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July 20, 2023Everyone is buzzing about ChatGPT and Google’s Bard and the many uses small business owners can turn to the services for. But does it work? I asked ChatGPT to write 100 words on how it can help small business owners. Here’s what it wrote: ChatGPT can be a valuable resource for small business owners in many ways. Firstly, it can provide them with information on a wide range of topics, from marketing and branding to customer service and finance. Small business owners can ask ChatGPT questions about specific challenges they are facing and receive relevant and helpful advice. ChatGPT can also assist small business owners with automating routine tasks and processes, such as scheduling appointments or managing inventory. This can help save time and reduce the workload for small business owners, allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks and grow their business. Overall, ChatGPT can serve as a helpful tool for small business owners to gain knowledge, automate tasks, and ultimately improve their business operations. What do you think? Would you use it? [Editor’s note: I didn’t edit it, but if you use AI to write for you, you will need to edit it. For example, the word “firstly” is not commonly used, and it wrote “business” when it should have been “businesses.” Learn more about ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.   [...]
May 10, 2023If you have employees who are younger millennials and members of Generation Z, you may have to work extra hard to keep them. A study from Gallup, reported by Insider, shows that their attitudes about their jobs have shifted from enthusiasm to indifference. During the pandemic (from 2019 to 2022), Gallup shows the share of employees under age 35 who say they’re “engaged” with their work fell from 37% to 33%—the lowest level since 2011. Even worse, the percentage who say they’re “actively disengaged” increased from 12% to 17%. Apparently, according to Gallup, these young workers are now as unhappy with their jobs as everyone else. Learn more about why young workers are unhappy and how to fix it. [...]
May 10, 2023AI is capturing the attention of so many in the entrepreneurial world, partly because, I believe, there’s so much we don’t understand about it and its capabilities. And then there’s a bit of fear of the unknown, no doubt a result of seeds planted by watching that episode of The Twilight Zone, where Rod Serling, always ahead of his time, scripted ordinary appliances suddenly taking over the world. As most of us slowly dip our toes into what is sure to be an ocean of AI applications for our businesses, this caught my eye. Entrepreneur Bruno Aziza, writing on Medium, answered a question many business owners are likely asking, “How can I scale AI?” Aziza replied, “Make the “I” bigger than the “A” and explained three ways that could work. A quick summary: Trust: Trust is THE foundation great decision-making stands on. Semblance of truth is not truth. Interaction: To work at scale, AI must be multimodal or contextual in input and output. . Action: To work at scale, information and action need to be tied within a domain. Informing at speed is essential. Acting and transacting within an application flow is what makes it most useful. Learn (so much) more about AI and how it can help you run a better business.   [...]
May 9, 2023The author of Email Marketing Rules just released an updated and greatly expanded fourth edition of his book. And in his column on MarketingProfs, he talks about how much email has changed in the past 10 years: Email can be read on smart watches or read aloud by voice assistants Marketers can create interactive emails Privacy features launched Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have gained roles in selecting audiences, determining email content, picking send times, writing copy, and more And he discusses three significant changes yet to come: AI and machine learning will help us scale our personalization, segmentation, and automation efforts Omnichannel orchestration will help us not only better coordinate campaigns across all of our channels but also use the right channels and incorporate data from all of our customers’ brand interactions CDPs will help us centralize and clean all of our customer information so we can understand customers as whole people and use that data to fuel our AI, machine-learning, omnichannel, and other efforts Learn more about the still-evolving power of email. [...]
May 2, 2023As much as I know people don’t like to talk about money, the poll below astounded me. Empower, a financial services company, recently surveyed thousands of Americans and discovered that 62% don’t talk about money, even though they think about it. Fast Company reports the shocking stat: “It’s easier to believe in magic than financial planning: 71% of Americans said they bought a lottery ticket, and 24% of millennials said they’ve spoken to a fortune teller, but only 33% of Americans have spoken with a financial planner.” And the kicker is that 66% of those surveyed “believe more conversation could help people achieve financial freedom.”   Learn more about why it’s essential to talk about money—especially with a financial planner.   [...]
April 18, 2023Apparently, they want to eat Cheez-Its. No, really. That’s one of the findings from a biannual survey of teens from the investment bank Piper Sandler Companies.You may think, “This doesn’t matter to me,” but depending on the type of business you own, it can. Did you know teens spend $2,419 a year? And millions are buying what you’re selling. Teen girls, for instance, spend most of their money on clothes and fashion accessories. And teen boys spend the most on food. Gen Z is still very concerned about political and social issues and prefers to do business with companies that reflect their values. And yes, teens say they have the “highest intention” of eating more Cheez-Its. Read more about what Gen Z is buying.   [...]
April 10, 2023 If, like millions of people, you’re no longer heeding your New Year’s resolutions to get (or stay) fit, a fitness tracker may help you get back on track. Make Use Of (MUO) reports that fitness wearables may well be the key to staying fit. In fact, it says that many people actually prefer to wear a fitness tracker all day—and sometimes all night, as well. If you’re on the fence about investing in a fitness tracker MUO offers seven “genuinely good” reasons to buy one. Learn more about how fitness trackers can help you meet your daily health goals—and more.   [...]
February 7, 2023Five Things To Know This Week: 1) Sleep Secrets from Truckers 2) Walmart Launches a New Small Business Initiative 3) Content Ideas for Your Company Newsletter and Blog 4) Can Your TV Really Be Hacked? 5) Business Owner Spotlight: Judi Henderson, Mannequin Madness Happy Tuesday, February 7th! I recently listened to my first Small Business Edge podcast episode from March 2018. Wow, was I green! Thankfully, I’ve learned a thing or two since then about podcasts and creating content that interests our listeners. I posted two links below to podcasts I recorded in the last few months. The first podcast is with Judi Henderson. She is fun, engaging, and spiritual; I loved talking with her. The second podcast is with my son Robert. It’s part 2 of a podcast we recorded three years ago about his incredible journey dealing with mental illness. We recorded the first podcast on World Mental Health Day in 2019. It is still my most downloaded podcast ever. The response to Robert’s story was overwhelming. In letting himself be vulnerable, Robert connected with thousands of people worldwide who either struggle with mental illness or are close to someone going through a similar situation. Somehow, we allowed the pandemic to sidetrack our efforts to successfully launch a podcast called “I Didn’t Ask for This,” which covers all things related to mental health issues. We plan to get the podcast back up and running again next month. Podcasts are a great way to share ideas, advice, humor, inspiration, and moving stories. Thanks to the feedback I received from listeners, I am doubling down on my podcast efforts this year and adding two more podcasts to my repertoire—Bricks or Sticks with Jocelyn Ring and “The R&B Show” with Rieva Lesonsky. I will post more information in future newsletters, with links to the shows we produce. In the meantime, enjoy your week—and make the most of it!  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates    Sleep Secrets from Truckers Do you wake up tired, even after getting eight hours of sleep? Me too—when I manage to get those eight hours in. Maybe you’re getting too much sleep. Dean Croke, a former truck driver and current principal analyst at an on-demand freight marketplace, has taught sleep science classes for truckers and shift workers for years. He tells Fast Company that it’s the minutes you sleep, not the hours, that count. Croke says we sleep in 90-minute cycles, and if the alarm wakes us in the middle of a deep sleep cycle, we have “sleep inertia.” He says five 90-minute cycles are ideal—that’s 7.5 hours of sleep. If, like many business owners, you can’t manage that, Croke suggests you sleep for three hours (two cycles) and then for 4.5 hours later in the day (three cycles). Learn more about getting a truly good night’s sleep.  Walmart Launches a New Small Business InitiativeWalmart just launched Walmart Business, a program that makes it easier for small businesses to shop there. Walmart Business is a website offering over 100,000 products. Chain Store Age says Walmart “identified key product categories for operations, including office supplies and furniture, food and beverage, restroom, electronics, classroom, and facility needs.” And the company makes it easier to restock goods. Walmart told Chain Store Age it wants to “remove complexity in purchasing, lower costs, and give our customers more opportunities to serve their customers and communities.” Read more about how your small business (or nonprofit) can save time and money by shopping at Walmart.  Content Ideas for Your Company Newsletter and BlogDo you have a company newsletter? It’s often challenging to come up with new ideas. Constant Contact’s February newsletter is filled with ideas to inspire your content creation. We all know we celebrate President’s Day and Valentine’s Day in February. But there are actually 19 days you can celebrate in February (and it’s a short month!). For instance, did you know last Sunday was National Chocolate Fondue Day? The newsletter also offers more ideas you can use in your newsletter or as blogging fodder. Get more content ideas for your small business.  Can Your TV Really Be Hacked? As silly as that sounds, yes, it can. According to MUO (Make Use Of), today’s smart TVs are just “computers connected to your network, and there’s a good chance it’s not a well-protected one.” Hackers can use your TV to “distribute malware or launch denial of service (DDoS) attacks” or even spy on you. Learn more about the 12 ways cybercriminals can hack your TV and how to protect yourself.  Business Owner Spotlight: Judi Henderson, Mannequin MadnessI’ve written about Judi before in this newsletter and had her as a guest on my podcast. I will use almost any excuse to feature fun, smart, social business owners who are making a difference in the world, and Judi is definitely one of them. Judi is an accidental entrepreneur who owns the largest mannequin recycling/liquidation company -based in Oakland, CA. Here are just a few highlights from the podcast I did with Judi: “When I grew up, entrepreneurship wasn’t on the table. There was no such thing as a girl boss. To me, living close to Silicon Valley, an entrepreneur was a young white male from Stanford with venture capital money in the tech field. I certainly didn’t see myself in that life.” “I called my company ‘Mannequin Madness’ because, when I started the business, everyone thought I was a little crazy for doing it.” “We have 55,000 followers on Pinterest. It’s a big DIY market where people turn mannequins into Christmas trees and mailboxes.” “The biggest mistake I made was not seeing myself as an entrepreneur.” “I’m 65 and not even close to retirement. I have new and bigger dreams today than I had 20 years ago. I’m much more comfortable when taking risks.” Click HERE to visit Judi’s website Click HERE to listen to my podcast with Judi Click HERE to listen to the full podcast of I Still Didn’t Ask For This: Robert Moran’s Amazing Mental Health Journey. [...]
