BYOD and Remote Work: Resistance Is Futile

BYOD and Remote Work: Resistance Is Futile

Link to Small Business Trends

BYOD and Remote Work: Resistance Is FutilePosted: 04 Jul 2013 04:30 PM PDT

byod bring your own device

Small businesses that are adopting “mobile workstyles”—that is, allowing their employees to work whenever, wherever and however they choose—are enjoying productivity gains of more than 30 percent, according to new research sponsored by Citrix.

If your small business doesn’t yet offer remote or mobile work as an option, you might soon be in the minority. In the study, which polled small businesses worldwide, one-third of small business owners say there’s “more pressure” to offer or increase their mobile and flexible work options compared to five years ago.

Employees were the biggest source of the pressure. Nearly 30 percent report their employees are asking for remote work options. That’s more than the number offering remote work to meet budget considerations, improve productivity or enjoy competitive advantages.

BYOD, Bring Your Own Device

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), trend is a major factor in the growing demand for remote work.

In 42 percent of global small businesses, employees in all departments, not just remote workers or customer-facing staff, are now asking if they can use their personal devices for business.

In fact, employees in 68 percent of American small businesses already use personal devices for work. Employees want BYOD because they claim it makes their lives easier, enabling them to manage both their personal and business lives as the line between the two blurs.

What Devices Are Most Useful in Remote Work?

While tablets are key business tools for 25 percent of respondents, they’re still far behind smartphones in terms of importance. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents name smartphones as their most-relied-on device, compared to just 58 percent who cite desktop computers.

Small businesses are increasingly using social collaboration tools such as video conferencing, with nearly half of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that these tools make meetings more productive. Collaboration tools are growing in popularity both because they’re getting easier to use (cited by 39 percent) and because they’re increasingly necessary to deal with widely dispersed work teams and customers (says 32 percent).

Driven by easier access to high-definition video, 52 percent of small business owners regularly use video conferencing in their businesses, and nearly half say it makes their companies more productive.

Being more efficient in meetings is especially important since 27 percent of senior execs polled say they’re spending more time in meetings than they did five years ago.

With summer in full swing, it’s interesting to note that small business owners believe remote/mobile work can solve a common problem – decreased productivity during the summer months. Forty-one percent say that a mobile strategy could help employees be more productive during this time.

What Do These Survey Results Mean to You?

Clearly, remote work is not going anywhere soon.

With both employees and the 24/7 nature of business demanding it, smart small businesses will develop policies to keep their data secure, manage devices and lay out expectations for how employees should work when they’re out of the office.

If you’re still resisting the concept of remote work, it’s time to give in or risk becoming a dinosaur.

BYOD Photo via Shutterstock

The post BYOD and Remote Work: Resistance Is Futile appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Employer Mandate Delay Affects Some Small Businesses, Not AllPosted: 04 Jul 2013 01:43 PM PDT

Obamacare employer mandate delay affects small businesses

The U.S. Department of the Treasury this week announced a year’s delay in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.  The delay impacts only the employer mandate portion of the law, not requirements for individuals to purchase coverage.

Writing on the department’s official Treasury Notes Blog, Mark J. Mazur, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, explained:

Over the past several months, the Administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses – many of which already provide health coverage for their workers – about the new employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.

For U.S. small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees, this change doesn’t directly impact them – as employers.  That’s because businesses with under 50 employees were not subject to the employer mandate provisions in the first place.

Of course, the vast majority of U.S. small businesses have fewer than 50 employees.  Most have fewer than 20.

But for businesses with more than 50 full-time employees, it gives you a brief reprieve.  The delay effectively means small businesses with more than 50 employees now have another year before being required to either provide government approved health benefits to employees or face a $2,000 per-employee penalty.  Instead of complying in January of 2014, businesses have until January of 2015.

And for solopreneurs or owners of single-person businesses, you may be required to purchase government-approved healthcare next year as an individual. If you don’t, you may face a penalty as an individual.

Small Business Groups Respond

As a  Wall Street Journal editorial observes, the delay causes uncertainty and confusion for businesses. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board was a particularly harsh critic yesterday about the recent delay, noting:

“These columns fought the Affordable Care Act from start to passage, and we’d now like to apologize to our readers. It turns out we weren’t nearly critical enough. The law’s implementation is turning into a fiasco for the ages, and this week’s version is the lawless White House decision to delay the law’s insurance mandate for businesses, though not for individuals.”

The Journal suggests the delay is a political move designed to get past this fall’s election season.  The Board even suggests further political maneuvering to deal with it.

Unfortunately, political maneuvering doesn’t help businesses — not to mention their employees.  While politicos battle it out in Washington, “Main Street” and the people who live there have to figure out what it all means to them.

