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Showing posts from March, 2015

Why My Crowdfunding Campaign Failed

Crowdfunding has a reputation as an accessible way to secure funding for startups and small businesses. It’s quick and easy; just throw up your video, backers start investing their money, and you’re set. Anyone can do it, right?

The truth is, it’s far from that simple. For every story of someone whose project went viral and exceeded its goal in the first few hours, there are several from earnest entrepreneurs whose crowdfunding efforts missed the mark.

So, why do more crowdfunding campaigns fail than succeed? What can you learn from a crowdfunding failure? I talked to entrepreneurs who’ve made crowdfunding mistakes, and got their perspective on what went wrong with their initial campaigns, and what eventually led them to success.



Read more from BPlans

Make Your Phone Presence a Key Driver in Your Marketing Mix

As marketers, we read, think, and talk a lot about Web presence—whether social media, content marketing, search, or other digital medium—and we put a lot of time and effort into perfecting our brand's image, messaging, and positioning. As we should. However, when was the last time you considered "phone presence" during your branding refresh exercises and marketing brainstorms?

Traditional telephony may not be one of the first agenda items that come to mind in a content planning meeting, but perhaps it should be. More than half of consumers still prefer to pick up the phone and talk to a person when they decide to interact with a business, according to Actionable Research's June 2014 survey of consumers in the US and seven other countries. That's huge!

Also, although soaring smartphone penetration makes apps a viable channel, many consumers still find it more convenient to use their mobile phone to talk with an agent than to peck out their contact information and …

Top 8 Most Distressed Industries

The following list comprises the most distressed industries in the US economy, curated using IBISWorld’s proprietary database. The industries are ranked by the fastest anticipated annualized rate of decline in the number of industry enterprises over the five years to 2020. Operators in most of these industries contend with mounting pressure from disruptive technologies, overseas competition and shifting economic forces. In turn, a pronounced number of companies in each industry have opted to consolidate or end operations entirely. This cursory overview of IBISWorld’s Top 8 Most Distressed Industries demonstrates the qualitative and quantitative application of IBISWorld’s research reports for investors.

DVD, Game & Video Rental Industry

Projected annualized enterprise decline (2015-2020): -15.1%

IBISWorld expects operators in the DVD, Game and Video Rental industry to experience the greatest number of business closures of any industry within the economy over the next five years. Co…

Why You Hate Work

THE way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.

Increasingly, this experience is common not just to middle managers, but also to top executives.

More broadly, just 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup. Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent. For most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious ways, it’s getting worse.

Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — dra…

Most Americans are moving farther away from their work

Proximity to employment can influence a range of economic and social outcomes, from local fiscal health to the employment prospects of residents, particularly low-income and minority workers. An analysis of private-sector employment and demographic data at the census tract level reveals that:

*Between 2000 and 2012, the number of jobs within the typical commute distance for residents in a major metro area fell by 7 percent. Of the nation’s 96 largest metro areas, in only 29---many in the South and West, including McAllen, Texas, Bakersfield, Calif., Raleigh, N.C., and Baton Rouge, La.---did the number of jobs within a typical commute distance for the average resident increase. Each of these 29 metro areas also experienced net job gains between 2000 and 2012.

*As employment suburbanized, the number of jobs near both the typical city and suburban resident fell. Suburban residents saw the number of jobs within a typical commute distance drop by 7 percent, more than twice the decline expe…

Why enterprise social initiatives still fail

Many companies are rushing headlong into using enterprise social networks to keep up with the Joneses, experts say.

Enterprises blindly believe that they should implement social initiatives simply because others have. But they need to determine how social connections can make work tasks more efficient. As a result, companies often fail in their strategies because they haven't put enterprise social projects in the context of how their businesses operate.

"There is no app for this."

More from TechTarget

Happy Employees = Higher Stock Prices?

Companies trying to decide whether it’s worthwhile to create a friendly workplace could do well to consider this: Companies that employees report to be a good place to work have significantly outperformed the S&P 500 over the past six years.

The data comes from Glassdoor Inc., an online job and company information website, which solicits employees to post anonymous reviews of their employers. The employee ratings are aggregated and analyzed to produce an annual list of the best places to work, published since 2008.