January 25, 2023Five Things To Know This Week: 1) How to Improve Your Focus 2) How to Improve Your Memory 3) Should You Buy a Treadmill Desk? 4) Increasing Customer Loyalty 5) Business Owner Spotlight: JoAnn Cilla Happy Tuesday January 24th!  Ubuntu is a South African term that, translated, means “I am because we are.” When we open our senses, and make ourselves available to the miracles and possibilities in our world, we strengthen our connections with others and the universe. Imagine the positive impact! It sounds good to me; I’m in. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates    How to Improve Your Focus If you’re like many of us, it’s become harder to maintain focus and all too easy to slip down rabbit holes scrolling through social media, playing Wordle, or numerous other distractions. Mashable talked to Dr. Gloria Mark, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor whose research found that 47 seconds is the average 21st-century attention span on a computer screen. On Mashable’s blog, Mark offers advice from her new book, Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness, and Productivity, including “three go-to strategies for maintaining your attention span.” Learn more about replenishing your attentional resources and how to do more by doing less.  How to Improve Your MemoryIn the same vein, Vox talked to Charan Ranganath, also a professor, who says, “If we remembered everything that we experienced, our brains would be hoarders, clogged with all sorts of useless crap that gets in the way of what we really need.” Tying in with what Dr. Mark talks about in her book (mentioned in #1), we can only remember what we pay attention to. And in today’s “constantly plugged-in, always-on world, people are faced with a barrage of information — emails, news, pointless meetings, traffic updates, chitchat from family members,” it’s increasingly difficult to pay attention. This article is filled with tips, including how to use technology to your advantage. Read more about “making even everyday moments memorable.”  Should You Buy a Treadmill Desk? Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to get more exercise? Mine too. But it’s hard for busy entrepreneurs like us to find the time to work out when we have so much to do. Since many business owners are skilled at multitasking, why not work and work out at the same time? WorkLife talked to one devotee who spends almost her entire workday at her treadmill desk. She says that since she started simultaneously walking and working, her cholesterol and blood pressure have improved, as have her focus, productivity, and motivation. Read more about the benefits of a treadmill desk.  Increasing Customer Loyalty Every business dreams of having a base of loyal customers they can count on. But even your most loyal customers are likely not satisfied every time they do business with you. In this article on Harvard Business Review, the authors suggest business owners should “learn to appreciate complaining customers” because “companies that handle complaints in a great way create stronger customer loyalty.” The good news is that customer loyalty has risen in the last 12 years, particularly among millennials. Learn more about how to create loyal customers.    Business Owner Spotlight: JoAnn Cilla Real Estate Who leaves a big, well-established brand to start a competing business in the middle of a pandemic? JoAnn Cilla. In November 2020, my brother Colin called me about a business partner who wanted to start her own real estate agency. He asked if I could give her some advice. I jokingly responded, “Sure, don’t do it!” Thankfully, that wasn’t the advice I gave to JoAnn Cilla. I did tell her that it would be a difficult, rocky road and that she would need the right mindset to successfully navigate her uncharted path. JoAnn opened her agency on March 1, 2021. Today, she has her own building in Lindenhurst, Long Island, with four real estate agents, an assistant, and over 70 five-star online reviews from satisfied clients. Even with the market downturn, home sellers and buyers continue to call JoAnn via referrals from family and friends. JoAnn is successful because she is willing to take strategic, calculated risks when other businesses are in “hunker down” mode. And she believes in herself and her agents. Click here to learn more about JoAnn’s business and hear her story.    Podcast Quote of the Week: Click here to listen to my podcast with Rudi. [...]
January 17, 2023Five Things To Know This Week: 1) Are You Going to Start a Business in 2023? 2) 8 Bold Tech Predictions for 2023 3) Managing Your Marketing Budget in an Uncertain Economy 4) Are You Putting Obstacles in Your Own Path? 5) Business Owner Spotlight: Geoff Foster, Core Technology Molding Corporation Happy Tuesday, January 17th! I’m making a change to the “5 Things” newsletter. Previously, I posted great resources for business owners. Now, I want to put the spotlight on great business owners. Each week, I will introduce you to business owners who do amazing things somewhere across the country, or around the world. There are millions of great stories; my goal is to share some of them with you. On a different note, I intend to continue using this letter to bring you positive, motivational, and inspirational messages. You never know when the right message, delivered at the right time, to the right person, can change someone’s life. Today’s message is about mantras. A mantra is a positive affirmation; a reminder that helps us remember something important to us. I have several three-word mantras for 2023, and will share one of them with you: “Gratitude Changes Everything.” This mantra reminds me that while bad things may happen in life, it’s my choice how I respond to them. Looking at life through a lens of gratitude makes the bad things tolerable, the good things great, and the great things priceless. Gratitude also reminds me to focus on what’s happening right now. I can’t change the past, and I refuse to worry about the future. I will simply do the best that I can do in this moment and enjoy every minute of it…like writing this note to you! Let me know your 3-word mantras for 2023. What do you want to be reminded of today? Thanks, Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates  Are You Going to Start a Business in 2023? We’re running out of time to talk about 2023 predictions, so I want to share some more. If you’re considering starting a business this year, check out these seven startup predictions from crunchbase. My favorite? Originality is in. Copycat ideas are out. Read more startup predictions for 2023.  8 Bold Tech Predictions for 2023 As MUO (Make Use of) notes, “If 2022 taught us anything, it’s how fast things can change. Within a span of a year, we saw some of the biggest tech giants struggle to stay afloat, new rivals enter the market, and what appears to be the beginning of the AI revolution.” So what’s in store for tech in 2023? MUO shares eight bold predictions. Learn more about tech trends for 2023.  Managing Your Marketing Budget in an Uncertain Economy The beginning of a year is not only the time for making (and breaking) resolutions and reading expert predictions about the year ahead. It’s also time to deal with the “b-word”—budgets. If you’re a B2B company, you’ll want to check out this post about managing your B2B marketing budget in 2023. There are a lot of smart, actionable tips here. Learn more about how to manage your budget in an unpredictable year.  Are You Putting Obstacles in Your Own Path? Should you live where your business is, or can you effectively run a startup remotely? This crucial question was posed by Steve Blank, Stanford professor and “father of modern entrepreneurship,” to a former student and founder of a new tech startup. Most of her clients were in New York, while she lived 3,000 miles away in the Silicon Valley. In his column on the readwrite website, Blank explains that scaling a business remotely is not the best way to grow and that “exponential growth requires relentless execution.” There are a lot of other valuable lessons here—that apply to entrepreneurs in all fields. Read more about scaling and growing and how to get out of your own way.  Business Owner Spotlight: Geoff Foster This week we are shining a spotlight is on Geoff Foster, Co-Founder and CEO of Core Molding Technology Corporation in North Carolina. Geoff started the company with his wife Tonya in 2006; they currently have 45 employees. The business focuses largely on the automotive and pharmaceutical industries, and ships products to clients in 120+ countries. A key to their success is their incredibly positive company culture. They were able to greatly increase revenue during the pandemic through teamwork and perseverance. Click here to read more about Geoff’s company. Click here to listen to the Small Business Edge podcast I did with Geoff. [...]
January 10, 2023Five Things To Know This Week: 1) Flex Benefits Help You Retain Employees 2) Social Media Marketing Trends 3) Habits are Better than Resolutions 4) TV Without Wires 5) Resource of the Week: U.S. Commercial Service Happy January 10th!  It’s a great day to make things happen! Face whatever is in front of you, meet it head on, then defeat it. That obstacle is keeping you from your dreams, goal, and happiness. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates    Flex Benefits Help You Retain Employees One of the biggest challenges small business owners faced last year that’s expected to continue into 2023 is attracting and retaining skilled employees. Many surveys of the nation’s workers reveal that most employees want to work for businesses that offer a good benefits package. But more companies are discovering that one-size-fits-all benefits packages are not all that appealing to employees. Instead, flexible benefits are often more appealing because you can customize them to your individual employee’s needs. Some examples of flex benefits include commuter benefits, work-at-home options, career planning, paid time for volunteer work, professional development, and more. Learn more about flex benefits.  Social Media Marketing TrendsSocial media had a tumultuous 2022, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty about some highly popular social platforms as we head into 2023. Social Media Examiner rounded up 28 social media experts who shared their advice and tips about using social media to establish trust with customers, increasing your ROI with social customer care, AI innovations, and more. Learn more about 2023’s social media trends.  Habits are Better than ResolutionsLast week I noted that it was likely that some of us already broke some of our New Year’s resolutions. (Yes, I’m guilty.) So I was happy to see this article in Fast Company that said we should ditch making New Year’s resolutions altogether and work on creating new habits instead. According to the article, making resolutions is futile since our brains are wired against change, so “we often rely upon motivation, and motivation runs out usually after two or three weeks.” The article shares the six principles of forming habits, including something I’ve always believed in—celebrate your wins. Read more about forming new habits in 2023.  TV Without Wires CES (the Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2023) was last week, and I’m always dazzled by the tech introduced there. There was a lot of coverage in the tech newsletters, and this wireless TV caught my eye. Displace TV is launching the world’s first truly wireless TV. The 55-inch OLED television is lightweight, weighing less than 20 pounds, and the company says the battery can last for about 30 days on a charge. One of the advantages of a wireless TV is that it can be placed anywhere in a room—no worrying about proximity to a wall socket. Also, the company claims remotes can be replaced with hand gestures. The TV is expected to ship in late 2023. Tom’s Guide has the details. Learn more about the world’s first wireless TV.  Resource of the Week: U.S. Commercial Service The U.S. Commercial Service has a network of export and industry specialists in over 100 U.S. cities and 80 countries worldwide. These trade professionals provide counseling and various products and services to help SMBs export their products and services. The U.S. Commercial Service is part of the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. You can learn about all aspects of exporting and world markets through its online solutions or find help through its local assistance or virtual services programs. Get more important exporting news by following them on social media (LinkedIn and Twitter) or joining the mailing list. [...]
