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Conventional wisdom tells us that before starting a small business it is important to research the marketplace to identify opportunities. Too many entrepreneurs and small business owners take this advice literally and abandon great ideas because they deem their chosen market to be saturated. Don’t fall into this mindset and miss out on great opportunities. Instead, search for ways to provide value and thrive despite the saturation.

How to Thrive in Saturated Markets Do It Better

One of the best ways to enter a seemingly saturated market is to provide better products or services. I sat down and spoke with Joe Daley, a member of a group of entrepreneurs and freelancers who were dissatisfied with jobbing websites and decided they could do better. He shared with me the following. “What most freelance sites seem to be lacking is quality freelancer and clients. With so many people wanting to find freelance work, I feel some of the freelance sites grew too quickly and didn’t watch the quality of freelancers they were letting in,”

“When we started FreelanceMyWay we wanted to focus on a very easy to use interface, quality freelancers, clients and incredible customer support.  All our freelancers must fill out an application that is reviewed by...

When you’re making a dynamic presentation for a client, you need software tools to help you express your ideas simply without the need for a lot of technical expertise. The new Zoho Show has been designed to simplify this process with an intuitive interface allowing you to create your content simply instead of spending your time trying to master the software.

Zoho Show

The goal of Zoho Show, according to the company, is to let users create, collaborate, present, broadcast and publish presentations with a tool that simplifies the process in a much smarter way. With the new Show, you can create and make your presentations anywhere.

Zoho Show offers small businesses a presentation tool accessible on mobile and able to broadcast on a variety if other platforms and devices. The company says it has also focused on making this tool as easy to use as possible.

The official Zoho Blog explains, “How many of us struggled with a poorly designed interface? When the tools you need most, and most often, are buried in drop-down menus or down under counter-intuitive options, we found ourselves spending more time and effort just navigating the software rather than telling the right story.”

Simplified Story Telling

Zoho started...

SCORE just announced the results of a report on female entrepreneurs. “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship” features a number of interesting stats on the state of business ownership among women.

SCORE’s Director of Communications Betsy Dougert said in an email to Small Business Trends:

“20,000 small business owners spoke up to share their experiences with us, and the high-level summary is that women-owned businesses are just as successful as men-owned businesses (as measured by business starts, revenue growth, job creation, and number of years in business), despite facing greater financing challenges.”

Women Entrepreneurs Statistics

Here are some of the most interesting insights from the report.

Women Are Slightly More Likely Than Men to Start Businesses

The SCORE report found that 47% of female respondents started businesses within the last year, compared to 44% of male respondents.

Women Are More Likely to Launch Businesses in Healthcare

Specifically, 10% of female respondents launched businesses in the healthcare industry, compared to 5% of male respondents.

Women Are More Likely to Launch Education Businesses

Similarly, 9% of female respondents launched education businesses, compared to 5% of male respondents.

57% of Women Business Owners Expect Their Revenues to Increase in 2018

This suggests that women owned businesses are just about as...

Periodically, employees come across a particularly difficult task or situation. While sometimes it is a good challenge to work through, other times it can become a real struggle, one that leads to stressful days, sleepless nights and missed deadlines. To find out how to determine whether an employee is feeling challenged or overwhelmed, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

“Being able to gauge when employees are struggling can be difficult. What question do you think is the most effective in determining whether your employees are struggling with something they’re working on? “

Identifying, and Helping, A Struggling Employee

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Set Up One-on-One Conversations

“Rather than focus on a specific question, I find it most helpful to have a standing one-on-one with direct reports at least once per week. It’s not only regular time for difficulties and grievances to come to the surface, it’s the establishment of a relationship that allows for struggles to be shared.” ~ Tim ChavesZipBooks Accounting Software

2. Get Them Out of The Office

“I find that one of the simplest ways to get an employee to open up is to simply take them out to lunch. By leaving the work environment, their walls come down and they are usually much more forward... is a project management tool designed to help teams work better together by building a culture of transparency, managing workloads, tracking projects and communicating with ease. Formerly dapulse, was founded in 2012 and launched as an independent startup in 2014.

Online project management tools such as Microsoft Project, Smartsheet and Huddle, have long been helping small businesses complete tasks in less time and work more effectively and efficiently. But what makes any different? What are the key features of this tool designed to simplify the way teams work together and how will they help your small business?

Monday Team Management Software Features Track Everything from a Single Dashboard

Enhancing the simplicity of using is the project management tool’s single dashboard, where you can see, at an instance, everything your team is working on and who is working on what.

