also understands the importance of maintaining your mental health as well.

He said this:

“You can’t expect to hustle and grind every day without taking time to let your mind and body relax from the beating it takes every day. The level of your success in any field is dependent on how well you take care of your mind.”

That’s why you need to make sure your mindset is on point whenever you need to get someone to buy from you.

There are tons of ways to keep yourself in a positive emotional state. My two favorites are self talk and gratitude.

Watch What You Say … To Yourself

Self talk is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the way you talk to yourself throughout your day – your inner monologue. Every day, we send ourselves messages. These can be positive messages or negative messages.

Your emotional state depends greatly on the messages you send yourself. If you’re constantly telling yourself negative things, you are putting yourself in a horrible position mentally. You’re basically sabotaging yourself.

But negative self talk is easy, isn’t it? We tend to focus on the negative.

One method I use to improve my self talk is to focus on what I’ve done right. Every day, I try to take some time to point out a few things I did well. Sometimes I write them down. Other times I just think about them.

When you force yourself to hone in on the things you did well, it makes it harder to put yourself down. It gives you actual evidence that you’re good at what you do.

The Power of “Thank You”

Gratitude is powerful. Immensely powerful.

As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that gratitude is the single most powerful way to make a positive impact on others while keeping yourself in a positive mental state.

The benefits of gratitude are numerous. When you practice gratitude on a regular basis, it makes you healthier, happier and more productive. It makes it so much easier to deal with the challenges of entrepreneurship.

But I’m not talking about keeping a gratitude journal. Yes, I know they’re popular, and they really do work.

I’m talking about taking it a step further. Instead of just writing down things that you’re grateful for, try expressing gratitude at least once a day. I can guarantee that it will have a HUGE impact on your emotional state. It did wonders for me.

Being proactive about your emotional self care is so important for entrepreneurs. Don’t let this fall by the wayside. Not only will it keep you out of a mental institution, it can also help you sell more effectively.

Conclusion

We have all heard a lot of the same sales advice. The purpose of this post was to give you some tips that you may not have learned previously. While these may not be “mainstream” sales tips, they will make you a better influencer and help you earn more business.

Salesperson Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “5 Little-Known Sales Skills that Entrepreneurs Should Master” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Spire Wearable Tracks Your Breathing to Lower Your Stress

Spire Wearable Tracks Your Breathing to Lower Your Stress

Running a small business can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. There are now wearables that can track your mood as well as your stress levels.

While most fitness trackers will calculate your heart rate, calories, steps as well as sleeping habits, Spire tracks your breathing and stress levels, helping you calm down when necessary.

Spire Wearable Monitors Stress Levels, Provides Tips

Designed by Stanford University’s Calming Technology Lab, the device has almost all the other functions of a regular tracker like counting steps and calories, but it goes a bit further by also monitoring your breathing throughout the day. This allows the device to also tell you when you are stressed or tense and also pinpoints what makes you focused.

The $129.95 device looks like a river stone on one side with a metal clip on the other. This allows you to wear the tracker near our chest of waste. The pebble, which is about a half-inch thick and an inch in diameter should rest on your skin or the waistband of your underwear.

Clipping Spire to your clothes doesn’t do much on its own. The data only syncs up when you open the Spire app on your iPhone. After setting initial goals for Activity, Calm and Focus, the home screen visualizes your breathing pattern with a floating line that goes up when you exhale and down when you inhale. The screen also logs various “streaks.” 21 breaths per minute (BPM) might indicate that you’re tense while 17 BPM is considered calm, slower than average. Focus streaks indicate a more consistent, but still above average breathing pattern.

The app also provides “boosts,” which are basically downloadable info and tips on how you can strengthen and possibly improve those mental health areas that you would like to focus on. Think of it as a yogi and a therapist all in one.

And, unlike some similar gadgets that need charging almost on a daily basis, Spire holds its power for almost a week and it is also hardy and waterproof enough to survive the washing machine in case you forget to take it off your clothes.

If you allow it, Spire can integrate your calendar, data and photos, showing you when and where and maybe even why your breathing patterns changed. And while Spire has built-in motion tracking abilities, it’s the breathing that matters here.