January 3, 2023Five Things To Know This Week: This is a special 2023 predictions and trends edition of our newsletter. Predictions for: 1) Retailers 2) Restaurant Owners 3) B2B Company Owners 4) Interior Designers, Home Remodelers, and Home Décor Retailers 5) Resource of the Week: Currents newsletter Welcome to 2023! We are two days into the New Year and I predict that at least a few of you (and me) have already busted some of our resolutions for 2023. That’s ok. Resolutions are made from motivation, interest, and wanting. But, if you are serious about making real and lasting changes in your business and life, then you need DCA –  Discipline, Commitment, and Accountability. I call those three words the “secret sauce” to success in business. As you read my newsletter, I will have just finished an hour-long webcast  called “Rebound” hosted by Matt Doherty. We discussed realistic goal setting and how to achieve every goal in 2023. We also talked about DCA, writing GPS Plans, and proactively managing time. Email me if you’d like to see the webcast on demand. I am excited to see what this year has in store for all of us. Please keep in touch and let me know your thoughts, suggestions, and if I can help your business in any way. Peace! Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates  RetailersInsider Intelligence and eMarketer say, “Though inflation and increased costs are putting pressure on everyone from consumers to retailers, there are huge opportunities for growth if you know where to look.” Among their predictions: Social commerce is expected to grow, driven by Gen Z and TikTok; a store or website’s return policies will shape customer loyalty; and direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies will continue to struggle. Learn more about 2023 retail trends.   Restaurant Owners The editors of Nation’s Restaurant News rounded up some predictions for next year, including selling products integral to your brand and the food you serve. So while McDonald’s turned the Grimace into a pool float, you can create a recipe collection, bottle your special sauce, or sell branded merchandise. Learn more about 2023 restaurant trends from the editors and from the industry.    B2B Company Owners B2B buyers are getting younger—65% of between the ages of 18 and 40, according to a survey from the American Marketing Association—which has impacted the buying journey. Insider Intelligence and eMarketer explain how your martech needs to evolve to reach these new, digitally-focused buyers. Be prepared to spend more—martech spending is expected to increase by 12.4% in 2023. Specifically, 54% of B2B marketers in the U.S. and UK plan to spend more on content creation and strategy, and 54% also plan to increase their customer marketing spend. Learn more about B2B marketing trends.    Interior Designers, Home Remodelers, and Home Décor Retailers What will homes look like in 2023? The answer affects a lot of different industries and small businesses. Apartment Therapy has an extensive roundup of the top trends, such as “boring” beige is back while bold colors will dominate kitchen design. Learn more about home design trends for 2023.  Resource of the Week: Currents newsletter Since trends don’t just occur at the beginning of a new year, it’s critical for small business owners to stay in the know all year round. My friend Rieva Lesonsky has been covering the small business and entrepreneurship industry for more than 30 years and shares trends small business owners need to know in Currents, her free weekly newsletter. Learn more about small business trends by subscribing to Currents. And sign up here to attend her free SCORE webinar on January 12, at I pm ET about 2023’s Hottest Business Ideas, Trends & Markets. [...]
December 27, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) How to Protect Your Business from Cybercrime 2) The Shocking Truth About Gen Z Workers 3) Top Retail Trends for 2023 4) Get Startup Cred ASAP 5) Collective Hello SBE Newsletter Readers, There are a handful of days left in 2022. What’s your plan to finish the year on a high note? Are you close to achieving your business and personal goals? I love taking time between Christmas and New Year’s to look back on my wins and losses, hits and misses of the year. The exercise is a big help in mapping out my GPS Plan for the New Year. I have big goals for 2023. My company is rolling out a marketplace for business owners that is free to join for now ( In addition, I am launching a new podcast series called “Bricks or Sticks” with Jocelyn Ring to accompany our monthly workshop for business owners ( What are your big goals for 2023? If I can help you achieve them in any way, let me know. Until we talk again, have a happy and healthy New Year! Thank you for being part of my journey. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates  How to Protect Your Business from Cybercrime At a CNBC-sponsored event, the FBI said cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small businesses. Last year, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center “received nearly 850,000 complaints regarding cyberattacks and malicious cyber activity with nearly $7 billion in losses, the majority of which targeted small businesses.” And what’s worse, CNBC and SurveyMonkey data shows most small business owners (61%) don’t think their businesses will be the victim of a cyberattack in the next year, up from 58% in 2021. Don’t be complacent. Learn more about how you can protect your small business from cybercrime.   The Shocking Truth About Gen Z Workers Everyone thinks that members of Generation Z (Zoomers) are technologically adept since they’re digital natives. But a survey of UK and U.S. workers from HP shockingly reveals that Zoomers aren’t that comfortable using workplace technologies. And they’re experiencing “tech shame” because they’re not as tech-savvy as their older coworkers assume they are. One way to make them feel more comfortable at work is to offer more tech training to your younger employees. Learn more about Gen Z employees and workplace tech.  Top Retail Trends for 2023 Retailers have had a challenging 2022, even though consumers are shopping and spending more. Will 2023 be any better? A report from Mastercard Data & Services says 2023 will be the year with the fewest restrictions since before the pandemic started, and “consumers will expect choices in how, when, and where they shop.” Learn more about why you need to pivot to meet and exceed consumer needs.  Get Startup Cred ASAP If you’re one of the millions of Americans planning to start a small business in 2023, you know you will face many challenges. One common problem many startup entrepreneurs have to deal with is that it typically takes a long time to establish business credibility. Obviously, the sooner you can do that, the better. There are various ways you can do that—and you can get insight from startup founders who share their own experiences. Read more about establishing credibility for your startup.  Resource of the Week: Collective Collective, a fintech startup with a roster of funders that includes actor Ashton Kutcher and the founders of YouTube, Patreon, Twitch, and Substack, just announced it is expanding to all 50 states. The company offers an all-in-one online back-office platform, including tax, accounting, and bookkeeping services, to self-employed business owners and freelancers. Learn more about how Collective plans to serve solopreneurs and freelancers across the country. [...]
December 20, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) App Overload 2) Time to Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6? 3) 15 Budget-Friendly Tools for Freelancers 4) Most Small Business-Friendly Best Cities 5) Resource of the Week: Collective Hello Small Business Edge Readers, 5 days until Christmas! As we finish the business year on a resilient note, let us remember to be grateful for the opportunity to do what we love to do every day. Some days are certainly better than others, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Ginger Siegel, the North America Small Business Lead at Mastercard, feels the same way about her job. I recently interviewed Ginger on the Small Business Edge podcast, and she gave wonderful examples of Mastercard’s work to change small business owners’ lives. Thank you, Ginger—and everyone else working to support the small business economy. It is with your support that we will thrive in 2023! Brian        App Overload Are you and your team suffering from app overload? A new study by Forrester and workplace software development firm Airtable reported by WorkLife reveal that employees waste nearly one-third of their workweek trying to find the right information due, in part, to a “preponderance of tech tools,” which can lead to employee disengagement. A different study from OnePoll reports that American workers say they use 11 different apps and platforms in their day-to-day work and, on average, search for documents or other information 35 times per week, which WorkLife says “adds up to nearly a full workday of potentially wasted time every week.” Learn more about app overload.     Time to Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6? Wi-Fi 6 (otherwise known as 802.11ax) brings faster throughput speeds, better battery life, and less bandwidth congestion than what you get with Wi-Fi 5. And today, you can find many routers that “harness Wi-Fi 6’s powerful wireless networking potential.” But how do you choose the one that’s best for you? PC Mag explains what you need to know and says that if your current router is more than three years old, it’s time to upgrade. Read more from PC Mag about Wi-Fi 6 and why it may be time to upgrade.    15 Budget-Friendly Tools for Freelancers Whether you’re launching a new freelance business in 2023 or growing the one you have, freelancers are primarily reliant on technology to help them operate. MUO (Make Use Of) notes that while you need tech tools to successfully run your business, you don’t need to break the bank to get them. The (mostly free) tools covered help you track your time (critical for most freelancers), manage your social media, and design graphics (and so much more). Learn more about 15 budget-friendly tools for freelancers.   Most Small Business-Friendly Best Cities Thumbtack recently released results for its 2022 Small Business Friendliness Survey, an annual report ranking the best cities and states for entrepreneurs. Delaware, the only state to earn an “A,” was the top-ranking small business-friendly state, followed by Idaho (“B+”) and Arkansas (“B-“). Most cities weren’t very small-business friendly, with 70% getting failing grades. The most small business-friendly cities were three cities: Boise, ID (“A-”), Orlando, FL (“B+”), and Providence, RI (“B”). Read more about the most small business-friendly cities and states.   Resource of the Week: Innovative Ideas for Surviving a Recession eBook Want a free copy of this brand new eBook from Barbara Weltman, a top small business expert on taxes and more? Barbara is offering the eBook as a thank you for subscribing (also free) to her daily Idea of the Day and Big Ideas for Small Business. The eBook explains what a recession is and how small business owners can minimize the impact of this economic occurrence on their companies. It is packed with ideas and resources to help you manage challenges and succeed. Click here to visit Barbara’s website and subscribe to her daily newsletter. You will get great ideas and useful information every day! Click here to listen to my podcast with Ginger. [...]
December 13, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) How Do Employees Feel About Hybrid/Remote Work? 2) A “Lift” for Small Business Owners 3) State of Retail 4) Which Cloud Storage Should You Use? 5) Resource of the Week: Burst, Free Stock Photos Hello Small Business Edge Readers, 12 days until Christmas! We are in the thick of the holiday shopping season. Retailers continue to keep two eyes on the weather, consumer demand, cash flow, employees, and possible shipping issues. That’s a lot of eyes! If you are still holiday shopping for your employees, best customers, family members, and all the other important people in your life, try to buy those gifts from a local small business. Each purchase can make a big difference to retailers who have battled challenges all year, from dealing with supply chain issues, to finding good help, and paying the inflated costs of wholesale goods. Small businesses should support each other all year round, but buying small during the holidays can significantly impact small businesses in your community. Thank you! Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates  How Do Employees Feel About Hybrid/Remote Work? One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs currently face is finding employees. Workers want flexibility, meaningful work, a healthy culture, and opportunity. What else is on their minds? To find out, Intermedia conducted an in-depth survey about today’s workplace. Most employees (85%) say their satisfaction increased significantly or moderately due to hybrid and remote work opportunities. But 53% say a remote/hybrid workplace created a less cohesive culture. Employees also want tech solutions that make it easy to communicate, meet, and collaborate. Learn more about how employees feel about working in a hybrid/remote workplace.   A “Lift” for Small Business OwnersA business survey from Fiverr shows that as a result of the recent economic downturn, small businesses had to “re-examine their fixed costs (lease, insurance, etc.) vs. variable costs (staffing, benefits, etc.). However, 78% of SMBs still feel optimistic about their future prospects, and 77% say freelance talent could be helpful during times of economic downturn. To help, Fiverr launched “The Lift,” an online recession hub featuring on-demand help, articles, and guides from business experts. Learn more about The Lift.  State of Retail There’s a lot happening in the SMB retail sector these days. In a recent podcast, I interviewed Melissa Campanelli, Co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle. Melissa offers small retailers advice you can still put into action, even though there are only 12 days until Christmas. Also, remember that the holiday shopping season actually lasts through January since consumers will still be coming into your stores to make returns and exchanges and check out clearance prices. There is still time to turn consumers into loyal customers. Read more about the state of retail.  Which Cloud Storage Should You Use? Small business owners desperately need cloud storage solutions, but it’s hard to know which one to choose. If you use an Android phone, two solutions that come pre-installed on many Androids are Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. Each has its advantages, but MUO (Make Use Of) says there’s a clear winner if backing up your device is important to you. Learn which cloud storage is better if automatic backups are important to you.  Resource of the Week: Burst, Free Stock Photos Small business owners have so many needs for stock photos. They are an essential part of marketing. You can use them for your website, media kit, signs and banners for trade shows, email, social media marketing, etc. Buying stock photos can be pricey. That’s why Burst, a free stock photo platform powered by Shopify, is so valuable. Their image library has thousands of high-resolution, royalty-free images you can use. Learn more about how you can get stock photos for free. Click here to listen to my podcast with Val. [...]