From this single, easy-to-use board you can add tasks, projects, missions and to-dos, and assign teammates to specific projects or tasks.

Keep Team Communication in One Place

Your small business can add rows, known as pulses, to your board to help keep communication between team members in one convenient place. This can reduce the need for meetings and long,...

Whether or not you like it, if you are an entrepreneur you are in sales. You have to sell your product or service somehow or you won’t make money. If you are scratching your head on why things are not working as planned, take a moment to review your marketing strategy and your overall business to find the source of the troubles. This valuable exercise can help turn around a struggling enterprise or help launch a growing business to the next level. Follow along and put on your thinking cap for ideas to turn around your business.

How to Turn Around Your Struggling Business You are not Marketing Right

If your business is struggling, the first place to look is your marketing strategy. If you have a valuable product or service, you might just need to push forward with your sales efforts. This could mean tweaking existing marketing strategies or adding entirely new ones. For example, you might want to add online search advertising, in-person networking, or something else you are not doing today to jumpstart your sales engine.

Look at similar, successful businesses and examine how they advertise and handle promotion. Also look at the advertising methods that work...

According to the IAB Digital Video Center of Excellence, brands and agencies saw how valuable digital marketing was in 2017 for targeting and connecting to niche audiences. And this was especially the case with video ads. Research from this year says when a business sets aside a video advertising budget for “its most important product”, 23% is specifically earmarked for social media video ads. This finding comes from Advertiser Perceptions’ 2018 survey of 353 brand marketers and media buyers. The survey was conducted in March and presented in April by IAB. Half of respondents said they plan to spend more on social media video ads in the next 12 months.

Social media video ads include video content run as advertisements on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. With professional guidance, video ads on social can increase click-through rates, conversions and customer acquisitions.

Social Media Video Advertising Tips

Small Business Trends connected with Travis Chambers of Chamber Media, to hear his expert insights. Listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Class of 2018, Chambers is founder and “chief media hacker” at Chamber Media, an agency claiming to create scalable social videos. Chambers has worked with brands like Yahoo, Kraft, Old Navy, Coca-Cola, Amazon and more. He...

Recognizing your employees for what they do has a bigger impact than most owners or managers may realize. LinkedIn is addressing this very issue with a new feature it calls Kudos so you can show your appreciation to everyone with whom you work.

The simple act of saying thank you goes a long way to making your employees feel valued, and forgetting to say it or to show your appreciation can have the opposite effect. So much so it can cost your company money.

For small businesses, it becomes even more important because retaining employees is that much harder, especially in today’s highly competitive tight labor market. The LinkedIn Kudos application makes it easier and a good practice.

LinkedIn Product Manager, Hermes Alvarez, writing on the LinkedIn Official Blog, explains:

“Saying thank you and recognizing others is also something we see happening frequently on LinkedIn, so we wanted to make it even easier for you to give a shout-out to those that make a difference in your week. With LinkedIn Kudos, you now have a fun and easy way to share your appreciation for people in your professional community.”

Sending Your Appreciation via LinkedIn Kudos

There are 10 different categories you can...

If you’re looking to sell a business this may be the time — and you may want to look for buyers under the age of 50.

The 2018 Small Business Owner & Buyer Demographics study by BizBuySell has revealed 53% of small business buyers are under the age of 50. But the largest percentage of buyers in a single age bracket are between the age of 50 and 59 years old at 32%, the survey says.

BizBuySell Q1 2018 Insight Report

According to BizBuySell, around 10,000 small businesses changed hands in 2017 across the United States, which was a 27% year-over-year increase. And increasingly, the buyers are getting younger than existing owners.

For small business owners looking to sell their business, BizBuySell is reporting this is a great time to make it happen because deals are closing faster at record high average sales prices.

In the comapny’s First Quarter 2018 Insight Report, Bob House, president of and,

Today’s job market is extremely tight, and qualified candidates are being snatched up faster than ever. The new applicant tracking system (ATS) mobile app from BambooHR Hiring was developed to quickly and efficiently let you evaluate the best candidates from your mobile device.

According to Officevibe, the best candidates can be off the market in as little as 10 days. That doesn’t give you much time!

The tightening job market is affecting businesses of all sizes. However, the impact on small businesses is greater because they have to compete with large organizations with potentially more resources to compensate the best candidates. So being able to make a decision and contact a prospect in a timely manner  can give small businesses a fighting chance.

BambooHR Hiring says it’s new mobile app will give businesses the extra edge when moving quickly. The ATS mobile app allows recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers to view all related materials about an applicant whether they are in the office or out and about.