More from AIER

Basic, Yet Critical, Mobile Marketing Tips

Mobile marketing has finally come of age with more consumers than ever making purchases using their mobile devices. If you're in business, then this is a trend you need to pay attention to.

CIO.com reports that 28 percent of sales are now conducted on mobile devices, primarily smartphones. In 2014, sales using smartphones increased by 87 percent year-over-year. While sales via tablets expanded by a smaller percentage, it still grew by 52 percent. In other words, mobile marketing is the wave of the future.

Yet, many brands have yet to develop fully mature mobile marketing strategies. For some, mobile marketing remains somewhat vague and difficult to contain in the same way as traditional marketing. While mobile marketing is still growing and evolving, it is basically any type of marketing that is used to promote business through the use of a mobile device, including smartphones and tablets.

Mobile marketing doesn't have to be some mysterious thing.

More from Entrepreneur.com

Trends in Customer Experience Make Companies Seem More Human

Customer experience is becoming a huge focus across industries, and technology is playing a starring role in its evolution.

Technology is making everything more computerized and automated; nevertheless, customers are feeling more and more that businesses are listening to their individual wants and needs.

Why? Let's take a look at some hot trends in customer service.

1. Businesses are focusing on emotional intelligence to better understand and respond to customers

Put simply, emotional intelligence is the ability to relate and empathize with others, ultimately enabling positive interactions.


Read more from marketingprofs.com

10 Startup Founders Share The Best Advice They Ever Received

When you're thinking about starting a company or first in the entrepreneurial trenches, any nugget of advice you can get from someone who's been there before is like gold.

But as time goes on, you'll realize that some of those tips are better — and more applicable to your business — than others.

So, to get you started on the right foot, no matter where you are in your startup journey, we asked 10 founders to weigh in on the absolute best advice they received as they built their companies. Take note of these (sometimes surprising) lessons for your own venture.

More from MASHABLE>

3 Social Media Strategies to Inspire You

Social media has become one of the most important outreach and marketing channels available to brands, which in turn means that it’s important to have a social media strategy as a core part of your overall marketing plan.

Social media channels offer businesses a cost-effective way to promote their companies, to increase brand awareness, and to generate customer engagement.

On the other hand, social media marketing is also still a very young discipline, and a rapidly changing one, which means that as a whole it is one of the hardest channels to consistently get right. Unlike TV advertisements or other types of advertising, there are no established rules and no real paradigms or laws that marketers can reliably follow. In this absence of rules, how do you know what to do?



Read more from BPlans.com

What's a Picture Worth?

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There is no question that the way that social media has developed, images play a central role more YouTube enjoys over 4 billion views daily. Instagram has bypassed Twitter for mobile users. photographs on Facebook draw 53% more "likes" than those without. Pinterest is the 2nd largest referrer of social traffic. It grew by 50% in a year. These tools are driven by images and require (almost) no words. The fact that FaceBook was willing to pay the big bucks for Instagram is testimony to the importance of images.
than ever before. There has been a dramatic shift towards visual marketing. Everyone needs to start thinking in these terms.

As I visited the RN Pinterest Page I searched on "SBDC" to see the results and they were patchy. A quick visit to a few SBDC websites demonstrated very, very few images.We are often looking for good pictures from the various centers for different uses. Potential clients visiting our center sites would benefit from a glimpse at what they …

How Much Longer Until Small Businesses Join the Mobile World? -

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Small businesses acknowledge the business effect mobile can have, but so far, they haven’t done much about it. In March 2015 polling by Endurance International Group, 78% of US small-business respondents said their businesses did not have a mobile solution or app, despite the fact that 71% felt that having one would have a positive impact on business. SHARE THIS0 2 0 4 0

​It's never too late to be a late bloomer

From CBS Sunday Morning:

Meet the bulldog Zelda -- pampered, adored, and really spoiled by owner Carol Gardner. And why not? Gardener says Zelda changed the course of her entire life, which in 1997 needed changing.

"I was recently divorced -- hence, depressed, hence in debt, and having a very difficult time," Gardner said. "And so a friend said, 'Sweetheart, you need to either get a therapist or a dog.'"

So at 52, Gardner adopted Zelda, an English Bulldog, though she had scarcely the money to feed her. Then she learned a nearby pet store was having a contest:

"The prize was 40 pounds of dog food every month for a year," Gardner said.