December 6, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) How Your “5-to-9” Habits impact your “9-to-5” Productivity 2) The Value of Ctrl+Shift+T 3) Small Business Holiday Report 4) Rolling Through Airports 5) Resource of the Week: Free Webinar on Cash Flow 101  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates    How Your “5-to-9” Habits impact your “9-to-5” Productivity An article in Fast Company reports that the cognitive resources we need to get through the workday deplete as the day wears on. Russell E. Johnson, a professor of management at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business, told the magazine that we need those cognitive resources “to focus attention, block out distractions, work through problems, and regulate emotions and stress.” The article points out that how we act after work affects how effectively we retain our cognitive abilities and shares the 4 “5-to-9” that may “be sabotaging your brain power.” I admit I don’t practice all these tips. In fact, I violate one—create a bedtime routine—the time. After reading this article, I’m going to add this to my list of New Year’s resolutions. Read more about all four after-work habits that may negatively impact your business.   The Value of Ctrl+Shift+TI love tech tips, especially ones that save time. Have you ever accidentally closed a tab? Of course, you have—that’s something that’s happened to all of us. Instead of hunting back into your history to find the closed tab to reopen it, CNET shares this keyboard shortcut—just hit control, shift, and the letter t (on a Mac, use command instead of control) in Google Chrome. This automatically opens the last tab closed. If you want to open the last two tabs you closed, just do it twice. What could be simpler? Learn three more ways to quickly reopen closed tabs and other Chrome tips.  Small Business Holiday ReportThe inaugural Small Business Holiday Report from Kabbage from American Express highlights some small business trends. The report shows that small business owners are prioritizing holiday cash flow, strategizing ways to promote employee and customer retention, anticipating economic hurdles, and prioritizing sales through social media. One key trend is social selling—47% of those surveyed anticipate that 10%-20% of their holiday sales will come from their social media channels. According to the Small Business Holiday Report, 53% of business owners say Facebook is the top social media platform for selling, followed by Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok. This result aligns with the latest Kabbage from American Express Small Business Recovery Report, which shows that small businesses are increasingly capitalizing on social media advertising. In fact, 47% of small businesses say social media ads have the greatest impact on customer acquisition. And again, Facebook was the top platform for advertising. Learn more about all the holiday sales trends for small businesses.  Rolling Through Airports Whether you’re planning to travel for the holidays or have conferences already booked for 2023, travel is easier when you have a smoothly rolling suitcase that will last. (Airlines can be tough on luggage.) There are so many rollers to choose from that it’s hard to know which one to buy. Luckily New York magazine’s “Strategist” column did the hard work for travelers and shares the  “very best pieces of rolling luggage” in 10 different categories. Read more about the luggage that can help ease the burden of business travel. Resource of the Week: FREE Webinar on Cash Flow 101 for Business Owners – Wednesday December 8th           at 2:00 pm ET The SBE Marketplace is a new community designed to help business owners get answers to the most challenging questions they face starting and running a company. On December 8th, I am conducting a FREE webinar on cash flow for business owners. Join me to learn how you can maintain positive cash flow in 2023 by following simple rules. The webinar is free, and it might help you avoid stressful moments in business next year. Click HERE to learn more about the webinar and to register. Podcast Quote of the Week: It’s not too late to decide on a 2022 retirement plan if you don’t have one. You can set up and fund a retirement plan up to the extended due date of your return (potentially October 2023). But, if you choose a plan like a 401k that requires employee contributions, you will need to give them a notice period. If you don’t currently have a retirement plan, set one up. If at least one person in the plan isn’t an owner, you can get a tax credit for up to three years. – Barbara Weltman, Author of J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2023 [...]
November 29, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) Avoiding Digital Scams 2) The Best Laptops for Your Small Business 3) Tips for Surviving the Holiday Selling Season 4) Exploring the Rural/Urban Divide in Small Business 5) Resource of the Week: Free Cash Flow Webinar Hello SBE Newsletter Readers, As you read this newsletter, there are 26 days (including four weekends) until Christmas. If your business relies heavily on sales during the holiday season, I have three suggestions: 1) Keep two eyes on cash flow, sales, and inventory for the next 26 days…and have a backup plan if anything starts to go off course. 2) Visit your website, as a customer, DAILY. Check it from your desktop, laptop, and phone. Click on every link to make sure it all works. Have your IT person on standby in the event he/she is needed. Every second counts (downtime or incorrect/broken links can cost you). 3) Remember that social media is a dialogue not a monologue. Follow your customers online. If they buy something from your store and then post it on a social media platform, like it, comment on it, and share it. More importantly, add a hashtag so that new and existing customers can click on it and see ALL the people posting items they bought from your store. I hope the suggestions help. Make the most of the next 26 days and remember to enjoy each one of them. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     Avoiding Digital Scams Digital scams are everywhere—and during the holiday season, it’s critical that we be vigilant to protect our personal and business lives. The spurt of e-commerce businesses started in the past few years has made those entrepreneurs particularly vulnerable to security breaches, data loss, and fraud.According to a recently released Biannual Threat Report from Visa, almost 75% of fraud and data breach cases investigated by its Global Risk team involved e-commerce merchant experiences. Learn more about how to avoid fraud in Visa’s, Fraudulese: The Language of Fraud.   The Best Laptops for Your Small Business The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and bargains galore are out there. You may have missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but those designations have given way to super sales all season long. This is a great time to shop for your small business. If you’re in the market for a laptop, PC Mag offers a deep-dive guide so you can find the best laptop for you and your employees. Learn more about the best laptops of 2022.    Tips for Surviving the Holiday Selling Season A recent Capital One Business survey revealed that many small business owners might find it challenging to navigate the holiday season. To help, they asked entrepreneurs John and Kendall Antonelli, owners of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Austin, to share some of their top tips. (You may recognize the Antonellis from their TV ads.) The Capital One survey also showed that about 70% of small business owners say they’ve experienced at least some mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion caused by the stress of running their business in the past year. If that sounds like you, the Antonellis advise business owners that “it’s okay to say no. We tell ourselves to ‘make hay while the sun is shining’ and skip all the extra activities and events during the holidays that we would typically say ‘yes’ to. It’s also a good time of year to recommit to personal endeavors such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, and staying hydrated.” Read more tips from the Antonellis.  Exploring the Rural/Urban Divide in Small Business As we all well know, not all small businesses are the same. And one of the biggest differences seems to be between entrepreneurs located in urban and rural areas. According to a new report from SCORE, rural business owners report higher expenses and fewer customers than their non-rural counterparts. In particular: Rising fuel costs (49.3%), slowing customer spending (48.6%), tight marketing budgets (47.6%), and a limited local customer base (34.6%) are their most vexing customer-related challenges. Rural entrepreneurs are twice as likely as non-rural entrepreneurs (19.2% vs. 9%) to cite the lack of broadband/high-speed internet access as a technology challenge. Small businesses in both rural and non-rural areas say a lack of technological knowledge or assistance is particularly challenging. Learn more in SCORE’s Megaphone of Main Street: The Small Business Rural/Urban Divide report.  Resource of the Week: Free Cash Flow Webinar At some point, most small business owners struggle with cash flow issues. If you’re one of them, I hope you’ll join me Thursday, December 8th at 2 pm ET and 11 am PT for a free webinar, How to Effectively Manage Cash Flow in 2023, sponsored by Zoho. Learn more about managing your cash flow. Click here to listen to the full podcast with Laura. [...]