Image: Spire.io

This article, “Spire Wearable Tracks Your Breathing to Lower Your Stress” was first published on Small Business Trends

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eBay Prepares for Post-PayPal World, Institutional Lenders Bounce Back

ebay roundup

For years, it was rare for any small businesses to discuss eBay without also mentioning PayPal. But now that the two companies have separated, eBay is making some changes. Recently, the company announced a new hire that should help it prepare for the post-PayPal world. In addition, small businesses got some welcome news in the form of a institutional lenders increasing approval rates.

These headlines and more are included in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Economy

eBay Hires Alyssa Cutright, Prepares for Post-PayPal World

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) has appointed Alyssa Cutright as its new Vice President of Global Payments. In this new role, Cutright will lead eBay’s global strategy and operations of billing and payments. The timing of Cutright hire is interesting coming as it does after eBay spun off its PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) payments business last year making PayPal a totally separate company.

Biz2Credit: Institutional Lenders Bounce Back after April Drop

Approval at institutional lenders and at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets) increased in May. Meanwhile, credit unions, small banks and alternative lenders recorded a drop in their approval rates. Those were the findings of Biz2Credit, the online resource for small business finance, in their monthly lending index released this month.

Declining Millennial Entrepreneurship Not Caused by Student Debt

Are rising student loan levels choking off entrepreneurship among America’s young people? Numerous authors, from Purdue University President Mitch Daniels to Forbes Magazine’s Steve Denning, have argued that they are. But the data disagrees. Let’s start with the facts. Fewer young people today are in business for themselves than was the case 25 years ago.

Employment

Small Businesses Posting More Jobs Related to Transportation

Transportation job postings are much more highly concentrated in small business compared to businesses of all sizes, with over a quarter of all small business job postings in the transportation sector. This represents strong demand for jobs like truck and delivery drivers.

What You Must Know About New Overtime Rules; 9 Point Checklist

On May 18, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced final updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” overtime exemptions. The new overtime rules (known as the “final rule”) increase the salary threshold needed to qualify for overtime exemption from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year.) and affect 4.2 million workers.

Marketing Tips

eBay Launches Open for Business Podcast to Serve Entrepreneurs

Looking for new podcasts or sources of business related content? You’re in luck. eBay recently launched a new podcast alongside Gimlet Creative, a media company founded by veterans of NPR and This American Life. The podcast, entitled Open for Business, features insights, tips and questions for new business owners.

Survey: 55 Percent of SMBs Say Video Marketing a Must (Infographic)

More small business owners and professional marketers are saying video is a must these days, and that they value video marketing above all other marketing skills for new hires, according to a recent survey by cloud-based video creation service Animoto.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Pet Assist Provides In Home Pet Services and More

The pet care industry is growing. And with so many different services potentially of interest to pet owners, from dog walking to waste removal, that growth should come as no surprise. Pet Assist is a company that’s part of that growing industry. The mobile pet care business cares for pets in various ways and in various locations through its franchise program.

Small Business Operations

Expanding Your Staff: The Impact on Your Employer Obligations

NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends for May 2016 shows (PDF) more businesses plan to increase employment as compared with the month before. Hiring new employees to meet your company’s growing needs may be a smart business move, but there are consequences to consider. It will cost you more in wages, payroll taxes and employee benefits.

MyBusinessGenie Offers Invoicing, Scheduling, More From iPad

Running a business requires you to manage so many different functions at once. That often leads to businesses relying on multiple apps or tools to manage everything from invoicing and scheduling to marketing and sales. But now there’s a tool available to help more small businesses condense the amount of tools needed to manage that daily workflow.

Foxit Introduces PDF Workflow That Will Rock Team Collaboration

PDF, a file format designed to present documents in a manner independent of software applications, devices or operating systems, has not changed much since its invention in 1993. That is, until now.

Boost Your Productivity by – Standing While Working?

Looking to boost your productivity at work? The answer may be simpler than you think. In fact, a recent study by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health found that simply standing at your desk can have a huge impact on productivity.

Social Media

The New LinkedIn: What Will Microsoft Ownership Mean?

Two weeks ago, news broke of the pending acquisition of the business social network LinkedIn by Microsoft. This article serves as a follow-up and asks what the purchase means for business professionals and small businesses in particular.

Technology Trends

Control Your Office AC from Your Smartphone with Nature Remo

Just about everyone loves air conditioners (ACs) on hot blistery summer days, but the amount of energy they consume gives pause for the damage they cause to the environment, as well as the dent they can cause in your monthly office budget.

Are Drones With a Smartwatch Controller the Next Trend?