Introducing the app on the official BambooHR blog, brand journalist Kelsie Davis writes, “Using the BambooHR ATS and Hiring app will help you show candidates...

Are you a veteran looking for tips and resources to get your business up and running?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is hosting the “How to Start and Grow a Business for Veteran Entrepreneurs” Twitter chat on Thursday, June 21, 12:00 pm ET | 9:00 am PT to help you do just that.

The event is in recognition of the U.S. Department of Defense “This is Your Military” initiative. This initiative was launched to connect Americans to their military and it will focus on different themes each month throughout 2018.

Whether you are thinking about starting your very first business or looking to grow your existing one, this Twitter chat will provide the tools and resources you need. Click on the box to go to the SBA Twitter account.

Twitter Chat

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Webinar: Discover the Key Components of a Stellar Payment Experience
June 19, 2018, Online

Join us live on June 19th at 10am PST/1pm EST for a 30-minute webinar on how to identify the red flags that could be scaring customers away and how to create a stellar payment experience your customers can trust. Register today!

Increasing your sales through lead generation and content marketing doesn’t have to require a huge commitment of time or money. Instead, there are some effective strategies and tips you can use to get more done in less time, allowing you to also enjoy your family and life. If you’re interested in selling more without spending your whole life working on your business, here are some essential insights from members of the online small business community.

Generate New Leads Without Spending a Fortune

Increasing your sales quickly can be a major undertaking. It sometimes requires a large investment of both time and money. But if you don’t want to spend a ton on generating new leads for your small business, check out this Quick Sprout post by Neil Patel.

Reclaim Your Personal Life and Improve Work Productivity

Running a small business doesn’t have to mean sacrificing every aspect of your personal life. Instead, you can focus on getting more done in a shorter period of time. In this Crowdspring post, Katie Lundin shares some work productivity tips that help you get more time for yourself.

Consider In-House Marketing vs. Hiring an Agency

If you want your marketing to make as big of an impact as possible, you need to have the right team. Some businesses choose...

Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY) recently announced a fee increase which for the first time will also include shipping costs. But the blow might be somewhat softened by the announcement of two new features designed to help small businesses market their products on the platform.

Etsy Raises Sellers Fees Per Transaction

The increase takes the transaction charged on sales from 3.5% to 5% — but importantly the percentage will no longer be calculated just from the amount customers pay for your product. The cost you charge customers for shipping your product will now also be part of the equation making the overall cost being paid by sellers even higher.

On the bright side, the company says it will also introduce two new Plus and Premium subscription levels with advanced tools to help shop owners grow and increase their visibility.

The vast majority of Etsy sellers are small businesses who use the platform to supplement their physical stores or other eCommerce channels. With around 2 million sellers, Etsy has become an industry in itself and the premiere go-to platform for handmade crafters and vintage buyers and sellers.

So how many small businesses are likely to jump ship with the new 1.5% transaction fee hike? The reaction...

Getting great talent to work for a company can be very hard. Why not use your current employees to help you find your next ones? To find out how, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question on how to encourage your employees to help you acquire better new employees.

“Building a talented team is a never-ending process, and sometimes relying on your team is the best way to find top talent. What’s one little-known tip you have for establishing or encouraging a successful employee referral program? “

Tips for Growing Employee Referral Programs

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Offer a Meaningful Amount, Over Time

“Offer the employees a meaningful sum of money (could be a month’s wage) for someone they refer. Sounds like a lot, but believe me, it isn’t when they recruit a star. However, it would have earn-out. Meaning, they get a third of it after the first 30 days onboard, a third after 60 days, and again after 90 days (or whatever timeframe you deem appropriate). This way you ensure the new hire is a quality team member.” ~ Justin McGillLeadFuze

2. Stress Quality over Quantity

“It can be helpful to have a large pool of potential long-term talent...

It’s been a busy and challenging week for small business owners across the country so this is a great opportunity to recap the week that was in the latest edition of This Week in Small Business.

We’re taking a look at some of the best articles published this week on Small Business Trends. This week, I am joined by fellow Delaware Blue Hen, analyst and co-founder of SMB Group, Laurie McCabe.

Job Market Tightening

Right off the top, we look at the recent LinkedIn Workforce Report. With the economy riding a positive wave, there are plenty of jobs available across the country. However, as we’ve learned, that presents unique challenges for growing small businesses in the bustling economy.

“You’ve got to get a lot more creative,” Laurie tells me. “That may mean hiring more freelancers to fill in when you can … if you can hire someone remotely.”