Business advocacy groups have been speaking out.  Let’s cover just some of the reactions in the past 48 hours:

The NFIB used it as an opportunity to call for more evaluation of a law they say will ultimately harm small businesses.  “This is simply the latest evidence that implementation of this terrible law is going to be difficult if not impossible, and the burden is going to fall on the people who create American jobs,” said Amanda Austin, Director of Federal Public Policy for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Temporary relief is small consolation. We need a permanent fix to this provision to provide long term relief for small employers.”

The IFA expressed more happiness about the delay, but also called for reexamination. “We applaud the administration for responding to our repeated requests to provide relief from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” added International Franchise Association President and CEO Steve Caldeira. “This will relieve the onerous and costly burdens of the ACA for one year, and allow the Administration to reexamine its implications for small businesses. We look forward to continuing our work with the Administration to ensure that the Affordable Care Act is implemented with minimal negative impact on franchise small business owners.”

The Council of Smaller Enterprises, an Ohio small business group, focused on the need to help educate employees to make the right choices. In an email update to COSE members, it noted:

“While this delay mostly impacts businesses of 50 or more FTEs, it does not change the mandate requiring individuals to have health insurance coverage starting in 2014. In short, while a small business does not need to provide health insurance and will not face penalties, employees are still required to have coverage. Despite a small business’s choice to offer or not offer health insurance to its employees, it will be important for employers to provide help and guidance to their employees through reform.

COSE Board Chair Sharon Toerek says, “While this announcement has more of an impact on larger businesses, the one-year delay will give businesses of all sizes more time to prepare and make the right health insurance decisions.” ”

Applying the Mandate in Practice

Regardless of your political leanings or what you may think of Obamacare, the delay does give businesses breathing room.  And breathing room is what some need, because the law is complex.

Larry Meigs, CEO of Visiting Angels, a franchise supplying adult in-home care, with 450 plus offices in 45 U.S. states, says there are many details for business owners to sort through.

“The Affordable Care Act affects our business more than it does many other businesses,” Meigs said in an interview with Small Business Trends.

That’s because the product and service the company’s franchise owners market is their employees’ time, something that cannot be scaled back to cut costs.

Meigs says the most complicated part of compliance is that many franchise owners in his company have employees whose hours vary considerably from full-time to a varying number of part-time hours.

But the law requires that businesses determine whether the hours worked by part-timers make up the equivalent of having 50 full-time employees. If they do, the business is still required to supply health benefits or face a per employee penalty, Meigs said.

He said the company is encouraging franchise owners to provide the insurance coverage if required rather than pay the penalty since providing a plan will help with employee retention. ”Our theme for our industry is, offer coverage,” Meigs added.

More Information on Employer Mandate

Still wondering how the employer shared responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act applies to your business when it finally does go into effect Jan. 1, 2015? Paychex has created a good information center to help you figure it out, including calculators.

Shutterstock:  healthcare

The post Employer Mandate Delay Affects Some Small Businesses, Not All appeared first on Small Business Trends.

How to Find the Right Partner for Your New BusinessPosted: 04 Jul 2013 11:00 AM PDT

business partner

Do you need a business partner? A partner can be your best asset or your worst burden. But not all startups need to be partnerships. Your circumstance dictates your decision. Even more important than this decision is the choice of the right business partner.

Do You Need a Business Partner?

Before you decide who can be an appropriate partner in the venture, you need to pay attention to this basic question. The answer is in the affirmative in the following circumstances:

It is Complex

A new venture requires effort in every aspect. Apart from the core business idea, there are numerous things you need to take care of – formalities, taxes, accounts, finances, contacts and many others.

If the new business is of a complicated nature, the chances are high that you would find it difficult to do everything on your own. Hiring employees is often not an option for a new business, as it would mean more worries about overhead costs, taxes and salaries.

You need a partner who can handle some of the tasks and ease your burden.

You Lack Knowledge and Experience in a Certain Area

Accept it; no one can know everything. You can be very good at technicalities but very poor at sales and marketing. This often creates an imbalance in a new venture.

Suppose your startup is about selling computer applications. Even if you have extensive knowledge and experience in computer applications, you may fall short of success if you fail to focus on another aspect of the business – the selling of the products.

You need a partner who can add on to create the perfect set of skills and expertise.

It Requires Teamwork

Some people work best when they are in a team while others achieve success as a loner. If you are in the first category, you may find it difficult to work on your own when you start off.

Moreover, some businesses require diverse skills to attain success. A team is better suited for such ventures. When you team up with someone who fills the gaps and brings another perspective, your chances of success increase.

You need a partner to make the ideal team for your new business.

Who Can Be Your Business Partner?