All she had to do was design a holiday greeting card. So she did what anyone would: she put Zelda in a Santa hat and sat her down in a bubble bath.

Everyman Business

From Everyman Business:

Everyman Business offers a wealth of free business advice, training segments, articles and information on online marketing, labor laws, human resources, business software, technology and much more. EverymanBusiness.com helps business professionals save time and money by addressing real-world business questions and presenting practical solutions.

Our site offers resources including:

Management – Anyone who has ever worked under an inefficient or unorganized manager has experienced firsthand how it can affect work flow and productivity. Learn good leadership tips, proper business reporting, project management skills and more.

Logistics - As an industry deals with technology, process and use of supply chain management. That is to say, how your product arrives to your consumers. Read about a variety of air freight options, drop shipping, trucking and warehousing options here.

Equipment & Supplies – No office would be complete and functioning without office equi…

How to Create a Profitable Social Enterprise

What is it about a job that fans the flame inside you? The obvious answer is money—a healthy bank deposit at the end of the month is a primary motive for working. For others it’s about achieving something meaningful; helping society and feeling rewarded in passion, not pounds or dollars or whatever currency you get paid in.

But what if you could have the best of both worlds? Social enterprises are an innovative way for entrepreneurs to build their own business and make a change in society, too.

Getting a social business off the ground has never been easier. Before you get started, of course, you’re going to need the passion. Are you hungry for social change? Do you have the business head needed to run a company?

Read more from BPlans.com.

5 Ways You’re Accidentally Wrecking Your Credit

It’s one thing to knowingly make decisions that hurt your credit score. We’ve all been there, and sometimes tough decisions must be made. But it’s an entirely different situation to accidentally wreck your credit.

In some cases, we make decisions without realizing the impact on our credit. In other cases we may know that certain decisions can hurt our score, but we don’t appreciate the severity of the impact. Either way, maintaining good credit requires more than casual attention.

MORE from Credit.com.

What is the grain-to-glass trend?

The crops growing on 1,000-acre Myer Farm in upstate New York have been used in products ranging from animal feed to tofu. On a whim, fifth-generation farmers and brothers Joe and John Myer decided to try their hand at distilling their wheat, rye, corn and barley into spirits.

“Farming is in our blood,” Joe Myer says. “We put as much love and detail into distilling spirits as we do into growing crops.”

In 2012, Myer Farm Distillers released its first bottles of vodka, whiskey and gin handcrafted from grains grown on the farm. The entire process from growing the grains to milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling and bottling is done onsite.

The farm has devoted 100 acres to growing grains for its distillery and sells spirits from its tasting room and select retailers and restaurants in New York. Myer Farm Distillers also offers tastings and tours of the farm and distillery.

“You can look through the tasting room window and see where the grains are grown,” Myer says. “It opens up a conv…

15 Tips to Become a More Successful Leader

From BPlans.com:

Do you have what it takes to become a successful leader? The best way to become one is to disregard it as your goal and focus on your learning journey. One of the most valuable skills I have learned is that if you want to be a leader, you need to be both focused and curious.

These 15 tips come from experience, reading, and attending master classes.

Exporting Resources

Learn about ConnectAmericas, the first online community of companies in Latin America and the Caribbean dedicated to international trade and investment. Then visit the ConnectAmericas website to connect with over 15,000 business opportunities. Check out this map of what exporting means to business in your home state.

The Psychology Behind Productive Office Spaces

From BPlans.com:

A recent analysis from the World Green Building Council concluded that there is “overwhelming evidence” linking office design with productivity and wellness.

But that’s nothing new, right? There has long been evidence to suggest that this is the case. We all know that our productivity levels drop when we feel uncomfortable—whether it’s the temperature, the atmosphere, or the noise levels, we need to be relaxed and comfortable to work at our best.

With this in mind, it’s important that your office design is set up to be the best possible working environment it can be—to make your employees comfortable, relaxed, and productive...

E-Signatures and Sales: How IT Can Enable the Business to Close Deals Faster

Today, much of the sales process involves waiting far too long for signatures. Sometimes a deal can sit in limbo for weeks while all parties review, sign, and courier documents back and forth. This downtime causes serious risk of losing the deal, not to mention dramatically increases the risk of fraud—so what can be done to prevent that?