November 15, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) What is Mastodon? 2) Inflation-Fighting Tips 3) 4 Google Search Tricks 4) Shopping for Holiday Bargains 5) Resource of the Week: Zoho Finance Plus and Zoho Books Hello Small Business Edge Readers, Most days, I absolutely love what I do. I often get to speak with business owners around the world about their obstacles and opportunities. They tell me what keeps them up at night and drives them daily. Judi Henderson is one of those business owners. She is the founder/CEO of Mannequin Madness in Oakland, CA, and was my guest on a recent Small Business Edge podcast. Here are just a few of the gems she shared with my listeners and me: When I found out how many retail stores threw out perfectly good mannequins because they were last year’s style, I saw an opportunity. And this was way before people were talking about sustainability. I called my company ‘Mannequin Madness’ because, when I started the business, everyone thought I was a little crazy for doing it. We have 55,000 followers on Pinterest. There’s a big DIY market where people turn mannequins into Christmas trees and mailboxes. The biggest mistake I made was not seeing myself as an entrepreneur. I’m 65 and not even close to retirement. I have new and bigger dreams today than I had 20 years ago. I’m much more comfortable when taking risks. There is always something you can learn from other entrepreneurs. Below is a link to listen to the full podcast. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did recording it. America could use more business owners like Judi!  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     What is Mastodon? If you’re a Twitter user, you may have noticed quite a few mentions of a social media site named Mastodon and wondered what people are talking about. Many Twitter users are looking for a new similar social platform in case they decide to leave Twitter. But it’s all a little confusing. Here are a few articles that may help solve the mystery. Learn more at Tom’s Guide, CNN, and CNET.   Inflation-Fighting Tips If you’re like most small business owners, you’re struggling with inflation. Whether you’re buying gas, taking clients out for lunch, purchasing inventory, or paying rent, chances are it’s costing you more than it did a year ago. You are not without recourse, however. There are ways you can fight inflation. My friend Rieva Lesonsky got some inflation-fighting tips from Ben Johnston, the COO of Kapitus, including how to negotiate with your landlord. Learn more about fighting inflation.    4 Google Search Tricks Searching for something on Google can be straightforward and quick or a laborious, frustrating undertaking. This quick read on Fast Company shares 4 Google search tricks that will make searching quicker for you. For instance, I didn’t know it’s possible (and simple) to exclude specific topics from your search results. Read more about how to simplify your Google searches.    Shopping for Holiday Bargains As I noted a  few weeks ago, we’re already in the midst of the holiday shopping season. And if you’re like most consumers, you’re looking for bargains and deals. MUO (Make Use Of) says that while you can still find great deals on eBay, better bargains can be found online at other shopping sites. Read more about 15 retail websites that are cheaper than eBay.  Resource of the Week: Zoho Finance Plus and Zoho Books Entrepreneurship is a global phenomenon, with small businesses opening up in huge numbers worldwide. To help those business owners, Zoho Corporation announced that its Zoho Finance Platform now supports more than half a million businesses in more than 160 countries. The impetus behind this growth is Zoho Books, the cloud-based accounting application, which now supports 180 currencies and 17 languages and features a comprehensive global tax engine that solves country-specific tax compliance challenges. And today, with the launch of the accounting app in Mexico, Zoho Books boasts 14 editions and a global version. The comprehensive Finance Plus platform offers solutions for accounting, inventory management, travel and expense management, billing and subscription management, and payroll management. Learn more about Zoho Finance Plus and Zoho Books globally and in the U.S. Listen to my podcast with Judi If you were forwarded this email, you may subscribe to our newsletter here. [...]
November 8, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) Do You Need a Meeting Moderator? 2) What Consumers are Buying 3) Profiting from I Dos 4) Cleaning Up 5) Resource of the Week: Celebrating Entrepreneurship   Hello Small Business Edge Readers, November is National Entrepreneurship Month, and I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to one of the new faces of American entrepreneurship. Jacob Block was a 28-year-old venture capitalist from Columbus, Ohio, who brokered sales of critical PPE (masks and gowns) from Asia to the U.S. during the pandemic. In his business dealings, Jacob consistently had trouble sourcing a critical piece of equipment—nitrile gloves for frontline workers. He investigated if and how he could effectively compete with China and Malaysia and produce the highest quality nitrile gloves in the world in Grove City, Ohio. He discovered he’d have to produce “about four billion gloves a year.” He said, “Ok then, go big or go home!” As you read these words, Jacob sits inside a 527,000-square-foot warehouse, watching state-of-the-art equipment produce the gloves he dreamed about last year. He raised $41.5 million in equity from investors and borrowed $105 million to get his company where it is today. Jacob turned 30 this year, a milestone event in his life. When I asked if he had other milestones on the horizon, he replied, “I want American Nitrile to help bring manufacturing back to America. We cannot have critical PPE produced by equipment on the other side of the world.” Well done, Jacob! To learn more about Jacob, listen to my podcast with him. Just go to the bottom of this newsletter and click on the link to our show.  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     Do You Need a Meeting Moderator? With more businesses operating under a hybrid environment, online meetings can quickly get off track and unfocused. The solution? Appointing meeting moderators. WorkLife shares some best practices from the University of Colorado for facilitating hybrid meetings. Some suggestions include encouraging engagement, having the right tech (being able to screen share is a must), and setting expectations ahead of time. Learn more about running hybrid meetings.   What Consumers are Buying If you’re a clothing retailer, you need to stock plenty of coats and jackets. NPD reports that 43% of consumers say they need to buy new coats and jackets for the winter season. Also, apparel is one of the top items consumers plan to give as gifts, so you might want to amp up your holiday promotions. NPD reports that consumers will be “spending, albeit more selectively, paying particular attention to new trends, product features, and sought-after brands.” Read more about the products consumers will be looking for this holiday season.  Profiting from I Dos So many different types of businesses are involved in the wedding industry, so you’ll be glad to know that the new QuickBooks Wedding Industry Report says almost all (98%) of those surveyed say it’s important for them to work with a small business vendor for their weddings. The brides and grooms believe they’ll get better and more personalized service from a small business—and most plan to pay their vendors in cash. Learn more about what brides will be buying for their weddings.  Cleaning Up Small business owners never have enough time to get it all done. Balancing your business and personal obligations and responsibilities is always a challenge. Keeping your house clean is essential (especially if you work at home), but it’s always a time suck. Using a smart cleaning device can help you get the task done faster, and you don’t necessarily need to be involved in doing the dirty work. Make Use Of (MUO) offers details, answers FAQs, and shares their picks for the best cleaning devices. Learn more about the best cleaning devices for your home.    Resource of the Week: Celebrating Entrepreneurship November is National Entrepreneurship Month, where we “celebrate the doers, dreamers, and job creators whose vision and grit fuel our economy and capture the essence of America.” And November 14th-20th  is Global Entrepreneurship Week, and November 15th is National Entrepreneurship Day. I salute all the business owners who work hard every day nurturing their businesses. I hope you all have a lot to celebrate. Learn more about National Entrepreneurship Month.   Click HERE to listen to the podcast with Jacob Block [...]
November 1, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) Get “More Rewards” on Saturday, November 5th 2) Tech Gifts for “Geeks” 3) Encouraging Entrepreneurial Women in Canada 4) Moving Money Internationally 5) Resource of the Week: First Women’s Bank  Hi Small Business Edge Newsletter Readers, Today is a great day to have a great day!  We are coming into the homestretch of the year and the holiday season is almost upon us. With all the discussions about rising interest rates, inflation, and a looming recession, I included a few financial topics this week to help you navigate those obstacles. I don’t have a crystal ball or the winning numbers to the current $1 billion Powerball jackpot, but I do know that life is best spent living it one day at a time. Make the most of this day, today, and don’t worry about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Hope for the best, plan for the worst and then focus on what’s in front of you. Carpe diem, Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     Get “More Rewards” on Saturday, November 5th According to a new Bank of America survey, 51% of Americans plan to do most of their holiday shopping on or before Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. To help these early shoppers this Saturday, November 5th, Bank of America is launching its first More Rewards Day—a one-day celebration giving Bank of America consumer and small business cardholders the opportunity to earn bonus rewards for all the purchases they make with a Bank of America credit card on that day. On More Rewards Day, all Bank of America consumer and small business credit cardholders will automatically earn 2% cash back, two points per $1, or two miles per $1 spent in addition to the rewards they typically earn. And it’s easy—the bonus rewards will be automatically applied to their accounts. The offer starts at midnight Eastern Time on November 5th and ends at 11:59 pm Eastern Time that same day. To qualify, purchases must have a transaction date of November 5, 2022. And, of course, we encourage everyone to shop at small businesses on November 5th and every day. Learn more about More Rewards Day.     Tech Gifts for “Geeks” Speaking of shopping early, if you’re in the market for holiday gifts for the “geeks” in your life, MUO (Make Use Of) has the perfect gift guide for you. You’ll find gifts in different price ranges, including my favorite—a Star Wars night light. Check out these gifts for geeks.  Encouraging Entrepreneurial Women in Canada Unlike in the U.S., Canadian women are about two times less likely to start a business than men, according to Chase bank in Canada. To encourage startups, the Canadian government is offering several programs to help women become business owners, including investing more than $6 billion in its Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which helps women-owned businesses access the financing, talent, networks, and expertise they need to start up, scale, and reach new markets. Learn more about how Canada is helping women become small business owners.    Moving Money Internationally Visa just announced it’s partnering with Thunes to help small businesses move money internationally. The partnership will include 78 digital wallet providers, reaching 1.5 billion digital wallets across 44 countries and territories. This new partnership expands Visa Direct’s reach to nearly 7 billion endpoints, including over 3 billion cards, 2 billion accounts, and 1.5 billion digital wallets. Through this collaboration, Thunes’ B2B payments platform will connect to Visa Direct, allowing financial institutions, governments, neobanks, and money transfer operators to enable consumers and small businesses to send funds to markets across Africa, Asia, and Latin America where digital wallets may be the go-to payment method. Learn more about how to move money internationally.    Resource of the Week: First Women’s Bank First Women’s Bank is the only women-founded, women-owned, and women-led commercial bank in the country with a strategic focus on women’s economy. Their clients are entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders – moms, daughters, and caregivers. Their business banking offers innovative capital solutions, a modern digital banking experience, and a community dedicated to providing clients with resources, support and inspiration. Make sure to visit their new Resource Center to view online and mobile banking demos, as well as watch videos about running a successful business! Visit First Women’s Bank for more information. [...]