Attention to the dos and don’ts is essential to make this choice. The right characteristics in your partner can make your business a success; the wrong ones can ruin your chances.

Choose Someone You Trust

You cannot build a successful relationship if you don’t have trust as its foundation. The same applies to business partnerships. You need someone you can trust and someone who can trust you.

If you cannot trust your partner, you would only end up wasting time and effort monitoring them. It would do more harm than good. Make sure the partnership is based on mutual trust.

Don’t Confine Your Choice

A brother, a spouse or a friend can be a great partner for your small business. Such a partner may be easily convinced about your idea. It may also be easier to accumulate funds when you have a family member or friend as your partner.

The point is – don’t let a relationship dictate your choice of a business partner. Your brother may be good at handling accounts, but he needs to be much more than that to be a practical choice. If he can add value to the business, he is the right choice.

Find Someone Talented

You need to find someone who can compensate for the lacks you have. Choose someone who complements you with regard to knowledge and experience to ensure that your business is a success.

An equal can be an ideal partner. If you choose someone way ahead of you in terms of knowledge or experience, you may end up as a follower. If you choose someone who is way behind, you may end up with a burden instead of an asset.

Don’t Compromise on Ethics

Have extensive discussions with a potential partner about business ethics and practices before you make the selection. At times, the little differences can snowball into big problems.

An unethical or unscrupulous partner can ruin the reputation of your business. He/she can cause other problems too. You need to trust your partner; but if you trust someone like that, you may end up in big trouble.

Do Ensure Mutual Respect

A high opinion about someone can make it easier to create a successful business partnership. If you don’t have respect for your partner, things can become difficult in the long run.

A trustworthy, talented and estimable individual can prove to be an appropriate business partner. But you need to make sure that you two share the same values and principles yet have different perspectives to make a winning partnership.

Search Photo via Shutterstock

The post How to Find the Right Partner for Your New Business appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Look at Your Phone For Messages? Nope, Look at Your Pebble SmartwatchPosted: 04 Jul 2013 09:07 AM PDT

Pebble for business - smartwatch

Sometimes it seems like all eyes are glued to our smartphones.  Go to an airport, and it seems like everybody waiting for a plane is looking at a phone.  Even when it would be a breach of business etiquette to look at your phone, such as in meetings or at conferences, many of us find it hard to resist pulling the phone out and sneaking a peek to check messages or Twitter updates.

But now you don’t need to pull out your phone.  Instead, you might just casually glance at your wristwatch — your Pebble smartwatch, that is.

Pebble Watch is a smartwatch developed by Pebble Technology. Its development was funded via Kickstarter, where it raised a record $10 million.  Pebble’s smartwatch started shipping to its backers in early 2013, and has been available for sale on the Pebble website.

Now it is about to hit retail stores.

The jet black version will be available  July 7th at Best Buy stores, for $149.  Other colors, including white and orange, will still only be available at the Pebble website for now.

How Pebble Works

Pebble doesn’t replace your smartphone, but instead works with it.

Pebble connects to your iPhone or Android device via Bluetooth. You download the Pebble app onto your phone.  Then information is transmitted to the watchface.  For instance, you can check emails on it, or caller ID to see who’s calling you.  You can access Twitter and Facebook updates with it.

You can also customize the watchfaces.  Pebble uses outdoor-readable electronic-paper (e-paper) displays.  The watchface is customized using software apps — you can make it look like various versions of a traditional watch with a dial, and hour, minute and second hands. Or you can make it look like a digital readout.

Pebble is not the first smartwatch to be invented.  Sony, for instance, offers a smartwatch that works with some Android devices.  But Pebble is the first one that has captured wide interest among the public. More importantly, Pebble has a growing community of third party developers extending its functionality through apps.

When the Pebble was first shipped to Kickstarter backers in March of this year, one of the complaints was that it was fairly limited in the kinds of ways you could use it.  But in the few months since then, third party developers have been developing apps to extend the usefulness of the Pebble smartwatch. Pebble actively encourages third party developers.

Using Pebble for Business

Pebble is great for sports and hobbies. A lot has been written about how if you’re a cyclist, runner or golfer you can use Pebble as a bike computer, accessing the GPS on your smartphone to display speed, distance and pace data.

But we see the potential for using Pebble for business.  As a business owner you can use Pebble to stay on top of things with notifications, messages and alerts.  For instance, you can pair up Pebble to give  notifications you set up with “notification recipes” through IFTTT.com.

You can even dismiss a notification with a shake of your wrist. Disabling all notifications is simple as well.