Drone technology is advancing at such a fast pace, the potential applications are giving small businesses many opportunities to create new services or enhance their current offerings. The demand has resulted in more companies manufacturing drones, and increasingly they are going to Kickstarter and other crowd funding services to fund their ventures.

How to Get Free Mobile Data with Aquto’s New Rewards Program

Do you run out of wireless data every other week or month? Sponsored data monetization and data rewards company Aquto is offering a mobile data rewards program for customers of communication service TextMe Inc.

Microsoft Giving Away Free Windows 10 Update Until July 29

If you’ve been putting off that upgrade to Windows 10 because of the price tag, Microsoft is giving you the deal of a lifetime. Well, at least your computer’s lifetime. From now until July 29, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is giving away an upgrade to Windows 10 for FREE. That’s right … zero dollars.

Tips for Adopting Virtual Reality in Your Business

Small businesses are early adopters of technology, but they also hold on longer when they find solutions that work for them. The latest Annual Brother Business Survey revealed just as much when it comes to printers, scanners, copiers or fax machines.

Nomad Wallet Offers Phone Charger for Entrepreneurs on the Go

What would you say if you knew there was a stylish leather wallet with a built-in charging system for your smartphone? Well, the Nomad Leather Charging Wallet looks like a normal wallet except it comes integrated with a battery and charging cable for charging up your phone or tablet wherever you go.

Image: eBay

This article, “eBay Prepares for Post-PayPal World, Institutional Lenders Bounce Back” was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Ways to Promote Innovation in a Team Environment

10 Ways to Promote Innovation in a Team Environment

“Talent is never static. It’s always growing or dying” – Stephen King

No truer words have ever been uttered.

Regardless if you work in a creative profession like writing, painting or architecture; or as an entrepreneur trying to find creative new tactics to bring new customers in, innovation’s important in all aspects of running a business.

And why take on the entire creative load yourself when you have an entire team you’re paying to bring results to the table?

Here are 10 ways to encourage more innovation from your team, starting tomorrow:

Promote Innovation in a Team Environment

1. Give Them a Reason

Namely, by making them an active part of the company. Encouraging innovation requires that every employee feels like they’re an active member of the company’s agendas and future plans.

Invite them to participate, give them permission to say when something isn’t right – ask for better ideas. Obviously, let them know how much you depend on them, how their ideas will lead to bigger paychecks down the line. And keep your word.

2. Continually Stress the Importance of Innovation to the Company

Politely let them know that it’s their job and company 401k on the line if innovation flat-lines in the company. This doesn’t have to be a negative, but rather a positive reason for them to stretch their creative wings and grow into whatever role will await them as your team continues to grow.

3. Have Scheduled Brainstorming Sessions

“If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real” – Tony Robbins

Don’t just talk about the need to get creative. Put everyone in a room together at a set time and day – or time of day, every day – and let the innovation juices start to flow. Meetings put lots of different heads together in the same place, encouraging a higher level of suggestions.

Don’t rely on suggestion boxes. They don’t encourage much in the way of smart, creative ideas. People feel more accountable for what they’re saying when it’s in a face to face atmosphere.

4. Train Them to be Innovative

I’m not talking about training them in the same way that you’d train your dog not to go poop-poop in the house here! Teach your team some of these proven innovation techniques and watch your business flourish.

Sometimes bouncing ideas around just isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to bring the hard science into play.

5. Encourage ‘Spying’

Encourage your employees to spend some of their work and after work time checking out the competition. To find out everything they can about how other companies in your industry do things: marketing, service, logistics, etc.

It’s likely that at some point during one of their investigations a light bulb will go off and they and/or your team will come up with better ways for your company to do business.

6. Make Work Habits Part of Their Creative Scrutiny

Sometimes the way you and your employees carry out the day needs to be improved upon just as much as any other aspect of the business. Examine everything, whether it be the order in which tasks are completed or the work schedule itself.

For instance, perhaps Flextime or Telecommuting, at least for a portion of the day or week will help motivate your employees to be more insightful about how to improve the company?

7. Always Support All Ideas, Regardless of Personal Opinions

Plain and simple: Always respond with kindness to all ideas. There are no dumb ideas when it comes to the quest for positive changes.

8. Tolerate Mistakes

Especially when it comes to those which cost money, lawsuits, market-share, etc. If you decide to pull the trigger on an idea that doesn’t work out, you’re equally responsible for the outcome, good or bad.