October 25, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) The Differences Between Branding and Brand Identity 2) Supercharge Your Productivity with a Calendar App 3) Preparing for a Recession 4) The Risks and Benefits of Offering Coupons 5) Resource of the Week: Evolve Small contest    Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     The Differences Between Branding and Brand Identity So many small business owners conflate business branding and brand identity. According to a blog post on Marketing Profs, they are not the same. The valuable post defines the differences: Brand. The meaning people attach to your organization, product, or service. It’s who you are as a business—and, more specifically, who your audience perceives you to be. Branding. The perception of a brand is shaped by its branding—the management of a brand. Branding is the deployment of your brand’s strategic plan to ensure your audience perceives your business as you intend. Identity. The sensory elements used to identify a brand include your logo, colors, website, brand photography, and digital marketing efforts. The post goes on to “explore five key differences between branding and brand identity.” Read more about the benefits of branding and how to build your brand identity.     Supercharge Your Productivity with a Calendar App If you’re like me—and millions of other small business owners, you’re constantly searching for apps that will make you more productive and efficient and help you better manage your time. Of course, there are tons of apps out there that can help you do all that, but don’t overlook the tool you probably use more than any other—your smartphone. Most smartphones come with a calendar app, but there are likely better options for you. The challenge is that with so many choices, how do you find the calendar app that best fits your needs? Make Use Of says good calendar apps should be: User-friendly Customizable Integrate seamlessly with other productivity apps Cross-platform compatible Shareable And they explain how to set up, share and use your calendar app for maximum productivity. Learn more about how a simple calendar app can “supercharge your productivity.”     Preparing for a Recession Expert opinions are divided on whether we’re in a recession, will be in a recession, or can dodge one altogether. But smart business owners will prepare for a recession now in case one does occur. The good news is that, according to several recent surveys, many small business owners think they can survive a recession because they made it through the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is better to be ready, so check out this post on the CorpNet blog that shares five tips that can help you prepare for a recession—just in case. Learn more about preparing for a possible recession.  The Risks and Benefits of Offering Coupons Customers today are still spending—but they want to be incentivized to do business with you. That can take several forms, coupons, BOGO (buy one, get one), percentage-off discounts, free shipping, and more. And while promotions like these are almost certain to drive customers to your business, can you afford to actually deploy them? Business News Daily advises small business owners to develop a coupon strategy before they start offering promotions, or they can quickly reduce revenues and negatively impact their cash flow. Read more about the risks and benefits of offering coupons to your customers.  Resource of the Week: Evolve Small As part of its Evolve Small program, Lenovo is teaming up with Queen Latifah to “champion and promote small businesses.” Evolve Small provides financial aid, technological resources, community support, and business mentorship to small businesses in the U.S. and Canada. As part of Evolve Small, Lenovo and Microsoft just launched a contest where small businesses (those with fewer than 100 employees) can get a chance to win a $30,000 cash grant, $10,000 in Lenovo technology upgrades, and a mentorship session with Queen Latifah. She’s not just a star of stage, screen, television, and music, but she’s an entrepreneur too. To enter, submit a 30-second-to-2-minute video pitching your business. There will be three grand prize winners and four runner-up winners, who will each receive a $5,000 cash grant and a $5,000 package of Lenovo tech solutions. Enter now. The application process ends on November 15, 2022. Learn more about how you can win the Evolve Small contest. [...]
October 18, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) 4 Tips to Improve Your Text Marketing 2) Buy Now, Pay Later Usage Soars 3) TikTok Success 4) Employee Retention Tool 5) Resource of the Week: American Marketing Association (AMA)   Hello Small Business Edge Newsletter Readers, I received such positive feedback from the quotes I’ve added to recent newsletters that I decided to press my luck and give you one more this week. I hope you like it. “You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colors fill your mind.” – Jac Vanek  …And then share the good stuff with the entire world! – Brian Moran  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates       4 Tips to Improve Your Text Marketing Text marketing is more popular—and effective than ever. MarketingProfs reports that 64% of consumers want businesses to text them more, which rises to 83% among Gen Z. MarketingProfs cites a study showing that “texting converts better than other types of marketing outreach.” An article on the site says, “texting as a marketing tool is at a crossroads. If your business isn’t already texting customers, you’re behind the curve; and if you are using text, you may be finding it harder to stand out,” and offers marketing tips so you can stay ahead of the curve. Learn more about the effectiveness of text marketing.   Buy Now, Pay Later Usage SoarsA new consumer survey reveals that 40% of holiday shoppers plan to pay for their holiday gifts with buy now, pay later (BNPL) services. If you’re a retailer (or e-tailer), strongly consider offering these options since the survey from Bluedot reveals that 48% of Gen Z, 47% of millennials, and 40% of Gen X say they’re going to use BNPL services this holiday season. Learn more about BNPL usage by consumers.     TikTok Success TikTok is the fastest-growing social media channel today—and it’s no longer just for teens. The site is an increasingly effective e-commerce platform. Entrepreneurs are running thriving businesses on TikTok, and HubSpot shares the stories—and success strategies of several of them. Learn more about how you can take advantage of TikTok’s rising popularity.     Employee Retention Tool So many small businesses are still looking for ways to hang on to valued employees. A recent report from Bank of America reveals that 84% of employers say offering financial wellness tools to their staff can help reduce employee attrition, and 81% say these tools also help attract higher-quality employees. The 12th annual Workplace Benefits Report, Navigating a New Era of Financial Wellness, also shows that 62% of employees are stressed about their finances,  80% of employees are concerned about inflation, and 71% feel the cost of living is outpacing growth in their salary or wages, which is likely a big reason they’re looking for ways to cope. Learn more about offering financial wellness tools as an employee benefit.  Resource of the Week: American Marketing Association (AMA) Marketing is the lifeblood of all small businesses—without it, no one would know what you do or where to find you. The American Marketing Association has 65 chapters in North America and offers training, conferences, and networking opportunities. If you become a member, you’ll get discounts from other member businesses and access to its marketing-themed academic journals. Learn more about joining the AMA.   Click Here to listen to the entire “5 in Five” podcast.   [...]
October 11, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) Power Up Your Google Search 2) Are Your Employees Engaged? 3) Fighting SAD 4) McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 5) Resource of the Week: Cash Awards for Minority and Women Business Owners   Hello SBE Newsletter Readers, What is holding you back from achieving success beyond your wildest imagination? Is it not having goals? Do you not have a GPS plan on how to get there? Is no one holding you accountable? I can help you. Go to the website and see how Jocelyn Ring and I are helping business owners commit to success. It’s not for everyone, just business owners who are willing to change their approach to work and be held accountable to their goals. We are currently running the October workshop, and accepting registrations for November. I hope to see you there. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates       Power Up Your Google Search How many times a day do you search for something on Google? For me, it’s so many I couldn’t possibly keep count. And I’m obviously not alone. Google processes 105,000 search queries a second. But are you searching effectively? MakeWorkOf shares 14 Chrome Extensions that will power up your search and “give you better results or let you navigate more quickly to what you’re looking for.” Learn how to make your Google searches more powerful.   Are Your Employees Engaged? Since we’re still experiencing a tight labor market, large numbers of employees leaving their jobs, and an apparent outbreak of “quiet quitting,” employee engagement is crucial to keeping your staff intact. FlexJobs surveyed thousands of American workers and found out: 51% of workers say they’re either only “somewhat engaged” or  “not at all engaged” 40% say they feel just “okay” at work And 18% say they’re  “pretty terrible” or “miserable.” If you want to grow, that’s concerning. A blog on FlexJobs gives you the whole picture, from employee engagement to where people want to work and what makes them happy. Learn more about employee engagement.   Fighting SADI lived in California a long time ago, and while it was a great experience, I missed the seasons I was used to growing up in New York. That said, come winter, I miss the California sunshine. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) impacts more than 10 million Americans every winter. SAD can make you, well, sad and stressed and affect your work productivity. While special lamps can improve the effects of SAD, this in-depth article in WorkLife discusses other possible solutions, including potential tech solutions. Learn more about SAD and how to mitigate its effects on you and your employees.   McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook Which tech trends will most affect your small business? McKinsey’s recently released Tech McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook offers new analysis of the development, possible uses, and industry effects of advanced technologies. The report highlights “14 of the most significant technology trends unfolding today.” McKinsey says the study builds on last year’s trend research, adding “fresh data and deeper analysis.” McKinsey is hired by some of the country’s biggest corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits, who pay a lot for their insights. Learn more from this free report to better prepare your business for the future.   Resource of the Week: Cash Awards for Minority and Women Business Owners  Comcast RISE is awarding a total of $2 million to 200 small businesses owned by people of color and women in South Florida and Chicago. Each area will receive $1 million. If you’re an eligible business, act now since the deadline to apply for a $10,000 grant closes on October 16th. Learn more: Apply here. Get more information on the South Florida grant and the Chicago grant. Click here to listen to our entire podcast on [...]
October 4, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) Overcoming Your Fear of the Unknown 2) The Fundamentals of Web3 3) Need New Content Ideas? 4) The State of Rural Entrepreneurship 5) Resource of the Week: What’s Hot for 2023—Free Webinar   Happy October Small Business Edge Readers! I often tell you how much we appreciate your feedback about this newsletter (and our other content) and how seriously we take it. Let me share an example with you. Last week, I received an email from Barbara Weltman, a good friend and one of the country’s top business tax experts. Barbara paid me a nice compliment on our newsletter, and added, “There is no easy way to share your content online or give you credit for it.” Wow, what were we thinking? I relayed the suggestion to our team, and one week later, each item has a series of share buttons underneath it! Thank you, Barbara, for the suggestion and to everyone else who’s written to us with comments and compliments. We read and appreciate every one of them. Until next week, I hope you carpe diem the heck out of this week and have a lot of fun doing it. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     Overcoming Your Fear of the Unknown The authors of this article from the Harvard Business Review say we “humans are wired to fear the unknown.” And that’s why uncertainty, whether personal or professional, can be “nerve-racking, exhausting, or even debilitating.” But they argue that people don’t realize that “uncertainty and possibility are two sides of the same coin.” In uncertain times like those we’re currently experiencing, that’s good to know. The authors offer four solutions for dealing with your fear and learning to navigate through the “gateway of the unknown.” Read more about “transforming your relationship with change.”   The Fundamentals of Web3 Do you fully understand Web3? Yeah, me neither. But with so much buzz about new digital technologies like cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), I thought I should learn more. This new article from McKinsey does a great job explaining the fundamentals of Web3, what it is and what its use cases will be, its possibilities and limitations, and how disruptive it will be for businesses. Learn more about Web3 and how it will impact your business.     Need New Content Ideas? Since creating content is now such an essential part of most marketing efforts, small businesses often struggle to come up with new ideas for their content. If you need help in this area, there’s a really useful post on the Constant Contact blog that offers great advice, from planning your content to getting ideas relevant to your business. Read more about how and where to get content ideas for your website.   The State of Rural Entrepreneurship According to SCORE’s new Megaphone of Main Street: The Small Business Rural/Urban Divide, while most (75%)  of America’s small businesses have returned to pre-pandemic or better sales levels, many rural small businesses are struggling—53% say they feel “somewhat or extremely negative about the economy and its impact on their businesses.” SCORE’s survey of small businesses shows that when compared to non-rural businesses, rural entrepreneurs are: 30.2% more likely to cite inflation as one of their top three business concerns 32.4% more likely to cite supply chain disruptions 9.3% more likely to report higher costs of doing business 24.5% more likely to report higher vendor prices Learn more about the challenges facing rural small business owners.   Resource of the Week: What’s Hot for 2023-Free Webinar My long-time friend and colleague Rieva Lesonsky loves to keep track of the trends that impact small businesses. Here’s your chance to learn the latest information and to find out the latest business ideas and trends as we head into 2023. Rieva is giving a webinar on Thursday, October 6th, for the Small Business Administration (SBA), and you can join—for free. She’ll be talking about the consumer behaviors that have changed in the last few years and how you can pivot your small business to address those demands, the hottest businesses for 2023, how the country’s changing demographics impact your small business, and a lot more. You’ll learn more at the free event, which starts this Thursday at 10:30 am ET. You can register here. [...]