Here are just some of the notifications your Pebble natively gives you:

  • Incoming Caller ID
  • Calendar Alerts
  • Weather Alerts
  • Email (Gmail or any IMAP email account)
  • Text messages
  • Silent vibrating alarm and timer
  • Facebook Messages
  • Twitter
  • Google Talk and Hangout notifications

Apps and native support for certain tasks vary based on whether you’re using it with an Android device or an iPhone.  Be sure to check for availability of specific functions on the phone platform of your choice.

Each week more third party apps are being developed to further customize and extend the usefulness of the smartwatch.

You can be notified when your next meeting is going to begin. Or what time the next bus or train is so that you won’t be late even if you are engrossed in work. If you’d like a quick power nap between meetings then check-in on your watch, or create an app that can monitor your sleep. You can even use this feature to monitor time taken to complete tasks like replying to emails, writing reports and printing them.

Want to play some music to give an interesting twist to a presentation? You can use the music control app to play, pause or skip tracks on your phone with the touch of a button.

There’s a lot of potential. While the mobile device category of the smartwatch is still young, it holds promise.

Zac Honig of Engadget gives an overview of Pebble’s setup and basic functions in the video below.

Image: Pebble

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5 Strategies Thought Leaders Use to Get FollowersPosted: 04 Jul 2013 05:00 AM PDT

thought leaders

As a small business owner, you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field. You want people to consider you the go-to expert on your industry, the products you sell and trends. But to achieve that, you’ve got to put in a little work. True thought leaders use the following techniques to build loyal fans, traffic to their sites, and revenues.

Secret Strategies Thought Leaders Use

1. Have a Voice on Multiple Platforms

Guy Kawasaki is a great example here. He spends a great deal of time on Google +, but he’s also active on other social sites. He speaks publicly, gives webinars and shares his insight on American Express’ Open Forum. He’s everywhere, because his audience is everywhere. By not only focusing on one channel, he reaches a wider audience.

That being said, don’t overextend your reach. Only take on what you have time to handle. If you set up 10 social media profiles but only have time to update three, the other seven will fall short. Figure out where you most enjoy spending time, online and off, and make those your priorities.

2. Share Great Content

This doesn’t always mean it’s your own content. David Meerman Scott shares a great mix of content from his own blog, as well as other content he thinks is relevant to his followers. If you share too much of your own content, you’ll turn people off.

Spend time each day curating what’s out there in the world of web. Share it. Comment on it and add your own insight.

3. Be a Resource

People who are truly passionate about what they do find it easy to answer questions and give advice. If you meet me at a networking event, chances are, I’ll give you a few marketing tips. I can’t help it. This is a great way to be considered a thought leader.

Focus on delivering value, online and off, not making a sale. Have a genuine interest in helping others. Soon, they’ll send other people to you and word will get around that you’re simply a nice person who knows your stuff. That builds trust and trust is one of the key components to getting people to buy from you, especially in business services, when the product can’t always speak for itself the way a box of detergent can.

4. Keep Learning

The thing about being an expert is – you never reach the pinnacle of knowing it all. There’s always more to learn and other ways to grow. Be humble and open to learning. Read blogs and websites, books and magazines. Attend seminars and workshops. Hone your craft. After all, technology constantly changes the game for most of us, so there’s always fresh information that can help keep you the smartest person in the room, if you’re willing to learn it.

The learning doesn’t have to be specifically related to what you do. Check out Coursera or other online learning and learn something completely left field. You might find it enhances your business skills in surprising ways.

5. Make Connections

Great thought leaders want to help people. If you meet a graphic designer and you happen to know someone who needs one, make the connection. It might not serve you directly, but people appreciate the effort and you never know where it’ll come back to you down the road.

Being a thought leader involves positioning yourself as an expert and genuinely wanting to help people. By taking these actions, you’ll build a loyal following you can convert into customers.

Leader Photo via Shutterstock

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Happy 4th of July, Independence Day from Seattle, WA

Have a Safe and Fun 4th of July!

Declare your Independence Today from the Normal Rat Race of the same old things!Upgrade your Future Today!

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

Why has Seattle had so much Prosperity? It started with Small Business

What constitutes a small business varies widely around the world. Small businesses are normally privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships. What constitutes “small” in terms of government support and tax policy varies by country and by industry, ranging from fewer than 15 employees under the Australian Fair Work Act 2009, 50 employees according to the definition used by the European Union, and fewer than 500 employees to qualify for many U.S. Small Business Administration programs, although in 2006 there were over 18,000 “small businesses” with over 500 employees that accounted for half of all the employees employed by all “small business”. Small businesses can also be classified according to other methods such as sales, assets, or net profits.

Two New Businesses that are going to thrive in Washington State!

Cellular

High Tech Training and Marketing

Join us in Seattle and blow you Future out of the Water! See what the Ladies are doing!

Have a Great 4th of July!