Suck it up. It takes money to make money and sometimes you lose.

9. Reward Creativity

This can be individual rewards and also rewards for the entire team. Give something back when employees come up with a stellar idea. A free movie night for two (so they can take a friend or spouse), a pizza party or trip to a theme park for the team…

There are limitless ways to reward good ideas.

10. Act on Ideas

“Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time” – Old Chinese proverb

Your team won’t keep feeding you ideas if you don’t have your head and heart in the game. When an idea comes out of the company think tank, take immediate action toward making it happen. Otherwise, they’ll soon learn that their creativity is wasted on you and the flow will soon stop.

Gears Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Ways to Promote Innovation in a Team Environment” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Free eCommerce Platform GoSpaces Goes Global, Launches in 20 Languages

gospaces featured

GoSpaces, a free website builder and ecommerce platform, this week announced on its blog that it is expanding into 38 countries and 20 languages, making it accessible to more than one-third of the world’s population (2.7 billion people) in their native tongue.

The platform will be tailored to each country’s needs regarding use of language and will include local payment gateways, full translations on the backend and, soon to come, auto-currency settings that will help international customers see how much products cost in their local currency.

Supported languages include Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Turkish, Italian, Thai, Polish, Dutch, Czech, Swedish, Bulgarian, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian, the blog post says.

GoSpaces touts the expansion as advantageous based on the fact that most ecommerce platforms are only available in English, even though English speakers make up just five percent of the world’s population.

Kasper Christensen, GoSpace’s co-founder, says the platform’s flexibility in language and payment options opens it up to audiences across the globe. He expressed his excitement in this quote:

“Already we’ve seen creative uses that we never imagined, like tour guides advertising their services, restaurants posting their menus and bands using it to sell concert tickets,” Christensen said. “Now that we’re in 38 countries I imagine we’ll see even more variety in the Spaces being created by our community.”

Something else that sets the GoSpaces’ platform apart from other ecommerce competitors is that it is entirely free to use – to launch a website or online store – making it useful for testing business ideas or bringing new products to market. Once a merchant earns more than $50 per month, the company charges a subscription fee of $9 a month plus 3 percent per transaction.

According to the GoSpaces website, it only takes a few clicks to set up a site, and users can sell physical, digital or subscription goods. Currently, more than 50,000 sites have been created using the platform, consisting of artists, authors, entrepreneurs and others.

The GoSpaces platform was developed by ecommerce company Shopify as part of “Shopify Garage,” the name the company gives to experimental projects.

Image: GoSpaces

This article, “Free eCommerce Platform GoSpaces Goes Global, Launches in 20 Languages” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Small Business Market Expo, Digital Summit Coming In May

digital summit

Two big events are slotted for May. And both will be just a local trip for anyone in the Atlanta area. First, of course, is the Small Business Market Expo.

The expo is touted as a job fair as well with something for everyone. Business owners can find resources. Perspective entrepreneurs can find training. And perspective employees can network with both.

Then there’s the Digital Summit Atlanta, a regional event with focus on digital strategy, content marketing and more. Learn about both events at the links below. To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Small Business Book Awards - Voting Begins April 28!Small Business Book Awards Voting Runs Though May 11!

May 11, 2016, Online

Voting for Small Business Book Awards began on April 28, 2016 and runs through May 11, 2016 11:59 am PT. Voting is fast and easy. Simply visit the Business Book Awards site and click the red vote button. You can also visit on the “Categories” tab and select the categories you’d like to see. Then simply place your votes for the books you would like to see win!


Small Business Market ExpoSmall Business Market Expo

May 21, 2016, Atlanta, Ga

Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with small businesses, market your organization and tap into a network of entrepreneurs, service providers, financial organizations, business coaches, and franchises.

#SBMExpo

Discount Code

VIP (25% off)


Digital Summit AtlantaDigital Summit Atlanta

May 24, 2016, Atlanta, Ga

Join us for the ultimate digital marketing and strategy event in the south! If you’re involved at all with online marketing, digital strategies or Web creative – this is a can’t miss event.


DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year AwardDREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award

June 14, 2016, Washington, DC

The DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Sam’s Club®, celebrates the success of small business and honors its contributions to America’s economic growth. The Small Business of the Year, 7 regional finalists, and 100 Blue Ribbon winners will be honored on June 14 during America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. There are two ways to participate: 1. Nominate a local small business that’s making a big impact in its community. 2. Apply directly if you are a small business that’s committed to your community, employees, and customers.