September 27, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) 14 Best Google Chrome Extensions 2) Celebrating October Holidays 3) Free Tools to Take the Pain Out of Meetings 4) How to Keep Your Gen Z Workers Happy 5) Resource of the Week: Verizon Business Digital Ready Hello, Readers of the Small Business Edge Newsletter, One of my favorite quotes I often share with new business owners is: “Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” – H. Jackson Browne Jr. So…put on your running shoes, tie the laces, and chase that dream of yours! And make sure you enjoy the journey too. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates   14 Best Google Chrome Extensions Google’s Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, with a 65.5% market share. But for many users, their favorite aspect of using Chrome is the numerous and helpful extensions available. But with so many choices, finding the best extensions that fit your needs, are reliable, and won’t vanish in a few months can be challenging. Thankfully MUO has picked the 14 best Chrome extensions made by Google, so you know they’ll be around. I was familiar with some of these but discovered a few new ones I’ve already added to my computer. Learn more about the best Chrome extensions made by Google.     Celebrating October Holidays When people think of holidays in October, Halloween is likely the one that first leaps into your mind. For example, did you know that October 5th is National Apple Betty Day? Or that October 21st is National Loud Shirt Day? Holidays like these, as obscure as they sound, can be good fodder for promotions in your physical workspace, online business, or email marketing. For example, if you sell clothes, it makes sense to promote loud shirts on October 21st. If you’re not a retailer, you can still have fun with it. Have a loud shirt contest at the office, and let your team choose the winner/s. Restaurant owners could promote a loud shirt night as well. Constant Contact has more email promotion ideas for October. Take a look. Read more about promoting your business in October (and for the rest of the year).   Free Tools to Take the Pain Out of Meetings Whether you run a virtual small business or are back in the office, meetings are a regular part of your schedule. And as we approach the end of the year, you’re likely to have even more meetings as you deal with next year’s budgets, holiday marketing, employee reviews, and more. So having a reliable meeting scheduling tool is a must. Again, how do you make the right choice? Fast Company comes to the rescue, sharing four “under-the-radar” tools. And the best news? They’re all free. Read more about the top free meeting scheduling tools.     How to Keep Your Gen Z Workers Happy Generation Z workers want their employers to stand for something. And they won’t hesitate to look for a new job if you don’t. JobSage surveyed thousands of young American full-time workers and discovered: 64% believe it’s important for employers to take a stand on social issues. Despite that, 46% report that their employers have not taken a stand on those issues. Racism, mental health, and gender inequality are the top issues employees want their companies to address. 27% would take a pay cut to work at a company that supported social issues they considered important. Read more about the issues Gen Z workers expect you to take a stand on and how to do it.    Resource of the Week: Verizon Business Digital Ready Verizon Business Digital Ready is a brand new online curriculum for small business owners. It includes learning modules, expert coaching, peer networking, and access to grant opportunities. The program is part of Verizon’s goal to help one million small businesses thrive in the digital economy. The program offers $10,000 grant opportunities to small business owners! To be eligible to apply, users must complete any combination of two courses, coaching events, and community events between 7/1/22 and 11/14/22 and apply by 11/14/22. Get more information on the program and grant opportunities.   [...]
September 20, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) The Powerful New Features of iOS 16 2) Should You Start a Business During a Recession? 3) Avoid End-of-the-Year Stress 4) Are You a Perfectionist Manager? 5) Resource of the Week: Bricks or Sticks? Hello Readers, Welcome to Autumn! I love the change in seasons—the contrast between summer and fall, cooler weather, fire pits, football games, and trees transforming themselves into works of art. I have long used this week to review my business goals for the past three months. Where did I achieve my objectives? Where did I fall short? More importantly, what do I need to do in the next three months to stay on track to reach my annual goals? Until putting this week’s newsletter together, I didn’t know that September is National Self-Improvement Month!  So, I suggest you do what I do—use this time to recommit yourself to hitting your goals for the year. If you are a business owner and need help solidifying the foundation of your company, then you will definitely want to read our “Resource of the Week” below. It might just be the edge you need to succeed in 2022, 2023, and beyond. And thank you very much for your feedback about our weekly newsletters. It takes a village to get these done each week, but I work with a team of awesome professionals, and they always deliver. See you same time next week. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates       The Powerful New Features of iOS 16 If you own a smartphone, you likely know that Apple just released the newest version of iOS last week. If you’re wondering if you should update your phones, CNET says, “It comes with a slew of new features and upgrades that aim to improve how your iPhone works. This includes a more customizable lock screen, a way to edit sent messages, and a magic photo editing tool.” And the much-missed battery percentage is back. You can find out which iPhones can support iOS 16 here. Learn more about the details of iOS 16.   Should You Start a Business During a Recession? During recessions, many entrepreneurs pause their business efforts. Whether they plan to start a new company or grow their current one, they think going ahead with their plans is too risky. This is the wrong approach, says a partner in a VC firm that focuses on early-stage startups. On the SCORE blog, he says there’s less competition during recessions, and it’s easier to find customers (your marketing messages go further). Learn more about starting or growing a small business during a recession.   Avoid End-of-the-Year Stress The first day of fall starts Thursday. This year has gone so quickly, and typically many of us get extra stressed as we hurtle toward the end of the year. A blog on the Eblin Group asks if you have a strategy for “surviving the mad dash? How will you stay focused, sane, and healthy and still get a lot of stuff done? Read more about how to avoid year-end stress.   Are You a Perfectionist Manager? You may think that the more you demand from your team, the better your business will be. But that’s not typically the case. An article in Harvard Business Review says, “being a perfectionist manager is a surefire way to undermine” your team’s morale and performance. For businesses to succeed, the author asserts, you have to “encourage experimentation” and show your staff you “recognize that failure is part of the process.” There is more than one type of perfectionist—see if you recognize yourself as one. Learn more about avoiding the pitfalls of perfectionism.  Resource of the Week: Bricks or Sticks? Most people know the story of the three little pigs and the big, bad wolf. The first two pigs built their homes with foundations of hay and sticks, respectively, and lost them when the wolf huffed and puffed and blew their houses down. They ran to the third pig’s house, the one that used bricks to build his foundation. The wolf tried hard but was unable to blow his house down. He ultimately fell into a pot of boiling water when he tried to climb down the chimney. The pigs were spared. This story is reminiscent of the pandemic, and COVID-19 was the big, bad wolf. Many companies discovered whether their businesses were built on flimsy foundations or strong ones. If your business has been struggling for the past few years, trying to navigate the twists, turns, and obstacles thrown in your path, I want to help you. I am co-hosting a monthly workshop with Jocelyn Ring starting in October for 20 business owners. The workshop is divided into four weekly pillars designed to provide you with the bricks you need to build the strongest possible foundation for your business. If you’re feeling uncertain about what’s next for your business, this workshop is for you. Visit and sign up for our workshop. It starts on October 3rd. Let Jocelyn and I help you run a more efficient and productive business by showing you how to build the strongest foundation so the big, bad wolf cannot destroy your business. Listen to my podcast with Brandon here. [...]
September 13, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) How Gen Z is Shaping Entrepreneurship 2) Should You Hire a Social Media Content Creator? 3) Are You a Go-With-the-Flow Type of Leader? 4) Improve Your Brain Function with Brown Noise 5) Resource of the Week: National Hispanic Heritage Month “Because you are alive, everything is possible.” – Thich Nhat Hanh What’s on your bucket list? What is one thing you really want to accomplish in your life? Run a marathon? Open your own business? Visit every state? I love the quote from Thich Nhat Hanh above (pronounced “Tick-Not-Hahn”) because it makes me believe I can do anything. Granted, I will never play 1st base for the NY Mets, but I dream of visiting every state in the U.S. (I only have North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Alaska left), and there are other “BHAGs” on my bucket list. What’s a BHAG? It’s an acronym for “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal.” I first learned about BHAGs in Jim Collins’ book, Built to Last. BHAGs are goals that don’t take a day, week, or month to complete. Sometimes they take years or even decades. But, remembering the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “everything is possible,” we should all have at least one BHAG on our bucket lists. Don’t be afraid to have really BIG goals. Write them down, give yourself enough time to complete them, find good people who will support you along the way (and hold you accountable), and don’t forget to enjoy the journey. BHAG! Thanks for being part of my journey too. Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     How Gen Z is Shaping Entrepreneurship Last spring Microsoft commissioned a report, the Small Business State of Mind, that shows how entrepreneurial Gen Z is—62% say they’ve already started or plan to launch their own businesses. Is Gen Z the “most entrepreneurial generation” the world has ever seen? Perhaps so, says the report. Here are five trends the report says are shaping entrepreneurship today: 9-to-never. Gen Z small business owners are redefining the workplace hustle. The do-good effect. Small business owners investing in social good are seeing the benefits. Risky business. Small businesses are letting data breach prevention fall to the wayside. Road to retirement. Why is Gen Z set on small business ownership? Early retirement. TikTok over textbooks. Gen Z small business owners are leaning into TikTok for business advice while debating the necessity of a higher-ed degree. Learn more about the future of entrepreneurship.     Should You Hire a Social Media Content Creator? Before you answer, according to Sprout Social, a social media content creator is not the same as a social media manager. The job of a social media content creator is to, obviously, create content, whether it be in the form of blogs, newsletters, etc. Yes, that sounds like a regular content creator, but in this case, all the content is “solely focused on understanding and building their audience on social media.” Sprout Social says you have three options for hiring for this position. You can hire an in-house creator, work with an outside agency, or contract a freelancer. Not convinced you need a social media content creator? There’s a lot more to know before you decide. Learn more about hiring a social media content creator.     Are You a Go-With-the-Flow Type of Leader? A post on the SmartBrief blog discusses the importance of using improvisation skills to be a better leader. The author argues that the ability to go with the flow shows you have the flexibility to make the right moves at the right time. She says improvising builds energy for business leaders and offers seven tips for learning how to get the most out of improvisation, including breaking bad habits and learning how to tell stories. Learn more about learning how to improvise and be a better leader.     Improve Your Brain Function with Brown Noise No, that’s not a typo—I didn’t mean white noise. There are actually several different types of noise, including white, brown (also known as red), and pink noise. The Sleep Foundation says, “brown noise contains sounds from every octave of the sound spectrum, but the power behind frequencies decreases with each octave…resulting in a sound” that’s deeper than white noise (or pink), reminding people of the sound of rainfall. Research shows brown noise may help improve cognitive performance, helping you think, learn, and remember better. (And yes, white noise will help you sleep better.) And it’s apparently trending on TikTok. Learn more about how the effects of the different noises.    Resource of the Week: National Hispanic Heritage Month Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. President Ronald Reagan expanded it in 1988 to cover 30 days beginning on September 15th and ending on October 15th. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. September 15th is an important date because it is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively. Click HERE to learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month.   Click HERE to listen to our special 5 in Five podcast where five experts offer their advice to business owners for the second half of 2022. [...]