Supporting Small Business Is the Way to Economic Recovery

America is the land of opportunity, a country where a person can pick themselves up by their bootstraps and build a better life. There is no better way to accomplish this than by creating a new firm. In fact, small businesses, companies with fewer than 500 employees, drive a majority of job growth. Our economic recovery and job growth hinge on lawmakers’ ability and willingness to support small business, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

  • Over the long run, small businesses account for approximately 66 percent of all net new job creation.
  • Older, larger firms are less innovative, typically meaning that job growth slows down as institutional bureaucracy increases and new firms enter the market with more innovative ideas.
  • Currently, unemployment remains at 8 percent and gross domestic product is weak, despite high stock prices and strong corporate profits.

The reason the employment sector is struggling is because policymakers are not supporting enough entrepreneurs. Pro-enterprise programs should support ethnic, social and generational changes that will continue to transition the economy into the next millennium. Programs should support immigrants, women and the millennial generation, which, based on recent measurements, may be somewhat less entrepreneurial than their predecessors.

Read More:

Online companies that pay well!

  1. Paid Instantly NO Purchases!
  2. Paid Instantly or sooner High End Training!
  3. Paid Monthly by using the one item you already have!

How for a Teenager to make Money! Or even an Adult!

10 Most Entrepreneurial States – CNN Business News

Thinking about starting a business? These 10 states saw more startup activity than anywhere else nationwide, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.

Montana

Montana has fast become the no. 1 state for startup activity, according to the annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, having raced to the top spot this year from a 17th-place ranking a year earlier.

Vermont

For entrepreneurs serious about keeping a work-life balance, Vermont may be the ideal place to get started.

New Mexico

New Mexico is enjoying a flurry of startup activity lately.

Alaska

Alaska may be icy cold, but it enjoys a brisk entrepreneurial climate too.

Mississippi

Small businesses have long been a cornerstone of Mississippi’s economy, since few large corporate headquarters or R&D facilities are based here. Indeed, many new college grads choose to start their careers by launching a business, said Tony Jeff, CEO of Innovate Mississippi, a nonprofit that helps early-stage companies.

California

The startup culture is part of the Golden State’s DNA.

Idaho

Don’t be fooled by the calm mountains and rivers of Idaho’s picturesque Boise Valley. Nestled in their midst is a burgeoning hub for technology and science startups.

Hawaii

Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to start a business in Hawaii? It boasts world-class beaches, great weather and a relaxed lifestyle.

Louisiana

When startups grow in Louisiana, they’re in good company. Louisiana has a rich history of fostering young businesses, some of whom eventually evolved into large companies.

Nevada

Entrepreneurs in everything from retail to tech, aerospace, energy and defense are betting on Nevada as a place to launch.

See what type of Businesses they started!

See Full Article:

READER BONUSWomen in Business

Small Business Week Brings New Products, Tips, Information

Small Business Week Brings New Products, Tips, Information

Link to Small Business Trends

Small Business Week Brings New Products, Tips, Information

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 04:00 PM PDT

national small Business Week announcements

It’s National Small Business Week here in the U.S.  Companies and organizations are sharing products, tips and information with the small business community to help small companies perform better. From new cloud-based services and payroll apps … to tips on using productivity tools, here is some of what’s out there.

Since we can’t write about all of them, we’re sharing short updates:

Radiate Media helps local businesses get found. Radiate Media, a maker of software for local businesses, introduces Radiate360. The company says its platform helps simplify social media for hyper-local businesses. It claims Radiate360 allows local companies to create a mobile-optimized website and promote through mobile, digital and other channels.

Pex Card releases its small business survey. Pex Card, offering expense cards for small businesses, issued the results of its first mid-year small to medium sized businesses survey (PDF). The survey says 78 percent of respondents believe their businesses are doing as well or better than expected halfway through the year.

Intuit introduces Payroll for iPad. The new app from Intuit takes advantage of the larger screen of a tablet for calculations. The app lets you create paychecks for employees and contractors. The technology allows businesses to pay by direct deposit and comply with applicable state and federal regulations.

New troubleshooting introduced for your Web services. This week, IT solutions company Anturis unveiled an enhanced cloud-based monitoring and troubleshooting solution. The company says it helps with Web services and IT infrastructure. Anturis says its solution is created with small and medium sized businesses in mind.

Facebook dishes out details. The social media giant says it is giving page administrators more information via its Insights analytics tool. Among other things, Facebook says new editions to the tool will tell administrators more about the data that makes up the “People Talking About This” and “Virality” metrics.

Microsoft offers free workshops. In recognition of National Small Business Week, some Microsoft retail stores are offering free workshops and demos throughout the week. Microsoft says the services are in support of its Office 365 small business software.