The white paper explores how cloud-based e-signature technology can drastically reduce the time it takes to complete the deal making process and at the same time improve customer satisfaction, document security, and more.

DOWNLOAD from CRM.

GSA Auctions: ideal for starting small businesses, or expanding larger businesses

Did you know that the General Services Administration (GSA) auctions off surplus government property, from office furniture to automobiles and industrial machinery? They even auction off real estate. It’s ideal for small businesses to get started, or for larger businesses to expand – at far less cost.

10 Steps to Starting a Business

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Many new or potential business owners only have a partial idea of what’s required to succeed when they start out, failing to take into account the full range of necessary planning, financial and legal activities. These 10 easy steps to starting a business can help you plan, prepare and manage your new enterprise.

2014 Fortune 500 list

5 Reasons to Start a Home-Based Internet Business

From https://www.sba.gov/blogs/5-reasons-start-home-based-internet-business SBA

By Marco Carbajo:

According to Forbes, more than 52% of all small businesses in the U.S. are home based. If you're like most people who dream about starting their own business, now may be the best time to take the first step.

Starting a home based business on the internet has never been easier and the opportunities have never been greater. Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, says, “If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going.” The internet is a store that never closes. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and gives a business with an online presence a global audience.

It has truly leveled the playing field in the world of business; now home-based entrepreneurs have access to the same types of tools and marketing opportunities used by major corporations. Today, you don’t have to have a traditional brick and mortar business to have a profitable business.

How to Choose the Right Business Name

Fans of the 70s TV-show Kung Fu will know that choosing wisely is everything. The same goes for choosing the right business name. Not only should you pick a name that reflects your brand identity, but you also need to ensure it is properly registered and protected for the long term. And be sure to give some thought to whether it's web-ready. Is the domain name even available?

Here are some tips to help you pick, register, and protect your business name.

Taxes: Transitional Filing Provisions Affected By Legislation; Reduction of Rates for Qualified New York Manufacturers

TSB-M-15(2)C, Transitional Filing Provisions for Taxpayers Affected By Corporate Tax Reform Legislation This memorandum explains transitional filing provisions for the 2014 and 2015 tax years for Article 32 and Article 9-A taxpayers affected by the corporate tax reform legislation that was signed into law as part of the 2014-2015 New York State budget. To view the entire document click on the link below:
http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/memos/corporation/m15_2c.pdf


TSB-M-15(3)C, (3)I, Real Property Tax Credit and Reduction of Tax Rates for Qualified New York Manufacturers This memorandum summarizes the corporate income tax benefits for qualified New York manufacturers contained in legislation that was signed into law as part of the 2014-2015 New York State budget (Part R) which created the manufacturer’s real property tax credit and reduced the corporate tax rates for qualified New York manufacturers. To view the entire document click on the link below:
http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/memos/multitax/m1…

5 Surprising Tax Risks Faced by Growing Businesses

Successful business growth is dependent on two main factors. Organizations must scale to meet market demands and differentiate their products to remain competitive. But while these activities are beneficial to growing your revenue, you may be surprised to learn that they could also put you at jeopardy for violating tax compliance rules and regulations.

How can businesses learn to support smart growth while avoiding audits and fines?

Explore this exclusive white paper to uncover the 5 ways your success could be your downfall when it comes to transactional tax compliance, including:
• Moving into new states and jurisdictions
• Using contract workers
• And 3 more


DOWNLOAD at AVALARA.

Free Payroll Tax Calculator

The PayCheckManager site:

Paycheck Manager provides a FREE Payroll Calculator with a no hassle policy. Any user can simply access PaycheckManager.com and start using the calculator. No registration required. No private information is saved. It’s a full-featured paycheck calculator that allows for hourly or salaried, bonus, 401k and other earnings and deductions. Users can also download and print paychecks, all for FREE!

As our friend Walter said, "Still waiting to see what the catch is but haven't found it yet."

Paycheck Manager also provides a complete self-service payroll management tool for any user who wants to prepare, view and print paychecks, payment vouchers and payroll reports. All information will be saved in our secure environment for easy payroll management. This portion is FREE to try for up to 3 months upon registration.