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Image: Digital Summit

This article, “Small Business Market Expo, Digital Summit Coming In May” was first published on Small Business Trends

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7 Insider Tips to Rock Your Social Media Presence

your social media presence

Social media is a blessing for small business entrepreneurs to spread the word about their business without spending a huge amount of advertising dollars. Nevertheless, a majority of small businesses are not able to capitalize on this opportunity.

A recent ProOpinion poll found that many small business professionals don’t use social media or a social media calendar on a regular basis. Only 31 percent post frequently on social media, and what’s even worse, just 15 percent interact with their audience.

How to Rock Your Social Media Presence

1. Download or Create a Social Media Calendar

One of the most common excuses for not doing it is lack of time. This is why, every business should have a social media calendar. It takes up to 2-3 hours to plan social media updates for the entire week but it ensures you are not scavenging for posts at the last moment. So let’s take cues from industry experts and see what they are doing.

HubSpot recently published a post about social media calendars and also shared their own downloadable calendar template that allows you to plan posts for all major social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. LinkedIn, etc. in advance. You can use this template to minimize fuss over planning and creating a social media calendar.

Just a little side note though: their prescribed daily nine tweets, four Facebook posts and three LinkedIn updates is a bit too much to ask of a small business. In contrast, Constant Contact has a very realistic guideline that suggests 3-10 Facebook updates, 5 tweets and 2-5 LinkedIn posts per week, so feel free to keep some of those cells blank or tweak it as per your needs.

2. Proof Check

Once you fill up your social media calendar, get it proofread by someone. With social media goof-ups on the rise and people being less forgiving than ever, it would be a wise idea to proof read your social media content. Watch for defamatory, racist or politically incorrect posts. Forced humor is also a big no-no. See how IHOP’s strategy backfired after they tried to attract millennials with a series of body shaming posts. There are tons of posts on social media goof ups on the Internet and they teach you a lot about what NOT to do on social media.

3. Post Scheduling

Once you are done and sorted with the calendar, it would be time to schedule those posts! A lot of businesses opt for organic updates on trending topics but let’s face it, we can’t be consistently on Twitter or Facebook and Tweet or post all the time, all day long. A smart way to stay on top of your social media is to schedule your posts using Buffer or other scheduling apps. Buffer and Hootsuite offer free plans for small businesses too, so you don’t have to worry about spending your hard-earned money on something you might not be able to make optimum use of.

4. Automation

You can even automate all your good morning Tweets, mentions, birthday and thank you Tweets using a scheduling tool called Tweet Jukebox. This avant-grade tool comes with hundreds of ready Jukeboxes with pre-installed tweets, so you can schedule them and turn them over like an hourglass. Their Jukebox library contains holiday wishes, memorable quotes, music quotes, blogs and articles from industry leaders and so on, which you can tweet automatically. It also allows you to search by keywords – important people or search terms – and schedule Tweets shared by these people. This is automation at its best!

5. Social Listening Tools

Social listening tools are a great way to stay on top of all that’s trending. Listen to what bloggers, reporters, influencers and competitors are saying with the help of social listening tools and make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities. One useful tool is BrandWatch which analyzes Tweets, Facebook posts and blogs in real-time to track your brand perception and campaign performance. It’s one hell of a tool and large enterprises and local businesses alike can benefit from it. If you are looking for a free ride, try Scoop.it. It is an amazing tool to find relevant content and ideas, so you can fill up your social media calendar faster than you can say social media!

6. Business and World News

Also, keep an eye on important news with the help of various news resources. If you like your news in a more visual format, try Unfiltered News. It is a work-in-progress site serving news in a tasteful way. What I like about it is it doesn’t assume what a person will like to read and tailors content accordingly. Instead it shows all the important news from around the world and then you can choose what to read depending on what appeals to you the most. For instance, my daily news sources don’t show any news from Greece, not after its debt episode anyway, but since I am interested in the issue of immigration, I am drawn towards this news.

7. Social Analytics

Posting your updates and Tweeting is just half the job done; the second and the more important half is to measure the effectiveness of your posts with the help of analytics tools. Almost all social platforms (except Snapchat) come with powerful analytics tool that show you everything from demographics through to the hobbies of your followers. This knowledge can help you to further create a better social media calendar with more awesome posts. This e-book helps you capture the essence of Facebook analytics, paid as well as organic reach whereas this guide helps you to maximize your social content through proven techniques. Both are free to download.