Google offers productivity tools. The Google PR team offers some tips and product suggestions to help with your productivity. Google says using its Priority Inbox helps you separate your important e-mails. The company says Smart Rescheduler, a feature of Google Calendar, helps you book times to meet that work with friends family or colleagues.

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Is it Possible to Create a Business Startup Right After College?

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 02:00 PM PDT

business startup

Is it a good idea to create a business startup right after college?

Before you ask this question to an entrepreneur or your mentor, you need to find certain answers yourself. Becoming self-employed is a tough task, wherever you are in life.

It is even more difficult to stay afloat once you start. Statistics say that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail within the first 5 years. Not an encouraging figure, but it is not impossible either. You need to possess the right mindset. Let’s take a look at what you need to ask yourself before you start a business after college.

Determine If It’s Possible to Create a Business Startup

Ask Yourself: What Motivates You to Take Up the Challenge?

If the prospect of self-employment allures you because you think you just need to work for a few hours from a stunning beach sipping on a martini, you are better off being employed by someone else. Let’s take this one step at a time.

Are you motivated by the easy way to get rich premise? If yes, you are in for serious disappointment. The majority of new businesses fail to recover any money invested within a year, let alone make profits. You can only succeed with years of hard work and patience.

Are you motivated by the idea that you need not work for endless hours at an office? Well, a new entrepreneur often needs to put in as much as 10 hours of work every day. True, you can work as per your schedule, but that does not take away the effort you need to put in.

The only way to succeed as a self-employed individual is to make sure that you are willing to solve a problem, need or want of a customer, and do it in a way that beats your competitors. To do this, you need to put in hours of hard work and take care of numerous responsibilities.

Ask Yourself: Do You Love the Idea that Forms the Core of the Business?

A new entrepreneur can attain success; but only when the driving force behind it is love and passion for the business. If you are enthused and excited about the central idea, the chances of your success increase.

Does this mean that anyone who loves haute couture can start off as a fashion designer? It is not that simple. Think about something – have you designed anything for anyone? How well was it received by them? Did it find appreciation among others?

You need to find the ONE thing that fills you with fervor and zeal. Only that idea can work as the core of your new endeavor. It is much easier to start a new business when you can identify your unique selling point.

Ask Yourself: How Do You Plan to Handle the Finances?

Many first-timers start off with the funds they manage to pool in from family and friends. The lack of real experience makes it difficult for them to impress the big investors who find interest only in ‘real’ businesses.

Don’t be disheartened; the Internet gives you the best option to start up a new business right after college and that too at a negligible cost. It just needs to be a service-oriented online business, for the time being.

Another advantage of starting early is that you need not bother about things such as paying off a mortgage or supporting a family. If you are still living with your parents, you can save even more money to invest in the start-up.

If possible, continue to work part-time for someone else while you set up your business. This way you can rely on the amount you earn until your business begins to earn profits. A great thing to do is to work in the same niche in which you have your business.

Ask Yourself: Can You Be a Jack of All Trades and Master Them Too?

There is no secret to success for a new business. If you think that you can earn big and get rich without any effort, you are WRONG. It is possible to succeed only if you are capable of handling the numerous responsibilities that come with your own business.

Remember, it is YOUR business; you will have to be the manager, the marketer, the advertiser, the accountant, the vendor and every other thing, at least initially. There is no way to avoid these responsibilities.

You cannot take on employees, unless you have a huge budget, in a startup. The overhead would be too much for the fledgling endeavor. However, once you start off, you can outsource certain tasks to professionals.

Getting advice and assistance from others can help you focus on the things that matter.

You can create a business startup, not only after college, but wherever you are in life at present. Look at the brothers Shravan (12 years) and Sanjay Kumaran (10 years), the brothers who created mobile phone applications for their company Go Dimensions.

The tech-savvy brothers from India are not yet out of school and they are already making their mark on the business world. At the end, it is the zest and passion you have for the idea and the effort you put in to transform it into reality that matters.

The post Is it Possible to Create a Business Startup Right After College? appeared first on Small Business Trends.

McAfee Hires Former Apple Executive to Oversee Small Business Market

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 11:30 AM PDT

Bill-Reilly_McAfee (1)When suffering a cyber attack, small businesses lack the resources of a larger company and face different challenges. In acknowledgement of this, global software security company McAfee has created a new senior vice president position to be in charge of the small and medium size business market.

On Monday, McAfee announced filling that position with former Apple executive Bill Rielly, pictured here.  ”McAfee is building upon its experience protecting larger enterprises and establishing a dedicated team focused on protecting SMBs,” wrote Carly Listman, McAfee PR Manager, in an e-mail response to Small Business Trends about the position.