September 6, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) How Startups Can Fight Inflation 2) Words Matter 3) Twitter’s Actually Getting an Edit Button! 4) Boosting Your Cell’s Signal 5) Resource of the Week: Hi Small Business Edge Readers, September is National Preparedness Month. As of today, there are 117 days until the end of the year. What potential calamities and disasters could happen in the next 117 days? More importantly, is your business (and personal life) prepared to withstand them? Hurricanes, hackers, fires, and other adverse events don’t schedule themselves on your calendar; they almost always hit without warning…and usually at the worst possible times. In a disaster, you will get knocked down. But, creating a plan and being prepared measurably increases the odds of getting back up and running with minimal downtime. Without preparation and planning, you will probably stay down. This is not me jinxing you; this is reality. Take time TODAY (don’t wait for tomorrow) to play the “What If” game with your key employees and business advisors. Ask critical questions (e.g., What if we get hacked? What if a hurricane hits us or our customers? What if I become disabled?). Then, write down exactly how you will best respond to these situations. This becomes your Emergency Response Plan. Give everyone on your team a copy, so they know exactly what to do when disaster strikes. Side notes: Have emergency drawers—filled with flashlights, batteries, candles, water, etc.—at your office and home. Also, today is a good day to review your insurance policies to see what you are covered for in the event disaster strikes. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst Brian  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     How Startups Can Fight Inflation While inflation dipped slightly in July, Phillip Kim, an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College, says startups will still face high prices “for the foreseeable future.” Kim says, “entrepreneurs need to concentrate on creating value for the customer” and stay focused on the basics of their startups. Learn more about how startups can thrive in challenging economic times.     Words Matter Most of us know we should avoid jargon when speaking to others, because it often seems like posturing and inauthentic speech. But leadership coach Lolly Daskal says, “there are other phrases that mislead employees and signal poor leadership.” Some of these phrases surprised me, mostly because I use them (like “I’ll do it myself”) or hear them often (“with all due respect”). Daskal explains why these phrases undermine your leadership and suggests different ways to express the same thoughts. Read more about the power of words.     Twitter’s Actually Getting an Edit Button! Are you one of the millions of Twitter users begging the social media company for an edit button? I am. And it seems the company is about to introduce one—starting in the New Zealand market before unveiling it in Australia, Canada, and the U.S. One caveat before you start celebrating—at the moment, according to, the “edit function will only be available for a select group of paid users, “everyone will still be able to see if a Tweet has been edited.” Read more about Twitter’s edit button.     Boosting Your Cell’s Signal Even the best smartphones can encounter a weak signal, whether due to finding yourself in the middle of nowhere or experiencing dead zones in your home or office. Don’t panic; CNET offers some solutions, ranging from simple to more complex ones. Here’s one they call “tried-and-true” that I had no idea about. Did you know that “turning on Airplane mode, waiting a few seconds, and then cycling it off can definitely help with reception” most of the time? Learn more about how to boost your cell signal.    Resource of the Week: (Sept is National Preparedness Month) Launched in 2004, National Preparedness Month is held every September. The program is designed to help all Americans and businesses prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. National Preparedness Month culminates on September 30th with National Preparedness Day, the national day of action. Learn more HERE about how to prepare your business for all types of disasters.       Click HERE to listen to the 5 in Five podcast with Kathleen [...]
August 30, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) How New Websites Can Identify Important Keywords 2) The Best Computer Keyboards 3) Conquering Stress 4) Does Your Business Need a Content Room? 5) Resource of the Week: The Small Business Edge (SBE) Marketplace Hi Small Business Edge readers, “Don’t worry twice” is a 3-word mantra I often share with business owners who tell me they are anxious and stressed about the future. They worry about inflation, rising interest rates, finding and retaining good employees, consumer demand, and more. In short, they fear the unknown and what may or may not happen. A few years ago, I created something called a “GPS Plan.” It’s designed to help business owners  worry less about the future because they have already mapped it out. The concept is similar to putting an address into a smartphone which then tells you how long it will take to get to your destination and if there are any delays along the way. I do the same with a business owner’s strategic goal. Starting in October, Jocelyn Ring, a top branding and leadership expert, and I will host a monthly workshop for business owners who worry about the future. The class, titled: Bricks or Sticks: Building a Foundation For a Business That Lasts, will enable business owners to create their own GPS Plans, define the type of business owner they want to be, turn a reactive mindset into a proactive one, and give them the secret sauce to success (We call it “D.C.A.”). If you’re interested in learning more about the “Bricks or Sticks” class, click here.  You can also email me if you have questions. Oh, and don’t worry twice.  Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     How New Websites Can Identify Important Keywords One of the issues startup entrepreneurs face is their new websites and SEO. Practical Ecommerce says that while “an established website has many options to expand keyword lists and identify organic search opportunities,” a new site doesn’t have the data that enables it to identify keywords. Their post offers information about the tactics and tools that allow you to narrow your keyword list even when you don’t have internal data. Read more about the best ways to do keyword research for a new website.     The Best Computer Keyboards Computer peripherals can be as crucial to your computing experience as the actual computer itself. Keyboards, for example, can increase productivity. And the right keyboard can offer a better ergonomic experience. But there are so many options, how do you know which keyboard is right for you and your employees? The “Wirecutter” column from The New York Times did a deep dive on the best types and sizes of keyboards for Macs and Windows computers. Learn more about which keyboard is best for you.   Conquering Stress All business owners experience stress. How you handle stressful situations determines whether you can find the answers to relieve your anxiety. Fast Company suggests that while “obsessing over a stressful situation can be harmful, there are times when thinking things through fully is the right move.” Their solution to destressing may seem a little old-fashioned—it involves using paper and pen—though I suppose you could just as easily use your computer to make a list of what’s stressing you and then classify the stressors. The article explains how doing this can help you conquer your stress and move on. Learn more about dealing with stress.   Does Your Business Need a Content Room? So, you’ve never heard of a content room? Neither have I. But after reading this post on worklife, I want to create one. Content rooms are “designed to feel informal and cozy” and feature great sound design. If you do live events or film a lot of videos at your business, content rooms provide a quiet space for your teams to create and not get in the way of your other employees. Experts say a content room’s two most important elements are “dimension and flexibility.” You also want a room with “the right look, tone, color, and materials.” Content rooms are in high demand at the moment, and there are several resources you can tap into. Read more about how to create a content room.  Resource of the Week: The Small Business Edge (SBE) Marketplace The Small Business Edge (SBE) Marketplace. We are excited and proud to announce the launch of the SBE Marketplace, a community for business owners hosted by Rieva Lesonsky, John Lawson, and Brian Moran, three top small business experts with decades of experience helping business owners. On the SBE Marketplace, members can: Network with like-minded people Showcase their products and services Learn more about products and services that will help them run more productive companies Gain access to top experts on relevant business topics. The website officially launches on September 1st. Click HERE to sign up for a free membership today!   Click HERE to listen to the 5 in Five podcast with Vijay Ramachandran [...]
August 23, 2022Five Things To Know This Week: 1) 7 Productivity Tips for You and Your Employees 2) How to Take the Stress Out of Making Cold Calls 3) Retain Your Staff Without Spending a Fortune 4) Celebrating Black Business Month 5) Resource of the Week: CNET    Brian Moran, CEO  Small Business Edge Brian Moran & Associates     7 Productivity Tips for You and Your Employees Summer is quickly winding down, which means business is (or should be) ramping up. Many small companies slow down in the summer, and getting back in the productivity groove can be a little challenging. If that sounds like you, or if you’re just looking for a productivity boost, check out these seven tips from Learn more about how you and your team can be more productive.     How to Take the Stress Out of Making Cold Calls Selling is one of my favorite job responsibilities. While it energizes me, I know it intimidates others, especially when you have to make a cold call. That’s why it’s often helpful to have a prepared sales script. This blog post on HubSpot provides tons of tips about sounding authentic and not robotic and includes cold calling scripts. Learn more about making successful cold calls.     Retain Your Staff Without Spending a Fortune With the Great Resignation still going on and the nation essentially at full employment, small businesses are still struggling to keep their employees onboard. Adding to that stress, inflationary pressures can lead to employees asking for bigger raises than usual. How are business owners handling this? Fast Company says we now know salary isn’t the only thing that motivates workers. It says, “a strong corporate culture and engaging with staff to ensure there’s purpose and incentive to their work can be just as powerful for keeping employees happy.” They also want flexible work arrangements (64% of the workforce would consider looking for a new job if required to return to the office full time), bosses who listen to them and act on their input, to be recognized for their efforts, and incentivized to stay (not necessarily by money). Read more about how to keep your employees happy and onboard.     Celebrating Black Business Month SCORE is celebrating Black Business Month by providing resources and information for current and aspiring Black small business owners. In addition to a post highlighting the opportunities to start or expand a beauty business aimed at Black consumers, there’s a helpful blog about how all of us can support Black-owned businesses. Learn more about how to help Black business owners.    Resource of the Week: CNET When CNET was launched back in the 1990s, its goal was to “give audiences knowledge on all things computing.” Today, that mission has expanded to guiding its readers “to a better future.” CNET is one of the first places I check when I want the scoop about the newest tech, the best deals, and to get tech tips. But today, CNET is so much more—it’s packed with news, tools, and information about money, home, wellness, cars, and more. So whether you need to know why your hydrangeas aren’t the color you want or if the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 is worth $1,800, CNET is your go-to source. Learn more every day on CNET. Listen to the full podcast with Savita Jones by clicking here [...]


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