Conclusion

So these are the ways to rock your social media presence. Everyone from HubSpot to seasoned marketers are using these tips to boost their social media presence. From proofreading your posts through to social analytics, every aspect of your social media presence depends on how well you absorb these tips.

None of these tips to rock your social media presence are more important than another. They are all equally important, so make sure you commit them to your memory and follow them religiously.

Rock Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “7 Insider Tips to Rock Your Social Media Presence” was first published on Small Business Trends

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29 of the Best Pay Per Click Tools to Boost Your Campaigns

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

Since the dawn of mankind we have been inventing tools to help us survive and overcome challenges. Even monkeys use tools to make their lives easier!

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

Now, in 2016, tools are essential for professional marketers. The right Pay Per Click tools will save you time, provide crucial insights, inspire you, and ultimately make more money for your company or your clients.

If you’re ready to take an evolutionary leap of your own, check out these Pay Per Click tools this year.

Note: These are all Pay Per Click tools that I use and recommend. Some I use daily, others less often or I have used in the past, but each tool on this list is valuable and time-saving. None of the creators of any of these Pay Per Click tools asked to be included on this list or paid for the privilege.

Management Pay Per Click Tools

1. AdWords Editor

If you regularly work on large campaigns or campaigns across multiple accounts in Google AdWords, then you need AdWords Editor. It has almost everything you need for bulk edits and optimizations. Although it looks similar to the AdWords interface you’re used to online, the desktop version is probably about three to five times faster. Essential!

2. Bing Ads Editor

If you’re using Bing Ads (and you should be), then Bing Ads Editor is a must-have. It’s a solid all-in-one tool for managing your Bing Ads campaigns.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

3. WordStream Advisor

I’m a little biased here. Obviously, since I’m the CTO of WordStream, you shouldn’t just take my word on it. Here’s an actual review from Sharon H. on G2Crowd: “WordStream makes sense out of AdWords and goes a long way to eliminate the frustration and cost. WordStream gives me important feedback on critical performance factors, and makes it easy to adjust and improve campaigns.”

4. AdWords Performance Grader

This one’s free! And really awesome: You get a thorough audit of your AdWords account in 60 seconds or less with the AdWords Performance Grader.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

5. AdEspresso

AdEspresso is a great tool for Facebook advertisers to create, optimize, and analyze campaigns. You can check it out for free with a 14-day trial; monthly pricing starts at $49.

Keyword, Competitor Research Pay Per Click Tools

6. SEMrush

Need to gain insight into your competition? SEMrush is one of the best tools to find detailed keyword and domain data. It costs $58 per month if you sign up for their annual plan.

7. Spyfu

SpyFu has some really cool features other tools lack, such as the ability to download all of your competitors’ keywords. It also has a slick interface with plenty of important at-a-glance information easily available. Annual plans start at $49.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

8. iSpionage

iSpionage is an easy-to-use competitive intelligence tool. It provides accurate, up-to-date competitive intelligence information and is a great way to size up competing websites and their online marketing efforts. Plans start at $59 per month.

9. Google Keyword Planner

I’d be shocked if you aren’t already using Google’s Keyword Planner. It’s an essential Pay Per Click tool for keyword research. We use it for SEO keyword research, too.

10. Google Trends

Search trend data can be incredibly valuable when adjusting campaigns to match seasonal demand. Google Trends is an essential free data source smart PPC marketers should be consulting.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

Call Tracking Pay Per Click Tools

11. Invoca

Phone calls are incredibly valuable to businesses. You need to understand who is calling and why. Invoca provides a solution to capture, manage, and track those all-important calls. It integrates with 30 platforms. Pricing starts at $1,000 per month.

12. Twilio

Twilio is a great option for call tracking and analytics. You can cheaply and easily buy phone numbers (local or toll free) and record phone calls to those numbers. Pricing is on a pay-as-you-go basis.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

13. Call Rail

CallRail is another option for phone call tracking, recording, and analytics. CallRail features Google Analytics and AdWords integration. Pricing starts at $30 per month, with a 14-day free trial.

Analysis Pay Per Click Tools

14. Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides (almost!) everything you need to track the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns and website performance. It’s free, but there is a Premium option for large enterprises.

15. Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics provides a TON of data. I won’t lie, I’m a bit obsessed with Twitter Analytics data. You can discover how many people are really seeing and engaging with your tweets, whether your Twitter campaigns are effective, and all sorts of valuable demographic data about your followers.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

16. Certified Knowledge

Brad Geddes has a nice suite of tools at Certified Knowledge that will help you analyze data, create tons of ads, and optimize your Quality Score. Prices start at $79 per month.

Landing Page Pay Per Click Tools

17. Unbounce

Need to build a landing page? Meet Unbounce, which offers more than 80 templates for just about every type of landing page you need (products, sales, lead generation, ebooks, etc.). Pricing starts at $49 per month, but you can sign up for a free trial.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

18. LeadPages

LeadPages offers a simple landing page builder, as well as dozens of landing page and minisite templates to choose from. Yearly packages start at $25.

Ad Copy Inspiration Pay Per Click Tools

19. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is all kinds of awesome. It shows you the most shared content across the Web and you dig down by keyword, niche, site, author, etc. Catchy article headlines (the type that get tons of shares and links) will also make catchy PPC ad headlines! BuzzSumo plans start at $99 per month.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

20. Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a free keyword research tool that specifically returns keywords in the form of questions that are related to your topic. This is a great way to surface problems your prospects are having that you can then try to answer with your ad copy.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

Display Ad Image Inspiration and Creation

21. Share as Image

Share as Image is mainly touted as a tool for content marketers, but you can also use it to quickly create awesome display ads. Just be sure to check image copyrights before taking your ad live! Share as Image offers a free account, as well as a monthly plan starting at $8.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

22. Canva

Canva is another tool you can use to easily create striking display ads. Upload your own assets to work with (for free), use the drag-and-drop interface to modify/add text, or pay a small fee to use images from their library. (Canva is an awesome social media tool, too.)

23. Pinterest

Need more inspiration for display ad images? Spend some time browsing on Pinterest. It’s a fantastic tool for saving, organizing and discovering amazing visuals to get your creative juices flowing.

24. Facebook Text Overlay Tool

Facebook has a frustrating rule that your ad (images and video thumbnails) can’t contain more than 20 percent text. To make sure you’re compliant so your ads can run on Facebook (and Instagram), use the Facebook Text Overlay Tool. If your text spills into 6 or more boxes of their grid, you’ll have to edit your ad and check it again until you get it right.

25. gifntext

Gifntext is so baller — and non-obvious. You can use it to create amazing GIFs for use in social and display ads! I almost hate to give this one away because I love that nobody is using it. So seriously, don’t use it. :)

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

Pay Per Click Automation

26. AdWords Scripts

Who doesn’t love AdWords Scripts?! Scripts let you automate nightmarishly time-consuming tasks and save a ton of effort in the long run. Daniel Gilbert and Brainlabs have an insanely awesome collection of AdWords scripts — everything from advanced A/B testing to close variant matching, to competitor tracking. Amazing stuff here. Definitely check it out.

Pay Per Click Apps

27. Google AdWords App

If you ever need to do some AdWords campaign management in a taxi/Uber/whatever, you’re in luck. This beautiful and fast app for Android and iOS lets you adjust keyword bids, enable/disable AdWords objects (e.g., campaigns, ads, ad groups), and act on various recommendations from AdWords. You can’t create new text ads or campaigns or add keywords manually, however.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

28. Facebook Ads Manager App

The Facebook Ads Manager App (for iOS and Android) lets you manage your Facebook campaigns on the go. You can track the performance of your ads, edit ads, adjust your budgets, and even create new ads — all from your mobile device. Thumbs up.

29. Google Analytics App

The Google Analytics app is a bit limited — and by a “bit” I mean a “lot.” But if you’re on the go and need to quickly check on your stats or reports, this app will let you do just that.

best pay per click tools boost your campaign

What Pay Per Click tools from this list do you use and love?

Pay-per-click Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “29 of the Best Pay Per Click Tools to Boost Your Campaigns” was first published on Small Business Trends

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5 Ways to Change Your Money Mindset

ChangeYourMoneyMindsetThe first few months of a new year can be a great time to take stock of your financial health. If you\’re looking for some additional support as you get on the track toward financial wellness, here are five steps to help you gain traction.

1. Stop procrastinating

If you want to change your financial future, the first thing you need to do is stop putting it off.