We’ve reported before on how small businesses face an increasing threat from cyber criminals.

A disproportionately high number of small firms are already the focus of cyber attacks, McAfee explained in a prepared release announcing Rielly’s appointment. These companies are also the least able to recover from the resulting damages once a data breach has taken place.

For example, in 2011 more than 75 percent of data breaches targeted small to medium sized companies, says a 2012 report (PDF) from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

While larger companies are generally better able to bounce back from such attacks, a 2011 report suggests (PDF) 60 percent of small businesses end up closing their doors within half a year of a breach occurring.

Rielly comes to McAfee from Apple where he served as leader of the SMB division for the Apple Online Store. He seems to have been chosen primarily for his experience with marketing to small and medium sized businesses and with managing global brands, rather than for any specific knowledge about online security issues.

Michael DeCesare, president of McAfee, pointed to Reilly’s results in marketing to SMBs as a key reason for his appointment, noting he has had, “phenomenal success in taking some of the most notable brands in the industry and expanding their share of the SMB market worldwide.”

McAfee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation, a multinational maker of semiconductor chips headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif.

Image: Businesswire

The post McAfee Hires Former Apple Executive to Oversee Small Business Market appeared first on Small Business Trends.

How to Use Google Analytics to Tell Where Your Website Traffic Comes From

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 08:00 AM PDT

The Google Analytics Dashboard can be scary and confusing.  I am going to break down how to use Google Analytics to tell where your traffic is coming from, and how to isolate one source from another to understand whether traffic from certain sources is growing.

How to Use Google Analytics

How to Get to Your Traffic Report

When you log into Google Analytics, you see something like this.  Click “Traffic Sources” near the bottom on the left:

how to use google analytics

That will expand the “Traffic Sources” accordion.

Next Click “Overview” and you will get a screen that looks like this:

how to use google analytics

Different Types of Traffic

In the overview, you will see a pie chart that highlights 4 traffic sources: Search Traffic, Referral Traffic, Direct Traffic and Campaigns.

  • Search Traffic: Traffic that comes from a Web search.
  • Referral Traffic: Traffic that comes from someone clicking a link to your site from another site.
  • Direct Traffic: Traffic where the “referrer is unknown,” such as directly typing a URL into the navigation window or clicking on a link in an email newsletter.
  • Campaigns: Traffic from an adwords campaign.

Diving Deeper Into the Sources

To dive deeper into a particular traffic source, click “Sources” just under “Overview:”

how to use google analytics

This will take you to another set of menus where you can take a closer look at a particular source.  You will see a chart that looks very much like the overview chart, except it will be a chart for only the traffic source you choose.

In this case, I am going to click “Search Traffic… Overview:”

how to use google analytics

This gives me a closer look into my search traffic, how it is trending.  In this case, my traffic is bumping along with no major trend up or down.  If I were embarking on an SEO project for this site, this is where I would go to see the fruit of my labor.  After all, if I am optimizing for search, then my traffic from search should increase.

Where to Look in Specific Scenarios

The first few paragraphs were a basic overview of the structure of Google Analytics and where to go to see traffic breakdowns.  Now I am going to talk about specific scenarios related to web traffic and where you would go to see the associated traffic trends.

Scenario 1:  I Just Guest Posted on a Popular Site

When you guest post on a popular site, provided your profile/bio at the bottom of the post contains a link to your site, the expected increase is in the “Referrals” category.

Scenario 2:  I Just Put Out a Press Release

A press release is a wonderful way to get publicity for your company, product, or service.  It is also one of the best-kept secrets (if not controversial) of SEO.  When you distribute a press release over the wire, you should see an increase in the “Referrals” category.

Scenario 3:  I just Spent $1M on Google Adwords

If you have your customer lifetime value calculation down to a science, that is a good time to embark on a paid search campaign.  You can track the results of this campaign in the “Paid Search” section of Google Analytics.

Scenario 4:  I Just Revamped my Content Strategy

You just finished a refresh of the copy on your website and put together a load of new, exciting and insightful content on your blog based on long-tail keyword search terms.

You should see an increase in the “Organic Search” section of Google Analytics.

Scenario 5:  I just Got Featured on Oprah

Congratulations – Oprah is about to melt your servers.  Its a nice problem to have.

When oprah says, “Go to www DOT yourwebsite DOT com” and 1 billion people hit your site at the same time, you will see an increase in the “Direct Traffic” section of your website.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that has become more useful and more complicated over the years.  For a free tool its awesome, but don’t expect Google to hold your hand and explain to you how to use Google Analytics.

Understanding, measuring and tracking your traffic sources should be a fundamental part of your SEO strategy and hopefully this guide on how to use Google Analytics gave you some help.