We then looked at a recent infographic released by the freelance marketplace site Fiverr. They used their Pro Seller users as the mold for what makes a great freelancer. And Laurie says it’s important for said great freelancer to “build their own brand.”

“Shameless self-promotion,” she says. “It is uncomfortable, but you have to do that. You have to make sure the skills you have and the evidence you have for those skills,  you’re putting out there in a way that people look at it right away...

At last week’s Xerocon event I had the pleasure of meeting Steven Carse, who cofounded King of Pops with his brother.  And what started as a natural ingredients popsickle company with a single cart in 2010 has turned into a company employing upwards of 250 people spread across eight cities in five states.

Steven shared with me how being laid off from his corporate job led to him discovering his business opportunity, how the importance of being involved in the community is key to understanding customers, and how an employee who brings his ukulele to work with him is a good fit for the company.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.  To hear the full interview, watch the video below, or click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

* * * * *

Small Business Trends: Tell everybody what King of Pops is.

Steven Carse: King of Pops is a popsicle company, but we think it’s a much better product. Instead of artificial flavoring and just different bright colors, it’s real fruits, interesting combinations. We try to bring it to people in a fun way, so we’re out around town in a lot of events where you’ll actually be, and then we do a lot of catering as well, like...

Confused about the trend of livestreamed video games and esports? You’re not alone. Advertising and sponsorships in esports are on pace to account for $533 million (58 percent) of the projected $906 million industry revenue for 2018, according to market intelligence firm Newzoo.

Livestreamed Games Business Opportunities

The other 42 percent comprises tickets, fees from game publishers, ‘merch’, and media rights. Esports have grown so much official leagues exist, and leagues are paying salaries to gamers and offering them retirement plans. For example, Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League will host a $1 million tournament next month in Brooklyn, New York. The expected attendance is 19,000 people.

More Hours Viewing Esports Means More Eyeballs

Esports are video game competitions where prize money is often awarded, though not always. Viewers watch professional global teams compete on the livestreaming platform, owned by Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).

Facebook is now gearing up to compete with Twitch through its new esports hub, with “gg” meaning “good game.”

According to CDN Limelight Networks, American gamers spend 3 hours and 26 minutes per week watching people playing video games online. Mind you: these gamers aren’t playing — they are watching and interacting.

In an email to Small Business Trends, Twitch said “a snapshot of some of the...

Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I watch Shark Tank. I think it’s fun to guess what the sharks will do, discuss the merits of the contestants, and keep an ear out for lingo.

One of the things I hear occasionally is that someone is “pre-revenue,” which always makes my ears perk up.

I mean, I get it, not every business makes money right away, but if I were going on a nationally televised show, I think I’d want at least a little something to show to make my case.

Anyway, it was a short walk from “pre-revenue” to this final cartoon.

This article, "Who Needs Revenue When You’ve Got a Great Business Idea?" was first published on Small Business Trends

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) decided to change its name to IHOb (the “b” stands for burgers”) to roll out seven new meat sandwiches its adding to the menu, and America’s fast food establishments are broiling the restaurant for it.

IHOP Rebrand

IHOP dropped the new acronym slip publicly last week, sparking widespread speculation as to what the “b” stands for in the rejiggered name. People didn’t have to wait for a long time to find out. The stalwart of pancake restaurants released a video Monday morning letting hungry Americans know that the “b” stands for burgers.

Other establishments known for burgers (not pancakes) took immediate notice.

Texas-based Whataburger came out swinging Monday, claiming they love their pancakes but they would never switch their name to “Whatapancake.”

Fast food chain Wendy’s said they aren’t afraid of IHOP’s move, because a place that thinks making pancakes...

When Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) introduced Marketplace in 2016 the goal was to provide a platform for buying and selling locally. Today the company is announcing businesses will be able to place ads in Marketplace so they can reach users while they are shopping.

Facebook has been testing this feature over the past couple of months by allowing businesses to list used vehicles, home rentals, home services and jobs.

Facebook Marketplace Ads Extend Your Reach

For small businesses looking to advertise when users are online shopping, it is one more way to interact directly with customers to sell, get feedback, increase subscription rates and more. The goal is to extend your ads to Marketplace with other placement options across Facebook’s different platform.

In the announcement, Facebook said, “Advertising across our platforms enables you to reach your target audience wherever they’re spending time, giving you more opportunities to connect with people likely to be interested in your offerings.”

In addition to Marketplace, your ads can now appear in News Feed, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network with Automatic Placements. This will let you reach your target audience and connect with users who are more...