“We are hard-wired to avoid pain and discomfort,” says Christine Haviaris, CPA, who is a Certified Financial Planner and founder of TTR Wealth Partners LLC in Lower Hudson Valley, N.Y. “It takes intention, courage and discipline to consistently confront a complex and scary topic. The good news is: It gets easier!”

Cristina Guglielmetti, a CFP and president of Future Perfect Planning in New York City, agrees. Gugliemetti points out that recognizing the major damage that out-of-control spending can cause in our lives may often make it even harder to face your finances. “Without a doubt, the reluctance to acknowledge everything makes it very easy to pretend spending isn\’t what it actually is,” she says.

Getting your finances together, tackling debt, and planning for the future is often scary, and confronting past mistakes can be embarrassing, but don\’t be deterred by feelings of shame or helplessness. You aren\’t alone, and the sooner you take real action, the sooner you may start to see real results.

2. Be honest with yourself about your finances and financial history

One of the most important steps to take when changing your financial mindset is to be truly honest about your situation and how you may have incurred certain debts-especially if the debts may be a result of poor planning and budgeting.

“Unwillingness to reckon with how you got to this point, such as why the credit cards got run up in the first place, is a mistake I see all the time,” says Guglielmetti. “Do you need to say no to expensive nights out with all your friends?”

People generally raise their standard of living in proportion to growing income, but those with high salaries can live paycheck-to-paycheck and max out credit cards just as easily as people with lower incomes. It\’s important to be honest about your financial habits so that you can build a system of budgeting and saving to plan for your future instead of living only in the present.

3. Simplify and automate

You need only one mathematical equation to save money: Income – Spending = Wealth. Regardless of your income, if you spend less than you earn, you will be able to save as long as you avoid overcomplicating that formula.

“In reality, the more simple and streamlined your methods, the better chance you have of changing habits,” Guglielmetti says. She recommends automatically depositing your salary into your savings, not your checking, account.

“Make saving a non-negotiable item by directing income to a savings account, then creating a monthly transfer to checking for all expenses,” she says. “That way, a portion remains in savings without your having to move it there yourself, and you guard a bit against lifestyle and expense creep as income grows.”

Haviaris agrees: “Having savings be automatic means it never gets pushed down a to-do list.”

Guglielmetti also recommends having only one credit card for spending and setting up daily text alerts with the balance. “Good or bad, it keeps everything from getting out of control!”

4. Take small, consistent steps for long-term success

In life\’s tortoise-and-hare race, follow the tortoise\’s strategy: slow and steady wins the race.

It\’s could be as simple as changing the way you think of money. Did you grow up with money insecurity? Does thinking of saving for the future make you uncomfortable? Confronting and shedding fears about managing money is a small but vital step.

“With every step, confidence builds, and soon momentum takes over,” Haviaris says.

Likewise, living below your means may also help right a tilting financial ship. Cook meals instead of eating out or make coffee at home instead of stopping at a coffee shop. Spend mindfully, carefully choosing your luxuries.

“Understand what spending mindfully and with intention means to you,” Guglielmetti says. “Once you truly evaluate your spending, how does it make you feel? Are you comfortable with the number and just want to organize things better? Do you want to reduce?”

5. Ignore the market and focus on you

It\’s hard to Ignore what the marketplace may be saying about the financial habits of today\’s younger generation. “They are afraid to invest … they don\’t understand the market … they don\’t trust it.”

Keep in mind, though, that the market isn\’t everything, and experts say paying too much attention to it can undermine efforts to turn finances around.

“For most people, budgeting and understanding spending is much, much more important than what the market happens to be doing,” Guglielmetti says. “It\’s difficult to tune all that out. After all, there are innumerable cable channels and publications dedicated to endlessly dissecting the day\’s market moves and making everyone feel like they must act now or they\’ll miss out on a big opportunity.

“You can\’t control what the market is doing, or tax rates, or interest rates or world events. You can control your spending and savings rates, though, so do that,” says Haviaris.

“Many people want to jump right to investing before building a solid foundation of good money skills. It\’s like building your house on sand.”

That doesn\’t mean you shouldn\’t ever invest. But if you choose to, it\’s always smart to plan carefully, and if necessary, speak to a professional.

Related Articles

9 Ways to Save $7,000 in 2016

The Ostrich Effect and How to Avoid It

Reset Your Wallet for 2016

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