The post How to Use Google Analytics to Tell Where Your Website Traffic Comes From appeared first on Small Business Trends.

5 Ways Social Media Can Make Your Trade Show A Success

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 05:00 AM PDT

Social media is becoming a popular way for customers and businesses to interact. If you’re not using social media to its full potential, you’re missing out on a world of promotional possibilities.

Incorporate social media into your next trade show and you’ll find that it can boost trade show success in many ways.

5 Ways Social Media Can Lead To Trade Show Success

Social Media is Easily Integrated into Your Contests

trade show success

Social Annoucement Photo via Shutterstock

Giveaways are standard at trade show booths, but you don’t have to stick with boring swag. Include a few big-ticket items that will draw more interest to your booth.

To snag these top prizes, visitors must interact with your social media sites.

There are lots of creative options. Tweet that the first person to come to the booth and share your code word will get the prize.

Allow prize entries for a brief period for each item. Post the schedule on Facebook.

You Can Continue Promotions Beyond the Trade Show

trade show successSpecial Offer Photo via Shutterstock

Encourage trade show visitors to follow your social media sites by letting them know that you’ll run a whole week of special promotions after the trade show. Each day offer a new deal such as 25% off certain services, free upgrades, BOGO offers, and more.

This strategy will keep your potential customers involved long after your booth’s dismantled.

Social Sites Offer a Powerful Destination for QR Codes

trade show successQR Code Photo via Shutterstock

If your trade show booth space gets swamped with visitors, passers-by may not want to stop and wait for personal attention or push through the crowd to peruse your giveaway pens and notepads (after all, the next table has similar stuff.) Include a large QR code on your booth that makes it easy for visitors to snap and move on.

Make sure the page you direct them to has easy links for following all your social media sites. In the days and weeks after the event, direct your posts to your new and hopefully curious followers who want to get to know who you are.

Include lots of features that will help them find out what you’re about.

Event Pages Hype the Event

trade show successLike Photo via Shutterstock

Set up an event page on Facebook that’s focused on the event alone. This is a great way to get attendees excited and promote the many activities that will be going on. Interacting with customers before the show will give you a better idea of what they want to see.

Don’t waste time lugging all your multimedia equipment along if a survey shows that they’re most interested in one-on-one conversations with sales reps. Use the funds to take more people along with you instead.

Blogs go In-Depth Where your Booth Can’t

trade show successBlog Megaphone Photo via Shutterstock

Trade show attendees want to hit a lot of stops in a limited amount of time. You can send them home with a pile of literature, but it’s likely to get lost in the cavernous swag bag. Instead, blog about common questions before and after the event and direct your leads to this resource as an informative way of getting to know you better.

Integrate your social media marketing strategy and your trade show event for a seamless promotion that will draw in lots of new customers. Never underestimate the power of a well-managed social site.

Did you create a social media campaign for your recent trade show event that brought the attendees to your booth? Or have you seen some great uses of social media at recent conference or convention? Would love to read it.

The post 5 Ways Social Media Can Make Your Trade Show A Success appeared first on Small Business Trends.

How does a Business contribute to the Economy?

How Small Businesses Contribute to U.S. Economic Expansion

A man welds wearing protective glasses (© Syracuse Newspapers/The Image Works)

An employee of MGI Products Inc. welding a portion of a quartz wafer carrier.

Small businesses contribute much more to the U.S. economy and society as a whole than can be calculated just from the spending and profit that they generate. These businesses tend to be more economically innovative than larger companies; more able to respond to changing consumer demand; and more receptive to creating opportunities for women and minorities; and activities in distressed areas. “Building; running; and growing small business is a part of a virtuous cycle of creativity and increasing prosperity that can be applied by dedicated and thoughtful people anywhere;” the author says. “There are no secrets; and frequently money is less important than a considered combination of imagination and effort.”

Derek Leebaert is an adjunct professor of government at Georgetown University. He is co-author of The MIT Press trilogy on the information technology revolution; and serves as an adviser to Management Assessment Partners (MAP); a global consulting firm.

A visitor to the United States will encounter many newspapers and magazines devoted to business: The Wall Street Journal; Fortune; Forbes; Business Week;Barron’s. On television and radio; he or she will hear about the Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 1000—statistics that reflect the stock market’s highs and lows; as shown by the value of the largest U.S. companies. The very term Fortune 500; coined 50 years ago by Fortune magazine; ranks the leading companies in the nation: General Motors; General Electric; DuPont; and; more recently; Microsoft and Oracle. Moreover; brand names such as Ford; Coca Cola; and IBM likely have been commonplace in his or her own country for decades. Against this background; our visitor might get the impression that America’s economy; employment; innovation; and exports are propelled solely by such behemoths.

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